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Metro Briefs

BY DI STAFF | MARCH 23, 2009 7:30 AM

Council rethinks sculpture

An $80,000 art sculpture that would sit in Waterworks Prairie Park is being reconsidered by the Iowa City City Council after community members questioned the need for it.

Approval for the sculpture came at the same meeting the council delayed the necessary $520,000 to hire firefighters needed to staff a fourth fire station.

Councilors approved the funds for the project with a 5-2 council vote at its March 10 meeting, but they’ve since decided to reconsider the high-price art work given the current economy.

“I think we need to follow our own rules for placing things in the budget. This needs to be put in the priority-setting system just like the station does,” said Councilor Mike Wright, who requested the reconsideration.

The sculpture, designed by Dale Merrill of Liberty Iron Works Inc., would consist of three free-standing abstract metal trees.

According to the proposal, the three free-standing abstract metal trees are designed to have “random, wind-driven movements.”

Councilors Matt Hayek and Amy Correia voted against initially funding the sculpture on the basis that it isn’t critical for community services.

Discussion for the future of the sculpture will continue at the council’s meeting on Tuesday.

— by Amanda McClure

Two face theft, drug charges

Iowa City police arrested two men on theft and drug charges March 18.

Sidney Upchurch, 21, Chicago, was charged with second-degree theft and OWI.

Shango Johnson, 18, 901 Cross Park Road Apt. 1, was charged with possession of marijuana, possession of crack cocaine with intent to deliver, and possession of contraband in a correctional facility.

According to Iowa City police, officers stopped a vehicle that had been reported stolen from Muscatine at the intersection of Highway 1 and Orchard Street. Upchurch and Johnson were arrested and transported to the Johnson County Jail.

Second-degree theft and possession of contraband in a correctional facility are Class D felonies, punishable by up to five years in prison and fines of up to $7,500. OWI is a serious misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,250.

Possession of marijuana is a serious misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. Possession of crack cocaine with intent to deliver is a Class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $50,000.

— by Regina Zilbermints

Authorities arrest 3 in burglaries

Iowa City police and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office cooperated to solve 41 burglaries or attempted burglaries throughout Johnson County.

Andrew Irvin, 20, 738 Bay Ridge Drive, Jesse Weppler, 20, 1813 Lower Old Highway 6 Apt. 82, and Michael Rockafellow, 25, 2801 Highway 6 E. Apt. 238, were charged March 19 with numerous counts of third-degree burglary and third-degree attempted burglary.

According to authorities, the defendants entered or attempted to enter at least 41 different businesses and storage shed locations during December 2008 and January. The three admitted their involvement in all the incidents and several stolen items were recovered, according to authorities.
Third-degree burglary is a Class D felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $7,500. Third-degree attempted burglary is an aggravated misdemeanor, generally punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Iowa City police are also investigating a robbery that took place March 18.

According to Iowa City police, a female reported she was walking near the intersection of Burlington and Linn Streets when a male ran up to her and stole her purse.

The male ran east on Burlington and was last seen near the intersection of Burlington and Van Buren, police reports show.

— by Regina Zilbermints

Indecent-contact trial set

A judge set a trial date for an Iowa City man accused of inappropriately touching his 13-year-old daughter.

Randy Cole’s trial will begin May 18 at 9 a.m. in the Johnson County Courthouse. Pretrial is set for May 6.

Cole is charged with indecent contact with a child, an aggravated misdemeanor. If convicted, he faces up to two years in prison and a maximum fine of $6,250.

According to Coralville police, Cole was driving his daughter to her mother’s home when he allegedly reached over and placed his hand on his daughter’s inner thigh and moved his hand up her thigh. He stopped when his daughter demanded to know what he was doing, police reports show.

— by Regina Zilbermints

Trial set in frat bust

A judge set a trial date for one of the men charged after police raided the Delta Upsilon fraternity house in December 2007.

The trial for James Goetz is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on May 11, with pretrial being set for April 30.

Goetz faces felony drug charges and failure to affix a tax stamp. Both are Class D felonies, punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $7,500.

Iowa City police raided the house at 320 Ellis Ave. Dec. 8, 2007, arresting three fraternity members and one woman for various marijuana possession and felony drug charges.

— by Regina Zilbermints


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