Metro Briefs

BY DI STAFF | MAY 08, 2009 7:29 AM

IC to get $8.6 million

Iowa City will receive $8.6 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds from the Hazard Mitigation Program.

Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, secured the grant, which will be used for Iowa City to buy 39 homes and one vacant lot damaged in last summer’s flood.

The properties are located on Taft Speedway, Park Road, Normandy Drive, and Eastmoor Drive.
The buyout will protect Iowa City from future damages, and it will help reduce emergency response and evacuation costs.

Property acquisitions made with money from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Program are intended to aid families affected by last year’s flood and also protect property in future emergencies.

“It is unfortunate that this funding is necessary, but as Iowa is still struggling to rebuild, these funds come at a time when our families could use some help,” Loebsack said in a news release. “This funding marks an important point in our recovery process — families who have been at a standstill will finally be able to move forward. Additionally, these funds will aid our planning efforts by protecting our communities from future disasters.”

Local governments and the property owners make the decisions to acquire damaged property.

— by Megan Dial

Woman charged with drug possession

An Iowa City woman was arrested after officers allegedly found heroin and marijuana in her home, authorities said.

Virginia Visker, 51, 11 N. Dodge St., was charged Wednesday with possession of a controlled substance, a controlled-substance violation, and keeping a drug house.

According to police, officers served a narcotics search warrant at Visker’s residence. Visker showed the officers her stash of heroin, which she keeps for personal use.

Officers also found packaging materials, marijuana — some packaged for sale — and cash, police said.

Visker said she used some money from dealing marijuana to pay bills and purchase heroin for herself, police reports show.

All three charges are Class D felonies, punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $7,500.

— by Regina Zilbermints

UIHC give-back program nets $1.7 million

UI Hospitals and Clinics generated more than $1.7 million from its two voluntary give-back programs. More than 850 UIHC employees contributed some of their vacation time or took a temporary salary cut.

UIHC senior leaders thought it was a “remarkable success,” said UIHC spokesman Tom Moore.

Since February, UIHC officials have been looking at different ways to scale down the hospital’s expenses. In March, officials ended the free outpatient parking program, which could save $1.2 million for the hospital every year. That same month, more than 40 UI Health Care senior leaders gave back $2.6 million from their salaries.

At the state Board of Regents meeting in April, UIHC officials predicted the hospital would finish fiscal 2009 $5 million short of its $861 million budget.

Moore said the final budget will be complete on June 30.

— by Jennifer Delgado

Man beaten, robbed

An Iowa City resident was reportedly beaten and robbed while walking home early Sunday morning.

According to Iowa City police, the 21-year-old was walking home along Bowery Street, carrying a 30-pack of beer, when he met a group of four white males walking toward him in the vicinity of Dodge Street.

The victim and the group stopped and had a brief conversation before one of the assailants punched the victim in the side of his face. The punch may have knocked the victim unconscious, and he has very little memory of the events after the assault, police said.

The assailants apparently took the victim’s beer and money from his wallet, police reports show.

The victim sought treatment at UI Hospitals and Clinics Tuesday afternoon. He had a broken tooth and broken jaw.

The suspects are described as four white males, one of whom was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt. Prior to the attack, they had been walking westbound along Bowery Street near Dodge Street.

— by Regina Zilbermints

Satterfield trial now set for October

Abe Satterfield, a former Hawkeye football player charged with sexual abuse in alleged connection with an incident in Hillcrest, will not go on trial until October.

On Thursday morning — Satterfield’s scheduled final hearing — 6th District Judge Douglas Russell approved a second motion to delay the trial. It was originally set for March 30, then May 18.

Satterfield’s attorney, Alfredo Parrish, filed the request Wednesday. According to the motion, they still need medical records and witness testimonies, and it could take 60 days to get them.

Satterfield, 20, was charged with third- and second-degree sexual abuse for allegedly raping a former Hawkeye athlete in Hilccrest.

Nineteen-year-old Cedric Everson was also named in the reported 2007 incident. His lawyer, Leon Spies, agreed a delay in Satterfield’s trial is necessary and said Wednesday he would also ask to push back Everson’s trial.

— by Zhi Xiong

Supervisors want more time for Sutliff bridge decision

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency Thursday asking for more time to decide the fate of the Sutliff Bridge.

FEMA told the supervisors they need to decide by May 15 whether they want to rebuild the bridge, which was damaged during last summer’s flood. If they decide to rebuild it, FEMA will pay for the cost.

The project to rebuild the historic bridge became eligible for FEMA funds when Johnson County assumed ownership of it last week — it was previously owned by the Sutliff Bridge Authority.

The supervisors said they need more time to assess damages to the bridge and have estimated it could cost up to $10,000 to complete that evaluation. If the supervisors decide to rebuild the bridge, the funds for the assessment could be refunded by FEMA. However, there will be no reimbursement if the bridge is not rebuilt.

— by Shane Ersland

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