Top headlines during our publishing hiatus

BY DI STAFF | JUNE 08, 2009 7:26 AM

Cedric Everson, a former Hawkeye football player charged with sexual abuse, has his trial pushed back again, this time to Nov. 2.

Everson, 19, is accused of participating in the reported rape of a former UI student-athlete in Hillcrest in October 2007. His trial was originally scheduled for November 2008.

Everson is charged with second-degree sexual abuse for aiding and abetting the reported crime. If convicted of the Class B felony, he will face a mandatory 25-year prison sentence.

Abe Satterfield, Everson’s former teammate, is accused of second- and third-degree sexual assault in the incident.

In May, Satterfield’s lawyer asked to delay Satterfield’s trial. Court records show the defense needed time to get hold of additional medical records and witness testimonies.

Leon Spies, Everson’s lawyer, asked to push back his client’s trial because Satterfield is expected to testify. He claimed the order of their trials could affect testimony.

— by Scott Raynor

The UI Hospitals and Clinics announced on June 2 that it will be forced to cut jobs because of recent budget reductions.

All cut positions from the hospital’s 6,600-member work force will come from retirement and lay-offs, in addition to leaving many currently unfilled positions vacant.

No specific numbers regarding the lay-offs have been announced so far; UIHC spokesman Tom Moore said plans will be released at the end of June.

The recent budget cuts of this year have forced the hospital to reduce its operating costs by $45 million for fiscal 2010.

— by Zhan Zhao

The Iowa City City Council passed an ordinance June 2 that designated the North Side Neighborhood as a historic district.

Despite split opinions among residents, renters, landlords, and other members of the community, the council voted to pass the ordinance 6-1.

Residents who spoke at the City Council meeting expressed concern they would lose control of certain aspects of their home — having to seek approval for major projects and materials — while others supported the measure, saying it would protect the historic and cultural value of their homes.

Landlords also had mixed views. While the designation could attract renters because of a more attractive neighborhood or individual property, it could force them to raise rental rates. Some worried this might push away student renters trying to save money.

“We know historic districts stabilize neighborhoods,” Iowa City Mayor Regenia Bailey said, referencing the Longfellow and Summit Street historic districts. “This is a neighborhood worth preserving, and it’s worth recognizing the history of it.”

— by Chris Clark

The City Council passed an ordinance June 2 that effectively prevents new bars and liquor stores from opening downtown.

The council passed the ordinance 5-2.

The ordinance restricts new bars — businesses open between midnight to 2 a.m. whose main revenue comes from consumption of food or drink — from opening within 500 feet of another. City Councilors say restaurants won’t be affected by the ordinance because most are not open that late.

The ordinance also requires a 1,000-foot distance between liquor stores downtown.

Existing bars will be grandfathered in under the new policy.

City officials said they support the ordinance because they feel downtown is too congested with bars — saying the new law will diversify the types of businesses downtown and the people who utilize the area.

Iowa City Mayor Regenia Bailey said passing the bar ordinance is an economic-diversity issue.

“A market study of our downtown indicated it was getting a little too bar focused,” she said. “This ordinance is a nice balance.”

— by Chris Clark

President Obama on June 3 named former Iowa Rep. Jim Leach as the chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Leach, a 15-term Republican congressman from Iowa City, supported Obama during the 2008 election, giving a keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention.

Leach helped found the Congressional Humanities Caucus and operated as Chairman of the House Committee on Banking and Financial Services.

After leaving Congress in 2007, Leach taught at Princeton and Harvard Universities. In the past year, he worked as interim director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

In 2006, Dave Loebsack defeated Leach in a close election.

Obama requested $171.3 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities in the fiscal 2010 budget sent to Congress last month.

“I am confident that with Jim as its head, the National Endowment for the Humanities will continue on its vital mission of supporting the humanities,” a recent Obama press release said. “I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead.”

— by Michael Dale-Stein

The Iowa City metropolitan area unemployment rate for April was the lowest in the nation.

The unemployment rate was 3.2 percent, down from 3.6 percent in March, according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Second to Iowa City were Houma-Bayou Cane-Thibodaux, La., and Ames, both sitting at a 3.6 percent for the month of April, according to the report.

“We are very fortunate to be as stable as we are, but we are not immune to the problems going on elsewhere,” said City Councilor Mike O’Donnell.

The town’s employment-market image is favorable, he said.

“We realize now how stabilized the city is,” he said.

Nationally, the economic recession is taking a toll on other metropolitan areas.

Out of the 372 metropolitan areas polled, 93 areas reported unemployment at higher than 10 percent. Yuma, Ariz., reported a 20.3 unemployment rate while El Centro, Calif., reported a 26.9 percent rate making it the highest reported metropolitan area in the nation.

The national unemployment rate for the month of May was 9.4 percent, according to Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

— by Valbona Tika

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