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What you missed:  News during the DI publishing break

BY DI STAFF | JUNE 04, 2012 6:30 AM

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Council OKs vacating part of Melrose Place

The Iowa City City Council voted to vacate and convey a portion of Melrose Place for the future construction of a University of Iowa parking lot.

The councilors passed an ordinance May 15 requiring the city to vacate 0.27-acres of Melrose Place. An ordinance normally requires three readings, but the second reading was waived, and councilors approved the ordinance on a 4-2 vote, with Councilors Rick Dobyns and Jim Throgmorton voting no. Councilor Terry Dickens was absent.

The City Council also held a public hearing that same evening about the conveyance of the right-of-way. Councilors approved the conveyance on a 4-2 vote. The conveyance is expected to have no cost.

The state Board of Regents voted earlier this month to raze 711 Melrose Ave. and 15 Melrose Place. The parking lot will be built on the site of the houses.

— by Kristen East

Obama campaigns in Iowa

President Barack Obama visited the Hawkeye State for the third time this year on May 24, coming roughly a month after his April 25 visit to the University of Iowa.

Obama made his stop at TPI Composites in Newton to discuss the importance of Iowa's wind-energy production.

According to the Associated Press, Obama's first presidential visit to Newton, a city of about 15,000 residents east of Des Moines, was Earth Day 2009. He spoke at the wind industry manufacturer Trinity Towers, the Associated Press reported. During this year's visit, he stopped at TPI Composites factory. According to the AssociatedPress, the factory builds wind turbine blades nearly half a football field long and weighing up to 20,000 pounds.

"… It's an industry that's putting people to work," he said. "You know this firsthand. There are more wind-power jobs in Iowa than in any other state. That's a big deal."

Later that day, the president visited the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines to promote his campaign and discuss that of his opponent, presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

"… The worldview that Gov. Romney gained from his experience as a financial CEO explains something," he said. "It explains why the last time he visited these very same fairgrounds, he famously declared that corporations are people."

— by Kristen East

Teen accused in slaying of grandparents

Manchester, Iowa, police responded to a call from 109 Deann Drive in Manchester on May 13 and reportedly discovered that Janet Mae and Richard Lee Sweet had been slain.

Doctors at the Medical Examiner's Office in Ankeny conducted autopsies on May 14 and reported that both died of gunshot wounds.

Isaiah Sweet — the 17-year-old grandson of Janet and Richard Sweet — the suspect in the slaying of his grandparents, appeared in court in the Clayton County Courthouse on May 15. He has pleaded not guilty.

Investigators are not seeking any additional suspects in the homicides.

Isaiah Sweet is being held at the Buchanan County Jail on a $1 million bond; he faces two counts of first-degree murder.

— by Jordyn Reiland

Tang trial delayed

The trial for Peng Tang, a 21-year-old man charged March 30 with first-degree kidnapping, solicitation to commit an aggravated misdemeanor, and tampering with a witness or juror has been postponed.

He allegedly sent a letter to the reported victim of the kidnapping claiming he would reward her if she dropped the charges against him, and he was charged April 13 for solicitation to commit an aggravated misdemeanor and tampering with a witness or juror.

According to online court documents, Tang is scheduled to be on trial for first-degree kidnapping Oct. 16, and the pretrial conference is scheduled for Oct. 5. The trial on the charges committing an aggravated misdemeanor and tampering with a witness is scheduled for Aug. 7. The pretrial conference is scheduled for July 23.

Many of Tang's apartment neighbors had never met him, and they said he usually kept to himself, The Daily Iowan has previously reported.

Tang's parents, Li Qiao and Xuefan Tang, were charged April 5 with allegedly sending a letter to the victim promising her a reward if she changed her story. Those charges were later dropped.

— by Jordyn Reiland

VP search is on

The University of Iowa is searching for a new vice president for Research and Economic Development.

Brian Herman, a biologist and special assistant to the president at the University of Texas Health Center-San Antonio was the first candidate to speak on May 21. Herman stressed collaboration at the UI as one of his main goals if chosen for the position. He also said he wanted to focus less on the individual in the research community.

Daniel Reed, the second candidate and the current corporate vice president for Microsoft, spoke to UI officials and students May 24 about becoming multilingual in research. Reed said he wants to more money toward basic research by reducing money spent on infrastructure.

The third candidate is set to speak in the IMU on June 11 at 3 p.m.

— by Jordyn Reiland


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