Metro Briefs

BY DI STAFF | MAY 10, 2013 5:00 AM

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Woman accused of giving toddler alcohol released to Department of Corrections

A woman who is accused of giving her toddler alcohol is to be released into the custody of the Iowa Department of Corrections, according to a Courthouse document.

On Feb. 15, 2012, Natasha Kriener’s toddler was allegedly found with a blood-alcohol content of .097. Kriener was charged with negligence and child endangerment. On Jan. 28, she was sentenced to a 10-year suspended sentence and a three-year probation period.

Kriener was allegedly found intoxicated on March 4 in violation of her probation. She was also charged with the serious misdemeanor of interfering with a Department of Correctional Services officer’s investigation. She was taken into custody on a $2,500 bond.

According to a Courthouse document, Kriener’s bond condition is now amended and she is to be released into the custody of the Department of Corrections where she will begin in-patient treatment.

The trial for her serious misdemeanor is set for July 2.

— by Cassidy Riley

Iowa City City Council to vote on fraternal housing changes

The Iowa City City Council on May 14 will consider a second reading of an ordinance changing the rules for new Iowa City fraternities and sororities.

The change, which the council passed on the first of three considerations on April 23, amends the city zoning code to better define rooming-house cooperatives, such as fraternities and sororities. Councilors passed the first consideration a on a 7-0 vote.

The amendment allows such group housing to exist within RNS-20 zoned areas, used for older neighborhoods in proximity to the UI campus, but it also spells out rules and limits on such housing.

Existing fraternities and sororities will be grandfathered under the new ordinance, but new fraternal housing projects in the zone that do not meet the new standards would not be allowed.

The Iowa Fraternity & Sorority House Zoning Protest, a group started May 2 on Facebook, plans to attend the May 14 council meeting.

The group believes the measure will prevent new fraternities and sororities from being built.

According to the group’s page, more than 400 people plan to go to the protest as of Thursday evening. More than 900 have been invited.

— by Nick Hassett

Iowa City City Council may support officers in local schools

The Iowa City City Council will consider a resolution in support of a School District proposal to bring armed police officers in Iowa City high schools.

The Iowa City School District is hoping for a federal grant, which the Iowa City police are applying for, to put in place one or two resource officers on its campuses.

When the council received recommendations from its ad-hoc Diversity Committee in March, one of the recommendations was for the police to encourage more relationship-building activities between the police and the public.

City staff members believe putting resource officers in both high schools will accomplish the recommendation by working directly with school officials, working to develop positive relationships with young students and creating a safe environment for learning.

— by Nick Hassett

Justice center meeting set for May 14

After Tuesday’s $43.5 million bond referendum for a proposed justice center failed to garner enough votes, the future of Johnson County’s Jail and Courthouse needs will now be discussed during a May 14 Board of Supervisors meeting.

County officials talked about the upcoming meeting during a Thursday evening meeting, noting that despite the failure, immediate action is still required.

Supervisor Chairwoman Janelle Rettig said the upcoming meeting agenda is set to include both justice center discussions and talks relating to current and future space needs.

The canvas meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:15 a.m. in the Johnson County Administration Building, 913 S. Dubuque St.

— by Quentin Misiag

Von Maur will likely leave Sycamore Mall by Aug. 31

Von Maur is now slated to leave its Sycamore Mall location before its lease is up, said Kirk White, the general manager of Sycamore Mall.

White said although the contract is still being negotiated, Von Maur is tentatively leaving its lease on Aug. 31. Von Maur submitted in writing that it intends to leave the contract. White said this is the first time the store has submitted a written statement.

An 80,000-square-foot Von Maur store is set to open in Coralville’s Iowa River Landing in late July.

— by Lauren Coffey

Iowa City to consider parking-meter upheaval

The Iowa City City Council will consider replacing the city’s parking-meter system at a meeting May 14.

The Transportation Services Department issued a request for proposal for the replacement of the existing on-street parking-meter system, and five proposals were received in March.

The project includes the replacement and upgrade of 1,175 single-space parking meters, management software, and vehicle-detection sensors.

City staff recommends the city award the contract to Duncan Parking Technologies Inc. for a cost of $546,375. Annual operating costs are expected to be $77,550 per year.

— by Nick Hassett

Iowa City to update comprehensive plan

The Iowa City City Council will consider a resolution to update the city’s comprehensive plan.

The Iowa City 2030 Comprehensive Plan, meant to guide city development, was adopted in 1997.

The city’s Planning and Zoning commission recommended approval of the comprehensive plan update at its April 4 meeting.

— by Nick Hassett

Iowa City to consider College and Gilbert zoning request

The Iowa City City Council will consider a rezoning request for a plot of land that would be the site of a 20-story building.

The Planning and Zoning Commission considered a request to rezone the land, located at the intersection of College and Gilbert Streets but ultimately defeated it in a 5-2 vote. The rezoning request would have changed the zone from Public (P) to Central Business Support Zone (CB5), which has a height limit of 75 feet.

Now the council will hear the request for rezoning, which would effectively block the 20-story Chauncey building currently slated for the parcel.

The council voted 6-1 to approve the original Chauncey request.

— by Nick Hassett

Iowa City City Council to look at parking structures

The Iowa City City Council will consider the second reading of a resolution to improve the visibility of parking areas in multifamily zones.

The ordinance establishes parking-location standards and entranceway standards that will “reduce the visual impact of structured and surface parking areas” along residential streets in multifamily zones.

The city’s Planning and Zoning commission recommended approval of the amendment by a 7-0 vote at its March 21 meeting, and the first consideration passed by a 7-0 vote.

Approval will require when parking is located on the ground floor of a multifamily building some residential portion of the building, such as the entrance lobby, be located on the ground floor.

— by Nick Hassett

Iowa City may remodel historic house

The Iowa City City Council will consider a resolution approving the remodeling of the Ashton House.

The house was built in 1947-1948, and it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. It was flooded in the 2008 flood, and city staff recommend approval of the remodeling to prepare it for public use, conferences, and special events.

— by Nick Hassett

Iowa City to enter partnership with businesses for development

The Iowa City City Council will consider a resolution to support the development of a vacant property on Dubuque Street.

The ordinance authorizes the mayor to sign a letter of intent regarding development of the Sabin School site, 509 S. Dubuque St., among the city of Iowa City, MidWestOne Bank, and the University of Iowa.

MidWestOne Bank is embarking on a project to rehabilitate its downtown building and construct a new office tower in Riverfront Crossings District, and it has approached the city to construct a multi-use parking facility with townhomes at the Sabin site.

The proposed letter of intent does not bind the parties to any particular course of action.

— by Nick Hassett

Iowa City to consider parking-meter fees change

The Iowa City City Council will consider a resolution to change hourly parking fees and expired meter fine structure.

The measure would adjust off-street hourly parking fees, increase on-street hourly parking fees, and change expired meter fine structure.

The changes are part of the “First Hour Free” initiative that staff has recommended in cooperation with the Iowa City Downtown District and are necessary to maintain the solvency of the parking system by offering the first hour of parking free in the city’s parking facilities.

Parking-meter rates would increase to $1.50, $1, or 75 cents per hour depending on location. The rate changes would take effect on July 1.

— by Nick Hassett

Iowa education director a finalist for superintendent job in Colorado

Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass has been selected as a finalist to become a superintendent of the Eagle County, Colo., School District.

Glass, who has headed the education department since 2010 and led Gov. Terry Brandstad’s education-reform efforts, is one of three finalists for the job, according to the Vail Daily. Glass was human-resources director for the School District, where he helped pioneer the district’s performance-based compensation.

One of the superintendent candidates will replace Sandra Smyser, the Colorado Superintendent of the Year. According to the Vail Daily, the School Board received applications from 24 candidates, half from outside Colorado.

The finalists will go through a round of interviews with the School Board and two different citizens’ committees, with 10 members each.

— by Lauren Coffey

Woman accused of making numerous transactions with a stolen credit card

A North Liberty woman was accused of using a stolen credit card several times at a Walgreen’s in Coralville.

Maricela Perez, 26, was charged May 4 with forgery and identity theft.

According to a North Liberty police complaint, Perez used the victim’s credit card for four different transactions at a Coralville Walgreen’s between the dates of March 10 to April 7.

The total value Perez used on the credit cared was $944.59, the complaint said.

Perez also allegedly wrote a check to herself using a check from the victim, and then cashed it. The check amount was $200.

According to the complaint, the victim did not authorize the transactions. The total amount Perez used with the credit card and the check is over $1,000.

Forgery is a Class-D felony. Identity theft is a Class-D felony.

— by Rebecca Morin

Man accused of stealing more than 60 sunglasses

A Coralville man was accused of stealing more than 60 sunglasses.

David Rose, 35, was charged May 2 with first-degree theft and third-degree burglary.

According to a Coralville police complaint, Rose broke the locked display cases at the Sunglass Hut Kiosk in the Coral Ridge Mall. He allegedly stole 60 sunglasses that totaled more than $11,000.

Rose was identified from fingerprint collected at the crime scene, the complaint said. Officials presented a search warrant at Rose’s home, in which they recovered one pair of stolen sunglasses.

According to the complaint, other evidence collected at the scene allegedly suggests Rose is responsible for the crime.

First-degree theft is a Class-C felony. Third-degree burglary is a Class-D felony.

— by Rebecca Morin

Johnson County mulls future of Secondary Roads building

It’s been nearly two months since a fire broke out at the Johnson County Secondary Roads Building, 4810 Melrose Ave., and plans are now moving forward in determining the future of the more than 40-year old facility, despite a still unknown cause.

During Thursday’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting, county officials discussed whether the future of the facility, including its vehicles, should include repairs or the option of new construction.

The March 25 fire that started around 4:45 p.m. resulted in response fire department aids from Iowa City, West Branch, Hills, Solon and Coralville, as well as the Johnson County Ambulance Service.

Extensive damage to county vehicles and the building structure resulted. To date, a full restoration of the current building is anticipated to cost over $1 million.

In all, 10 of the county’s 20 secondary roads vehicles witnessed fire and smoke damage. Of the eight designated snowplows, three have been deemed total, while the other five are being repaired. Costs to repair those vehicles stand between $36,287 and $52,586.

Supervisor Chairwoman Janelle Rettig said the hope is to have the restored trucks back in service by September, before the first snowfall.

In addition to the snowplows, one pick-up truck received minimal damage, but will still undergo restoration.

Rettig said the damaged vehicles will now be transferred to a facility in Altoona, Iowa as soon as today.

Current plans call for the purchase by Western Star Trucks for four new trucks, three all-weather and one roadside sign vehicle, at a cost of $195,000 a piece.

Rettig stressed the importance of close consideration over the county’s growing population numbers in determining the future of secondary roads. Given the price per square foot falling between $85 and $100, she said any new facility would fall in price between $3.23 and $4.5 million.

“We’re trying to plan for the future,” she said. “Putting that much money into the current building may not make sense. If we still do that, the building will be too small and too old.”

— by Quentin Misiag

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