Metro Briefs

BY DI STAFF | DECEMBER 04, 2013 5:00 AM

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Email adjustments aimed at supporting students

New email service will be put in place over winter break to improve students’ experiences.

Over winter break, all University of Iowa students will officially be transitioned over to a new email service, which UI Information Technology Services officials with said will improve collaboration, communication, and access.

“We have been monitoring other schools’ experiences with cloud e-mail solutions for several years,” wrote Ryan Lenger, the leader of the ITS enterprise communication and collaboration team, in an email. “As the services matured and their integration with on-premise services improved, we decided that there was enough value to start looking into it.”

Instead of using Microsoft Outlook, students will begin to use Microsoft Office 365, receiving more room for storage as well as access to Microsoft Office web apps and easy communication through instant messaging, video conferencing, and online meetings.

The UI began the process by accommodating 5,000 first-year students during the fall semester. The majority of remaining students will be switched over between Dec. 30 and Jan. 17, 2014.

Lenger said 375 sophomores, juniors, and seniors have already transitioned to Office 365 by individual request through ITS.

Lenger said the university has only noticed benefits from the new system.

“The transition for freshmen went well during the fall semester, and we’ve received positive feedback about the new service and web interface,” he said. “Most of the questions received by the ITS help desk have been about configuring mobile devices or other email clients.”

However, he said, some students may wish to remain with the old system for job-management purposes.

“In a small number of cases, it has been advantageous for student employees to remain in the current Hawkmail system due to the type of interaction they have with faculty and staff for their jobs,” Lenger said, noting one example may be a student managing a calendar or shared email box that is on the Hawkmail system.

The biggest advantage, Lenger said, is that the program is continually updating and improving.
“Office 365 runs the newest versions of Microsoft’s software and is regularly adding new features,” he said. “Real-time collaborative document editing in the online version of Microsoft Word was introduced in the last few weeks.” 

— by Lily Abromeit

Cedar Rapids man's murder-trial date reset

The trial of a man accused of attempted murder in a November 2012 shooting in Iowa City has been moved back.

Andrew Meyer, 20, is accused of accompanying Peter Thullen to an East Bloomington Street residence to collect a drug debt. Thullen allegedly brought a loaded gun with him for intimidation, and according to police, he shot a man on Nov. 18, 2012.

Meyer’s trial was previously scheduled to start on Tuesday; it has now been pushed back to Jan. 7, 2014.

In addition to the attempted-murder charge, Meyer has also been charged with first-degree burglary and going armed with intent.

All three charges are felonies.

— by Brent Griffiths

Coralville woman charged with theft

A woman has been accused of making six fraudulent deposits into her bank account.

Kelly Lozada, 23, was charged Oct. 21 with second-degree theft.

According to an Iowa City police complaint, between Oct. 21 and Oct. 23, Lozada made six deposits into her bank account. Three of them were temporary checks, which came back as “insufficient funds,” and the others were empty-envelope ATM deposits, the complaint alleges.

After Lozada made the deposits, she withdrew the money from the account, which was only there because of the deposits, police said.

Lozada took $1,172.04 from the victim; she was not authorized to have the money, according to the complaint.

Second-degree theft is a Class-D felony.

— by Megan Sanchez

UISG discussions center on creating more equitable campaign bylaws

Eight months of discussion and deliberation culminated Tuesday during the University of Iowa’s Student Government Senate meeting when the group voted to pass changes to its campaign bylaws.

“We’re really looking forward to a strong, equitable experience for all those considering running in future years,” said Jay Brown, the UISG executive assistant to the president.

Brown led the charge this year to change the rules and said although many of the adjustments were small, “a good 40 percent has been changed.”

Among these changes, he said, the most apparent and noteworthy are in the funding mechanisms and fine system.

Funds for campaigns are now capped at $3,000 and a new fine system will be put in place to prevent loopholes.

In the past, Brown said, fines were paid monetarily, but now, they will come from campaign material.

“Money is not equitable for everyone,” he said. “[When you] truly have a quality fine system and violation procedures, you hope [we would] have no violations in general.”

Brown said the legislation, which was tabled at the last meeting, had ample time to be discussed among numerous parties, including UISG senators, executives, and UI faculty.

This, he said, allowed for a number of opinions and voices to be heard, allowing for more fair changes.

“Bylaws are the moral minimum,” Brown said. “It’s important that we are setting the bar high at the university … to make sure everyone is held to the same standards.”

— by Lily Abromeit

Council passes first consideration on pool renovations

The Iowa City City Council voted 7-0 on a first consideration to approve renovations at the City Park pool on Tuesday.

City officials hope to renovate the pool’s wading pool because it is not compliant with the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

The 2010 standards mandate all municipal pools to be accessible. The existing wading pool does not comply with the standards because of raised edges.

The project would include the replacing the existing wading pool at City Park pool with a zero-edge pool, extending the perimeter fence, and establishing picnic areas within the pool fence, which will cost almost $500,000.

— by Rebecca Morin

Council passes first consideration for School District annexations

The Iowa City School District is one step closer in fulfilling its 10-year facilities plan.

The Iowa City City Council voted 7-0 on a first consideration on both the annexation of a section of Sycamore Street and American Legion Road to the Iowa City School District on Tuesday.

The School District’s proposed south elementary would be built near Sycamore Street, with construction expected to start in 2014 as part of the 10-Year facilities plan. The district’s proposed east elementary will be built near American Legion Road, and officials would like to start construction in 2016.

The council also voted 7-0 on a first consideration to rezone parts of the Sycamore Street, which would include an interim development single-family residential zone.

Councilor Jim Throgmorton expressed concerns about the housing that would be developed near the south elementary and was at first reluctant to rezone Sycamore Street.

“I don’t see it; I see something entirely different,” said the UI professor emeritus of urban and regional planning. “I believe we ought to be much more active indicating the kind of neighborhood that can be built out there.”

The council voted 7-0 to rezone parts of American Legion Road properties as well.

— by Rebecca Morin

Council amends Saddlebrook project

The Iowa City City Council on Tuesday moved to amend a planned development for single-family residences.

Previously, Paddock LLC had withdrawn its application for the Shire Lane project at Saddlebrook.

The project would have included 13 apartment buildings with 142 multifamily dwellings, as well as six duplexes with 12 dwelling units.

At a Sept. 6 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, officials recommended by a 6-0 vote to deny rezoning for future development of Saddlebrook. However the applicant requested a hearing, and the ordinance was deferred at the Oct. 1, Oct. 15, and Nov. 12 council meetings.

— by Rebecca Morin

Black Hawk Mini Park to reflect Ped Mall rules

Black Hawk Mini Park will now reflect regulations in the Pedestrian Mall.

The Iowa City City Council voted 7-0 on Tuesday to adopt a resolution that makes regulations uniform between the Pedestrian Mall and Black Hawk Mini Park.

The city doesn’t include Black Hawk Mini Park in the definition of the Ped Mall. However, various code provisions have been adopted by the council over the past several years that apply to both the Ped Mall and the park.

Some regulations that will be added to the park include smoke-free initiatives and more police regulation.

— by Rebecca Morin

Council moves to allocate funding for diversity program

One diversity-awareness program may receive funding to finish the fiscal year.

The Iowa City City Council voted 7-0 on Tuesday to allocate Diversity Focus funding from Mayor’s Youth Empowerment Program to assume the role of fiscal agent for FasTrac Cultural & Diversity Awareness Program.

The FasTrac program ended Nov. 15 because of a lack of funding. Officials asked the city to allocate $15,000 to cover salary, fringe, and equipment expense for a part-time employee from Nov. 15 through June 30, 2014.

— by Rebecca Morin

Council makes first move to revise pedicab ordinance

Iowa City residents may soon see a new variety of human-powered vehicles in town.

The Iowa City City Council voted 7-0 in a first consideration on Tuesday to revise Iowa City’s pedicab code.

The code currently defines pedicabs as a vehicle propelled only by human power. However, under the revision, the definition of pedicabs will include vehicles such as velocabs. Velocabs are human-powered vehicle that include a power-assist motor.

— by Rebecca Morin

Council exempt rooftop patios from some liquor-license clauses

The Iowa City City Council on Tuesday voted 7-0 to exempt low-occupancy rooftop patios from certain clauses of the Iowa City liquor-license ordinance.

The current liquor-license ordinance requires establishments with new liquor licenses to have windows, which permit visibility of its interior from the public way and to be located on the ground floor.

After input of the city’s Housing and Inspection Services, rooftop patio occupancies of fewer than 50 people will be exempt.

The Iowa City Police and Fire Departments have approved of the exception because of the low occupancy and indoor commercial recreational uses, which would bring lower risks than those associated with eating and drinking establishments.

— by Rebecca Morin

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