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Metro Briefs

BY DI STAFF | MARCH 05, 2014 5:00 AM

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Senate hopeful Clovis visits campus

Sam Clovis, a Kansas native, visited with University of Iowa’s College Republicans during a Q&A session Tuesday evening.  The candidate for the Republican nomination for senator spoke with students about why he stands out from other candidates.

“I am running for the U.S. Senate because what we are doing now is not working,” Clovis said.  “I think a lot of people are running for the wrong reasons, and the thought of sending someone to Washington to assuage their own ego is not effective.”

Clovis first began his career as a fighter pilot for the U.S. military.  After leaving the Air Force, he obtained a master’s and Ph.D. and is now a professor at Sioux City’s Morningside College.

Students asked Clovis about many of his views on political stances on legalization of marijuana, same-sex marriage, as well as his stance on how much state and federal power should be distributed. 

— by Abigail Meier

UI rezoning passes second test

The Iowa City City Council on Tuesday passed second consideration on two ordinances that would rezone two properties to be used by the University of Iowa.

Both of the considerations were passed with a 7-0 vote.

The first of the two ordinances would rezone 1.45 acres of property located west of Clinton Street and south of Burlington Street from central business support (CB-5) to institutional public (P-2) and acknowledge the UI’s ownership of the property, which would be used for the new UI music facility.

The second ordinance would rezone .54 acres of property located at 109 River St. from neighborhood stabilization residential (RNS-20) to P-2 and acknowledge the UI’s ownership of the property. The property would be used for the new UI art facility.

— by Daniel Seidl

Council adopts taxi ordinance

The City Council passed and adopted an ordinance that would amend the City Code to change policies on taxis on Tuesday.

The ordinance passed with a 6-1 vote, with Councilor Throgmorton opposing the move.
The council was initially going to vote on the second consideration for the ordinance but decided to collapse the process and move straight to adoption in response to a request from city staff for expedited action.

Throgmorton said he didn’t have any concerns about the changes themselves, but the process that the changes were developed. He said he would have liked more input from the public on the proposed changes. He also said there should be a more complete overhaul of taxi regulation.

The changes were proposed in response to a Feb. 4 meeting with taxi companies. The proposed ordinance would require taxi drivers to maintain manifests, require some uniformity of rate cards, require notification when a license plate number of a taxi is changed, eliminate taxi stands, allow taxis to be parked on residential streets, and authorize the city to suspend a taxi driver’s license.

— by Daniel Seidl

Council adopts department merger

The Iowa City City Council passed and adopted an ordinance that will merge the Planning and Community Development and Housing and Inspections Services Department into a single Neighborhood and Development Services Department at a  March 4 meeting.

The ordinance was passed with a 7-0 vote.

The proposed ordinance will remove the director of Planning and Community Development and the director of Housing and Inspection Services. The ordinance will replace them with the director of Neighborhood and Development Services.

This change could potentially aid the city by improving internal and external communications and streamlining work procedures, said City Manager Tom Markus. This will also allow for a more comprehensive approach to the City Council’s strategic plan of healthy neighborhoods and enhance resources dedicated toward economic development.

Though the merger will lead to many day-to-day changes for employees, it will not result in any layoffs, Markus said.

These new positions will be filled internally by the city, he said.

Though there may be some cost to the city as a result of these changes, there is enough flexibility in the current budget to cover the cost.

Markus said he aims to have the new department organized by July 1.

— by Daniel Seidl

Council awards heating bid for City Hall project

The City Council on March 4 awarded the contract for the City Hall Police and Fire Department heating, ventilation, and air conditioning 2014 project to Day Mechanical Systems, a Cedar Rapids mechanical contractor.

The project will replace two aging units on the roof of City Hall; the bid awarded to Day Mechanical was $165,800.

General obligation bonds will fund the project.

— by Daniel Seidl

City officials approve assessor's fiscal 2015 budget

The Iowa City Conference Board approved the Iowa City assessor’s budget for fiscal 2015 on Tuesday. The budget was approved by a 10-0 vote.

The budget totals $890,965, an increase of 4.47 percent from the fiscal 2014 budget.

The main reason for this increase can be attributed to two specific items on the budget: postage — a 366.67 percent increase — and printing costs — 400 percent increase. The reason for this is because of assessment rolls, which need to be printed and mailed, and only are printed every other year.

Another reason for this increase is salary increases. The average salary increase in the Assessor’s Office is 4.39 percent.

— by Daniel Seidl

UI seeks program name change

The University of Iowa has requested permission to change the name of a program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

UI officials will request approval from the state Board of Regents to change the Bachelor of Science program in Leisure Studies to the Bachelor of Science program in Therapeutic Recreation. The regents will vote on the change on March 12.

Pending approval from the regents, the anticipated implementation date is August.

— by Ian Murphy

UI wants new B.S. program

The UI plans to implement a new Bachelor of Science program in Sports and Recreation Management, pending approval by the regents. The regents will vote on the program on March 12.

The proposed plan builds on the current recreation and sports business track in the Leisure Studies Program, which currently has approximately 400 students.

The program is expected to enroll 450 students in its first year, increasing to 600 by the seventh year of the implementation.

The new program will be part of the Department of Health and Human Physiology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

— by Ian Murphy

UI retention rate up slightly

The regents released retention data for the regent universities on Tuesday.

In 2012, the retention rate of first-year students at the UI was 85.8 percent, up 0.3 from the previous year.

The UI also retained 86.3 percent of its minority students from the entering class of 2012.

Retention rates for students at the UI with a regent acceptance index score of 245 were 12.8 percent more likely to stay at the UI.

The UI saw an 81.3 percent and 82.5 percent increase from 2012-13 for women and minorities, respectively, in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields.

— by Ian Murphy

Profs to discuss accelerated programs

Four University of Iowa professors will discuss how their accelerated graduate programs are structured and how their programs can benefit undergraduates at the regents’ meeting on March 12.

Dean of the Graduate College John Keller, Mary Aquino, associate dean of the College of Public Health, Gail Agrawal, dean of the College of Law, and Milan Sonka, associate dean of the College of Engineering, will attend the meeting to highlight how their programs benefit undergraduates.

These programs provide undergraduates with an opportunity to begin working on select advanced degrees congruent with their undergraduate degrees.

The university currently has 28 such programs in place.

— by Ian Murphy

Department name change

The UI has requested permission to change the name of one department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

UI officials requested approval from the regents to change the name of the Department of Cinema and Comparative Literature to the Department of Cinematic Arts.

Pending approval from the regents, the anticipated implementation date is August.

— by Ian Murphy

UIHC seeks to change parking system

To combat the projected loss of $1 million in revenue, the UI Hospitals and Clinics administrators will propose several changes to the parking system around the hospitals in order to provide relief to long-term care patients.

UIHC officials requested a review of hourly rates charged in the hospital in December 2013 as a way to relieve the financial stress on patients and their families.

UIHC officials agreed to forgo improvements scheduled to ramps 1, 2, 3, and 4 as well as the Family Care Center lot that would have begun after the opening of the new underground hospital ramp to compensate for the loss of revenue

Additionally, the UI expects reduced operating costs as they implement more automated parking equipment.

They will finance this equipment over several years as well as delay other system improvements.

— by Ian Murphy

UI wants room/board increase

The UI is projecting an increased cost of room and board for the fiscal 2015.

UI officials are proposing a 3.5 percent rate increase for residence halls. This prediction is based on estimated operating costs as well as infrastructure improvements.

For a standard double room with air conditioning, the university has proposed an increase of $223, or 3.65 percent.

— by Ian Murphy


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