Metro briefs

BY DI STAFF | JANUARY 22, 2015 5:00 AM

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Mason discusses fundraising goals

University of Iowa President Sally Mason on Wednesday morning said the “For Iowa. Forever More.” fundraising campaign would come to a successful conclusion in the next six to18 months.

The campaign aims to receive $1.7 billion in donations by the end of 2016. To date, donors have offered 176,000 gifts totaling $1.4 billion.

“When you think of the size of Iowa, as an institution and as a state, that is a remarkable response from our friends and our alumni,” Mason said.

The campaign has helped create 480 new scholarships for university students and 120 faculty chairs and professorships and has helped fund existing programs such as the Writers’ Workshop and the engineering program.

Mason said she does not expect the UI to attract the remaining $300 million by the time she retires on July 31. 

UI to implement new strategic plan

The UI will begin development of new strategic plan “immediately,” Mason said on Wednesday morning.

The university’s current strategic plan started in 2010 and is set to expire in 2016. Mason said Vice President of Student Life Tom Rocklin and Provost Barry Butler will lead the new process.

Mason said they started the process early in hopes the incoming president will have a plan set, as she had.

“I came in with a brand-new strategic plan in place, and I looked at the plan and said this is very solid,” Mason said. “[I want to] provide a real solid framework that they can build upon and maybe give the next president the opportunity that I had to learn the campus.”

Mason talks TIER

Mason spoke with members of the press regarding the progress of the state Board of Regents’ ongoing efficiency study of the three state universities.

Officials expect the study, called TIER, to save tens of millions of dollars over the next two years.

Deloitte Conslting recommendations call for approximately 250 positions to be cut in human resources, information technology, and finance. The regents said they are confident retirements and attrition will create the cuts.

The UI will implement human-resources, information-technology, and finance changes after the regents approved its request.

“I am so pleased with the direction the board has gone in allowing the institutions to be able to work on the priorities of TIER by ourselves,” Mason said.

Mason announced last weekend she would retire on July 31. In the next six months, she said, she hopes to position savings for the new president to reinvest into the university.

— by Brendan MaGee

School starting-date rules explained

Iowa school districts that wish to apply for the Early Start Day Waiver Application for the 2015-16 school year must do so no later than March 15.

The Iowa Department of Education issued a Standard for Reviewing and Granting Waivers to clear up any miscommunication Wednesday.

Schools are no longer granted the option to have a waiver signed automatically allowing them to start school before Sept. 1.

Department of Education Director Brad Buck informed school administrators in December 2014 that the department will no longer automatically grant waivers that bypass the school start date law.

Schools will no longer be able to start classes before Sept. 1 unless the school district can provide evidence of significant negative effect.

— by Hanna Beary

Megabus expands bus routes

Megabus, a city-to-city bus company, expanded its bus services in the Midwest to include service to and from Davenport to the Quad Cities, Iowa City, Chicago, Des Moines, and Omaha effective Wednesday.

Daily service will operate from the arrival/departure location in Davenport. Quad City residents will now be able to travel directly to and from Davenport.

— by Efe Ayanruoh

Man charged with adult abuse

Authorities have accused an Iowa City man of beating another person.

Francis Njoroge, 41, was charged with dependent adult abuse-intentional physical injury on Oct. 28.

According to online court documents, Systems Unlimited employee Njoroge was assigned to a person for a trip to the park. Njoroge and the person were passengers in a Systems Unlimited van on the way to the park.

The person was annoying Njoroge, so Njoroge struck him in the face twice, according to a police complaint.

The person then bit Njoroge, the report said, and Njoroge retaliated by punching the person in the face, causing abrasions and bruising.

Dependent adult abuse-intentional physical injury is a Class-C felony.

— by Alyssa Guzman

Man faces drug charge

Authorities have accused a man of possessing and distributing marijuana.

Tyrone Harris, 25, was charged with a controlled-substance violation on Jan. 20.

According to online court documents, an officer observed Harris speeding and pulled him over.

Upon approaching Harris, the officer smelled marijuana, and a K9 confirmed that there was marijuana in the car.

The officer allegedly found a medicine bottle containing 10 bags of marijuana packaged for sale and $251.

Controlled-substance violation is a Class-D felony.

— by Alyssa Guzman

Man charged with burglary, forgery

Authorities have accused an Iowa City man of stealing from a trailer.

Troy Staats, 41, was charged with third-degree burglary and three counts of forgery on Oct. 26.

According to online court documents, Staats entered the residence, stole various items, and pawned them at a local pawnshop.

Staats also took three checks from the trailer and made deposits into his own bank account.

Third-degree burglary is a Class-D felony.

— by Alyssa Guzman

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