Metro briefs

BY DI STAFF | FEBRUARY 16, 2015 5:00 AM

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Regent Walsh seeks reappointment

Regent Hannah Walsh hopes to be reappointed to the state Board of Regents, she told The Daily Iowan Sunday afternoon.

Walsh was appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad in late 2012 to fill out the remainder of former regent Greta Johnson’s term, which will expire April 30.

Currently a University of Iowa senior, Walsh is the board’s student regent. She was recently accepted to a two-year master’s program in the UI College of Education.

Walsh had to apply once again for the position, going through the same interview process as in 2012, and she said she expects to hear by the end of this month whether she will be reappointed or if another student will fill the vacancy.

Should she get the spot, she said, she would like to support graduate and professional students.

The regents have proposed a new funding model, tying 5 percent of state appropriations to resident graduate and professional enrollment, which Walsh said should be higher. She would like to revisit the model annually.

Typically, the student-regent position rotates among the three universities, but Walsh said there is precedent to allow students to stay on through the course of their education.

Walsh, a Spirit Lake native, will finish her undergraduate education in May; she is studying political science and American Sign Language.

— by Chris Higgins

Gateway Project moves ahead

Iowa City’s Gateway Project designs should be nearing completion in the next few months.

“The engineering design for the Gateway Project is approximately 35 percent complete,” said Melissa Clow, civil engineer and special projects administrator for the Iowa City engineering department. “We anticipate receiving 50 percent of the design plans in late March.”

The designs should be approved by the Iowa Department of Transportation by next winter, Clow said.

She said the project is scheduled to start Jan. 16, 2016.

The project aims to reduce the number of closings of Dubuque Street and Park Road bridge because of flooding.

It also plans to minimize backwater flood impacts created by the existing bridge and to help ease transit for pedestrians and bicyclists, according to the Gateway’s project website. 

Clow hopes to see construction begin by the beginning of next year.

Construction is scheduled to be completed in early 2018, she said.

The construction budget is $52 million, including trunk sanitary sewer improvements, Park Road third-lane addition, and other infrastructure upgrades.

— by Brendan MaGee

Muslim Student Association kicks off Islam Awareness Week

Islam Awareness Week starts today to raise awareness of Islam and Muslims in the Iowa City community.

The University of Iowa Muslim Student Association will be holding the first Islam awareness week at the UI.

“In light of recent events, [the association] decided to hold a weeklong awareness week with a variety of events,” said Gada Al-Herz, the public relations officer for the Muslim Student Association.

“We hope to raise awareness by sharing our experiences, customs, and traditions with the Iowa City community.” Al-Herz said. “By engaging the Iowa City community members in a variety of activities, we’re aiming to raise awareness of both Islam’s history and the role it plays in the lives of Muslim American in our community.”

The first event the association will host is an Islam Expo today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Main Library.

“Our Islam Expo will showcase topics ranging from justice to science in Islam,” Al-Herz said.

Planned events:
Today: Islam Expo
Time: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Main Library

Tuesday: Hijab It Up
Time: 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Location: IMU River Room Café
Discussion: 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Islam in our Community
Time: 6-8 p.m.
Location: 256 IMU

Thursday: Fastathon
Time: All day, dinner at 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Location: Crêpes de Luxe Café
Tickets $3

Friday: Flowers of Faith
Time: 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Location: IMU River Room Café

— by Brendan MaGee

Iowa City police conduct alcohol stings

On Feb. 13, the Iowa City police used underage people to attempt to purchase alcohol from 33 businesses.

The six businesses failed the check:

• Bo James, 118 E .Washington St.
• North Dodge Sinclair, 2153 ACT Circle
• Shorts Burger and Shine, 18 S. Clinton St.
• Airliner, 22 S. Clinton St.
• Hawkeye Convenience, 2875 Commerce Drive
• North Dodge Express, 2790 N. Dodge St.

The employees who sold the alcohol were charged with selling alcohol to persons under 21 years of age, a simple misdemeanor.

According to a statement, the violations will be forwarded to the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, which is in charge of civil penalties related to businesses that sell liquor.

The division website says the punishment for a first violation is a $500 civil penalty or a 14-day license suspension.

— by Nick Moffitt

Regents select consultant

The state Board of Regents announced it has selected Pappas Consulting Group Inc. to help continue its TIER efficiency study.

The group will examine savings opportunities including the improvement of distance education and time to graduation at the regent universities.

Its review will begin in March.

According to its website, Pappas typically works with higher-education establishments and nonprofits.

— by Carly Matthew

Two charged with criminal mischief

Authorities have accused a Silvis, Illinois, man and an East Moline, Illinois, man of causing damage to a vehicle.

Austin Miner, 20, and Jeremy Lieving, 24, were charged with second-degree criminal mischief on Feb. 7.

According to online court documents, Miner and Lieving knowingly threw items off the top of a balcony, which caused $3,800 worth of damage to a silver Pontiac Grand Prix.

Miner reportedly admitted to throwing beer cans off the balcony and also said he was highly intoxicated.

Lieving reportedly admitted to everything Miner admitted to and also said he was going through a death in the family when the event occurred.

Officers said Miner and Lieving have both been cooperative.

Second-degree criminal mischief is a Class-D felony.

— by Alyssa Guzman

Man charged with theft

Authorities have accused a Tiffin man of committing fraudulent returns.

Manuel Espinoza, 19, was charged with second-degree theft on Feb. 13.

According to online court documents, Espinoza was reprinting receipts and pocketing the money from the fake transactions.

He also allegedly processed a return and placed it on his debit card, did a return for merchandise credit in which he made a purchase, returned it, and kept the gift card.

The total amount came to $1,337.01, authorities said.

Second-degree theft is a Class-D felony.

— by Alyssa Guzman

Davenport man charged with theft

Authorities have accused a Davenport man of stealing a car.

Christopher Whelchel, 26, was charged with second-degree theft on Feb. 13.

According to online court documents, officers arrived at the scene when the victim said he was selling a 1987 Chevrolet Camaro for $4,000.

Whelchel took out the money to count it in front of the victim and then put it in his back pocket to sign the bill of sale and title.

Whelchel then took out the stack of bills again and handed it the victim, but the victim said this stack looked different from the previous.

Whelchel left with the car, and when the victim counted the money again, he found there was a $100 bill on top, a $50 bill on bottom, and $57 in ones.

Second-degree theft is a Class-D felony.

— by Alyssa Guzman

Man charged in credit-card case

Authorities have accused a man of using a credit card without authorization.

Devontae King, 19, was charged with unauthorized use of credit card over $1,000 and under $10,000.

According to online court documents, King worked with an accomplice to use a victim’s US Bank VISA card making four separate withdrawals for a total of $1,109.

The victim told authorities he approved none of the transactions.

All four transactions are on video showing the defendants using the victim’s card on ATM machines at Walgreens, NXT Bank, and twice at the Delimart.

Unauthorized use of credit card over $1,000 and under $10,000 is a Class-D felony.

— by Alyssa Guzman

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