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July 2016

June 2016

Stop work order issued for Kinnick Stadium-style house in Iowa City | The Gazette

IOWA CITY — Work on a home designed to look like the Iowa Hawkeyes’ Kinnick Stadium cannot proceed after residents in the Iowa City neighborhood where the home would be built filed an appeal Wednesday with the city’s Board of Adjustments.

Residents in the Manville Heights neighborhood claim city officials made errors in approving the site plan and issuing a building permit to Frederic Reed Carlson, who proposes to build the Kinnick-style, single-family home at 101 Lusk Ave.


Road Construction - Melrose Court

Weather permitting, beginning on Wednesday, July 6, 2016, Melrose Court will be closed to through traffic from Melrose Avenue to Brookland Park Drive.  The sidewalk along Melrose Court will also be closed.  This closure is necessary to facilitate a sanitary sewer repair in the area.  It is anticipated that Melrose Court will re-open to normal traffic by the end of the day on Monday, July 11th.

Motorists are to seek an alternate route during this time period.  As always, caution should be exercised when traveling in all construction areas.

For updated information on road construction in Iowa City, visit the City of Iowa City's website at

Most of Cedar Rapids Offices Closed July 4

The City of Cedar Rapids will observe the Independence Day holiday on Monday, July 4. Most City offices will be closed on that day. The following City services will continue to operate as indicated below:

CR Transit -- No bus service

Fire Department -- Administration and Fire Marshal’s offices closed; Responding to emergencies

Golf Department -- Office Closed; All Courses Open

Library -- Both Library locations closed Sunday, July 3 and Monday, July 4

Police Department -- Administrative Offices closed. Non-emergency calls can be directed to 286-5491.

Solid Waste & Recycling -- Garbage, yard waste and recycling will be collected as normal; office closed

Water Pollution Control -- Operating as usual

The Solid Waste & Recycling Department will be collecting garbage, yard waste and recycling on July 4. The Water Division’s 24-hour emergency service number is (319) 286-5910. Public Works’ Sewer and Street Division’s 24-hour emergency service number is (319) 286- 5826.

Dubuque Street construction: drivers should consider alternate route into Iowa City for Jazz Festival

Drivers coming to town for the Iowa City Jazz Festival should be aware that traffic is down to one lane in each direction along Dubuque Street, causing what can be long delays, as work progresses on the Iowa City Gateway Project.

The Iowa City Gateway is a flood mitigation project that will raise Dubuque Street while also elevating and replacing the Park Road Bridge. Once completed, the risk of long-term closures of Dubuque Street due to flooding from the Iowa River will be greatly reduced.

Dubuque Street is currently reduced to one lane of traffic in each direction between Foster Road and Ronalds Street and will remain that way through the duration of the project, which is expected to be completed in 2018.

Drivers can expect a 15- to 30-minute delay during the busy morning and afternoon commuting hours, but could experience longer delays during high traffic events like weekend festivals, including the Iowa City Jazz Festival, and Hawkeye sporting events. Drivers should be aware and plan their route in and out of Iowa City with Dubuque Street and Park Road construction in mind.

Those who typically use Dubuque Street should consider using Dodge Street (Highway 1) as an alternative route.

Drivers should also keep in mind that Park Road is currently closed west of Riverside Drive. 

The 2016 Iowa City Jazz Festival is set for July 1 through July 3, with fireworks scheduled to begin between 9:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m., Sunday, July 3. For additional festival information, visit

 To learn more about the Gateway Project, visit

RELATED STORY:  Iowa City Jazz Festival - Since its humble beginnings in 1991 the Iowa City Jazz Festival has transformed into a nationally recognized event with an average annual audience of more than 50,000. Over the years, the festival has featured some of the biggest names in jazz. A key ingredient in the ongoing success of the festival is its accessibility. Admission has always been free thanks to our sponsors who underwrite all costs of producing the event, allowing it to transcend socioeconomic barriers and provide free access to families and individuals regardless of income. Join us in front of the Old Capitol and on Clinton Street and Iowa Avenue for a weekend full of some of the best jazz music around!  Click HERE for a complete schedule.

Iowa City Police Department Applying for FY2016 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Grant

The Iowa City Police Department, in partnership with the Johnson County Sheriff's Office, is making application for the FY2016 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Grant administered by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice.

The Departments were notified that they are eligible for $28,453. It has been agreed that the Iowa City Police Department will take responsibility for application and management of this grant. In return, Iowa City will receive 52 percent of the funds ($14,795.56) and Johnson County will receive 48 percent ($13,657.44).

If funding is approved, the Iowa City Police Department would allocate funding towards the purchase of a speed/message display trailer.  In the past the Iowa City Police Department had two speed display trailers that were deployed on a regular basis.  Currently the Iowa City Police Department has no operable speed/message display trailers.  The City Council approved the purchase of one speed/message display trailer in FY17 for the Iowa City Police Department.  If the Department is awarded this grant the Iowa City Police Department would again be able to deploy two speed/message display trailers.  Objectives for the utilization of speed/message display trailers are to reduce the speed of vehicles traveling through work, school and residential zones; encourage speed limit compliance; increase safety and disseminate travel or other useful information to community motorists.

In accordance with the Justice Assistance Grant application, the public is invited to make comment on the grant application and the intended expenditures of the funding if awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice, either through the Iowa City Council, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors or the Iowa City Police Department. To comment, or for more information, contact Capt. Bill Campbell at 319-356-5286 or

ROLL CALL: Patty Judge not “a credible candidate”

(DES MOINES) – Roll Call this morning released a refreshed version of its Senate challenger rankings, and in case you did not take the time to scroll allllllllllll the way down to #14, we’ve got you covered:
14            Democratic Former Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge (Running against Sen. Charles E. Grassley)
Judge entered the race late, faced criticism from fellow Democrats and newspaper editorial boards, and struggled more than she should have in a primary. In a massive wave election, she might give Democrats a chance to win a race rated Safe Republican . But for now, she’s not yet a credible candidate.

“Patty Judge has ducked, dodged and skipped town halls, debates and forums, but she cannot escape the fact that her campaign is not viewed as credible,” said Republican Party of Iowa Chair Jeff Kaufmann. “This is a rude awakening for her D.C. base of support.”

Celebrating Our Rights!

By Jennifer L. Crull

One has to wonder what our Forefathers were up against in the year 1775.  Never in the course of history had a colony ever successfully broken ties with its Mother Country.  Everything was leading up to a point of explosion, with the citizens of the colonies being over taxed, no representation in Parliament, their homes entered without warrant, and British troops ruling every aspects of their lives.  While the first shot was fired in 1775, it took until June 7, 1776 for our Continental Congress to finally vote and approve the debate of American Independence.
While many delegates to the Continental Congress knew we would never reconcile with England, they were not eager to pursue the idea of independence. In order for the colonies to unite and display one vision for independence, a committee was formed to draft a declaration of independence for the American Colonies.  This declaration was submitted on June 28, 1776.  Finally, after many hours and days of debate, independence was voted on and approved on July 2, 1776 and then on July 4, 1776 our Declaration of Independence, as we know it, was approved and signed by every member present, except one.

Why have you just received this brief review of a history lesson that we all learned in our eighth grade history class?  One word comes to mind:  PATRIOTISM.  Webster’s dictionary defines patriotism as love of and devotion to one’s own country.  Our Forefathers did not secure every right we have today, but without their enormous accomplishments we would not have the rights we know today, such as the end of slavery, freedom of religion, and the right for women to vote.
As we like to complain about all that is wrong in our country, let’s remember all that is right and why we love this country.  Being able to complain about what we feel is wrong is a right our Forefathers gave to us.  We need to issue a challenge to each and every person in this country to remember their rights, respect their rights, and practice their rights.  As Thomas Jefferson so eloquently phrased it in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the rights Jefferson wanted for us.  We have gone to war and into conflict many times to defend these rights for ourselves and other countries.  Therefore as citizens we have a responsibility to our country to exercise these rights.  Voting and civic involvement are the two most important responsibilities.
Voting is a right that few people had as our country was developing, but now everyone over the age of 18 can vote.  Countries all over the world are still fighting today for a right that Americans take for granted and don’t usually exercise.  But that vote is your say in government, the same government our Forefathers wanted for this great nation.  For we have a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Civic involvement is another important responsibility that many people shy away from, saying they are too busy or they don’t have the funds to donate.  Whether your town has 200 or 200,000 people, you need to be involved.  Civic involvement can take many forms such as running for office, serving on selected committees or boards, or just volunteering your time to a local organization.  Communities don’t thrive on a few over-involved people; it takes everyone.  Being involved from the local to the national level is one of the great things about our country.  The only requirement is the desire to be involved.
Please remember to celebrate our freedom, our independence, and our rights as citizens of the United States of America!

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Public Interest Institute.  They are brought to you in the interest of a better informed citizenry. 
Jennifer L. Crull, IT Specialist, Public Interest Institute, 600 North Jackson Street, Mount Pleasant, IA 52641-1328. Ph: 319-385-3462, Web site:  Contact her at

Double Up Food Bucks comes to Iowa City Farmers Market

Double Up Food Bucks, Iowa’s statewide healthy food incentive program, is coming to Iowa City – starting July 2. The Double Up program matches the value of federal nutrition benefits spent at participating farmers markets, helping people bring home healthier, locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Double Up matches the value of SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps) purchases made at participating sites with additional dollars to spend on fresh, locally grown produce. For instance, a family that spends $10 in SNAP benefits at a participating farmers market receives an additional $10 in Double Up Food Bucks to purchase Iowa-grown fruits and vegetables.

“We’re very excited to offer local families the opportunity to bring home even more delicious, healthy food, while supporting our local growers” said Tammy Neumann, who manages the Farmers Market for Iowa City Parks and Recreation.

The wins are three-fold: Low-income families eat healthier food, local farmers gain new customers and make more income, and more food dollars stay in the local economy. Each has a ripple effect of benefits.

“Double Up Food Bucks creates the kind of win/win solutions Iowa needs: more nutritious food for low-income families and more revenue for local famers. This results in healthy people, as well as resilient rural and urban communities,” said Jami Haberl, Executive Director of the Healthiest State Initiative, coordinators of the Double Up Food Bucks program.

Since its launch in 2009, Double Up has grown from five farmers markets in Detroit, MI to a nationwide success story with more than 150 sites including 142 farmer markets and direct marketing farms. To date, it has benefited more than 300,000 low-income families.

Locally, the program is funded through money designated by the Iowa City Council Sustainable/Locally Grown Agriculture initiative, with support from the Johnson County Board of Supervisors and the Healthiest State Initiative.

Hours for the Iowa City Farmers Markets are: Tuesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at Mercer Park, 1317 Dover Street; Wednesdays from 5 to 7 p.m. at Chauncey Swan Ramp in the 400-block of Washington St.; and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon at Chauncey Swan Ramp. The Mercer Park Market operates through August 30, and the Chauncey Swan Market operates through the last week in October.

For more information about the Double Up Food Bucks program, visit, email or call 866-586-2796. Additional information about Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative is available at

Herbicide under EPA focus

A common herbicide used by eastern Iowa corn farmers may have potential chronic risk to both aquatic and terrestrial life as well as the surrounding environments, according to an EPA study.

The EPA termed atrazine, a popular herbicide used on corn, a risk to most living things in an ecological risk assessment earlier this month.