Previous month:
March 2017
Next month:
May 2017

April 2017

Roads to close downtown Sunday for Old Capitol Criterium

Several downtown roads will close Sunday, April 30, 2017 for the 40th annual Old Capitol Criterium. 

The bike races loop around the historic Old Capitol using Washington Street, Madison Street, Jefferson Street, Clinton Street, Iowa Avenue, Dubuque Street and connects again on Washington Street. Races begin at 9:30 a.m. and finish in the afternoon around 4 p.m.

Road Closures 

Several downtown roads will close or limit traffic starting at 2 a.m, but should reopen by 5 p.m. 

  • Clinton Street from Jefferson to Washington Streets
    (southbound to eastbound traffic will be permitted at the intersection of Jefferson and Clinton)
  • Iowa Avenue from Clinton to Dubuque Streets  
  • Dubuque Street from Iowa Avenue to Washington Street
    (southbound to eastbound and westbound to northbound traffic will be permitted at the intersection of Dubuque Street and Iowa Avenue) 
  • Washington Street from Dubuque to Madison Streets
  • Madison Street from Washington Street to Iowa Avenue
  • Northbound traffic on Madison Street from Iowa Avenue to Jefferson Street
    (southbound will have one lane available)
  • Jefferson Street from Madison Street to Clinton Street 


Street parking will be prohibited on the listed above blocks starting at 2 a.m. 

  • Vehicles parked overnight will be towed 
  • On-street parking will remain available on all other downtown blocks
  • Ramp parking will remain open and accessible 


Designated pedestrian crossings with course marshals will be marked and must be used at major downtown intersections.

For more information on the criterium and route visit

Coralville Accepting Applications for Volunteer Firefighters

The City of Coralville is accepting applications for volunteer firefighters. All training is provided and a new Fire Academy class begins June 18. Applications are available at

The Coralville Fire Department provides training to become Firefighter I certified and will pay for training to achieve certification of EMT-B. Training in hazardous materials response, vehicle extrication, and confined space rescue is also available.

Completed applications may be submitted via email to Nic Pruter at or by mail to the Coralville Fire Department, 1501 5th Street, Coralville, Iowa 52241. Call 319.248.1848 for more information. The City of Coralville is an equal opportunity employer.


City of Iowa City earns Aaa bond rating

Moody's Investors Service has awarded the City of Iowa City the highest credit rating possible, an Aaa bond rating, for its upcoming 2017 general obligation bond issue. The City has maintained an Aaa rating since November 1973 on its general obligation bonded debt. The top tier Aaa rating ranks Iowa City among the most financially stable cities in the state of Iowa and the nation.

The Moody’s rating is used by banking authorities and investors to evaluate the potential risk of loans, bonds, and other financial transactions with municipalities and other governmental entities. A top rating by Moody’s, a global market rating agency, represents the least amount of risk to investors. For Iowa City, it also represents financial savings for the City and taxpayers due to lower interest rates on loans for municipal projects.

Moody’s Investors Service has also awarded the City of Iowa City an Aa2 rating, the third highest rating possible, for its upcoming 2017 water and sewer revenue bond issues.  Moody’s reported that the City’s water and sewer utilities have a stable service area, unlimited rate setting authority, strong system liquidity, and a modest debt profile. The Aa2 rating will assist the City in the issuance of refunding bonds to retire higher rate debt and achieve a net savings for the City.

For more information City of Iowa City Finance Director Dennis Bockenstedt  at 319-356-5053 or

Preliminary autopsy results released in homicide investigation

The Iowa City Police Department is releasing the preliminary autopsy results in Sunday's homicide investigation. The Johnson County Medical Examiner’s office relayed that the cause of 34-year-old Jonathan Wieseler's death was the result of a gunshot wound and the manner of death was a homicide.  

The ICPD believes this incident is an isolated event and the department is actively investigating all leads. The ICPD is still seeking the public’s assistance in developing additional leads as well as persons in the general vicinity of 518 S. Capitol St., particularly between the hours of 10 p.m. Saturday, April 22 and 3 a.m. Sunday, April 23.  Anyone with information related to this case should contact Investigator Mike Smithey directly at 319-356-5452.

The Iowa City Area CrimeStoppers will offer a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the arrest of a suspect. Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact CrimeStoppers at 358-TIPS (8477) or at All contacts are held in strict confidence and anonymity is guaranteed. Individuals providing information do not have to reveal their identity to collect a reward.

The ICPD is being assisted in the investigation by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).

The Iowa City Police Department is releasing the name of the victim in Sunday's homicide investigation. 

Police are identifying him as 34-year-old Jonathan Wieseler, of Iowa City. The autopsy is being completed by the Johnson County Medical Examiner's Office and is still ongoing. Police expect to release the preliminary autopsy results Wednesday, April 26, 2017.

There are no further details to release at this time. 

On Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 11:11 a.m. the Iowa City Police Department was dispatched to 518 South Capitol St., Iowa City to a report of an unknown problem. Upon officer’s arrival, a deceased male subject was located with multiple sources of trauma. Based on the evidence thus far discovered at 518 South Capitol St., and the known circumstances surrounding the death of the subject, the Investigations Unit is treating this case as a homicide.  Officers continues to actively investigate this matter and are pursuing all leads as developed. 

The autopsy is being conducted with the preliminary results expected on Tuesday, April 25. The release of the name of the deceased subject is being withheld pending official identification by the Johnson County Medical Examiner’s Office.    

The police department continues to seek the public’s assistance and encourages anyone with information regarding this incident, particularly between the hours of 9 p.m. Saturday, April 22 and 11:11 a.m., Sunday April 23, to contact Iowa City Police at 319-356-6800.

Iowa City Area CrimeStoppers will offer a reward of up to $1000 for information leading to the arrest of a suspect. Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact CrimeStoppers at 358-TIPS (8477) or at  All contacts are held in strict confidence and anonymity is guaranteed. Individuals providing information do not have to reveal their identity to collect a reward.

Original message: On April 23, at 11:11a.m. Iowa City Police Department (ICPD) was dispatched to 518 South Capitol Street, Iowa City to a report of an unknown problem.  Upon officers arrival, a deceased male subject was located.  The circumstances surrounding the death of the subject is being treated as suspicious.  This matter remains under active investigation by the ICPD investigations unit. 

The identity of the deceased is not being released at this time pending official identity confirmation and notification of the family.

There will be no further information released at this time.  However, more information will be released on Monday April 2.

If this matter is determined to be a criminal act, the Iowa City Area CrimeStoppers will offer a reward of up to $1000 for information leading to the arrest of a suspect. Anyone with information about this incident is urged to contact CrimeStoppers at 358-TIPS (8477) or at  All contacts are held in strict confidence and anonymity is guaranteed. Individuals providing information do not have to reveal their identity to collect a reward.

Commercial truck dealership employment highest in 5 years

TYSONS, Va. — Employment at commercial truck dealerships in the United States has reached its highest point in five years, according to a new report from the American Truck Dealers (ATD), a division of the National Automobile Dealers Association.

The nation’s 2,261 franchised heavy- and medium-duty truck dealerships employed 129,392 workers in 2016, up 5.6 percent from the previous year, according to ATD Data 2016, the annual financial profile of America’s new-truck dealerships.

The report showed that the average selling price of a Class 8 new truck was $119,574, down 0.6 percent from 2015, and the selling price of a Class 8 used truck was $47,217, down 11.6 percent from 2015.


Pizza Hut ups its game in ongoing 'Pizza War'

Mike Thayer 2016 (2)By Mike Thayer

They are constantly battling for a greater market share, the industry's top 3 pizza chains:  Pizza Hut vs. Papa John's vs. Domino's. 

From a financial perspective, Domino's is winning the war, largely due to the company being savvy when it comes to digital marketing.  Same store sales at Domino's jumped over 12% in the fourth quarter last year, with 60% of its total sales generated from mobile devices.  Upping their digital marketing game, Papa John's comes in at number two, with fourth quarter same-store sales rising 3.8%.   Pizza Hut comes in third in the financials, with the pizza giant experiencing a 2% decline in same-store sales during the fourth quarter.  They've been playing 'catch up' when it comes to digital marketing.  Compared to how well Domino's does it, Pizza Hut brought a knife to a gun fight.

Moving forward though, look for the Domino's financials to falter a bit , once the people who bought into Domino's 'rebranding' and 'new menu' hype and give the company another shot, realize their pizza still sucks.  Papa John's will continue to gain some ground here and Pizza Hut is finally locking and loading for the digital marketing battle.

And there's the segue, Domino's may be the current 'Pizza King' financially, but how do they rank where it really matters, in taste?

Here's the baseline battle measurement, the most commonly ordered item from a pizza joint, carry-out or delivery:  A large pizza.

  • Domino's offers a 3-topping large for $7.99
  • Papa John's offers a 2-topping large for $9.99
  • Pizza Hut is currently running a deal for a 2-topping large for $7.99

Pizza hutI'll tell you right now, my first pick is Pizza Hut and when it comes to a plan 'B' I'll buy a Papa John's 2-topping large for $9.99 over a Domino's 3-topping large for $7.99 everyday of the week.   Taste is what wins the Pizza War in my book, not digital marketing.  DOMINO'S PIZZA SUCKS!

I haven't had pizza in awhile so last night I ordered from Pizza Hut.  I ordered using my desktop computer, easily navigating the Pizza Hut site for a meat lover's thin crust pizza (doused with garlic butter) with mushroom and extra cheese.  It was easier and faster to do than an old-fashioned landline phone call.   I could have done the ordering using my smartphone since Pizza Hut has decided to get in the game in that sense over the last six months, but I'm a bit attached to my desktop.  

The pizza was delivered in about 30 minutes and it was delicious!  The crust had that perfect garlic butter kissed crispyness to it and the toppings were generous.   Perhaps the best thing about Pizza Hut is their consistency in product, it's always good.  You can count on Pizza Hut to deliver (pun intended) good flavor.

I don't see Pizza Hut staying at #3 in the financials for much longer.  They've upped their game in digital marketing, by increasing their online presence and accessibility, improving their website navigation, kicking up the commercials another notch and most importantly they're NOT trying to fix something that's not broken when it comes to the pizza itself.  They're NOT using gimmicks like Domino's has done, with their new 'Zesty' sauce, 'new' menu items and even 'new' stores to distract you from how bad their pizza really is.......

When it comes to the Pizza War in taste, Pizza Hut wins.

Pizza Hut Deal



Fracking isn't contaminating groundwater, study finds

A major anti-fracking argument by environmentalists may not have the facts to back it up, a new study conducted by Duke University found.

Fracking has not contaminated groundwater in northwestern West Virginia, according to the peer-reviewed study published this month in a European journal.





Fracking Bans Hurt Distressed Communities, Inflate Power Costs

This year, oil production in America is expected to reach an all-time high, close to 9.5 million barrels a day. Similarly, natural gas output is projected to reach a record 75 billion cubic feet per day by the end of 2017.

What a difference a decade makes. Ten years ago, when we thought we were running out of oil and gas, imports were nearly two-thirds of consumption. Today, imports are down to 45 percent of oil use with less than a third coming from OPEC countries. What’s more, the U.S. is now exporting more than one million barrels of oil per day and is on track to become a net exporter of natural gas this year. Indeed, America has now achieved de facto “energy independence,” a goal espoused by every president since Richard Nixon.

This reversal of fortune can be attributed to American entrepreneurial ingenuity, in particular the application of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling to tease hydrocarbons out of shale and other hard rock minerals. In the process, thousands of new jobs have been created while state and local government tax coffers in producing regions have grown in tandem.

How ironic, then, that Vermont, New York and Maryland have imposed statewide bans on hydraulic fracturing. (By contrast, the Florida Legislature just killed an anti-fracking bill.) Though Vermont has no hydrocarbon resources, substantial reserves have been identified in shale formations along the southern tier of New York and in western Maryland, both economically distressed regions that have been losing people and jobs for decades. The fracking bans serve only to limit opportunities for job growth and economic diversification while depriving local governments and public schools of much needed revenues.


Iowa Football’s 2017 Non-Con Schedule Does Not Suck, But A Lot of Others Do

Despite what some of the talking heads will tell you, Iowa is carrying its weight in 2017 when it comes to its non-conference football slate.

While working on a series of previews of Iowa’s 2017 opponents for this very site, I realized that both Wyoming and North Texas played in bowl games at the end of last season. Additionally, the annual matchup with Iowa State gives the Hawkeyes a Power 5 opponent in the non-conference every season.