News briefs from Winter Break



University of Iowa officials renamed its chapter of the American Association of University Professors after the late UI Professor David C. Baldus.

Baldus served as a law professor and as a member of the association during his time at the university. The committee will now go by the David C. Baldus Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure.

“We’re honored to name our local Committee A after David Baldus, our longtime mentor and colleague,” Lois Cox, the current chairperson of Iowa’s Committee A, said in a press release. “He devoted many, many hours to assisting others through the work of this committee.”

— by Kristen East


A 20-story building could soon change the face of downtown Iowa City.

Iowa City city councilors identified the Chauncey as their top choice for the development on the lot at the intersection of College and Gilbert Streets.

The Chauncey, represented by Steve Rohrbach, is a proposed 20-story building that would include a bowling alley, café, and two movie theaters operated by FilmScene on the first floor. The proposal also includes plans for three floors of office space, a 35-unit hotel, and 12 floors of studio and one- and two-bedroom residential units.

The Chauncey was selected as the preferred proposal Jan. 8 on a 5-1 vote, with Councilor Jim Throgmorton having the dissenting vote, and Michelle Payne abstaining. City staff must now go about pursuing contractual agreements with the developer.

— by Kristen East

Health alliance

The University of Iowa Health Alliance tapped Dan Kueter as its new leader last week, according to a UI press release.

Kueter will oversee the alliance, which includes Mercy Health Network, Genesis Health System, Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, and UI Health Care.

“We are very pleased to have Dan on board to help us innovate how we deliver care to our patients,” Dave Vellinga, the president and CEO of Mercy Health Network, said in the release. “We believe a full-time leader with Dan’s depth of experience is a critical step in moving the alliance forward.”

— by Kristen East


University of Iowa officials recently announced the expansion of Ponseti International Association following collaboration between the organization and the Management Sciences for Health.

Together, the organizations will increase access to clubfoot treatment for children in Nigeria, Pakistan, and Peru. The two-year project will cost roughly $2 million; the funding for the project comes from a U.S. Agency for International Development grant.

— by Kristen East

Vice-president search

University of Iowa Vice President for Student Life Tom Rocklin and Professor Richard Fumerton will head the search committee for a new vice president of Strategic Communication.

The position, which opened in November, will be filled by interim Vice President Mark Braun until a permanent replacement is selected.

The position was left vacated after former Vice President Tysen Kendig accepted a similar position at the University of Connecticut.

UI spokesman Tom Moore said the selection process is still in its early stages.

“The co-chairs have been named, and now the next step will be to name the other committee members,” Moore said. “President Mason asked the search committee to make every attempt to fill the position by later this year.”

Once the committee is formed, its first task will be deciding which qualifications the ideal candidate should meet, Fumerton said.

According to the press release, the vice president for Strategic Communication will be responsible for overseeing communication and marketing departments, such as the Office of University Relations, and will be charged with promoting the university on a national level.

“Tremendous strides were made under Tysen Kendig in that arena, and it’s important that the university continue that momentum,” Moore said. “The process will include a national search. We have no doubt that we will receive applications from many very strong candidates.” 

— by Allyson Deets

Marshall trial to begin Tuesday

The trial of a man accused of first-degree murder in connection with the death of Broadway Apartments landlord will begin Tuesday, according to court documents.

Justin Marshall is accused of killing John Versypt in October 2009.

— by Brent Griffiths

Pfeifer files for new trial

Evan Pfeifer, a former University of Iowa student found guilty of third-degree sexual abuse, has filed for a new trial, according to court documents.

The state has opposed his motion, and a hearing is set for 10:30 a.m. Feb. 8. His sentencing was reset for 11 a.m. Feb. 15.

— by Allyson Deets

Foust sentenced on marijuana charges

An Iowa City business owner has been sentenced on charges regarding selling marijuana to keep his business open.

Ryan Foust has been ordered to pay $50 per month as stipulated by his charges, according to online court documents

— by Brent Griffiths

Williams appeals sentence

A Coralville woman sentenced to 55 years in prison in connection with the death of a boy in a house fire has filed an appeal, according to online court documents.

Lillie Williams was found guilty of first-degree arson and other charges in connection with the death of 14-year-old Raymone Bryant following a Sept., 4, 2011, house fire.

— by Allyson Deets

Krei files civil suit against Plummer

An Iowa City police officer who was assaulted by a former University of Iowa student has filed a civil lawsuit against him, according to online court documents.

Branden Plummer assaulted Sgt. Brian Krei on Nov. 18, 2011; he accepted a plea deal that dropped an attempted-murder charge. He was sentenced in Nov. to 60 days in jail, a fine of $625, and $812.12 and two years of supervised probation.

According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Krei is seeking punitive damages including pain and suffering, lost wages, and future earning capacity. 

— by Brent Griffiths

Tang faces additional charges

An Iowa City man accused of first-degree kidnapping now faces additional felony charges, according to online court documents.

Tang faces felony, burglary, and theft charges, which, according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette is related to police finding a stolen MacBook Pro and women’s underwear and bras while executing a search warrant.

A preliminary hearing on his new charges has been set for 2 p.m. today.

— by Allyson Deets

Justice center

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors will host a public hearing to gather input on a draft justice-center plan.

According to a Johnson County press release, the meeting will be held in Courtroom 2A of the Johnson County Courthouse, 417 S. Clinton St., on Jan. 29. The previous bond referendum plan was created after supervisors approved placing a bond referendum before local voters in November.

The measure received 56 percent of support; it needed 60 percent in order to pass.

If implemented, this plan would remain the same size but would use less glass, and some spaces would be “shelled” to address future growth as funding becomes available, the release said. The bond referendum would be reduced to $43.5 million.

The new proposal will be put up to vote in a special election held on May 7.

— by Jordyn Reiland

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