IC schools growing, but at slower rate

May 22, 2009

By Gregg Hennigan

IOWA CITY — The Iowa City school district’s enrollment continues to grow, just not as fast as had been expected, according to a report released Friday.

As Geoffrey Smith, the University of Iowa graduate student who helps calculate the projections, put it, “Our growth has been accelerating, but it’s decelerating.”

Enrollment in all grades is projected to increase by 296 students next school year and an average of 246 students each of the following four years. Compared with last year’s report, the new projections are slightly higher for 2009 but about 100 students per year lower thereafter.

The report covers five years and is updated annually. It only includes resident regular education students and does not count certain special education students or students who open enroll into the district.

Resident student enrollment is 10,833 this year and is projected to hit 12,111 in 2013.

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SE Iowa City violence

May 22, 2009

The Gazette’s Diane Heldt liveblogged the neighborhood meeting last night on the recent problems on the southeast side of Iowa City.

Things got a little heated — one man was escorted out by police — but area residents also were able to share their concerns. Diane’s story and the blog can be read here.

Rettig for supervisor?

May 20, 2009

By Gregg HenniganRettig

IOWA CITY — Janelle Rettig is getting some (early) love for a possible run for a seat on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors.

A Facebook group with 141 members, as of this morning, has formed to encourage her to run. Current Supervisor Rod Sullivan is a member, as is county Auditor Tom Slockett and county Recorder Kim Painter. Other notable names are state Rep. Mary Mascher, Iowa City Council members Mike Wright and Ross Wilburn and Coralville council member Tom Gill.

Retigg said she is “in the exploratory mode” and gathering information on a possible run.

“I’m grateful for the early encouragement,” she said of the Facebook group.

The supervisors election isn’t until next year, when the seats currently held by Sally Stutsman and Larry Meyers are up for reelection.

In Johnson County, the real race for supervisor usually is the Democratic primary, which will be in June 2010.  A Republican has not served as a Johnson County supervisor since 1962.

Iowa City backyard chickens update

May 19, 2009

By Gregg Hennigan

IOWA CITY —  Backyard chicken advocates in Iowa City are still trying to generate support for their cause.

A petition drive was started in early April calling for a change in city law to allow residents to keep up to five hens, no roosters, in residential areas. City code currently classifies the raising of livestock as an agricultural use, which is not allowed in residential zones.

At the time the petition started, organizer Stacey Driscoll of Iowa City said she hoped to turn it in to the City Council in the coming weeks. 

On Monday, Driscoll said the plan is to submit it in late June or early July. About 700 people have signed the online and paper forms of the petition, she said.

Driscoll has created a Web site on the issue. She’s also helped organize a screening of the documentary “Mad City Chickens” at 2 p.m. June 27 at the Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center in Iowa City. She said the filmmakers are going to be there and hold a Q&A afterward.

Supporters say there is a growing national movement among people living in urban areas wanting to raise chickens. Press critic Jack Shafer of Slate.com disputes that in a recent column.

Iowa City to seek more flood funds

May 19, 2009

By Gregg Hennigan

IOWA CITY — The City Council agreed Monday night to go after money that would allow it to purchase flood-damaged homes that were ineligible for the federal buyout program.

The money would come from a new state-administered program that has $10 million in federal funds. More money may go into the program in the future, officials said.

The city will submit more than 80 homes in the Parkview Terrace neighborhood for consideration. Those homes are in the 500-year floodplain but not the 100-year boundary and therefore weren’t eligible for the federal buyouts that are beginning in Iowa City this week.

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