Group picks Iowa City for Olympic wrestling trials

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DES MOINES, Iowa — USA Wrestling chose tradition-rich Iowa City to host the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for wrestling.

The group announced that Iowa Citys bid beat out those from Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Columbus, Ohio.

The trials will determine which athletes will represent the United States at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The event will be held April 21-22, 2012, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on the University of Iowa campus.

USA Wrestling executive director Rich Bender told The Associated Press that the regions long history of supporting wrestling played a critical role in awarding the bid to Iowa City.

Iowas wrestling team has won 23 NCAA titles and routinely leads the nation in attendance. The Hawkeyes averaged 8,125 fans per home dual meet in 2009-10 and set a national record in 2008 when nearly 16,000 saw host Iowa beat rival Iowa State.

You cant ignore the history that our sport has had in the state of Iowa, and particularly in a pretty famous wrestling building on the campus of the University of Iowa, Bender said. Its had somewhat of a monumental impact on our sport.

About 200 athletes are expected to compete in the wrestling trials.

Greensboro, N.C.; Hampton, Va.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Pontiac, Mich., also bid for the wrestling trials but werent selected.

USA Weightlifting was set to hold its trials in conjunction with the wrestling event, but Bender said they stepped out of the bid process because of conflicts with the date. It wasnt clear where the weightlifting trials would be held.

Iowa City, with a population of about 60,000, is much smaller than the last three cities to hold the trials — Dallas, Indianapolis and Las Vegas. But USA Wrestling believes the citys passion for the sport will help draw large crowds for the two-day meet.

Carver-Hawkeye Arena, which seats 15,000, is in the midst of a $47 million renovation set to be completed for the 2011-12 school year. But Bender said the work to the 28-year old arena was simply icing on the cake.

It was, in my 20-some years at USA Wrestling, one of the more difficult decisions weve had to make, and one that will ultimately pay dividends for our sport down the road, Bender said.

Luke Meredith • Associated Press

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Iowa City looks to expand recycling service

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Iowa City may expand its recycling pick-up service to get it out of the bottom of the bin compared to other cities around the state.

The city is looking at adding new apartment buildings to the service for the first time. The Iowa City Press-Citizen says the City Council voiced support for the proposed change during a work session on Monday.

Recycling coordinator Jen Jordan says 45 percent of Iowa City residents live in a five-plex or larger building, which currently are not required to have recycling.

Jordan says of the Iowa City residences that have the service, each household averages 16 pounds of recyclables a month. Davenport averages 54 pounds, Des Moines averages 46 pounds and Cedar Rapids averages 37 pounds.

Associated Press • December 2, 2010

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University of Iowa wants $19.5M football practice field

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The Bubble might soon pop.

The University of Iowa on Thursday released a proposal to demolish the football teams 25-year-old indoor practice facility, known as the Bubble, and build a $19.5 million replacement nearby.

The Board of Regents will be asked next week to approve the design and budget of the new indoor practice field. If approved, construction is expected to begin next fall and last one year.

It would mark the end of an era for the Iowa football program. Built in 1985 under then-Coach Hayden Fry, the Bubble has been a campus landmark and a practice home for a generation of Hawkeyes.

The 102,000-square-foot replacement facility would be located nearby, just west of the Recreation Building and south of the teams outdoor practice field. It would include a full-length football field with artificial turf, video platforms and storage space.

The plans make clear the new building would look nothing like its predecessor. Instead of an inflatable white cover that whips in the wind, it would have a metal roof that would match the Kinnick Stadium press box and panels that would allow daylight inside.

University officials said the age and condition of the bubble, its high energy use and safety concerns caused by the fields proximity to concrete walls were all factors in their proposal to demolish it. They said they could invest money to keep the facility open for several more years but that would not be an effective investment, according to planning documents.

They also noted its demolition would help clear the way for a new childrens hospital, a project that is forcing the relocation of a university bus station and parking and transportation offices. The space occupied by the old practice field would be used to replace parking spots for University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics employees and a new roadway.

The practice field would be paid for with athletic department donations and revenue and funds from UIHC and Recreational Services, which will use the facility for intramural sports and classes. The building would also be used by other athletics programs, including baseball, softball and soccer.

University officials said the project would be the first part of a plan to modernize its football facilities. School officials said they need more office space, a larger weight room and an updated training room, among other changes, to keep pace with a growing staff and new technology.

Chicago Tribune • December 2, 2010

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Iowa falls late to Ohio State, 20-17

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When Terrelle Pryor scrambled left and, in a few quick strides, converted a game-deciding fourth-and-10, this all looked vaguely familiar for the 20th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes. The opponent, the jerseys, the atmosphere were different, but the situation — another late-game lead being erased all too easily — was similar.

So was the result.

For the fourth time this season, the Hawkeyes (7-4, 4-3 Big Ten) allowed a score on their opponents final drive to lose the game. On Saturday, it was Pryors fourth-down conversion and Dan Herrons subsequent one-yard touchdown run with 1:47 remaining that propelled seventh-ranked Ohio State (10-1, 6-1) to a 20-17 victory inside Kinnick Stadium.

It seems like it, doesnt it? offensive lineman Julian Vandervelde said of the script repeating itself. This is probably one of those things where last year, maybe we would have pulled it out. But sometimes the cards are with you, sometimes they arent.

The fourth quarter began with such promise for the Hawkeyes.

On his 19th birthday, linebacker James Morris deflected an interception into Shaun Praters hands. Two plays later, true freshman running back Marcus Coker scored his first career touchdown, giving Iowa a 17-10 lead with 11:53 remaining.

Coker rushed for a team-high 70 yards. Adam Robinson was sidelined during the first quarter for what head coach Kirk Ferentz termed academic indigestion and was later knocked out of the game with an apparent concussion.

The Hawkeyes next two drives featured a combination of ineptitude and inconsistency. Ricky Stanzi and the offense ran seven plays on those two series, gaining 13 collective yards. The offensive line allowed two sacks as the Buckeyes secondary closed down any available options.

Stanzis final game inside Kinnick Stadium ended with a 19-yard pass to Marvin McNutt on fourth-and-21. As has been the case all season, the senior quarterback couldnt muster the late-game magic of a season ago.

Theyre just really fast, said Stanzi, who finished 20-of-31 for 195 yards and one touchdown. Its not really the best situation to go against a defense like that when you have guys laying off and theyre flying around out there.

In many ways, Saturdays game a statistical anomaly. They Hawkeyes were plus-two in turnover differential. They committed nearly 50 yards less in penalties. And heading into the fourth quarter, they had only gained two less total yards.

The only tangible difference was Pryors fourth-quarter play, along with the field-goal kicking. Iowa kicker Michael Meyer missed a 40-yarder wide left in the second quarter, while Ohio States Devin Barclay drilled an attempt from 48 yards midway through the fourth.

The latter kick pulled the Buckeyes within four, 17-13, and set the stage for Pryors 12-play, 76-yard game-winning drive.

Weve got to help ourselves a little bit more there, Ferentz said of his teams kicking situation.

Even when the Buckeyes missed opportunities, they came back with a sense of stubbornness that has, in many ways, defined Jim Tressels tenure in Columbus.

Perhaps theres no better example of this than what happen just one play before Pryors fourth-and-10 scramble. The 6-6 junior took a long-winded drop-back on third-and-10, floating a pass 65 yards in the air to DeVier Posey in the back corner of the end zone.

Posey had a sure touchdown in his hands, but the ball slipped through his grasp. Six plays later, Poseys gaffe was nullified by Herrons touchdown.

The Hawkeyes, on the other hand, were plagued by many of the same mistakes that have doomed their 2010 season — late-game defense, failed two-minute drives, and inopportune special-teams play.

Indeed, on an afternoon that was supposed to honor one of the most-decorated senior classes in recent memory, Iowa was instead left wondering what could have been, haunted by an all too familiar story.

Were not a four-loss team, cornerback Micah Hyde said. I just dont see us as a four-loss team.

Scott Miller • The Daily Iowan • November 20

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UI, Iowa City bid to host US Olympic trials

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The University of Iowa, Iowa City and Coralville plan to submit a bid to host the U.S. Olympic Trials for wrestling in 2012.

The area will compete to host the trials with Council Bluffs, Columbus, Ohio, Oklahoma City, Hampton, Va., and Greensboro, N.C.

The Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau is using the University of Iowas strong wrestling program and rich history as a key point to their bid.

The wrestling trials will be April 19-21, 2012, and would draw 7,000 to 8,000 visitors. The Iowa City Press-Citizen says cities that previously hosted the trials reported an economic influx of $8 million to $10 million.

Carver-Hawkeye Arena would host the event. The deadline for submission is Wednesday, and finalists will be notified in a few weeks.

Associated Press • November 10, 2010

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University of Iowa cuts 6 graduate programs

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The University of Iowa has closed six graduate programs and as many as six more could be eliminated by next summer.

The universitys dean of graduate programs tells the Iowa City Press-Citizen that the programs were cut either because they attracted few students or because they duplicated others.

The cuts were based on a task force report that looked at how to strengthen some programs and eliminate weaker ones to improve the overall quality of graduate education.

Keller says the changes arent expected to save money.

The programs cut in October were a doctorate in statistical genetics, masters and doctoral programs in preventive medicine and environmental health, a masters in Russian and two masters programs in dentistry specialties.

Associated Press • November 14, 2010

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Northwestern dashes Hawkeyes hopes-again.

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Evanston, Ill. — There should be no more talk of Iowa’s football team making a repeat appearance in the Bowl Championship Series.

For all practical purposes, those lofty dreams faded Saturday when Northwestern delivered a 21-17 reality check.

“We can still play for a lot of things,” offensive lineman Julian Vandervelde said. “Pride, first of all. No matter what your record is, you’ve got enough pride as a Hawkeye that you’re going to play your heart out.”

The Wildcats (7-3, 3-3) rallied with touchdown drives of 85 and 91 yards, but Hawkeye quarterback Ricky Stanzi took the blame for a turnover that ignited the comeback.

“We lost because I threw a stupid interception and it just switches the momentum,” said Stanzi, who 23-of-41 passing for 270 yards. “It cost us the game.”

Iowa was ahead 17-7 when Stanzi attempted a throw into double coverage near Northwestern’s 5-yard line, with10:56 remaining.

Brian Peters picked off the ball, preventing the Hawkeyes from reaching the end zone.

Making matters worse for the 18,000 Iowa fans at Ryan Field, receiver Marvin McNutt appeared to have eluded coverage on the play.

“I lost the guy I was supposed to read,” Stanzi said. “I couldn’t see him in the shuffle of things and Marvin was running wide open.

“I thought a guy would have jumped down on him, and it didn’t work out that way.” That’s when Wildcats quarterback Dan Persa seized the moment.

He trimmed the Hawkeyes’ margin to 17-14 with a 6-yard touchdown toss to Jeremy Ebert.

Iowa managed just one first down on the ensuing series, giving Northwestern the ball back with 4:08 left.

“We’ve been in that situation before, where we needed to come out and make plays,” McNutt said. “We just didn’t come out and do it.”

Persa converted a key 3rd-and-4 situation with a 22-yard scramble, and picked up another first down on a 4-yard run.His final throw was a 20-yard scoring strike to Demetrius Fields, with 1:22 remaining.

“When it’s a one-score game, we feel like we’re going to win,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “These guys are saying ‘Cat-time.’ It’s just an attitude about our program.”

It was later reported that Persa ruptured an Achilles’ tendon on his last throw, and surgery was scheduled for Saturday night.

He finished 32-of-43 passing for 318 yards.

“Dan Persa played out of his mind,” Stanzi said. “He did an unbelievable job.”

The Hawkeyes’ final drive led to more frustrations.

They held the ball for 15 plays, but could no get closer than the Wildcats’ 45-yard line.

Stanzi launched the ball into the end zone on 4th-and-16. It was tipped by Derrell Johnson- Koulianos and sailed just beyond the reach of Iowa teammate Keenan Davis’ reach.

“It’s a tough loss for us,” Hawkeye coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We’ll go to work and see what we can do about bouncing back.”

The Wildcats have now won five of the past six meetings — handing Iowa more defeats than any other conference rival since 2005.

A year ago, Northwestern gave the Hawkeyes their first loss of the season, but tailback Adam Robinson and his teammates rebounded to finish 11-2 and beat Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl.

This year’s postseason destination will not be part of the BCS showcase.

Andrew Logue • The Des Moines Register • November 13, 2010

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Hawkeyes rally late for 18-13 win at Indiana

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Ricky Stanzi spent most of Saturday trying to figure out Indianas defense.

He made No. 15 Iowas late rally look as easy as 1-2-3.

Stanzi took the Hawkeyes 88 yards in three plays, the last a 52-yard go-ahead touchdown pass to Marvin McNutt with 2:50 left for an 18-13 victory at Indiana.

For two years in a row now, weve had games against Indiana that are, uh, bizarre, to say the least, Stanzi said. At the end, we kind of got clicking with the pass plays and it worked out for us.

Again, just barely.

Last year, Iowa needed 28 fourth-quarter points to escape against the Hoosiers in Iowa City.

This time, they needed a dropped pass and a replay review confirmation after Ben Chappell took Indiana back down the field to the Hawkeyes 18.

On fourth-and-10, Damarlo Belcher appeared to grab, then drop, what would have been a touchdown pass with 28 seconds left. The play was so close that the Hoosiers home crowd roared with approval, thinking Belcher scored. The replay showed, clearly, that Belcher never had control of the ball and the on-field call stood.

Belcher did not talk to reporters after the game.

I didnt see it, Chappell said. I saw the refs say incomplete, but I didnt really see the play because I got hit right as I threw it. I thought it had a shot. I knew the safety was wide and I knew I got it over the backer.

The victory added another chapter to this inexplicably unusual series.

It also kept Iowa (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) in the hunt for a Big Ten title and a Rose Bowl bid. No. 7 Wisconsin, No. 8 Ohio State and No. 16 Michigan State all have one conference loss, just like the Hawkeyes.

I was pretty relieved with the win, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.

For Indiana (4-5, 0-5), the loss epitomized what this season has become — close calls and missed opportunities.

Theyve now lost five of six, 10 straight in conference play and 11 in a row against ranked teams dating to an October 2006 upset against then No. 15 Iowa. And Indiana came within a whisker of not only winning it in the final seconds, but also sealing it when they needed only 3 yards for a first down with 3:42 to go.

Chappell wanted the offense to stay on the field.

Coach Bill Lynch played it safe, punting, and Stanzi wasted no time making the Hoosiers pay for their decision.

On first down, he threw a 21-yard pass to Derrell Johnson-Koulianos. On the next play, he threw 15 yards to Johnson-Koulianos. Then McNutt put a double move on cornerback Matt Ernest, getting free down the middle of the field. Stanzis pass hit the wide open receiver in stride just inside the 20-yard line and McNutt won the foot race for the score.

When I came out of the route, I thought Id be open, and I just hoped that everyone else would do their job, McNutt said. He put it in the perfect spot.

Stanzi finished 22 of 33 for 290 yards with one TD and one interception. McNutt caught six passes for 126 yards, and Johnson-Koulianos caught six passes to raise his career total to 163, breaking the school record of 157 previously held by Kevin Kasper. Freshman Marcus Coker, starting in place of the injured Adam Robinson, ran 22 times for 129 yards.

But the Hawkeyes settled for four field goals in five red-zone trips against a defense that ranked near the bottom in the Big Ten in points allowed.

Mike Meyers 27-yard field goal made it 9-6 Iowa midway through the third quarter.

The Hoosiers broke through on the ensuing drive when Chappell rushed to the line following an 18-yard completion, quick-snapped the ball and plunged into the end zone from a yard out to give Indiana a 13-9 lead.

Chappell was 27 of 46 for 222 yards with one interception for Indiana and broke Kellen Lewis school record for completions. He has 590.

To be able to take a team down the field like that and then on that particular route to get him (Belcher) open, he (Chappell) knew it was going to take some time, Lynch said. It wasnt one of our quick throws, so he knew he would have to hang in there until the route opened, and he did.

Belcher just couldnt hang on, and the Hawkeyes celebrated.

Like every player on the field and every player on the sideline, Im sure our stomachs were in knots, said Ferentz, who won his 100th career game. It was an anxious. It was a little closer than I would have hoped it would be, but we won it.

William Petroski • Associated Press • October 26, 2010

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IOWA JAZZ GROUP UNDER GRAMMY CONSIDERATION

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Off the Record, by fusion/jazz group James Kennedy and Friends has been submitted and accepted for consideration at the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards under the category Best Instrumental Album (non-classical).
The album features Mt. Vernon musicians, James Kennedy on 6- and 12-string guitars, Catherine Lawson on violin, Matt Alles on bass and Iowa Citys Eric Madison on drums. The album also includes special guest, Steve Maurice on harmonica and concertina.
With a return to roots for the group, songs span many genres including blues, jazz folk and rock. One of the unique abilities James Kennedy brings to songwriting is a wide assortment of styles. He writes these great melodies that allow us to explore different musical avenues as a group and reach out to a wider audience, said Madison.
The group has been honored with awards including Kweevak Editors Choice and Readers Survey for the past five years and other independent music honors. Guitarist Kennedy has been featured in 21 releases from label Heart Consort Music and featured in Downbeat, Jazz Review and OPlace Jazz.
For more information on the album, visit www.heartconsortmusic.com/OTR.htm.
Those interested in supporting James Kennedy and Friends can purchase the album Off the Record from CD Baby .

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Iowa-Chicago trains on track for 2015

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Its been more than 40 years since travelers between Chicago, Des Moines and Omaha heard a conductor shout all aboard, but decades-long dreams of restoring that passenger rail route moved a bit closer toward becoming a reality on Monday.

The Federal Railroad Administration promised Iowa and Illinois $230 million to help cover costs of establishing passenger service between Chicago and Iowa City, a first step toward what eventually could become a rail corridor extending across Iowas midsection.

The Iowa Legislature has already appropriated $3.5 million for the project and must approve an additional $16.5 million for the Iowa portion to proceed, said Tamara Nicholson, director of the Iowa Department of Transportations rail office. In addition, Iowa lawmakers would need to provide an estimated $3 million annually in government operating subsidies.

Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie was elated by the news.

Hopefully we will eventually have rail service all the way to Omaha, which will connect us to the West Coast, Cownie said. I think anything we can do to get passenger rail to Iowa is a step forward, and I am looking forward to high-speed passenger rail.

Tom Kane, executive director of the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, agreed, saying, Now that this is confirmed, it moves us closer to being able to make some plans and make some decisions.

Des Moines has not had regular passenger train service since May 31, 1970, when the Rock Island Lines Cornbelt Rocket made its last run between Chicago and Council Bluffs.

The 219-mile route between Chicago and Iowa City, using BNSF Railway and Iowa Interstate Railroad tracks, would be completed by 2015, initially providing twice daily round trip Amtrak service. Initially, trips would take less than five hours at an initial top speed of 79 mph. Supporters hope speeds could eventually hit 100 mph.

Each train would accommodate 230 passengers, offering coach seating and food service. First-year ridership is projected to be 246,800 passengers.

The train would likely attract University of Iowa students; fans of the Chicago Cubs, White Sox and Bears; travelers just looking for a weekend getaway and Iowans with family ties in Chicago,

We are ecstatic, said Iowa City Mayor Matt Hayek. This is very promising news.

In Iowa City, officials are interested in talking with the current owners of the towns historic railroad depot about using the building again as a passenger train station, the mayor added. The rail line is a few blocks south of downtown and passes through an area being considered for redevelopment, he said.

Gov. Chet Culver hailed the grant and said it was funded in tough competition with other passenger train projects in other states. He promised the plans will set a new national standard for reliable, cost-effective, fuel-efficient passenger rail service.

The money awarded Monday will support environmental studies, track construction and improvements, construction of a layover facility, acquisition of equipment and station improvements.

Nicholson, of the Iowa rail office, said the announcement makes it likely Chicago-to-Iowa City rail service will become a reality. The cost of the project is $310 million. Each state is required to provide a prorated share of a required match, based on the share of investment in each state.

Amtrak has been criticized by conservatives, who say it wastes federal money while providing second-rate train service. The system has never earned a profit since it was established in 1971, and most of its routes lose money. Amtraks on-time performance record is poor, and it only accounts for a fraction of travel in the United States.

Former Gov. Terry Branstads campaign spokesman Tim Albrecht declined to comment Monday when asked if Branstad would support the use of state money to establish Chicago-to-Iowa City passenger service. Iowa House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen said he didnt know enough about the plans to express an opinion about providing state money, although he said, Sooner or later it will have to stand on its own two feet.

Richard Welch of Swisher, a member of the Iowa Association of Railroad Passengers, said Mondays announcement represents the culmination of years of efforts by train service supporters.

Its a super day, he said.

Iowa has two other Amtrak trains that operate daily through southern Iowa en route between Chicago and the West Coast. The Southwest Chief stops in Fort Madison, while the California Zephyr stops in Burlington, Mount Pleasant, Ottumwa, Osceola, and Creston. The trains are part of Amtraks national train system, so they dont require state subsidies.

William Petroski • The Des Moines Register • October 26, 2010

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