This Week in the Village: Nov. 3-9

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Catch up on the biggest headlines, videos and photos published by Little Village in the past week.

The Pentacrest larch, embracing grief and taking action

Iowa Citians awoke on Sept. 10, 2019 to find the long-standing European Larch on the University of Iowa Pentacrest had succumbed to a thunderstorm the previous night. — Thomas Dean/Little Village

Published Tuesday, Nov. 5

Sometime during the night of Sept. 9 and 10, a tragedy befell the community on the University of Iowa Pentacrest. The beloved old European larch fell to the winds brought by a wicked thunderstorm. The larch had survived the 1998 straight-line winds and suffered damage from both the 2006 tornado and 2007 ice storm. It provided shade for many during the Iowa City Jazz Fest and other Pentacrest performances. It had entertained generations of students and kids with its long, low branches that were easy to climb on, though many on campus tried to discourage it. And it was a daily companion to many who regularly traverse UI’s central campus. But on this night, it succumbed to the ravages of time and weather. Continue reading…

Books, beds and tea: The Catherine McAuley Center marks 30 years and prepares for major expansion

A local woman receives English language counseling from CMC education program manager Anne Dugger. Monday, Oct. 23, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Published Tuesday, Nov. 5

For nearly a year, Marimer Stadtmueller has been attending classes at the Catherine McAuley Center (CMC) in Cedar Rapids to improve her English and learn as much as she can about the United States.

Stadtmueller moved to the U.S. from Mexico City with her son and daughter 11 years ago. She lived in Ohio and Kentucky before relocating to eastern Iowa, where she’s resided for seven years.

Currently, Stadtmueller is preparing for her U.S. citizenship exam, which is quickly approaching.

“[A friend from Venezuela] was studying for the citizenship test, so I asked her, ‘What school do you go to learn?’” Stadtmueller said. “She told me to go to CMC. So I came here. I love it — I love the staff and environment here.” Continue reading…

Linn County library laggards can do good and pay off their fines this month by donating food items

The Cedar Rapids Public Library is located at 450 5th Avenue SE.

Published Tuesday, Nov. 5

If you’ve racked up a few dollars (or more) in fines because you’re slow returning your library books, three Linn County libraries are willing to forgive you, if you’re willing to help fight hunger.

Throughout the month of November, the public libraries in Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha and Marion will take off $1 your outstanding fines for overdue materials for each nonperishable food item donated. Continue reading…

Sun Cafe and Zio Johno’s move, and Guild Wurst Tavern makes a major change

Wurst, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Published Tuesday, Nov. 5

Two Iowa City restaurants are in the process of moving, and this will be the last week before a Coralville eatery dramatically cuts its hours.

Sun Cafe is relocating to Zio Johno’s former spot on Riverside Drive, while Zio Johno’s is moving around the corner, and will reopen in part of what used to be Paul’s Discount.

It’s a crosstown move for Sun Cafe, which had been in Iowa City’s east side since it opened in December 2015. The move means a bigger space for the Vietnamese restaurant. Continue reading…

Janice Weiner and Laura Bergus win at-large seats on the Iowa City Council

Janice Weier (left) and Laura Bergus — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Published Tuesday, Nov. 5

Janice Weiner and Laura Bergus were elected to the two open seats on the Iowa City Council in the combined city and school election on Tuesday.

Weiner, who served as a foreign service officer for 26 years before retiring from the State Department, won 73 percent of the vote. Bergus, an attorney and managing partner of the Hayek, Moreland, Smith & Bergus law firm, got 71 percent.

The third candidate in the race, ACT Test Development Manager Megan Alter, received 55 percent of the vote. Continue reading…

Cedar Rapids election: Overland, Poe and Loeffler win seats on city council, while Merschbrock defeats school board incumbent

(left to right) Scott Overland, Ann Poe and Patrick Loeffler.

Published Wednesday, Nov. 6

Both incumbents running for reelection to the Cedar Rapids City Council won in the combined city-school election on Tuesday, and union leader and small-business owner Patrick Loeffler won an open at-large seat on the council.

But it was a different story for the school board. A challenger beat the only incumbent running for reelection by 13 percentage points.

There were also two at-large school board seats on the ballot, which were won by first-time candidates. Continue reading…

Nonprofit choir Family Folk Machine unites singers aged 5 to 75 to perform original and classic songs

Jean Littlejohn directs FFM at the Veterans for Peace concert, February 2019. –Gary Clarke

Published Wednesday, Nov. 6

In April of 2018, right near its fifth anniversary, Family Folk Machine (FFM), which had by then already become an institution in the Iowa City community, achieved another milestone: it became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The intergenerational choir’s goals had always been focused on fostering and serving the community — “We seek to build community through singing songs with our neighbors,” their mission statement reads in part — and the new status was a big step forward in helping them do just that. Continue reading…

Your Village: Why is there a Ten Commandments monument in Plaza Park?

The granite Ten Commandments monument on May’s Island in Cedar Rapids. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Published Thursday, Nov. 7

Why is there a Ten Commandments monument in the park on May’s Island? —Anonymous, Iowa City, asked in person

The story behind the Ten Commandments monument in Cedar Rapids’ Plaza Park on May’s Island probably isn’t what you imagine. Unless you think it involves a teenage car thief and a legendary movie director — then it’s exactly what you imagine. Continue reading…

New report shows economic impact of immigrants in Linn County

Cedar River Cedar Rapids bridge
Cedar Rapids — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Published Thursday, Nov. 7

Immigrants are making important contributions to Linn County’s growth, creating jobs and boosting the local economy, according to a report published last week by New American Economy (NAE).

Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey, the report documents the economic impact immigrants have had on the county. In doing so, it indirectly addresses myths surrounding immigrants and the economy, such as that they don’t pay taxes or don’t contribute to their local economies. Continue reading…

Local food pantries, health providers and farmers team up for the region’s first Veggie Rx Program

Illustrations by Glen Lowry

Published Thursday, Nov. 7

There are any number of reasons why a person would choose to eat a bag of chips over a mixed-greens salad. Snack-food cravings aside, chips are cheaper, more readily available, easier to prepare and have a longer shelf-life than fresh veggies — factors that can override one’s best intentions to eat healthy.

“It’s heavily ingrained in society ‘eat your fruits and vegetables,’ but it’s one of those things that’s much easier said than done,” said Joyce Wahba, a third-year medical student at the University of Iowa, and an executive coordinator at the UI’s Mobile Clinic. “That bridge between being said and being done — we’re trying to eliminate as many of those obstacles and barriers as humanly possible.” Continue reading…

Report: A top member of Tom Steyer’s presidential campaign was offering Iowa politicians money for endorsements

Tom Steyer speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. — Gage Skidmore

Published Thursday, Nov. 7

On Thursday, the presidential campaign of billionaire Tom Steyer denied it is attempting to buy political endorsements in Iowa, after Alexandra Jaffe of the Associated Press reported a top Steyer campaign aide had been privately offering Iowa politicians money for endorsements.

“Our campaign policy is clear that we will not engage in this kind of activity, and anyone who does is not speaking for the campaign or does not know our policy,” the Steyer campaign said in a written statement. Continue reading…

‘I want to know that I’m healthy’: Two local students on starting — and quitting — vaping

A Juul pod carton found crushed in the West High School parking lot. — Natalie Dunlap/Little Village

Published Thursday, Nov. 7

Although e-cigarettes were allegedly created to help adults give up their smoking habits, they quickly became a starter pack for young people to consume nicotine. Offering flavors such as watermelon, mango and mint, e-cigarette suppliers have been accused of enticing young people with their product.

Several states and major cities have restricted or outright banned vaping, and Juul, a company dominating the e-cigarette market, has limited access to its fruit-flavored vape pods seen as targeting young people. Continue reading…

En Español: The importance of dual-language programs

Illustration by Jordan Sellergren

Published Friday, Nov. 8

En los últimos años, nuevos programas de inmersión dual han sido implementados en Iowa. Los beneficios de la educación dual son abrumadores, y son muchos los distritos que han puesto sus ojos en el desarrollo de modelos bilingües como este. / During the last few years, new dual language immersion programs have been implemented in Iowa. The benefits of dual-language education are many, and various school districts are now considering the development of bilingual models like this. Continue reading…

Marco’s Grilled Cheese will open in December in the former Devotay and Linn Street Dive space

The future Marco’s Grilled Cheese, 117 N Linn St, on Sept. 26, 2019. — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Published Friday, Nov. 8

Linn Street Dive, which closed in May, will reopen as Marco’s Grilled Cheese at the beginning of December. The target date is Monday, Dec. 2, according to Mark Paterno, who owns the former Linn Street Dive space along with his wife Jade.

The new restaurant will be a brick-and-mortar version of the Marco’s Grilled Cheese food cart, a fixture on the Iowa City Ped Mall for almost two decades, which was Paterno’s first food service business. Continue reading…

Springtime for Hitler, Germany and Jojo: Taika Waititi’s quirky coming-of-age comedy opens at FilmScene

Thomasin McKenzie, Roman Griffin Davis and Taika Waititi in ‘Jojo Rabbit.’ — film still

Published Friday, Nov. 8

Nazis are bad, right? Right. Taika Waititi assumes you already understand this if you’re sitting down to watch his latest film, Jojo Rabbit.

If you know anything about this movie, it’s that it’s about a kid who has Adolf Hitler as an imaginary friend. Maybe you even heard that it’s directed by the Thor: Ragnarok guy. Oh, and it’s divisive as hell. Kind of inevitable, right, when you focus your tragicomedy on Nazis — even if you slap the tagline “An Anti-Hate Satire” on the poster? Continue reading…

‘Don’t do this’: Rompot residents protest Cargill’s plan for a new Cedar Rapids rail yard at City Planning Commission meeting

Cargill rail car on railroad siding in Cedar Rapids, Aug. 29, 2019.– Zak Neumann/Little Village

Published Friday, Nov. 8

A closely divided Cedar Rapids City Planning Commission (CPC) voted on Thursday to recommend approval of Cargill’s plan to build a 200-car rail yard along Stewart Road next to the Rompot neighborhood and near Prairie Park Fishery. The vote came at the end of a nearly four-hour meeting, during which many Rompot residents spoke out against the plan.

The rail yard plan is now headed to the Cedar Rapids City Council for final approval. A previous Cargill plan was withdrawn in August after the city council declined to vote on the CPC recommendation that the rail yard be declared an “essential service.” Continue reading…

Now on stands: Little Village issue 274 — the 2019 Give Guide

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