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Archive for May 14th, 2008|Daily archive page

Cedar Rapids police officers just gave up beloved 12-hour shifts: New chief’s Fla. department just adopted them

In City Hall, Police Department on May 14, 2008 at 8:43 pm

In passing this week, Cedar Rapids’ new police chief, Greg Graham, was asked some basic facts about the department he is leaving in Ocala, Fla.

It has 250 employees, including 160 sworn officers; Cedar Rapids’ department has 258 employees, including 201 sworn officers.

Ocala has a population of about 52,000; Cedar Rapids, about 125,000.

An influx of people into Ocala during the workday is why the size of the Police Department there is proportionately larger per population than the Cedar Rapids department, Graham suggested.

As for the shift schedule of police officers, Graham reported that the Ocala department had just moved its officers to 12-hour shifts.

“At my urging,” he said.

This has to be music to the ears of Cedar Rapids’ street officers, who by and large loved the 3-day work week with 12-hour days. The city changed to 4-day, 10-hour days for street officers in January.

Graham noted that what might be good for Ocala wouldn’t necessarily be good for Cedar Rapids and vice versa. But he said, too, that he open to “a new airing” of matters at what he said was already a good Cedar Rapids department.

The hometown paper, The Ocala Star-Banner, said nice things today about Graham.

Go to this address to see:

 http://www.ocala.com/article/20080514/NEWS/805140321/1025/NEWS&title=OPD_s_Graham_takes_Iowa_job

Also, see a Gazette story on last summer’s City Hall decision to move from 12-hour to 10-hour police shifts: http://www.gazetteonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070810/NEWS/70810004&SearchID=73317731865355

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Chuck Swore had dam idea first; he lives, though another Chuck occupies his former council seat

In Chuck Swore, Chuck Wieneke, City Hall, Downtown District on May 14, 2008 at 5:29 pm

The City Council this evening is expected to pick between two accomplished design firms for the job of creating a master plan for one of the council’s top priorities — riverfront redevelopment.

In front of the council last week, one of the design firms, Sasaki Associates Inc., Watertown, Mass., took a risk and showed off some concepts for how the riverfront could change.

They talked about turning First Avenue West along the river into a “great boulevard” with trees on each side and in the middle and how multistory buildings would go up on the west side of the boulevard and face the river.

They also had a pretty image of an open-air riverfront amphitheater, on the west side of the river, just upriver from the Police Department.

It was the third idea and image that had some on the council remembering former District 4 council member Chuck Swore without even mentioning him by name.

That idea, which Gina Ford from Sasaki even called kind of out there, involved moving the dam above the downtown to below the downtown. Such a move would raise the level of the Cedar River through the downtown and create a still pool of water there. People then could the river right in the downtown for boating and even skating in winter, was the thought. Raising the river, too, would make people actually see the river. Now, it is mostly out of sight as it runs through downtown, Ford and her colleague, Mark Dawson said.

Swore on numerous occasions talked about the very idea of a dam below the downtown that would raise the water level up in the downtown.

In recent days, Swore, though, said he would keep the present dam in place and build a new dam further downriver to accomplish the task.

By the way, Swore reports he’s doing fine. Even in his council campaign last year, he was excited about the idea of a new museum in the city to memorialize the city’s contribution to engineering and science — Art Collins and all that.

And don’t be surprised to see that idea emerge at some point. Swore also is working with a local developers’ group, pushing its ideas.

Swore served two years on the city’s first council under the city’s new council/manager government. He was defeated last fall for the west-side District 4 council seat by Chuck Wieneke.