Recently, the state of Iowa’s highest paid public employee has been in the news for understandably trying to keep his budget tidy by politely declining his family’s share of road maintenance costs.
The battle between the Ferentz family and his neighbors is a rivalry that has all of the tenacity and tenure of the Iowa-Nebraska football rivalry that has been in place since the good ole’ days of 2011. This rivalry is so much more than that, however, as it was created by years of animosity from both parties instead of being completely fabricated by two Big 10 west teams desperately searching for meaning in a weak, watered-down division.
To truly understand the cause of this suburban rivalry, we must look back to when the Ferentzes moved to town. Shortly after moving to Iowa City, Kirk and his wife preferred to keep the road near their property maintained with gravel, much to the chagrin of their neighbors.
According to Deadspin, the neighbors weren’t as charmed. One said that “The gravel was horrible. It was constantly washing out. It was enormously dusty. It was messy and would blow across fields. It was frankly hazardous to your car.”
More offenses followed, including lack of maintenance on the road, overgrown trees, an imposing deer fence, and post-game meetings upon where assistant coaches cars’ blocked the neighbors driveways.
Additionally, incredibly loud sounds of gum chewing were recorded emanating from the Ferentz home, some of which were measured by neighbors at an astounding 118 decibels, and noise complaints were frequent after losses thanks in part to an inconsolable and often intoxicated Ed Podolak refusing to move from Kirk’s front lawn until he received an explanation for the Hawkeyes’ poor showing.
Even more controversy, and what has landed Captain Kirk in the news, followed when the Ferentzes refused to join a homeowners association in 2015, which was created to address the road problem.
WRNL has now gained exclusive details of a July incident between Kirk and his neighbors, and the explosive details are sure to dump accelerant on an already raging fire.
It was reported that during one wretchedly hot July day, Kirk’s neighbor decided that lemonade would provide a welcome respite from the afternoon heat.
The neighbor’s young children set up a lemonade stand in the driveway of their home, and it was soon a very busy stand indeed. Kirk and his wife noticed the commotion, and approached to see what the loitering was all about.
Kirk, who was exhausted after an afternoon of not doing any yard work, quickly became outraged over the $0.50 price being charged for a glass of the freshly-squeezed lemonade.
“He was absolutely outraged and shocked that they didn’t offer low-income discounts on the lemonade,” one neighbor said. Another was shocked by his demeanor as he argued with the children. “After his initial outburst, he just stood there, staring a hole through the children, smacking his gum very loudly and saying nothing. Eventually, he just walked away, clapping his hands as he returned to his house”.
Talk of the incident has now swirled about the neighborhood. When Mary, Kirk’s wife, was asked if she was concerned about her husbands unwillingness to pay the children for their refreshing lemonade, she responded: “No, you don’t understand who we are.”
Can the ongoing incidents in the Ferentz neighborhood truly be chalked up to Kirk’s desire to be as frugal as possible with his meager earnings? Will the cost of the neighborhood struggles over gravel road maintenance force the Ferentzes to move and seek affordable, subsidized housing?
It is also possible that Kirk simply views his neighbors as yet another Big 10 rival to conquer. If so, maybe the battle between Kirk and his neighbors should be televised on Black Friday, a move that would give the Big 10 their first entertaining day-after-Thanksgiving match-up in years.