The Gazette Daily News Podcast

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A bite-sized dose of weather, local news, and national news from The Gazette in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. You can also subscribe via your Amazon Alexa by saying "Alexa, enable the Gazette Daily News skill," then you can listen daily by saying "Alexa, what's the news?"

The Gazette


    • Jul 30, 2021 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekdays NEW EPISODES
    • 3m AVG DURATION
    • 247 EPISODES


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    Latest episodes from The Gazette Daily News Podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 30

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 30, 2021 3:16

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Friday, July 30. The weather is going to be a bit weird Friday. Widespread haze caused by massive forest fires on the west coast could thicken into areas of smoke after 4 p.m. When the sun does poke its way through, it is expected to be partly sunny, with a high near 81 degrees. Showers and thunderstorms are likely Friday night into Saturday morning, but rainfall is not expected to be significant except in areas of thunderstorm development. Jury deliberations that appeared headed for a mistrial instead brought emotions of relief for Chris Bagley's family Thursday, as a jury eventually found Drew Blahnik guilty of his killing. The jury deliberated for nearly three days before finding Blahnik, https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/savage-stabbing-of-chris-bagley-was-planned-and-calculated-prosecutor-says/ (originally charged with first-degree murder), guilty of the lesser charge of second-degree murder in the 2018 killing. Jurors also found him guilty as charged of obstruction of prosecution and abuse of a corpse. About an hour after they started Thursday morning, jurors sent a note to 6th Judicial District Judge Christopher Bruns, saying they were deadlocked because one juror wasn't following the court's instructions and the law. They said they took a vote and it was 11-1. They initially said further deliberations wouldn't help. But Judge Bruns, after talking with defense lawyers and prosecutors, sent a note back telling the jurors to continue deliberations to reach a unanimous verdict. The jury informed the court attendant it had a verdict after 3:30 p.m. Iowa City police charged Andre Roberts Jr., 19, of Cedar Rapids after police https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/police-investigating-shots-fired-in-downtown-iowa-city-on-ped-mall/ (said he fired several shots at the Iowa City Pedestrian Mall on July 25). He was charged with attempted murder, use of a dangerous weapon in the commission of a crime, intimidation with a dangerous weapon and carrying dangerous weapons while being ineligible to do so. Police said the shooter fired several shots in an alley behind the Fieldhouse bar at about 1:10 a.m., striking a 24-year-old woman and 17-year-old man. Both sustained non-life-threatening injuries, according to police. The shooting occurred hours after the Iowa City Downtown Block Party concluded. Police said the investigation into the shooting continues as it searches for others involved. On Thursday night Joe Wieskamp and Luka Garza became the first two Iowa Hawkeyes drafted by NBA teams in the same year since 1998. Both were taken in the second round of the NBA Draft. Wieskamp, a 6-foot-7 forward, decided to turn professional after his junior season with the Hawkeyes. He was taken by the San Antonio Spurs with the 41st pick of the draft. Garza, the National Player of the Year in his senior season after surprising some by spurning the NBA to return to Iowa City, went 52nd, to the Detroit Pistons. Iowa has not had a player selected in the first round since Ricky Davis, also in 1998. With the Iowa football season rapidly approaching, there will be more Hawkeye news to come soon. If you want to have the latest football insights emailed directly to you, sign up for Leah Vann's exclusive weekly Talkin' Hawks newsletter at thegazette.com/hawks Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon https://www.thegazette.com/topic?eid=121774&ename=Alexa&lang=en (Alexa) enabled device to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your daily briefing by simply saying “Alexa, what's the news? If you prefer podcasts, you can also find us on iTunes or wherever else you find your Podcasts. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 29

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 29, 2021 4:09

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, July 29. Another sunny, hot day Thursday, with the wind picking up slightly. According to the National Weather Service, it should be mostly sunny in the Cedar Rapids area with a high near 92 degrees. A wind of 10 mph could gust as high as 20 mph. Storms and thunderstorms may arrive on Friday and Saturday, but this far out predictions tend to be less accurate. Gov. Kim Reynolds on Wednesday again urged Iowans to get vaccinated as the best defense against COVID-19 and its variants, but expressed frustration with changing federal mask guidelines she said are “counterproductive” in conveying a consistent message. Speaking to reporters, the governor said she has not seen data to support new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending that even vaccinated people who live in communities with elevated transmission rates again wear masks indoors. Mhttps://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#county-view (any — but not all — counties in Iowa are rated as having substantial or high rates of virus transmission.) According to state data released Wednesday, Iowa has seen an average of 308 new COVID-19 cases a day over the last week — the highest it has been in over two months. CDC data indicates nearly half of Iowa's 99 counties are facing substantial or high COVID-19 spread. Over a million people are expected to attend the Iowa State Fair next month, where there are no mask or vaccine requirements. The Iowa Board of Regents unanimously approved tuition increases Wednesday for students at Iowa's three state universities, citing the need to maintain quality, affordable and accessible education despite stagnant state funding. Starting this fall, Iowa resident undergraduate students at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University will pay 3.5 percent more in tuition and resident and non-resident undergrads at the University of Northern Iowa will pay 1.5 percent more, according the final vote on tuition increases. The Board of Regents also voted Wednesday to name the field at Kinnick Stadium after Duke Slater.  Slater was a tackle for Iowa from 1918 to 1921, leading the Hawkeyes to a conference title and a mythical national championship in his final year. He was the first Black student-athlete in school history to earn All-America honors. He later earned a UI law degree while playing in the NFL and became one of Chicago's first Black judges. Slater, who died at 67 in 1966, was recently inducted into the https://www.profootballhof.com/players/duke-slater/ (Pro Football Hall of Fame) as a member of its 2020 centennial class and already had been named to the National Iowa Varsity Club Hall of Fame and Iowa Sports Hall of Fame. In 1951, he was the first Black player inducted into the National Football Foundation's College Hall of Fame. The city of Cedar Rapids is asking residents to help select a new city flag as a symbol of community pride. Residents may view four flag designs and read the symbolism descriptions before ranking their top choices at https://www.cedar-rapids.org/discover_cedar_rapids/city_flag/index.php (cityofcr.com/cityflag) through Aug. 31. The option residents rank highest will become the new official city flag. I can't really describe the flags to you very well in this medium, except that all 4 designs are blue, green, and white; all of them have a single star; and all were vetted by members of the North American Vexillological Association.  The city's old flag design became the source of negative attention after podcaster Roman Mars featured it as an example of what not to do in flag design in his TED talk on the aforementioned topic. With the Iowa football season rapidly approaching, there will be more Hawkeye news to come soon. If you want to have the latest football insights emailed directly to you, sign up for Leah Vann's exclusive weekly Talkin' Hawks newsletter... Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 28

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 28, 2021 4:22

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Wednesday, July 28. Wednesday is set to be the hottest day in an already hot week. According to the National Weather Service, it should be mostly sunny and hot, with a high near 96 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area. Heat index values could reach as high as 105. Wednesday night it will stay mostly clear, with a low around 76 degrees.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course Tuesday on masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing them indoors in parts of the country — including some counties in Iowa — where the Delta variant of the coronavirus is fueling surges. Citing new information about the variant's ability to spread among vaccinated people, the CDC also recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors at K-12 schools nationwide, regardless of vaccination status and regardless of the rate of community spread. Republican Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds rejected the guidance soon after it was issued, criticizing the Democratic Biden administration for confusing and unnecessary messages. "The Biden Administration's new COVID-19 guidance telling fully vaccinated Iowans to now wear masks is not only counterproductive to our vaccination efforts, but also not grounded in reality or common sense," Reynolds said in a statement. She did not explain how asking people to wear a mask discourages vaccinations. But she added she was concerned the federal guidance could result in mask mandates for schools. Reynolds signed a law in May that prohibits local officials from requiring masks be worn in schools or businesses. Iowa ranks lower than the national average when it comes to the rate of vaccinations, with about 47 percent of the population, or 1.47 million Iowans, fully vaccinated. Like many states, vaccination interest here has stagnated. After twice voting to support a controversial housing development proposed near Hickory Hill Park, the Iowa City Council reversed course Tuesday night and rejected a rezoning that would have allowed homes and a senior living center and added land to the park. A reversal on the third consideration of the Hickory Trail Estates development came after council members heard and read an onslaught of opposition to the project, although it had been scaled back from its initial proposal. Council members heard an hour of public comment from residents Tuesday evening, with all who spoke aside from the developer in opposition. The project was proposed by developer Joseph Clark, Nelson Development and Axiom Consultants. Residents have cited concerns that the development's proximity to the park would disrupt the ecosystem and aesthetics of the park. Hickory Trail Estates was to include 41 lots of single-family housing and a senior living facility, and add 14 acres to the nearby Hickory Hill Park. A mine resistant ambush protected vehicle, shared by Johnson County law enforcement agencies, will remain an option for the Iowa City Police Department, for the moment, as the Iowa City Council considers alternatives to the armored transport vehicle. The vehicle, known as an MRAP, was purchased by the Johnson County Sheriff's Office in 2014. Residents have decried the use of the vehicle, saying its use is unnecessary and a needless militarization of the police. Local law enforcement has pushed back, saying that they need an armored vehicle option to help protect officers in dangerous situations. The Johnson County Board of Supervisors has also https://www.press-citizen.com/story/news/local/eastern-iowa/2021/06/16/mrap-johnson-county-considers-getting-rid-military-police-vehicle-mine-resistant-ambush-protection/7686785002/ (directed Johnson County Sheriff Brad Kunkel) to consider an alternative option to the MRAP. The council asked city staff to communicate with the county government on their plans for exploring an alternative option, and... Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 27

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 27, 2021 3:20

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Tuesday, July 27. Tuesday's weather will fit the mold for most of this week: sunny, humid, and hot. According to the National Weather Service we can expect a high of 94 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area with sunny skies. The sky will remain clear Tuesday evening, with a low of 73 degrees. After more than a half-year of decline, the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Iowa has been increasing in recent weeks despite widespread availability of a vaccine. With large public gatherings such as RAGBRAI and the Iowa State Fair looming — and another school year set to start in roughly two months — public health officials are expressing concern that the trend could worsen. Their message echoes in unison: If you have not already, get the COVID-19 vaccine. Nearly all new hospitalizations from COVID-19 — more than 97 percent nationwide — are of unvaccinated individuals, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After a good start, Iowa's vaccination efforts have stalled in recent months, lingering at 55 percent for those age 12 and older. The emergence of the COVID-19 Delta variant has added to public health officials' consternation. The new variant appears to be even more transmissible than the original virus, and appears to be having a greater impact on young people. Linn County Public Health is offering $50 Walmart gift cards to residents receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at walk-in clinics taking place this week. Public health officials are offering the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible residents aged 12 years and older at five Cedar Rapids Community School District schools through Friday. The gift card offer one of the first major incentive programs offered locally since the shots became widely available earlier this year. All occupants safely escaped a North Liberty fire on Sunday. According to a city news release, the North Liberty Fire Department was called to a fire at 2:13 p.m. Sunday at 1557 Burr Dr. Authorities said neighbors had discovered a fire outside of the home and alerted the residents. Crews knocked down the fire, which sped through the eaves and into the attic of the townhouse. It was brought under control within 26 minutes of firefighters arriving on scene. A cat was also rescued. Iowa announced contract extensions for nine of its head coaches on Monday. The nine coaches receiving contract extensions were men's basketball coach Fran McCaffery, wrestling coach Tom Brands, women's basketball coach Lisa Bluder, soccer coach Dave Dilanni, field hockey coach Lisa Cellucci, softball coach Renee Gillispie, baseball coach Rick Heller, women's golf coach Megan Menzel and women's tennis coach Sasha Schmid. With the Iowa football season rapidly approaching, there will be more Hawkeye news to come soon. If you want to have the latest football insights emailed directly to you, sign up for Leah Vann's exclusive weekly Talkin' Hawks newsletter at thegazette.com/hawks Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon https://www.thegazette.com/topic?eid=121774&ename=Alexa&lang=en (Alexa) enabled device to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your daily briefing by simply saying “Alexa, what's the news? If you prefer podcasts, you can also find us on iTunes or wherever else you find your Podcasts. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 26

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 26, 2021 1:40

    This is John McGlothlen with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, July 26th. For our weather today in the Cedar Rapids area, we're expecting it to be sunny with a high near 90. Winds from the south around 5 mph eventually. Then tonight, mostly clear, with a low around 68.  Iowa City police are investigating after gunfire erupted early Sunday on the Pedestrian Mall in Iowa City. Police said shots were fired around 1:10 a.m. after a fight broke out among several people in an alley behind the Fieldhouse bar - just hours after the Iowa City Downtown Block Party wrapped up. Police said one person fired several shots with a handgun into the crowd and a 24-year-old woman and 17-year-old boy were struck. They both sustained what appear to be non-life-threatening injuries. No arrests have been made. Police released a video of the incident and are asking for help identifying those involved. The video can be viewed at thegazette.com. A motorcyclist was seriously injured Saturday in a single-vehicle crash on Highway 30 in southwest Cedar Rapids. Cedar Rapids police said they and firefighters were dispatched at 5:19 p.m. to Highway 30 westbound, just east of the Williams Boulevard SW exit. First responders found an unconscious 52-year-old man about 30 feet down the embankment. The man received emergency medical care and was transported to UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's Hospital with “serious, potentially life-threatening injuries.” Get hot takes, newsletter exclusives, weekly food reviews and more in our weekly Talkin' Hawks newsletter. Sign up today at thegazette.com/talkinhawks Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 24 and July 25

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 24, 2021 3:37

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Saturday July 24 and Sunday July 25. It's going to be a hot weekend. According to the National Weather Service there will be a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 5 p.m. on Saturday, but besides that it will be sunny and muggy both Saturday and Sunday. The high on Saturday is expected to be 94 degrees, with a heat index near 103 degrees. On Sunday the high is expected to be 92 degrees, with sunny skies. One week after the first-degree murder trial began in Linn County District Court, prosecutors Friday rested their case against Drew Blahnik, 34. He is accused of stabbing to death Chis Bagley inside a trailer in December 2018 in a revenge plot hatched by a drug dealer named Andrew Shaw who was angry that Bagley had robbed him. Shaw is now in jail on separate drug-related charges. Blahnik testified to stabbing Bagley, but said that he had stabbed him to death in self defense during a dispute because he thought Bagley was armed with a gun. When asked why he needed to stab Bagley more than a dozen times if it was self defense, Blahnik said he was familiar with instances where stabbing someone does not fully incapicitate them. The defense will start presenting its case Monday. A Coralville City Council member will seek to become the community's first female mayor. Meghann Foster announced Friday that she is running for the open mayor seat in the fall election. Coralville Mayor John Lundell announced this week he will not https://www.thegazette.com/local-government/coralville-mayor-john-lundell-wont-seek-reelection/ (seek a fifth term.) A 20-year Coralville resident, Foster was elected to the city council in 2017. She is the community engagement coordinator for the Domestic Violence Intervention Program and an educator at the University of Iowa's School of Journalism and Mass Communication. A woman was shot during a dispute involving a group of people Thursday evening. Police say they were called to the 1100 block of Arthur Street — in southeast Iowa City, south of Muscatine Avenue — at around 11:25 p.m. According to police the shooting grew out of a dispute involving a group of people when one person shot at several others, striking the woman. Witnesses reported seeing people leave the scene in separate vehicles after the shooting. The woman was taken to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics with non-life-threatening injuries, police said. She is not cooperating with police in the investigation at this time. Big Ten football media days continued on Friday, and Iowa received five first-place votes and was picked No. 2 overall in the Big Ten West in https://www.cleveland.com/osu/2021/07/ohio-state-football-voted-unanimous-2021-big-ten-favorite-in-clevelandcom-preseason-poll.html (a preseason Big Ten media poll from Cleveland.com). Wisconsin received 29 first-place votes at No. 1 and Northwestern ranked No. 3. When asked about COVID-19 vaccination rates, Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said that about 70 percent of his players are vaccinated, and he is vaccinated as well. However, despite health concerns and the inconvenience of players missing time, he said he will not be requiring the vaccine. There will be more Hawkeye news to come. If you want to have the latest football insights emailed directly to you, sign up for Leah Vann's exclusive weekly Talkin' Hawks newsletter at thegazette.com/hawks Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon https://www.thegazette.com/topic?eid=121774&ename=Alexa&lang=en (Alexa) enabled device to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your daily briefing by simply saying “Alexa, what's the news? If you prefer podcasts, you can also find us on iTunes or wherever else you find your Podcasts. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 23

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 23, 2021 3:29

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Friday, July 23. There could be a hazy start to your Friday morning. According to the National Weather Service there could be widespread haze and the smell of smoke tied to wildfires on the west coast. Afters this, it should be sunny and humid, with a high of 91 degrees. Former U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer said Thursday that she still sees “a lot to fight for” and this time she hopes to take the fight to U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley. Finkenauer launched her Democratic campaign on Thursday, challenging for a senate seat in 2022. Grassley, her presumptive opponent, has not said yet whether he'll seek an eighth term in 2022, but if he does he will likely be the favorite in the coming race.  Earlier this year Jim Carlin, a Republican state senator from Sioux City, announced he would be running for Grassley's spot, but this also will likely be affected by Grassley's decision. Finkenauer was defeated after one term in congress last year in Iowa's northern 1st congressional district. It was a historically bad election year for Democrats, with a bungled Iowa Caucus to start the year and election defeats at nearly every level. Finkenauer hopes she can be part of a return to success for Iowa Democrats in what has traditionally been considered a swing state.  Finkenauer joins two other Democrats who want their party's Senate nomination in the statewide race — Manning farmer and cattleman and former county Supervisor Dave Muhlbauer and Glenn Hurst of Minden.  According to the Associated Press, one of two Iowa prison https://apnews.com/article/ia-state-wire-coronavirus-pandemic-health-ce76f739757bba5a82987875897639d2 (nurses fired) for giving dozens of Fort Madison inmates large overdoses of the coronavirus vaccine is appealing her termination, arguing she is “blameless" for the mix-up. The Iowa Department of Corrections fired Amanda Dodson, a registered nurse at the maximum-security Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, after an investigation found https://apnews.com/article/health-iowa-prisons-coronavirus-509612f3cf96ed86ab98ab679f1d60b5 (77 inmates) received shots containing up to six times the recommended dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Dodson's termination letter, obtained by the Associated Press through an open records request, blamed her for “improper COVID vaccination procedures” that resulted in inmates receiving overdoses on April 20. Although some inmates suffered negative symptoms, all of them eventually recovered without long term effects. The union helping Dodson with her appeal said that the mixup occurred when the prison abruptly switched from the Moderna vaccine to the Pfizer vaccine, without properly training staff about the change in dosage. We'll end with some good news. Marion's cost of recovery from last year's derecho is $11 million less than an earlier estimate. https://www.thegazette.com/government-politics/cedar-rapids-taps-funds-marion-seeks-loan-while-awaiting-fema-money-for-derecho-cleanup/ (In late January,) the city estimated the cost of derecho cleanup would be up to $43 million. This week, a new estimate put the cost at around $32 million. City officials said Thursday that they are considering borrowing less money than they initially planned, which will help their financial flexibility long term. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 22

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 22, 2021 4:00

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, July 22. The chance for rain has passed, but what remains is heat and humidity. According to the National Weather Service, it will be mostly sunny and humid Thursday with a high near 89 degrees. Adding to this will be hazy skies Thursday night and Friday morning as the smoke from several west coast wildfires is reaching midwestern states. A teenage girl who took advanced classes and played on her high school basketball team was found dead this week with a bullet wound in a crashed car she had borrowed while visiting her older sister in Cedar Rapids. Cedar Rapids police on Wednesday identified Tyliyah Whitis, 15, of Peoria, Ill, as the teen who was discovered Tuesday morning in the one-car crash outside the Hawthorne Hills apartment complex in the 2200 block of C Street SW. Police said Whitis had been shot at least once and the vehicle had sustained significant damage. Cedar Rapids public safety spokesperson Greg Buelow said the cause and manner of death has not yet been determined — that will come from the State Medical Examiner's Office following an autopsy. But police are investigating the death as a homicide. Whitis's sister, T'yanna Nesby, told the Gazette that Whitis was a straight A student back in Peoria, who worked two jobs and wanted to one day start her own business. Forty Iowans, including some from the Cedar Rapids area, had to undergo treatment for rabies after they were potentially in contact with a rabid bat at a zoo in Omaha. More than 180 individuals were advised to receive the rabies post-exposure prophylaxis, which contains the rabies vaccine, after a wild bat was found near a person attending one of the Henry Doorly Zoo's multiple overnight campouts at the aquarium earlier this month. A total of 186 overnight campers, including youth and adult groups, were contacted by the Nebraska public health department, the https://omaha.com/news/local/186-overnight-campers-at-omaha-zoo-potentially-exposed-to-rabid-bat-found-in-aquarium/article_2be933ac-e0ec-11eb-8d6a-3f93e96f2121.html (Omaha World-Herald reported). Public health officials in Nebraska recommended all campers who stayed at the zoo overnight June 29, June 30, July 2 and July 3 receive the treatment. As it promised, University of Iowa Health Care plans to reward more than 12,000 employees it required over the last year to either forfeit raises, absorb pay cuts, shed earned vacation time or take unpaid leave to ease its budget woes in the worst throes of COVID-19. The one-time lump sum payments — coming Sept. 1 if approved next week by the Board of Regents — will vary in amount depending on the eligible worker's base salary as of June 30, 2021, according to documents made public this week.  In total, UIHC expects to pay out $26.6 million to over 12,000 eligible employees based on a projected hospital operating margin of over 7 percent for the budget year that ended June 30.  Luka Garza has been selected as the 2020-21 Big Ten Jesse Owens Male Athlete of the Year, the league announced Wednesday. Garza is the fifth Hawkeye chosen as the male winner in the past 35 years, joining wrestlers Brent Metcalf (2008), Barry Davis (1985) and Ed Banach (1983), as well as football player Chuck Long (1986). Minnesota senior diver Sarah Bacon was recognized as the Female Athlete of the Year. Do you like Hawkeye football? Well with the next season coming up soon sign up for Leah Vann's exclusive weekly Talkin' Hawks newsletter at TheGaz DOT C-O SLASH talkin hawks Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon https://www.thegazette.com/topic?eid=121774&ename=Alexa&lang=en (Alexa) enabled device to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your daily briefing by simply saying “Alexa, what's the news? If you prefer podcasts, you can also find us on iTunes or wherever else you find your... Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 21

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 21, 2021 3:48

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Wednesday, July 21. Yesterday I mentioned that there likely wouldn't be any sign of rain until the end of the week. Well, that's sort of still true, if by the end of the week you substitute in the end of Wednesday. According to the National Weather Service there will be a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Cedar Rapids area. This chance will go down as the evening progresses. Besides that, it should be mostly sunny, with a high near 86 degrees.  Police are investigating after a 15-year-old girl was found dead with gunshot wounds in a vehicle Tuesday morning in southwest Cedar Rapids. According to the Cedar Rapids Police Department, officers were called just before 6:30 a.m. to the Hawthorne Hills apartment complex — in the 2200 block of C Street SW — for reports of a single-vehicle crash. When they arrived, police said they found a vehicle with extensive damage and a teenage girl in the driver's seat. Police said the girl was dead and had what appeared to be gunshot wounds. The name of the girl is being withheld pending notification of the family. The investigation is ongoing, police said, adding that the preliminary investigation indicates the shooting likely was a targeted incident. Deficits that the University of Iowa and Iowa State University projected for their athletics operations over the last pandemic-plagued season were not as steep as feared, according to newly released Board of Regents budget documents. To be sure, the Hawkeyes and Cyclones did lose millions in the fiscal year that ended June 30, the records show. Still, Hawkeye income was $35.8 million above expectations and Cyclone income was $15 million better than anticipated. University of Northern Iowa Athletics, which is not self-sufficient like at the larger schools, ended fiscal 2021 about $3 million over budget. That UNI positive balance in large part came thanks to a spike in support from the main campus — which increased its athletics funding from a budgeted $3.2 million to nearly $8 million. More than 40 percent of Alliant Energy's power sold in Iowa during 2020 came from renewable sources, according to a report released Tuesday, as the company continues toward its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The 43.8 percent of Iowa power from utilities in 2020 was up from 26.5 percent in 2019 and 9.9 percent in 2018. The company announced goals last year to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and eliminate use of coal by 2040. Alliant also unveiled its plans to plant 1 million trees — or about one tree per customer — in Iowa and Wisconsin over the next decade.  The Linn County Sheriff's Office has identified the man who was https://www.thegazette.com/crashes/1-killed-1-injured-in-two-vehicle-wreck-monday-morning-in-linn-county/ (killed Monday in a two-vehicle wreck) near Central City and Alburnett as 62-year-old Larry Hullerman, of Waterloo. The sheriff's office said Hullerman was pronounced dead at the scene Monday morning after the vehicle he was driving was struck by a vehicle that had run a stop sign at Central City and Alburnett roads. Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon https://www.thegazette.com/topic?eid=121774&ename=Alexa&lang=en (Alexa) enabled device to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your daily briefing by simply saying “Alexa, what's the news? If you prefer podcasts, you can also find us on iTunes or wherever else you find your Podcasts. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 20

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 20, 2021 3:06

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Tuesday, July 20. This week should remain free of rain until the weekend. According to the National Weather Service it will be sunny in the Cedar Rapids area with a high of 90 degrees. Tuesday night it will be mostly clear, with a low around 68. A Cedar Rapids man already convicted of his role in the 2018 fatal stabbing of Chris Bagley testified Monday for the prosecution — telling jurors about how defendant Drew Blahnik carried out the killing on behalf of their mutual drug dealer as revenge for robberies. Drew Wagner told the jury that he and Blahnik intended to confront Bagley at the mobile home of a mutual acquaintance due to Bagley robbing drugs and money from a Cedar Rapids drug dealer named Andrew Shaw. After a scuffle, Wagner said he held Bagley as Blahnik stabbed him to death. The stabbing was chaotic enough that Wagner was stabbed in the hand during the incident. Wagner has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter for his role in the stabbing. His testimony will continue on Tuesday. https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/manager-of-large-drug-trafficking-ring-related-to-chris-bagleys-death-sentenced-to-nearly-8-years/ (Shaw has been convicted in federal court of marijuana trafficking.) The charges stemmed from the Bagley investigation, but Shaw has not been charged in this case. He remains in federal prison. One person died and another was injured in a two-vehicle crash Monday morning in Linn County near Central City and Alburnett. An unidentified male driver was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Linn County Sheriff's Office. His identity is being withheld pending notification of the family. The sheriff's office said Eric Caryl, 42, of Coggon, was driving south on Alburnett Road when he “failed to stop at the stop sign” at Alburnett and Central City roads and crashed his vehicle into another that was headed east on Central City Road and driven by the male occupant. Police found more than 50 shell casings when responding to a shots- fired incident early Sunday in Iowa City. According to the Iowa City Police Department, officers were called just after 4 a.m. to the 500 block of South Scott Boulevard for reports of multiple gunshots. Iowa City Police Capt. Denise Brotherton, commander of the Field Operation Division, said 911 dispatchers at the Johnson County Joint Emergency Communications Center fielded “five or six” 911 calls reporting gunfire. Investigators said evidence indicated more than 50 shots had been fired from multiple weapons. The initial investigation indicates the shooting was coming from more than one direction, Brotherton said. Police said vehicles and buildings in the area were damaged, but thankfully no injuries were reported. Brotherton said investigators still are working to determine the total extent of damage. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at iowaideas.com Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon https://www.thegazette.com/topic?eid=121774&ename=Alexa&lang=en (Alexa) enabled device to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your daily briefing by simply saying “Alexa, what's the news? If you prefer podcasts, you can also find us on iTunes or wherever else you find your Podcasts. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 19

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 19, 2021 2:00

    This is John McGlothlen with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, July 19th. Today in the Cedar Rapids area, we're expecting it to be mostly sunny with a high near 87. And tonight should be mostly clear, with a low around 66. Looking ahead, each day's high is forecast to be at or above 90. A woman has been charged with reckless use of a firearm causing bodily injury after a man was shot early Saturday morning, according to a Linn County criminal complaint. Cedar Rapids police said they were dispatched at 3:55 a.m. to the 1600 block of F Avenue NW, with information that a man had been shot. Officers found the man suffering from a non-life-threatening gunshot wound just above his hip. First responders provided medical aid before the man was transported to a hospital. Diana Depolis was taken into custody at the scene and charged with reckless use of a firearm causing bodily injury, a Class D felony when not a serious injury, and carrying a dangerous weapon while intoxicated, a serious misdemeanor. Speakers at a rally hosted by the Marion Alliance for Racial Equity said Saturday the city has changes to make to be more equitable and welcoming to people of color. The rally was attended by several dozen people lined up outside the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection near Butterfield Park. Speakers included Marion Alliance members, local faith leaders and students from Linn-Mar High School. Marion Alliance co-founder Janessa Carr, who spoke at the rally, told The Gazette the purpose of the event was to promote unity and understanding in Marion — while also raising attention about ongoing issues of inequity. The Marion Alliance for Racial Equity formed in July 2020 in the wake of nationwide protests against police violence and systemic racism. This was the first event the Marion Alliance has held this year. The group has worked with the Cedar Rapids Advocates for Social Justice and on the city's Community Equity Task Force, but Carr said rallies are an important way to take the message public and keep pressure on local officials. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 17 and July 18

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 17, 2021 3:29

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Saturday, July 17 and Sunday, July 18. Whether you are going to Latino Fest in Iowa City, the Bluegrass Festival in Kalona, or Solon Beef Days this weekend, the weather should be about as nice for getting out to do things we have seen in awhile. According to the National Weather Service Saturday should be sunny, with a high near 83 degrees. A northeast wind will blow at around 5 mph. Sunday it should also be sunny, with calm winds and a high of 86 degrees. In her opening statement as the Drew Blahnik murder trial began Friday, Assistant Linn County Attorney Jennifer Erger told a jury that a missing person case became a homicide case after Chris Bagley was killed in December 2018. Erger told the jury that an autopsy revealed that Bagley had been stabbed 17 times. Blahnik is accused of stabbing Bagley to death as he was held by another man because Bagley had stolen money and drugs from a local drug dealer. Drew Wagner, the man who was holding Bagley according to the prosecution, has already pleaded to a lesser crime and is cooperating against Blahnik. For his part, Blahnik admitted to the stabbing, but said it was done in self defense. The trial is expected to continue next week. A man died Friday evening in the Cedar River, where he had been swimming. Cedar Rapids firefighters were called to the river shortly before 5:30 p.m. near First Street and O Avenue NW. Witnesses told firefighters a man had entered the water to swim and had begun to struggle, “then went under the water and did not resurface.”  Firefighters launched three boats and, after 30 minutes of searching, found the man's body in approximately 10 feet of water, 15 feet from the shore, the news release stated. After nearly four years fighting certain religious student organizations on its campus over who can and can't be leaders, the University of Iowa on Friday lost again in federal court — with a panel of U.S. appellate judges blasting the institution for clear viewpoint discrimination. “What the university did here was clearly unconstitutional,” according to a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit. “It targeted religious groups for differential treatment under the human rights policy — while carving out exemptions and ignoring other violative groups with missions they presumably supported.” The InterVarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship — at the center of Friday's opinion — sued the UI in 2018 on the heels of an earlier lawsuit from another UI student organization named Business Leaders in Christ, or BLinC. That first lawsuit stemmed from the university's decision in 2017 to deregister BLinC for barring an openly gay member from becoming a leader because he refused to affirm the group's belief that same-sex relationships are against the Bible. BLinC in its lawsuit accused the university of selectively applying its human rights policy, pointing out many other UI groups — including Muslim groups, ethnic groups, political groups, fraternities and sororities — restrict leadership and membership based on gender, ethnicity or ideology. Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon https://www.thegazette.com/topic?eid=121774&ename=Alexa&lang=en (Alexa) enabled device to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your daily briefing by simply saying “Alexa, what's the news? If you prefer podcasts, you can also find us on iTunes or wherever else you find your Podcasts. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 16

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 16, 2021 3:36

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Friday, July 16. After a rainy week, Friday will begin a stretch of days with no chance of rain. According to the National Weather Service it will be mostly sunny Friday with a high near 81 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area. On Friday night it will be mostly clear, with near 61 degrees. More than 12 tornadoes carved paths across Iowa as severe storms Wednesday evening left flattened crops, broken trees and battered buildings in their wake, the National Weather Service reported Thursday. The weather service dispatched two survey teams to assess the damage and determine how severe the tornadoes were -- one assessing Calhoun and Hamilton counties and another assessing Bremer and Butler counties. But it said more survey teams could be added. Of the tornado reports made Thursday afternoon by the weather service -- showing the findings of some but not all of the assessments -- all were rated EF1 or lower, with maximum winds in the 86 to 110 mph range. Several were rated as unknown -- they touched down too briefly to leave significant damage. The severity scale for tornadoes goes from EF0 to EF5, which is the worst with winds of over 200 mph. Two Iowa murder trials were prominent in the news Thursday. On the day Cristhian Bahena Rivera had been scheduled to be sentenced after being found guilty of the murder of Mollie Tibbetts, lawyers discussed new evidence that had been presented by the defense. Assistant Attorney General Scott Brown said during a hearing that ahttps://apnews.com/article/mollie-tibbetts-murder-sentencing-delayed-fee8613fa81b660da8f2040b7af61024 ( 21-year-old man's alleged confession) that he helped kill Tibbetts after she was kidnapped and held at a house used for sex trafficking wasn't credible. “No evidence supports it. None. Zero,” Brown said. He told the court that information about the 21-year-old from two witnesses who came forward late in Behena Rivera's trial independently of one another was inconsistent with Bahena Rivera's own courtroom account of what happened. Bahena Rivera testified that he had been kidnapped the night of the murder and forced by two men to find Tibbetts out jogging, where he was then framed for her murder. The other witnesses claimed that Tibbetts had been held at the house and was only murdered after the publicity about her disappearance grew too intense. Back in Cedar Rapids, a jury has been selected and the murder trial will begin for Drew Blahnik.  Drew Blahnik, 34, of Cedar Rapids, is charged with first-degree murder, accused of fatally stabbing Bagley, of Walker, on Dec. 15, 2018, because Bagley had robbed a local drug dealer of drugs and money. The drug dealer, Andrew Shaw, has been accused by police of running a large marijuana operation, and he is serving time for charges separate from the murder. Two people from Missouri died when a small plane crashed into a cornfield in Muscatine County in Eastern Iowa, authorities said. The single-engine Piper went down Wednesday afternoon about 4 miles north of Muscatine, Sheriff Quinn Riess said. Daniel Slack, 68, and Sharon Slack, 69, of El Dorado Springs, Mo., died in the crash. Daniel Slack was superintendent of schools in Deerfield, Kan., from 2015 until he retired last year, KSNW-TV reported. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash. Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon https://www.thegazette.com/topic?eid=121774&ename=Alexa&lang=en (Alexa) enabled device to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your daily briefing by simply saying “Alexa, what's the news? If you prefer podcasts, you can also find us on iTunes or wherever else you find your Podcasts. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 15

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 15, 2021 4:09

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, July 15. After storms made their way mostly through central and Northern Iowa Wednesday, Thursday will be potentially another stormy day.  According to the National Weather Service, storm activity will be most likely between 2 and 8 p.m. Thursday, with an overall chance of precipitation at 60 percent. When it is not raining it should still be cloudy, with a high temperature of 81 degrees. A judge said Wednesday he'll delay sentencing the man convicted of killing University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts in 2018 after defense attorneys argued authorities withheld information about investigations into a nearby sex trafficking ring the lawyers say could have been involved in the fatal stabbing. Lawyers for 26-year-old Cristhian Bahena Rivera, filed a motion late Tuesday asking 8th Judicial District Judge Joel Yates to delay the hearing on sentencing and on their motion for new trial based on evidence involving sex trafficking “trap houses and kidnappings” in or near Poweshiek County. The hearings were set for Thursday, but the defense lawyers said they needed more time to prepare. At trial, Bahena Rivera testified in his own defense that he was kidnapped by two masked men who forced him to drive to where Tibbetts was jogging in Brooklyn, Iowa. One of them killed her, he testified, and put her body in the trunk of the car Bahena Rivera was driving. His defense attorneys have asserted that there are witnesses that support this story, including a witness who said Tibbetts had been killed by human traffickers who then framed Bahena Rivera. The prosecution maintains that Bahena Rivera's account is totally fictional, and the defense is cobbling together different witness accounts in an effort to craft a case. Several people were pulled from apartment windows and balconies Wednesday morning when a blaze erupted in a first-floor apartment at 1407 Third Ave. SE. The Cedar Rapids Fire Department said firefighters were called to the three-story apartment building at 7:39 a.m. When they arrived, firefighters found light smoke pushing from a first-floor apartment. According to the fire department, while one fire crew deployed hose lines to combat the blaze, other crews used fire escape ladders and deployed ground ladders to windows and balconies to help those on the second and third floors escape the building. Firefighters removed several people using ladders and fire escapes. Firefighters said the apartment where the fire ignited received “major damage.” The rest of the building received minor smoke damage. With new COVID-19 cases rising again in the United States and many still hesitating to get vaccinated, University of Iowa researchers are aiding national efforts to curb the disease with tools like an experimental nasal vaccine and gathering information to increase youth inoculations. In partnership with the University of Georgia, a University of Iowa team recently published promising findings showing a single-dose inhaled COVID-19 vaccine fully protected mice against lethal infections and also blocked animal-to-animal transmission. Those findings — https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/7/27/eabi5246 (published this month in the journal “Science Advances”) — could lead to a clinical trial in humans this fall. Unlike the vaccines in circulation that require injections, this vaccine is a nose spray like those used to prevent flu. It uses a harmless virus to deliver the coronavirus spike protein aimed at stimulating a protective immune response. That harmless virus is similar to common cold viruses and doesn't cause serious illness. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready... Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 14

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 14, 2021 3:39

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Wednesday, July 14. Tuesday gave us a break from the rain, but a one day break might be all we get. According to the National Weather Service rain, potentially in heavy amounts, is likely to fall in the Cedar Rapids area before Wednesday is done. A 30 percent chance for showers and thunderstorms are predicted for the area starting primarily after 3 p.m. Before that it should be partly sunny with a high near 90 degrees. On Wednesday night it will become windier and mostly cloudy, with a chance of precipitation at 70 percent. Up to 1 to 2 inches of rain could fall in total if conditions align for it. A transportation commission has established a buffer zone that would allow for the eventual widening of Interstate 380 to six lanes between North Liberty and Cedar Rapids. The Iowa Transportation Commission on Tuesday approved a Corridor Preservation Zone along I-380. Iowa Department of Transportation district transportation planner Cathy Cutler said the zone helps the DOT work with developers to ensure they don't build in an area needed to widen the interstate. Cutler said a section that would widen I-380 near North Liberty is planned for a 2024 start.  The COVID-19 pandemic has been a nightmare for university operations and budgets in Iowa, but recent numbers suggest it has been a boon for some researchers.  Both University of Iowa and Iowa State University this week reported new external funding records for the budget year that wrapped June 30. The University of Iowa — involved in coronavirus vaccine and treatment trials that have benefited the world — reported double-digit percentage spikes in several funding categories, starting with its 23 percent jump in total external funding, from https://www.thegazette.com/education/university-of-iowa-shatters-research-funding-records-amid-covid-19/ (last year's record-setting) $666.2 million to $818 million for fiscal 2021. Iowa State University — the state's other top-tier public research campus — soared past its previous total external funding record of $509.2 million in 2018 with a reported $559.1 million in the 2021 budget year. Iowa State also reported a COVID-19 related boost to their funding totals. A former Cedar Rapids school counselor was convicted Tuesday in federal court on a charge of enticing a 14-year-old student to have sex with her. 46-year-old https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/former-cedar-rapids-school-counselor-pleads-not-guilty-to-enticement-of-minor-and-gun-charges/ (Miranda Bohlken Breeden, of Monticello,) pleaded guilty to one count of enticement of a minor. During the plea hearing, Breeden admitted that she used a cellphone to entice the 14-year-old boy to engage in an illegal sex act between November 2019 and January 2020. She also admitted that based on the sex act she would have been charged with third-degree sexual abuse in state court. District officials last September confirmed she was placed on leave Jan. 22 and terminated July 31. She had been employed by the district since Aug. 12, 2019. The school district confirmed to investigators that Breeden was the counselor for the 14-year-old during the time she was employed. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at iowaideas.com  Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon https://www.thegazette.com/topic?eid=121774&ename=Alexa&lang=en (Alexa) enabled device to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your... Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 13

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 13, 2021 3:51

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Tuesday July 13. If you have something you absolutely must do without a chance for rain Tuesday is looking like your best shot before the end of the week rolls around. According to the National Weather Service it will be mostly sunny in the Cedar Rapids area with a high near 85 degrees. A southwest wind will blow from 5 to 10 mph. Tuesday night will also be mostly clear, with a low around 67 degrees. Drought conditions persist in some parts of Iowa, but substantial weekend rainstorms “took the edge off” concerns over developing corn and soybean crops, state officials said Monday. In fact, some parts of Iowa got more rain over the weekend than they did during the entire month of May State Climatologist Justin Glisan said a majority of Iowa's reporting stations observed above-average rainfall, with parts of southern Iowa measuring amounts from 1 to 3 inches above average. Weekly precipitation totals in inches ranged from 0.14 at Waterloo to 4.8 in Adair County. The statewide weekly average precipitation was 1.89 inches, while the normal is about 0.8. More rain is expected later this week. Iowans later this week will have access to free, at-home COVID-19 testing kits as state officials begin transitioning its Test Iowa program to a self-administered model. With these kits, Iowans can collect their own saliva and mail the sample directly to the State Hygienic Lab for testing, the Iowa Department of Public Health announced Monday. Results will be emailed to participants with 24 hours after it is received by the state lab. These kits, available this coming Friday, can be sent directly to a participant's home for free or picked up from a designated site.  State officials said https://www.testiowa.com/en (the Test Iowa website) will be updated “to facilitate the process for requesting test kits and will feature a test kit site locator tool.” It will include a list of approximately 125 pickup sites across the state. According to the Associated Press, agreements released Monday show Iowa is donating the use of state troopers and their equipment at “no cost to Texas” to pitch in along the U.S. border with Mexico. The agreements show Iowa troopers, members of an Iowa State Patrol tactical team that responds to high-risk situations, command staff and an investigator will be part of the deployment. The total number is redacted from the documents, but Iowa officials have said previously https://apnews.com/article/tx-state-wire-ia-state-wire-iowa-texas-immigration-48abe85ee633b52c6457665c9c3737f4 (they expect to send 25 to 30 officers) from the Iowa Department of Public Safety for a two-week mission this month. The smaller of two utility-scale solar energy projects being proposed in Linn County has formally applied for permission to build a 640-acre facility nearly 3 miles west of Coggon and supply enough electricity to meet the needs of over 16,000 homes on average. Coggon Solar LLC, a partnership between Clenera and Central Iowa Power Cooperative, filed an application last Friday, the county announced Monday. I approved and built, thttps://www.linncounty-ia.gov/DocumentCenter/View/16866/Coggon-Solar-LLC-Rezoning-Narrative (he plan) calls for generating 100 megawatts, for 35 years. Coggon Solar already has signed long-term leases with property owners to obtain the land required for the project, the application states. The land use now is farming. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at iowaideas.com  Be Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 12

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 12, 2021 2:25

    This is John McGlothlen with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, July 12th. Today, we'll have a slight chance of showers, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1 p.m. It will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 77. Winds from 5 to 10 mph are expected from the northeast. The chance of precipitation is 30%. Then tonight, we're expecting a 10% chance of showers and thunderstorms before 7 p.m. and a low around 63. A mixed martial arts fighter hanged himself in the Linn County Jail shortly after he had agreed to plead guilty to federal child pornography charges, according to authorities and court records. Travis Jon Fulton of Parkersburg, who went by “The Ironman” on the MMA fighting circuit, was identified Sunday as the inmate who about 4 a.m. Saturday was found unresponsive in a cell at the Linn County Jail, where he had been held on federal charges since Feb. 19th. Court records show initially he was indicted on charges he enticed a girl under age 18 to engage in sexual behavior that he photographed over the span of several years. In March, a federal grand jury expanded the indictment to add another victim, also a girl under 18. Besides the felony sexual exploitation charges, records show Fulton also faced charges of receiving and possessing child porn. A driver died Sunday afternoon in a single-vehicle crash on Highway 151 near Stone Road in Linn County. Linn County sheriff's deputies and the Marion Fire Department responded around 3:35 p.m. Deputies discovered a white 2006 Mercury Mountaineer upside-down in water under a bridge that is under construction. Witnesses reported seeing the vehicle, which was eastbound on Highway 151, leave the roadway and crash into the water. The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver's name is being withheld until next of kin can be notified. An Ohio woman is charged with sexual abuse after police say she established an online relationship with a 15-year-old Marion boy and had sexual relations with him on two occasions. 23-year-old Lena McGill, of Toledo, Ohio, traveled to meet the teenager in Marion twice in April, according to Marion Police. McGill helped him run away from home and they traveled to Missouri together, according to police. McGill dropped the boy off at a Walmart in Festus, Mo., and he was returned to Marion. Investigators recovered text messages, phone numbers and written correspondence that corroborated the teen's account of events. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 10 and July 11

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 10, 2021 4:08

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Saturday July 10 and Sunday July 11. The chance for more rain will continue into this weekend. According to the National Weather Service it will be cloudy with a high of 75 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area on Saturday. There will be a chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms all day, with a 50 percent chance for rain for much of it. The prediction Sunday is for more of the same, with a higher probability of significant rainfall. The chance for rainfall on Sunday will still hover around 50 and 60 percent all day. The high on Sunday is also expected to be 75 degrees with cloudy skies. Firefighters rescued two children and four dogs Friday morning from a house fire in southwest Cedar Rapids. Firefighters were called just before 10:30 a.m. to 1825 D St. SW. When they arrived, responders found a fire on the front porch of a 1.5-story residence. Firefighters said the fire caused a window to fail, filling the residence with hot smoke. As the fire crew was knocking down the fire, two high school-age youths made their way through the smoke to the front door. According to the fire department account, the teens who escaped indicated there were two children still on the second floor of the residence and an adult in the basement. The teens also reported there were dogs and cats inside, but they did not know how many. The children were saved from the second floor, and firefighters later determined that the adult they mentioned had been at work at the time of the fire. The residence suffered heavy fire damage to the front porch and minor smoke and water damage to its interior. Staff at MercyOne facilities across Iowa are required to get the COVID-19 vaccine by this fall, diverging from other local hospitals when it comes to mandating shots for employees. Employees, contractors and anyone conducting business in certain MercyOne health care facilities are required to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 by Sept. 21. That includes hospitals and associated medical clinics at MercyOne Dubuque, MercyOne Dyersville, MercyOne Clinton, MercyOne North Iowa and MercyOne Western. The mandate comes from MercyOne's parent company, Trinity Health. The Catholic not-for-profit health system based in Michigan operates https://www.trinity-health.org/about-us/our-communities (90 hospitals across 22 states), including Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. Iowa gamblers ended fiscal 2021 with a record-breaking flurry, setting new all-time marks for betting on casino, sports and lottery games that taken together topped $3.2 billion. Iowa's 19 state-licensed casinos reported adjusted gross revenue of nearly $1.58 billion via their slot machines and table games and a separate sports wagering handle of over $1.2 billion that netted them nearly $90 million in receipts for the 12-month period ending June 30, according to state Racing & Gaming Commission data posted Friday. Favorable weather, availability of COVID-19 vaccinations and more discretionary money earmarked for entertainment as Iowa's farm and overall economy rebounded were all factors contributing to a turnaround from last year's 20 percent revenue decline, he said. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at iowaideas.com  Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon https://www.thegazette.com/topic?eid=121774&ename=Alexa&lang=en (Alexa) enabled device to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your daily... Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 9

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 9, 2021 4:06

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Friday, July 9. The forecast calls for likely rain Friday. Now the last time I said rain was likely was Wednesday, and we didn't really get any rain. But I'll have you know the chance for rain is a whole 10 percent higher this time. According to the National Weather Service showers and thunderstorms are likely, mainly after 1 p.m. The high temperature will be a pleasant 76 degrees. The skies will be cloudy. There is a chance for rain also listed for Friday night into Saturday morning. The chance for rain all day is around 70 percent. Much of the state could still use a lot more rain.  While recent rains appear to have brought much-needed relief to some parched areas of Iowa, overall conditions continue to deteriorate, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday. Iowa's most-recent map shows 83 percent of the state in some form of dryness or drought, with slightly more than a third of Iowa experiencing severe drought — mostly in the state's northwest and north central counties. The driest conditions now cover all or parts of 45 counties with two-thirds of the state rated in severe or moderate drought and 22 counties reporting normal conditions. How far do you think $72 million would go in Linn County? Under the American Rescue plan, the nationwide $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan passed in March by Congress, Cedar Rapids will receive over $28 million and Linn County will receive $44 million. They're received half the money so far and the other half will arrive next year. Thursday, city and county officials at a news conference outlined potential uses for the infusion of funding, including providing more housing, developing the workforce, aiding flood protection and creating a new westside library — as well as making up for government revenue lost in the COVID-19 pandemic. City officials said they would also turn to the public for suggestions of how to spend the money. Eligible spending for the federal aid, according to the bill, falls into three general categories: response to the health emergency or its economic impacts; lost government revenue; and investments in water, sewer or broadband. Cedar Rapids police have a new tool to help them stem the ghttps://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/pandemic-a-significant-factor-for-unusually-violent-year-in-cedar-rapids/ (un violence )that has plagued the community for the past decade. That tool is the https://www.atf.gov/resource-center/fact-sheet/fact-sheet-national-integrated-ballistic-information-network (National Integrated Ballistic Information Network) — or NIBIN for short. It's a federal system that allows investigators to compare ballistic evidence against a national database of spent shell casings that have been collected from crime scenes across the country. The Cedar Rapids Police Department is the third municipal agency in Iowa to acquire its own system — Des Moines was first, followed by Davenport — joining the ranks of roughly 250 local-level agencies across the country. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation crime lab also has one of its own. Three office buildings formerly occupied by Transamerica on Edgewood Road NE, just south of Highway 100, will be demolished, contractor D.W. Zinser told The Gazette Thursday. David Zinser, D.W. Zinser president, said interior work on the demolition already has begun. Exterior demolition is likely to begin July 19, Zinser said, and be complete near Halloween. “It will be quite the spectacle,” Zinser said. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't... Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Podcast, July 8

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 8, 2021 3:17

    https://www.thegazette.com/health-care-medicine/iowa-adds-105-new-covid-19-cases/ (Wednesday marked the end of Iowa's daily COVID-19 updates.) The Iowa Department of Public Health is moving to weekly reports on virus cases, deaths and vaccinations, with statewide numbers updated every Wednesday. Iowa added 105 new COVID-19 cases for the 24-hour period ending at noon Wednesday. The next updates will come July 14. The state also will transition COVID-19 reporting to the Iowa Department of Public Health website, decommissioning the state's coronavirus website, coronavirus.iowa.gov, by late summer. Data on long-term care facility outbreaks, serology, occupation, underlying health conditions and Test Iowa assessments will no longer be reported on the website. All of the Test Iowa sites — where Iowans could get free COVID-19 tests during the pandemic — will be closed by July 16. The drive-thru testing site in Linn County closed June 24. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation on Wednesdayhttps://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/authorities-identify-man-and-woman-found-dead-at-pleasant-creek-state-recreation-area/ ( identified the 31-year-old man and 27-year-old woman whose bodies were found at the Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area) north of Palo last week. Cody Michael Rhodes and Courtney Lynn Rhodes' bodies were found inside a parked vehicle at 10:45 p.m. Friday. An obituary posted by a funeral home in Marshalltown stated the two were married, had two children and lived in Gladbrook — a Tama County city of 900 about 75 miles northwest of Cedar Rapids. Autopsies were performed over the weekend, and the cause and manner of death have not yet been determined. E-commerce giant Amazon will increase its presence in Iowa, https://www.thegazette.com/business/amazon-to-create-more-than-1000-jobs-in-davenport/ (with plans to build a 2.9-million-square-foot fulfillment center in Davenport), creating more than 1,000 permanent jobs. The fulfillment center will be Amazon's second and its largest in the state. Plans are to build it just north of Interstate 80 and west of the Davenport Municipal Airport, and it is expected to be operating next year. The company opened a 640,000-square-foot fulfillment center outside of Des Moines in December. Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance official Ron Corbett said city and airport officials have held discussions with Amazon and other e-commerce and distribution businesses over the years in hopes of attracting one of them to property near The Eastern Iowa Airport or elsewhere in Cedar Rapids. Cedar Rapids resident https://www.thegazette.com/arts-entertainment/cedar-rapids-nikole-villanueva-wins-jeopardy/ (Nikole Villanueva unseated seven-day “Jeopardy!” champ Courtney Shah) on Wednesday's episode. Both women answered the Final Jeopardy clue correctly in the Rock Bands category, which was: “In 2017, this band whose singer goes by a nickname became the first to have No. 1 albums in the U.S. in the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s.” The correct response “Who is U2?” Villanueva wagered $11,500 and ended up with the day's high total of $23,300, which is hers to keep. She will face two new opponents on Thursday's episode. Thursday will be partly sunny, with a high near 76, according to the National Weather Service. Thursday night will see scattered showers and thunderstorms heading into Friday morning, with a low around 61. Want our news delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for free today at thegazette.com/newsletters — from news, to sports, to kid's activities, Gazette newsletters have something for everyone. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 7

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 7, 2021 3:41

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Wednesday, July 7. Rain will likely make its return Wednesday. According to the National Weather Service, showers and thunderstorms are most probable between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Cedar Rapids area. The high will be near 82 degrees with mostly cloudy skies. Rainfall is not expected to be significant except in areas of thunderstorm development. The chance of precipitation overall for Wednesday is predicted at 60 percent. The Linn-Mar School Community and Christian Life Church in Cedar Rapids joined the Jaramillo family in mourning the loss of 11-year-old Michael Jaramillo over the weekend. Michael was fatally injured after a boat on the Raging River amusement park ride at Adventureland turned over. His brother, David, was also seriously injured by the accident and is currently in a medically induced coma and is listed in critical condition. A GoFundMe has been started for the Jaramillo family, as the father, a semi driver, has also had work disrupted by the tragedy. As of early Wednesday morning it had raised almost $28,000. Adventureland said the ride has been closed after the accident and that the park is cooperating with an investigation by state inspectors. A controversial Iowa City housing development near Hickory Hill Park advanced Tuesday for the second time — but now by just a one-vote margin on the Iowa City Council. Mayor Bruce Teague and council members Laura Bergus, Susan Mims and Janice Weiner voted for the proposal to rezone the tract. Council members Mazahir Salih, Pauline Taylor and John Thomas voted against it. The proposal needs to pass a third time before the rezoning takes effect. The project — Hickory Hill Trail Estates — is ahttps://www.thegazette.com/local-government/iowa-city-council-to-vote-again-on-contentious-development-near-hickory-hill-park/ ( proposed rezoning of 48.75 acres northeast of Hickory Hill Park) to low-density single-family housing. Led by Joe Clark and Nelson Development, the project initially was shot down by the planning and zoning commission, which cited conflicts with the comprehensive plan and Northeast District plan. Dozens of residents wrote in opposition to the project. Some residents and council members were concerned Tuesday about the amount of buffer between the development and the 185-acre park, which many cited as a tranquil retreat that a busy neighborhood would disrupt. State officials are being tight-lipped about the planned deployment of Iowa State Patrol troopers to assist law enforcement efforts at the U.S.-Mexico border, declining to identify how many have volunteered and when they might be traveling to Texas or Arizona to conduct an undisclosed assignment. Iowa Department of Public Safety officials were not aware, a spokeswoman said Tuesday, of any previous Iowa State Patrol deployments outside of the state since Iowa in 1997 joined the Emergency Management Assistance Compact — an agreement between states that the Republican governors of Texas and Arizona cited in their call last month for other states to send assistance to the border. Several Republican governors, including Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, announced they would sent troopers from their states to help protect the border — noting the “rise in drugs, human trafficking and violent crime has become unsustainable.” But Iowa officials will answer few questions beyond that about the deployment. They cited safety concerns for the officers as at least part of the reason they are reticent to provide the public with more concrete information. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us... Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 6

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 6, 2021 2:53

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Tuesday, July 6. It'll be another sunny day Tuesday. According to the National Weather Service it will be mostly sunny in the Cedar Rapids area with a high near 90 degrees. On Tuesday night there could be a slight chance for severe showers and thunderstorms, although this is much more likely on Wednesday. It was another loud Independence Day weekend, and not everybody was happy about it. Cedar Rapids police received 477 fireworks-related calls for service between July 2 and the morning of July 5. Calls for service peaked on the Fourth of July, when Cedar Rapids received 234 fireworks-related calls, or almost one call every six minutes. The preliminary numbers were down from 2020, when Cedar Rapids received 587 calls for service between July 2 and July 4. Cedar Rapids public safety spokesman Greg Buelow said the two years have been noticeably worse partly because the pandemic cancelled many public fireworks shows, especially in 2020. Cedar Rapids also had 10 fireworks-related fires between July 2 and July 5 at 7 a.m., a dramatic increase from the four fires between June 1 and July 8 in 2020. According to the Associated Press, Adventureland Park in Altoona said one person died and three others were injured after an accident on the Raging River on Saturday night. The Altoona Police Department on Monday said 11-year-old Michael Jaramillo died Sunday from his injuries. The department said another minor remains in critical condition and that the others suffered only minor injuries. The Raging River has been a featured attraction at the park since 1983. The ride uses a conveyor belt to move rafts through a simulated river rapids. The accident happened when a boat carrying six people flipped over.  In 2016 a worker named Steve Booher was swept off his feet by the Raging River starting unexpectedly, and he was then wedged into the mechanism of the ride, which slammed his head several times before he could be pulled out. Booher, 68, later died of head injuries. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at iowaideas.com  Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon https://www.thegazette.com/topic?eid=121774&ename=Alexa&lang=en (Alexa) enabled device to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your daily briefing by simply saying “Alexa, what's the news? If you prefer podcasts, you can also find us on iTunes. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 5

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 5, 2021 2:17

    This is John McGlothlen with the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, July 5th. Today's weather in the Cedar Rapids area will be sunny, with a high near 92. Winds will be from the southwest, 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph. Then tonight, we're expecting it to be partly cloudy, with a low around 70. Authorities are investigating the deaths of two individuals discovered in a car Friday night at the Pleasant Creek State Recreation Area north of Palo. According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, a park ranger discovered the bodies -- described only as a male and female --- about 10:45 p.m. Friday when staff was conducting routine patrols of the park. The car was parked in the first parking lot on the north side of the dam, which closes at 10:30 p.m. The Iowa DNR said in a news release that “authorities believe this is an isolated incident and do not believe the public is in any danger.” The state park remained open. Officials from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, which is investigating, declined to comment Saturday. Officials did not say how the two died. Four people were hospitalized after a raft overturned Saturday on a ride at Adventureland Park. Six people were on a raft on the Raging River when the accident happened around 7:30 p.m. KCCI-TV reported that three were transported in critical condition, and one was hospitalized. Adventureland officials said in a Facebook post that the ride had been inspected on Friday and was found to be in sound working order. It will remain closed for a thorough inspection. The Raging River, which first opened in 1983, had just reopened for the season. Construction will begin tomorrow on the Edgewood & Ellis intersection in northwest Cedar Rapids. Improvements will include patching and milling the pavement, asphalt overlay and minor work to the storm sewer. Edgewood Road will remain open to traffic but will be reduced to one lane during construction, which is expect to last into the fall. Turn restrictions will be in place at the intersection. A temporary traffic signal will operate on Edgewood Road, south of the construction zone, at River Bluffs Drive. In 2017, the Iowa Department of Transportation reported that Edgewood Road was second-busiest street in Cedar Rapids. Collins Road was No. 1. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 3 and July 4

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 3, 2021 3:50

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Saturday July 3 and Sunday July 4. Happy 4th of July Weekend! The weather should be pleasant for your holiday weekend as well. According to the National Weather Service it will be sunny with a high near 88 degrees on Saturday in the Cedar Rapids area, with the temperature dropping down to 65 Saturday night and the skies remaining mostly clear. On Independence Day Sunday there will be a high near 90 degrees with sunny skies. There will be a moderate wind on Sunday and a small chance for showers and thunderstorms Sunday night. According to the Associated Press there was the second court setback in a week for renewable fuels, as a federal appeals court Friday threw out a Trump-era Environmental Protection Agency rule change that allowed for the sale of a 15 percent ethanol gasoline blend in the summer months. The decision deals a blow to the ethanol industry and corn farmers. They had anticipated increased demand through year-round sales of the higher blend. Most gasoline sold in the United States is blended with 10 percent ethanol. Corn farmers and ethanol makers have pushed for the government to allow widespread sale of a 15 percent ethanol blend. As a busy travel weekend is here, Iowa traffic enforcement officials are pitching a highway safety message to drive home the stakes of safe driving. So far this year, there have been https://www.iowadot.gov/mvd/stats/daily.pdf (144 people die in traffic crashes on Iowa roadways) heading into three of the deadliest months historically during the peak summertime travel period. A coalition of enforcement, transportation and safety groups are making a concerted effort in the second half of 2021 to make this the first year in nearly a century that deaths due to motor vehicle crashes stay below 300. The last time that happened was in 1925 when Iowa recorded 261 traffic fatalities. The Iowa State Patrol is also trying to curb a behavior picked up by some motorists during the pandemic, leading to an increased number of traffic stops where the driver was going faster than 100 mph. A decade in the making, Marion's long-awaited Seventh Avenue streetscape project is beginning this month. The $6.9 million Uptown project is expected to begin on July 13 in the 1200 block of Seventh Avenue and proceed west, a city news release said. The project is being funded by local-option sales tax dollars and bonding through the city's capital improvement program. The project will include the reconstruction of the street and sidewalks as well as the replacement of underground utilities, sanitary sewer, storm sewer and water main on Seventh Avenue and side streets between Eighth and 12th streets and Sixth and Eighth avenues. A Solon man was seriously injured Friday night after falling out of a truck he was driving in northern Linn County. A Linn County Sheriff's Office news release said Trent Vincent, 36, fell out of his truck while driving in the area of Paris and Valley Farm Roads northwest of Central City and north of Pinicon Ridge Park. The truck ran over Vincent, who lost his phone when he fell. Vincent managed to get back into his truck and drive himself to Central City for help shortly before 7 p.m., the news release said. Center Point Ambulance Service took VIncent to Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids. The investigation is continuing.  The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at iowaideas.com  Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell... Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 2

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 2, 2021 4:08

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Friday, July 2. Judging by my neighbors frantically mowing their lawns Thursday night and then running outside to shoot fireworks, the 4th of July weekend has already begun for some. Whatever your plans are, Friday's weather looks pleasant, with mostly sunny skies and a high near 84 degrees in Cedar Rapids predicted by the National Weather Service. The sky will remain mostly clear Friday night, with a low around 61 degrees. Intermittent rains and cooler temperatures in recent weeks have led to an improved crop-growing outlook for Iowa, although much of northwest and north-central Iowa still face severe to moderate drought or abnormally dry conditions. This is according to the latest findings from the U.S. Drought Monitor issued on Thursday. Slightly more than one-third of Iowa showed severe drought compared to 44 percent last week. Still, 80 of Iowa's 99 counties are experiencing some form of drought, ranging from abnormally dry to moderate or severe. Enrollment at Iowa's public universities is down this summer after a pandemic-plagued fall and spring — dragging Iowa State University's numbers to their lowest level in at least a decade and resurrecting University of Iowa summer counts not seen since Must See TV was still on television. Fewer summer students on campus means fewer tuition dollars — aggravating pandemic-driven budget concerns and worsening enrollment losses that all three of the public universities experienced in the 2020-21 academic year. This all comes as the Board of Regents has announced plans to consider raising tuition at all three public universities. A controversial rezoning that would expand Hickory Hill Park but allow a housing development and senior living center nearby is headed for its second consideration and vote Tuesday. During a June 15 meeting, the Iowa City Council voted 6-1 in favor of the proposed rezoning of 48.75 acres of land northeast of Hickory Hill Park from interim development single-family to low-density single-family. The rezoning will allow for a housing development envisioned to have 41 lots and senior living facility. After an hour of public input critical of the proposed development near the park, city councilors said they were beholden to city code and obligated to vote in favor. The project — Hickory Trail Estates — has had a long road to get to this second vote. The first iteration of the project went before the city's planning and zoning commission and failed to get adequate support. A second iteration also did not receive enough support. A third version of the proposal was approved by planning and zoning and then moved along to the council.  The quest to create a town center in Hiawatha is picking up steam after early stumbles. With a library expansion, a new plaza under construction in front of City Hall, and multiple large, mixed-use developments in the works, the city of 7,300 is preparing for future growth. In 2019, the city approved a $72 million mixed-use development project that would've been the biggest private investment in the city's history. Hiawatha Midtown, planned for 155 Robins Road, was planned to have town houses, condos and apartments as well as commercial space across over 7 acres. But the project was scrapped when grant funding and some private funding didn't materialize. Now in 2021, new, smaller mixed-use projects are in the works to help establish the heart of Hiawatha. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at... Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 1

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 1, 2021 3:44

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, July 1. Your July will begin with no predicted chance of rain. According to the National Weather Service, the Cedar Rapids area should be sunny with a high near 86 degrees. On Thursday night it should be mostly clear, with a low around 59. More than 10 months after last summer's derecho pummeled Cedar Rapids with hurricane-force winds, downing most of the city's tree canopy, the city announced it has finished picking up about 4 million cubic yards of tree debris. That's enough debris to fill the University of Iowa's Kinnick Stadium — to the brim — more than six times. Still, there remains clean up and replanting work to do. The city has committed to plant about 2,800 trees within the next three years through the Growing Futures initiative, a partnership with Trees Forever that allows area teenagers to help plant and grow trees along the city right of ways. Mercy Iowa City officials said Wednesday the hospital will leave its affiliation with the statewide MercyOne health network. Mercy Iowa City's board of trustees instead has opted to align with a larger organization “that can fully integrate Mercy Iowa City” by offering broader access to infrastructure services, better purchasing power and overall greater clinical and operational support in the long-term, according to an internal memo obtained by The Gazette. Mercy Iowa City had struggled economically even before the pandemic hit, which challenged hospitals all over the country by both requiring the installation of preventive measures against the disease as well as delaying several procedures that help generate the hospital revenue. Hospital officials did not include further details on the third-party adviser or on the organizations they are considering as prospective partners. The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld a 2019 law that blocks federal funds from Planned Parenthood to provide young Iowans with sex education curriculum, overturning a district court decision that ruled that law unconstitutional. With a 6-1 vote from the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the state, the justices said Wednesday it decided the law preventing Planned Parenthood of the Heartland from receiving two federal grants allocated to support sex education and related services to youths does not violate the provider's equal protection rights. A previous ruling by a Polk County District Judge, who issued a permanent injunction on the law, has been reversed and remanded, the Supreme Court said Wednesday. Linn County supervisors on Wednesday rejected a proposed 18-month moratorium on utility-scale solar projects, clearing the way for a proposed $800 million project near the closed Duane Arnold nuclear plant to make an applicationn. Supervisor Louie Zumbach, a Republican, proposed and voted for the moratorium, with Democratic Supervisors Ben Rogers and Stacey Walker opposed. The 2-1 vote followed about two hours of public comment — with most speakers opposing the moratorium. This came after months of meetings about the solar farm Nhttps://www.thegazette.com/energy/nextera-offers-assurances-for-solar-farm-in-palo/ (extEra Energy is proposing to build in Palo n)ear the Duane Arnold Energy Center it owns and is decommissioning. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at iowaideas.com  Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon https://www.thegazette.com/topic?eid=121774&ename=Alexa&lang=en (Alexa) enabled device to “enable The Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 30

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 30, 2021 3:54

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Wednesday, June 30. It will be mild and muggy again Wednesday with a chance for rain. According to the National Weather Service there will only be a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1 p.m. Wednesday in the Cedar Rapids area, with the weather calming Wednesday night. Another similar weather day Thursday, we will likely have a pleasant, and rain free, July 4th weekend to look forward to. Iowa Lottery officials say they are on track to smash all of their annual records, having already surpassed $417 million in sales of instant scratch and lotto products with a month still left in the current fiscal year. The lottery's previous best sales year was in fiscal 2019 when the operation's nearly 2,400 retail outlets sold $390.8 million for the full 12 months. The total may be an anomaly, however, as officials attributed the success of the lottery to housebound Iowans looking for a release during the dark days of the pandemic.  The Iowa City Downtown Historic District is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The official designation was made on May 27. Listing in the National Register of Historic Places is an honorific designation with economic benefits, such as eligibility for tax credits. The National Register does not protect properties from demolition, nor does it regulate changes made to a building. Since 2017, the city of Iowa City has been working with architectural historian Alexa McDowell of AKAY Consulting on an update to the city's historic survey of the Downtown. Progress on this project is ongoing, but the national designation came as a result of this work. The Iowa City Police Department is investigating a drive-by shooting that injured one person Monday. Officers responded to a 911 call around 10:59 p.m. Monday for a report of a woman who had been shot in the 700 block of Michael Street. Witnesses reported the woman was struck in a drive-by shooting as she was sitting in her vehicle in the nearby parking lot. Police said the woman was taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Police say they do not believe the shooting to be random, and said there is no further danger to the public associated with this shooting. One of the inmates charged with killing an Anamosa prison officer and a registered nurse in March waived his right for a jury trial Tuesday and a judge will decide his verdict. Michael Dutcher, 28, filed a written waiver to have a bench or non-jury trial and also confirmed that decision to 6th Judicial District Judge Fae Hoover during Tuesday's hearing in Linn County. The bench trial remains set for Aug. 3 in Jones County District Court. A few weeks ago, the other inmate charged in the killings, Thomas Allen Woodard, 39, who has a trial set for Sept. 21 that was already moved to Linn County, asked the court if the trial could be moved again to different county because there also may be conflicts in Linn, considering jurors who live close to the jail may be exposed to media accounts of the slayings. https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/anamosa-prison-murder-victims-were-from-linn-county/ (The two inmates are accused of killing correctional officer Robert McFarland, 46, of Ely, and nurse Lorena Schulte, 50, of Cedar Rapids, )during what authorities said was a failed attempt to escape from the Anamosa State Penitentiary on March 23. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at... Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 29

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 29, 2021 4:02

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Tuesday, June 29. Rain looks to be in our near future again, and there will likely continue to be at least a chance for rain all week until Friday. According to the National Weather Service, showers and thunderstorms will be likely Tuesday in the Cedar Rapids area, mainly after 2 p.m. It will be cloudy with a high near 82 degrees. Rainfall totals are not expected to be heavy except in isolated areas.  The rain that has fallen in the past week has been a welcome sight for Iowa farmers. According to the Iowa Department of Agriculture, precipitation totals ranged from slightly more than one-quarter of an inch in Sheldon to 8.1 inches in Cedar Rapids over the past week. The statewide weekly average precipitation was 2.13 inches, almost double the weekly normal of 1.09 inches. Monday's report followed last week's updated assessment by the U.S. Drought Monitor that much of Iowa continued to face moderate to severe drought conditions, but timely and beneficial rains have at least stabilized crop conditions. About 44 percent of the state reported severe drought — mostly in northern and central Iowa — with more than 90 percent of the state considered abnormally dry. Despite the volatile growing conditions, about 60 percent of Iowa's corn crop was rated in good to excellent condition in Monday's weekly crop progress and condition report. Also, soybean emergence was virtually complete with 19 percent of soybeans blooming and 58 percent of the overall crop rated in good to excellent This past Sunday marked one month since 11-year-old Xavior Harrelson disappeared from a mobile home park in Montezuma. Authorities have kept silent about the investigation for more than two weeks, releasing no new information. A https://www.facebook.com/events/314695710130060 (benefit concert) is planned for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Poweshiek County Fairgrounds at 425 East St. S in Grinnell. People are encouraged to wear orange — Xavior's favorite color. Organizers say proceeds from the concert — which includes a silent auction and concession sales — will go to a reward fund set up earlier this month at Montezuma State Bank for information leading to the discovery of Xavior's whereabouts. As of noon Monday, the fund had raised more than $25,000, a bank employee said. Authorities say https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/xavior-harrelson-has-been-missing-for-2-weeks-investigators-say-case-still-is-moving-forward/ (Xavior was last seen at the Spruce Village trailer park), where he lived with his mother, on the northwest edge of Montezuma. He disappeared after leaving home about 11 a.m. May 27. The mobile home park is less than a mile from Diamond Lake County Park, which features more than 660 acres of wooded land, a 90-acre lake and roughly 120 campsites. For 14 years, the Rummage in the Ramp program in Iowa City has provided a place for apartment-dwellers to get rid of unwanted furniture and household objects, then sold in a giant rummage sale with proceeds going to local nonprofits. But as the pandemic forced the cancellation of the program for summer 2020 and summer 2021, the city is offering a new donation program for this year's moving season. The new pop-up donation drive will be held at several locations around Iowa City. The next drives are scheduled for July 10 and July 31. The July 10 event will be held at the Market Street parking lot near the Bluebird Diner. You can find more information about what items are acceptable to donate at the City of Iowa City website. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th... Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 28

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 28, 2021 1:49

    This is John McGlothlen with the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, June 28th. Showers and thunderstorms are likely today, mainly between 7am and 11am in the Cedar Rapids area. The high will be near 79 and chance of precipitation is 60%. We're expecting new rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts are possible in thunderstorms. Tonight we have a 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms with a low around 68. Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Cedar Rapids on Saturday for the return of the Freedom Festival parade. Umbrellas were perched above many in the crowd. Others wore raincoats and ponchos as light rain misted over the parade. The rain picked up occasionally, but several spectators said it didn't ruin the experience. Fireworks sales boomed last Fourth of July in the pandemic and some vendors say sales this year might be even better — despite several local governments reminding consumers they face hefty fines for setting them off in those cities. The State Fire Marshal's Office reports it has granted more licenses — 583 this year compared with 553 in 2020 — for sales of fireworks from stores, tents and stands in Iowa. In some areas of Iowa, including Coralville, that means consumer fireworks are sold at retailers including Hy-Vee, Target, Walmart and Thiesen's in addition to temporary tents. But some communities — including Cedar Rapids and Iowa City — limit where in the cities the explosives can be sold. According to a list kept by the State Fire Marshal's Office, only three fireworks vendors in Cedar Rapids and none in Iowa City have state licenses. In Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, the use of fireworks is not permitted and violators can face fines — up to $855 in Cedar Rapids and $520 in Iowa City. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 26 and June 27

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 26, 2021 3:37

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Saturday, June 26, and Sunday, June 27. It rained a bit more this week. And this weekend has a good chance of keeping that trend going. According to the National Weather Service, showers will be likely before 3 p.m. Saturday, then a variety of scattered showers and thunderstorms will be possible after that. Overall chance for precipitation for the Cedar Rapids area will be 60 percent. When rain is not falling, it is expected to be mostly cloudy, with a high near 82 degrees. On Sunday there will be a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms, primarily before 1:00 in the afternoon. After that it is predicted to be partly sunny, with a high near 83 degrees. Cedar Rapids city officials said Friday they will press on with “transformational” downtown projects encompassed in a proposal they put forward for funding help from a competitive state program. They will do so despite only being awarded $9 million, $30.5 million short of its request. Six Iowa communities had vied for a share of $100 million through the competitive Reinvestment District program after seeking a combined $151.6 million from the board. Although Cedar Rapids requested the most of the group, they were not only awarded the least of all six cities, each of those cities were awarded more than they originally asked for, with the city of Ames receiving double its original proposal at more than $20 million. The work that the city is looking to do includes an entertainment complex at the site where the city wanted to build a casino before being told no by the state, a hotel renovation at an historic site, a downtown high rise building, and bypass and recreation opportunities added to the 5-in-1 dam on the Cedar River. Iowa on Friday reported 46 people were hospitalized with COVID-19, the lowest number reported since March 28, 2020, at the start of the pandemic. Of those hospitalized, 18 were in intensive care units, and 12 were on ventilators to help them breathe. Previous numbers have indicated that the vast majority of those being hospitalized for the disease were never vaccinated. On that note, Iowa's adult vaccination continues to stagnate, sticking at around 53 percent as of Friday. https://www.thegazette.com/nation-world/on-border-tour-vice-president-harris-cites-progress-in-tough-situation/ (Vice President Kamala Harris' visit to Texas) was a victory “for the people of this country who've been dealing with an unsafe and unsecure situation at the border,” Rep. Ashley Hinson said Friday. The Friday visit was long overdue, according to the 1st District congresswoman, who has been calling on the vice president to get a firsthand view of the situation created by the administration's immigration policies. Hinson has used repeated criticism of Harris to her profile nationally as she gears up for reelection next year. Given that the southern border has befuddled multiple administrations in a row, it is unlikely it will not be solved anytime soon, as Vice President Harris acknowledged during her visit to El Paso Friday. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at iowaideas.com  Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon https://www.thegazette.com/topic?eid=121774&ename=Alexa&lang=en (Alexa) enabled device to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your daily briefing by simply saying “Alexa, what's the news? If you prefer podcasts, you can also find us on iTunes. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 25

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 25, 2021 3:57

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Friday, June 25th. We have entered into a cooler and wetter cycle, with Friday likely seeing a little rain. According to the National Weather Service, besides some isolated showers after 3 p.m. it should be mostly cloudy in the Cedar Rapids area Friday with a high near 86 degrees. Friday night will have a higher chance of isolated showers, with more than a half of inch rain possible overnight. Up to 30 Iowa State Patrol officers will be redeployed for about two weeks to the U.S.-Mexico border to help law enforcement and border security efforts there, Gov. Kim Reynolds and the state Department of Public Safety announced Thursday. Reynolds said she approved the action in response to requests from Republican Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Doug Ducey of Arizona under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact between states. Neither the department nor the governor's office responded to questions after the announcement Thursday of whether the border duties would require any special training or what powers Iowa troopers have outside the state. Iowa Economic Development Authority staff are recommending a state panel provisionally award $9 million to Cedar Rapids to fuel “transformational” developments in the urban core, according to documents released Thursday — far less than the $39.5 million the city had sought from the board to boost downtown growth. The authority's board is scheduled to make provisional awards Friday, allocating $100 million to six Iowa communities under the state's Reinvestment District program. Under the agency staff's recommendations, Cedar Rapids — despite requesting the most — would receive the smallest award of all communities, which asked for a combined $151.6 million through the competitive program. Roman Catholic priests who victimized Iowa children decades ago cannot be prosecuted despite https://www.thegazette.com/news/iowa-attorney-general-report-details-complaints-on-catholic-clergy-sexual-impropriety/ (a new law) eliminating the statute of limitations for child sex abuse, the state attorney general says. The law, signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds last month, does not apply to cases in which the statute of limitations has already expired, Attorney General Tom Miller's office said https://www.thegazette.com/news/iowa-attorney-general-report-details-complaints-on-catholic-clergy-sexual-impropriety/ (in its report) Wednesday that found the amount of abuse in the Catholic Church “overwhelming.” At least nine retired or defrocked priests and one retired nun have recently been accused of decades-old abuse in Iowa and are still alive, according to summaries of victims' complaints received by Miller's office. They include https://apnews.com/article/iowa-us-news-ap-top-news-fort-dodge-ia-state-wire-604b14d73268410b96c9f7bf948c1de1 (the Rev. Jerome Coyle), who allegedly admitted in 1986 to sexually abusing dozens of Iowa boys before church officials transferred him to New Mexico. The 20-year-old Cedar Rapids man charged with killing his parents and sister last week wants to prevent prosecutors from accessing his medical records and any statements he made to emergency responders and other medical personnel who treated his foot for a gunshot injury that day. https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/cedar-rapids-triple-homicide-suspect-alex-jackson-to-be-held-on-3-million-cash-bond/ (Alexander Ken Jackson was charged )with three charges of first-degree murder in the fatal shootings of his father, Jan Perry Jackson, 61; his mother, Melissa Ferne Jackson, 68; and his sister, Sabrina Hana Jackson, 19, on June 15 inside their northeast Cedar Rapids home. Jackson's defense attorneys are attempting to resist the prosecution's request for information about the injuries, citing health privacy rights. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the... Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 24

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 24, 2021 3:32

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, June 24th. It will be a return of a chance for rain Thursday. According to the National Weather Service there will be a good chance for rain Thursday morning and a good chance for rain Thursday evening. The chance for thunderstorms will increase after 11 a.m. The temperature is predicted to be near 85 degrees, the skies should be mostly cloudy, and the chance of rain is 70 percent for much of the day. Citing “overwhelming” incidents of abuse and an "extensive" cover-up that spanned decades, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller issued a report Wednesday detailing 50 complaints his office received about allegations of sexual impropriety by Catholic clergy, non-clergy or spiritual leaders — including 17 victims who had not previously come forward to report abuse to authorities. The report concluded the Catholic Church in Iowa has had a "long, painful history of abuse by priests and a cover-up by officials" but has taken steps recently to implement reforms and respond to victims. None of the complaints involving Catholic clergy fall within the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution, the report said. The allegations ranged from the 1930s to 1997. According to Miller, his office looked into 50 complaints of sexual abuse and misconduct reported to the Attorney General's Office. Of those, 45 complaints were against Catholic clergy or others involved in the Catholic church and five were about non-Catholic pastors or spiritual leaders. The complaints made accusations against 36 Catholic priests or brothers. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley punched back at recent polling suggesting nearly two-thirds of Iowa voters think it's time for a new face to represent them in the U.S. Senate. An Iowa Poll found that only a third of voters are ready to re-elect Grassley — who hasn't said whether he will seek an eighth term in 2022. Sixty-four percent said it's time for an unknown and unnamed “someone else” to replace the Republican senator. He says he's less concerned with what the polls say than he is with what Iowans tell him at his 99 county meetings each year where “sometimes I bring up to them whether or not I should run.” https://www.thegazette.com/search/?q=danny+homan (Danny Homan), the leader of Iowa's largest public employee union who has been an outspoken critic of the state restricting collective bargaining rights and leaving his union's prison employees in jeopardy from understaffing, announced Wednesday he plans to end his 16-year run as president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 61 next month. In a statement, Homan, 68, an AFSCME employee for over 33 years and president since 2005, said he plans to retire at the end of his term and a new president will be elected at the union's upcoming convention July 24. In another return to normalcy, Linn County LIFTS (LIFTS) will resume collecting bus fares on July 1. LIFTS suspended fares on March 18, 2020, as one of many safety measures put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic. Passengers are still required to wear face masks per federal TSA rules. Additional enhanced safety measures include disinfecting buses nightly, extra cleaning during the day, and installing bus operator cabin partitions throughout the entire fleet. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at iowaideas.com  Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon... Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 23

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 23, 2021 3:19

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Wednesday, June 23rd. Wednesday's weather looks to offer a break from rain, for the most part, before a chance for storms returns on Thursday. According to the National Weather Service, rain should mostly cease by 8 a.m. Wednesday morning in the Cedar Rapids area, giving way to eventually sunny skies. The high temperature is predicted to be near 85 degrees, with a moderate breeze.  Officials released more information Tuesday about the Linn County Deputy shot in the line of duty Sunday night. They identified the deputy as 38-year-old William Halverson and listed him in serious but stable condition at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. 36-year-old Stacey Donahue, of Chicago, is accused of shooting 10 rounds at Halverson after shutting two Casey's employees into a cooler during a robbery. Halverson was struck several times but was wearing a protective vest. Donahue was apprehended after a 14-hour manhunt when he was spotted nearby by a KCRG-TV crew. The Cedar Rapids City Council on Tuesday approved the city's standard tax incentives for FedEx to locate a massive $108.6 million https://www.thegazette.com/local-government/cedar-rapids-city-council-to-consider-109-million-fedex-warehouse-and-distribution-center/ (warehouse and distribution center) in the city's southwest quadrant that will create 434 mostly part-time jobs — offering an estimated $6.1 million tax rebate over 10 years. The council approved a term sheet outlining the scope of the project and tax reimbursements on the proposal for an approximately 479,000-square-foot warehouse, which Indianapolis-based developer Scannell Properties. Construction is anticipated to start by Aug. 1 and end by Sept. 30, 2022. City Economic Development Analyst Caleb Mason said the development allows FedEx Ground Package System to expand its ground service network and its local footprint, as well as provide direct support to its hub in St. Paul, Minn. A district court judge in Cedar Rapids has blocked a law signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds last year that requires a 24-hour waiting period before a woman can get an abortion, marking another setback for attempts by the governor and Republican lawmakers to enact more abortion restrictions in Iowa. Late Monday, 6th Judicial District Court Judge Mitchell Turner issued a ruling that declared the 2020 law unconstitutional. Abortion rights advocates had asserted it placed an undue burden on women seeking the medical procedure. According to the ruling, the passage of this law violated the single subject rule, as the abortion requirement had been tacked on as an amendment to another bill passed by the Iowa Legislature. In addition, the legislative process left no opportunity for constituents to provide input on or be fairly informed before the legislation was passed by state lawmakers in the final hours of the Legislative session. The Governor's Office made it clear on Tuesday the state intends to appeal the District Court decision to the Iowa Supreme Court. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at iowaideas.com  Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon https://www.thegazette.com/topic?eid=121774&ename=Alexa&lang=en (Alexa) enabled device to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your daily briefing by simply saying “Alexa, what's the news? If you prefer podcasts, you can also find us on iTunes. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 22

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 22, 2021 3:58

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Tuesday, June 22nd. There will be a chance of more rain the next few days, and we certainly still need it. According to the National Weather Service there will be a 20 percent chance of showers after 4 p.m. Tuesday. Then showers and thunderstorms are likely Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Before all that rain business happens it should be another nice, sunny day, with a high of 80 degrees. Climate experts say that despite some rain over the weekend a significant part of the state of Iowa remains in drought conditions, some of them extreme, as corn and soybeans enter a developmental phase. In some good news, climatologists are predicting that July will bring with it some cooler air, and with that some potentially strong storms. An overnight manhunt for an assailant authorities say shot and wounded a Linn County deputy responding to an armed robbery at a Casey's General Store in Coggon ended quietly Monday afternoon after a TV news crew spotted the suspect walking less than a mile away. The deputy, whose name was not released, was described as in serious but stable condition despite being struck with several rounds by the robber. This marked the first time in nearly five decades that a Linn County deputy was shot in the line of duty, said sheriff's Second Deputy Chad Colston. Authorities identified the gunman as Stanley L. Donahue, 36, of Chicago. He faces charges of attempted murder, first-degree robbery, willful injury, disarming a peace officer and possession of a firearm as a felon, the sheriff's office said. He was being held in the Linn County Jail. After a shooting Sunday night triggered a manhunt, a KCRG-TV crew noticed a man matching Donahue's description and alerted police. Students going to state schools will likely be paying higher tuition this year. Two months before the fall semester starts at Iowa's public universities, the Board of Regents this week will hold a first consideration of raising tuition at all three of its institutions — with the University of Iowa and Iowa State University proposing a 3.5 percent hike for state resident undergraduates. The University of Northern Iowa, which for the past two years has kept tuition rates frozen, is seeking a 1.5 percent increase for both resident and non-resident undergrads. All three campuses https://www.thegazette.com/education/iowa-universities-will-keep-tuition-frozen-for-spring-expect-fall-increases/ (held tuition and fees flat) during the unprecedented 2020-2021 academic year compromised by the pandemic. The pause came despite the regents rolling out a five-year tuition plan in 2018 promising stepped annual increases at the UI and ISU of at least 3 percent, possibly more. We'll close with some good news and bad news on the COVID-19 front in Iowa. In good news, Monday featured the lowest hospitalization numbers for people being treated for the disease since the pandemic started in March of 2020. In bad news, Iowa health officials are indicating that parts of Iowa may never reach herd immunity. This is especially true of rural counties, where demand for vaccines is low despite efforts to reach out to the public. Experts have placed estimates for the threshold needed to reach herd immunity somewhere between 70 percent and 90 percent of the population. The overall rate of immunization in Iowa for those above the age of 12 is 52 percent at the moment, but some counties in Iowa are as low as 30 percent. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the... Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 21

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 21, 2021 1:44

    This is John McGlothlen with the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, June 21st. Today's weather for the Cedar Rapids area will be mostly sunny, with a high near 71. It's expected to be breezy with winds from the northwest, 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Tonight should be clear, with a low around 49. An Iowa City man has been charged with attempted murder after intentionally shooting a man, striking him in both legs, police said. Mason Chance Edwards, 23, confronted the man June 9th at a residence in the Western Hills Mobile Estates in Coralville over a previous incident and had a concealed firearm, according to police. Another person blocked Edwards going into the room the man was in, but Edwards reached around the person and shot the man. Edwards was arrested Friday and has been charged with attempted murder, going armed with intent and carrying weapons. He is being held at the Johnson County Jail on $100,000 cash or surety bond. Attempted murder is punishable by up to 25 years in prison. A Cedar Rapids firefighter and two employees suffered minor injuries in a fire at a PMX Industries warehouse Friday night, according to a news release from the Cedar Rapids Fire Department. Firefighters were dispatched at 9:45 p.m. to a warehouse on Willow Creek Drive SW. Crews found smoke and flames coming from pallets containing shavings of zinc, copper and other metals. One of the PMX employees who suffered minor injuries was taken to UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's Hospital, and the other refused transport to a hospital. The injured firefighter was taken to St. Luke's Hospital. The release said the fire was unintentional. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 19 and June 20

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 19, 2021 3:33

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for the weekend of Saturday, June 19 and Sunday, June 20. As a reminder, Father's Day is Sunday, so you still have some time to plan for that if you forgot. I'm not implicating myself here or anything. After a Friday where storms mostly stayed south of Interstate 80, forecasters are predicting a chance for rain again. According to the National Weather Service it should be sunny for much of the day Saturday in the Cedar Rapids area with a high near 88 degrees. Then Saturday night into Sunday there will be an increasingly likely chance for rain, with the rainfall being most likely after 7 a.m. Sunday morning. Then there will be a chance of rain again on Sunday night. When it's not raining Sunday, it should be mostly cloudy, with a high near 90 degrees. A man was taken to the hospital with what police described as life threatening injuries Friday night after he was struck by a car on Highway 100. Cedar Rapids Police arrived on the scene of the call around 11:32 p.m. Officers were directed to a collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian on Highway 100 west of its exit to Interstate 380. The person struck by the vehicle was hospitalized for life-threatening injuries. The driver of the vehicle that struck the man stayed on the scene. That person was treated for injuries as well, although these were described as not life threatening. The Cedar Rapids City Council is slated Tuesday to consider financial incentives for an immense FedEx warehouse and distribution facility proposed for the fast-developing southwest quadrant — a $108.6 million investment that would create 434 mostly part-time jobs. The council will review a proposed term sheet outlining the scope of the project and tax reimbursements on the approximately 479,000-square-foot warehouse, which developer Scannell Properties is looking to build at 1035 Commerce Park Drive SW. Construction would be expected to start by Aug. 1 and wrap up by Sept. 30, 2022. This is the second project exceeding a $100 million investment that Cedar Rapids has pursued in the last year. Global aerospace company BAE Systems is building a $139 million, 200,000-square-foot https://www.thegazette.com/business/aerospace-project-from-bae-systems-will-locate-650-jobs-in-cedar-rapids/ (classified defense aerospace facility) in the southwest quadrant as well. According to the Associated Press, a divided Iowa Supreme Court on Friday banned police from searching people's uncollected trash without a warrant, outlawing an investigative technique that had been used for decades. The court ruled 4-3 that officers commit an unreasonable search and seizure under the Iowa Constitution when they look for evidence of crimes in trash left for collection outside homes. The judges determined that searching through trash without a warrant is the same as trespassing on private property. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at iowaideas.com  Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon https://www.thegazette.com/topic?eid=121774&ename=Alexa&lang=en (Alexa) enabled device to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your daily briefing by simply saying “Alexa, what's the news? If you prefer podcasts, you can also find us on iTunes. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 18

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 18, 2021 3:30

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Friday, June 18. It will be hot again Friday with a chance for showers and thunderstorms. According to the National Weather Service there will be a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms Friday in the Cedar Rapids area, primarily after 4 p.m. Until then it will be partly sunny, with a high near 90 degrees.  A chance for rain will continue into the weekend, although it appears as if it will be scattered. Government safety inspectors will not be looking into the death last week of an experienced Quad Cities scuba diver who failed to surface from a dive to repair a broken cable at the bottom of a million-gallon anaerobic digester where cattle manure and food waste generate biogas. Bob Baenziger Jr., 54, of East Moline, https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/qctimes/name/robert-baenziger-obituary?pid=199026032 (died around 10 a.m. June 8) when he was unable to return to the top of the liquid in the tank at Sievers Family Farm in Stockton. Because Baenziger was a self-employed contractor, he was exempt from Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspections, Iowa OSHA Administrator Russell Perry said. And the farm, which has 10 or fewer employees, also doesn't fall within the purview of the worker safety agency. Hundreds of farmers and farmworkers die each year from work-related injuries. The Uhttps://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/aginjury/default.html (.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported )the farm fatality rate in 2017 was 20.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. Transportation incidents, including tractor rollovers, are the leading cause of farm deaths. Iowa government officials confirmed Thursday that they will continue to report positive COVID-19 tests on its coronavirus website following the closure of its Test Iowa sites. On Wednesday, state officials announced they were https://www.thegazette.com/health-care-medicine/test-iowa-to-end-july-16/ (closing the $26 million free coronavirus testing program) by July 16. Test Iowa, which launched in April 2020, conducted free COVID-19 tests across 17 drive-through and clinic sites. Test Iowa sites will stagger closures over the next five weeks, according to state officials. Though the Test Iowa sites are going away, COVID-19 test results from other entities — which must be reported to the state public health department — will continue to be included in the daily updates to the state' website. State officials also announced the Iowa Department of Public Health and the State Hygienic Lab are finalizing plans to https://www.thegazette.com/health-care-medicine/test-iowa-to-end-july-16/ (provide at-home test kits for free to Iowans) after the Test Iowa program ends. The Iowa City Shelter House on Thursday broke ground on a “Housing First” project that will provide permanent, supportive housing for the city's homeless population. This is the second such project for Shelter House. https://www.thegazette.com/community/shelter-house-opens-housing-first-project-to-combat-chronic-homelessness-in-iowa-city/ (The first, Cross Park Place, opened in 2019 )at 820 Cross Park Ave., south of Highway 6. The new building, at 501 Southgate Ave., adjacent to Shelter House, will have 36 apartments, adding to the 24 units at Cross Park Place. Construction of the three-story building is expected to take about a year. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at iowaideas.com  Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 17

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 17, 2021 3:39

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, June 17. Thursday's weather is going to be very hot again, with a chance for rain. According to the National Weather Service there will be a high of 95 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area with mostly sunny skies. Then, showers and thunderstorms will become increasingly likely Thursday night, with a chance of rain increasing to 60 percent Thursday night after hovering at 30 percent for most of the day. 20-year-old Alexander Ken Jackson faced his first court appearance Wednesday on charges he murdered his parents and sister in their northeast Cedar Rapids home the day before. Jackson, who was found with a gunshot to his foot, told investigators that he woke to the sound of gunshots and struggled with an intruder, causing him to get shot. But prosecutors said Wednesday there was no evidence corroborating his story. The three people Alexander Jackson is accused of killing are his 19-year-old sister Sabrina and his parents Melissa and Jan. Alexander and Sabrina were students at the University of Iowa in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, according the Associated Press, and both had attended Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids. Alexander Jackson had no criminal history prior to this incident. With tears flowing and candles glowing, several students gathered Wednesday night outside Kennedy High School for a vigil to honor their friend and former classmate, Sabrina. Following brief prayer, the students lit candles and sang “Amazing Grace.” Afterward, students stepped forward to share their memories of Sabrina and their profound grief. With demand for COVID-19 tests waning, sites for Test Iowa — the free, statewide testing program — will be shut down by next month, Iowa public health officials announced Wednesday All five state-operated drive-through locations will stagger closures over the next five weeks before the program, which launched in April 2020, ends July 16. Linn County's site, on the southwest side of Cedar Rapids, will close at 4 p.m. June 24. As COVID-19 vaccines have become more widely available, state officials say demand for testing is at its lowest in more than a year. Approximately 400 tests per day currently are being conducted across 17 drive-through and clinic sites, according to state officials. All ideas are on the table when it comes to future state tax reductions, including the elimination of the state's income tax that is responsible for nearly half of all state revenue, Gov. Kim Reynolds said Wednesday. Reynolds made the comments Wednesday moments after signing into law a package of state tax reductions and reforms, including a reduction in the state income tax rate from 8.5 percent to 6.5 percent. As she signed that legislation into law during a public ceremony, Reynolds pledged to work on more state tax reductions in the coming year. After the ceremony, she expanded on that pledge while fielding questions from reporters. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at iowaideas.com  Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon https://www.thegazette.com/topic?eid=121774&ename=Alexa&lang=en (Alexa) enabled device to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your daily briefing by simply saying “Alexa, what's the news? If you prefer podcasts, you can also find us on iTunes. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 16

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 16, 2021 4:13

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Wednesday, June 16. Wednesday's weather will be sunny and cool again, but if you're expecting this not to last the whole week, you would be right. According to the National Weather Service it will be sunny with a high near 88 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area. On Wednesday night the clouds will increase and the low will be around 66 degrees. On Thursday, expect the heat to return, and maybe also some rain. A 20-year-old son shot his sister and his parents to death, authorities said Tuesday night after a day of investigating the discovery of the bodies inside a northeast Cedar Rapids home. Alexander Ken Jackson, 20, has been arrested and faces three counts of first-degree murder. A police spokesman identified the three murder people  as Jan Perry Jackson, 61; Melissa Ferne Jackson, 68; and Sabrina Hana Jackson, 19. Cedar Rapids police responded to a call at 8:23 a.m. about a possible shooting inside the house at 4414 Oak Leaf Court NE. Police did not say who placed the call. There, officers found his family members dead of gunshot wounds. They also found Alexander Jackson with a gunshot wound to the foot that police described as non-life- threatening. He was taken to UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's Hospital for treatment, and was arrested afterward and booked Tuesday night into the Linn County Jail. He does not have an adult criminal record in Iowa, according to online court records. Police did not provide a possible motive for the shooting. Tuesday was a day of Democrats announcing they are, or may be, running for things. The 2022 race for Congress in Iowa's 1st District could be a battle of former TV anchors. State Sen. Liz Mathis, D-Hiawatha, said Tuesday she is “seriously considering” a bid next year for the congressional seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, 37, a Republican who ousted Democrat Abby Finkenauer in the 2020 election to earn her first term. At the state level, a social studies teacher announced Tuesday she's running for the Iowa Senate in 2022, a day after the longtime incumbent announced he'll step down. Democrat Breanna Oxley, 30, a teacher at Roosevelt Middle School in Cedar Rapids, announced her candidacy for District 33, the seat now held by Democratic Sen. Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids. For the governor's race,  State Rep. Ras Smith of Waterloo on Tuesday became the first Democrat to announce he's running for governor in 2022 in an attempt to unseat Republican Kim Reynolds. Smith, who represents House District 62 in the Cedar Valley, made the announcement early Tuesday. Smith, 33, was first elected to the Iowa House in 2016. He is the ranking member on the education committee, as well as serving on the agriculture, information technology and natural resources committees. He's also the founding member and current chair of Iowa's Legislative Black Caucus. Iowa's slowly, reluctantly, inching its vaccination rate upward. More than half of Iowans age 12 and older have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Iowa Department of Public Health. As of 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, 1,380,842 Iowans had been fully vaccinated, an increase of 4,199 from Monday. That's 51.6 percent of Iowans age 12 and older, and 43,77 percent of the state's total population. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at iowaideas.com  Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon... Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 15

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 15, 2021 3:37

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Tuesday, June 15. Sadly Tuesday will be another day with no rain. But, unlike some recent days, it'll be a nice day to be outside in the sun. According to the National Weather Service it will be sunny with a high near 86 degrees on Tuesday. On Tuesday night it will be mostly clear, with a low around 58 degrees. After data from Iowa's Department of Human Rights showed that Black students in the Cedar Rapids district are https://www.thegazette.com/k/black-students-run-6-times-the-risk-of-white-students-for-criminal-complaints-in-cedar-rapids-school/ (far more likely) to have allegations of criminal wrongdoing made against them than are white students, the Cedar Rapids School District told the school board Monday night that the district will update the program that currently assigns uniformed Cedar Rapids police officers to seven schools. This will not necessarily mean the officers will be removed from the schools entirely, but that the district is committed to making changes after listening to students and looking at data. Not only did data show that the allegations are more common against Black students, when surveyed, Black students noted that they felt they were treated differently by law enforcement in the schools compared to their white counterparts. Washington Prime Group has filed for bankruptcy protection that lets it stay in business while it sheds some of its nearly $3.5 billion in debt.  The real estate investment firm that owns several malls, including Lindale Mall in northeast Cedar Rapids, filed a Chapter 11 petition late Sunday in Texas and expects its mall operations to continue “uninterrupted” while it reorganizes. Lou Conforti, Washington Prime Group's chief executive and director, said in a statement that the bankruptcy filing allows the company to “right-size its balance sheet and position the company for success going forward.” State Sen. Rob Hogg, a Cedar Rapids Democrat who has been in the Iowa Legislature nearly two decades, announced Monday he will not seek reelection in 2022. Hogg, 54, a lawyer and author of a book on climate change, has been in the Iowa Senate since 2007. His current term expires in January 2023. Previously, he served in the Iowa House from 2002 to 2006. Hogg said in a statement about not running again that there are several younger candidates who would like to get started in politics, and he doesn't want to stand in their way. Higher than normal temperatures and lower than normal rainfall are starting to take a toll on Iowa crops as drought and unusually dry conditions cause rivers to dwindle. “Early planted crops are starting to show moisture stress, and the short-term forecast shows only minor chances of precipitation,” Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said in a statement Monday. According to a weekly crop report issued Monday by Naig's department, Iowa's corn condition rated 63 percent as good to excellent —14 percentage points below the week before. Soybean condition rated 61 percent as good to excellent — 12 points worse than last week. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at iowaideas.com  Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon https://www.thegazette.com/topic?eid=121774&ename=Alexa&lang=en (Alexa) enabled device to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your daily briefing by simply saying “Alexa, what's the news? If you prefer podcasts, you can also find us on iTunes. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 14

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 14, 2021 1:50

    This is John McGlothlen with the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, June 14th. Today in the Cedar Rapids area we'll have a high near 88, with winds from the north, 5 to 10 mph. Then tonight we're expecting a low around 59. The Los Angeles Times reported this weekend that about 20 FBI agents on Thursday raided the North Hollywood home of former Iowa football player Siaka Massaquoi. According to the Times, Massaquoi entered the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. The Hawkeye running back was from Evanston, Ill., and played at Iowa in 2000 and 2001. He had 16 career carries and two touchdowns. He was dismissed from the Hawkeyes in 2002 after being charged with second-offense drunken driving, driving with a suspended license, and providing false information to law officers during a traffic stop. He moved to California and made a career for himself as an actor, and has 35 acting credits listed on IMDB.com. A man arrested in Davenport is in the Linn County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder for a Cedar Rapids shooting in May that injured a man at a Blairs Ferry Road NE address. According to a Cedar Rapids Police Department news release, Montel C.R. Reed, 32, was arrested by U.S. Marshals without incident at 4:40 p.m. Friday. Reed was taken to the Linn County Jail on suspicion of attempted murder, going armed with intent, intimidation with a weapon, willful injury causing bodily injury and felon in possession of a firearm. The charges stem from an incident May 3rd. At 10:20 a.m., Cedar Rapids dispatchers received a report of shots fired from a vehicle at someone walking in the 3700 block of Blairs Ferry Road NE. The man struck by gunfire was identified by Cedar Rapids police as Terrell H. Taylor, 30, who arrived 10 minutes after the shooting at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 12 and June 13

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 12, 2021 3:37


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Saturday, June 12, and Sunday, June 13. Your weekend weather forecast looks a tiny bit cooler than the last few days, with no chance for rain. According to the National Weather Service, it is predicted to be sunny with a high near 88 degrees on Saturday in Cedar Rapids. On Sunday it is predicted to be sunny again, with a high back up near 93 degrees. Gov. Kim Reynolds stepped up her criticism Friday of Biden administration officials' lack of transparency for flying 19 refugee children into the state to be transported to sponsor families without notifying her or other Iowa officials. The governor — speaking to a “People's Press Conference” talk radio show hosted by former GOP state legislator Jeff Angelo — said she was upset and dismayed that the federal government on multiple occasions denied that a transport had taken place before later admitting to it. Reynolds told the radio audience that potentially 2 children of the 19 actually stayed in Iowa, while the rest were moved to sponsors in other states. This was after she joined several Republican governors in refusing to take refugees from the border. Reynolds said the Biden administration lying about the refugees just proved that its final goal is ignoring the border crisis and letting illegal immigrants stream into the country.  Inmates at the Linn County Correctional Center no longer will be able to receive family and friends for face-to-face visits. The county implemented video visitation in February after ending in-person visits last year because of the risks of transmitting COVID-19. Sheriff Brian Gardner said the jail has long intended to permanently move to video visits instead of in-person visits, but the pandemic sped up the process. The Johnson County Jail in Iowa City hasn't allowed face-to-face visits for at least five years, instead using video visits with guests either coming to the jail lobby or making a video call from home. Prisoner advocates criticized the decision, saying that a Zoom call is not the same as an in person visit. Former Vice President Mike Pence is headlining Rep. Randy Feenstra's inaugural Feenstra Family Picnic next month in northwest Iowa. The campaign event will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 16 at the Dean Classic Car Museum in Sioux Center. "Vice President Pence has been a champion for conservative values and protecting innocent life throughout his public service," Feenstra said in a statement Friday. The picnic is Feenstra's answer to former Rep. Steve King's annual pheasant hunts in Akron — which were sometimes attended by notable conservative figures — and Sen. Joni Ernst's motorcycle ride across the state. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee made an appearance at Ernst's ride last fall. Pence, who was governor of Indiana before he became Donald Trump's vice president, has been considered a possible presidential contender in 2024. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at iowaideas.com  Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon https://www.thegazette.com/topic?eid=121774&ename=Alexa&lang=en (Alexa) enabled device to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your daily briefing by simply saying “Alexa, what's the news? If you prefer podcasts, you can also find us on iTunes. Support this podcast


    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 11

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 11, 2021 3:29

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Friday, June 11. It's going to be hot again on Friday, but this time it might actually rain a bit. Maybe. According to the National Weather Service there will be a 20 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms in the Cedar Rapids area after 1 p.m. The chance will increase to 40 percent as Friday heads into Saturday. Rain or not, it is definitely going to be hot, with a predicted high of 94 degrees. You wouldn't know it from all the moisture hanging around in the air, but most of Iowa is in a drought. Nearly 90 percent of the state is experiencing some degree of drought according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. While rain did bring some relief in May, it was still below average, and the dry and hot weather in June has erased the gains. It will no longer be a dry Kinnick Stadium this fall. A decade after University of Iowa Athletics launched a “Think Before They Drink” campaign aimed at curbing football-related binging, the department on Thursday announced its expanding alcohol sales at athletic events, including football, basketball, baseball, softball and wrestling.  Acknowledging risks that come with expanding beer and wine access to the game-going public, the department has committed 30 percent of its net alcohol sales to the research-based initiatives developed and supported by the UI Alcohol Harm Reduction Committee. The decision comes after the University of Iowa athletics department has reported millions of dollars in budget deficits due, in large part, to disruptions caused by COVID-19. Two seriously injured children remained hospitalized Thursday after their rented scooter ran a stop sign and was hit by a driver whose license was suspended. Cedar Rapids police said the boys were both riding on a single VeoRide scooter in the alley between 15th Street SE and Camburn Court SE just after 4 p.m. Wednesday when they turned onto Mount Vernon Road SE. They were struck by a westbound 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Dennis Lee Candler, 64, of Cedar Rapids, police said. Candler was ticketed for driving on a suspended license and failure to provide proof of liability insurance. Based on witness accounts and video surveillance, the boys were not wearing helmets and did not stop at a stop sign before turning onto Mount Vernon Road, police said. The two boys were taken to University of Iowa Hospitals for treatment of life threatening injuries. Gov. Kim Reynolds' office said Thursday it learned that 19 refugee children were flown last month to Des Moines and taken to sponsor families, despite the Republican governor's rejection of the Democratic Biden administration's request that Iowa accept immigrant kids. Reynolds and Democratic U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne both said the federal government withheld information on the flight despite repeated requests from their respective offices. Axne joined Reynolds in criticizing the Biden administration for its responses -- or lack thereof -- to Iowa officials and also joined in the call for more investigation into the matter. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at iowaideas.com  Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon https://www.thegazette.com/topic?eid=121774&ename=Alexa&lang=en (Alexa) enabled device to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your daily briefing by simply saying “Alexa, what's the news? If you prefer podcasts, you can also find us on iTunes. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 10

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 10, 2021 3:40

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, June 10. It will be the third day in a row with roughly the same weather forecast: hot, humid, with a slight chance for rain. According to the National Weather Service it will be sunny, with a high near 93 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area Thursday with heat index values reaching as high as 100 degrees. There will be a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1 p.m. Be sure to limit your exposure to the heat, and stay hydrated. Spurred by the https://www.thegazette.com/article/noah-herring-drowning-spurs-new-iowa-law/ (drowning of a Tiffin teenager), a measure requiring the duty of onlookers to try to get help for a person in imminent and grave danger was signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Kim Reynolds. https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=89&ba=SF243 (Senate File 243) grew out of the death of Noah Herring, 15, of Tiffin, in Coralville Lake in April 2020. Although three teens and an adult were present, none of them called 911 and they withheld information about his disappearance, delaying the discovery of his body for four days. On this note, the bill also makes it illegal to not reveal the location of a corpse in order to conceal a crime. Two children under the age of 12 sustained life-threatening injuries after a collision involving a scooter and a motor vehicle Wednesday afternoon. The two children were on the scooter in an alley between 15th Street SE and Camburn Court SE at about 4 p.m. when they pulled onto Mount Vernon Road SE and were struck by the vehicle, according to initial information from Cedar Rapids police. The children were taken by ambulance to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Their identities had not been released as of early Wednesday evening. Demand for vaccines in Iowa has dropped dramatically in recent weeks with the state ordering fewer doses each week and sliding downward in its national ranking of fully vaccinated people. Iowa ordered 2,450 doses for this week with only 16 out of Iowa's 99 counties ordering doses, Iowa Department of Public Health spokeswoman Sarah Ekstrand said. Last week, the state ordered 5,210 doses and the week before that, 7,850 doses. Iowa has been dealing with significant vaccine resistance in recent weeks, but Gov. Reynolds has said she has no plans to implement an incentive program to encourage vaccination as some states have done. Some states have offered prizes such as lottery tickets as an enticement. Reynolds said the free vaccine is available for anyone who wants it. In April, she set a goal of reaching 75 percent of Iowa adults being vaccinated by the end of June. As of Tuesday, 52.9 percent of Iowans age 18 and older have been fully vaccinated and 62.3 percent have had at least one dose. The Cedar Rapids Fhttps://www.thegazette.com/news/cedar-rapids-freedom-festival-returning-with-in-person-online-mix/ (reedom Festival )on Wednesday announced its parade format will switch from a walk-through parade to a traditional format downtown. The organization will accept parade entries via its website at https://www.thegazette.com/local-government/cedar-rapids-freedom-festival-to-hold-traditional-parade-downtown/freedomfestival.com (freedomfestival.com). The early registration deadline ends at midnight June 14. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at iowaideas.com  Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon... Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 9

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 9, 2021 4:08

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Wednesday, June 9. Wednesday's weather will continue many of the same themes as Tuesday's did: muggy and sunny, with an occasional chance of rain. According to the National Weather Service it will be 91 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area with mostly sunny skies. There will be a 20 percent chance of showers after noon. Besides that, a calm wind will blow at about 5 mph. Under legislation signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa's public colleges and governmental entities are now prohibited from teaching concepts that the Iowa Legislature has deemed divisive --- including that moral character is determined by one's race or sex, or that the United States and Iowa are fundamentally or systematically racist. The governor's office released a statement with the bill signing criticizing Critical Race Theory, an academic discipline examining systemic racism in society that has become a bugbear on Fox News and in conservative think tanks like the Heritage Foundation. The vote on this bill was almost entirely along party lines, with the support of majority Republicans and the opposition of Democrats. The Cedar Rapids City Council authorized the city manager Tuesday to sign off on an agreement to settle a lawsuit filed by Jerime Mitchell and his wife asserting a white police officer recklessly shot and paralyzed Mitchell, a Black motorist, in 2016. The city had prepared to go to trial in April to defend the actions of Lucas Jones, the officer who shot Mitchell, even though the police department had since fired him for a different incident. But on April 19, the day before the case was slated to go to trial, insurance carrier States Insurance agreed to https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/cedar-rapids-agrees-to-pay-8-million-settlement-to-jerime-mitchell/ (pay the Mitchells $8 million), without acknowledging fault or liability on the part of the defendants. The settlement was announced the same day a Minneapolis jury began to deliberate the fate of Derek Chauvin, the former Minnesota police officer who jurors later found guilty of murdering 46-year-old George Floyd by kneeling on his neck.  Former Lone Tree Mayor Jon Green, a Democrat, ran away with Tuesday's special election for a seat on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors, picking up 9,718 of the total 14,711 votes cast — about 66 percent. This vote total allowed him to easily beat his two challengers, Republican Phil Hemingway and independent Brian Campbell. Green will fill the seat vacated in April by former supervisor Janelle Rettig, when she resigned suddenly to focus on her health. Later that month, three county officials opted to host a special election to fill out the remainder of her term, which expires Dec. 31, 2022. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield said it is seeking federal approval to offer Medicare Advantage plans beginning in 2022. If approved by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the state's largest insurance carrier would offer plans under a new affiliate — Wellmark Advantage Health Plan — to Iowans and South Dakotans during this coming fall's annual enrollment period. Officials did not specify when they anticipate federal approval could arrive. Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, are health plans offered by private companies with approval from the federal agency. These plans provide both Medicare Part A — which covers hospital and nursing home care — and Medicare Part B — which handles medically necessary services and other preventive health care. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October... Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 8

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 8, 2021 3:35

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Tuesday, June 8. There have been some ominous clouds in the sky the past few days. But Tuesday they might actually do something. According to the National Weather Service there will be a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mostly after 1 p.m. and before 8 p.m. Tuesday. In and around the potential showers it is predicted to be mostly sunny, with a high near 88 degrees.  The state of Iowa agreed Monday to pay $5.7 million to offer compensation for, or settle, eight separate accusations of discrimination and negligence at its public universities — including payments to former University of Iowa police officers who sued for age discrimination, a sound tech hurt at a University of Northern Iowa concert and a UI student who crashed her moped after slipping on Cambus fuel. So far this budget year — which ends in just a few weeks on June 30 — the state has paid $4.67 million from its general fund to settle lawsuits or comply with judgments against state entities. Of that, $4.1 million — or 88 percent — is related to Board of Regents institutions Iowa transportation officials are expecting a fairly status-quo highway improvement program over the next five-year planning period, with about $3.6 billion targeted toward projects aimed at enhancing safety and modernizing and maintaining Iowa's current network of roadways. Assuming federal funding continues at current levels, state officials have earmarked more than $2.8 billion for modernization of Iowa's existing highway system over the next five fiscal years and for enhanced highway safety features that focus on Iowa's initiative to lower traffic fatalities below 300 deaths annually. In another return to normalcy, the Iowa Department of Corrections will resume in-person visits for inmates in early July, provided the offender is vaccinated against COVID-19. Department spokesman Cord Overton said officials have been looking at other states and talking with public health officials about how to allow visitors again for the https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/iowa-jails-and-prisons-preparing-for-spread-of-coronavirus/ (first time since March 2020.) More than 58 percent of people incarcerated in Iowa's prisons are fully vaccinated, while 62 percent have had one shot. The full vaccination rate among prison staff is 56 percent. After two large groups got into a confrontation early Sunday and fired over 80 gunshots, Davenport Mayor Mike Matson said Monday he has asked Iowa's governor and U.S. senators to help the state's third-largest city deal with the gun violence surge. The violence was captured on video surveillance atop a parking garage. Davenport police recovered nearly 80 spent casings of different calibers from the top floor of the Redstone Parking Ramp, 129 N. Main St. after the incident about 2 a.m. Sunday No one was known to be injured, but Sikorski said those involved aren't cooperating with police. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at iowaideas.com  Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon https://www.thegazette.com/topic?eid=121774&ename=Alexa&lang=en (Alexa) enabled device to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your daily briefing by simply saying “Alexa, what's the news? If you prefer podcasts, you can also find us on iTunes. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 7

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 7, 2021 2:06

    This is John McGlothlen with the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, June 7th. Today in the Cedar Rapids area, we'll have a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 4 p.m. It will be partly sunny, with a high near 85. Winds from the south 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Tonight we have a 10% chance of showers and thunderstorms before 7 p.m. The low should be around 69. A Coralville street was closed for about two hours Sunday morning after a shooting victim was found on the street and while police investigated the incident, according to the Coralville Police Department. Shortly after 1 a.m., police responded to a report of an injured person in the roadway in the 300 block of Second Street. The first officer to arrive found two apparent gunshot wounds on the victim, who was taken by ambulance to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics with what were believed to be non-life-threatening injuries. Police said the shooter had been identified and the investigation into an altercation before the shooting is continuing. A Cedar Rapids woman was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole for kidnapping and repeatedly beating a 15-year-old girl for more than nine months in 2019 until the girl, having suicidal thoughts, reached out to police. Mary Jane Jackson Thomas, age 47, was found guilty by a Linn County jury in March of first-degree kidnapping, second-degree kidnapping and two counts each of willful injury causing serious injury, willful injury causing bodily injury and going armed with intent. The jury deliberated about two hours before returning a guilty verdict, following a three-and-a-half-day trial. According to testimony, a doctor described the girl's extensive injuries all over her body as “torture.” Jackson Thomas, originally from Micronesia, admitted in a videotaped police interview played for jurors Thursday that she repeatedly slapped, scratched, bit and struck the teen with a hammer and extension cord, but she didn't admit to kidnapping — confining the teen against her will. The woman, in the police interview, blamed the teen for being 'bad” and causing Jackson Thomas to punish her. She said the teen wouldn't listen to her and lied, which is why she punished her. Support this podcast

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 5 and June 6

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 5, 2021 4:21

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Saturday June 5 and Sunday June 6. It's going to be a sunny and hot weekend. According to the National Weather Service the high on Saturday will be 92 degrees with sunny skies in the Cedar Rapids area. On Sunday it is expected to be sunny again with a high near 90 degrees. The low temperatures on both days are predicted to be near 70 degrees, and a moderate wind of 5 to 15 mph will be present on both days. Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart said Friday in an appearance on the Iowa Public Broadcasting show “Iowa Press” that communication was a key issue in responding to last summer's derecho after hurricane-force winds knocked down power lines and disrupted cell towers, but the city awaits a consultant's review of the response to determine what should be done differently in another severe storm. The city in March contracted with Tennessee-based Atchison Consulting Services to conduct an https://www.thegazette.com/government-politics/cedar-rapids-contracts-with-firm-to-review-derecho-response-for-25000/ (after-action review of its storm response) for $25,000. This study is intended to help the city understand disaster response strengths and gaps in preparedness through data collection, analysis and engagement efforts. Hart said the city's past experience with disasters allowed it to manage a lot of the disaster response on its own. A major exception was the Iowa legislature allocating $250,000 to help the city recover its tree canopy. Hart said this effort could take more than a decade, even without considering the time it will take trees to grow, and he is going to continue asking for help. Parents of a 31-year-old Colesburg man who died from injuries after a motorcycle crash last year are suing the city of Manchester and a police officer over a “conscience shocking and reckless” high-speed chase that two other officers had ceased out of safety concerns. The lawsuit, filed last month by Sandra and Daniel Mormann, assert Manchester police Officer James L. Wessels' decision on Dec. 10, 2020, to continue the chase of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, driven by Augustin Mormann, through the city of Manchester wasn't justified for only a suspended license offense — a misdemeanor. Iowa State Trooper Eric Payne initiated the pursuit of Mormann westbound on Highway 20 after Mormann was driving at high rate of speed — accelerating from 99 to 107 mph — and then fled after being pulled over. But the trooper ended the chase because it would be unsafe to continue within the city limits with increased traffic. Officer Wessels continued the pursuit, which, the lawsuit contends, led to him intentionally causing the fatal crash. The man accused of fatally stabbing Chris Bagley has asked a court to allow him to change his name to further his aspirations of becoming an actor. https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/search-warrant-reveals-details-in-deadly-attack-on-chris-bagley-who-was-buried-in-southeast-cedar-r/ (Drew Blahnik, charged with first-degree murder,) said in his name change petition that he has been planning to change his name to “Johnny Blahnik Church” for over two years and now “strongly” feels it's time. Before his arrest and pending trial, he said he had started taking acting classes that developed into him wanting to pursue it as a career. Blahnik, 33, of Cedar Rapids, in the petition, said within seven months of two different acting classes he “secured an invitation out to Los Angeles for a competition — The International Models and Talent Association.” He also would drive back and forth to Chicago in an attempt to secure an agent. During these interviews and auditions, he said he found a management company to represent him. During his acting pursuits he went by the stage name of “Johnny Church.” Blahnik is accused of stabbing Bagley after Bagley robbed a local drug dealer named Andrew Shaw. Shaw is currently in prison on other...

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 4

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 4, 2021 4:37

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Friday, June 4. It's going to be sunny again on Friday, but it will come with more heat and humidity. According to the National Weather Service it will be sunny with a high near 91 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area. A wind of 10 to 15 mph will gust as high as 20 mph. State Auditor Rob Sand, who is eyeing a run for governor next year, says Gov. Kim Reynolds violated Iowa law by using federal funds to pay for a public service announcement to raise public awareness about COVID-19. According to his Thursday report, about $500,000 in federal coronavirus pandemic relief funds were used on the “Step Up, Stop the Spread” public awareness campaign. Another $17,000 spent producing the videos may have violated the law. Reynolds appears in the one-minute video for about 10 seconds, according to Sand and his staff. She said she is proud of the public awareness campaign and said Sand is misreading the state law. The governor's office said his accusation ignores the opening clause of the law that refers to an exception in the law that applies to the power and authority of the governor during a public health disaster emergency. If you enjoyed that back and forth, get ready for 2022. University of Iowa researchers and public health groups have received a $500,000 federal grant to find ways to improve the COVID-19 vaccination rates in Iowa's smallest communities. The yearlong project will focus on 17 communities, with researchers working with community residents in creating strategies that overcome barriers and encourage residents to seek the vaccine. In the first phase, UI researchers will collect data to understand who is not getting vaccinated in 17 “micropolitan” cities — those with a population between 10,000 and 49,999. The cities include Fairfield in Jefferson County and Ottumwa in Wapello County. Just under 42 percent of the state's population has been fully vaccinated. But this lags behind most of Iowa's more populated urban counties where vaccination rates are closer to 50 percent. With https://www.thegazette.com/higher-education/new-university-of-iowa-president-starts-dream-job-july-15/ (Barbara Wilson )just over a month away from starting as the next University of Iowa president with a base salary of $600,000, the Board of Regents voted Thursday to raise Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen's base pay to match. Wintersteen had been earning an annual salary of $590,000, on par with former UI President Bruce Harreld, whose last day of his nearly six-year stint was May 16. After a national search netted four finalists, regents on April 30 chose Wilson to succeed Harreld starting July 15. The board Thursday did not change University of Northern Iowa President Mark Nook's compensation. In 2019, it extended his contract through 2025 — with an option to renew through 2027 — but did not increase his base pay of $357,110. A Cedar Rapids man is facing an attempted murder charge in connection with a shooting last year at a commercial property in southwest Cedar Rapids. Tyler John Koob, 34, also faces charges of intimidation with a dangerous weapon, assault going  armed with intent, and carrying weapons. Cedar Rapids police were called to 1027 Ninth St SW just before 10:30 p.m. Nov. 18 on reports of a shooting. Officers found Koob, who had been wounded by gunfire, near the building. He was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, police said. According to the criminal complaint, a 49-year-old man told police Koob had knocked on the door of the building and, when the man answered the door, “fired several shots barely missing” the man. Unfortunately for Koob, the man also was armed with a gun, and he had much better aim. According to the complaint, police interviewed Koob about the incident afterward. He told police he had gone to the property because he'd heard people were badmouthing him. He told police he had...

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 3

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 3, 2021 4:14

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, June 3. Another sunny day is on the way Thursday, with it being a little bit warmer than Wednesday. According to the National Weather Service it will be sunny with a high near 84 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area Thursday. The wind will hover at 5 to 10 mph all day. State Rep. Todd Prichard announced Wednesday that he is stepping down as leader of the Iowa House Democrats. Prichard, 47, a Charles City lawyer, was reelected to his fifth term in the House in 2020. He did not indicate whether he'll seek a sixth term in 2022. Prichard led Iowa Democrats during three years of increasing Republican domination, as Iowa voters handed the opposing party control of virtually all levels of government. He criticized Republicans for lack of cooperation during this last legislative session and Gov. Kim Reynolds for a lack of leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. But this, like most things Iowa Democrats did over the last year in particular, was an exercise in futility. The Iowa Board of Regents appears to be responding to concerns levied against them by Republican lawmakers regarding the protection of free speech, particularly conservative speech. During the first meeting Wednesday of the Board of Regents' new free speech committee plans were revealed to systematically address free speech concerns and to ensure a welcoming campus community. The free speech committee was formed by the Regents after they were lambasted by Republican lawmakers after a series of free speech incidents between student groups and campus administrators.  The Iowa State Patrol has released the names of the three family members — two from North Liberty and one from Amana — who were killed in a car-semi crash last week in Fayette County. The three — Terri Westfall, 65, and Ashleigh Rensing, 18, both of North Liberty, and Alli Olsen, 9, of Amana — died in the 2:30 p.m. Friday crash on Highway 150, north of West Union, according to the Iowa State Patrol. A fourth family member, Seth Olsen, 15, of Amana, was seriously injured and taken to Gundersen Palmer Lutheran Hospital and Clinics in West Union. The Patrol said Westfall was driving north in a 2010 Chevrolet Impala when the car crossed the centerline and collided head-on with a southbound semi-trailer truck  After a weekend of little luck, authorities said they are re-evaluating their search for Xavior Harrelson, the 11-year-old boy who disappeared from a Montezuma mobile home park last week. Xavior https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/authorities-searching-for-10-year-old-boy-who-disappeared-in-poweshiek-county/ (was last seen around 11 a.m. Thursday in Montezuma), wearing a red T-shirt, blue pajama pants and black high-top shoes, according to the Poweshiek County Sheriff's Office. He has brown hair and blue eyes, is about 4-foot-8 and weighs 100 pounds. Mitch Mortvedt, assistant director of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, said Xavior left his home in the Spruce Village Mobile Home Park and has not been seen since. The boy's mother thought Xavior had gone out to play with friends, he said. The mobile home park is less than a mile from Diamond Lake County Park, which features more than 660 acres of wooded land, a 90-acre lake and roughly 120 campsites. Since the boy's disappearance, Mortvedt said authorities have deployed people, dogs, horses, all-terrain vehicles, drones, aircraft, heat sensors and divers. Now, Mortvedt said, authorities are working on developing new leads. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss,...

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, June 2

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 2, 2021 4:05

    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Wednesday, June 2. Wednesday's weather should bring another pleasant sunny day. We should enjoy mild and rainfree weather until the weekend in fact. Wednesday's weather calls for sunny skies in the Cedar Rapids area with a high near 79 degrees and a calm wind. Wednesday night should remain mostly clear, with a low around 57 degrees. After more than a decade at the helm of Marion's government, leading the city through major economic development as its population swelled by almost 10,000 people, City Manager Lon Pluckhahn is heading west for a new job. Pluckhahn announced his resignation Tuesday afternoon to take the position of deputy city manager in Vancouver, Wash. He will serve in his current role until Aug. 2. He told the Gazette that he made the move due wanting to consider his family's future after his kids graduate high school. He also said he desired an opportunity for advancement, but positions above his current one are scarce in Iowa. Iowa City Council members will meet with the city's planning and zoning commission before voting on a proposed development near Hickory Hill Park. On Tuesday night the council was considering the rezoning of 48.75 acres from interim development single-family to low density single-family to make way for a housing development that would also include a senior living facility. The proposed development northeast of the 185-acre Hickory Hill Park would add 14 acres of land to the park. However, after receiving public comments that were largely opposed to the idea, council members signaled they would not vote in favor of the rezoning. The proposed rezoning had been recommended by the planning and zoning commission at its May meeting. Council members said many of the complaints were centered on how the development would affect the nearby park. Authorities are investigating two separate incidents of possible animal abuse after seven chickens and 13 guinea pigs were discarded. According to Cedar Rapids Animal Care and Control, officers received a report Thursday that seven chickens were placed in garbage bags and discarded on the side of Old River Road SW, east of Sunshine Street SW. A passerby found the bag around 5 a.m. Thursday. Six of the seven chickens were still alive. Four days later, Animal Care and Control responded at 5:30 p.m. Monday to Rock Ridge Condominiums at 2121 Rockford Rd. SW after two tote bags containing 13 dead guinea pigs were found in a dumpster. Authorities said the bags contained eight baby and five adult guinea pigs.Anyone with information about these incidents is asked to contact Animal Care and Control at (319) 286-5993. The roller-coaster effects of Iowa's COVID-19 pandemic are skewing state tax collections — but in a good way. After a period of economic shutdown intended to slow the spread of a novel coronavirus that has claimed at least 6,057 Iowa lives, state revenues are growing at an unprecedented pace as people spend federal stimulus checks and engage in more activities as Iowa reopens for business, travel and events, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency. While the pandemic has made apples-to-apples fiscal-year comparisons difficult, Jeff Robinson, a senior tax analyst for the agency, said monthly data indicates state tax collections are up more than $1 billion in fiscal 2021, with double-digit increases in all major categories contributing to a 19.3 percent year-to-date growth rate. The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can't miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the

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