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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


    • Oct 14, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
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    • 617 EPISODES


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    Latest episodes from The Gazette Daily News Podcast

    Gazette Daily News Podcast, October 14

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 14, 2022 2:31


    University of Iowa has suspended its search for a new for a new health care VP and medical college dean. After narrowing down the search to four candidates, administrators extended an offer to one of the finalists, but the finalist declined due to family obligations. UI Executive Vice President and Provost Kevin Kregel said “I am sorry that we could not come to an agreement, but we certainly respect the candidate's decision…We will re-evaluate the search process and launch it again as soon as possible. We are eager to find candidates who share our exciting vision for the growth of the university's health care system and for the Carver College of Medicine.” Brooks Jackson, the university's current vice president for medical affairs and medical college dean — who announced plans to resign in February — has agreed to continue serving at the helm until UI hires a successor. Then Jackson will remain on the faculty as a professor and researcher — just not in the administrative role. Kim Reynolds earns top mark for fiscal responsibility in conservative group's report. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds received the highest grade for fiscal responsibility among the nation's governors in a report issued by the conservative Cato Institute. The biennial report grades governors on their fiscal policies from a limited government perspective, and awards higher grades to governors whose states have cut taxes and spending, according to the Cato Institute. Reynolds said in a news release from the governor's office: “Iowa prides itself on stewarding taxpayer dollars with care and an eye toward growth…That means exercising restraint in our spending and taking every opportunity to return tax dollars to the hardworking Iowans who generated them in the first place. This is their money — not the government's — and they have a right to expect their own representatives to act like it. I'm grateful to the Cato Institute for recognizing that Iowa does so.” Today marks the 2nd day of The Gazette's 2022 Iowa Ideas. Iowa Ideas is an annual virtual conference designed to gather Iowans from all perspectives to explore, discuss and offer solutions on issues impacting the state. Today's schedule includes Speed Networking, and two sessions of panels across nine different tracks including Art & Culture, Community Development, Education, Energy and Environment, Heath Care, Human & Social Services, Policy, and Workforce. Registration is free, and all panels will be available as replays on IowaIdeas.com.

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, October 13

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 13, 2022 2:43


    This is John McGlothlen with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, October 13th. According to the National Weather Service, it will be mostly sunny in the Cedar Rapids area today, with a high near 55. It will be breezy, with a northwest wind 10 to 15 mph increasing to 20 to 25 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 35 mph. Then tonight it should be mostly clear, with a low around 33. An Iowa City man pleaded guilty to stabbing his wife multiple times in 2019 before she was scheduled to speak to a banking official who would have told her about his risky high-interest loans, falsified accounting records and that he emptied one of her savings accounts. 70-year-old Roy Carl Browning Jr., of Iowa City, originally charged with first-degree murder, made an Alford plea to second-degree murder. He still faces a life sentence because a second-degree conviction is 50 years in prison. He will have to serve a mandatory 35 years before being eligible for parole. Under the Alford plea, Browning didn't admit guilt but admitted that the prosecution had enough evidence for a likely conviction in the murder of his wife, 65-year-old JoEllen Browning. A pair of former Iowa broadcast journalists running for an Eastern Iowa congressional seat argued policy over abortion, infrastructure, parental rights and more in their first televised debate before the Nov. 8th general election. Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson of Marion and Democratic challenger Liz Mathis of Hiawatha participated Wednesday in an hourlong debate hosted by their former employer, KCRG-TV9. Hinson and Mathis are running for Iowa's newly drawn 2nd Congressional District, which includes 22 counties in Iowa's northeast corner, and includes the cities of Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Dubuque and Mason City. Up to $96 million in business capital, including loans, will be made available to Iowa start-ups and small and veteran-owned businesses under a state plan approved this week by the federal treasury department. The funding is being made available through the federal State Small Business Credit Initiative, a program that was created in 2010 and renewed and expanded in the latest federal pandemic relief package, the American Rescue Plan. –

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, October 10

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 10, 2022 2:11


    This is John McGlothlen with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, October 10th. Today will be sunny with a high near 74 in the Cedar Rapids area. According to the National Weather Service, winds will come from the east, 5 to 10 mph then from the south in the afternoon. And tonight should be mostly clear, with a low around 53. Two people were killed on a Benton County highway Saturday when a passing pickup struck a left-turning UTV, according to an Iowa State Patrol crash report. At 4:04 p.m., 76-year-old William Geater and 60-year-old Mary McElhinney, both of Vinton, were eastbound in a Ranger Polaris UTV on County Highway E24 (also known as 61st Street Lane) about three miles east of Vinton. Specific information about who was driving the UTV has not yet been released. An eastbound Dodge Ram 1500 pickup, driven by 74-year-old Francis Baldus of Jewell, began passing the UTV as both vehicles approached 68th Avenue Drive, according to the report. The UTV made a left turn in front of the pickup and the pickup struck the UTV, causing it to roll in the north ditch and ejecting the occupants. The crash remains under investigation by the Iowa State Patrol. In Hawkeye football, Iowa lost 9 to 6 against Illinois Saturday, in a game without a single touchdown. All of the scoring came from field goals. Iowa struggled to move the ball as Spencer Petras completed 18 of 36 passes for 170 yards and an interception. Petras took five sacks and the Hawkeyes rushed for just 52 yards. The Hawkeyes averaged a measly 1.7 yards per rush. Five of six Iowa drives went for negative yardage during the second and third quarters.

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, October 8 and October 9

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 8, 2022 4:03


    Welcome to the weekend! This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Saturday, October 8, and Sunday, October 9. It may start out frosty, but temperatures will climb into a pretty nice weekend. According to the National Weather Service there will be widespread frost in the Cedar Rapids area on Saturday, mainly before 9 a.m. But it will be sunny, with an eventual high near 62 degrees. On Saturday night it will be mostly clear, with a low of around 39 degrees. On Sunday it will be sunny, with a high near 72 degrees. On Sunday night it will be mostly clear, with a high near 43 degrees. A Cedar Rapids couple will donate $2.1 million to seven Linn County nonprofits, United Way of East Central Iowa, one of the beneficiaries, announced Friday. The couple, Mike and Jo Cambridge, ran a staffing business called Cambridge TEMPositions in Cedar Rapids for more than 30 years before they retired in 2014. In 2015, the couple donated https://www.thegazette.com/news/cedar-rapids-couple-donates-4-5-million-to-catholic-schools-churches/ ($4.5 million) to five Catholic schools and churches. The seven nonprofits that will receive funds, along with United Way of East Central Iowa, are Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Foundation 2 Crisis Services, Junior Achievement of Eastern Iowa, Mercy Medical Center Foundation, the Salvation Army of Cedar Rapids and Willis Dady Homeless Services. Each nonprofit will receive $300,000 over the next three years.  So somebody decided that doing an active shooting drill on election day might be a bad idea. Kirkwood Community College officials on Friday notified the campus they're postponing an active shooter drill previously planned for Election Day, Nov. 8 — a delay that came after some faculty and staff voiced concern about the drill's timing and potential to disrupt voting. In the Friday “special update” announcing the active threat drill would be moved, Kirkwood Public Safety officials said they're working with the Cedar Rapids Police Department to find an alternative date. The entities originally picked Nov. 8 for the drill on Kirkwood's main Cedar Rapids campus solely because it worked for everyone's schedules according to a Kirkwood spokesman. Kirkwood's Cedar Rapids campus hosts two polling places, and its Iowa City campus hosts one polling place. A $5 million grant will aid an overhaul of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, the state announced Friday, the same day former President George W. Bush was in Cedar Rapids to help raise funds for the museum's renovation. The grant was issued by the state's economic development agency through a program that promotes tourism. The grant is funded by federal pandemic relief funding, which Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds originally opposed.  Herbert Hoover is the only U.S. president born in Iowa. https://hoover.archives.gov/ (The museum) features information about Hoover and his wife, First Lady Lou Henry Hoover. The Hoover Presidential Foundation is in the midst of https://www.thegazette.com/news/herbert-hoover-presidential-library-and-museum-open-again-in-west-branch/#:~:text=by%20Iowa%20taxpayers.-,Fundraiser,-One%20of%20the (a $20 million capital campaign) to renovate the museum's permanent galleries and exhibit galleries. The project will include the addition of 2,250 square feet of updated and interactive displays, and a modernized visitor experience. Former President Bush was scheduled Friday to https://www.thegazette.com/government-politics/former-president-george-w-bush-will-be-in-cedar-rapids-friday-heres-why-hes-here/ (receive a humanitarian award and headline a fundraiser for the museum). The event was not open to the media, per an agreement with Bush's staff.

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, October 7

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 7, 2022 3:53


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Friday, October 7. The cold has arrived once again. According to the National Weather Service it will be sunny in the Cedar Rapids area on Friday with a high near 55 degrees. On Friday night it will be mostly clear, with a low of around 32 degrees. Widespread frost is likely Friday night into Saturday morning. In a debate between the candidates for U.S. Senate in Iowa, both candidates agreed that incumbent Republican Chuck Grassley has been in office for a long time. Where they differed Thursday night was the value of that seniority. It was the first and only scheduled debate between Grassley and Democratic challenger former Navy Admiral Mike Franken, as each tried to persuade voters they would be the better representative for Iowans in Washington. Grassley touted his seniority, noting that he would be the longest-serving and most senior senator after the election, should he be elected to an eighth term. Franken said Grassley's time in the Senate has been defined by failure to solve problems and a lack of leadership. Franken said he would be an energetic and new voice for Iowa. In addition to age range discussions, Grassley and Franken jousted on the topic of abortion, accusations of sexual harassment against Franken, inflation, health care, and Grassley's association with former president Donald Trump. President Joe Biden is pardoning thousands of Americans convicted of “simple possession” of marijuana under federal law, as his administration takes a dramatic step toward decriminalizing the drug. According to reporting from the Associated Press, Biden is also calling on governors to issue similar pardons for those convicted of state marijuana offenses, which reflect the vast majority of marijuana possession cases. Biden is also directing the secretary of Health and Human Services and the U.S. attorney general to review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. Rescheduling the drug would reduce or potentially eliminate criminal penalties for possession. Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin and LSD. The White House did not set a timeline for the review. But Biden said he believes that as the federal government and many states ease marijuana laws, they should maintain limitations on trafficking, marketing and underage sales. Iowa women's basketball coach Lisa Bluder revealed Thursday that it is unlikely that recruit Ava Jones will ever play basketball again after a tragic crash in July. Bluder said a recent MRI revealed that all four major ligaments in both of Jones' knees are torn. Coach Bluder said the women's basketball program already has committed to honoring Jones' scholarship, regardless of whether she's able to play basketball again. The crash ha ppened July 5. Jones and her fa mily were on a sidewalk in Louisville when a 33-year-old man who admitted to taking hydrocodone before driving hit them, according to reports. Her father Trey did not survive the accident, and her mother Amy suffered serious injuries. Her brother had minor injuries. A GoFundMe https://www.gofundme.com/f/sv8vex-jones-family-fund (page has raised more than $150,000 for the family), with many of the donations coming from Iowa fans.

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, October 6

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 6, 2022 3:59


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, Oct. 6. Your Thursday could begin with some fog before the sun chases it away. According to the National Weather Service there will be areas of fog before 10 a.m. in the Cedar Rapids area. Otherwise, it will be partly sunny, with a high near 68 degrees. It will become increasingly windy as the day goes on, with winds gusting as high as 25 mph. Dress warm Thursday night, as it will drop down to 38 degrees. A Cedar Rapids police fatal shooting of a man suspected of attacking his girlfriend in August was justified, officials said Wednesday.  The shooting initially drew protests until authorities released video of the incident showing the man threatening officers with a knife. Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks https://www.linncountyiowa.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=2986 (released a report) from the Iowa Attorney General's Office detailing the investigation into the Aug. 30 https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/dci-cedar-rapids-police-shot-killed-armed-man-at-domestic-disturbance/ (officer-involved shooting of William Isaac Rich), 22, outside a transitional housing complex. Maybanks announced as a result of the reports findings, he will not pursue criminal charges against Officers Sgt. Bryson Garringer or Investigator Chris Christy. Christy and Garringer were the two Cedar Rapids officers involved in the shooting, which happened at Inn Circle, a transitional housing site at 5560 Sixth St. SW. According to the report from the Iowa Attorney General's Office, the officers responded just before 1 a.m. to the Inn Circle. Rich's girlfriend had called 911 to say that Rich choked, punched and tried to drown her. She said she believed he was going to kill her. When officers arrived, Rich was armed with a knife and refused to follow commands. The Cedar Rapids Police Department https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/video-footage-released-of-fatal-cedar-rapids-officer-involved-shooting/ (released video footage) of the shooting in September, after family members of Rich https://www.thegazette.com/news/protesters-demand-answers-in-fatal-shooting-of-cedar-rapids-man/ (protested for the right to see the video). In the police body camera video, the knife Rich was carrying is shown. Rich can be seen fighting with the officers. At one point, he is pushed back and three shots are heard, followed by an officer shouting, “Get on the ground, now.” Rich falls over but attempts to get back up, at which point four more gunshots are heard and Rich stops moving. The Cedar Rapids Community School District is the first district in the state to be awarded a federal magnet schools grant — $14.8 million to be distributed over the next five years, the U.S. Department of Education announced Wednesday. The district applied for the funding from the Magnet School Assistance Program as it prepares to open its first magnet high school, named City View Community High School. The first disbursement of the federal grant will be $6.4 million for the first two years. Magnet schools offer theme-based learning — such as science, technology, engineering, arts and math; or leadership and entrepreneurship, for instance. The Cedar Rapids district operates other magnet schools, but none until now at the high school level. City View will be a magnet high school for students to engage in project-based learning and is expected to open by fall 2023. A location has yet to be announced for the school. Up to 200 primarily rising ninth- and 10th- graders will be able to enroll at City View for the 2023-24 school year. If there are more than 200 students interested in attending next fall, the district will use a lottery system to select and accept students. The school eventually will serve up to 400 ninth to 12th-graders. Other Cedar Rapids high schools have between 1,300 and 1,700 students each. The grant will support the enhancement of four existing magnet...

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, October 5

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 5, 2022 4:15


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Wednesday, Oct. 5. The warmth is predicted to linger another day with a chance for rain Wednesday, with the temperatures dropping steeply by Friday. According to the National Weather Service, it will be partly sunny in the Cedar Rapids area with a high near 75 degrees. On Wednesday evening it will be partly cloudy, with a low of around 54 degrees. There will be a 40 percent of showers Wednesday evening, mostly between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. A Linn County jury has found a Cedar Rapids woman who fatally stabbed her boyfriend guilty of a lesser charge after she had originally been charged with murder. Jacqueline Holmes, 38, faces up to five years in jail. After about a day and half of deliberations following more than five days of testimony, she was found guilty last Friday of the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter — unintentionally causing the death of her boyfriend, Tremaine Williams, 35, on March 4, 2020. A retired Illinois law and psychology professor, who consults and testifies in cases involving domestic violence, said during the trial that https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/defense-expert-says-cedar-rapids-woman-on-trial-for-fatally-stabbing-her-boyfriend-is-a-battered-w/ (Holmes was a battered woman )and suffers from its effects. She said Holmes told her about three men who physically abused her, including Williams. The https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/prosecutor-says-woman-delayed-getting-boyfriend-911-help-after-stabbing-him/ (prosecution had argued that Holmes )delayed getting help for Williams after she stabbed him in the shoulder at a southwest Cedar Rapids house. There also was testimony from an investigator that Holmes repeatedly changed her version of what happened that night during recorded police interviews. A company seeking to build a carbon dioxide pipeline through five Iowa counties, including Linn, says it will hold a second round of public meetings after confirming some landowners did not get proper notice of its August meetings. Wolf Carbon Solutions, based in Alberta, Canada, held meetings Aug. 29-31 in Johnson, Cedar, Linn, Clinton and Scott counties to talk about a proposed 280-mile underground pipeline that could transport carbon dioxide from ADM plants in Cedar Rapids and Clinton to an underground site in central Illinois. But many of the people who attended those meetings said they had not been notified by certified mail and questioned whether the process was legal. The Iowa Utilities Board Sept. 23 ordered Wolf to explain within 10 days how public notice was provided and verify certified letters were sent. The company setting new meetings could delay their project, but doing so may be preferable to providing certified addresses from affected landowners. Companies proposing other CO2 pipelines in Iowa have resisted publishing the names of all affected landowners. Opponents want those names to help unite opposition.  On Friday Former President George W. Bush will receive a humanitarian award and headline a fundraiser for the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum at the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Cedar Rapids. But don't expect a lot of news coverage of his visit. As part of an agreement with Bush's staff, media coverage of the event is not allowed, said Brad Reiners, communications director for the Hoover Presidential Foundation. The museum will present Bush and former first lady Laura Bush its first Hoover Humanitarian Award for their work in Africa. The former president and former first lady have worked to combat HIV/AIDS across Africa through the President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief. The effort has saved at least 18 million lives through critical care and treatment since 2003 when then-President Bush authorized it, according to the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Ticket sales for the fundraising banquet are closed. Proceeds will go toward a $20...

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, October 4

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 4, 2022 3:56


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Tuesday, October 4. Tuesday will be one more day with a high in the seventies before it cools down a bit the rest of the week. According to the National Weather Service, on Tuesday it will be mostly sunny in the Cedar Rapids area, with a high near 76 degrees. A south wind of 5 to 15 mph will gust as high as 20 mph. On Tuesday night it will be mostly cloudy, with a low of around 52 degrees. The wind will calm to a gentle breeze by day's end. The state has agreed to pay a North Liberty couple nearly $4 million after their almost 2-year-old son died in 2018 from an undiagnosed strep infection following days of visits to University of Iowa-affiliated clinics and facilities. The State Appeal Board on Monday unanimously approved a $3.99 million settlement with Scott and Melissa Keating, who filed their suit in 2019.  The family's concerns started on February 15, 2018, when Jack Keating — who was just days away from his second birthday — came down with a fever and raspy breathing. According to the couple's lawsuit, over the next 3 days the family saw several different UIHC providers from UI Quick Care, to Pediatric Associates, to the UIHC emergency department. Despite the child's worsening condition, none of the doctors diagnosed him correctly with what would end up being a fatal case of strep throat. Jack Keating died on the morning of February 19. The Keatings in their lawsuit accused UIHC and its employees of negligence and failure to, among other things, properly assess, examine, test, diagnose and treat their son in a timely manner. The Iowa City Marketplace was purchased for just under $14.3 million by a Tennessee-based company focused on redeveloping shopping centers. CORE Realty Holdings of California sold the shopping center in late July to Brookwood Capital Advisors. A not-yet-disclosed chain store is anticipated to move into the vacant space that formerly housed Von Maur and Lucky's Market once a lease is finalized. The shopping center, formerly known as Sycamore Mall, is on Sycamore Street in southeast Iowa City. The shopping center was rebranded in 2013. The rebranding was intended to provide more areas for social interaction and turn the area into a social space by bringing together dining, entertainment and mixed use. Brookwood Capital Advisors focuses on finding empty sites, leasing out the spaces and “setting the sites up for long-term success,” according to the group's website.  After this year approving controversial utility-scale solar projects near Coggon and Palo while turning aside recommendations from their staff for a moratorium, the Linn County Board of Supervisors voted Monday on its first consideration to pause any more at least until the end of the year. County staff has requested the moratorium in order to better refine the guidelines for the implementation of solar projects in Linn County. The county said a three-month moratorium would provide a structure with check-ins on progress. The Dec. 31 deadline also would allow the current Board of Supervisors to decide on an extension before a new board is sworn in this January after the November elections.

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, October 3

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 3, 2022 3:09


    This is John McGlothlen with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, October 3rd. Today it will be sunny in the Cedar Rapids area, with a high near 75, according to the National Weather Service. Winds from the southeast 5 to 10 mph. Then tonight, a low around 48. A 16-year-old girl was taken to a hospital for minor injuries early Sunday after a woman driving an SUV crossed a center line in northern Linn County and crashed head-on into the car the girl was driving. A Linn County Sheriff's Office news release said at 12:17 a.m., 50-year-old Julia Gharib of Marion, was driving a Toyota 4Runner south on Highway 13 near the Linn Delaware Road intersection when she crossed the center line and collided with a northbound Chevrolet Malibu driven by 16-year-old Ava Bockenstedt of Manchester. Bockenstedt was transported by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids for minor injuries. The release did not specify whether Gharib was injured. Both said they were wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash. Gharib was charged with operating while intoxicated and improper use of lanes. A white Cedar Rapids man followed a man from a gas station to the man's workplace in Hiawatha and fired two gunshots at him Friday because of the man's race, according to a criminal complaint. 31-year-old Joshua Barnhart had followed the man from Casey's on 32nd Street NE in Cedar Rapids to Midland Concrete in Hiawatha, where the man works. Barnhart then got out of his vehicle, pulled a handgun from his waistband and fired two shots at the man before fleeing. Barnhart eluded officers until they used stop sticks on his vehicle. According to the complaint, Barnhart said he had targeted the victim because of his race. Barnhart has been charged with attempted murder, assault with intent to inflict serious injury with violation of individual rights, and going armed with intent, all felonies; assault while displaying a dangerous weapon, an aggravated misdemeanor; and eluding, a serious misdemeanor. He is being held on $500,000 cash-only bond. A man was seriously injured in a house fire Saturday night in northwest Cedar Rapids. Around 11:30 p.m., the Cedar Rapids Fire Department was dispatched to 1730 11th St. NW for a report of a single-family house fire. Officials said in a news release that flames were visible from the front of the house when crews arrived. While searching the two-story house, firefighters found an unresponsive man in a first-floor bedroom, according to a Facebook post by International Association of Fire Fighters Local 11. He was pulled from the home and taken to UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's Hospital with serious injuries. No others were found in the home but several pets died in the fire, according to the release. –

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 30

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 30, 2022 3:58


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Friday, September 30. Pleasant, not quite as brisk, fall weather has returned, starting Friday and heading into next week. According to the National Weather Service it will be sunny in the Cedar Rapids area on Friday with a high near 71 degrees. On Friday night it will be mostly clear, with a low of around 45 degrees. A light wind will become even calmer as the day goes on. A Marion resident is suing the Linn-Mar Community School District, saying she was banned from school board meetings for the next 12 months because she disrupted the August school board meeting. Amanda Pierce Snyder, who lives in the Linn-Mar district, was removed from the Aug. 29 school board meeting after she interrupted board members' discussion and was asked to stop speaking by the board president, Britannia Morey. When Snyder didn't stop speaking, Morey asked the Marion police officer at the meeting to remove Snyder from the room. The lawsuit claims that Snyder then received a letter from the school board saying she was banned from attending in-person school board meetings for the next 12 months. The lawsuit asks the court to rule that banning Snyder from board meetings is illegal and cannot be enforced. It seeks to have the district penalized for violating Iowa law and fined $1,000 to $2,500 per meeting Snyder cannot attend. It seeks the removal of Morey from the president's role if she again violates Iowa Code during her term and asks that the district pay Snyder's attorney fees and court costs. Snyder's lawyer is Alan Ostergren, who also is suing the district over its transgender policy, representing the https://www.thegazette.com/k/judge-denies-request-to-bar-enforcement-of-linn-mar-transgender-policy/ (Parents Defending Education organization). A firefighter and civilian were injured Thursday in a house fire in Cedar Rapids. Firefighters were called to 2120 Ninth St. SW at 12:27 p.m. Thursday and immediately began fire suppression efforts on the front of the home, where there was visible smoke and flames. Firefighters also began treating a man suffering from burns and wounds sustained in the fire. The man was in the front yard of the house when fire crews arrived. While fighting the fire inside the house, one firefighter was injured when ceiling materials gave way and fell on him. The civilian man and the firefighter were both taken to a hospital. The injuries to the firefighter are minor, and the extent of the injuries to the other man are not known, according to the news release. Iowa and five other Republican-led states are suing the Biden administration in an effort to halt its plan to forgive student loan debt for tens of millions of Americans, accusing it of overstepping its executive powers. According to reporting from the Associated Press, it's https://apnews.com/article/biden-education-lawsuits-executive-branch-88a53926a6583fdb7b8c311206f5357f (at least the second legal challenge this week) to the sweeping proposal laid out by President Joe Biden in late August, when he said his administration https://apnews.com/article/student-loan-forgiveness-biden-plan-d9c8e18774a744187c9af634bf4eb728 (would cancel up to $20,000 in education debt) for eligible borrowers. In Iowa, as many as 450,000 people could be affected by the news debt forgiveness, according to Iowa College Aid, the state's student financial aid agency. In the lawsuit, filed Thursday in a federal court in Missouri, the Republican states argue the plan is not tailored to address the effects of the pandemic on federal student loan borrowers as is required by the 2003 federal law that the administration is using as legal justification. In a statement, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds argued the wide-scale debt relief is unfair to hard-working Americans to have their tax dollars used to forgive student loan debt of the “well-off who can afford to pay their own loans.” 

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 29

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 29, 2022 4:21


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, September 29. There will be another frosty start to the day Thursday, but it should be slightly warmer than Wednesday. According to the National Weather Service, there will be patchy frost before 8 a.m. in the Cedar Rapids area. Otherwise, it will be sunny, with a high near 67 degrees. On Thursday night it will be clear, with a low of around 40 degrees. University of Iowa Health Care leaders have notified employees that nurses in the coming weeks will face “some of the most challenging” staffing to date — warning that nurses in some units at times will have to take on five patients at once. Some UIHC nurses report the “increase in nurse-patient ratios” is out of line, and they've coordinated a protest over it outside the hospital for Thursday. “We refuse to let our hospital administrators make poor decisions that affect our quality of care because they couldn't plan well and prepare properly,” according to a https://www.facebook.com/events/474965984646060/?acontext=%7B%22ref%22%3A%2252%22%2C%22action_history%22%3A%22[%7B%5C%22surface%5C%22%3A%5C%22share_link%5C%22%2C%5C%22mechanism%5C%22%3A%5C%22share_link%5C%22%2C%5C%22extra_data%5C%22%3A%7B%5C%22invite_link_id%5C%22%3A390742276425005%7D%7D]%22%7D (Facebook event page) for the protest encouraging staff, patients, family and managers to “bring the cowbell, noisemakers, signs, ALL of it!” In response to The Gazette's questions on nurse shortages and whether UIHC is upping nurse-patient ratios, officials would not provide a clear response on how things will change from their current ratios.  A former state trooper, who was going to stand trial next month for the second time on a charge of using unreasonable force on a motorcyclist during a 2017 traffic stop, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge this week. https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/former-iowa-state-trooper-will-be-retried-for-using-unreasonable-force/ (Robert James Smith, 58,) of Durant, pleaded guilty Monday to deprivation of rights under the color of law. He faces a maximum sentence of one year in federal prison, a $100,000 fine and one year of supervised release following any prison term. According to the plea agreement, the defense and prosecution agreed to recommend Smith receive probation, but the judge can decide whether to accept that recommendation. Smith, in the plea, admitted that on Sept. 25, 2017 he attempted to catch up with a motorcycle driven by Bryce Yakish, then 20, of Davenport, who was traveling at 84 mph westbound on Interstate 80. Yakish eventually exited and crossed the interstate southbound and Smith turned on the overhead lights and siren of his patrol vehicle. Yakish pulled into the entrance of the West Liberty Travel Plaza. Yakish stopped and was getting off his motorcycle as Smith got out of his vehicle and quickly approached him, he admitted in the plea. Yakish was standing next to his motorcycle and had his hands in the air when Smith hit Yakish in the chin area with an open hand palm strike. Yakish was wearing a helmet with a face mask but the force of the strike caused Yakish to fall backward over his motorcycle. In his plea said the strike was intentional. However, he also now admits in his plea that in his initial report and in subsequent testimony he claimed the strike was unintentional, and that he had only been trying to grab Yakish by the shoulder when he missed and hit him in the helmet. Smith was terminated from the Iowa State Patrol following an internal investigation of the arrest and allowed to retire in 2018, according to testimony. Farmland values and cash rents are up considerably, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's annual National Agricultural Statistics Service surveys. Iowa cropland values rose 19.7 percent on average over the past year — from $7,810 per acre to $9,350 per acre, according to the September edition of the “Ag Decision

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 28

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 28, 2022 3:56


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Wednesday, September 28. Hump day will be more like a valley when it comes to temperatures this week. According to the National Weather Service, there will be areas of frost in the Cedar Rapids area before 9 a.m. on Wednesday. Otherwise, it will be sunny, with a high near 62 degrees. On Wednesday night it will be mostly clear, with a low around 36 degrees.  Temperatures should rise back into the 70s by Friday and stick there through the weekend. Iowa's state budget has an unspent surplus of nearly $2 billion, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Tuesday — 54 percent higher than last year's record-breaking level. That surplus comes on top of the $8.1 billion of state funding expended in the budget year that ended June 30, and represents an increase of $670 million over the previous surplus, according to figures from the governor's office and nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency. The budget surplus growing to $1.91 billion could give cover for statehouse Republicans to enact even more state tax cuts during next year's legislative session, should they retain control after this fall's elections.  https://www.thegazette.com/state-government/iowa-gov-kim-reynolds-signs-into-law-1-9-billion-in-tax-cuts/ (The tax cuts enacted this year) — largely to state income taxes — eventually will result in $1.9 billion less in state tax revenue annually, compared with current rates. By 2026, a 3.9 percent “flat tax” rate will apply to all taxpayers, regardless of income. A federal judge has struck down the third attempt by the Iowa Legislature to stop animal welfare groups from secretly filming livestock abuse. According to reporting from the Associated Press, a judge's decision on Monday rejected the law approved by Iowa lawmakers in April 2021 that makes it a crime to trespass on a property to place a camera to record or transmit images. The law, which had support from Republicans and some Democrats. made the first offense punishable by up to two years in prison and subsequent offenses a felony. These laws, and others like them nationally, are usually labeled “ag gag” laws, as they are designed to protect farmers at the expense of the outside world knowing what they do on their farms. Farmers argue intruders could track disease into their farms and want to unfairly portray their livestock practices, while animal welfare groups say producers don't want the public to see how farm animals are treated. Earlier lawsuits have resulted in courts striking down similar laws in North Carolina, Kansas, Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming. The Linn County Board of Supervisors will make its final allocation of $13 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding in October. The applicants — among them not-for-profits and other local governments — have requested around $77 million. The supervisors said Monday they would discuss the second round of funding at their Oct. 10 informal meeting, with the intention of making the allocation decisions at their Oct. 12 formal meeting. The largest remaining request that has not been funded is from the Cedar Rapids Public Library. The library is asking for $6 million for a new west side library and opportunity center, to replace the Ladd Library, which is leased and situated in a strip mall at on Williams Boulevard.

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 27

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 27, 2022 3:33


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Tuesday, September 27. Tuesday's weather will be sunny and cool. According to the National Weather Service, there will be a high of 64 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area. There will be a wind of 5 to 15 that could gust as high as 20 mph. Tuesday night it will be clear, with a low of around 32 degrees. The wind will calm as Tuesday comes to an end. In an emotional meeting Monday, the Cedar Rapids school board accepted Shttps://www.thegazette.com/k/cedar-rapids-superintendent-noreen-bush-to-resign-after-2022-23-school-year/ (uperintendent Noreen Bush's resignation )effective June 30, 2023. Bush, who went on medical leave last week, will remain superintendent during her medical leave and through June 30, 2023. She was diagnosed with cancer about two and a half years ago. “I absolutely love our district,” Bush said via Zoom video during the meeting. “I absolutely love serving as superintendent. And so it comes with a heavy heart to ask for the acceptance of my resignation … My greatest hope is I have an unbelievable miracle land in my lap, and on June 30, I am able to exit as superintendent and still serve (the district), perhaps back in the classroom.” Continuing her career in education as a teacher or principal would “fill my heart with joy,” Bush said. For now, Bush said she is deciding to focus on her health and her family as she continues her cancer battle. A NASA spacecraft rammed an asteroid Monday in a test run for the day a killer rock menaces Earth. According to the Associated Press, NASA tested the asteroid ramming technique on a harmless asteroid 7 million miles away, with a spacecraft named Dart plowing into the space rock at 14,000 mph. Scientists expected the impact to carve out a crater, hurl streams of rocks and dirt into space and, alter the asteroid's orbit. Though the impact was immediately obvious it will be days or even weeks to determine how much the asteroid's path was changed. https://apnews.com/article/astronomy-space-exploration-science-asteroids-ee5f1594906d9666d0bee18209666102 (The $325 million mission) was the first attempt to shift the position of an asteroid or any other natural object in space. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is warning that voters should be on the lookout for election misinformation after an Iowa voter reportedly received a phone call with incorrect voting instructions. According to the Iowa Capitol Dispatch, Pate's office was told last week that a Mahaska County voter received a call from an out-of-state number. The caller told him he did not need to return his absentee ballot to his county auditor's office but could just register his vote over the phone. Voting over the phone is not possible, and as the voter had not requested an absentee ballot, he refused and reported the incident. The Mahaska County Sheriff's Office is investigating the call. Pate asked Iowans who have received similar calls to contact his office at (515) 281-0145. 

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, Sept. 25

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 26, 2022 1:32


    This is John McGlothlen with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, September 26th. Today is expected to be mostly sunny, with a high near 64, according to the National Weather Service. Also, it will be breezy, with a northwest wind 10 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. The low tonight should be about 41. The high and low temperatures are about 7 degrees below average for this time of year. Some areas could see frost by mid-week. In Hawkeye football, Iowa's defense forced three turnovers, avoided big plays and even scored twice in the Hawkeyes' 27-10 blowout win over Rutgers Saturday. Cooper DeJean scored first with an interception returned 45 yards for a touchdown. It was DeJean's third interception through four games of his sophomore season. Then in the second quarter Sebastian Castro forced a fumble and Kaevon Merriweather recovered it and went 33 yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Spencer Petras had his most efficient performance of the season, going 11-for-17 for 148 yards. –

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 24 and September 25

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 24, 2022 4:31


    Welcome to the weekend! This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Saturday, September 24 and Sunday, September 25. The weather is going to be quite nice this weekend, besides being a bit breezy. According to the National Weather Service it will be mostly sunny in the Cedar Rapids area with a high near 76 degrees. Winds of 5 to 10 mph could gust as high as 20 mph. On Sunday it will be sunny, with a high near 72 degrees. The forecast again lists the conditions as breezy. On Sunday night it will be mostly clear, with a low of around 49 degrees. From an early look at next week, expect similar weather in the coming week. An Iowa man was convicted Friday of charges that he led a crowd of rioters in chasing a U.S. Capitol police officer up a staircase and accosting other officers guarding the Senate, one of the most harrowing scenes of the mob's attack that day. According to the Associated Press, a federal jury deliberated for roughly four hours before convicting Douglas Jensen of felony charges that he obstructed Congress from certifying the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, 2021.  Jensen was convicted on all counts, including a charge that he engaged in disorderly conduct inside the Capitol while carrying a folding knife in his pocket. During the riot, Jensen, a construction worker from Des Moines, was wearing a T-shirt with a large “Q” expressing his adherence to the QAnon conspiracy theory. One of the most memorable images from the Jan. 6 attack captured Jensen with his arms extended as he confronted a line of police officers near the Senate chambers. “Go arrest the vice president,” Jensen told one of the officers, according to prosecutors. Speaking of Mike Pence and Iowa connections, the former vice president will headline a fundraiser alongside Iowa Rep. Bobby Kaufmann next week in Wilton, marking another visit to Iowa and bolstering speculation around a 2024 presidential run. According to an invitation for the event, Pence will be joining the 15th annual “Kaufmann Family Harvest Dinner” on Sept. 29 in Wilton. The invitation says other candidates and state leaders will be at the fundraiser, but only Pence and Kaufmann are named. Pence was last in Iowa in August at the Iowa State Fair, joining Sen. Chuck Grassley on a tour of the fair. He's attended party fundraisers and speaking engagements intermittently in the state since the 2020 election, including a speech at the University of Iowa in November. Bobby Kaufmann is running for re-election to Iowa's 82nd House District, which covers Cedar County and parts of Muscatine and Scott counties. He faces a challenge from Libertarian Clyde Gibson of Montpelier. The White House on Friday said the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services would receive $9 million in state opioid response money, as part of the $1.5 billion it announced in nationwide funding to help combat the nation's opioid epidemic. A White House official said the grant funding is being distributed as soon as possible, through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an arm of the Department of Health and Human Services, but no timeline has been set. Rod Courtney of CRUSH of Iowa, a Cedar Rapids based not-for-profit that provides support, resources, education and referrals for individuals with substance use disorders, called Friday's White House announcement “encouraging.” He was particularly hopeful about a planned $104 million investment to expand prevention services for substance use disorder in rural communities. “Personally, I think that would be a game changer,” he said of the funding to help create new sites to provide medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder in rural communities, “because it brings the cost of care down and accessibility up.” Have a good weekend everyone!

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 23

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 23, 2022 4:06


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Friday, September 23. The temperatures will remain on the cold side and it may rain some on Friday. According to the National Weather Service it will be cloudy in the Cedar Rapids area with a high near 61 degrees. Right now it's looking like the highest probability for rain will be between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. On Friday night it will be cloudy, with the clouds gradually clearing, and the low temperature settling in at 52 degrees Cedar Rapids school Superintendent Noreen Bush will resign at the end of this school year. Bush, who went on medical leave Monday, will remain superintendent of the district during her medical leave and through June 30, 2023, according to a letter to the community Thursday afternoon. Bush “has turned her focus on her health with a recent medical leave of absence,” according to the letter, which said she had submitted her resignation to the board. Bush was diagnosed with cancer two-and-a-half years ago while serving as superintendent of the Cedar Rapids School District. District officials have not responded to a question posed by The Gazette last week asking who will be responsible for day-to-day decisions while Bush is one medical leave. The new, long-awaited Marion Public Library now has a “soft” opening date of on or before Nov. 15. The Library Board of Trustees met in special session on Tuesday evening to discuss when the new building could open and settled on a date more than two years after the project's groundbreaking in Oct. 2020. Library Director Bill Carroll shared the news with the Marion City Council during its formal session Thursday night. “The community has been without a full-service library since the August 2020 derecho. I applaud our team for their innovative approach to providing services and our patrons for their continued patience and understanding,” Carroll said. The new library was supposed to open this month after being pushed back from its prior July opening goal. Carroll also said earlier this month that https://www.thegazette.com/news/marion-library-opening-delayed-again/ (October was a goal for the opening date.) Iowa's trouble with brain drain — the departure of college graduates to other states — is not a new issue, but a recent report illustrates just how poorly Iowa ranks among U.S. states. Iowa has the 10th-worst percentage difference in the nation between the number of college graduates it produces and the number of college graduates living in the state — a negative 34 percent — according to a recenthttps://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2022/09/09/films-assigned-college/ ( Washington Post analysi)s that uses data from a paper published by https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w30088/w30088.pdf (the National Bureau of Economic Research). That figure is lower than the six states bordering Iowa. https://www.thegazette.com/government-politics/4000-more-iowans-u-s-census-bureau-releases-2020-population-estimates/ (Iowa's population growth has been stagnant) for more than a decade, and for years Iowa policymakers and economic development officials have worked to find ways to keep more new college graduates from moving out of state. State experts said part of the problem is Iowa lacks enough well-paying jobs for all the college graduates Iowa produces. “It's all relative, and (Iowa), compared to other states, relatively does a good job, historically, of producing human capital, which is producing college graduates,” said John Winters, an economics professor at Iowa State University. “But the flip side … as far as on the demand side, the demand for college graduates, Iowa overall is not as strong. Winters noted significant disparities within Iowa, with the state's larger cities keeping more college graduates — and more people in general — while mid-sized cities and rural communities are losing population.

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 22

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2022 3:59


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, September 22. It's the Autumn Equinox on Thursday, and it's certainly going to feel like Autumn. According to the National Weather Service it will be mostly sunny Thursday in the Cedar Rapids area with a high near 64 degrees. On Thursday night, it will be partly cloudy, with a low of around 48 degrees. A mild wind will calm as the day goes on. Just weeks ahead of the start of the busy holiday shopping and shipping season, Nordstrom sent emails to employees at its Midwest Fulfillment Center in Cedar Rapids saying the corporation planned to “adjust the size” of its workforce there.  The Seattle-based department store chain filed a https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/worker-adjustment-and-retraining-notification-act (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, f)or 231 employees at its southwest Cedar Rapids facility, signaling the elimination of their positions. In the Monday email to employees, Jason Bell, Nordstrom's senior vice president said the company is moving away from a national fulfillment model to a regional model. Nordstrom is also sunsetting its Trunk Club offering, which will reduce mail volume, Bell wrote. A Nordstrom spokesperson confirmed the email to The Gazette on Wednesday. The spokesperson said the fulfillment center employed more than 1,100 workers before the planned changes. Iowa this week surpassed 10,000 deaths from COVID-19. As of Wednesday, the pandemic's death toll reached 10,051 in Iowa, after another 57 deaths were confirmed in the past week. That weekly total is more than double the previous week's 26. The virus has claimed more than a million lives in the United States in the past two-and-a-half years. And while it's not the crisis it once was, hundreds of people are still dying each day from COVID-19. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has loosened COVID-19 guidelines in the past months — issuing the same guidelines for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals and cutting the quarantine period from 10 days to five — it has not declared an end to the pandemic. New COVID-19 booster shots targeting the omicron variant have been available to most Iowans 12 and older for a few weeks now. The newer shots are bivalent, meaning they target both the original strain of the virus as well as targeting the omicron variant of the disease that has been causing many of the breakthrough infections in the last year. More than 400,000 Iowa borrowers are expected to see their student loan debt reduced or erased under President Joe Biden's debt forgiveness plan, according to estimates the White House released this week. According to the White House fact sheet, 408,700 Iowa borrowers will see some federal student loan debt forgiven. Of those, 248,900 are Pell Grant recipients and are eligible for up to $20,000 in debt forgiveness. Other borrowers are eligible for up to $10,000 in debt forgiveness. Pell Grants go to students from low-income families. The U.S. Department of Education is expected to open an application for borrowers to apply for debt forgiveness in early October, according to U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. The plan has not been without its critics. Gov. Kim Reynolds signed onto a letter with 21 other Republican governors this month calling on Biden to withdraw the plan and saying it puts the burden on lower-income Americans. There also is a Republican led plan in the works to challenge the loan reductions in court.

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 21

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 21, 2022 4:37


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Wednesday, September 21. It's going to feel completely different on Wednesday than the day before it. According to the National Weather Service, the high in the Cedar Rapids area is predicted to be 73 degrees. There will be a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms for much of the day, otherwise it will be partly sunny. On Wednesday night it will be cloudy, with a low of around 51 degrees. Representatives of Ingredion and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 100G — nohttps://www.thegazette.com/business/ingredion-cites-commitment-to-being-good-corporate-citizen-as-cedar-rapids-strike-continues/ (w in its seventh week of a strike a)gainst Ingredion's Cedar Rapids facility — were asked to leave the Hotel at Kirkwood Center Tuesday morning after the two sides became heated over Ingredion officials bringing armed security professionals with them. Mike Moore, the local's principal and president, said in a news release sent to The Gazette that “the union views this show of intimidation as a sign of disrespect and a lack of intent to bargain in good faith.” In an email to The Gazette Tuesday afternoon, Becca Hary, Ingredion corporate communications director, wrote, “We have been eager to resume negotiations in order to reach a fair agreement for the benefit of all. Unfortunately, throughout this process, Ingredion employees have received repeated threats of violence — in fact, approximately 100 have been received since Aug. 1. Hary added that Ingredion officials “look forward to resuming negotiations as soon as possible. We have proposed alternative meeting options and stand ready to continue to bargain in good faith toward a new agreement.” The union called a strike Aug. 1 over wages, overtime and health care benefits, among other issues. No further meetings between Ingredion and the union have been scheduled. It seems a utility-scale solar moratorium is in Linn County's near future. The Linn County Planning and Zoning Commission recommended the Board of Supervisors approve the moratorium. The commission voted 6-0 to recommend approval during its meeting on Monday night. The proposed moratorium, if approved, would be in effect for 12 months, or whenever the code is changed if it's sooner. A moratorium would allow current projects already approved to continue, but the county would not be accepting new applications during the time period. The main sentiment behind the moratorium appears to be that the country needs to consider if its solar power procedures and implementation are as good as they could be. “Our code language is good language. Most of the jurisdictions that have codes like ours are similar or less robust,” County Planning and Development Director Charlie Nichols said. “Nationally, it is good code. But staff recommends approval (of the moratorium) because we can make it better. My hope is we come out of this with a model not just for Iowa, but all across the nation.” “We've learned a lot and we want to take those lessons and put them in our code,” Nichols said. “We want to look at vegetation under the solar panels, we want to take a closer look at screening. We want a more standardized approach with battery-storage systems because that's not in our code and it needs to be.” More than $2.6 billion of Iowa soybeans and corn will be purchased by Taiwan, according to letters of intent signed during a ceremony at the Iowa Capitol on Tuesday. A trade delegation from Taiwan joined Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa agriculture secretary Mike Naig in signing the informal agreements, which state Taiwan's intent to purchase over the next three years about 100 million bushels of soybeans valued at roughly $2 billion, and 59 million bushels of corn valued at roughly $600 million. According to Randy Miller, president of the Iowa Soybean Association and a soybean farmer, more than...

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 20

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 20, 2022 4:05


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Tuesday, September 20. Will Tuesday be the last angry gasp of Summer? According to the National Weather Service there will be a high of 96 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area on Tuesday. It will be sunny and clear all day, with a low settling in around 68 degrees on Tuesday night. Wednesday should see a high temperature 30 degrees cooler than Tuesday, and this cooler weather will carry on for the rest of the week. Inspired by the Green Bay Packers' five-year-old “Titletown” entertainment district, Iowa State University on Monday unveiled plans to develop 40 acres between its Iowa State Center arts complex, Hilton Coliseum, and Jack Trice football stadium into a destination https://cyclones.com/feature/cytown#vision (“CyTown.”) The ISU vision for the $200 million CyTown project involves a 135,000-square-foot development including a medical facility, retail space, offices, and luxury suites. The endeavor would include an outdoor public plaza and amphitheater, restaurants and pubs, a hotel and convention center. Development will happen over years and in stages via a series of projects — starting with $25 million in parking and infrastructure improvements, scheduled to go before the Board of Regents for approval in November. The board in June already gave Iowa State the OK to start planning that work, which involves constructing new parking with new lighting and installing new water, power, gas, phone, storm sewer, and sanitary lines able to support all the development Iowa State envisions. Iowa Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mike Franken denied allegations that he grabbed and kissed a former campaign staffer without her consent after the conservative news website Iowa Field Report detailed a police report alleging unwanted advances. According to the report, the person, assumed to be Franken, grabbed the collar of the vest of a former female campaign staffer in March and kissed her on the mouth after meeting for drinks in Des Moines. The assistant Polk County attorney found no criminal act had been established and closed the investigation as “unfounded.” No charges were filed. Franken, though, told reporters at a Social Security Works town hall meeting in Cedar Rapids on Monday that he met with former campaign staffer that night “at her request,” after she reportedly had been fired from his campaign, and "I had a glass of beer." Franken, however, repeatedly denied the allegations in the police report. “It never happened,” Franken, told The Gazette. Dozens of Iowa cities have annual hunts to control deer population within city limits. Hunters also can hunt on private land within the city limits if they have permission. Iowa City still is in the infancy of its own program, which dealt with early pushback from concerned citizens. Now it's gearing up for its third bowhunting season. As in past seasons, the city has a very low participation rate. As of now, only three bowhunters have signed up, Assistant City Manager Rachel Kilburg said. The number of deer harvested last year? Four. Residents who oppose the sharpshooting and bowhunting programs want to see non-lethal methods used, like contraception and relocation. But 2021 saw dozens of car accidents involving deer in Iowa City, totaling thousands of dollars in damage — more than double the 2020 totals. Before that, the number of accidents ranged from 51 to 58 betwen 2016 and 2019. According to a city memo from Kilburg, the last aerial deer count was “concerning.“

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 19

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 19, 2022 2:11


    This is John McGlothlen with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, September 19th. According to the National Weather Service, it will be sunny today in the Cedar Rapids area, with a high near 83. Winds from the northeast at around 5 mph. Then tonight, it should be mostly clear, with a low around 67. A 21-year-old man serving time in an Iowa prison died Wednesday at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, according to an Iowa Department of Corrections news release. Keyote Smith was pronounced dead at 6:20 p.m. Wednesday after being admitted earlier in the week “for an acute illness related to a chronic medical condition.” The Johnson County Medical Examiner will perform an autopsy. Since October 2020, Smith had been serving a maximum 10-year sentence for a second-degree robbery conviction in Marshall County. Last year, he filed an application for post-conviction relief. No one was injured Saturday after a vacant house near Coggon caught fire during a brush burn, according to the Linn County Sheriff's Office. The owners of the acreage in the 5800 block of Quality Ridge Road had a burn permit for brush and were burning an area north of the vacant house on their land, which is about 1.5 miles west of Coggon. The owners contacted authorities after winds caused the fire to spread to the house. Emergency responders found the structure fully engulfed when they arrived. The house is considered a total loss. Coggon's fire chief reported there was nothing suspicious about the fire. The Nevada vs Iowa football game at Kinnick Stadium lasted longer than anyone could have imagined Saturday night. Because of three lightning delays, the game ended after seven hours — from the rainy 6:40 p.m. kickoff to 1:39 a.m. Sunday morning, when the Hawkeyes won the game 27-0, scoring three touchdowns on offense. –

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 16 and September 17

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 17, 2022 4:46


    Welcome to the weekend! This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18th. Rain appears likely this weekend but it also looks like it will be getting chillier again next week, so maybe go for the umbrella and shorts combo? According to the National Weather Service there will be a 30 percent chance of rain Saturday in the Cedar Rapids area, mainly area 3 p.m. There will be a high of 83 degrees with partly sunny skies. It will be a bit windy, with a 5 to 15 mph wind gusting as high as 25 mph. On Saturday night the rain chance will jump up to 70 percent, with mostly cloudy skies and a low near 68 degrees. Rain chances will continue on Sunday with Saturday's rain lingering into Sunday morning, and a chance for more rain after 2 p.m. When it is not raining, it should be mostly sunny, with a high near 87 degrees. Internet hosting and domain-name registrar business GoDaddy plans to move its operations to downtown Cedar Rapids next year, the company told its Hiawatha employees in an email earlier this summer. “This move represents our need for a smaller space given fewer employees use the office daily,” the company said. Spokeswoman Kristy Nicholas told The Gazette on Friday that the company had not yet announced its “intended location in Cedar Rapids.” GoDaddy was founded by Bob Parsons, who sold his Cedar Rapids-based Parsons Technology financial software company to Intuit in 1994 for $65 million. Johnson County has acquired 83 acres of woodland, prairie and a farmstead near Solon that will be available for public use. The property known as Two Horse Farm, at 2257 Sugar Bottom Road NE, was acquired in part through a donation by Erin and Brian Melloy, the former owners, and in part through a purchase with $1.2 million in state and county conservation funds. The land includes 64 acres of forest, 15.5 acres of reconstructed prairie and a 3.5-acre farmstead that includes a 1890's-era farmhouse and a barn built in 1913 that now houses https://www.theraregroup.org/#:~:text=Located%20in%20Iowa%20City%2C%20Iowa,that%20number%20continues%20to%20grow. (Raptor Advocacy Rehabilitation & Education (RARE)). A unique part of the land transaction is that seven acres of prairie have been donated to the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska. “The Native Americans our state is named after have no land whatsoever (in Iowa),” said Brad Freidhof, county conservation program manager. The Iowa Tribe controls a 12,000-acre reservation in northeast Kansas and southeast Nebraska, but its original land was in Iowa and was the namesake of the state. As part of the deal with tribal members, the county has agreed to maintain the tribal land as it does the adjacent area. The hope is it will give members of the tribe who now live elsewhere a way to come make connections in the state that was once its home, Friedhof said. A man who was arrested in a California airport while trying to conceal 5 pounds of methamphetamine in his carry-on bag to bring with him to Iowa pleaded guilty this week in federal court. 21-year-old Kiyonte Sowell, of Los Angeles, was convicted in U.S. District Court of one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. He was indicted with 10 others who were charged with distributing ice meth from 2018 through March 2022. Early this year, the Drug Enforcement Administration was conducting a wiretap investigation into a meth trafficking ring in Cedar Rapids, according to federal prosecutors. On Feb. 28, Sowell went to the Los Angeles International Airport to take a flight to Cedar Rapids. Sowell brought a large roller bag and attempted to take the bag through security as his carry-on luggage, according to the plea. Airport security searched the bag and found about 2,200 grams of meth and arrested Sowell. The drug trafficking ring was led by 36-year-old David Poitier Belton, of Cedar Rapids, also charged in the conspiracy....

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 16

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 16, 2022 3:36


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Friday, September 16. The weather during the day on Friday will be much like the days before it this week. But there could be some rain overnight into Saturday morning. According to the National Weather Service it will be mostly sunny in the Cedar Rapids area with a high near 85 degrees. A wind of 5 to 15 mph could gust as high as 20 mph. On Friday night there will be a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1 a.m. Besides that, it will be partly cloudy, with a low of around 67 degrees. Freight railroad companies and unions representing workers have been locked in a dispute over pay and working conditions this week, but President Joe Biden said Thursday that they had reached a "tentative" deal to avoid a major economic disruption. A strike would have affected not only commuters who rely on the railway to get to work but also the nation's energy supply and drinking water. Two of the largest unions -- representing 57,000 conductors and engineers -- held out until the final hours. But Wednesday and through the night into Thursday, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh held emergency meetings with the rail carriers and unions to help broker a deal. Disruptions were already being felt: Amtrak announced it would cancel all of its long-distance trains starting Thursday, and other rail systems braced for shutdowns. The impasse was tied to disagreements between management and labor over sick time and penalties for missing work. U.S. freight railroad workers were close to striking over claims that grueling schedules, strict on-call policies and poor working conditions have been driving employees out of the industry over the past several years. North Liberty-based GreenState Credit Union said Thursday it had instituted a reduction in force, effective immediately, that eliminated the positions of 42 employees across the organization. Citing a decreased demands for loans, Jim Kelly, the credit union's chief marketing officer, said in an email to The Gazette Thursday that most of the workers affected were “in the mortgage lending or commercial banking divisions.” In an attempt to control inflation the Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates. As a result, the average for 30-year-fixed mortgage rates nationwide has climbed to slightly over 6 percent. Applications for mortgages have dropped in response. Superintendent Noreen Bush of the Cedar Rapids Community School District is taking a medical leave beginning Monday. Bush was diagnosed with cancer two and a half years ago while serving as superintendent of the 16,700-student school district. “Noreen established a theme of ‘love and care' for our district to begin this school year,” school board president David Tominsky said in a message to the community Thursday. “And we, as a school district and broader community, fully support her with all our love and care as she takes this important time to focus on her cancer journey.” Over the summer, Bush participated in a cancer clinical trial in Pittsburgh, Penn., where she underwent cellular therapy.

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 15

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 15, 2022 3:06


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, September 15. The trend of sunny weather continues Thursday, with the most notable difference being a slightly stronger wind. According to the National Weather Service it will be mostly sunny in the Cedar Rapids area, with a high near 83 degrees. A wind of 5 to 15 mph could gust as high as 20 mph. On Thursday night it will be mostly cloudy, with a low of around 62 degrees. Iowa's Republican U.S. senators shied away from supporting a proposed nationwide ban on abortions when asked about that possibility Wednesday. South Carolina Republican U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced a bill on Tuesday that would create a nationwide ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley told reporters he prefers to leave the issue to states. “Finally, after 50 years, this issue has been returned to the states so voters can have a voice through their elected representatives at a state level and not by unelected judges,” Grassley told reporters. “So this is a state issue.” Sen. Joni Ernst did not provide as clear cut of an answer when speaking to reporters, but did say that states should have the “initial role' when it comes to abortion restrictions. Members of one union rejected a tentative deal with the largest U.S. freight railroads Wednesday, while two ratified agreements and three others remained at the bargaining table just days ahead of a strike deadline. A national rail workers strike could intensify snarls in the nation's supply chain that have contributed to rising prices. Government officials and a variety of businesses are bracing for the possibility of a nationwide rail strike that would paralyze shipments of everything from crude and clothing to cars, a potential calamity for businesses that have struggled for more than two years due to COVID-19 related supply chain breakdowns. Railroads are trying to reach an agreement with all their other unions to avert a strike before Friday's deadline. The unions aren't allowed to strike before Friday under the federal law that governs railroad contract talks. There are 12 unions — one with two separate divisions — representing 115,000 workers that must agree to the tentative deals and then have members vote on whether to approve them. A Cedar Rapids man died Tuesday night after driving off the road just north of the Edgewood Road Bridge and hitting a tree. Cedar Rapids police said Scott Devore, 66, was the driver and only occupant of the vehicle in the 7:36 p.m. crash. The southbound lanes of the bridge were closed until 12:15 a.m. Investigation into the incident is ongoing.

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 14

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 14, 2022 3:52


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Wednesday, September 14. The sunny and warm weather continues on Wednesday. According to the National Weather Service it will be mostly sunny in the Cedar Rapids area, with a high near 82 degrees. There will be a light wind of 5 to 10 mph. On Wednesday night it will be partly cloudy, with a low of around 59 degrees. A Cedar Rapids man arrested Monday https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/cedar-rapids-man-accused-of-involuntary-manslaughter-in-fatal-shooting/ (on a charge of involuntary manslaughter )intended to wound another man, not kill him, on April 25, according to a criminal complaint filed in Linn County District Court on Tuesday. Marlon Juane Jackson, 43, left his apartment around 3 a.m. to investigate a potential burglary of his car in the parking lot near 12th Avenue and Auburn Drive SW, the complaint states. After he examined his vehicle, Jackson saw https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/cedar-rapids-man-found-dead-after-shooting/ (Dustin Frondle), 36, of Cedar Rapids, walking in his direction, leading to a confrontation.. During the altercation, Jackson told police he fired several “warning shots” into the ground near Frondle, but Frondle, who was unarmed, continued to come toward him. Jackson told police he intended to shoot at Frondle's legs, not wanting to kill him but wanting to stop him. Jackson shot Frondle three times — in the left thigh, the right leg, and the left shoulder. The shot to Frondle's shoulder passed through his lung and heart, killing him. According to the criminal complaint, investigators found Jackson had previously been convicted of a felony in Michigan and had lied on his gun permit application to the Linn County Sheriff's Office, claiming he had no felony convictions. Linn County will not have a landfill within its borders after the current one closes in Marion in 2044. The Solid Waste Agency's board made that decision because no Linn County land is available for a new landfill because of zoning restrictions. Instead, the agency and its board are looking at regional solutions in its “https://www.solidwasteagency.org/about-us/forward-2044 (Forward 2044)” planning, according to Karmin McShane, the agency's executive director. Some of the ideas include partnerships with other counties or even teaming up with a private company in a state like Illinois to handle some of Linn County's waste. Linn County, for example, could ship some of its waste to a neighboring county's landfill and, in return, that county transfers some of its waste to be incinerated in Linn County. A magnet high school for students to engage in project-based learning is being added to the Cedar Rapids Community School District next fall 2023. A location has yet to be established for the school — named City View Community High School. Officials are waiting to hear if they will receive a $15 million grant from the Magnet School  Assistance Program from the U.S. Department of Education, school officials announced during a school board meeting Monday, although the school will open either way. City View is intended to provide “experiential learning in the community.” Students at the school will be able to explore life and career goals through job shadows, internships and apprenticeships. And it will connect students to business people and mentors in Cedar Rapids District officials will begin recruiting up to 200 primarily rising ninth- and 10th-graders to enroll in the school for the 2023-24 school year. The school will eventually serve up to 400 ninth to 12th-graders. The school will not offer athletics or music, which students can still find at their local high school. 

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 13

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2022 3:52


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Tuesday, September 13. It's going to warm back up a bit this week, starting on Tuesday. According to the National Weather Service, it will be sunny in the Cedar Rapids area, with a high near 81 degrees. On Tuesday night it will be mostly clear, with a low of around 53 degrees. The wind should remain mostly calm throughout the day, even more so as night arrives. An Iowa court denied a request from parents to https://www.thegazette.com/higher-education/parents-urge-court-to-bar-enforcement-of-new-linn-mar-transgender-policy/ (temporarily bar enforcement of a Linn-Mar school district policy) that protects transgender and nonbinary students while a lawsuit to negate the policy is pending. U.S. District Court Judge C.J. Williams ruled Monday on a national parental advocacy group's request, denying the injunction. The policy ensures the district complies with state law that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity, according to court documents. An injunction would have blocked students from any protection from harassment and bullying on the basis of gender identity, as well as prevented the school from disciplining such harassment and bullying under various Title IX and Iowa civil rights-related provisions that defendants are obligated by law to enforce, Williams ruled. The Linn-Mar Community School District is being sued by the national Parents Defending Education organization over the policy https://www.thegazette.com/k/linn-mar-school-board-members-debate-policies-to-protect-transgender-students/ (approved by the Linn-Mar school board) in April. The policies spell out inclusive practices for transgender students, including giving students access to restrooms, locker rooms or changing areas that correspond with their gender identity. With wild birds beginning the fall migration southward, Iowa's chicken and turkey farmers once again are on high alert for avian influenza. This year's version of the bird flu resulted in the destruction of more than 13 million birds in Iowa this spring. While significant, that was not nearly as devastating as the 2015 version of the avian flu, which resulted in the destruction of more than 31.5 million chickens and turkeys in Iowa, and resulted in a $1.2 billion hit to the state's economy, https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2015/08/report-finds-12-billion-iowa-avian-flu-damage (according to one report). New cases have been identified throughout the Midwest in recent weeks: at poultry farms in Minnesota and Ohio, and backyard flocks in Wisconsin and Indiana. According to the Associated Press, an indicator that the painful inflation of the past 18 months may be slowly getting better could come Tuesday, when the government is expected to report that the acceleration in U.S. prices slowed in August compared with a year ago https://apnews.com/article/us-inflation-july-report-ec477624de30115dd49f35009b2659c0 (for a second straight month). Economists have forecast that the report will show that prices jumped 8.1% from 12 months earlier, down from a four-decade high of 9.1% in June and 8.5% in July, according to data provider FactSet. Sharply lower gas prices are behind much of the decline, along with the costs of used cars, air fares and clothing. Furthermore, according to figures monitored most closely by the Federal Reserve, consumer prices are predicted to have dropped 0.1% in August. It would be the first outright decline in month-over-month inflation since May 2020 and would follow a flat reading in July.

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 12

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 12, 2022 2:00


    This is John McGlothlen with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, September 12th. According to the National Weather Service, we'll have a 20 percent chance of rain before 1 p.m. today in the Cedar Rapids area. Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 72. Winds from the northwest, 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Then tonight, it should be clear, with a low around 50. A man with a gunshot wound arrived at a Cedar Rapids hospital Saturday shortly after police were dispatched to a shots-fired report, according to a Cedar Rapids Police Department news release. At 12:23 p.m., officers were sent to the area of Ninth Street and D Avenue NW where they found shell casings behind a house in the 500 block of Ninth Street NW. A nearby vehicle and a neighbor's shed were struck by gunfire. Less than an hour later, officers were notified that a man with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound arrived at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's Hospital for treatment. It was the second shooting in two days for the city. On Friday, police were called to a shots-fired incident at an apartment complex in southwest Cedar Rapids, where property damage was found. Police said a juvenile male showed up at a hospital for treatment, shortly after that shots-fired incident was reported. An Olin man was killed early Saturday while driving an ATV in a Jones County wildlife area, according to an Iowa Department of Natural Resources news release. At about 3:30 a.m., 35-year-old James Minor drove off the roadway at Olin Access Wildlife Management Area and hit an obstruction. Authorities said Minor was declared dead at the scene. –

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 10 and September 11

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 10, 2022 5:19


    Welcome to the weekend! This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Saturday, September 10, and Sunday, September 11. This is a weekend that is going to feel very much like fall has arrived with cooler temperatures and potentially some rain in store. According to the National Weather Service, on Saturday in the Cedar Rapids area it will be cloudy, with a high near 72 degrees. There will be a north wind of 5 to 15 mph with wind gusts as high as 20 mph. There will be an above 50 percent chance of rain from around 6 p.m. on Saturday until 6:00 a.m. on Sunday. On Sunday the chance of rain will linger, mostly until 1 p.m., and the high will be 67 degrees. The wind will be similar to Saturday. On Sunday night it will be mostly cloudy, with a low of around 54 degrees, and a 40 percent chance of showers. Six years after a Davenport veteran's suicide sparked national attention and calls from members of Congress for an investigation after having been denied inpatient psychiatric care, the Iowa City Veterans Administration Medical Center is planning for a major expansion. “Over the past several years, mental health — both in the military and civilian sector — has been recognized as a shortcoming in our medical treatment of individuals, whether they veterans or civilians,” Heath Streck, associate director for operations, said following a 9/11 flag-raising ceremony on Friday at the Iowa City VA Health Care System. Streck stressed, however, that several mental health initiatives and newly approved funding by Congress will help deal with these shortcomings. President Joe Biden in June signed the Sgt. Ketchum Rural Veterans Mental Health Act into law. The legislation was named for Sgt. Brandon Ketchum. The 33-year-old served in Iraq and Afghanistan and struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and substance abuse after serving in the U.S. Marines and the Iowa Army National Guard. He died by suicide in 2016 after being denied inpatient psychiatric care at the Iowa City Veterans Administration Medical Center. The new law, supported by Iowa's congressional delegation, will establish teams of specialists that can be more responsive to the needs of rural VA hospitals, as well as requiring the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study and report on whether the VA has sufficient resources to serve rural veterans who need mental health care that is more intensive than traditional outpatient therapy. Streck and Jamie Johnson, public affairs officer, said the Iowa City-based VA health system is in the process of developing a medical psych unit and plans to develop a community living center in addition to a residential rehabilitation treatment program to fill gaps and meet demand.  Over the next five budget years, the University of Iowa and its health care enterprise plan to spend more than $1.4 billion on new construction and renovations — including $620.9 million on a new inpatient hospital tower and $212 million on a new “modern health care research facility.” Iowa's three Regent universities this week shared more details of their projected capital spending over the next five years in a facilities plan going before Iowa's Board of Regents next week. For UI, the report for the first time attached numbers and general timelines to conceptual projects the campus unveiled earlier this year as part of its 10-year master plan. “UIHC's five-year capital plan for other funds would be for $786 million, up 51 percent from last year's $521 million, mainly due to a new inpatient bed tower project,” according to the new report. A spending schedule for the new UIHC inpatient tower budgets nearly $3 million toward that project in the next budget year, jumping to $148 million for fiscal 2025 — with costs escalating through fiscal 2028, reaching a total of $620.9 million. Although spending on the project could continue beyond that fifth year, the new UIHC inpatient tower at that price

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 9

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 9, 2022 5:15


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Friday, September 9. It will be another sunny warm day on Friday, but keep an eye out for your fall jacket because some cooler weather is coming Sunday. According to the National Weather Service it will be sunny with a high near 89 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area. On Friday night it will be clear in the evening, with a low of around 61 degrees. The wind will remain mild all day. Iowa politicians joined leaders from around the world to offer condolences and pay tribute to Britain's revered and longest-reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, who died Thursday at the age of 96. “Queen Elizabeth II was a strong and graceful leader for the better part of a century,” 88-year-old U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a statement. “As queen, she was a tremendous source of stability and clearly loved the people she served. She'll forever be a symbol of decency and humanity for the whole world. Queen Elizabeth II leaves a remarkable legacy of duty, honor and service.” Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, in a statement, called Queen Elizabeth “a remarkable and steadfast woman who fought side by side with the United States through some of the Free World's most trying times.” “I'll always admire her fortitude, love of freedom, and tenacity that has inspired other women in leadership,” Reynolds said. “Kevin and I join with Iowans in sharing our condolences to the Royal Family.” With the death of the queen, her 73-year-old son Charles automatically becomes monarch, even though the coronation might not take place for months. It is not known whether he will choose to call himself King Charles III or some other name.  The Cedar Rapids Police Department https://www.facebook.com/cedarrapidspolicedepartment/videos/500101218598029/ (released body camera footage) Thursday of a fatal officer-involved shooting on Aug. 30. William Isaac Rich, 22, of Cedar Rapids, https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/dci-cedar-rapids-police-shot-killed-armed-man-at-domestic-disturbance/ (was shot) early in the morning on Aug. 30 after police were called to the Inn Circle, 5560 Sixth St SW “regarding violent domestic issues,” according to police, The video released by the police department starts with Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman explaining the incident that led to the shooting. In a short summary of the video footage, the officers were called to the scene with an indication that Rich had been in a domestic dispute with his wife and had punched, choked, and attempted to drown her. When officers arrived, they grabbed Rich, telling him to get his hands up. The police department then slowed down the video to show that Rich had a knife in his hand.  After a scuffle ensued, Rich was pushed back, and three shots rang out, with an officer telling Rich to get on the ground. Rich fell to the ground but then attempted to get back up, leading to four more gunshots, stopping his movement. The footage was released partially due to a community protest of the shooting, including members of Rich's family. The shooting is under investigation by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and both officers, Sgt. Bryson Garringer and Investigator Christopher Christy, have been placed on paid leave. Once the Iowa DCI investigation is complete, it will be reviewed by the Iowa Attorney General's Office. A decade after the University of Iowa could last call itself the largest higher education institution in the state, UI this fall has reclaimed that distinction — reporting higher total enrollment than Iowa State University https://www.thegazette.com/education/iowa-state-remains-largest-university-in-iowa/ (for the first time since 2012). Two weeks into the fall semester, UI on Thursday reported 30,015 total undergraduate, graduate, and professional students — up slightly over last fall's 29,909, but still below its pre-pandemic count of 31,142 in fall 2019. Iowa State

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 8

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 8, 2022 3:59


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, September 8. The weather is going to feel like summer for a bit on Thursday, before the fall weather most certainly will arrive this weekend. According to the National Weather Service, it will be mostly sunny in the Cedar Rapids area, with a high near 88 degrees. On Thursday night it will be mostly clear, with a low around 61 degrees. The wind should hover between 5 and 10 mph all day. A Cedar Rapids man who was https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/man-shot-by-cedar-rapids-police-officers-identified/ (shot by police officers on July 30) was released from the hospital and booked into the Linn County Correctional Center Wednesday on two counts of attempted murder, among other charges, according to a news release from the Cedar Rapids Police Department. Brandon Nelson, 23, pointed a gun at two officers — Officers Blair Klostermann and Matt Jenatscheck — during a traffic stop. Nelson shot once during the exchange, and the officers shot toward Nelson 12 times, according to the Linn County Attorney's Office's official memorandum about the incident. Nelson sustained three gunshot wounds. Neither of the officers was injured. County Attorney Nick Maybanks https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/linn-county-attorney-rules-july-officer-involved-shooting-in-cedar-rapids-was-justified/ (announced on Aug. 22 that the shooting was found to be justified) on the part of the officers after an investigation by the attorney's office and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation. Prior to the traffic stop, Nelson had been driving recklessly around Cedar Rapids, according to the memorandum. He admitted to consuming alcohol the night of the incident and said he didn't remember what happened that night before finding himself on the ground in pain after being shot. After https://www.thegazette.com/local-government/linn-county-supervisors-approve-first-of-three-readings-on-palo-solar-project/ (three 2-1 votes by the Linn County supervisors), the NextEra Duane Arnold Solar projects near Palo were given the official green light on Tuesday. Approval for the projects comes despite complaints from landowners and opposition against the projects by the Palo city council. The Iowa Utilities Board already has approved the projects. While NextEra will develop the rural Linn County project near Palo, https://www.thegazette.com/energy/alliant-energy-plans-iowas-largest-solar-battery-facility-at-palo-site/ (Alliant Energy has filed a proposal with the Iowa Utilities Board) to buy the large-scale solar farm from NextEra and further develop it into the state's largest solar and battery storage facility. Duane Arnold Solar I project proposes to use 316 acres of an 857-acre area to place photovoltaic solar arrays capable of generating up to 50 megawatts of energy. Duane Arnold Solar II project would use 815 acres of a 1,780-acre area to place solar arrays capable of generating up to 150 MW. It also would include a 75-MW, four-hour battery energy storage facility. This is the second utility-scale solar project the county has approved this year. In January, the supervisors approved developer Clenera's Coggon project in a 2-1 vote after planning and zoning commission members voted 6-1 to recommend denial. However, progress on thehttps://www.thegazette.com/news/coggon-solar-project-on-hold-as-opponents-seek-court-review/ ( 640-acre solar farm near Coggon) is on hold while a court resolves a case brought against the supervisors by a family who lives near the site. A Mega Millions ticket bought at an Ames convenience store is a $1 million winner, according to the Iowa Lottery. It is the third Mega Millions prize of at least $1 million won in Iowa in just more than a month, the lottery said. The latest winning ticket came within one number of winning the $191 million jackpot, the lottery said. With no winner, that jackpot now increases to an...

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 6

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 6, 2022 2:41


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Tuesday, September 6. According to the National Weather Service there could be some fog to start your morning commute on Tuesday, but most of it should clear out by 9 a.m. After that cloudy skies will eventually become sunny in the Cedar Rapids area, with a high near 81 degrees. The low is predicted to settle in at 60 degrees, with partly cloudy skies. Local governments in Johnson County want to make the Iowa River a signature attraction for residents and visitors. With the help of Think Iowa City, the cities of Coralville and Iowa City, along with Johnson County, are preparing a nearly $6 million application to the state's Destination Iowa program that will be submitted in the coming weeks. The joint application seeks funding for various projects improving water and trail access in the county. This includes a new park in Coralville with various amenities, a skatepark renovation in Iowa City, new boat ramps, and completing the Clear Creek Trail connection https://www.thegazette.com/local-government/campground-improvements-coming-to-growing-kent-park/ (out to Kent Park). The application is part of a long-term plan to develop features to make the river easier to use from the Coralville Reservoir dam all the way down south to Hills and Riverside. That includes improving the trail system, adding more boat ramps so people can easily get on the water and planning other attractions along the river. Navigating North Liberty will get more cumbersome once the University of Iowa completes its half-billion-dollar hospital project, according to a traffic study the university commissioned to determine what measures it should take to help mitigate congestion in the booming district. The study, which Shive-Hattery Architecture and Engineering produced in May, analyzed 20 intersections near Highway 965 and Forevergreen Road, where UI Health Care is building its $525.6 million campus. The firm recommended the addition of either traffic signals, more lanes or new restrictive signage at eight intersections to keep driving from devolving into unacceptable delays. The analysis suggests dual turn lanes and a traffic signal off Forevergreen Road and a single turn lane off Wheaton Road — both of which UIHC would pay for.

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 5

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 5, 2022 1:43


    This is John McGlothlen with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Labor Day, September 5th. According to the National Weather Service, it will be mostly cloudy today in the Cedar Rapids area, with a high near 74. Winds from the northeast 5 to 10 mph. Then tonight, partly cloudy with a low around 62. With Labor Day weekend serving as the unofficial kickoff to the fall campaign season, former U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack joined Iowa Democratic candidates running for state and federal office gathered at Sutliff Farm & Cider House in Lisbon on Saturday for a campaign rally to help elect Liz Mathis and Christina Bohannan. About 350 people attended, according to Mathis' campaign. Mathis, a Democratic state senator from Hiawatha, is running to unseat Iowa Republican U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson of Marion in Iowa's newly reconfigured 2nd Congressional District. Bohannan, a University of Iowa law professor and Democratic state representative from Iowa City, is running against Iowa Republican U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa in Iowa's new 1st Congressional District. Mathis and Bohannan criticized Hinson and Miller-Meeks for voting against the federal infrastructure bill signed into law while praising projects supported by their funding. –

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 3 and September 4

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 3, 2022 4:06


    Welcome to Labor Day Weekend! This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Saturday, September 3, and Sunday, September 4. Some cooler weather is arriving just in time for the long weekend. According to the National Weather Service it will be partly sunny with a slight chance for rain after 1 p.m. on Saturday in the Cedar Rapids area. The high temperature will be near 80 degrees. On Sunday it will be partly sunny with a high near 77 degrees. And on Labor Day Monday it will be mostly sunny, with a high near 82 degrees. After weeks of confusion and uncertainty, dog owners in the Benton County town of Keystone were served written notices to remove their “pitbulls” from town. The Benton County Sheriff's Office served written notices to dog owners on Friday before the holiday weekend. The county and the city of Keystone have breed-specific ordinances banning pitbulls. MaKinzie Brecht, a Keystone resident and pit bull owner, said she and a few other residents have received official notices from the City of Keystone and the Benton County Sheriff's office. The notice states that if the owner “fails to remove the dog as directed and within the prescribed time” of three days, “the City of Keystone will take such steps as necessary to remove said animal from the city limits.” The notice states that those served have two days to appeal after receiving the notice. The notices arrived on Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend. Brecht said the dog owners in Keystone have collectively hired a lawyer to deal with this situation moving forward. A Marion man, who had his conviction of killing his former girlfriend overturned in 2020, waived his right to a jury trial and will have a bench trial — meaning the judge will determine the verdict — later this month. https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/retrial-for-marion-man-charged-with-killing-ex-girlfriend-will-be-delayed/ (Greg Davis, 30, charged with first-degree murder,) told 6th Judicial District Judge Sean McPartland that he knowingly and voluntarily waived a jury trial during a pretrial hearing Friday. He also will submit a written waiver to the court. Davis will again claim insanity or diminished capacity as his defense in the second trial, which starts Sept. 13 in Linn County District Court. https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/marion-man-found-guilty-in-fatal-stabbing-of-ex-girlfriend-faces-life-in-prison/ (Davis was convicted of first-degree murder )by a Linn County jury in 2018 but the https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/murder-conviction-overturned-for-marion-man-who-stabbed-ex-girlfriend-26-times-and-hid-body-in-roll/ (Iowa Supreme Court overturned the verdict) in a 4-3 decision in 2020. The justices found the trial judge — McPartland — failed to instruct the jury regarding Davis' insanity or diminished capacity defense on the first-degree murder charge, which meant jurors couldn't consider it as part of their verdict. According to the Associated Press, NASA aimed for a Saturday launch of its new moon rocket, after fixing fuel leaks and working around a bad engine sensor that foiled the first try. The inaugural flight of the 322-foot rocket — the most powerful ever built by NASA — was delayed late in the countdown Monday. Atop the rocket is a crew capsule with three test dummies that will fly around the moon and back over the course of six weeks — NASA's first such attempt since the Apollo program 50 years ago. NASA wants to wring out the spacecraft before strapping in astronauts on the next planned flight in two years. There is also a local tie to the moon missions. https://www.collinsaerospace.com/news/news/2020/01/collins-signs-320m-contract-lockheed-martin-provide-critical-subsystems-nasa-orion-spacecraft (Collins Aerospace, Cedar Rapids' largest employer, signed a contract with Lockheed Martin in 2020) to provide systems to support NASA's Orion spacecraft fleet for Artemis missions III through VIII, the

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 2

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 2, 2022 3:59


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Friday, September 2. There will be another sunny and warm day on Friday before temperatures cool off, just a bit, over the weekend. According to the National Weather Service it will be mostly sunny with a high near 90 degrees during the day in the Cedar Rapids area. On Friday night it will be partly cloudy, with a low of around 66 degrees. There will be a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1 a.m. Saturday. With Labor Day weekend approaching, Iowans hitting the road should plan ahead and prepare for traffic delays, given that more travelers are expected to take advantage of the final three-day weekend of the summer, despite high gas prices. AAA predicts this will be the busiest Labor Day travel weekend in three years, reaching pre-pandemic levels similar to Memorial Day and Fourth of July weekends this year, despite inflation, higher airfares and gas prices pinching household budgets. While gas prices have fallen for 10 consecutive weeks to below an average of $4 a gallon nationwide, prices in Iowa were 50 cents higher on average than last Labor Day. As of Thursday, the average price of gas across the state was about $3.51 a gallon, down more than $1 from a peak of $4.76 in June and less than the national average of about $3.83 a gallon.  The city of Marion will receive $9.8 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to aid with recovery from the devastating 2020 derecho, Iowa Congresswoman Ashley Hinson announced Thursday. The Marion Republican said the money will aid the city with ongoing recovery efforts from the August 2020 storm that barreled across a 770-mile swath of the Midwest in 14 hours. It was, at the time, the costliest thunderstorm event in U.S. history and causing an estimated $12.5 billion in inflation-adjusted damages. At least $7.5 billion worth of damage was in Iowa alone, according to state officials. The $9.8 million awarded will reimburse the city of Marion for debris removal from waterways that was completed following the derecho, said city Finance Director Lianne Cairy. The $9.8 million will cover 90 percent of the city's $10.9 million request for aid from FEMA, with the state contributing the remaining 10 percent, Cairy said. Math and reading scores for America's 9-year-olds fell dramatically during the first two years of the pandemic, according to a new federal study — offering an early glimpse of the https://apnews.com/article/covid-technology-health-education-1d2f79e2c242d2212ff47983050e5330 (sheer magnitude of the learning setbacks) dealt to the nation's children. According to reporting from the Associated Press, rhttps://apnews.com/article/science-education-race-and-ethnicity-atlanta-ff46418c59af90132998817731fe166a (eading scores) saw their largest decrease in 30 years, while math scores had their first decrease in the history of the testing regimen behind the study, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, a branch of the U.S. Education Department. In math, the average score for 9-year-old students fell 7 percentage points between 2020 and 2022, according to the study. The average reading score fell 5 points. The study also found that the effects were especially pronounced for unprivileged students and for students of color. Federal officials say this is the first nationally representative study to compare student achievement before the pandemic and in 2022, when most students had returned to in-person learning. Testing was completed in early 2020, soon before the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and then again in early 2022.

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, September 1

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 1, 2022 3:18


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, September 1. Summer isn't gone quite yet. According to the National Weather Service, on Thursday it will be partly sunny, with a high near 91 degrees. On Thursday night it will be mostly cloudy, with a low of around 66 degrees. Iowa once again will have three for-profit insurance companies managing the state's $7 billion privatized Medicaid program that provides healthcare for more than a quarter of the state's population. The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday its intent to award contracts to current Iowa Medicaid managed-care organization Amerigroup Iowa and to Molina Healthcare of Iowa, whose CEO, Jennifer Vermeer, spent nearly a decade as the Iowa Medicaid director. Molina's parent company, though, has faced fines in three states, including in the past couple months, for not paying providers on time and allegations of improperly submitting claims for reimbursement. Amerigroup and its subsidiary health plans also have been https://www.sun-sentinel.com/business/fl-xpm-2010-08-13-fl-hmo-payments-0814-20100813-story.html (fined) or https://www.justice.gov/archive/opa/pr/2008/August/08-civ-723.html (paid a hefty settlement) for denial of service and Medicaid fraud claims over the years. The company, in a statement on its website, said its “mission is to improve the health and lives of our members by delivering high-quality health care, and we look forward to fulfilling that mission in Iowa.” The downtown Cedar Rapids Public Library is reopening today after most cleaning has wrapped up following a fire that closed the facility for a month. https://www.thegazette.com/fires/downtown-cedar-rapids-library-closed-after-fire-breaks-out-in-light-fixture/ (A fire broke out in a light fixture) above the Commons of the downtown library, 450 Fifth Ave. SE, around 3:45 p.m. July 27. The building was safely evacuated with no injuries. The fire was quickly put out. There was minimal damage to library materials, according to a news release, but there was extensive smoke residue in the building, as well as fire retardant and water from sprinklers that went off above the Commons. A professional team from restoration service SERVPRO has cleaned and restored the majority of the building, including books, computers, air ducts and carpets. Some work continues on the ceiling, light fixture and first floor directly under the light fixture where damage occurred. With damage still present, the library will close at a later date for three days to complete final restoration after investigations have concluded. There is no date for that future closure at this time. The Biden administration hopes to make getting a COVID-19 booster as routine as going in for the yearly flu shot. According to the Associated Press, shots of the updated boosters, specifically designed by Pfizer and Moderna to respond to the omicron strain, could start within days. The U.S. government has purchased 170 million doses and is emphasizing that everyone will have free access to the booster. Until now, COVID-19 vaccines have targeted the original coronavirus strain, even as wildly different mutant strains emerged. The new U.S. boosters are combination, or “bivalent,” shots. They contain half that original vaccine recipe and half protection against the newest omicron versions, BA.4 and BA.5, that are considered the most contagious yet. White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said he recommends most Americans get the booster by the end of October.

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 31

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 31, 2022 4:39


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Wednesday, August 31. It will be sunny again Wednesday, with the temperatures rising as well. According to the National Weather Service it will be sunny with a high near 89 degrees on Wednesday. On Wednesday night it will be mostly clear, with a low of around 61 degrees. University of Iowa Health Care on Tuesday got state approval to continue building a massive 469,000-square-foot hospital campus in North Liberty as planned — despite a more than 33 percent cost overrun, bringing the total project budget to more than half a billion dollars. The https://www.thegazette.com/higher-education/university-of-iowa-needs-state-ok-for-north-liberty-hospital-cost-overruns/ (State Health Facilities Council) voted 3-1 during a Tuesday morning meeting to allow the project to continue with a revised $307.1 million budget. In total, UIHC reported inflation has driven up the budget for its full North Liberty project — which includes an academic, research, and clinic building — to more than $525.6 million, an increase the Board of Regents approved in July. State Health Facilities Council Chairman Harold Miller on Tuesday was the only member of the four-person group to vote against the UIHC budget hike — voicing disappointment the university didn't better anticipate and budget for inflation, which started its steep ascent between UIHC's first denied application and its second approved revised version. A Marion man convicted of killing Chris Bagley in 2018 was charged Tuesday in the jail assault of an informant who he attacked in May in an attempt to stop him from testifying against a drug dealer. Johnny Blahnik Church, 35, formerly known as Drew Blahnik, during an initial appearance, was charged with willful injury resulting in serious injury, a felony. He was also charged with tampering with a witness, an aggravated misdemeanor. Blahnik Church remains in jail after being sentenced to 57 years for fatally stabbing Bagley, 31, of Walker, in December 2018. This stabbing was related to Bagley robbing another local drug dealer named Andrew Shaw. According to a criminal complaint about the drug informant assault, Blahnik Church, along with Gregory Sills, 49, of Oelwein, followed Ethan Palmer, the drug informant, into the bathroom in their cell pod at the Linn County Jail on May 27, and began “striking” Palmer. They eventually dragged Palmer out into the main area of the cellblock and continued to attack him. Palmer's wife, Laurie Palmer, https://navcdr.writer.saas-prod.navigacloud.com/-https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/drug-informant-brutally-beaten-in-linn-county-jail-before-testimony/ (told The Gazette) earlier this month about the attack on her husband. Law enforcement and court documents from a federal conviction of the drug dealer, Justin Michael Buehler, 39, who Palmer testified against, confirmed the assault. Buehler was convicted in U.S. District Court in June on two counts of distributing methamphetamine. Cedar County residents crowded the Tipton High School auditorium Monday night for an informational meeting about a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline that would slice through eastern Iowa. It was the second of https://www.thegazette.com/energy/revised-public-meetings-approved-for-wolf-carbon-solutions-pipeline-proposal/ (six scheduled meetings in Eastern Iowa), where https://www.thegazette.com/energy/adm-wants-to-build-co2-pipeline-from-cedar-rapids-plant/ (ADM and Wolf's proposed 280-mile carbon dioxide pipeline) will stretch from Cedar Rapids into Illinois. During the 3 1/2-hour meeting, attendees posed questions about safety, conflicts of interest on the Iowa Utilities Board and a supposed lack of compliance with required meeting notifications for impacted residents. Wolf representatives also spoke about eminent domain and said they intend not to use it when constructing the pipeline. After Linn County, Cedar County is the...

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 30

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 30, 2022 5:05


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Tuesday, August 30. It's going to be sunny all week, but Tuesday will be a little cooler than days to come. According to the National Weather Service it will be sunny with a high near 80 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area on Tuesday. It will also be breezy, with a wind of 10 to 20 mph gusting as high as 30 mph. On Tuesday night it will be clear, with a low of around 57 degrees and a calmer wind. In an unexpected turn, a Cedar Rapids man told a judge he wanted to plead guilty Monday to robbing a cabdriver who was fatally stabbed during the crime in 2011. The plea came before trial testimony was to begin. https://www.thegazette.com/news/after-acquittal-in-death-of-cab-driver-johnathan-mitchell-indicted-in-cab-robbery/ (Johnathan Mitchell, 44,) started talking to his lawyer, Chad Frese, near the end of the jury instructions on Monday. Frese requested a sidebar — a private discussion with lawyers and U.S. District Chief Judge Leonard Strand. Strand excused the jury for a break, and Frese said Mitchell wanted to plead guilty to robbery affecting commerce, as charged. He said Mitchell, who has been found incompetent off and on since 2016, was competent and he had actively helped in his defense during preparation for this trial. This case has been pending for six years, mostly due to https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/man-charged-in-2011-killing-and-robbery-of-cedar-rapids-cabdriver-is-appealing-court-order-to-give-h/ (Mitchell being found incompetent) when he refused to take antipsychotic medications prescribed by prison doctors. On Monday, Mitchell admitted he robbed Catherine Ann Boyle Stickley, 54, of Cedar Rapids, on April 29, 2011. He also admitted to taking cash, a purse and money bag from her during the robbery. Mitchell didn't admit to stabbing Stickley 18 times, as a medical examiner determined. The fact that Stickley died as a result of the robbery will be a sentencing issue and could impact the sentencing guideline for Mitchell, who faces up to 20 years in federal prison, Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Reinert said after the plea hearing. Iowa organizations encouraging alternatives to abortion may see increased demand for their services if abortion laws change. However, the $500,000 in state funding the Legislature allocated to expand these services is not yet available and new abortion restrictions may come first. The Legislature passed the “More Options for Maternal Support” (MOMS) program https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=89&ba=HF2578 (into law) earlier this year, appropriating $500,000 toward funding nonprofit organizations that encourage alternatives to abortion. These organizations, often called pregnancy centers, provide services such as pregnancy and adoption counseling for expecting and new parents. Program funds have not been distributed yet. Alex Carfrae, a public information officer with the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, said the goal was to have services in place before the start of the next fiscal year. The next fiscal year starts July 1, 2023. Abortion still is legal in Iowa, but the U.S. and state supreme courts decided this summer that the medical procedure is not protected under the federal or state constitution. These decisions opened the doors for legislation and court challenges seeking to restrict abortion in the state. As it stands, abortions are banned in Iowa after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases where the mother's life is at risk. Gov. Kim Reynolds is hoping to bring that timeframe down to six weeks.  Earlier this month, the governor's attorneys https://iowacapitaldispatch.com/2022/08/11/reynolds-asks-court-to-lift-injunction-against-iowas-fetal-heartbeat-law/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=1bbbd8b9-f717-4115-b35f-6b299a019cb5 (filed a court brief) asking an Iowa judge to lift an injunction blocking enforcement of the so-called fetal...

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 29

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 29, 2022 1:54


    This is John McGlothlen with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, August 29th. According to the National Weather Service, we'll have a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. It will be partly sunny, with a high near 86. Winds from the south, 5 to 10 mph, coming from the northwest in the afternoon. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch are expected, except for possibly higher amounts in thunderstorm areas. Then tonight, it should be mostly clear, with a low around 61. On Sunday, Republican U.S. Representative Ashley Hinson - who is running for re-election - hosted ‘Ashley's BBQ Bash' at the Linn County Fairgrounds in Central City, with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley and Tim Scott, of South Carolina, as guests. Iowa Republican U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Rep. Jim Banks, of Indiana, also spoke at the rally. Speakers ripped President Joe Biden, congressional Democrats and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over passage of a sweeping climate and health care package and a student loan debt cancellation plan they argue will worsen inflation, and raise taxes during a possible recession. Hinson is running in Iowa's new 2nd Congressional District against Democratic state Sen. Liz Mathis of Hiawatha. Hinson currently represents Iowa's 1st U.S. House district. According to Hinson's campaign, more than 750 people attended the BBQ Bash. –

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 27 and August 28

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 27, 2022 2:58


    Welcome to the weekend! This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Saturday, August 27, and Sunday, August 28. There will be a chance for showers and thunderstorms in the middle chunk of the weekend. According to the forecast from the National Weather Service the chance for rain will start ramping up after 4 p.m. on Saturday and will become most likely from early Sunday morning until around 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon. When it is not raining, it will be partly sunny both days, with a predicted high of 85 degrees on Saturday and 88 degrees on Sunday. A buyer has stepped forward to redevelop the 51-acre Transamerica property at a prime location near Highway 100, but specific details about what will take shape at the site remain to be seen. Real estate agent Kerry Panozzo — the owner of HomeSmart international, which has offices in the Quad Cities — said Friday his company closed on the purchase of the property at Edgewood Road and 42nd Street NE about a month ago. EOP Development LLC purchased the site for $7.02 million, according to Panozzo. There is no timeline established yet for development.  Transamerica relocated its Cedar Rapids operations to the former Hibu site in southwest Cedar Rapids starting in 2016. The Cedar Rapids Police Department is investigating a Thursday night stabbing that left one person dead. Police were called to Cedar Valley Townhomes at 3000 J St. SW just before 10 p.m. Thursday, according to a news release from the police department. Cordaro Griffin, 34, was found outside an apartment with a stab wound in his chest. He was taken to a hospital where he died. Witnesses to the stabbing cooperated with investigators, and police believe there is no active threat to the public, according to the release. Rescue workers from several agencies are credited with saving a farmer who was trapped in a grain bin overnight in Hardin County. The victim was conscious and alert, and he was transported Friday to Hansen Family Hospital in Iowa Falls for treatment, said Hardin County Sheriff Dave McDaniel. The man had apparently become trapped in the bin at his rural Ackley-Iowa Falls area farm on Thursday afternoon and wasn't discovered until Friday morning when a neighbor came over. The neighbor called 911 around 11:16 a.m. Friday. Workers used shields to keep more grain from engulfing the victim, and they cut holes in the bin to relieve pressure. He was freed by 12:36 p.m., the sheriff said. Have a good weekend everyone.

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 26

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 26, 2022 3:39


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Friday, August 26th. It will be all sun Friday before a slight chance for rain will return over the weekend. According to the National Weather Service it will be sunny, with a high near 80 degrees on Friday. On Friday night it will be partly cloudy, with a low of around 59 degrees. The wind will remain around 5 mph all day. The city of North Liberty is hoping to transform Centennial Park into a regional attraction for the Corridor. A design concept for the $17.7 million project was presented to the North Liberty City Council this week. Proposed features include an event center, outdoor stage, open air pavilion, splash pad and garden to honor city veterans. City officials said they hope the project will draw more people to the city. The city purchased land for the park in 2010 and developed a master plan for it in 2012. Centennial Park, the city's largest park, opened in 2013. The city has completed four phases of work since the master plan was created, with the most recent phase wrapping up this year. Completed projects include construction of driveways, permeable paver parking, trails and age-appropriate play features.  A preliminary project schedule shows construction beginning in December 2023 and lasting through May 2025, but that is subject to change as the design is developed and as funding is secured. A Cedar Rapids man was arrested Wednesday on a warrant for an attempted murder charge after he led police on a foot chase, according to a Cedar Rapids Police Department news release. Bernick Karsten Brown, 38, is accused of attempting to kill his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend, Branly Nkosi, by hitting him multiple times in the head with a baseball bat Feb. 12. The attack caused multiple skull fractures, a brain bleed and other serious life-threatening injuries, according to a criminal complaint. The man also had a stab wound in his back, but the complaint does not state whether the stabbing is thought to have been done by Brown. A Cedar Rapids patrol officer recognized Brown, who had several warrants out for his arrest, on Wednesday shortly after 5 p.m. The officer started tracking Brown and called for backup, according to the news release. Brown tried to hide in a home in the 1400 block of Bever Avenue SE and escaped out the back as police attempted to contact him, the release states. Canines were deployed during the foot chase, and Brown eventually was arrested after punching an officer. The company that owns the site of the Kentucky Derby is one step closer to buying the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City after receiving approval from the state's Racing and Gaming Commission on Thursday. The unanimous approval, which came after little discussion from commissioners, marks a major milestone in the Churchill Downs' $2.75 billion bid to buy Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, or P2E, which owns the Hard Rock Casino and other racing and gambling properties in Virginia and New York. Churchill Downs announced the deal in February. Based in Los Angeles, P2E is a gaming and entertainment company that was formed in 1999 by Iowa native M. Brent Stevens. In February, Churchill Downs, which is publicly traded, announced the purchase of P2E's gaming properties, which also included seven horse racetracks in Virginia and a casino in New York. The deal was subject to regulatory approval, including state gaming commissions in Iowa, Virginia and New York.

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 25

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 25, 2022 3:26


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, August 25. Rain may have swept through your area early on Thursday, but by the time you wake up it will be another sunny day. According to the National Weather Service it will be partly sunny in the Cedar Rapids area with a high near 83 degrees on Thursday. On Thursday night it will be partly cloudy, with a low of around 63 degrees. More than 40 million Americans could see their https://apnews.com/hub/student-loans (student loan debt reduced) or eliminated under the long-awaited forgiveness plan President Joe Biden announced Wednesday. According to the Associated Press, Biden's policy fulfills a campaign promise by erasing $10,000 in federal student loan debt for those with incomes below $125,000 a year, or households that earn less than $250,000 a year. He's canceling an additional $10,000 for those who received federal Pell Grants to attend college. Biden also extended a https://apnews.com/article/business-congress-miguel-cardona-lifestyle-education-2fad4da6c3fee980b5dacc65561ffa81 (pause on federal student loan payments) for what he called the “final time.” The pause is now set to run through the end of the year, with repayments to restart in January. Most people will need to apply for the relief. The Education Department has income data for a small share of borrowers, but the vast majority will need to prove their incomes through an application process. Officials said applications will be available before the end of the year.  A judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the case of a man charged with possessing a gun as a felon after police officers recognized a juror as being an associate of people connected to the man on trial. Sixth Judicial District Judge Kevin McKeever declared a mistrial on the second day of the trial after police officers and Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks made him aware of the juror's associations with defendant https://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/gun-arrest-made-near-cedar-rapids-house-under-surveillance/ (Royal R. Jones, 19). The juror isn't being named at this time in accordance with The Gazette's policy of not identifying jurors unless they agree to talk to a reporter. Maybanks said police officers who were testifying in the case recognized the juror. After doing some background investigation, they determined she was a known associate of individuals that Jones knows and who were “involved in shots fired and firearm incidents.” The officers also believe she likely knows Jones. Officers also told the judge about a social media post the juror had made, saying she had jury duty and that the person on trial would be freed and found not guilty. The Iowa City school board is looking to fill a vacancy after former board president Shawn Eyestone resigned Tuesday. The board is taking applications, due Sept. 6, to fill the position by appointment. Applicants will be given time to address the school board before it makes a decision Sept. 13. Iowa Code allows the school https://go.boarddocs.com/ia/iccsd/Board.nsf/files/CHFR396BFB0F/$file/Vacancies%20on%20School%20Boards.pdf (board to fill vacancies by appointment). A replacement must be appointed within 30 days of the vacancy. The school board is choosing to appoint a school board member instead of holding a special election, which is costly to the district. Eyestone said he is “putting my money where my mouth is” by going back to school to pursue a career as an educator, he said. His classes conflict with Tuesday school board meetings.

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 24

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 24, 2022 3:47


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Wednesday, August 24. It will be another sunny day on Wednesday, with a possibility for some rain coming early on Thursday morning. According to the National Weather Service it will be mostly sunny in the Cedar Rapids area with a high near 86 degrees. On Wednesday night it will be mostly cloudy, with a low of around 66 degrees. There will be a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, primarily after midnight and into the early morning hours on Thursday. A $312 million plan to improve Cedar Rapids secondary schools includes building a new aquatic center to replace the three pools in the district's high schools, and a new 1,200-student middle school. In a presentation to the school board on Monday, district officials proposed reducing the number of middle schools in the district from six to four, renovating and adding additions or new construction, and making improvements to the district's four high schools over the next seven to 10 years. The plan hinges on voters approving a $312 million general obligation bond in a referendum scheduled for March 7. If the bond is approved, the district's property tax levy — which is currently zero — would increase to $2.70 per $1,000 of taxable valuation. This is the first general obligation bond ask the Cedar Rapids Community School District has made in 22 years. The last ask was in 2000 for $46 million, which passed. A retired University of Iowa music professor has been indicted in federal court on charges of distributing methamphetamine that resulted in a death and of possessing child pornography. John Robert Muriello, 65, of Iowa City, is accused of buying drugs from a supplier in California and of having 12,000 photos and 3,183 videos on his electronic devices, many of them of minor boys, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in June. Muriello was indicted on one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute meth that resulted in serious bodily injury or death and one count of possession of child pornography. He is being held without bond in the Muscatine County Jail. His trial is set for Dec. 5 in Davenport. https://music.uiowa.edu/people/emeritus-faculty (Muriello is listed on the university's website) as an emeritus professor of voice and opera. The university placed Muriello on leave in May 2021 and he retired on July 1 of this year. On May 28 of 2021 Iowa City police obtained a search warrant for Muriello's home after an overdose death two weeks earlier triggered a drug investigation. A school bus for the Bennett Community School District in Cedar County crashed with another vehicle Tuesday morning — the first day of school — sending both drivers and one child to the hospital. The crash occurred at the intersection of Hwy 130 and Washington Avenue, between Bennett and New Liberty, according to a news release from the Cedar County Sheriff's Office. There were six children on the school bus at the time of the crash. The release did not specify what led to the crash, but stated there is an ongoing investigation. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=502880051841564&set=a.477582197704683 (The Bennett Community School District released a statement) Tuesday thanking the emergency responders who reported to the scene. The district said all students were “accounted for and tended to.”

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 23

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 23, 2022 3:35


    This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for August 23, 2022. Tuesday could start a bit foggy for you early commuters, but the sun will win out in the end. According to the National Weather Service there will be patchy fog in the Cedar Rapids area before 7 a.m. Otherwise it will be mostly sunny, with a high near 83 degrees. On Tuesday night it will be mostly clear, with a low of around 61 degrees. The wind will remain calm all day. There was supposed to be a vote on Linn County solar power on Monday. But they forgot you can't spell meeting without dotting an I and crossing a T. The first of three Linn County Board of Supervisors meetings that was supposed to provide a public forum on a proposed solar project was canceled before it could start on Monday. County officials said an oversight on the legal notice publication about the meeting necessitated the cancellation. No new meeting date has been announced. The error? Not getting the correct language in the county paper of record, which is The Gazette. Public meeting law requires advance notice be given so the public has a chance to attend the meeting. Supervisor Ben Rogers said they were informed that the proper notice had not been given 10 minutes before the meeting began. The supervisors were set to vote on developer NextEra's Duane Arnold Solar projects near Palo. The official vote would've been the first of three votes needed to rezone the area from agricultural to agricultural with a solar overlay, allowing for the project to be built.  The Linn County Attorney's office has completed its investigation of ahttps://www.thegazette.com/crime-courts/man-shot-by-cedar-rapids-police-officers-identified/ (n officer-involved shooting )that injured a Cedar Rapids man last month. Two Cedar Rapids Police Officers — Officer Blair Klostermann and Officer Matt Jenatscheck — shot at 23-year-old Brandon Nelson, of Cedar Rapids, after he pointed a gun at the officers and shot at them during a traffic stop in the 2200 block of Glass Road NE in Cedar Rapids. The incident happened at about 4 a.m. on July 30. Nelson fired a shotgun once. Klostermann shot four times and Jenatscheck shot eight times, according to the attorney's office's https://www.linncountyiowa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/20501/8-22-22-Official-Memorandum-of-the-Linn-County-Attorneys-Office-for-Officer-Involved-Shooting-on-July-30-2022 (official memorandum about the investigation). Nelson sustained three gunshot wounds but survived his injuries. He still is in the hospital, according to Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks. According to a police account of the incident, Nelson was stopped by police after driving recklessly that morning. He later admitted to investigators that he had been drinking the night of the incident. Charges against Nelson are being considered and the investigation is continuing, according to Maybanks. Marion announced Monday that a Kansas fire department administrator will be the city's new fire chief. Starting next month, Tom Fagan, 42, will oversee the city's department of 38 career firefighters and 10 paid, on-call firefighters.  Fagan, who has 22 years of experience, is division chief of administration for the Lawrence-Douglas (Kan.) County Fire Medical Department. He has been serving as interim fire chief for his current department, which is in a community of 97,000 residents.

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 22

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 22, 2022 2:10


    This is John McGlothlen with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, August 22nd. Today in the Cedar Rapids area, we can expect patchy fog before 8 a.m. Otherwise, the National Weather Service forecast calls for sunny skies, with a high near 82. Winds will be calm, then coming from the north at about 5 mph. Tonight, it should be mostly clear, with a low around 59. A Central City man was seriously injured in a farm accident Saturday, according to a Linn County Sheriff's Office news release. At about 3 p.m., 52-year-old James Weighton was operating a 1934 John Deere tractor with a plow in the 5800 block of Troy Mills Road to plow a field with other members of a local tractor club. While making a turn at the end of the field, his tractor struck a log that was covered by grass. Weighton was thrown from the tractor and dragged by the plow for approximately 40 yards before falling free, according to authorities. Emergency responders provided medical assistance at the scene and he was taken by helicopter to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics for treatment of serious injuries. Former Vice President Mike Pence offered scant details on his plans for 2024 at the Iowa State Fair, a trip that followed a talk in New Hampshire and fanned speculation of a presidential run. Pence rebuffed questions about any 2024 ambitions, saying his reason for coming to Iowa was to support Sen. Chuck Grassley, who is running for re-election and who took Pence on a tour of the fair Friday. Reiterating comments made Wednesday in New Hampshire, Pence on Friday criticized Republicans who are calling for the defunding of the FBI, but said he was “deeply troubled” that the agency executed a search warrant at former President Donald Trump's home. –

    Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 20 and August 21

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 20, 2022 4:00


    Welcome to the weekend! This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Saturday, August 20, and Sunday, August 21. The weather is going to feel like Autumn this weekend, as in the cooler and rainier part of Autumn. According to the National Weather Service, there will be a chance for rain nearly all day on Saturday, with a high near 76 degrees. On Saturday night it will be partly cloudy, with a low of around 62 degrees. On Sunday the chance for rain will be mostly gone, but some of the cool will remain. It is predicted to be mostly sunny, with a high near 81 degrees and a low of around 60 degrees. Hawkeye offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz — among several defendants facing accusations of racial discrimination in a lawsuit filed by former Iowa Hawkeye football players — wants a judge to rule in his favor and essentially drop the case against him, calling the claims “meritless, unsupported, and contrary to law.” Addressing each of the seven former players named as plaintiffs in the federal suit filed in October 2020, Ferentz in his Thursday motion disputed and discredited their accusations — pointing specifically to deposition testimony he said contradicts earlier statements made in a sworn interrogation. Throughout the motion, Ferentz cited players' skill level, attitude, and work ethic among reasons they didn't succeed — not any racial bias on his part. He aired concerns about a secret recording, addressed alleged incidents of racism, and shared details of player performance in the classroom and on the field. The lawsuit — ongoing for nearly two years — emerged from allegations on social media in the https://www.thegazette.com/hawkeye-football/iowa-football-allegations-what-former-players-said-when-they-played-which-coaches-they-named/ (summer of 2020 )about racism within the Hawkeye football program. The suit prompted contentious exchanges between the former players and Hawkeye personnel, including accusations of harassment and delay tactics. It also led to reforms within the Iowa football program, along with the dismissal of longtime strength coach, Chris Doyle. A Sumner man has been arrested in connection with a fatal fire in Waterloo Friday morning. Waterloo police arrested John Walter Spooner, 59, on a charge of first-degree arson. A passerby notified crews at the downtown fire station after seeing smoke coming from 309 E. Second St. Several people were inside, and one person had jumped from a window to safety, Treloar said. Firefighters found one person inside the home and carried him out. He was taken to a Waterloo hospital where he was later pronounced dead. His identity hasn't been released. Spooner was found walking in the area, and witnesses said he was seen near the home shortly before the blaze, according to police The two https://www.thegazette.com/local-government/linn-county-commission-recommends-approval-of-palo-solar-projects/ (solar projects intended for construction near Palo) could move another step closer to reality next week as Linn County Supervisors meet for a series of readings. The supervisors' sessions are scheduled for the Palo Community Center, 2800 Hollenbeck Rd., beginning at 6 p.m. Monday. If the first reading passes, meetings will follow on Wednesday and the next Monday, Aug. 29, both also at 6 p.m. Supervisors will vote on whether to change the zoning in the area of the projects — both by NextEra and named Duane Arnold Solar I and Duane Arnold Solar II — from agricultural to agricultural with a solar overlay, allowing for the installations to be built. The two projects share the name with the Duane Arnold nuclear power plant in Palo, which was decommissioned in 2020. Have a good weekend everyone!