Korea24 – 2022.12.06 (Tuesday) News Briefing 1: South Korea’s campaign in the 2022 Qatar World Cup has come to an end with a chastening 4-1 loss to Brazil in the Round of 16. We speak to Paul Williams, football writer and founding editor of the Asian Game to review the match and Team Korea’s overall World Cup campaign. News Briefing 2: For the second day in a row, North Korea fired artillery shells into the maritime buffer zone on Tuesday, again violating the 2018 inter-Korean military accord. (Chris Price) In-Depth News Analysis: Last week, Daejeon City notified the central government that the city will take autonomous steps to lift the indoor mask mandate next month if the central government fails to do so by mid-December. However, Jung Ki-suck, the nation's chief adviser on infectious diseases, says now is not the right time, warning that the premature removal of the mandate could be fatal for high-risk groups. Dr. Alice Tan from MizMedi Women's hospital joins us on the line to discuss this issue. Korea Trending with Diane Yoo: 1. Bookstores in Seoul's subway stations are closing down after 37 years, to improve station congestion in the wake of the Itaewon crowd crush disaster. (서울 지하철 서점 37년 역사 끝난다…“이태원 참사 영향”) 2. Financial authorities are warning the public against downloading malicious apps that aid criminals in carrying out voice phishing scams. (금감원 대표번호로 걸어도 ‘당한다’…진짜 같은 가짜, ‘악성 앱’ 주의보) 3. Warner Bros. announced that Academy Award-winning director Bong Joon-ho’s next film “Mickey 17” will be released on March 29, 2024. (봉준호 신작 '미키 17', 2024년 개봉 확정…로버트 패틴슨 티저 공개) Touch Base In Seoul: Earlier this year, the renowned designer Teo Yang was chosen to be the artistic director for this year's Craft Trend Fair. He joins us in the studio to discuss his aesthetic philosophy, his favorite projects over the years, and the theme for this year’s Craft Trend Fair - “Today's Questions, Craft Answers." Morning Edition Preview with Richard Larkin: - Tomorrow’s Korea Times features a report by Kim Rahn on “KOREA 360”, a center in Jakarta, Indonesia where visitors can experience Hallyu products. - In tomorrow’s Korea Herald, Kim Hae-yeon reports on a new exhibition called "Eat and Inherit: Korean Traditional Food Culture" at Jeonju’s National Intangible Heritage Center.
This is John McGlothlen with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, December 5th.According to the National Weather Service, it will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 43 in the Cedar Rapids area today. Winds from the south, 5 to 10 mph, then from the north in the afternoon. And tonight, mostly cloudy, with a low around 23. Adding to the growing list of construction and renovation projects that University of Iowa Health Care is pursuing in and around its campus, UIHC now is asking a development team to design, plan and build a new primary care medical office building in Iowa City. The goal of erecting a UIHC-operated location in the same town as its main sprawling campus of more than 1 million square feet is to “increase access to primary medical care for the local community as well as train physicians in a setting most similar to other Iowa primary care offices.” The project comes as UIHC is building or pursuing a growing list of facility endeavors — including a $525.6 million hospital in North Liberty. Administrators with those Eastern Iowa community hospitals that sounded alarms UIHC was threatening their patient and staffing pool — and thus their livelihood — told The Gazette that the university's community care development endeavor illustrates their earlier warnings and opposition. In arguing against the need for UIHC expansion a year ago, Michelle Niermann, UnityPoint Health-Cedar Rapids president and CEO cited there was “significant capacity” at existing hospitals across Eastern Iowa — including more than 40 percent of UnityPoint's available space at the time, more than half of Mercy Medical Center-Cedar Rapids' space and more than 70 percent at Mercy Hospital Iowa City.The Iowa Hawkeyes will play Kentucky in its bowl game for the second consecutive season. Iowa will be be making their first trip to the Music City Bowl in Nashville on Dec. 31st. It will be the second time in the 2022 calendar year that Iowa and Kentucky faced off, following the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1.–
Welcome to the weekend!This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Saturday, December 3 and Sunday, December 4.Saturday will feature Friday's wind without Friday's warmth. According to the National Weather Service there will be a high near 27 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area on Saturday, with wind chill values as low as -5. It will be blustery to begin the day, with winds of 15 to 20 mph gusting as high as 30 mph. The wind should calm the second half of Saturday, with a low of around 19 degrees. Sunday will be calmer and warmer. It is predicted to be sunny with a high near 42 degrees.As expected, Iowa's Democratic Party is on track to lose the first-in-the-nation presidential caucus status it has held for half a century.In a major realignment meant to give voice in the party to more people of color, the Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee voted Friday on a proposed calendar for early presidential nominating contests that will remove Iowa as an early state in the party's nominating calendar.The states making up the new early window for 2024, holding Democratic primaries before the first Tuesday in March, would consist of South Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Georgia and Michigan. The proposal will need to be approved by the full Democratic National Committee, but it is expected to easily pass.Republicans, on the other hand, already have agreed to a nominating calendar that keeps Iowa's first-in-the-nation status for GOP presidential candidates.If all happens as expected, things could get awkward for Iowa Democrats. In accordance with tradition state law requires both parties in Iowa to hold their caucuses before anyone else in the nation. However, if Iowa still adheres to that with a full caucus, they could be penalized by the national party, including losing half or all of its delegates.A 70-year-old Iowa City man was sentenced to 50 years in prison Friday after entering a guilty plea for a charge that he fatally stabbed his wife in 2019.Roy Carl Browning Jr., 70, of Iowa City, originally charged with first-degree murder, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in October. He was charged in the death of JoEllen Browning, 65, a University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics budget executive. Roy Browning entered an Alford plea to the charge, in which a defendant doesn't admit guilt but admits the prosecution has enough evidence for a likely conviction.He protested his innocence during the sentencing Friday, despite the plea. Investigators believe he stabbed his wife to prevent her from learning about risky loans, falsified accounting records, and that he had depleted one of her savings accounts.A 19-year-old Cedar Rapids man pleaded Friday to lesser charges in the 2021 fatal shooting of a 15-year-old Illinois girl during a gun sale that turned into a “tussle” over money and the gun.Marshawn Rome Jackson, 19, originally charged with first-degree murder, pleaded to voluntary manslaughter, intimidation with a dangerous weapon, dominion/control of a firearm by a felon and obstructing prosecution.Jackson, during the plea hearing, admitted to intentionally shooting Tyliyah Whitis, of Peoria, Ill., during a gun sale July 21, 2021, First Assistant Linn County Attorney Monica Slaughter said after the hearing.Jackson and Whitis, who was in Cedar Rapids visiting her sister, knew each...
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Friday, December 2.The good news is it's going to keep getting warmer Friday, the bad news is it will get windier as well. According to the National Weather Service it will be increasingly cloudy with a high near 51 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area on Friday. It will be breezy with wind gusts as high as 35 mph during the day, and 45 mph during the evening. On Friday night it will be mostly cloudy, with a low around 16 degrees.If you are a fan of the Iowa caucuses leading the nation for the election of Democrats, there was bad news for you on Thursday.President Joe Biden has asked leaders of the Democratic National Committee to make South Carolina the nation's first presidential primary state, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada a week later, and subsequent weekly primaries in Georgia and Michigan, according to Democrats briefed on the plans.The plan essentially swaps out Iowa as the Midwestern state of the first four states to help the country select its Democratic candidate for president. There may be some jockeying for order, and Iowa state Democrats may protest, but the momentum is clearly against Iowa remaining in its position as the state that kicks off presidential elections. It has held the position of first in the nation since 1972. There will be further deliberation by the party on Friday.The Republican party has still committed to keeping Iowa first when it nominates its presidential candidates. The parents of a nurse murdered by two Anamosa prison inmates last year is suing the Iowa Department of Corrections, Iowa Prison Industries, Anamosa State Penitentiary and the former warden, saying their negligence led to her death.Lorena Schulte was working as a registered nurse at the prison on March 23, 2021, when inmates Thomas Woodward and Michael Dutcher attacked her and a correctional officer, Robert McFarland, with hammers that they had checked out as part of a work program.Their daughter suffered severe injury leading up to her death as a result from the attack, and died from those injuries, according to a wrongful-death suit filed by her parents, Stephanie and George Schulte, in Jones County District Court.The lawsuit contends Jeremy Larson, who was the Anamosa prison warden at the time, was “grossly negligent” in several areas including providing a safe working environment, sufficient staffing and training and safety protocols. He also failed to appropriately screen inmates for eligibility in the prison industries program and to respond to employee complaints regarding safety, the suit states.I mentioned an Iowa Hawkeye football transfer earlier this week, and just for consistency I am going to mention a few more. But I have a feeling this will only be the beginning for multiple teams.Former Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara has committed to Iowa, he said Thursday evening in a tweet.McNamara, who started all 14 games in Michigan's 2021 run to the College Football Playoff, provides an instant upgrade to the position.At the same time, Iowa's top receiver, Keagan Johnson, announced he will be transferring out of the program.Johnson had an impressive debut as a freshman last year, but barely played after an injury this year. Wide receiver has especially been an area of attrition for Iowa recently. Four scholarship wide receivers left the Hawkeyes via the transfer portal after the 2021 season, and Iowa did not gain any scholarship players at the position via the portal to replace them.
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, December 1. It will be sunny and back above 40 degrees Thursday. According to the National Weather Service there will be a high near 41 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area on Thursday. On Thursday night it will be mostly clear, with a low of around 32 degrees. It will remain breezy, with wind speeds gusting as high as 30 mph.Iowa's four U.S. House members voted Wednesday to approve legislation designed to avert a potential strike by railroad workers.The legislation is the result of a compromise reached by railroad companies and a majority of the unions that represent rail workers, the Associated Press reported. A strike was still possible because some unions rejected the proposed agreement.The House vote was 290-137, with 79 Republicans joining the majority of Democrats in supporting the bill, and eight Democrats joining the majority of Republicans who opposed it. The bill next moves to the U.S. Senate.The legislation provides for 24 percent raises and $5,000 in bonuses retroactive to 2020 along with one additional paid leave day. That deal was agreed to by most, but not all, of the unions representing rail workers.There has been a call from multiple sectors of politics and finance, including President Joe Biden, to stop the rail strike due to fears of the effect it could have on day to day life and the national economy.A proposed ban on genetically modified corn imports to Mexico would have substantial impacts on Iowa farmers if carried out, farm groups say.There's still uncertainty about the details of the proposed policy, but U.S. officials said a total ban on genetically modified corn — which makes up more than 90 percent of corn grown in the United States — would cause a drop in the price of corn and in farmers' profitability in the coming years.Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador initiated the ban by presidential decree in 2020, with a scheduled start date of Jan. 1, 2024. The decree stemmed from concerns about the health and safety of genetically modified products.Some Mexican officials have signaled the ban would affect corn going into food with exceptions made for corn designated for livestock feed, which makes up the vast majority of U.S. exports to the country. Obrador, who had previously said the ban would affect all corn imports, said last week in a news conference he's looking at making an exception for livestock feed, according to Bloomberg.If the ban covers all corn, agriculture experts said Iowa's farmers would take a hit and would likely see their balance sheets in the red.“It's going to be extremely devastating if that was to happen,” said Lance Lillibridge, chair of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and a corn farmer in Benton County. “And it needs to be taken extremely seriously by everyone.”According to an estimate from World Perspectives, the U.S. corn farming sector would experience a net $3.56 billion loss in the first year under the ban, and $13.61 billion in losses over 10 years.
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Wednesday, November 30. The sun is back, but ack it's cold! According to the National Weather Service it will be sunny with a high near 28 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area on Wednesday. It will be breezy again, with wind gusts as high as 35 mph during the day before settling down at night. On Wednesday night it will be mostly clear, with a low of around 16 degrees.A Cedar Rapids man who faced a voluntary manslaughter charge for fatally shooting another man during a fight is free after the charge was dropped by the Linn County Attorney's Office.Assistant Linn County Attorney Molly Edwards, in a motion filed earlier this month, asked a judge to dismiss the charge against James Siegel, 42, based on Iowa's “stand your ground” law, and said there is insufficient evidence to prove the manslaughter charge.Siegel initially was charged with first-degree murder. But a few weeks later, it was amended to voluntary manslaughter for the fatal shooting of Ty John Casey, 39, on May 13 in northeast Cedar Rapids. At that time, additional investigation revealed a history between the two men, and the crime scene and autopsy supported the lesser charge, according to the amended complaint.Siegel's actions resulted from a “sudden, violent and irresistible passion” as a result of serious provocation — elements of voluntary manslaughter — by Casey, the amended complaint stated. Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks at that time was asked about the history between Siegel and Casey, but he said he couldn't provide details.Iowa's future as the first state where Democrats cast their preference for president will likely be decided this week.The Democratic National Committee's Rules and Bylaws Committee will meet Thursday through Saturday in Washington, D.C., and the committee is expected to vote on the party's presidential nominating calendar, potentially knocking Iowa off the first-in-the-nation spot it has held for half a century. The committee will make a recommendation to the full DNC at the party's next meeting.While a vote on the calendar is expected to come up, Scott Brennan, an Iowan who sits on the rules committee, said the committee has not yet received an agenda for this week's meeting.Iowa's caucuses have led the pack in presidential preference contests for both parties since 1972, drawing media attention and millions of dollars in campaigning from presidential hopefuls.This year, the national Democrats' rules committee voted to open up the early window, requiring states to apply if they want to hold a presidential primary or caucus before the first Tuesday in March. The current early states are Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.Iowa is among 16 states and Puerto Rico that applied this summer to be in the early window. The DNC will select up to five states that will be allowed to hold contests early. The rules committee said it would favor states that are diverse, competitive in the general election, and can run transparent and accessible contests. Iowa is around 85 percent white and has been trending increasingly Republican in recent elections.Iowa quarterback Alex Padilla entered the transfer portal Tuesday as a graduate transfer.Padilla played in two football games for Iowa this season, completing 21 of 43 passes while throwing one touchdown and two interceptions....
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Tuesday, November 29. The weather the rest of the week will be a mixed bag, with the temperatures trending colder as the week goes on. According to the National Weather Service it will be cloudy with a high near 50 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area on Tuesday. There will be a 30 percent chance of rain mainly between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. It will also be breezy, with wind gusts as high as 30 mph. On Tuesday night it will be cloudy and blustery, with a low of around 21 degrees.Seven people died in six crashes on Iowa roads over the Thanksgiving holiday period, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety.As of Monday, 315 people have died this year in traffic wrecks on the state's roads — surpassing the five-year average of 300 traffic deaths by this same date each year, despite efforts to crack down on distracted driving and excessive speeding.Iowa saw 356 traffic deaths in all of 2021, state figures show. The state hasn't had more than 37 traffic fatalities in a December in the last five years, a trend that suggests Iowa would not exceed last year's grim total with another month to go this year.The Kirkwood Regional Center in Coralville went into lockdown for about 10 minutes Monday morning after reports of an armed robbery in the area, according to an alert sent to Kirkwood students Monday.The Coralville Police Department contacted the regional center at 11:25 a.m. and requested that the campus lock exterior doors due to an armed robbery nearby. Staff immediately locked the doors and contacted Kirkwood Public Safety.At about 11:35 a.m. the police department contacted the school again to report that the suspect in the robbery, 21-year-old Jovon Ellis, had been caught, and the lockout could end, according to the alert.The robbery took place south of campus at the Knollridge Garden apartments, at 2551 Holiday Rd., Coralville, according to a news release from the Coralville Police Department.Ellis reportedly confronted two people who were leaving their apartment and ordered them back inside at gunpoint, where he stole their cellphones.Owners of a mobile home park near Iowa City have agreed to pay an $8,000 fine after multiple violations since 2020 for discharging wastewater into a tributary of Snyder Creek, which feeds into the Iowa River.Havenpark Management also agreed to build a new wastewater treatment facility for Sunrise Village, at 2100 S. Scott Blvd., by Aug. 31, 2025, according to a Nov. 17 consent order.Havenpark, based in Utah, was criticized in 2019 for buying mobile home parks, including some in Iowa, and increasing the rent anywhere from 24 percent to 69 percent.The penalty amount was based on whether Sunrise Village owners received economic benefit by the discharge, the severity of the situation and the culpability of the owners for the discharge. The maximum administrative penalty is $10,000.Earlier this year, Havenpark bought two other Iowa City mobile home parks — Lake Ridge and Modern Manor — for a combined $33.5 million.
This is John McGlothlen with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, November 28th.According to the National Weather Service, it will be mostly sunny, with a high near 46 in the Cedar Rapids area today. Winds from the south 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. And tonight, increasing clouds, with a low around 36. Authorities have released the identity of a girl killed in an ATV crash south of Manchester Wednesday. According to an updated Iowa State Patrol accident report, 13-year-old Charlee Engelken of Manchester was a passenger riding an ATV in the 1500 block of 240th Street shortly after 3 p.m. A 14-year-old boy from Manchester who was driving the four-wheeler lost control and the ATV went into the ditch, where it bottomed out and ejected all riders. Charlee was struck by the ATV and sustained fatal injuries. According to obituary information submitted to The Gazette, Charlee was raised in the Manchester area and was an eighth-grade student at West Delaware Middle School in Manchester.Felony gun crimes have increased dramatically — even tripled for some categories — in Linn and Johnson counties since 2019, which prosecutors attribute to law changes and more people choosing to resolve disputes with violence. The gun charges that account for these increases include counts for possession of a firearm by a felon, intimidation with a dangerous weapon, going armed with intent and trafficking in stolen weapons. In Linn County, possession charges went from 15 in 2019 to 52 so far this year. Trafficking charges jumped from six in 2019 to 30 so far this year. Johnson County is seeing increases in possession charges, from 21 in 2019 to 50 so far this year. Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks noted the numbers for Linn County don't even include other crimes such as homicides and robberies, where a gun may have been used. There are 12 pending murder trials and numerous robberies and attempted murder trials. Maybanks and Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness agreed that the increases in gun charges are attributed to gun law changes — such as that carry permits are no longer required in Iowa. –
Welcome to the weekend!This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Saturday, November 26 and Sunday, November 27.There is a chance for a little bit of rain this weekend, but it mostly looks to be pleasant fall weather. On Saturday there will be increasing clouds and a little bit windy, with a high near 55 degrees. There will be a 40 percent chance for rain after midnight. It will be cloudy, with a low of around 36 degrees. On Sunday there will be a 40 percent chance of rain before noon. It will be mostly cloudy again, with a high near 42 degrees. On Sunday night it will be partly cloudy, with a low of around 26 degrees.An annual spring marathon connecting Iowa City and Cedar Rapids will not return in 2023.Jim Dwyer, the race director and Corridor Running co-president, said organizers are discontinuing Run CRANDIC due to logistical and staffing issues, including getting enough volunteers and public safety officers to work the race.Dwyer, who also co-owns Iowa Running Company in downtown Cedar Rapids, said the marathon requires about 75 to 100 public safety personnel from six agencies to secure the race route.“It's not ability to pay. It's more of a staffing issue, really,” said Dwyer, who said a portion of the race entry fee covers street closures and the cost of providing for off-duty police officers, sheriff's deputies and other security personnel.The city of North Liberty continues to work on plans for a new park in the northwest part of the city.The Northside Community Park Project is among the initiatives identified in the city's 2022-24 goals report. The city is negotiating with a property owner to acquire the nearly 45 acres of land, which would make this one of the city's largest parks.The land — owned by the Meade Family Real Estate Limited Partnership — is located above West Penn Street between N. Jones Boulevard and Highway 965.The city has more than 20 parks, including Centennial Park, which is the city's largest park. A map from the city shows each of the city's parks, along with service areas and where gaps exist.A moratorium on new utility-scale solar installations will be extended through March, the Linn County Board of Supervisors decided this week.The supervisors originally adopted the moratorium in October to last through Dec. 31 with the idea that it could be extended up to three times through 2023 while the county ordinance governing the solar projects is reviewed.The moratorium does not affect the already-approved solar projects near Palo and Coggon, which will continue. But applications for new projects will not be considered until the pause is over.“By the March deadline, we will have a better idea of how much time is actually needed,” Planning and Development Director Charlie Nichols said. “It won't be open ended like now. We should be close to completion or at least developed enough to know how much time we need.”
Happy Thanksgiving!This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, November 24.There will be a small chance for rain on Thursday, but the temperatures will remain pleasant. According to the National Weather Service it will be mostly with a high near 52 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area on Thursday. There will be a 20 percent chance of some rain before 1 p.m. On Thursday night it will be partly cloudy, with a low of around 29 degrees.Let's take a brief look at the origins of Thanksgiving in Iowa, thanks to the Gazette a Time Machine article, a series I incidentally recommend you check out on the website if you're a history fan. According to the article, Iowa's first territorial Thanksgiving is generally believed to have been proclaimed by Gov. Robert Lucas, who served from 1838 to 1841. The holiday's celebration was common in New England, and settlers who came west were believed to have continued the tradition.But the first recorded gubernatorial proclamation of the celebration came from Iowa's second territorial governor, John Chambers of Kentucky, who was appointed in 1841.Chambers' Thanksgiving proclamation, signed in the territorial office in Burlington 'at the requests of many of my fellow citizens,” declared Dec. 12, 1844, as a day of thanksgiving.The day Iowa became the Union's 29th state - Dec. 28, 1846 - Ansel Briggs, elected the state's first governor on Dec. 2, gave his inaugural address. The following November, Briggs signed his first Thanksgiving Proclamation, setting aside Thursday, Nov. 25, 1847, as a day for giving thanks.Back to the present, COVID numbers are on the rise again in Iowa just in time for holiday travel.The state added 2,302 positive virus cases this week — the highest weekly total in more than two months. Last week, the new positive case count was 1,980. The actual total is likely higher, given the availability of at-home test kits, which are not reported to the state.Hospitalizations from the virus increased by 26 percent in the past week after decreasing by 24 percent the week prior. The number of hospitalized patients increased from 137 to 172. ICU patients increased from 16 to 19.These hospitalizations numbers are still relatively low compared to the overall history of the virus. COVID is just one of many viruses causing crowding at area hospitals.In fact, hospitals across the United States are overwhelmed. The combination of a swarm of respiratory illnesses (RSV, coronavirus, flu), staffing shortages and nursing home closures has sparked the state of distress visited upon the already overburdened health-care system. And experts believe the problem will deteriorate further in coming months.So get vaccinated if you can, wash your hands, and cross your fingers.Ending with some happier news, Marion arborist Mike Cimprich has won a national award for derecho recovery efforts.City arborist Mike Cimprich got an email last week announcing he was the recipient of the Merrell Changing Nature of Work Award.He was chosen as the inaugural recipient of the award from the National Recreation and Park Association. The award recognizes an individual, or team, who has responded to natural disasters with a spirit of teamwork, community and perseverance to clean up, rebuild and advance the resilience and well-being of their community.It comes with $10,000 to go toward a project. Cimprich told the Gazette it would go toward tree replanting in some way, whether that's obtaining more staff or equipment or the actual tree planting itself.Marion lost over 40 percent of its public tree canopy in the August 2020 derecho. Cimprich was integral in leading the response.
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Wednesday, November 23.Soak in that temperature increase, we don't know how long this will last. According to the National Weather Service it will be increasingly cloudy during the day Wednesday with a high near 55 degrees. Commuters may be greeted by some patchy fog before 9 a.m. in the Cedar Rapids area. On Wednesday night it will be mostly cloudy with a low of around 39 degrees.Iowa's economy is in recession and losses in its workforce will be exceptionally difficult to recoup because older Iowans who are retiring are not being replaced by younger or new residents, a state economist said Tuesday.While the size of Iowa's workforce has continued to climb steadily throughout 2022, the most recent number of Iowans working still lags behind October 2019 and behind its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.Peter Orazem, a professor of labor economics at Iowa State University, discussed the state's economy and workforce issues Tuesday while recording this weekend's episode of “Iowa Press” on Iowa PBS.Iowa has the ninth-highest share of residents who were born in the state, Orazem said, meaning Iowa gets a proportionately small share of its population from other states or countries.“If you look at the sources of replacement labor in Iowa, it's really hard to come up with another one other than immigration, which has been the buffer for the Iowa labor force for many years,” Orazem said.Speaking of PBS, you won't be hearing any of their fundraising pitches for a while.An apparent cybersecurity breach has caused Iowa PBS to cancel the remainder of its annual fall fundraising pledge drive.An Iowa PBS spokeswoman Tuesday confirmed the issue, which has not impacted the station's ability to broadcast programming.“In the early hours of Sunday morning, Iowa PBS became aware of suspicious activity on our network systems. We swiftly brought in systems experts to help us identify the issue,” Iowa PBS spokeswoman Susan Ramsey said in a statement.The incident led Iowa PBS Friends Foundation, the station's governing body, to cancel the remainder of the Fall Festival, which is the station's pledge drive. That decision likely will mean a significant reduction in donations to the station; roughly half the station's annual revenue comes from contributions and grants, according to a recent state analysis.“While this will mean a considerable loss of donor revenue in this period, we believe this is in the best interest of the Iowans we serve,” the statement said.The College Community School District is increasing its starting salary for bus drivers to $23 an hour, a $2 per hour increase, in an effort to recruit and retain more drivers. New hires also will receive a $500 sign-on bonus as just one recent initiative the district has launched in response to the national bus driver shortage, according to a news release Tuesday. All College Community employees who recruit a bus driver, van driver or bus aide to join the transportation department also receive a new recruitment bonus. School districts across the nation are facing a shortage of school bus drivers. During the summer of 2020, the Cedar Rapids Community School District lost a fifth of its school bus drivers because of COVID-19. In August, the Cedar Rapids district said it was facing challenging bus driver shortages. The district implemented several short and long-term strategies to close the staffing shortage gap, including combining routes and having mechanics trained and driving buses.
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Tuesday, November 22.We're going to take a break from winter to return to fall for a while. According to the National Weather Service on Tuesday it will be sunny, with a high near 49 degrees. On Tuesday night it will be clear, with a low of around 25 degrees. The wind will remain calm all day.The Eastern Iowa Airport says the facility is on track to record its second busiest year for Thanksgiving travel since 2019.The number of seats in the market is more than three years ago for the same holiday period and flights are expected to be nearly full with Thanksgiving travelers, Airport Director Marty Lenss said in a news release Monday.“When comparing available seats in the market for the same Thanksgiving (Monday through Thursday) travel period in 2019 compared to this year, we have 8 percent more seats this year,” Lenss said.“In addition, we are seeing much larger aircraft than in 2019. The average number of seats per departure is at 109 per flight. In 2019 that number was 78 seats per flight.”The airlines have been removing most of the smaller, 50-seat regional jets from their fleets, and replacing them with larger mainline aircraft. A Swisher man, accused of driving his pickup into a group of abortion protesters in June, asked a judge Monday to move his trial out of Linn County because of “overt media attention and nefarious allegations” that he had a motive regarding abortion rights.The June 24 protest near the federal courthouse in downtown Cedar Rapids followed the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned abortion rights, which had been in place almost 50 years nationally, returning control of the procedure to the states.Mark Brown, the lawyer for David A. Huston, 53, who faces two misdemeanor charges, said there has been extensive media coverage — including on national platforms — of the charges against Huston.Brown said he found 75 to 80 separate news articles regarding the incident by searching under Huston's name and the charges he faces. The media reports turned the encounter into an “alleged abortion issue” and used “inciteful language,” such as “ramming, plowing or running into” the protesters.The application to fill the upcoming vacancy on the Iowa City Council is now available.The Iowa City Council last week voted unanimously to fill the vacancy by appointment instead of holding a special election. The appointee will succeed council member Janice Weiner, who resigned Nov. 9 after being elected a state senator to represent District 45.One year is left on Weiner's four-year, at-large council term, which runs through Jan. 2, 2024. Her resignation becomes effective Jan. 1.The deadline to apply is Jan. 3.The council will fill the vacancy at a special meeting at 3 p.m. Jan. 10 at City Hall. During the public meeting, finalists may make an oral presentation about their interest in the job, according to a city news release.If voters want to petition for a special election, the petition must be filed within 14 days after the council decides on appointment or within 14 days after the appointment is made. A petition requesting a special election must have signatures from at least 743 eligible Iowa City voters.
This is John McGlothlen with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, November 21st.According to the National Weather Service, it will be sunny today in the Cedar Rapids area, with a high near 37. Winds from the southwest 5 to 10 mph coming from the northwest in the afternoon. Then tonight, partly cloudy, with a low around 19. The Jones County Sheriff's Office has released the name of a girl killed in a house fire in Onslow Friday. 10-year-old Geniyah Morgan was found by firefighters in an upstairs bedroom on Summit Street. Fire crews had made multiple attempts to reach her but were unsuccessful due to the intensity of the fire and heat on both floors of the residence. Her body was taken to the Iowa State Medical Examiner's Office in Ankeny, pending an autopsy. Geniyah was a fifth-grade student in the Midland School District. Her mother and four children, ages 1 to 8, were able to escape through a bedroom window on the main floor of the home. All were taken to the Jones Regional Medical Center in Anamosa with smoke and heat-related injuries. A one-year-old girl was then taken by ambulance to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, and released Friday night. A preliminary investigation by the State Fire Marshal's Office and Jones County Sheriff's Office determined the fire to be accidental, starting in the kitchen. Geniyah's death was the seventh Iowa house fire fatality this past week.Caitlin Clark scored a season-high 33 points and Iowa pulled away late to defeat Belmont 73-62 on Sunday. Besides Clark, no other Iowa player scored in double figures. Clark was listed as day-to-day after suffering an ankle injury on the final play of Thursday's 84-83 loss at Kansas State. But she played almost 31 minutes Sunday.–
Welcome to the weekend!This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Saturday, November 19 and Sunday, November 20.This may be the first forecast in awhile where they've brought out the word blustery. According to the National Weather Service, there will be a slight chance for flurries Saturday morning, but besides that it will be sunny most of the day. But it will also be cold, with a high of 22 degrees dropping down to a windchill of 0 degrees with blustery 15 to 25 winds. On Saturday night it will be mostly clear, with the winds calming a bit, and a low of 10 degrees. On Sunday the temperatures will get up to 35 degrees, again with sunny skies, and again with wind that will probably make it feel a lot colder. On Sunday night it will be mostly clear, with a low of around 26 degrees.Iowa will still have one statewide Democrat in office after Republican state auditor candidate Todd Halbur conceded the race Friday to Democratic incumbent Auditor Rob Sand.Halbur said he was dropping his request for a recount because he did not have sufficient resources to file the requests in all 99 counties, and he claimed the Republican Party of Iowa would not help support a statewide recount.Sand led the race by 2,893 votes out of nearly 1.2 million cast in the election — a margin of just 0.24 percent — according to the latest unofficial results reported by the Iowa Secretary of State's office.Because the victory margin is less than 1 percent, Halbur by state law could request a recount without being required to post a bond, with Iowa counties picking up the cost.Halbur, though, would still have to physically file paperwork with each county auditor in the state within three days after the county canvass and recruit designees in all 99 counties to serve on recount boards.“They have to have the flexibility to do a hand count for days and be flexible for 18 total days to get the recount done,” Halbur said in a statement provided to The Gazette. “My campaign does not have the staff or infrastructure to get that coordinated on a statewide basis in that short amount of time.In less than three days this week, seven people — five of them children — have died in Iowa house fires, a fatality rate not seen in the state in at least 16 years, data shows.Four children died Wednesday in a fire in Mason City. A retired couple died Thursday in a fire in northeast Cedar Rapids. And a fire early Friday in Onslow claimed another child.The Mason City fire was blamed on a faulty power strip. The cause of the Cedar Rapids and Onslow fires remained under investigation, though officials believe the Onslow fire started in the kitchen.Structure fires do tend to pick up this time of year, said Ron Humphrey, the special agent in charge for the Iowa Fire Marshal's Office, because as the temperature drops, people start using different kinds of heat-generating appliances that can sometimes become fire hazards — like space heaters, furnaces and fireplaces.“I can't say that that's any of the causes for these recent fires, but fires in general this time of year, we seem to get more because … people are starting to turn on their furnaces,” Humphrey said.Data compiled by the State Fire Marshal's Office dating to 2006 shows there has never been such a high fire fatality rate in such a short period of time in those 16 years. In December 2017 — four days before Christmas — two fires on the same day claimed six people, including a family of five in...
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Friday, November 18.The snow will give us a break on Friday, but chilly weather will take its place. According to the National Weather Service it will be cloudy with a high near 22 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area on Friday. A west wind of 15 mph could gust as high as 25 mph. On Friday night it will be partly cloudy, with a low of around 14 degrees. The wind will lessen Friday night, but only a little bit.A Linn County jury on Thursday convicted Dimione Walker of first-degree murder in the April 10 fatal shooting of Michael Valentine inside the Taboo Nightclub & Lounge in downtown Cedar Rapids.Walker, who claimed self-defense, briefly looked down as the verdict was read but then started smiling and almost laughing. After the jury left the courtroom, he continued to laugh. He winked at someone in the gallery as he was being taken from the courtroom in handcuffs.Walker faces a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole. His sentencing is set for Dec. 16.Jurors found Walker, 29, of Coralville, guilty of first-degree murder, going armed with intent and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The verdict was returned in less than 90 minutes, which is the shortest deliberation in recent years for a Linn County murder.Crews pulled a retired couple from the basement onto the lawn after responding to a house fire in northeast Cedar Rapids. The couple was declared dead at the scene, according to authorities and family members.Charles Osterkamp, 72, and Sheri Osterkamp, 70, were the only occupants of the home.Their son, Mark Osterkamp, said his parents had been retired for a few years. Charles Osterkamp worked at the former Midland Forge plant as a laborer. Sheri Osterkamp had been a stay-at-home mom.Firefighters were called at 12:08 p.m. to the 3800 block of Pine Tree Dr. NE after a 911 caller reported seeing smoke. When firefighters arrived, witnesses told them there were people inside the one-story structure, according to a city news release.Crews found two people in the lower level and brought them outside, where they were declared dead.A Marion man convicted in the 2018 murder of Chris Bagley pleaded guilty Thursday to charges he assaulted a drug informant in jail to prevent him from testifying against a drug dealer.Johnny Blahnik Church, 35, formerly known as Drew Blahnik, pleaded guilty to tampering with a witness and willful injury causing serious injury. The plea was an Alford plea, meaning that Blahnik Church still holds he is innocent of the charges, but admits that the prosecution has enough evidence to convict him in a trial.According to a criminal complaint, 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 injuries included a broken nose, two broken orbital bones, a torn retina, chipped teeth and a broken knee, the complaint states.Palmer was set to testify at the federal trial of Justin Michael Buehler, who was charged and later convicted of two counts of distributing methamphetamine. Palmer still testified in the trial, which started 12 days after the assault. Palmer had been in...
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, November 17.Another day of predicted snowfall, although there again shouldn't be that much of it. According to the National Weather Service on Thursday there will be a chance of snow primarily between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. in the Cedar Rapids area. It will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 29. Thursday night will remain mostly cloudy, with a low of around 17 degrees. A wind of 10 to 15 mph will gust as high as 25 mph. After shedding students annually for more than a decade — a post-Great Recession trend aggravated by the pandemic — Iowa's 15 community colleges this fall recorded their first collective enrollment uptick since 2010: a half percentage point bump, pushing the student tally to 82,251.Individually, a new Iowa community college enrollment report this week shows a more nuanced divide — with seven colleges reporting an increase and eight reporting the opposite.Cedar Rapids' Kirkwood Community College is among those with fewer students this fall — after restoring some of its massive 2020 COVID-19 losses last year. At 12,414 students, Kirkwood is sitting 1.5 percent below last fall's 12,607.Those that made gains this fall include the state's largest — Des Moines Area Community College — reporting a 5.4 percent increase to 21,637, which widened its enrollment gap with Kirkwood, the state's second largest college.Some of that shift involves escalating joint enrollment among students pursuing high school and college credit simultaneously. This fall, 37,123 Iowa high school students participated in at least one joint-enrollment program — up 4.2 percent.It's looking like Marion may extend its bus route to and from Cedar Rapids while adding micro transit vans inside the city.Staff from Marion, Cedar Rapids and Horizons presented three transit options to the Marion City Council during its work session Tuesday night.Marion city staffers are recommending the option that would extend the bus route along First/Seventh Avenue through Uptown Marion and loop back with a 15-minute frequency through Uptown. The preferred option also would add three micro transit buses. And the current transfer stop at Twixt Town Road would end and Marion passengers wanting to go into Cedar Rapids would simply stay on the bus. Marion has set aside $225,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act dollars to buy three, 16-passenger buses for the micro-transit piece. The micro-transit buses also could pick up passengers anywhere in Marion and drop them off anywhere within Marion.
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Tuesday, November 16.There is a chance for snow again on Wednesday, although it appears as if accumulation will not be significant. According to the National Weather Service there will be a 50 percent chance of snow Wednesday, mainly in the morning, with a half inch of accumulation possible. It will be cloudy with a high near 35 degrees. On Wednesday night it will be mostly cloudy, with a low near 22 degrees. Former President Donald Trump said Tuesday night that he will mount a third White House campaign, launching an early start to the 2024 contest."I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States," Trump said to an audience of several hundred supporters, club members and gathered journalists in a chandeliered ballroom at his Mar-a-Lago club, where he stood flanked by more than 30 American flags and banners that read, "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"Trump's decision paves the way for a potential rematch with Biden, who has said he intends to run for re-election despite concerns from some in his party over his age and low approval ratings. The two men were already the oldest presidential nominees ever when they ran in 2020. Trump, who is 76, would be 82 at the end of a second term in 2029. Biden, who is about to turn 80, would be 86.The former president's decision to run again comes amidst an investigation by congress into his potential role in the January 6 riot in the nation's Capitol, as well as several other lawsuits. But his legal problems are not the primary reason he is not as strong politically as he once was, as national Republicans have been openly critical of the role Trump backed candidates played in underwhelming midterm election results.Wilson Middle School, just under a century old, may be demolished under a proposed plan for Cedar Rapids middle and high schools.The plan hinges on voters approving a $312 million general obligation bond in a referendum. The school board is expected to approve a timeline for the plan next month, including taking a bond referendum to district voters in September.One of the main goals of the plan is to reduce the number of middle schools in the district to provide more equitable services to all students, director of operations Jon Galbraith said in a Cedar Rapids school board meeting Monday. This would create a feeder system from middle school to high school and it would reduce operational and maintenance costs for the district, he said.The district has about 3,300 middle school students with the capacity for 4,200, Galbraith said. In the last six years, the district has lost about 1,400 K-12 students, he said.Under the plan, a new middle school is proposed to be built on the north side of Cedar Rapids with capacity for 1,200 students — an increase from the 500 to 800 students now at each middle school.The original proposal for Wilson Middle School was to renovate and build an addition for the school to have a capacity of up to 600 students. Galbraith said feedback on the plan was that it's inequitable since Washington High School — which Wilson feeds in to — is the only high school in the district that wouldn't have a new middle school.
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Tuesday, November 15.First came the cold temperatures, now comes the snow. According to the National Weather Service, snow will likely start after 4 a.m. Tuesday morning in the Cedar Rapids area and continue throughout the day. 1 to 2 inches of snow accumulation is possible. The high will be near 36 degrees, with a low around 27 degrees.Monday was the first day of testimony and opening statements in the first-degree murder trial of Dimione Walker, 29, of Coralville, following about three days of jury selection last week. Walker is claiming self-defense in the fatal shooting of Michael Valentine, 25, of Cedar Rapids in the Taboo Nighclub & Lounge on April 10.Police testified after opening statements, and a video of the shooting was shown as part of day one testimony.The prosecution opened their arguments referencing the clips of security footage that they argued will show Walker keyed in on Valentine and opened fire – with Valentine, unarmed, attempting to block his face with his hands. They said Walker fired eight rounds, striking Valentine five times, before he fell to the floor. Sarah Hradek, Walker's lawyer, admitted that this “isn't a whodunit.” She said Walker shot Valentine but it was self-defense. She agreed with the prosecution that the jurors would see a video that shows Walker shooting Valentine, but she asked the jurors to keep in mind why this happened because the video wouldn't reveal that.The defense said they will show evidence that Valentine shot Walker in 2016, where Walker and another person were treated for injuries at a hospitalThere were 10 others also injured during the club shooting. Another man, Timothy Rush, 32, of Cedar Rapids, is charged with killing Nicole Owens, 35, and Marvin L. Cox, 31, the same night. Rush's trial is set for March 28.The state is accusing jurors of leveling “excessive” damages and being “influenced by passion or prejudice” in awarding $12.8 million last month to a Cedar Rapids contractor who helped build the 14-story Stead Family Children's Hospital.The Iowa Attorney General Office — representing the University of Iowa and the state Board of Regents — in court documents gives three reasons a Johnson County District Court judge should grant a new trial and a second chance to defend against allegations from contractor Modern Piping:They argued that the award was excessive, and appears to have been influenced by passion or prejudice; that the damages were not supported by sufficient evidence and were contrary to law; and that the university and regents were harmed by legal errors in jury instructions. The state, in its motion for a new trial, offered an alternative remedy for what it characterized as an unjust award — either vacating the award altogether or reducing it to $2.5 million.The court documents are the latest in the legal drama surrounding the Children's Hospital project, the price of which has ballooned to over $400 million due to poor management, bad luck, and legal rewards.The counting of Iowans' votes continues a week after the Nov. 8 election as state and local officials this week will conduct...
This is John McGlothlen with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, November 14th.According to the National Weather Service, it will be cloudy today in the Cedar Rapids area, with a high near 39. Winds from the southeast 5 to 10 mph. Tonight snow is likely, mainly after 4 a.m. and a low around 30. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch is possible.For the first time since the pandemic upended daily life across the globe and halted travel, the city of Cedar Rapids is once again doling out grants to local arts and cultural nonprofits funded through the tax it takes in from overnight hotel guests. The Cedar Rapids City Council last week awarded $525,000 in hotel-motel tax revenue for fiscal 2023 — the budget year spanning July 1 through June 30, 2023 — to 17 nonprofit organizations that fuel the city's economy by offering arts, entertainment and recreational attractions that draw thousands of residents and visitors to town. Although payments are restarting, the award is less than half the amount the city typically distributes.The oldest bridge in Linn County will be lifted up by cranes and put on a truck to haul it about a mile away to the Indian Creek Nature Center, where it will become a pedestrian bridge. The Bertram Bridge, also known as the Blue Bridge on Bertram Road near the nature Center, was built in 1876. The steel truss bridge's design was brand-new for the time, and over the next 146 years no major alterations have been made. Its timber deck surface has been replaced several times over the decades and, in 1991, it received a royal blue color treatment, earning its nickname. Throughout its life so far, it served vehicle traffic and survived multiple flooding events, most notably in 1993 and 2008. The Blue Bridge will arrive to its new location during the Indian Creek Nature Center's 50th anniversary next year. The bridge replacement project will cost $2,425,608.45 and the truss relocation will cost $184,373.00. The projects are both funded with local-option sales tax money. The new bridge will be a concrete, two-way bridge. The project is expected to be complete by August 2023.–
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Saturday, November 12, and Sunday, November 13.It sadly was not a bad dream, it really is this cold still. According to the National Weather Service there will be a small chance of freezing drizzle before 4pm on Saturday in the Cedar Rapids area, and a chance for snow flurries from 4 to 5 p.m. Otherwise it will be cloudy, with a high near 34 degrees. On Sunday it will be mostly sunny, with a high near 36 degrees and a low temperature of 24 degrees. The wind will finally calm on Sunday, breaking a string of windy days.According to the Iowa Capitol Dispatch, widespread rainfall last week in the southeastern half of the state significantly reduced drought conditions, as indicated by the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report.Most of that area had at least 2 inches of rain — with a maximum of 4.3 inches — and drought conditions were erased in about 16 percent of the state.The rainfall reversed about a month's worth of worsening dryness that had pushed the state's overall drought to its worst in nine years.But that rainfall missed portions of northwest Iowa that are among the driest, and areas of severe and extreme drought — the two worst drought designations — slightly expanded.Nearly two-thirds of Iowa still is suffering from some degree of drought, which the Drought Monitor ranks using four categories: moderate, severe, extreme and exceptional. About 11 percent of the state has extreme drought or worse, in an area that centers on Sioux City at the western border and extends east to Humboldt.According to the Associated Press, A U.S. judge in Texas has blocked President Joe Biden's plan to provide millions of borrowers with up to $20,000 apiece in federal student-loan forgiveness — a program that was already on hold as a federal appeals court considers a separate lawsuit by six states, including Iowa, challenging it.District Court Judge Mark Pittman, an appointee of former President Donald Trump based in Fort Worth, said Thursday the program usurped Congress' power to make laws.The debt forgiveness plan would cancel $10,000 in student loan debt for those making less than $125,000 or households with less than $250,000 in income. Pell Grant recipients, who typically demonstrate more financial need, would get an additional $10,000 in debt forgiven.According to the White House, over 400,000 Iowa borrowers would see some student loan debt forgiven under the program. Of those, nearly 250,000 are Pell Grant recipients.The oldest bridge in Linn County will be lifted up by cranes and put on a truck to haul it about a mile away to the Indian Creek Nature Center, where it will become a pedestrian bridge.The Bertram Bridge, also known as the Blue Bridge on Bertram Road near the nature center, was built in 1876. The steel truss bridge's design was brand-new for the time, and over the next 146 years no major alterations have been made to it. Its timber deck surface has been replaced several times over the decades and, in 1991, it received a royal blue color treatment, earning its nickname.Throughout its life so far, it served vehicle traffic and survived multiple flooding events, most notably in 1993 and 2008“The bridge is old — very old,” Linn County Assistant Engineer Garret Reddish said. “Fire trucks, semis, snow plows really can't go over it. And we have records from the 1970s talking about replacing it, so this is a project around 50 years in the works.”The bridge will be replaced on the roadway by a normal concrete bridge.Reddish said the Blue Bridge will remain open throughout the winter and into the spring. The plan is for it to be moved
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Veterans Day, Friday, November 11.Temperatures fell off the side of a cliff last night and kept falling until they hit freezing. According to the National Weather Service it will be sunny with a high near 35 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area on Friday. On Friday night it will be mostly cloudy, with a low of around 25 degrees. It will be windy, so definitely wear that coat you were already thinking of wearing. Winds of 10 to 15 mph could gust more than 20 mph.For the second time this election week, state elections officials spent Thursday dealing with an error in Linn County as the statewide counting of Iowans' votes from Tuesday's election continues with another recount ordered.In addition to a recalculation of Linn County's vote totals due to an error in the reporting of its early vote counts, partial recounts also were conducted Thursday in Warren and Des Moines counties. The partial recounts were ordered by Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate after irregularities were discovered Tuesday night. In addition, on Thursday afternoon, Pate ordered an administrative recount of absentee ballots in Scott County. All election results in Iowa are considered unofficial until they are reviewed and certified by the state's canvassing board.Unofficial results in Linn County came Thursday only after a recalculation of the county's vote totals due to a second error made by the county auditor's office.According to the Secretary of State's office, Linn County reported 600 more absentee ballots than the office had actually received at the time the polls closed. The discrepancy was discovered by the Secretary of State's office, which then alerted the Linn County Auditor's Office.According to the Linn County Auditor's Office, a computer froze while the county's absentee ballot counts were being uploaded. The process was completed on a backup computer, but officials believe 600 ballots were inadvertently reported twice — once during the original attempt and again during the backup attempt.The Linn County Auditor's Office resolved the tabulation of the county's votes, and the posted results were corrected, the Secretary of State's office said. The Secretary of State's office took the opportunity to chide the county again for not following procedures it had laid out.A 16-year-old faces charges related to a shooting near Mount Mercy University and Regis Middle School last week that injured a Mount Mercy student and caused several schools to lock down.Natorian Nicholas Smith, of Cedar Rapids, faces several charges in connection to the shooting. The charges against Smith were filed Thursday, though he was already being held at the Linn County Juvenile Detention Center because of a probation violation related to the shooting, according to a Cedar Rapids police news release.Smith was reportedly involved in an exchange of gunfire just before 4 p.m. Nov. 3 near the intersection of K Avenue and Elmhurst Drive NE, police said.A Mount Mercy cross-country runner was on his way to practice and got caught in the crossfire. He was shot in his right forearm, a non-life threatening injury, according to the criminal complaint.Police collected video surveillance that showed an exchange of gunfire between three people in a silver Chevy Cruze and two people on foot. Investigators found more than 20 shell casings in the area and found a car, a house and a garage had each been struck by bullets, the news release said.A police K-9 led officers to 1300 Oakland Rd., a few blocks from the shooting, where they made contact with Smith. A search warrant...
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, November 10.There will be one more day in the 70s Thursday, but it won't be the sunny and calm day Wednesday was. According to the National Weather Service there will be a chance for showers and thunderstorms Thursday in the Cedar Rapids area beginning at 11 a.m. and increasing as the day goes on, with the highest likelihood for rain coming around 4 pm. The temperature will peak at 72 degrees around 11 a.m., but will drop to 61 degrees later on, foreshadowing the 40 degree drop we will see by Friday. It will be windy all day, with 15 mph winds gusting as high as 30 mph.In what could be the first test of a state law that holds county auditors criminally liable for election malfeasance, the Iowa Secretary of State's Office said it is investigating the Linn County Auditor's Office over a ballot error in a Linn County precinct.The error came to light the same day that Democratic Linn County Auditor Joel Miller tried — unsuccessfully — to unseat Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate in Tuesday's election.The Linn County Supervisor District 1 race was missing from one of the “ballot styles” in the Putnam Township area, but it was on other ballots in Ely, which is in the area, and elsewhere in the district. Miller acknowledged the error during a news conference and said no other races on the ballot were affected.Secretary of State Office Communications Director Kevin Hall said Wednesday that the error could be “an apparent technical violation of Iowa's election laws.”“If it is determined the apparent violation constitutes or may constitute election misconduct, we will refer the matter to the Attorney General and Linn County Attorney as required by Iowa law,” Hall said.Under a law passed by the Iowa Legislature last year, county auditors can face felony charges for failing to follow guidance from the secretary of state. An auditor may face a fine of up to $10,000 for a technical infraction of state election law or failure to follow guidance from the secretary of state.Adding to the hundreds of millions in new construction, renovations and expansions already planned or underway across its Johnson County campuses, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics this week wants state Board of Regents approval to spend another $16 million upgrading its main Iowa City location.One $8 million project going before the board Wednesday would, if approved, allow the main campus to convert the second level of its south wing into 13 inpatient rooms — addressing a key capacity concern at the UIHC, which regularly sits above 90 percent occupancy of its 658 adult inpatient beds.Although a 10-year UI master facilities plan the board OK'd in January didn't specifically mention the $8 million south wing conversion, this week's UIHC request for board approval notes the master plan “included this project.”The UIHC plans to use patient-generated revenue to pay for the south wing conversion, aimed at taking from spring 2023 to spring 2024 to construct.The projects come as the UIHC continues to face capacity issues, which it hopes to address in part with a new $525.6 million hospital campus in North Liberty currently under construction.
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Wednesday, November 9.The weather on Wednesday will be warmer. According to the National Weather Service it will be partly sunny in the Cedar Rapids area, with a high near 72 degrees. On Wednesday night it will be partly cloudy, with a low of around 64 degrees. It will be windy, with a wind of 10 to 15 mph gusting as high as 20 mph during the day, and the wind intensity increasing Wednesday evening.Election night in Iowa went decidedly in favor of Republicans, further increasing their control over politics in the state. There are full results at thegazette.com, but if you want a summary, Republicans won nearly every available position, except for some county level positions in urban counties.By a large margin, incumbent Governor Kim Reynolds was chosen by Iowans to serve another four years.Reynolds, the Republican incumbent who has been Iowa's governor since 2017 and the state's first female governor, was reelected Tuesday over Democrat Deidre DeJear.“From the very beginning, this campaign has been about Iowa. It's been about you. Because it's the people of Iowa who make this state what it is: hardworking, innovative, committed to each other,” Reynolds said Tuesday night from Iowa Republicans' campaign headquarters in downtown Des Moines.One big-ticket agenda item Reynolds has not achieved is her proposal to shift $55 million in taxpayer funding from public schools to private school tuition assistance. This will likely be one of the big items on her agenda in 2023. Also likely to be make appearances will be further restrictions on abortions and cuts to taxes.“Our message for you tonight is this: We are not stopping. We are not slowing down. I am so excited to get back to work and to lay out a bold, conservative agenda and to follow through on what we say we are going to do,” she said. “It is going to be an agenda where you keep more of your money, where our schools are thriving and all parents have choice.”Republicans swept most of Iowa's statewide offices Tuesday to add to their full control of the governor's office and Iowa Legislature, unseating the longest-serving state attorney general and state treasurer in U.S. history.That's according to unofficial election results from 97 of 99 Iowa counties. The only possible exception was the race for State Auditor, where Democratic incumbent Rob Sand was narrowly leading Wednesday morning — but with recounts ordered for all races in Warren and Des Moines counties.Republicans defending their seats for the U.S. House and Senate also won reelection Tuesday. Chuck Grassley will be 95 by the time he would hypothetically have to run for re-election again. Cindy Axne, the sole Democrat in the U.S. Congressional Delegation, appears to be losing her seat by a margin of 2,000 votes, but the race remains too close to call.Voters approved a ballot measure Tuesday further bolstering gun rights in the state, enshrining into the state constitution language that would declare Iowans' right to gun ownership in strong legal terms.With most Iowa precinct reporting late Tuesday, the measure was passing by nearly 66 percent approval with over 700,000 Iowans voting in favor. Iowa voters were asked to add language to the Iowa Constitution that states it is a “fundamental individual right” to keep and bear arms, and that any restraint on that right is invalid unless it meets the stringent demands of “strict scrutiny” in court.The language sets a high legal bar and goes beyond protections contained in the Second Amendment by dictating the level of judicial review Iowa courts must apply when considering whether gun restrictions in the state are permissible. In layman's terms, gun control legislation is now very difficult to pass in...
Happy Election DayThis is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Tuesday, November 8.Your Election Day weather will be sunny and breezy. According to the National Weather Service it will be sunny with a high near 57 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area on Tuesday. On Tuesday night it will be mostly cloudy, with a low of around 50 degrees. A wind of 10 to 15 mph could gust as high as 20 mph.Polls are open 7:00 am – 8:00 pm in Iowa on Tuesday so remember to vote if you have not already. Then check back into thegazette.com later on for election results and coverage.Four years after taking over the sprawling Kirkwood Community College system in 2018 as its fifth president --- and its first female top leader — Lori Sundberg, 64, announced plans Monday to retire next fall.The Cedar Rapids-based Kirkwood board of trustees will launch a nationwide search for her successor “in the coming months,” according to an announcement of Sundberg's departure. The goal, Sundberg told The Gazette, is to name a new president by summer.Sundberg plans to stay on through Kirkwood's next Higher Learning Commission accreditation visit in October 2023, giving her time to help onboard a new president and avoid an interim leader.A University of Iowa inspection of the sixth-floor Mayflower Residence Hall window a freshman fell from early last Thursday has confirmed “no problems with the window and that it operates normally,” officials told The Gazette.The first-year male student who fell, according to initial reports, was playing catch with other students in a residence hall room just before 4:30 a.m. Thursday when he “leaned back and fell through the screen of an open window.”He landed on the north roof of Mayflower Residence Hall — meaning he fell about five stories, according to UI officials. The student was able to speak with first responders, who took him to the UI Hospitals and Clinics for treatment. The university hasn't publicly shared more details on his condition.A preliminary assessment found no foul play, but the incident does remain under investigation.Two separate groups of co-workers from Hiawatha businesses split $50,000 lottery winnings late last week.The Iowa Lottery announced that a group of 21 co-workers from the Hiawatha engineering firm Hall & Hall Engineers Inc. split $50,000 from Wednesday's Powerball drawing. The group's ticket was just one number from winning the $1.2 billion jackpot.A separate group of 10 co-workers from the Hiawatha manufacturer RUD Chain also split $50,000 from Wednesday's Powerball drawing, according to the Iowa lottery.With no jackpot winners, the Powerball has climbed to $1.9 billion.all has climbed to $1.9 billion.