The Gazette Daily News Podcast

The Gazette

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?"

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Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 13 and August 14
Today
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 13 and August 14
Welcome to the weekend. This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Saturday, August 13th, and Sunday, August 14th. We will return to above 90 degrees for a day with Saturday’s weather. According to the National Weather Service there will be a high near 91 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area. There will also be a 20 percent chance for rain between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Besides that it should be partly sunny for much of the day. Saturday night there should be increasing clouds, with a low around 66 degrees. On Sunday the cool weather will return, which will set the trend for much of the week to come. The high is predicted to be near 82 degrees during the day with partly sunny skies. On Sunday night it should be mostly cloudy, with a low of around 61 degrees. The Cedar Rapids school district paid a ransom in hopes of keeping personal data compromised in a cyberattack last month from being released, the school superintendent has told parents. “As part of the process to resolve this matter, CRCSD made payment to a third-party entity to ensure critical information that may have been accessed was not released,” Superintendent Noreen Bush wrote Friday in a letter to parents. “We made this decision after consulting closely with cyber security experts and legal counsel and determining it was in the best interest of our school community.” Her letter did not disclose the amount of ransom that was paid, nor provide the name of the group that launched the attack. Both Cedar Rapids and Linn-Mar school districts experienced disruptions in their computer systems within a month of each other starting in July, shutting down some operations for days as the start of the new academic year approaches Aug. 23. The City of Cedar Rapids late Thursday night dropped the requirement that staff and visitors wear masks inside city buildings and vehicles to curb the spread of COVID-19. An email from City Manager Jeff Pomeranz to staff noted the mask mandate would be lifted, effective immediately, because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had updated its COVID-19 community transmission levels to “medium” for Linn County. Cedar Rapids’ mask requirement for city buildings took effect in mid-July as COVID-19 cases were on the rise again, fueled by new omicron subvariant, BA.5, the dominant variant within the United States that is highly contagious, even among those who are vaccinated or have previously been infected. At the time, Linn County was at a “high“ community transmission level, when the CDC recommends wearing masks indoors. . A warehouse once owned by ACT will become Iowa’s newest medical marijuana manufacturing facility, with its products expected to reach the market in early 2023. The Iowa Cannabis Company expects to spend $10 million to adapt the 120,000-square-foot space at 2727 Scott Blvd. to grow marijuana plants and produce products for Iowa’s medical marijuana program. “As we approached our build out, we recognized we needed to relocate our facility to a much larger space to meet the economies of scale,” Iowa Cannabis Company Owner Aaron Boshart on Friday told the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Board. The number of patients certified to buy medical marijuana products in Iowa has (gone up more than 70 percent) in the last year, from 6,831 in August 2021 to 11,676 in July. A big part of that increase is the rise of online medical providers who will certify a (qualifying medical condition) needed to get in the program. Have a good weekend everyone.
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 13 and August 14
Today
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 13 and August 14
Welcome to the weekend. This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Saturday, August 13th, and Sunday, August 14th. We will return to above 90 degrees for a day with Saturday’s weather. According to the National Weather Service there will be a high near 91 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area. There will also be a 20 percent chance for rain between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Besides that it should be partly sunny for much of the day. Saturday night there should be increasing clouds, with a low around 66 degrees. On Sunday the cool weather will return, which will set the trend for much of the week to come. The high is predicted to be near 82 degrees during the day with partly sunny skies. On Sunday night it should be mostly cloudy, with a low of around 61 degrees. The Cedar Rapids school district paid a ransom in hopes of keeping personal data compromised in a cyberattack last month from being released, the school superintendent has told parents. “As part of the process to resolve this matter, CRCSD made payment to a third-party entity to ensure critical information that may have been accessed was not released,” Superintendent Noreen Bush wrote Friday in a letter to parents. “We made this decision after consulting closely with cyber security experts and legal counsel and determining it was in the best interest of our school community.” Her letter did not disclose the amount of ransom that was paid, nor provide the name of the group that launched the attack. Both Cedar Rapids and Linn-Mar school districts experienced disruptions in their computer systems within a month of each other starting in July, shutting down some operations for days as the start of the new academic year approaches Aug. 23. The City of Cedar Rapids late Thursday night dropped the requirement that staff and visitors wear masks inside city buildings and vehicles to curb the spread of COVID-19. An email from City Manager Jeff Pomeranz to staff noted the mask mandate would be lifted, effective immediately, because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had updated its COVID-19 community transmission levels to “medium” for Linn County. Cedar Rapids’ mask requirement for city buildings took effect in mid-July as COVID-19 cases were on the rise again, fueled by new omicron subvariant, BA.5, the dominant variant within the United States that is highly contagious, even among those who are vaccinated or have previously been infected. At the time, Linn County was at a “high“ community transmission level, when the CDC recommends wearing masks indoors. . A warehouse once owned by ACT will become Iowa’s newest medical marijuana manufacturing facility, with its products expected to reach the market in early 2023. The Iowa Cannabis Company expects to spend $10 million to adapt the 120,000-square-foot space at 2727 Scott Blvd. to grow marijuana plants and produce products for Iowa’s medical marijuana program. “As we approached our build out, we recognized we needed to relocate our facility to a much larger space to meet the economies of scale,” Iowa Cannabis Company Owner Aaron Boshart on Friday told the Iowa Medical Cannabidiol Board. The number of patients certified to buy medical marijuana products in Iowa has (gone up more than 70 percent) in the last year, from 6,831 in August 2021 to 11,676 in July. A big part of that increase is the rise of online medical providers who will certify a (qualifying medical condition) needed to get in the program. Have a good weekend everyone.
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 12
Yesterday
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 12
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Friday, August 12. It appears all of the rain chances for Thursday got shifted back to Friday morning. According to the National Weather Service showers and thunderstorms will be likely in the Cedar Rapids area, mainly before noon. It will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 75 degrees. The overall chance for rainfall is listed at 60 percent. Friday night it will be partly cloudy, with a low of around 67 degrees.  There was some great news for a local arts organization. The IRS has notified iconic Cedar Rapids arts organization CSPS that it has reinstated the group’s tax-exempt status, opening access to more funding sources as the nonprofit grapples with charting a long-term path toward sustainability. “This is wonderful news for this important community arts organization as we enter a full season of programs to inform, entertain and transform,” CSPS board President Monica Vernon said in a statement. CSPS previously was notified in July 2021 that its 501(c)(3) status, which allows the group to receive charitable contributions and access to certain grant funds, was ( automatically revoked) for failing to file tax returns for three consecutive years from 2018 through 2020. The failure to file those tax returns happened under previous CSPS staff and board members, after leadership changes and COVID-19 disruptions already had dealt the group a blow it worked to pay off more than $100,000 in debt. Abortion would be illegal in Iowa after six weeks of pregnancy — often before the woman knows she is pregnant — if Gov. Kim Reynolds’ request to the Iowa courts is granted. Reynolds filed a motion Thursday asking a state court to lift an injunction on legislation passed in 2018 that would have banned abortions in Iowa at six weeks. That bill, passed by the Republican-led Iowa Legislature and signed into law by Reynolds, was halted at the time by a district judge who cited a previous Iowa Supreme Court ruling that negated a 24-hour waiting period for an abortion. But since the (U.S. Supreme Court) and (Iowa Supreme Court) earlier this year issued rulings that effectively repealed a pregnant person’s right to abortion access, Reynolds is asking the state courts to now lift the injunction on the six-week ban. Currently, abortion is legal in Iowa through 20 weeks of pregnancy. The Iowa Capitol Dispatch reports that drought conditions may be imminent for swaths of Iowa during an important period for corn growth. Drought conditions are likely to develop over the southern half of Iowa in August as the month starts with a string of abnormally hot days with little chance for rain, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The portion of the state that is abnormally dry or in varying degrees of drought expanded last week to more than half of the state. It’s the first time the dry area has been that large since April, when persistent rains delayed corn planting. The latest Drought Monitor report released last week showed an expansion of severe and extreme drought in northwest Iowa and the extension of abnormally dry conditions across much of southern Iowa.
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 11
2d ago
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 11
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Thursday, August 11. It'll be another sunny day Thursday, with some random rain chances to mix things up. According to the National Weather Service, there could be isolated showers and thunderstorms in the Cedar Rapids area over the lunch hour, then again at night. Otherwise it will be partly sunny, with a high near 81 degrees. The low Thursday night will be around 60 degrees. Just over a week before classes are scheduled to resume Aug. 22 for the fall semester, Kirkwood’s Board of Trustees will consider Thursday approving an operating budget for the upcoming year that includes the in-state increase of $14 per semester credit hour — from $186 to $200. The estimated cost of a full course load of 15 credit hours for an academic year is $6,000 for in-state students and $8,040 for out-of-state students. In-state students at Kirkwood paid $4,860 for a full course load five years ago. Kirkwood’s rate hike is the steepest among Iowa’s 15 community colleges.  “The substantial increase is due to the high inflationary period that we are in,” Kirkwood Chief Financial Officer Jim Choate told The Gazette. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Iowa increased for the second week in a row, while the number of new virus cases continued to decrease. In the past week, 323 patients were hospitalized with COVID-19, up from 309 patients the week before. In the past week, 5,660 new COVID-19 cases were reported, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. Last week, that number was 5,768. Students returning to school is traditionally a point at which case numbers start to climb again, the numbers could change quite a bit in the coming weeks. A “massive new family entertainment center” including an IMAX theater is coming to fast-growing Tiffin. Des Moines-based Fridley Theatres this week announced its newest project — The Palms Theatres, IMAX and Family Entertainment Center. It will be part of the Park Place development just off Interstate 380. In addition to the theater and large IMAX screen, the Tiffin complex will feature arcade games, bowling, a restaurant and bar. The IMAX screen will be 70 feet tall and 90 feet wide, (according to a video posted on Facebook) by Fridley Theatres. The city of Tiffin (anticipates a significant amount of growth) at Park Place. The 265-acre development is being planned by Ders Group of North Liberty. It will include entertainment, restaurants and shopping, as well as apartment and lots for houses.
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 10
3d ago
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 10
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Wednesday, August 10. This week’s theme of fog in the morning leading to a pleasant, sunny day will continue on Wednesday. According to the National Weather Service there will be a possibility for patchy fog in the Cedar Rapids from 5 a.m. until 8 a.m. After that it will be sunny, with a high near 86 degrees. Wednesday night will be mostly clear, with a low of around 64 degrees. The wind will again remain calm for much of the day. A Cedar Rapids man was charged Tuesday with assaulting protesters as he drove his vehicle “aggressively” toward the group who were on foot crossing the street near the federal courthouse on June 24. The protesters had been protesting the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade striking down federal abortion protections. David Alan Huston, 53, was charged with assault by use or display of a dangerous weapon — vehicle, an aggravated misdemeanor; and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. If convicted, he faces up to two years in jail. Huston will be prosecuted by the Black Hawk County Attorney’s Office following an investigation by the Cedar Rapids Police Department. (Black Hawk County Attorney Brian Williams said last month) he was reviewing the case because at least one member of the Linn County Attorney’s Office was present during the incident and could be a witness. Iowa Republicans jumped to former President Donald Trump’s defense after the FBI’s search for documents as part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to his Florida estate. Some quickly denounced the Monday search by the FBI of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, where agents executed a search warrant for classified documents, (the Associated Press reported). “The Department of Justice must immediately explain their justification for this unprecedented raid,” Marion Republican U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson tweeted Tuesday. (The Miami Herald) reported agents obtained a search warrant from a federal magistrate judge in West Palm Beach to get dozens of boxes allegedly containing classified material that Trump had taken to his home when he left the White House.  A source close to the investigation told the Herald the FBI was able to show probable cause because Trump and his lawyers had already turned over classified documents sought by the National Archives and Records Administration that he was not supposed to have taken, and investigators suspected the former president may have more. Times they are a changing, and college football is no exception. The Big Ten's next round of media rights contracts will not include a deal with ESPN. Two people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the Big Ten was looking for a seven-year deal worth $380 million per year from ESPN, and the network declined. ESPN has held television rights for the Big Ten since the mid-1980s. The network has shared Big Ten rights with Fox in the latest contract. ESPN and ABCs exit from Big Ten broadcasting opens the door for NBC and CBS to negotiate their way as new broadcast partners.
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 9
4d ago
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 9
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Tuesday, August 9. Tuesday will start a bit foggy, but the weather will be swell after that. According to the National Weather Service there will be patchy fog before 8 a.m. in the Cedar Rapids area. Otherwise it will be sunny, with a high near 81 degrees. Tuesday night it will be mostly clear, with a low of around 59 degrees. The wind will remain calm all day. City High School in Iowa City will honor a 17-year employee and “wonderful human being” who (drowned Friday while trying to save a child from the Iowa River) in southern Johnson County. 42-year-old Wegayewu Faris,, had been a custodian at City High since 2005, according to Principal John Bacon. The school will honor him with a plaque highlighting his story. Faris was fishing Friday in the Iowa River at River Junction Access near Lone Tree when an 8-year-old boy, who was not related to Faris but was also fishing with family, went into the river and began struggling. Faris entered the river to try to save the child. With the help of Faris and a nearby kayaker, the boy got safely out of the water, but Faris became submerged. His body was found by law enforcement an hour later. A major part of Coralville’s Fifth Street — an area described as the city’s “civic center” — will be getting a $5 million upgrade starting next year. The portion of Fifth Street to be reconstructed starts at 12th Avenue and goes through the 20th Avenue intersection. The 12th Avenue intersection will not be impacted. The “total reconstruction” includes tearing out the pavement and replacing the sidewalks, as well as new water main and storm sewer. New trees, lighting and landscaping also will be added. Fifth Street will remain two lanes, but an 8-foot shared-use path will be added along the north side of the street out to 20th Avenue. Work is planned to be done in phases starting in the spring and continue over the next couple of years. According to the Associated Press, the FBI searched Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate as part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to his Florida residence, people familiar with the matter said Monday. Even if it doesn’t lead to a trial, a search of a former president’s home is unprecedented. Trump, disclosing the search in a lengthy statement, asserted that agents had opened up a safe at his home and described their work as an “unannounced raid” that he likened to “prosecutorial misconduct.” The search intensifies the months-long probe into how classified documents ended up in more than a dozen boxes located at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year. It occurs amid a separate (grand jury investigation) into Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. It also complicates his potential run for president, which is almost certainly still going to happen.
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 8
5d ago
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 8
This is John McGlothlen with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, August 8th. Today in the Cedar Rapids area, according to the National Weather Service, we’ll have a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 10 a.m. Some of the storms could produce heavy rain. It should be a partly sunny day, with a high near 80. And winds from the north, 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Then tonight, it will be partly cloudy, with a low around 61. Authorities said a Coralville man drowned Friday evening while helping efforts to rescue an 8-year-old child who was struggling in the currents of the Iowa River near Lone Tree. The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office reported a call came in shortly after 6 p.m. about a possible drowning at River Junction Access in southern Johnson County. Authorities said the child entered the river and began to struggle, so the man went in to help save him. But the man submerged, and a passing kayaker and another person tried to find him but could not. The kayaker rescued the child from the water. Bystanders performed CPR and the child was transported to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The body of 42-year-old Wegayewu Faris was found about 7:10 p.m. Authorities said he is not related to the child, but like the child he had come with others to fish at the river. The sheriff’s office said Faris and the bystander were instrumental in saving the child’s life. A woman was seriously injured by multiple gunshots in an alley outside an Iowa City bar early Sunday, according to an Iowa City Police Department news release. At 2:24 a.m., police responded to the H-Bar, at 220 S. Van Buren St., for a report of multiple shots fired and found the woman in the adjacent alley with multiple gunshot wounds. Investigating officers determined multiple people were in the alley when the shots were fired. The woman was treated on scene by emergency medical responders and transported to a hospital for serious injuries. Iowa City police said the suspected shooter was last seen fleeing the area in a vehicle. They are asking the public for assistance by sharing any related information or security camera footage. – 🎹 Podcast music: “World” by Emily McGlothlen
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 6 and August 7
1w ago
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 6 and August 7
Welcome to the weekend! This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Saturday, August 6, and Sunday, August 7. There are two things we can expect for this weekend’s weather: Heat and rain. According to the National Weather Service on Saturday it will be partly sunny with a high near 93 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area. The heat index values will rise up to as high as 101 during the day. On Saturday night it will be mostly cloudy, with a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. There will be a chance for showers pretty much all day on Sunday, with it increasing as the day goes on and heads into Monday morning. It will be mostly cloudy with a high near 91 degrees and a low of 71. Among four proposals Mercy Iowa City entertained last year in its search for a partner was one from University of Iowa Health Care, offering over $605 million to take ownership of the community hospital and make it the “centerpiece” of a new UIHC “community division.” “We believe that UI Health Care is the ideal partner for Mercy Iowa City,” according to the university’s proposal from August of last year, which was obtained by The Gazette. “Our goal is to combine the resources of UI Health Care’s comprehensive, integrated delivery network with the unique local strengths of Mercy Iowa City to expand the scope of care and improve access.” UIHC said it planned to launch a community hospital division — separate from its academic divisions — centered on Mercy Iowa City, which would remain a hub for primary and secondary care in the region with its own local governance and board. Documents obtained by The Gazette show that in addition to UIHC, Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, UnityPoint Health and Marshfield Clinic Health System of Wisconsin offered to take over Mercy Iowa City, which was seeking a partner in the first place due to struggling financially in recent years. Mercy Iowa City officials didn’t answer The Gazette’s questions about why the four partnership proposals didn’t pan out, calling those decisions “proprietary and confidential.” Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union are dropping their legal challenge of Iowa’s 24-hour waiting period on abortions, which the state Supreme Court allowed to go into effect in June, the groups announced Friday. Instead of pursuing the litigation, they will be focusing on the 2018 law struck down by a district court that would ban abortions after six weeks. Gov. Kim Reynolds has indicated her strategy after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade’s federal protections for abortions would be to try to get this law reinstated rather than to try to pass new legislation this year. Abortion still is legal in Iowa up to 20 weeks, but the 24-hour waiting period took effect in July, requiring people to get two separate appointments within 24 hours in order to get an abortion. Utility terrain vehicles (UTVs) are now allowed on Marion streets. The Marion City Council Thursday approved a new ordinance’s final reading to allow the vehicles. The council voted 6-0 with Mayor Nick AbouAssaly absent for the formal meeting, but he again voiced his opposition to the ordinance during the council’s Tuesday night work session. He voted no during the first two readings. UTVs, also called utility task vehicles or side-by-sides, are like all-terrain vehicles in their use for off-road recreation. But UTVs are heavier, can have up to six wheels and haul heavy loads. UTVs will be able to be operated on any city roadway with a speed limit of 35 mph or less, except for 10th Avenue east of 35th Street and East Post Road south of Oak Brook Drive. In addition, use of UTVs would be allowed only from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Operators must be 18 or older with a valid driver’s license.
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 5
Aug 5 2022
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 5
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Friday, August 5. We will get another break from extreme heat Friday before it returns on Saturday. According to the National Weather Service it will be sunny with a high near 88 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area on Friday, with a light wind. On Friday night it will be partly cloudy, with a low of around 71 degrees. An assailant who attacked three members of a Cedar Falls family who were camping last month at Maquoketa Caves State Park shot and stabbed the father, stabbed the mother and shot and strangled their 6-year-old daughter, state autopsy results revealed Thursday. The state medical examiner, who for the first time disclosed that family members had been stabbed or strangled, ruled the deaths were homicides. The Iowa Department of Public Safety also confirmed their attacker was Anthony Sherwin, 23, of LaVista, Neb., who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after the family was attacked early July 22 in their tent. Sherwin was at the park camping with his parents at the time. Killed were Tyler Schmidt and Sarah Schmidt, both 42, and their daughter, Lula. Their son, Arlo, 9, survived the attack without physical injury but investigators have not said where in the park he was when the attack inside the tent occurred. Investigators indicated that there are indications for what the motive for the attack was, but they did not disclose them on Thursday. One of Iowa City’s two female firefighters is suing the city for gender and sexual orientation discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Sadie McDowell, who has been on unpaid leave since 2021, said in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Johnson County District Court she has experienced “inappropriate sexist, sexual and racist comments,” as well as unwanted sexual contact and embarrassing situations, like someone stealing her pants while she was in the shower. “Throughout her ten-plus years of employment, Sadie heard male firefighters and fire officers make sexually inappropriate comments nearly every single day,” the 19-page lawsuit states. Saying she has developed mental health conditions including depression and stress-related disorders because of the incidents, McDowell is seeking a jury trial. The city of Iowa City denied McDowell’s claims in a statement Thursday. Just in time for the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art’s long-awaited reopening on Aug. 26, its most heralded piece — Jackson Pollock’s “Mural” — is back on campus after a long hiatus. “Mural” arrived home July 14 after nine years touring museums and entertaining millions in Europe and across the United States. Welcomed by museum Director Lauren Lessing in its 3,200-pound crate, “Mural” has been placed in its new home in the second-floor Chris and Suzy DeWolf Family Gallery. Displaced by the 2008 flood, like many UI collection pieces, the 8-by-20-foot “Mural” traveled to 14 venues at home and abroad. The museum will be officially dedicated Aug. 26, kicking off a two-day grand-opening celebration. Its inaugural exhibition, titled “Homecoming,” will display more than 600 works by 500-some artists, including “Mural,” which marks a “pivotal moment in Pollock’s career.”
Gazette Daily News Podcast, August 4
Aug 4 2022
Gazette Daily News Podcast, August 4
This is Zack Kucharski with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Thursday, August 4th. A quick check of the weather from the National Weather Service: Sunny, with a high near 85. Northeast wind 5 to 10 mph. Tonight: Mostly clear, low around 64 and light winds.   Now to what’s making news: The closure and cleanup at the Cedar Rapids downtown library is expected to last into September, library officials announced Wednesday. The closure comes after a small July 27 fire in a light fixture in the library commons area. Smoke soot is being cleaned-up throughout the interior of the 100,000 square-foot building. The library is still working through the investigation and insurance claims, library director Dara Schmidt said Wednesday. All items in the library -- including the carpet — will be wiped down and cleaned while the facility is closed. Reopening the lobby area for hold pickups is her next priority during the library’s temporary closure. The library extended book due dates and holds, but patrons still can return materials to Hiawatha and Marion Libraries or one of the book drops at metro-area Hy-Vee stores instead. Schmidt said the library’s 82 employees have been reassigned to work in the west-side Ladd Library, outdoor and vehicle outreach programs and at a cooling and computer center located across the street at Waypoint.   +++ A parents group is suing the Linn-Mar Community School District, superintendent and board members over its new policies to protect transgender students from discrimination. The lawsuit asserts that the policy violates parents’ rights to consent and students’ rights to express a different opinion. Parents Defending Education is identified in the lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court as a grassroots organization that includes “parents, students and other concerned citizens” with a mission to prevent the “politicization of K-12 education.” The group contends the Linn-Mar policy passed in April allows children to make fundamentally important decisions about gender identity without parental involvement and hide those decisions from their parents. According to the 30-page petition, the parents group filed it to “protect parents’ rights to raise their children and students’ rights to freedom of expression.” Linn-Mar district officials didn’t immediately respond to an email and phone message seeking comment. +++ . Reflecting the Cedar Rapids school board’s decision to remove police from the city’s middle schools, the Cedar Rapids Police Department has proposed additional changes to the agreement for school resource officers that account for the reduction from seven to five officers. With the start of the 2022-23 school year fast approaching, the Cedar Rapids City Council and school board have yet to approve the same contract outlining terms of the program that will station police officers this year at Kennedy, Washington, Jefferson and Metro high schools and Polk Alternative Education Center, but take them out of Cedar Rapids middle schools. While Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman said he accepts the district’s decision to pull SROs from the middle school, it said it’s not logical to expect the five remaining officers to do the work that seven did previously. The city said that diversion outcomes will be less likely to happen at junior highs without SROs, Jerman said. Instead, patrol officers, who have different training experience and expertise than the SROs have. Another change clarifies that school resource officers shall assist the district with facilitating lockdown drills specifically at school buildings staffed with school resource officers instead of at all school buildings twice per year. The two sides still don’t have a finalized agreement, with the start of the school year about three weeks away. The issue will come up on...
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 3
Aug 3 2022
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 3
This is Zack Kucharski with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Wednesday, August 3rd. A quick check of the weather from the National Weather Service: showers and thunderstorms are likely, especially midday. Otherwise, partly sunny with a high of 88. Winds from the west 10 to 15 and 20 mph gusts. 60% chance of rain. For tonight, a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 9 p.m. Otherwise, gradual clearing with a low around 63 degrees. West winds will swing to the north after midnight.   Now to what’s making news: Facing increasing pressure from Democrats and veterans advocacy organizations, the U.S. Senate passed a bill late Tuesday expanding health care and disability benefits for millions of veterans exposed to toxic burn pits. The Senate passed the measure, 86-11, with Iowa Republican U.S. Sens. Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley voting in favor. Ernst, a combat veteran, had previously objected with some other Republicans to a budget provision in the bill, which briefly blocked its passage. Democratic President Joe Biden has pushed for the legislation and is expected to sign the bill into law.   Tuesday’s vote ended a brief stalemate when the process derailed after some Senate Republicans including Ernst made a late attempt last week to change a budget provision in the bill and blocked it from advancing, infuriating veterans advocacy groups. A key voting bloc in the Nov. midterm elections, the advocacy groups ramped up the political pressure over the last five days on GOP lawmakers to act. +++ A Cedar Rapids man faces four counts of attempted murder and other charges following an alleged road rage incident Tuesday afternoon that resulted in shots being fired as the cars traveled southbound on Interstate 380.   Deryan Sims, 33, of Cedar Rapids, is accused of four counts of attempted murder, four counts of assault while displaying a dangerous weapon, intimidation with a weapon, reckless use of a firearm and carrying weapons in the commission of a crime in connection with the incident.   Police received a call around 2:10 p.m. Tuesday from a passenger in a car involved in a road rage incident on southbound Interstate 380. The incident began in the area of Center Point Rd. NE and 32nd St. NE.   Investigators say Sims pointed the gun at a vehicle with two adults and two kids inside and fired the gun twice during the incident. One of the bullets struck the front end of the car, police said. No one was injured.   Police recovered the gun and ammo during a traffic stop.   The driver of the car Sims was driving in, Kelly Theisen, 40, of Cedar Rapids, was charged with driving on a suspended license. The investigation remains ongoing, and Sims will make an initial appearance Wednesday in Linn County District Court. +++ And finally, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller announced Tuesday his office has joined a nationwide task force of state attorneys general working to cut down on illegal and unwanted robocalls used to scam seniors and defraud consumers nationwide. The bipartisan group has issued 20 civil investigative demands to 20 gateway providers and other entities that are allegedly responsible for a majority of foreign robocall traffic in the United States, according to a news release. The task force will focus on “the bad actors” throughout the telecommunications industry, to help reduce the number of illegal and unwanted robocalls that Iowans and other Americans receive, according to the release. More than 33 million robocalls are made to Americans every day, according to the National Consumer Law Center and Electronic Privacy Information Center. And an estimated $29.8 billion was stolen through scam calls in 2021, with most of the robocall traffic originating overseas.
Gazette Daily News Podcast, August 2nd
Aug 2 2022
Gazette Daily News Podcast, August 2nd
This is Zack Kucharski with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Tuesday, August 2nd. According to the National Weather Service, we will see gradual clearing in the Cedar Rapids area today after a cloudy start through mid-morning. It will be hot, with a high near 94. Winds from the south 5 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Then tonight, it will be partly cloudy, with a low around 80. ++++ A former softball coach at Solon High School and Clear Creek Amana High School, made an initial appearance in Johnson County District Court Monday accused of sexually abusing a student 15 years ago. James White, 58, of North Liberty, faces two counts of third-degree sexual abuse and two counts of sexual exploitation by a school employee. He is being held in the Johnson County Jail on a $40,000 bond. A woman, who was student of his during the 2006-07 school year and was coached by him on the softball team, went to police in March to report the abuse, according to criminal complaints. The woman, who was 15 when White was her teacher and coach, told police she was groomed by White and they had a sexual relationship. White, then 43, is accused of calling the then 15-year-old and asking her to meet him on a gravel road in rural Johnson County, according to the complaints. He reportedly gave her directions and asked her not to hang up the phone the whole time she was on her way there. In another instance, White reportedly invited her over to his house while his wife, who also was a high school softball coach, was out of town coaching in a state softball tournament. White was ordered to have no contact with his accuser. He posted a $40,000 surety bond and was released from jail Monday, court records show. White worked as a teacher and softball coach at CCA for several years before he left in 2012 to coach at Solon High School. He coached softball at Solon until 2017, then returned as an assistant baseball coach for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. His contract at Solon ended earlier this summer, according to Solon School District Superintendent Davis Eidahl. (In 2017, White was named the National) (High School Coaches Association coach of the year.) White also coached various sports at CCA High School and CCA Middle School during the last few years. He resigned from CCA in June, according to the school district. ++++ The driver who exchanged gunfire with two Cedar Rapids Police officers early Saturday after being pulled over for erratic driving has been identified as 23-year-old Brandon Lee Nelson of Cedar Rapids, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation said Monday. Investigators say Nelson was westbound on Glass Road in Cedar Rapids just before 4 a.m. Saturday when police tried to pull him over. Nelson and two Cedar Rapids police officers exchanged gunfire. The officers, who were not injured, have not yet been identified, but are on leave pending the outcome of the DCI’s investigation. Nelson was taken to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics following the shooting but is expected to be released soon. Nelson has multiple prior convictions for eluding police in Linn County, online court records show. ++++ A  (U.S. drone) (strike) in Afghanistan this weekend killed  (Ayman) (al-Zawahri), who helped Osama bin...
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 1
Aug 1 2022
Gazette Daily News Briefing, August 1
This is John McGlothlen with The Gazette digital news desk and I'm here with your update for Monday, August 1st. According to the National Weather Service, it will be sunny in the Cedar Rapids area today, with a high near 86. Winds from the northwest 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Then tonight, we have a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 4 a.m., with a low around 65. Two Cedar Rapids police officers exchanged gunfire with a driver they pulled over early Saturday, injuring the driver, authorities said. The officers, whose names were not released, were not injured. The Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Division of Criminal Investigation said it had been asked by the city to help investigate the officer-involved shooting. The DCI said that shortly before 4 a.m., the officers pulled over a car for erratic driving in the 2200 block on Glass Road NE, just west of Interstate 380. “The driver of the vehicle brandished a firearm and gunfire was exchanged between the driver and two Cedar Rapids police officers,” the division said. The driver, whose name also was not released, suffered gunshot wounds and was taken to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. A condition was not released. The Democratic National Committee has delayed a decision on the presidential nominating calendar, leaving Iowa Democrats to wait three months until after the November midterm elections to find out the fate of the Iowa caucuses. Iowa is among 16 states and Puerto Rico vying to be included in Democrats’ early presidential nominating window ahead of Super Tuesday in early March 2024. The DNC rules committee voted in April to reopen the presidential nominating window, forcing all interested states — including the current early-nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — to apply for a spot. – 🎹 Podcast music: “World” by Emily McGlothlen
Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 30 and July 31
Jul 30 2022
Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 30 and July 31
Welcome to the weekend! This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31. Temperatures will inch up this weekend, but will still remain quite pleasant. It’d be a good idea to get out and enjoy the weather before the heat returns with a vengeance next week. On Saturday it will be sunny with a high near 86 degrees.On Saturday night it will be mostly clear, with a low of around 62 degrees. On Sunday it will be sunny again with a high near 87 degrees. A light wind from Saturday will increase just barely up to 5 to 10 mph on Sunday. On Sunday night it will be mostly clear, with a low of around 70 degrees. A federal class-action lawsuit brought by youth basketball players who were potential sex abuse victims of former Iowa Barnstormers basketball coach Greg Stephen reached a settlement Friday that will establish a fund of over a $1 million for the athletes. Guy Cook, lead attorney for an (unnamed former Barnstormers Basketball of Iowa player who filed the suit in 2020), said the fund will be established for select former youth athletes affiliated with the Barnstormers and coached by Stephen from 2005 through 2018, and “fell victim to Stephen’s illicit acts of secretly procuring nude images of players.” The settlement is pending court approval. The trial was set to start Monday in U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Iowa in Davenport. (Stephen, 44, of Monticello, was sentenced in 2019) to 180 years in federal prison. He pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual exploitation of a child and one count each of possession of child pornography and transportation of child pornography. A Cedar Rapids man accused of killing a woman April 10 at the Taboo Nightclub and Lounge likely will face updated charges because a man seriously injured that night died late last week. Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks said 31-year-old Marvin Cox, of Cedar Rapids, who was shot in the head, died from his injuries Sunday, July 24, and criminal charges against (Timothy Rush, 32), will be updated. Rush is accused of fatally shooting Nicole Owens, 35, his girlfriend and mother of his 1-year-old daughter, and of shooting and seriously injuring Cox, who had been on life support since the shooting. Marie Mulkey, Cox’s mother, told The Gazette after the shooting that (she had been spending every day with her son in the hospital). The other man charged in the shootings, (Dimione Walker, )is accused of fatally shooting Michael Valentine, 25. 10 people were shot in total by the two gunmen. The Cedar Rapids Police Department has identified the man killed in a stabbing Wednesday as 52-year-old Christopher Anson. Police were called Wednesday afternoon to the 1500 block of Fifth Avenue SE, where they found Anson, of Cedar Rapids, on the floor of an apartment building common area with a stab wound in his chest. Police began CPR, but Anson was declared dead at the scene. Two males were transported to the police department for interviews, according to a news release. Police said the attack was not random and the public is not considered at risk. The investigation continues, police said, and no further details will be released at this time. Have a good weekend everyone.
Gazette Daily News Podcast, July 29
Jul 29 2022
Gazette Daily News Podcast, July 29
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Friday, July 29. The great weather continues! According to the National Weather Service it will be sunny with a high near 82 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area on Friday. On Friday night it will be mostly clear, with a low of around 59 degrees Thanks but no thanks. This appears to be the answer from the Cedar Rapids School Board after the City of Cedar Rapids offered to pay for two officers that the board voted to remove from the district’s  middle schools in a recent approval of the contract. Cedar Rapids school board president David Tominsky said Thursday the board is not considering changing its decision on a contract for school resource officers in schools after the mayor offered for the city to pay for two of the officers to work in middle schools. “The board has examined the School Resource Officer program comprehensively, made a data-driven decision, and voted earlier this month on a path forward,” Tominsky said in an email to The Gazette. “After review of the mayor’s letter, no board member will be changing their vote.” Board members said the decision was not based on funding, but rather on a racial disparity in student arrests. This said, there will still be officers in other schools in the district. The city of Cedar Rapids hopes to receive a $50 million boost for flood protection under a bill that passed the U.S. Senate Thursday. Senators voted 93-1 to pass the 2022 Water Resources Development Act. The biannual packages authorizes the Army Corps of Engineers to carry out water resources projects and includes key measures secured by Iowa Republican U.S. Sens. Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley to update Cedar Rapids’ flood system and a levee in the Des Moines area. The bill could unlock federal dollars for flood protection on the east side of the Cedar River — which would allow the city to accelerate work on other segments of the system. A year after Mercy Iowa City announced plans to exit its four-year affiliation with the statewide MercyOne health network and integrate into a larger health care system, the only community hospital in Iowa City is ending its unsuccessful search and sticking with MercyOne after all. In an email to Mercy Iowa City employees Thursday, Acting President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Trachta acknowledged “significant changes that could not have been anticipated” during the search for a partner that would help put the hospital on a better financial path. In the email, Trachta also announced Dawna Miller, Mercy Iowa City’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, and Judy Andronowitz, vice president and chief operating officer, are leaving. While Mercy Iowa City is focusing internally on improving performance and staffing, the hospital has engaged consultant Insight Health Partners to assess its financial and strategic operations, Trachta said Thursday. An assessment of the 194-bed hospital will take about 60 days and engage leaders, colleagues and providers in meetings and evaluation activities to give feedback for the campus’ future. Mercy Iowa City has been struggling to find financial footing for years, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, which ravaged the healthcare industry. Numbers show that Mercy Iowa City did not bounce back as well as other local hospitals as pandemic conditions improved.
Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 28
Jul 28 2022
Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 28
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Thursday, July 28. Thursday will start with a slight chance for showers, but if you don't get up especially early you can pretend that never happened. According to the National Weather Service after 7 a.m. it will be mostly sunny in the Cedar Rapids area with a high near 81 degrees. On Thursday night it will be mostly clear, with a low of around 58 degrees. The debate over school resource officers appears like it will continue awhile longer. The city of Cedar Rapids is offering to fully fund two additional school resource officers to do work at Cedar Rapids middle schools after the school board voted earlier this month to remove those officers. In a letter to the school board — obtained by The Gazette — dated Tuesday and signed by Cedar Rapids Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell, the two additional school resource officers could start their day at the Cedar Rapids Police Department to serve middle schools. These additional officers would bring the total number of police in Cedar Rapids schools back up to seven, where it had been. It remains to be seen whether this will move the needle for the Cedar Rapids School Board. Part of the reason the board voted to remove the officers are statistics showing that there is a racial disparity in the way students are disciplined when resource officers are present. Tests have confirmed a brain-eating amoeba was present in a southwest Iowa lake where a Missouri resident was sickened last month. That person, who swam at Lake of Three Fires State Park in the last two weeks of June, (died of the parasitic infection July 7.) Several state agencies completed testing of the water at Lake of Three Fires, 25 miles east of Clarinda, and confirmed the presence of Naegleria fowleri amoeba that can cause a rare and often fatal brain infection. Now that testing is complete, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will reopen the beach at Lake of Three Fires, which has been closed since July 8. The beach will be posted with signs warning swimmers of the presence of the parasite in the water and the risk of infection. The state does not plan to test other recreational waters. Swimmers can reduce their risk by keeping their head out of the water and using nose clips or plugging their nose when going underwater.  Iowa saw the number of new COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the past week, reporting 5,924 new cases in the past week, up 12 percent from the previous week’s 5,301 new cases. This continues the upward trend in cases in July after cases in June hovered at under 4,000 a week. Experts believe that a highly contagious version of the omicron variant now dominant in Iowa and the rest of the nation is leading to the increase in cases. As of Wednesday, 84 Iowa counties — including Linn and Johnson — are experiencing “high” COVID-19 community transmission, compared to 78 counties last week. In one bit of good news, hospitalizations for the disease went down slightly this week now at 249, from last week’s 256. There were also far fewer deaths from the disease, with 23 new covid deaths reported.
Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 27
Jul 27 2022
Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 27
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Wednesday, July 27. We'll have another mild summer day Wednesday, with a bit less sun. According to the National Weather Service the day will start mostly cloudy in the Cedar Rapids area, then gradually become sunny, with a high near 84 degrees. Then the clouds will return Wednesday night, with a 30 percent chance for rain heading into Thursday morning. The low will be about 66 degrees. While not a silver bullet, legislation to increase the retirement age for commercial pilots will incrementally help as airlines contend with labor shortages that have caused them to trim flight schedules and drop regional service, Eastern Iowa airport officials say. Iowa U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley joined a group of fellow Republican senators Monday to introduce a bill that would raise the mandatory commercial pilot retirement age to 67 from 65 in a bid to address a pilot shortage that has fueled flight cuts. Pilot unions and U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg have pushed back on the idea of raising the mandatory retirement age over safety concerns. Pilot unions and U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg have pushed back on the idea of raising the mandatory retirement age over safety concerns.  With an aging pilot population and heavy use of early retirement packages during the COVID-19 pandemic, one recent study projects North America will be short 12,000 pilots by 2023. Meanwhile, nearly 14,000 licensed pilots in the nation will reach the mandatory retirement age over the next five years and be forced to retire. The Iowa Utilities Board issued an order Tuesday granting electric generating certificates for the Duane Arnold Solar projects near Palo — as long as Linn County supervisors agree. State regulators will issue the certificates for the two separate projects after NextEra, the company pursuing the projects with Duane Arnold Solar LLC and Duane Arnold Solar II LLC, has filed and the board has accepted a final, unappealable decisions to be made next month by the Linn County Board of Supervisors. The certificate is a permit that authorizes a company to operate a public facility within an area and is typically for public utilities or similar entities. The 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. The 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 and a 75-MW, four-hour battery energy storage facility. NextEra, which has operated in Iowa since 1999, said in June it plans to invest $800 million in the solar project, including $50 million paid to landowners over the project’s 30-year life span. The company has 11 wind projects in the state. The Palo site — near the decommissioned Duane Arnold nuclear plant — would be its first solar project in Iowa, though it has them in 27 other states.
Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 26
Jul 26 2022
Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 26
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Tuesday, July 26. The heat will probably return soon, so let's enjoy this mild weather while we can this week. According to the National Weather Service it will be partly sunny with a high near 80 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area. Tuesday night there will be a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Besides that, it will be mostly cloudy, with a low of around 67 degrees. The wind will be calm all day.  Why did the shooting at Maquoketa State Park happen? It is a question that for now has investigators stumped. As they look for any connection between the family and the suspected shooter, they say they have uncovered little to establish a motive, noting they have not turned up any connection between Anthony Sherwin and those they say he killed at Maquoketa Caves State Park. Sherwin was later found dead in a wooded area of the park from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. What police have said is that Sherwin, 23, of the Omaha suburb of La Vista, had no criminal history before the attack, and investigators said he appeared to target the victims at random. Sherwin’s parents, who had been camping with their son, expressed incomprehension that he would carry out such an attack. Cecilia Sherwin told the Omaha-World Herald Sunday that she believes her son went to help the family after hearing gunshots. She said their family does not accept the version of events described by police. In addition to Sherwin, Tyler Schmidt, 42; his 42-year-old wife, Sarah Schmidt; and their 6-year-old daughter, Lula Schmidt, all died in the attack. Personal information from staff at the Cedar Rapids Community School District may have been included in data stolen earlier this month in a cybersecurity breach, a memo from the district reveals. The stolen data potentially included staff members’ full names, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, bank account and routing numbers, and medical information including diagnosis and treatment information or health insurance information, according to a letter mailed to staff — obtained by The Gazette — dated July 22. The Cedar Rapids Community School District has 3,500 employees. All authorized access to district networks has been disabled and an investigation is being conducted by the district with external cybersecurity professionals, according to the letter. Hobby Town owners Niels and Musetta Christiansen plan to close their hobby shop at 3655 First Ave. SE in Cedar Rapids, with all merchandise, equipment and fixtures for sale and regular prices discounted up to 50 percent. The Town and Country Shopping Center shop will hold a private sale starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday, then open to the general public at 9 a.m. Thursday. according to a news release sent by Retail Sales Pro, the Florida-based company hired to facilitate the sale. Inflation and rising rent costs were cited as the primary reasons for closing the retail venue. The store sells a variety of hobby items including remote control cars, trains and airplanes, along with games, rockets, models, puzzles, kites, paint, parts and tools.
Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 23 and July 24
Jul 23 2022
Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 23 and July 24
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Saturday, July 23, and Sunday, July 24. It will be a hot weekend to start, a wet weekend at times, and a breezy weekend all the time. According to the National Weather Service, there will be a high near 96 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area on Saturday with a heat index as high as 104. After some rain early Saturday morning there will be a good chance for rain late Saturday night into Sunday morning. There will be a reduced chance for rain of about 30 percent until about 1 p.m. on Sunday. It will also be much cooler, Sunday, with a predicted high of 86 degrees and a low of around 64 degrees. Winds will hover between 5 to 15 mph for the weekend and could gust as high as 25 mph at times. Next week, it is looking to be a bit cooler still, with a chance for rain returning again. Three family members from Cedar Falls were killed while camping Friday at Maquoketa Caves State Park, and the suspected Nebraska gunman then shot and killed himself, law enforcement officials said. Officers were called to the park’s campground before 6:30 a.m., the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation said in a statement. Officers found three people fatally shot in a tent at the campground, DCI Assistant Director Mitch Mortvedt said. The DCI identified the three Friday evening as Tyler Schmidt, 42, Sarah Schmidt, 42, and Lulu Schmidt, 6. Investigators did not say how the three were related or provide a motive for the attack. The suspected gunman was identified as Anthony Orlando Sherwin, 23, of Nebraska. Investigators do not believe he had any prior relationship with the Schmidt family, Mortvedt said. The nation’s winningest high school softball coach, Larry Niemeyer died at 84 Thursday night, following a longtime battle with illness. Niemeyer won 2,089 (softball games) over a decorated career at Adel and Cedar Rapids Jefferson, while also racking up 871 wins and a state title as Jefferson's girls basketball coach.  “In my opinion, he is the greatest high school coach there has ever been,” Waterloo West girls’ basketball coach Tony Pappas said. “To coach for 52 years, two sports and excel at that high of a level, it’s unbelievable. A state panel gave final approval Friday to awarding Cedar Rapids $9 million that will give a boost to development in Cedar Rapids’ urban core, funding new recreational amenities and infrastructure that will support the area’s growth. The Iowa Economic Development Authority board okayed the funds as part of the Reinvestment District program, a competitive program that reinvests sales and hotel-motel tax revenues produced over a 20-year period into projects that enhance the quality of life and create or expand recreational opportunities  Most of the millions the IEDA gave the city will go toward the $81.5 million m (ixed-use First and First West development t)hat features a Big Grove brewery. Cedar Rapids specifically will put $6 million toward a city-owned, 550-stall parking ramp to support the project
Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 22
Jul 22 2022
Gazette Daily News Briefing, July 22
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Friday, July 22. A chance for rain will return for much of Friday. According to the National Weather Service there will be a 40 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Then, after 8 p.m. there will be a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms.  Otherwise, there will be cloudy skies that gradually become sunny during the day. There will be a high near 88 degrees, and a low of around 70 degrees. The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance has addressed a farmers market vendor who was selling crafts with the logo of an anti-government militia group. The Economic Alliance, which manages the Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers Market, said in a Thursday news release that it received complaints from concerned citizens about a July 16 vendor who sold crafts displaying the logo of the Three Percenters, a far-right anti-government militia group. The Economic Alliance did not name the vendor, but noted they were “a popular and longtime” merchant at the market who makes and sells hundreds of different craft products. The merchant agreed tos stop selling the merchandise. Members of the Three Percenter groups often signal their affiliation by holding up three fingers in the “OK” sign. Members of the Three Percenters have been accused of, arrested or indicted for participating in the U.S. Capitol insurrection last year, the plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020 and other acts of domestic terrorism, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. A Linn County jury convicted a Cedar Rapids man this week for beating and robbing an older Coggon couple and forcing his way into their home by impersonating a police officer. (Brandon William Lee), 33, was found guilty Tuesday following a weeklong trial of two counts each of first-degree robbery and willful injury, and one count each of first-degree theft and impersonating a public official. He faces up to 77 years in prison. Lee came to the Coggon home of Joseph Henderson, 73, and Sandra Henderson, 72, about 6:30 p.m. Jan. 9, and identified himself as a police officer and displayed a badge, according to testimony. Once inside the home, Lee repeatedly assaulted the couple, while demanding they take him to their safe.  Lee stole more than $50,000 from the safe. Joseph Henderson died a few months after the assault, which wasn’t the cause of his death, according to a medical examiner. He had been diagnosed with cancer and Alzheimer’s. Linn and Black Hawk counties will receive $3.5 million of federal American Rescue Plan funds allocated by the state to finish paving the last 16 miles of the Cedar Valley Nature Trail that runs between Evansdale and Hiawatha. Gov. Kim Reynolds’ office announced the Destination Iowa grant funding Thursday, with the trail project being one of three to receive funds in this round of allocations. Applications for projects in Cedar Rapids and Marion are still awaiting word on their fate. Once completed, the Cedar Valley Nature Trail will have a paved 52 miles. The trail also links other well-known trails in Eastern Iowa, including the CeMar, Grant Wood and Highway 100 trails in the Cedar Rapids and Marion areas. Those using the trail can also make their way down through Johnson County.