Gazette News Podcast

The Gazette Daily News Podcast, February 12

Jerry Burns enters the courtroom during a hearing for at the Linn County Courthouse in Cedar Rapids on Jan. 16, 2020. Bu
Jerry Burns enters the courtroom during a hearing for at the Linn County Courthouse in Cedar Rapids on Jan. 16, 2020. Burns is charged in the 1979 slaying of Michelle Martinko. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your daily update for February 12th, 2020.

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Enjoy the first half of Wednesday’s weather because chances are you won’t like the second half as much, unless you are into snow and blustery cold.  According to the National Weather Service, there will be a high of 35 degrees and cloudy skies for much of Wednesday in the Cedar Rapids area, but this will give way to faster winds, colder temperatures, and snow, much of it coming after 5:00 p.m. Wednesday night into Thursday should see a greater than 60 percent chance of snow, with accumulation around 2 inches possible. Meanwhile, the temperature will drop to a low of 4 degrees Wednesday night and wind gusts could reach as high as 25 mph. 

The Michelle Martinko murder trial will continue Wednesday in Scott County after a jury selection was finally settled on Tuesday. Nine women and six men will hear the cold case murder trial for Martinko, who was found stabbed to death near Westdale Mall in 1979.

Jerry Burns of Manchester stands accused in the murder after investigators say they linked his DNA to DNA taken from the murder scene. The prosecution and defense will make their opening statements starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Although the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has an institutional goal of discharging inpatients by 11 a.m., the average discharge time actually is three hours later at 2:06 p.m.., according to an internal audit.

In response to the audit — flagged as “red” or “high” for its opportunities to improve efficiency, revenue, and patient satisfaction — UIHC management is considering a range of discharge-improvement steps, from increasing overall staffing to creating a new “discharge lounge” for patients awaiting transportation.

A lawsuit challenging city decisions that would allow Cargill to build a $6.5 million rail-yard in a blue-collar neighborhood and nature corridor could expand as residents filed paperwork against the project on Tuesday.

Protect the Prairie Park Nature Corridor Inc., made up of six residents, filed motions to intervene in two separate petitions for review, filed by Rob and Kate Hogg in December.

The Hoggs challenged the legality of Cedar Rapids City Council votes late last year that changed the city’s future land-use map and rezoned 17 acres of city-owned land in the Rompot neighborhood to allow the 12-track, 200-car rail yard. Rob Hogg, incidentally, is a state senator who represents Cedar Rapids.

Finally, Bernie Sanders won New Hampshire’s presidential primary Tuesday night, edging moderate rival Pete Buttigieg and scoring the first clear victory in the Democratic Party’s chaotic 2020 nomination fight. Amy Klobuchar finished a close third, while Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden had disappointing finishes at fourth and fifth respectively.

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