Gazette News Podcast

The Gazette Daily News Podcast, February 13th

Iowa Democratic Party chairman Troy Price speaks to members of the media during a news conference, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020
Iowa Democratic Party chairman Troy Price speaks to members of the media during a news conference, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your daily update for February 13th, 2020.

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It is going to be dangerously cold for much of Thursday with high winds and overnight snowfall possibly leading to a challenging morning commute. According to a forecast from the National Weather Service, there could be as much as 2 inches of snow accumulation overnight in the Cedar Rapids area. 

Thursday morning the skies should clear, but the sunny skies will be deceptive, as the high temperature for Thursday is predicted to be 1 degree, with wind chills as low at -25 degrees. The good news is that if you can grit your teeth and bear it, it should get a bit more reasonable throughout the day, with wind speeds dropping and temperatures rising, albeit not by much. I also feel it is my duty to inform you that we should have high temperatures close to 40 degrees coming to us on the weekend.

Nine days after the Iowa Democratic Party failed to report who Iowans in the first-in-the-nation caucuses preferred to be president, state party Chairman Troy Price said Wednesday he has resigned. He called for an emergency meeting this Saturday of the party’s State Central Committee to select an interim chair.

Price wrote to party leaders: ““The fact is that Democrats deserved better than what happened on caucus night. As chair of this party, I am deeply sorry for what happened and bear the responsibility for any failures on behalf of the Iowa Democratic Party.”

An app that had been designed to allow precinct leaders to report results failed on caucus night, leading to a four day delay before former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg was declared a very narrow winner over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. But due to these reporting errors and other irregularities, these results are being challenged as well.

The prosecution and defense kicked off their opening arguments Wednesday in the Michelle Martinko murder trial. The prosecution called a variety of witnesses who knew Martinko, describing a timeline before the young woman was found stabbed to death outside of Westdale Mall in 1979. They also revealed that the attacker cut himself, leaving blood behind at the scene that investigators say they tied through DNA profiling to Jerry Burns, 66, of Manchester. The defense argued that DNA evidence is not as ironclad as commonly thought, and that the case isn’t only about DNA evidence. The trial, being held in Scott County, will continue on Thursday. 

Finally, the Iowa Senate on Thursday will debate a proposed constitutional amendment to specify there is no fundamental right in the Iowa Constitution to abortion or public funding of the procedure.

Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny, said that’s “a definite possibility” after the Family Leader tweeted that Senate Joint Resolution 21 would be debated Thursday morning,

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved the resolution — House Study Bill 577 — on an 11-9 party-line vote that sends the bill to the full House for debate.

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