The Gazette Daily News Podcast: Jan. 24

Iowa lawmakers are proposing Fly Our Colors license plates be made available for Iowans to purchase. The red, white and
Iowa lawmakers are proposing Fly Our Colors license plates be made available for Iowans to purchase. The red, white and blue plate was not the one Iowans chose in 2018 when voting on a new plate design. Twenty-three lawmakers are now proposing it become an option. (Iowa Department of Transportation)

Today is Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Here's your Gazette Daily News Podcast, a briefing on today's news:

The precipitation is going to continue Friday, with mixed results

According to a forecast from the National Weather Service, patchy fog in the morning likely will be followed by snowfall in the Cedar Rapids area before 4 p.m., rain from between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., and then snow again after 5 p.m. This wintry mix likely is a result of a high temperature wavering above freezing, with a predicted high for the day of 35 degrees. A north wind is predicted to be about 10 mph.

Not crazy about Iowa’s new black and white license plates?

Iowa lawmakers have a solution.

Republican and Democratic House members have introduced a bill that would make available another option — a Fly Our Colors plate based on the red, white and blue of the Iowa state flag.

Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa, R-Council Bluffs, one of 23 co-sponsors, said she offered the bill because so many constituents complained about the plates introduced by the Iowa Department of Transportation in 2018. The Fly Our Colors plate was one of two designs not selected by Iowans who voted on the new plates.

FAA investigating UI drone crash

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating what caused$300,000 research drone owned by the University of Iowa to crash Dec. 18, leaving a fiery wreck in a densely packed mobile home park near the Iowa City Airport.

The Latitude HQ90B, a 100-pound drone with an 18-foot wingspan, “became unresponsive” during the afternoon flight and crashed in a yard at the Lake Ridge mobile home park, the UI reported.

Walmarts 24 hours no more

Starting next Saturday, Walmart outings during the wee hours of the morning will become a thing of the past at three stores around Cedar Rapids. The change falls in line with other changes to Walmart stores nationally.

Beginning Feb. 1, Walmart’s two Cedar Rapids stores — at 3601 29th Ave SW and 2645 Blairs Ferry Rd. NE — will discontinue 24-hour operations, and instead close at midnight and reopen at 6 a.m.

Overnight operations also will end at Walmart’s nearby store in Marion, at 5491 U.S. Route 151, a company spokesman told The Gazette. That location then will close at 1 a.m. and reopen at 6 a.m.

Don't poach my truckers, bro

Did you know truck driver poaching is a thing? Both CRST and Arizona-based Swift Transportation last week appealed recent court decisions in the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa. In late July 2019, a federal jury awarded CRST $15.5 million, after the Cedar Rapids trucking company in March 2017 said Swift Transportation purposefully was recruiting and hiring former CRST drivers subject to 10-month noncompete agreements.