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Get your Gazette update via Alexa: December 17 news report

These can use Alexa. Other things can, too. (Dreamstime)
These can use Alexa. Other things can, too. (Dreamstime)

A review of some of the news you need to start your day. Listen or read here, or add it to your Alexa enabled device and ask it to tell you the news each morning.

The bad news for the weather today: it will still be fairly cold. The good news: that’s about all that it will be. The National Weather Service forecast for today has a high of 30 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area, with sunny skies turning cloudy as the day goes on. Wind speed is predicted at 5 to 10 mph.

There will be a key final vote at the Cedar Rapids City Council this evening. A controversial rail yard proposed by Cargill for 28-acres situated near the Rompot Neighborhood is just one vote away from approval. Opponents, many from the nearby neighborhood, have for months critiqued the possible environmental and noise pollution to be caused by the rail yard. However, supporters of the $6.5 million project say that it is essential to remain competitive and protect jobs at a time when costs for rail services are increasing and the supply of cars is unpredictable.

The council is set to meet tonight at 4 p.m.

The trial for two men charged in the fatal stabbing of Chris Bagley, of Marion, last December has been set tentatively for July 6 in Linn County District Court. Drew Blahnik and Drew Wagner, both 32, of Cedar Rapids, were in court Monday for a pretrial hearing. Each was charged with first-degree murder, abuse of a corpse and obstruction of prosecution. Blahnik and Wagner are the latest to be tried in connection with Bagley’s death. Investigators believe Bagley was attacked and killed in retribution for stealing from Andrew Shaw, a large-scale marijuana trafficker in the Cedar Rapids area.

Shaw was convicted in October of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. He also was convicted in federal court of possession of a firearm by a drug user.

An Iowa bicycle advocacy organization now is endorsing RAGBRAI after lending is support to RAGBRAI’s rival, the newly formed Iowa’s Ride,  just two months ago.

In an email to Iowa Bicycle Coalition members, which was also posted on Facebook, Coalition Director Mark Wyatt said the board voted to make the new endorsement after meetings held with RAGBRAI officials revealed “proposed changes” that signaled a positive direction. Wyatt said that after talking with RAGBRAI officials, some of his concerns over the ride’s sharing of profits with communities and its independence as an organization have been  alleviated.

Hawkeye guard Jordan Bohannon has carried his team on his shoulders for many a game, but the weight of two bad hips was too much for him to keep going this season. The senior has decided to pull the plug after the 10-game maximum allowed before players can seek a medical redshirt. Bohannon will have surgery on his hip Thursday and will miss the rest of the year, applying for another year later on. He scored 12 points in a memorable final game of the season against rival Iowa State, part of a 84-68 Hawkeye victory in Ames.

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