Gazette Daily News Podcast, March 11

North Linn's Austin Hilmer (24) makes a basket against Des Moines Christian during a state tournament game last year at
North Linn's Austin Hilmer (24) makes a basket against Des Moines Christian during a state tournament game last year at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. (The Gazette)
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Although it should be cloudy for part of Wednesday, the rain should hold off until Thursday. According to the National Weather Service, there should be cloudy skies through the mid morning on Wednesday with a high of 56 degrees. The sky will gradually clear as the day goes on, with a calm west wind of 5 mph.

Five more cases of the coronavirus strain COVID 19 were announced confirmed in Iowa Tuesday, bringing the state’s confirmed total to 13 people. 12 of the 13 people who have tested positive for the respiratory disease spreading throughout the world were all on the same Egyptian cruise before returning to Eastern Iowa together. The other person who has tested positive so far lives in Pottawattamie County in Western Iowa, and they had just returned from a visit to California.

In other Iowa coronavirus updates Tuesday: Governor Kim Reynolds said the state is considering the spread of the virus beyond its capacity to prevent at this point and is moving toward mitigiation, Grinnell College told its 1,700 students that they should prepare to finish the rest of the semester through online classes after Spring Break, and the Board of Regents governing the state’s three major universities urged them to head toward providing virtual solutions for instruction as fast as possible. The Regents should indicate the fate of the rest of the semester for these schools by 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday.

The man accused of fatally stabbing Chris Bagley, a Walker man who went missing Dec. 13 of 2018, and was found 76 days later buried in southeast Cedar Rapids, plans to claim self-defense at trial. 32-year-old Drew Blahnik, of Cedar Rapids, filed his notice of defense Monday in Linn County District Court.

Blahnik and 34-year-old Drew Wagner, also of Cedar Rapids, are each charged with first-degree murder, abuse of a corpse and obstruction of prosecution. They have jointly asked for separate trials because they were indicted together, and they have asked for their trials to be moved out of Linn County based on pretrial publicity. Investigators believe Blahnik and Wagner killed Bagley due to Bagley’s dispute with a local large-scale marijuana dealer named Andrew Shaw. Shaw was later arrested on drug charges as well. 

In games to watch Wednesday at the prep boys state  basketball tournament, Iowa City West will be taking on Ankeny in the Class 4A quarterfinals at 10:30 a.m., Montezuma plays Wapsie Valley in the Class 1A semifinals at 2:00 p.m., and North Linn will clash with Traynor in the Class 2A semifinals at 8:15 p.m.