Gazette Daily News Podcast, January 19

A sign denoting the day's departures is seen near the airline ticket counters at The Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapid
A sign denoting the day's departures is seen near the airline ticket counters at The Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

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This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Tuesday, Jan. 19.

We could see some rain and then snow Tuesday. According to the National Weather Service there will be a chance for snow and freezing rain before 2 p.m. in the Cedar Rapids area, then likely a chance for snow the rest of the day. Accumulation of less than a half inch of snow is predicted. 

The high temperature will settle at about 28 degrees during the day, with the wind speed also picking up as the day goes on.

A Cedar Rapids man who said he “wanted to see what was going on” as he took part on Jan. 6 in the violent invasion of the U.S. Capitol now faces federal charges over the incursion.

Leo Christopher Kelly, 35, is charged in the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia with knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, violent entry with intent to disrupt the orderly conduct of official business, and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Kelly was identified by investigators as being part of the pandemonium through video coverage by a news reporter and by two interviews he did with The Gazette and with the LifeSiteNews website, according to an affidavit filed with the complaint Friday.

Kelly indicated to investigators that he was willing to turn himself in if investigators pressed charges, of which there are now several.

Starting Jan. 25, every passenger flying out of The Eastern Iowa Airport will be required to undergo a temperature check and answer a few health questions under a pandemic mitigation program initially unveiled last summer.

Installation of the primary health screening area began Monday and is expected to be complete on Tuesday. A secondary screening area is already set up.

Airport Director Marty Lenss said the program is a step “to make sure our guests and travelers throughout Eastern Iowa feel good about flying” from the airport during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The airport and Mercy Medical Center initially announced the program in July with hopes of it being ready in early September. But the Federal Aviation Administration in August barred airports around the nation from using federal CARES Act funding or airport revenue for health screenings. The program was back on after the FAA reversed its course again in December.

Republican state lawmakers are again pushing to eliminate tenure at Iowa’s public universities, which already have been reporting fewer tenured faculty for years even without a mandate to eliminate the academic freedom protection.Similar to proposed legislation he introduced in 2018 and 2019, Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, this session has put forth a bill “prohibiting tenure systems at public postsecondary educational institutions.”

The measure would bar tenure and its protections at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa. A similar bill has been introduced in the House.

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