Gazette Daily News Podcast, November 23

Community and union leaders join workers as they walk off their job site at Cottage Grove Place in Cedar Rapids on Monda
Community and union leaders join workers as they walk off their job site at Cottage Grove Place in Cedar Rapids on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020. The workers are employed by BluSky, a restoration contractor working on storm damage repair at the facility, and say they have not been paid in 21 days for their work. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

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This is John McGlothlen with the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Monday, November 23rd.

The weather today will be mostly sunny, with a high near 42. Overnight, snow, then rain possibly mixed with snow, is expected before 5 a.m. New snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches is possible.

Workers from Texas who said they had not been paid for nearly a month of construction work in Cedar Rapids will be paid by a Colorado company overseeing the project. BluSky Restoration Contractors will pay more than $30,000 to at least six men who had been working with a subcontractor to repair ceiling leaks, hang drywall, install insulation, paint and clean apartments at Cottage Grove Place since Oct. 16. Company representatives earlier this week said they were surprised the workers hadn’t been paid. Mike Erekson, chief operations officer for BluSky said BluSky’s records showed they had paid the subcontractor, Pablo Ramirez, of Houston, and didn’t know whether or why workers hadn’t been paid what they were owed.

Iowa’s skyrocketing spread of COVID-19 showed signs again Sunday of inching down from record levels, though measures remain high and public health officials continue to call for caution this holiday. The state reported that 3,403 new cases were added in the 24-hour period ending at 11 a.m. Sunday, bringing the state’s total so far to 210,062. That new daily number helped continue to bring down the state’s weekly average of new cases for the seventh day in a row, though that average remains far higher than it has been for the majority of the time the pandemic has been confirmed in Iowa. The number of people being treated in Iowa hospitals for the disease inched down also in the 24-hour period. Current hospitalizations dropped from 1,416 to 1,340 patients. Those in intensive care declined from 273 to 255, and those placed on ventilators decreased from 137 to 132.

The Iowa Hawkeyes raced to a 24-7 halftime lead Saturday and hung on for a 41-21 win as Kirk Ferentz became the fourth coach to earn 100 Big Ten wins. The Hawkeyes won their third straight, improving to 3 wins and 2 losses while sending Penn State to 0 wins and 5 losses for the first time ever. Iowa rushed for 175 yards and four touchdowns, with Mekhi Sargent (2), Tyler Goodson and Spencer Petras doing the scoring honors.

Also Saturday, the Iowa State Cyclones pummeled Kansas State 45-0 and improved to 6-2 overall and 6-1 in the Big 12 to maintain its conference-leading pace.