116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
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This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for the weekend of Saturday April 10th and Sunday April 11th.
We can hope the forecasters will get it wrong, but it is looking like a cold and rainy weekend ahead of us. At least the first half of it, anyway.
According to the National Weather Service, on Saturday there will be nearly a 90 percent chance of rain in the Cedar Rapids area after 8 a.m. The high will be 53 degrees and the wind will be breezy, with wind speeds of 10 to 20 mph gusting as high as 30 mph. There will continue to be a decreasing chance of rain through Sunday morning. Then, during the day on Sunday, the forecast is for it to gradually clear, with mostly sunny skies and a high temperature near 60 degrees. It will remain windy on Sunday, with a wind speed of 15 mph gusting as high as 25 mph.
Iowa OSHA last year proposed penalties of nearly $20,000 against the Iowa Department of Corrections for workplace safety violations at the Anamosa State Penitentiary — including for not having reliable radios for correctional officers to call for help during violent attacks.
The Eastern Iowa prison is where two inmates are accused of bludgeoning to death two employees March 23 in a failed escape attempt.
The state occupational safety agency reported the Anamosa prison didn’t have reliable radios, failed to follow its own emergency response plan and didn’t have a handrail on all stairs, according to citations and notices of penalties filed Aug. 18, 2020. The total proposed penalties for those violations was $20,007.
The union representing state workers contends that dropped radio calls may have been part of the reason two inmates were able to use prison-issued hammers to beat to death correctional officer Robert McFarland and nurse Lorena Schulte March 23 at the prison.
Last month’s college basketball “madness” carried over to Iowa’s sports betting apps, with wagering hitting a new monthly record of nearly $161.4 million in March.
Figures posted by the state Racing and Gaming Commission indicated the March betting topped January’s monthly record of $149.5 million. Most of the wagers -- 86 percent -- were placed via online sportsbook websites.
Iowa’s monthly record for sports betting also was fueled by an aggressive marketing effort by the 11 sportsbooks that have entered into agreements with Iowa’s 19 state-licensed casinos to conduct legal wagering since the law took effect in August 2019 and online access expanded Jan. 1.
U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson said she wants the president, vice president and House speaker to visit the U.S./Mexico border, as she did, and talk to overworked officials and witness the "human tragedy" of unaccompanied children crossing the border.
The Marion Republican said she heard of "violent encounters, human trafficking and drug smuggling" at the border after touring a customs and immigration facility and speaking with Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement.
"An agent told me he'd been with Border Control 20 years, and these are the worst conditions he's faced," Hinson said during a Friday call with reporters. "They were very clear their resources are strapped. They are not equipped to handle the emboldened traffickers."
On Friday's call, Hinson criticized the Biden administration for undoing many of Trump's border policies, echoing other Republicans who have blamed Biden for the increase in migrants.
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