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 Tuesday, April 13.
Tuesday’s weather is going to continue our trend with highs on the chillier side of the spring spectrum. According to the National Weather Service there should be a high near 53 degrees Tuesday with a wind of 10 to 15 mph gusting as high as 25 mph. Make plans for your plants, as it could get cold enough to frost overnight into Wednesday. The rest of the week looks a bit warmer, with highs in the upper 50s.
House Republicans plan to freeze funding for regents universities, but said Monday they will have “plenty of money” because of infusions from federal COVID-19 relief and stimulus programs.
On a party-line vote, the House Appropriations Committee passed a $970 million higher education budget that includes a $24 million increase from the current year. None of the increase would go to the University of Iowa, Iowa State University or University of Northern Iowa in an attempt to rein in what House Speaker Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, last week called “bloated” budgets.
In addition to maintaining a budget that was reduced by $8 million last year, the House GOP plan also calls for a freeze on tuition and fees at the universities.
House Education Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman David Kerr, R-Morning Sun, said that on top of $485 million in state funding the regents have or will receive $240 million from the COVID-19 relief packages approved by Congress under the Trump and Biden administrations. Kerr said due to this federal funding, regent universities will not be forced to make cuts this year.
This move follows a similar approach that Republicans took with K-12 funding, where they chose not to fund schools to make up for gaps caused by the pandemic. These gaps will instead be filled by the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has directed her government to join other states in a lawsuit against the Biden administration because the funding structure currently blocks states from using the COVID relief money to lower taxes.
Linn County Public Health announced that a 24-hour COVID-19 vaccine clinic will take place in downtown Cedar Rapids this weekend to vaccinate any individual age 16 and older.
The large-scale public vaccine clinic will be hosted at the DoubleTree in downtown Cedar Rapids starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 17, and ending at 9 a.m. Sunday, April 18. The clinic will be hosted by Reutzel Pharmacy, in collaboration with the county and the Iowa Pharmacy Association.
Public health officials and health care providers are aiming to give the Pfizer vaccine to approximately 1,000 people during the clinic’s duration. Appointments are required for the clinic. You can make an appointment at linncounty.org or call (319) 892-6097.
The Marion Independent School District has already voted to remove its former mascot The Indians, but on Monday they affirmed they will also not be Mavericks, Storm, or Wolves.
In a 5-2 vote, the board voted against going forward with the Mavericks mascot that had been the frontrunner, due to the fact that the namesake of the term maverick, Samuel Maverick, owned slaves.
The group decided to go back to the drawing board on coming up with a mascot that would match the school while also being culturally sensitive. The board also noted that they would like to add diversity to the mascot committee to perhaps get some varied perspectives earlier.
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