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 Saturday, April 3 and Sunday, April 4.
For some of you this weekend has deep religious significance. For others, it will be a long overdo excuse to see family. The best news is that the sun will be shining down on all of us.
According to the National Weather Service, your local Easter Egg hunt will have some of the best weather we've had so far this year. On Saturday it will be sunny, with a high near 73 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area and winds of 10 to 15 mph. On Sunday it will be sunny again, with a high near 75 degrees and less windy than the day before.
The sun was also shining on Iowa gun rights enthusiasts Friday.
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law Friday a contentious measure eliminating a requirement that Iowans obtain a permit to acquire or carry handguns and loosening other state restrictions.
The bill enacts a longtime wish of gun rights activists, with Iowa now joining 18 states that have similar 'constitutional carry' provisions that advocates say will enhance individual rights while removing a requirement they first get a 'permission slip from the government.'
The NRA applauded the signing, calling it 'a common-sense measure that allows law-abiding citizens to exercise their fundamental right of self-defense in the manner that best suits their needs.'
The state's decision to allocate one-shot COVID-19 vaccines to colleges and employers is 'heartbreaking' to local public health officials who have been 'requesting, even begging, for several weeks' to receive the doses to administer to vulnerable populations, Linn County Public Health wrote this week in an emotional plea.
In a letter Wednesday, Linn County Public Health asked the Governor's Office to allocate the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to local public health agencies and let them decide what's best for their jurisdictions.
'It is becoming increasingly clear that the Governor's Office does not trust local public health to identify and serve individuals in our community who are most vulnerable,' wrote Tricia Kitzmann, community health division manager, in the letter.
Everyone of legal age will be eligible to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday. This is welcome news for getting more Iowans vaccinated, but health care providers worry that the expansion is coming before vulnerable groups have been fully vaccinated, leaving them potentially exposed for longer if they fall to the end of the line.
A former acting director of University of Iowa Health Care's Central Sterilizing Services is suing UIHC and the Board of Regents for gender and pay discrimination, asserting she was excluded from meetings and decision making, paid less than her male counterparts, and fired after reporting concerns about bias and unsafe practices.
When Courtney Mace Davis, now of Winfield, was terminated in April 2019, the UIHC Central Sterilizing Services she previously led was transitioning from the main campus in Iowa City to a new 48,000-square-foot facility on the Oakdale campus in Coralville.
The operation is responsible for cleaning, inspecting, packaging and sterilizing nearly 10 million medical instruments a year.
In suing UIHC and the regents for gender and pay discrimination, and also retaliation for reporting her concerns, Mace Davis is seeking compensation for lost wages, humiliation, anguish and weakened future employment opportunities. But she also wants the court to force UIHC to take steps to prevent discrimination going forward, like imposing training, implementing monitoring and barring disproportionate discipline for women.
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