116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
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This is Nathan Ford with The Gazette digital news desk with your update for Friday, Feb. 26, 2021.
There is a 20-percent chance of rain after 3 p.m. in Cedar Rapids today. The high temperature will be near 41. Tonight sees a low around 29 with another chance for rain, mixing with snow after 9 p.m. Any new snow accumulation is expected to be less than a half inch.
After thrusting the University of Iowa's College of Dentistry under the free speech microscope of Republican state lawmakers with his mass email condemning then-President Donald Trump's executive order on diversity training, college Dean David Johnsen said Thursday he'll step down after this semester. Although a UI announcement of Johnsen's early departure didn't mention the controversy that's spawned Republican calls for accountability for free speech violators across the public universities, Johnsen in a statement said, 'Upon further reflection, I came to realize that the pieces are in place for me to step away a year earlier." President Joe Biden since has repealed the executive order.
A proposal to ban traffic cameras throughout Iowa — except on the dangerous S-curve on Interstate 380 by downtown Cedar Rapids — got the green light Thursday from the Iowa Senate Judiciary Subcommittee. The bill seeks to bar Iowa communities from using automated traffic enforcement systems, reviving lawmakers' on-again, off-again attempts for years to regulate or eliminate them. Some lawmakers see the cameras as traffic safety tools that reduce public safety costs, while others slam them as cash-generating constitutional violations. This bill would let cameras stay along the S-curve, though it doesn't specifically say Cedar Rapids. Sen. Brad Zaun, a Republican from Urbandale who introduced the bill, said he took into account local officials' concerns about the S-curve. Police have long said the elevated curve is prone to crashes but leaves no room for stationing squad cars for traffic enforcement.
Temperatures are rising after the February cold snap, but so is your natural gas bill. Starting next month, MidAmerican Energy and Alliant Energy both say they are expecting increases in gas bills following unusually high use amid limited supply. MidAmerican said it is expecting residential customers to see a $13 jump on average, and commercial customers to see a $95 jump on average, in March. The increases will continue throughout the year. Alliant also anticipates a rise in gas prices, but a spokesman said it's too soon to know how much.
Thursday's Michigan-Iowa women's basketball game was delayed five hours due to COVID-19 protocols. Originally scheduled for 3:30 p.m. in Iowa City, it didn't tip off until 8:30. Iowa head coach Lisa Bluder said junior forward Logan Cook had tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday and Michigan asked for the rest of the Hawkeyes' players and staff members to receive PCR tests. Once those all came back negative, the game was played and Iowa scored a key 89-67 win over the 12th-ranked Wolverines. Elsewhere, the ninth-ranked Iowa men's basketball team lost a Top-10 showdown at No. 3 Michigan, 79-57.
This briefing is sponsored in part by Corridor Careers.
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