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, January 25.
It’s going to be another frigid middle of the week, starting on Tuesday. According to the National Weather Service it will be sunny in the Cedar Rapids area with a high near 3 degrees. Wind chill values will drop to as low as -25 degrees with wind speeds of 5 to 15 mph. On Tuesday night it will drop down to -16 degrees, with wind chills remaining at -25 degrees.
A utility-scale solar project covering over 700 acres west of Coggon can start construction this spring after the Linn County Board of Supervisors voted 2-1 in favor of the project Monday night after hundreds of residents had packed meetings over the last few months to either praise or denounce the facility.
Supervisors Ben Rogers and Stacey Walker voted for the project, while Louie Zumbach voted against it. The approval means that about 750 acres will be rezoned from agricultural to agricultural with a renewable energy overlay that expires after 35 years. The project, a partnership between Idaho-based Clenera and the Central Iowa Power Cooperative, will be located almost 3 miles west of Coggon in rural Linn County.
While the project has enlisted property owners to voluntarily take part in the array, it has drawn opposition because of its large scale, because it temporarily removes farmland from growing crops and because some neighboring property owners say it comes too close to encroaching on their land.
Two weeks after the only remaining LGBTQ bar in Cedar Rapids announced its closure, a buyer has stepped in to preserve Club Basix — the owners of the LGBTQ nightclub Studio 13 in downtown Iowa City.
Jason Zeman and two partners in Corridor Entertainment Group were announced as the new owners of the club at 3916 First Ave. NE. They brought one of four serious, prospective offers, according to outgoing owner Andrew Harrison. A purchase price was not disclosed.
The purchase announcement comes after a flood of support for the bar inundated Harrison, to his own surprise. After 10 years of owning the bar, he will depart from Belle’s Basix — a namesake derived from his former drag name, Pretty Belle — on Feb. 1.
As businesses for years have struggled to recruit skilled workers to fill open positions — a challenge COVID-19 has only worsened — the city of Cedar Rapids and Kirkwood Community College announced Monday they are launching a partnership to fill local workforce needs.
Cedar Rapids will allocate $500,000 of its $28 million share of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds toward the College Career Connection program, a new workforce scholarship initiative with Kirkwood that will be the first of its kind among Iowa cities.
Students in the college’s Career & Technical Education programs will receive grants totaling up to $6,000 a year when funding becomes available this fall, helping to fill the gaps for students when state, federal and other financial aid doesn’t cover an individual’s need.
To be eligible, students must be Cedar Rapids residents and qualify financially as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Kirkwood President Lori Sundberg said the students who would most benefit are those who surpass income eligibility for a Pell Grant but still have “significant financial need.”
Support for this podcast provided by New Pioneer Food Co-op. Celebrating 50 years as Eastern Iowa’s source for locally and responsibly sourced groceries with stores in Iowa City, Coralville and Cedar Rapids; and online through Co-op Cart at newpi.coop.