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, January 8, and Sunday, January 9.
We’ve made it to the sweltering weekend, where it will mostly not be below zero degrees. According to a forecast from the National Weather Service, on Saturday it will be increasingly cloudy with a high near 29 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area. A wind will blow from 5 to 15 mph with a windchill of -5 degrees. On Saturday it will be cloudy with a low of 8 degrees.
On Sunday it will be sunny, with a high near 15 degrees. Wind chill values will be as low as -5, with a slightly weaker wind that Saturday.
Hundreds of Eastern Iowa students and staff reported testing positive for COVID-19 and were absent from school this week, the first week of classes after the holiday break.
The Cedar Rapids Community School District, which requires students and staff to wear a mask, reported Friday that 197 students and 49 staff members had tested positive for COVID-19.
Iowa schools are also in limbo about whether to follow a recent workplace vaccine mandate from President Joe Biden now that it is currently under consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court, where it may be rejected in full or in part.
According to state data, 898 people were hospitalized with the disease as of Friday night, an increase of 200 new patients since last week. Unvaccinated people make up 81 percent of those in the ICU and 72 percent of those hospitalized with the virus overall.
An Iowa City man, convicted in November of first-degree murder, told the family of the victim that he wasn’t the shooter before a judge sentenced him to life in prison.
Reginald Little, 46, was unapologetic to Kejuan Winters’ family who attended the Friday sentencing in Johnson County District Court.
Little continued to deny his role the fatal drug robbery on April 20, 2020.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Lars Anderson denied the defense’s motion for new trial, which argued there was lack of sufficient evidence and other issues at trial, and sentenced Little to life in prison without parole.
Police accused Little and another man of planning to rob Winters of his drug supply, and then fatally shooting him in the ensuing struggle.
Denying the request for a delay from the developer of a utility-scale solar project west of Coggon, the Linn County Board of Supervisors voted Friday to go ahead with holding more community meetings of the controversial project.
The three supervisors unanimously voted to keep the community meeting schedule the same as announced before — starting with meetings Monday, Thursday and Jan. 18. All will take place at 6 p.m. at the Linn County Fairgrounds in Central City.
In November, the Linn County Planning and Zoning Commission voted 6-1 to recommend that the supervisors deny the solar project 3 miles west of Coggon. Members cited taking agricultural land out of use as one of the reasons, though some members said it seemed the project proposal met all the county’s standards.
The proposed facility is a partnership between Idaho-based Clenera and the Central Iowa Power Cooperative. Clenera Director of Development Tom Fitzgerald had requested a delay of holding more community meetings earlier this week, said Linn County Planning and Development Director Charlie Nichols said.
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.