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 June 5 and Sunday June 6.
It’s going to be a sunny and hot weekend. According to the National Weather Service the high on Saturday will be 92 degrees with sunny skies in the Cedar Rapids area. On Sunday it is expected to be sunny again with a high near 90 degrees. The low temperatures on both days are predicted to be near 70 degrees, and a moderate wind of 5 to 15 mph will be present on both days.
Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart said Friday in an appearance on the Iowa Public Broadcasting show “Iowa Press” that communication was a key issue in responding to last summer’s derecho after hurricane-force winds knocked down power lines and disrupted cell towers, but the city awaits a consultant’s review of the response to determine what should be done differently in another severe storm.
The city in March contracted with Tennessee-based Atchison Consulting Services to conduct an after-action review of its storm response for $25,000. This study is intended to help the city understand disaster response strengths and gaps in preparedness through data collection, analysis and engagement efforts.
Hart said the city’s past experience with disasters allowed it to manage a lot of the disaster response on its own. A major exception was the Iowa legislature allocating $250,000 to help the city recover its tree canopy. Hart said this effort could take more than a decade, even without considering the time it will take trees to grow, and he is going to continue asking for help.
Parents of a 31-year-old Colesburg man who died from injuries after a motorcycle crash last year are suing the city of Manchester and a police officer over a “conscience shocking and reckless” high-speed chase that two other officers had ceased out of safety concerns.
The lawsuit, filed last month by Sandra and Daniel Mormann, assert Manchester police Officer James L. Wessels’ decision on Dec. 10, 2020, to continue the chase of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, driven by Augustin Mormann, through the city of Manchester wasn’t justified for only a suspended license offense — a misdemeanor.
Iowa State Trooper Eric Payne initiated the pursuit of Mormann westbound on Highway 20 after Mormann was driving at high rate of speed — accelerating from 99 to 107 mph — and then fled after being pulled over. But the trooper ended the chase because it would be unsafe to continue within the city limits with increased traffic. Officer Wessels continued the pursuit, which, the lawsuit contends, led to him intentionally causing the fatal crash.
The man accused of fatally stabbing Chris Bagley has asked a court to allow him to change his name to further his aspirations of becoming an actor.
Drew Blahnik, charged with first-degree murder, said in his name change petition that he has been planning to change his name to “Johnny Blahnik Church” for over two years and now “strongly” feels it’s time. Before his arrest and pending trial, he said he had started taking acting classes that developed into him wanting to pursue it as a career.
Blahnik, 33, of Cedar Rapids, in the petition, said within seven months of two different acting classes he “secured an invitation out to Los Angeles for a competition — The International Models and Talent Association.” He also would drive back and forth to Chicago in an attempt to secure an agent.
During these interviews and auditions, he said he found a management company to represent him. During his acting pursuits he went by the stage name of “Johnny Church.”
Blahnik is accused of stabbing Bagley after Bagley robbed a local drug dealer named Andrew Shaw. Shaw is currently in prison on other charges.
The Iowa Ideas 2021 virtual conference will be here before you know it, and we would like you to be our guest on the house. The Gazette is providing free access to this two-day gathering with more than 50 sessions- filled with thought-provoking local, and national speakers-- all ready to engage you on a variety of important and timely Iowa-issues. Join us October 14th and 15th for this can’t miss, idea-exchange experience. Learn more and register for the event at iowaideas.com