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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Friday, May 13th.
I looked up the origin of Friday the 13th, and it turns out that bad luck combo is relatively recent, while 13 on its own has been considered unlucky for centuries. The more you know.
Colder air will finally make its way back into the Cedar Rapids area on Friday, which could lead to some storms on Friday afternoon. According to the National Weather Service it will be mostly sunny during the day, with a high near 84 degrees. There is a chance for rain listed after noon, but this will reach its highest probability Friday night. Even then, the chance for precipitation is currently only 40 percent.
And after a week of record breaking high temperatures, this weekend’s weather is looking quite pleasant.
Testimony ended Thursday in the trial of the Grundy Center man accused of shooting and killing Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Jim Smith in 2021, with the defense not calling any of its own witnesses.
The defense indicated it wasn't calling anyone to testify, and the accused, Michael Thomas Lang, 42, told the court he wasn’t going to take the stand either. One of Lang's attorneys, Aaron Hawbaker, said Lang's decision to testify was related to his inability to argue the killing was in self defense.
Judge Joel Dalrymple had previously ruled that the actions of law enforcement during the arrest were lawful, so arguing that Lang killed Smith in self defense was not a valid argument for the defense to pursue.
Dalyrmple also gave the jury Thursday and Friday off to give more time for jury instructions to reduce the possibility of a mistrial.
Smith, who grew up in Cedar Rapids, was the second Iowa State Patrol trooper to be shot and killed in the line of duty. He is survived by his wife and two children.
The second of two teens accused of murdering a Fairfield High School Spanish teacher had his request to move his trial to juvenile court denied on Thursday.
The attorneys for 16-year-old Willard Noble Chaiden Miller had argued that he would benefit from the rehabilitation opportunities provided in the juvenile detention system, but the judge denied this request, like he did for Jeremy Everett Goodale, 17, the day before.
Both teens are charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit a forcible felony in the killing of Nohema Graber. Her body was found in a park near the school Nov. 3.
About 13 months after the NCAA approved a policy allowing collegiate athletes to transfer once without having to wait a year to play, Iowa athletics director Gary Barta is “pursuing” a repeal of the rule.
“OK, if we can’t totally control name, image and likeness, then let’s go back and put a one-year — if you transfer, you can transfer, you don’t have to lose your scholarship, but you must sit out a year,” Barta said on the athletics department’s Fight for Iowa podcast.
The increasing volume of NIL deals — and the efforts by boosters to lure recruits or transfers to their schools via NIL — has prompted the concerns that there may be bidding wars over coveted players. Barta argued that making players sit out a year after transferring would give some institutional control back to athletic departments.
Barta has plenty of influence among his peers in collegiate athletics, having recently served on the College Football Playoff selection committee and the NCAA Division I Council.
“I don’t claim to have all the answers,” Barta said. “I know we’re going through a storm. I’m in the middle of the storm.”