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Gazette Daily News Podcast, May 20 and May 21
Welcome to the weekend!
This is Stephen Colbert from the Gazette Digital News Desk, and I’m here with your update for Saturday, May 20, and Sunday, May 21, 2023.
The weather this weekend will be warm and sunny in Cedar Rapids. According to the National Weather Service, Saturday’s weather will sunny with a high of 73, cooling to a low of 49 Saturday night. Sunday will also be sunny with a high of 78 and a low of 54 Sunday night.
It’s expected to remain sunny and warm into next week.
Hinson, Iowa pork producers want Congress to intervene on a California 'bacon ban’
Iowa Republican U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson plans to reintroduce legislation to overturn California's animal welfare law that mandates more housing space for pigs in order for their pork to be sold in that state.
Opponents say the law, which was recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, will drive up prices and devastate Iowa pork producers.
The California ballot initiative passed by voters bans the sale of pork in California from the offspring of pigs without at least 24 square feet of space and the ability to stand up and turn around in their pens.
Many hog farmers in Iowa, the nation’s top pork producing state, raise their pigs in facilities that don’t meet the standards of the California law.
The Supreme Court last week denied a challenge from national farm groups that said it violated the Constitution's prohibition on states restricting interstate commerce.
In his majority opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch said California voters have a right to regulate products sold within the state’s borders, but also noted Congress has the authority to overturn those regulations.
Traffic cameras coming this summer to Marion
Two stationary traffic cameras and one on wheels are coming by this summer to Marion.
The City Council voted unanimously Thursday to approve a contract with Beverly, Mass.-based Sensys Gatso USA, to install and maintain two automated traffic cameras that monitor for speeding and red-light running, as well as for a mobile unit that monitors for speeding only.
In April, the council approved an ordinance that added language to the city code allowing for traffic cameras to be put in place.
Under the new contract, Sensys Gatso — the same company that operates traffic cameras for the city of Cedar Rapids — will install the stationary cameras at the intersection of Highway 151 and Highway 13, and at the intersection Highway 100 and East Post Road. The cameras will photograph, for citation, vehicles that run red lights at those intersections, and vehicles driving more than 5 mph over the speed limit.
The mobile unit will be deployed throughout the city in response to resident complaints about speeding. Notice of which area it will operate must be given on the police department’s social media pages and in print at city hall and the police station at least 12 hours before the camera unit is placed.
Smoke from Canadian wildfires blankets Iowa, triggering air quality concerns
Has the sky looked a bit hazy to you lately? Have sunsets seemed a bit off? You’re not imagining it — northern wildfires are the culprit.
Wildfires began to sprout in Alberta, Canada, in early May, bolstered by unusually warm dry weather and strong winds. The province declared a state of emergency on May 6 as more blazes erupted. As of May 10, 136 wildfires burned throughout Canada — 31 of which were uncontrolled at the time. More than 29,000 residents have since evacuated Alberta and the neighboring province British Columbia.
The resulting smoke from the blazes has wafted over much of the northern U.S. It started noticeably clouding Iowa skies around Tuesday, creating cloudlike cover and red, hazy sunsets. That smoke was between 15,000 and 20,000 feet in the air.
The northwest winds are changing course Friday; streams should start coming from the west. So, smoke should clear out of Iowa by Friday afternoon, aside from some intermittent patches that may pass over through the weekend.
But that most likely won’t be the last Iowa sees of the haziness. With around 30 wildfires still raging out of control in Canada, more smoke is bound to travel southeast at some point
Have a good weekend, everyone.