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This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Saturday, September 25th, and Sunday, September 26th.
The next two days should make for a beautiful fall weekend. According to the National Weather Service it will be sunny Saturday with a high near 73 degrees. A moderate wind of 5 to 15 mph will blow throughout the day. Saturday night it will be mostly clear, with a low around 45 degrees. Sunday will be similar to Saturday, but a bit warmer, with a high near 84 degrees and a low coming in around 56 degrees.
88-year-old Chuck Grassley, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, announced Friday he will seek re-election to an eighth six-year term on the 2022 elections.
The second-oldest member of the Senate, Grassley has held elective office continuously since 1959, when he was elected to the Iowa House. He has served in the U.S. Senate since 1981, holding major committee assignments — including as chairman of the powerful Senate finance and judiciary committees — and formerly serving as the chamber’s second-highest presiding officer. He famously has established the “full Grassley,” a tour of Iowa’s 99 counties that he makes every year.
Grassley, who would be 95 at the end of his term if reelected, said he intends to serve a full term. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina was 100 when he left the Senate in 2002.
A federal judge this week ruled all former and present members of an Iowa youth basketball program the Iowa Barnstormers — who were potential victims of sexual misconduct by former coach Greg Stephen between 2005 and April 5, 2018 — can join a federal class action lawsuit filed last year.
U.S. District Judge John Jarvey had denied a previous class action certification in May, allowing Guy Cook, lead attorney for an unnamed former Barnstormers player, to alter who would be included in the lawsuit.
Cook told the Gazette there may be more than 400 potential victims of Stephen over his time with the team.
The unnamed player is suing the former coach, Barnstormers, team sponsor Adidas and the Amateur Athletic Union for being negligent in hiring and supervising Stephen and inadequate policies to protect “vulnerable youth athletes from the despicable conduct” of Stephen.
Stephen was caught with hidden equipment that he used to take photos and videos of Barnstormer players while they were naked, and he also used catfishing methods to obtain other explicit photos from players. He was sentenced in 2019 to 180 years in federal prison.
A fourth version of a proposed housing development near Hickory Hill Park will be coming before the Iowa City Planning & Zoning Commission in October.
The updated proposal for rezoning the 48-acre plot northeast of the park, 1439 E. Bloomington St. in northeast Iowa City, is scaled back from previous plans and devotes nearly three times more land to the park.
The proposal includes a 120-bed senior living facility and 38 acres of land dedicated to the city for public open space and the expansion of Hickory Hill Park, according to a Sept. 13 letter from Axiom Consultants to neighbors and the city.
The previous versions of the plan have nearly been approved by the full Iowa City City Council, but angry public sentiment has led to it getting stymied on numerous occasions.
Due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in its dormitory-style cell blocks, the Linn County Correctional Center is releasing a number of inmates who have tested negative for the virus.
According to a news release from the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, 18 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, and an additional 19 inmates have had possible exposure to the virus and are in quarantine awaiting test results.
Most of the inmates who have tested positive are asymptomatic, Sheriff Brian Gardner said, but some are experiencing “slight fevers, chills and body aches.” All are being monitored and treated appropriately as necessary, he added.
The sheriff said several second-floor jail cell units have been quarantined because of possible exposures.
The jail is working with Linn County District Court to obtain court orders to release a number of inmates who are housed in these dormitory-style cells, and who have tested negative for COVID.