116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
There will be another frosty start to the day Thursday, but it should be slightly warmer than Wednesday. According to the National Weather Service, there will be patchy frost before 8 a.m. in the Cedar Rapids area. Otherwise, it will be sunny, with a high near 67 degrees. On Thursday night it will be clear, with a low of around 40 degrees.
University of Iowa Health Care leaders have notified employees that nurses in the coming weeks will face “some of the most challenging” staffing to date — warning that nurses in some units at times will have to take on five patients at once.
Some UIHC nurses report the “increase in nurse-patient ratios” is out of line, and they’ve coordinated a protest over it outside the hospital for Thursday.
“We refuse to let our hospital administrators make poor decisions that affect our quality of care because they couldn't plan well and prepare properly,” according to a Facebook event page for the protest encouraging staff, patients, family and managers to “bring the cowbell, noisemakers, signs, ALL of it!”
In response to The Gazette’s questions on nurse shortages and whether UIHC is upping nurse-patient ratios, officials would not provide a clear response on how things will change from their current ratios.
A former state trooper, who was going to stand trial next month for the second time on a charge of using unreasonable force on a motorcyclist during a 2017 traffic stop, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge this week.
Robert James Smith, 58, of Durant, pleaded guilty Monday to deprivation of rights under the color of law. He faces a maximum sentence of one year in federal prison, a $100,000 fine and one year of supervised release following any prison term.
According to the plea agreement, the defense and prosecution agreed to recommend Smith receive probation, but the judge can decide whether to accept that recommendation.
Smith, in the plea, admitted that on Sept. 25, 2017 he attempted to catch up with a motorcycle driven by Bryce Yakish, then 20, of Davenport, who was traveling at 84 mph westbound on Interstate 80. Yakish eventually exited and crossed the interstate southbound and Smith turned on the overhead lights and siren of his patrol vehicle. Yakish pulled into the entrance of the West Liberty Travel Plaza.
Yakish stopped and was getting off his motorcycle as Smith got out of his vehicle and quickly approached him, he admitted in the plea. Yakish was standing next to his motorcycle and had his hands in the air when Smith hit Yakish in the chin area with an open hand palm strike. Yakish was wearing a helmet with a face mask but the force of the strike caused Yakish to fall backward over his motorcycle.
In his plea said the strike was intentional. However, he also now admits in his plea that in his initial report and in subsequent testimony he claimed the strike was unintentional, and that he had only been trying to grab Yakish by the shoulder when he missed and hit him in the helmet.
Smith was terminated from the Iowa State Patrol following an internal investigation of the arrest and allowed to retire in 2018, according to testimony.
Farmland values and cash rents are up considerably, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual National Agricultural Statistics Service surveys.
Iowa cropland values rose 19.7 percent on average over the past year — from $7,810 per acre to $9,350 per acre, according to the September edition of the “Ag Decision Maker” newsletter, a publication of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
In addition, pastureland rose to 9.3 percent, now averaging $3,300 per acre.
As a state average, cropland values are the highest ever, and cash rents are second only to 2014, when they reached $260 per acre.