Today looks to be a pleasant mostly sunny day with a high near 29 and not much wind. Tonight temperatures should drop to about 18 as some clouds roll in with a 5 to 10 mph wind.
We could get both more rain and more snow before the week is through, including a temperature dip down to -5, but expect it to go to the mid to high 30s again by next weekend.
Jury Selection for the Jerry Burns trial over the 1979 murder of Michelle Martinko is set to begin today.
Burns was arrested in December 2018 after his DNA was taken from a straw at Pizza Ranch in Manchester after a public genealogy database led to Burns being identified. His DNA sample matched a profile developed from blood found on Martinko’s dress and the gearshift of her car. Fewer than 1 in 100 billion unrelated individuals could have the same DNA profile.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Fae Hoover made two important rulings last week, first, Hoover ruled to allow the DNA evidence at trial, and that a warrant wasn’t needed. Burns gave up his right to privacy when he left the straw for disposal. In Burns’ favor, Hoover ruled his computer searches searches and online activity involving blonde women sexually assaulted and killed couldn’t be used to show motive or intent since the activity from 2018 lacked relevance for a crime that happened in 1979.
Gazette reporter Trish Mehaffey will provide live coverage from the courtroom, and viewers can follow her and ask questions as soon as testimony starts.
Bernie Sanders’ campaign plans to request a “partial recanvass” last week’s Iowa caucuses
Nearly a week later, the results of the Iowa Caucuses still aren’t settled. The state party released updated results on Sunday showing Pete Buttigieg leading Sanders by two state delegate equivalents out of 2,152 counted, but The Associated Press remains unable to declare a winner because it believes the results may not be fully accurate and are still subject to potential revision.
The state party also asked campaigns to submit any evidence of inconsistencies in the final results, and pledged to issue any corrections by Monday, so Sanders’ campaign has requested a recanvass, not an actual recount, to check of the vote count to ensure the results were added correctly. The narrow margin between Buttigieg and Sanders leaves hope with the Sanders campaign that any mild shift could land in Sanders’ favor.
Is downtown Cedar Rapids as filthy as ever? It depends on who you ask.
During a recent dust-up between some City Council members and representatives from the downtown district, City Council members Ann Poe and Scott Olson, who serve on the finance committee, threatened to pull pull funding and find their own solution if the downtown district doesn’t start handling trash pickup more efficiently.
The downtown district has an annual budget of $880,000, of which about $560,000 comes from the tax levy on downtown property owners and $141,000 comes from a memorandum of understanding with the city for a lengthy list of services such as managing planters, coordinating installation of public art, removing snow, hanging banners and managing vegetation along the Fourth Street railway corridor.
The district is expected to address complaints of trash and debris on bridges and sidewalks within 24 hours, as well as maintain a consistent schedule of street sweeping and power-washing alleys, and this is the area Poe and Olsen say needs the most improvement.
Olson suggested expanding a downtown ambassadors program run through Willis Dady Homeless Services in which crews would walk through downtown and pick up trash.
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