The Gazette Daily News Podcast: Jan. 20

The Gazette

Expect a cold Martin Luther King Jr. Day. There’ll be a little bit of sun, but the high will be near 12 with a wind chill as low as -15 and a northwest wind around 5 mph. Tonight will be partly cloudy, with a low around -5 and a wind chill of -15.

It’s going to get a little warmer later in the week as temperatures start to climb into the 30s Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, but the increase could also be accompanied by more snow leading into the weekend.

School is out today, but there are a number of free events to keep your kids busy

The Downtown Cedar Rapids Library is hosting a few School’s Out programs, including Clay Creations from 10:30-11:30, and the Triangle Building Challenge from 2pm-3pm. School’s Out gives K-5 kids the chance to try something new, fun, and maybe a little messy! 

The Downtown Cedar Rapids Library is also hosting Open Gaming for teens from 4pm-7pm.

Each week, teens will have the opportunity to play an assortment of video games, board games, or card games.

For more details, or to see the full list of upcoming area events, go to HooplaNow.com.

Make sure you get your flu vaccine!

Influenza B has not been the predominant strain for almost 3 decades, but it’s made a massive resurgence this year. In the first week of January alone, the State Hygienic Laboratory identified 76 influenza B viruses.

The CDC reported more than 68 percent of positive results nationwide were linked to influenza B, accounting for nearly half the hospitalizations reported. Iowa’s Department of Public health says this particular strain is especially dangerous as people in their 20’s or younger may not have the right immunities.

It’s not too late to get your Flu vaccine. Yearly flu vaccination is recommended for almost everyone more than six months of age, according to the Department of Public Health.

Iowa schools won’t reveal information about the use of 6-by-6-foot padded rooms for student seclusion

When these seclusion rooms are used, school staff are required by law to fully document the situation. The Gazette filed an open records request with Cedar Rapids and Iowa City schools.

The Cedar Rapids Community School District agreed to provide reports from the first month of school, but the Iowa City Community School District refused, citing student privacy, despite the Iowa Attorney General’s Sunshine Advisory allowing staff to black out confidential information. A request for a phone call with the Iowa City Community School District’s attorney was declined.

Cedar Rapids then decided to withhold the reports as well, but they did tell The Gazette seclusion or restraint was used 237 times at Cedar Rapids’ 21 elementary schools in the first month of the 2019-2020 school year. That’s 10 incidents per school per day and more than four times as much as the same period in 2015. Be sure to read the full report from The Gazette’s Erin Jordan as the story continues to unfold.

Iowa Republicans seek changes to the Iowa Constitution to deny abortion rights

During her Condition of the State address, Gov. Kim Reynolds told legislators it’s time to protect the unborn by starting the process of amending Iowa’s constitution to make it clear it does not grant a right to an abortion.

Senate Republicans are now seeking to to have Iowa voters pass a resolution declaring the Iowa Constitution “shall not be construed to recognize, grant or secure a right to abortion or to require the public funding of abortion.”

Today's Gazette Daily News is produced by Stephen Colbert. Be sure to subscribe to The Gazette Daily news podcast, or just tell your Amazon Alexa to “enable The Gazette Daily News skill" so you can get your daily briefing by simply saying “Alexa, what’s the news?"