116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
In the news
MAQUOKETA CAVES TO REOPEN: Maquoketa Caves State Park reopened to the public Thursday, a week after three members of a Cedar Falls family were killed while camping.
The suspected gunman, Anthony Sherwin, 23, of La Vista, Neb., was later found dead of what authorities said was a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a wooded area inside the park.
Tyler and Sarah Schmidt, both 42, and their daughter Lula, 6, were killed in their tent, authorities say. Arlo Schmidt, the Schmidts’ 9-year-old son, escaped the attack.
The park’s campground remains closed, and a temporary memorial will be located at the park’s entrance, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said.
SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS: The city of Cedar Rapids is offering to fully fund two additional school resource officers to work at Cedar Rapids middle schools after the school board voted earlier this month to remove those officers.
In a letter to the school board, the two additional school resource officers could start their day at the Cedar Rapids Police Department to serve middle schools.
These additional officers would bring the total number of police in Cedar Rapids schools back up to seven, where it had been — but this time with the city picking up the tab for two and not continuing to base them at McKinley STEAM Academy and Wilson Middle School.
NORTH LIBERTY HOSPITAL: The Iowa Board of Regents on Wednesday unanimously agreed to increase the budget for University of Iowa Health Care’s new facility in North Liberty by 33 percent — bringing the total price tag to $525.6 million, the costliest new hospital in state history.
The increase was the “worst-case scenario,” and UIHC officials hope to come in under that new total once contracts are signed.
The increased costs, officials said, are tied to construction inflation, construction labor shortages and increased prices and limited availability of materials.
NEW JUSTICE: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds named David May, a judge on the Iowa Court of Appeals, to the Iowa Supreme Court on Wednesday.
May became the fifth justice appointed by Reynolds, and his appointment means all seven justices on the court were appointed by Republicans.
May replaces former Justice Brent Appel, who retired this year after reaching the state-mandated Supreme Court retirement age of 72. Appel was appointed to the court by former Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack in 2006.
May has served on the Iowa Court of Appeals since 2019. He was a district judge from 2016 to 2019 and worked at a Des Moines law firm for 14 years before that. He was chosen from among three finalists for the position.
TUITION GOING UP: Iowa residents will be paying more to attend Iowa’s three public universities this fall after the Board of Regents on Wednesday approved a 4.25 percent tuition increase.
At the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University, the rate hike applies to both resident and out-of-state students. At the University of Iowa, it will apply to in-state students, and out-of-state students will see their rates increased 1.2 percent for undergraduates and 1.5 percent for graduate students.
They said …
“At every point in this decision, Judge May at the Iowa Court of Appeals stood out for his experience, his approach to interpretation, and his commitment to judicial restraint." — Gov Kim Reynolds on her appointment of David May to the Iowa Supreme Court
“My own view is that there is no excuse whatsoever for an insurrection, and that we're in one of the most profound challenges to American democracy ever, excepting the Civil War." — Jim Leach, former U.S. representative for Eastern Iowa
Odds and ends
NEW PEST: The invasive spotted lanternfly — which sports an expansive diet of plants — has made its first appearance in Iowa in Dallas County near Des Moines.
The spotted lanternfly is native to China, India and Vietnam. It uses a strawlike beak to suck sap out of plants and then excretes honeydew — a sugary substance where sooty mold can develop, capable of ruining people’s outdoor experience, one state official said.
OPIOID LAWSUITS: Drugmaker Teva agreed to contribute more than $4.2 billion in cash and medications to several states, including Iowa, in settling lawsuits that claim the company contributed to the opioid epidemic.
BUS FARES: Cedar Rapids Transit will begin charging $1 bus fares Sept. 6 after using federal pandemic funds to offer free fares during the pandemic.
The fares were $1.50 before the pandemic, and transit managers hope the lower fares will attract and keep riders.
NEW COVID-19 CASES INCREASING: COVID-19 cases in Iowa jumped 12 percent in the past week compared to the previous week. The state on Wednesday reported 5,924 new cases compared to 5,301 cases the week before.
DEADLY AMOEBA IN IOWA LAKE: Iowa officials confirmed the presence of a brain-eating amoeba at the Lake of Three Fires State Park in southwest Iowa.
The beach will be reopened with warnings about the presence of the amoeba. A Missouri resident was infected and later died of the parasitic infection last month.
More in the news
PILOT SHORTAGE: U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced a bill this week to raise the mandatory retirement age for pilots from 65 to 67, hoping to address pilot shortages that have caused flight cancellations across the country.
Iowa airports said the measure would help, but it’s not a silver bullet to solve widespread pilot and staffing shortages in the airline industry.
TOBACCO COMPANIES SUED: Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is suing more than a dozen tobacco companies, saying the companies withheld millions of dollars in settlement payments under false pretenses over the past two decades.
The companies are required to pay money to states under a 1998 settlement, and they have withheld money every year since 2003, claiming that Iowa is not enforcing certain provisions of the settlement.
FORMER GOP CONGRESSMAN ENDORSES TWO DEMOCRATS: Former Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Leach, who represented Iowa for 30 years in Congress, has endorsed Democrats Christina Bohannan for the U.S. House and Mike Franken for the U.S. Senate.
Leach, who teaches at the University of Iowa College of Law with Bohannan, said he switched his party registration from Republican to Democrat to vote in the June primary. He’s not sure he’ll stick with that, saying he’s more interested in voting for candidates with “decency.”
Leach has been critical of President Donald Trump and endorsed President Joe Biden in 2020, and he has criticized what he sees as a rightward lurch of the Republican Party.
SUBURBS AS ELECTION BATTLEGROUNDS: Iowa’s suburbs and areas around the state’s major cities are the battlegrounds for some of the more competitive statehouse races this November.
Republicans are hoping to sway some suburban voters to vote for Republicans in legislative races by pushing concerns about inflation and school curriculum.
Democrats are appealing to Iowans who want to see abortion kept legal and attacking Republicans on private school vouchers and school funding.