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In the news
FIREWORKS GALORE: Cities will have fewer options to regulate where fireworks can be sold under legislation signed into law Thursday by Gov. Kim Reynolds.
Under the new law, cities, including Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, will no longer be able to restrict firework sales to only certain zoning categories, like industrial, a regulation the cities made in response to citizen complaints and a rise in injuries.
Republicans who called for the measure said it stops cities from attempting to, in effect, ban fireworks sales.
Cities said the law will make it more difficult to prevent fireworks from being sold in potentially dangerous locations.
The proposal, Senate File 2285, passed the Senate, 31-17, and the House, 56-37, with all Republicans supporting and all Democrats opposing.
NOT-SO-FREE RANGE: The U.S. Department of Agriculture is recommending that chickens be moved indoors to protect against bird flu, a virus that has killed roughly 28 million chickens and turkeys in the United States.
John Brunnquell, the CEO of Indiana-based Egg Innovations, which contracts with more than 50 farms in five states to produce free-range and pasture-raised eggs, said his chickens in states with bird flu will stay in “confinement mode" until the risk passes.
But Mike Badger, executive director of the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association, said he believes birds kept outdoors are at less risk of infection than chickens and turkeys raised amid thousands of others in large, enclosed barns.
BASEBALL DREAMS: The Cedar Rapids Kernels will play the Quad Cities River Bandits at the Field of Dreams in Dyersville on Aug. 9.
The minor league teams will be playing on the major-league diamond adjacent to the “Field of Dreams” movie site, according to a Thursday announcement from Major League Baseball.
It will be the second professional baseball game at the site, following last August’s MLB game — the first ever in Iowa — between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox. This year, the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds will play a regular-season game Aug. 11 at the field.
“It doesn’t make any sense to put dangerous explosives on the Main Street of every Iowa downtown. This is the ‘burn down every Main Street amendment.’ ” — State Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, in opposing the bill that bars cities from restricting the sale of fireworks to certain zones
"The Supreme Court, maybe 25 years ago, said that we’re going to give great discretion on the interpretation of law to various executive branch agencies. … I think the courts made the wrong decision there.” — U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, speaking at a Youth Summit in Sioux City Wednesday.
More in the news
SECOND TABOO ARREST: A man was arrested Monday in a Chicago suburb in connection with the April 10 shooting that killed two and injured 10 at the Taboo Nightclub and Lounge in downtown Cedar Rapids.
U.S. marshals arrested Dimione Jamal Walker, 29, on a first-degree murder charge.
The second man charged in the shootings, Timothy L. Rush, was working security at the club and trying to protect his girlfriend, his attorney told a judge Thursday in Linn County District Court.
Court records show Rush, 32, was captured on surveillance video carrying what is believed to be a 9 mm gun in the club even though he is a felon barred from carrying weapons.
Rush, who is charged with second-degree murder, is the father of a child with Nicole Ownes, 35, of Cedar Rapids, one of those killed at the club.
The judge refused to lower Rush’s $1.5 million bail.
MOBILE HOME HELP: The Iowa City Council on Tuesday unanimously agreed to award $1.4 million in federal pandemic funds to the residents of the Forest View Mobile Home Court to help them relocate.
Most of the tenants will receive a $15,750 payment. The tenants were promised new homes in a 2019 deal between the city and a developer, but the deal fell through. The mobile home court is off North Dubuque Street and south of Interstate 80.
City council members, though not legally obligated to help the tenants relocate, said they felt a “moral obligation” to do so.
MORE TOBACCO MONEY: Another $53.2 million has been transferred to Iowa as part of the landmark 1998 tobacco settlement, bringing the total sent to Iowa over the past 24 years to $1.41 billion.
The settlement was reached as the result of a lawsuit brought by 45 states against the nation’s four largest tobacco companies. The states were seeking to recover state health care costs associated with treating smoking-related illnesses, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office said in a news release.
CEDAR RIVER PROJECT: After construction bids came in significantly higher than anticipated for a massive Cedar River recreation project, Cedar Falls officials will work with Riverwise Engineering to adjust the design.
The project is intended to “reconnect the community to the river.”
NOT GUILTY PLEA: Drew Blahnik, 34, of Marion — convicted of killing Chris Bagley, 31, of Walker in December 2018 — pleaded not guilty Wednesday to federal firearms charges. He was sentenced to 57 years in prison in Bagley’s slaying.
In U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids, Blahnik, who legally changed his name to Johnny Blahnik Church after his conviction in state court, is now accused of being an unlawful user of cocaine and methamphetamine while possessing a handgun on Feb. 25, 2019.
NEW SONG: The University of Iowa plans to wave goodbye to the music that has accompanied the Hawkeye Wave at Kinnick Stadium.
The university announced it is seeking a replacement for “Wave on Wave,’’ the song that has been played as fans, players and officials wave to patients and families at the neighboring University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital after the first quarter of Hawkeye home football games.
IOWA’S ‘HOLY PLACE’: Qin Gang, the 11th ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, met with American friends of Chinese President Xi Jinping in Muscatine on Wednesday.
He referred to Muscatine, which Xi visited in 2012, as a “holy place of friendship” between China and the United States.
Gazette Des Moines Bureau