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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
In the news
C.R. CASINO IN QUESTION: A last-minute amendment to a bill in Iowa Legislature proposes to place a two-year moratorium on new casinos in Iowa.
It was a surprise to the people in Cedar Rapids who want to build a $250 million, 160,000-square-foot casino and entertainment complex — called Cedar Crossing — who went ahead and unveiled their plans last Sunday.
The complex would be built — if it obtains a state license — on the site of the now-demolished Cooper’s Mill on F Avenue NW, just off Interstate 380 and close to downtown.
The Iowa Racing and Gaming commissioners also were surprised and said Thursday they were disappointed that politics had entered into what should be a commission decision.
Also on Thursday, Cedar Rapids Mayor Tiffany O’Donnell wrote Gov. Kim Reynolds, urging her to veto the bill and let Cedar Rapids present its proposal to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.
WORKING ON THE RAILROAD: Iowa Northern Railway Co. received a $7.2 million federal grant to upgrade its line that runs from Cedar Rapids to Manly.
The company will spend another $7 million to improve 27 miles of Iowa Northern’s 253 miles of track. The company carries mainly agriculture products, and the new lines will allow higher speeds and fewer bumps.
The grant was one of 46 projects in 32 states announced Thursday by U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
The grants come via the bipartisan infrastructure package approved by Congress, which nearly triple funding for rail infrastructure to $1 billion a year for the next five years, Buttigieg said.
UNIVERSITY RAISES: Both University of Iowa President Barbara Wilson and Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen are getting 8.3 percent pay raises this summer — bumping up their annual base pay from $600,000 to $650,000.
The Iowa Board of Regents announced those pay raises, which take effect in the new fiscal year that begins July 1, on Thursday following private performance evaluations of the presidents.
DEERE JOBS TO MEXICO: John Deere officials confirmed they will move cab production from the Tractor and Cab Assembly Operations facility in Waterloo to a plant in Ramos, Mexico.
UAW Local 838 President Tim Frickson said he knows of no planned layoffs at the Waterloo John Deere plant, where approximately 1,100 people work, and the company may plan to start a new build at the facility.
John Deere said the number of employees affected will depend on production volumes, employee attrition over the next two years and new product program needs.
They said …
“It’s looking for ways to harden schools, it’s talking about having conversations about state resource officers. … Maybe a single entrance into the school system and making sure educators are trained.”
— Gov. Kim Reynolds on preventing school shootings
"With the process of instituting the red-flag law for any individual, make sure that there's due process in making the determination that they shouldn't have a gun."
— Sen. Chuck Grassley, on the possibility of Congress passing new gun control legislation
Odds and ends
CAPITOL RIOTERS SENTENCED: A federal judge on Wednesday sentenced a northern Iowa father and son to prison for their participation in the U.S. Capitol riot Jan. 6, 2021.
Daryl Johnson, 51, and his son, Daniel Johnson, 30, both of St. Ansgar, admitted to entering the building through a broken window and pushing through a police line once inside. Daryl Johnson will serve 30 days in jail, and Daniel Johnson with serve four months.
ON BROADWAY: Mason City Mayor Bill Schickel presented a key to the city to "The Music Man" cast on Broadway before a Saturday matinee in May at the Winter Garden Theatre in New York City. The iconic musical, written by Meredith Willson, is set in Mason City.
The water cooler
KRIS MURRAY RETURNING: Kris Murray is returning to the Iowa men’s basketball team for his junior season.
Murray announced Wednesday on Twitter that he was withdrawing from the 2022 NBA draft and returning to the Hawkeyes for his third year of college.
The 6-foot-8 forward from Cedar Rapids Prairie averaged 9.7 points and 17.9 minutes per game last season.
NEW CONTRACT: Iowa State basketball head coach T.J. Otzelberger received a contract extension and $500,000 raise after leading the Cyclones to the NCAA Sweet 16 and the third-best turnaround in major college basketball history.
Otzelberger’s contract was extended one year through June 2027 and his compensation package increases from $1.5 million to $2 million annually.
More in the news
DAIRY QUEEN FIRE: The Wilson Avenue Dairy Queen at Wilson Avenue and Bowling Street SW was heavily damaged in a fire Wednesday afternoon.
No one was injured in the fire, which produced heavy smoke visible from downtown Cedar Rapids.
LEMONADE STAND SHOOTING: Waterloo saw a string of shootings over the Memorial Day weekend, including a 27-year-old man who survived after he was shot in the neck at a children’s lemonade stand on Monday when children were present.
GUN GIVEAWAY POSTPONED: The Sioux City Bandits arena football team postponed an AR-15 giveaway competition that had been scheduled for Saturday night’s game. The giveaway was sponsored with American Brothers in Arms.
The decision to postpone the giveaway came eight days after a man used a semi-automatic gun to kill 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas.
Gazette Des Moines Bureau