CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus in Iowa, live updates for April 29:

Most Linn County facilities will remain closed through May 15

Marta Petermann of Cedar Rapids grabs a box of food items to a waiting person during a Hawkeye Area Community Action Pla
Marta Petermann of Cedar Rapids grabs a box of food items to a waiting person during a Hawkeye Area Community Action Plan food reservoir pop-up, drive-thru food pantry in the parking lot of Veterans Memorial Stadium on April 9. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

12:35 p.m.: Linn County extending closure of most county facilities through May 15

In order to follow updated guidelines provided by the State of Iowa and the Iowa Department of Public Health, Linn County is extending the closure of most county facilities to the general public through May 15.

Closures include these county buildings:

* Jean Oxley Linn County Public Service Center

* Community Services Building, including Options of Linn County

* Dr. Percy and Lileah Harris Building, with the exception of the Child Development Center as the Iowa Department of Human services is not recommending closure of childcare facilities at this time

* Juvenile Detention and Diversion Services

* Secondary Road Department

* Wickiup Hill Learning Center

* Linn County Sheriff’s Office: The Civil Division will continue to serve legal processes and the Patrol Division will continue to respond to emergency and routine calls for service.

* LIFTS: Office is closed to the public; however, routes are still running for essential needs. Fares are waived and the number of riders will be limited during each route.

Exceptions:

* The Linn County Child Development Center will remain open as the Iowa Department of Human services is not recommending closure of childcare facilities at this time.

* Linn County Courthouse, normal operating hours; however, restrictions are in place that limit entry to the courthouse.

* Juvenile Justice Center (Juvenile Courthouse), normal operating hours.

1:50 p.m.: Eastern Iowa Airport putting out a call to school-age artists

CEDAR RAPIDS — With schools closed for the rest of year due to COVID-19 restrictions, Eastern Iowa Airport director Marty Lenss says the airport wants to offer K-12 students a travel-related project that could be displayed in the new art gallery.

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“This is difficult time for students and parents and many people’s spring break plans were cancelled because of COVID-19,” Lenss said. “As travel recovers, we hope families are able to rebook their trips to their favorite destinations and see some great artwork by student artists from the CID region.”

The new gallery space was created in the pre-security area of the terminal lobby.

CID will choose up to 50 students’ drawings to be displayed July 1-Dec. 31. Artwork must be on paper — either 8.5 inches by 11 inches (portrait or landscape orientation) or 11 inches by 17 inches (landscape orientation only).

Artwork will be displayed in frames supplied by the airport. Framed artwork will be returned to the students at the end of the year.

Deadline to submit artwork is 4 p.m. May 22.

To submit artwork, include name, age, school, grade in the 2019-20 school year, parent/guardian’s name, address and a phone number Phone number and/or email address.

Send submissions to Pam Hinman, Eastern Iowa Airport, 2515 Arthur Collins Pkwy SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404.

2:05 p.m.: ACLU of Iowa files public-records request with Reynolds, Department of Corrections

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa filed public records requests with Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Corrections.

Those requests seek information on what state leaders knew about the potential impacts of COVID-19 on Iowa prisons and the communities surrounding them, as well as information on how officials are handling the crisis to minimize its harms on inmates, staff and the public.

“The ACLU has been concerned to see state agencies’ lack of transparency regarding COVID-19, specifically, how agencies are making critical decisions that affect the health of potentially every person in Iowa,” said ACLU of Iowa Legal Director Rita Bettis Austen.

“Transparency is an essential aspect of government accountability during these unprecedented times. Access to these types of public records has never been more important to maintaining our democracy than now, when the government is operating with significant emergency powers.”

3:55 p.m.: Hy-Vee donating more than 10,000 cantaloupes to HACAP

WEST DES MOINES — Hy-Vee, Inc., in partnership with its melon vendor Sol Group, is donating more than 10,000 fresh cantaloupes to Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP).

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On Tuesday, Hy-Vee delivered 18 pallets of cantaloupe to the food bank. The donation comes as food banks across Iowa struggle to keep their shelves stocked due to increased demand from COVID-19.

“Hy-Vee has always been about giving back to the communities they serve,” said Adam Lazo, head of sales for Sol Group Marketing. “We want to make sure we are doing everything we can to help them take care of those in need.”

12:30 p.m.: Official joins task force in calling on Congress to provide funding for prisons

Stephanie Groen, director of state-federal relations in the office of the governor, joins Justice Action Network and state and local officials across the country as part of a task force sounding the alarm on the need for federal aid to justice systems across the country.

The emergency task force includes sheriffs, judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers, legislators and corrections administrators, who are on the front lines in the fight to contain the disturbing spread of coronavirus in jails and prisons, protect public health, and keep communities safe.

The task force will present a report next week, focusing on their efforts to reduce overcrowding in jails and prisons, the unprecedented challenges they are facing during the crisis, and the support they need from Congress to continue to keep their communities safe and healthy.

12:05 p.m.: Iowa Raptors organizing ‘Help Us, Help Mercy’

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Iowa Raptors soccer franchise is organizing a “Help Us, Help Mercy” program.

For every $5 donated, the donor will receive one Iowa Raptors reusable cotton mask, and $2.51 will be donated to Mercy Medical Center.

Also, donations of $5 or more will receive a 25-percent voucher at each participating restaurant — La Cantina Bar and Grill, Cancun Mexican Grill & Bar, Fong’s Pizza, Hacienda Las Glorias and The Fish Store. Donations of $50 or more will receive a free meal of up to $15 at the participating restaurant of the donor’s choice.

10:15 a.m.: Gardner, Ellis golf courses, disc golf to open

CEDAR RAPIDS — Following Iowa Department of Public Health guidelines, Gardner Golf Course, 5101 Golf Course Road, Marion, will reopen to the public Friday.

Ellis Golf Course, 1401 Zika Ave. NW, will open for the season Monday. Driving ranges will be open (Ellis will be mats only). The courses will require social distancing in the clubhouse, in parking lots and throughout golf property.

Tee times are required and have been extended to create more distance between players. While walking is encouraged, carts will be available but limited to one person only. Carts and push carts will be disinfected after each use.

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In addition, the clubhouses will be used for check-in and food purchase only, no loitering will be allowed.

Only packaged food will be sold and all transactions must be made by credit card. Ball washers, water coolers and sand trap rakes will not be used on the course and golfers are encouraged to leave flag sticks in cups.

For more information or to answer questions about accommodations, call Gardner Golf Course at 286-5586 and Ellis Golf Course at 286-5589.

The Parks and Recreation Department will also be reinstalling baskets to reopen disc golf next week.

8:15 a.m.: First Assembly will donate 35,000 pounds of groceries today

Cedar Rapids First Assembly, in partnership with Convoy of Hope, will distribute 35,000 pounds of grocery items for free to families in need in the Cedar Rapids area today.

Cars will drive through the parking lot at CR First and receive a kit containing non-perishable items such as a protein, beverage, snacks and other necessary items to help them during these unprecedented times. All of the items have been handled following national COVID-19 guidelines and participants will not need to leave their vehicles to receive their items. This distribution will be available to all who come until the supplies run out.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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Our most important Coronavirus coverage is free to the public.

If you believe local news is essential, especially during this crisis, please donate. Your contribution will support news resources to cover the impact of the pandemic on our local communities.

All donations are tax-deductible.