It’s the weekend of February 1st. Here’s your Gazette Daily News Podcast, a briefing on today’s news:
We’re looking at mostly calm, and dare I say, nice, weather this weekend. According to the National Weather Service there could be some patchy fog before 10:00 a.m. Saturday, but besides that it should be cloudy with a high near 34 degrees. The temperature will rise throughout Saturday evening, leading to a mostly sunny Superbowl Sunday, with a high of 42 degrees. The winds will pick up a little bit on Sunday as well, with a west wind settling around 10 to 15 mph.
In case the advertisements, door knockers, and yard signs somehow did not alert you, the Iowa Caucuses are coming up on Monday. Candidates will be swarming Eastern Iowa this weekend, trying to round up as many votes as they can. So much so that I can’t even name all of the stops, but if there is a candidate you want to see, check theGazette.com for our story on candidate schedules, and there likely will be a time and place that works for you. All four of the poll frontrunners, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden will be in Cedar Rapids on Saturday.
Speaking of another topic Iowans are uniquely passionate about — Wrestling. The Iowa Hawkeyes and the Penn State Nittany Lions squared off in a battle of #1 and #2 respectively Friday night in a raucous Carver Hawkeye Arena. And the capacity crowd got quite a good show, with the Hawkeyes narrowly edging out a victory 19-17 in a closely fought battle on the mats.
Iowa payroll jobs dropped for the second straight month in December and the unemployment rate rose to 2.7 percent from 2.6 percent in November.
Mike Owen, executive director of the nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project in Iowa City, told the Gazette that 2019 was not a good year for Iowa jobs.
“If the preliminary December numbers stand, Iowa was down 2,400 jobs over the calendar year.”
A 52-year-old Johnson County man, who was charged last year with four others in the sex trafficking of teens, was convicted by a jury this week in federal court on child sex trafficking, drug and firearms charges.
Kendall Andrew Streb, of Hills, was found guilty child sex trafficking, two counts of distributing methamphetamine to children, one count each of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, unlawful user in possession of a firearm and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Streb faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison on the sex trafficking charges alone.
Finally, it may be the end of an era. Village Inn is closed in Coralville after its parent company, American Blue Ribbon Holdings, declared bankruptcy. The company closed 33 stores across the country. Calls to the Coralville location on Friday, at 2800 Commerce Dr., were met with a message that said, “This location is no longer open.” A venue in Clinton also has closed. It is unknown how this will affect the 13 Village Inn locations in Iowa.
This weekend edition of the Gazette’s Daily News briefing was produced by Stephen Schmidt. 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?”