Gazette Daily News Briefing, November 16


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This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Tuesday, November 16.

There is a chance for snow again on Wednesday, although it appears as if accumulation will not be significant. According to the National Weather Service there will be a 50 percent chance of snow Wednesday, mainly in the morning, with a half inch of accumulation possible. It will be cloudy with a high near 35 degrees. On Wednesday night it will be mostly cloudy, with a low near 22 degrees.

Former President Donald Trump said Tuesday night that he will mount a third White House campaign, launching an early start to the 2024 contest.

"I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States," Trump said to an audience of several hundred supporters, club members and gathered journalists in a chandeliered ballroom at his Mar-a-Lago club, where he stood flanked by more than 30 American flags and banners that read, "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"

Trump's decision paves the way for a potential rematch with Biden, who has said he intends to run for re-election despite concerns from some in his party over his age and low approval ratings. The two men were already the oldest presidential nominees ever when they ran in 2020. Trump, who is 76, would be 82 at the end of a second term in 2029. Biden, who is about to turn 80, would be 86.

The former president’s decision to run again comes amidst an investigation by congress into his potential role in the January 6 riot in the nation’s Capitol, as well as several other lawsuits. But his legal problems are not the primary reason he is not as strong politically as he once was, as national Republicans have been openly critical of the role Trump backed candidates played in underwhelming midterm election results.

Wilson Middle School, just under a century old, may be demolished under a proposed plan for Cedar Rapids middle and high schools.

The plan hinges on voters approving a $312 million general obligation bond in a referendum. The school board is expected to approve a timeline for the plan next month, including taking a bond referendum to district voters in September.

One of the main goals of the plan is to reduce the number of middle schools in the district to provide more equitable services to all students, director of operations Jon Galbraith said in a Cedar Rapids school board meeting Monday. This would create a feeder system from middle school to high school and it would reduce operational and maintenance costs for the district, he said.

The district has about 3,300 middle school students with the capacity for 4,200, Galbraith said. In the last six years, the district has lost about 1,400 K-12 students, he said.

Under the plan, a new middle school is proposed to be built on the north side of Cedar Rapids with capacity for 1,200 students — an increase from the 500 to 800 students now at each middle school.

The original proposal for Wilson Middle School was to renovate and build an addition for the school to have a capacity of up to 600 students. Galbraith said feedback on the plan was that it’s inequitable since Washington High School — which Wilson feeds in to — is the only high school in the district that wouldn’t have a new middle school.

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