Gazette Daily News Briefing, November 29


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This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Tuesday, November 29.

The weather the rest of the week will be a mixed bag, with the temperatures trending colder as the week goes on. According to the National Weather Service it will be cloudy with a high near 50 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area on Tuesday. There will be a 30 percent chance of rain mainly between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. It will also be breezy, with wind gusts as high as 30 mph. On Tuesday night it will be cloudy and blustery, with a low of around 21 degrees.

Seven people died in six crashes on Iowa roads over the Thanksgiving holiday period, according to the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

As of Monday, 315 people have died this year in traffic wrecks on the state’s roads — surpassing the five-year average of 300 traffic deaths by this same date each year, despite efforts to crack down on distracted driving and excessive speeding.

Iowa saw 356 traffic deaths in all of 2021, state figures show. The state hasn’t had more than 37 traffic fatalities in a December in the last five years, a trend that suggests Iowa would not exceed last year’s grim total with another month to go this year.

The Kirkwood Regional Center in Coralville went into lockdown for about 10 minutes Monday morning after reports of an armed robbery in the area, according to an alert sent to Kirkwood students Monday.

The Coralville Police Department contacted the regional center at 11:25 a.m. and requested that the campus lock exterior doors due to an armed robbery nearby. Staff immediately locked the doors and contacted Kirkwood Public Safety.

At about 11:35 a.m. the police department contacted the school again to report that the suspect in the robbery, 21-year-old Jovon Ellis, had been caught, and the lockout could end, according to the alert.

The robbery took place south of campus at the Knollridge Garden apartments, at 2551 Holiday Rd., Coralville, according to a news release from the Coralville Police Department.

Ellis reportedly confronted two people who were leaving their apartment and ordered them back inside at gunpoint, where he stole their cellphones.

Owners of a mobile home park near Iowa City have agreed to pay an $8,000 fine after multiple violations since 2020 for discharging wastewater into a tributary of Snyder Creek, which feeds into the Iowa River.

Havenpark Management also agreed to build a new wastewater treatment facility for Sunrise Village, at 2100 S. Scott Blvd., by Aug. 31, 2025, according to a Nov. 17 consent order.

Havenpark, based in Utah, was criticized in 2019 for buying mobile home parks, including some in Iowa, and increasing the rent anywhere from 24 percent to 69 percent.

The penalty amount was based on whether Sunrise Village owners received economic benefit by the discharge, the severity of the situation and the culpability of the owners for the discharge. The maximum administrative penalty is $10,000.

Earlier this year, Havenpark bought two other Iowa City mobile home parks — Lake Ridge and Modern Manor — for a combined $33.5 million.

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