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November 2020

October 2020

Opera Trivia Live!, an audience participation event – FREE


Opera Trivia Live!, an audience participation event – FREE

November 12, 2020 at 7 pm, registration at

Featuring Karla Goettel, Emcee


CEDAR RAPIDS - The third installment of CROpera’s 2nd Thursday Series will be Opera Trivia Live!, an interactive audience event to be held November 12 at 7 pm. Participants must preregister by 11 pm November 11 at This event is free of charge and prizes will be awarded. Opera knowledge helpful but not required for admission or a good time.

Opera Trivia Live! will be hosted by Karla Goettel, acclaimed Cedar Rapids singer and voice instructor. Questions will include CROpera-specific history, as well as general opera trivia, both serious and pop culture oriented.

Additional upcoming 2nd Thursday Series installments include:

December 10 - Tenor Chris Carr will be featured performing Schumann’s Dichterliebe.

January 14 - An encore presentation of CROpera’s 2018 production of Puccini’s Turandot featuring soprano Rebecca Nash and tenor Ta’u Pupu’a.

February 11 – World premiere of Operatini, a series of songs on the theme of Zoom meeting anxieties by Nancy Hill Cobb and Melinda Boyd, featuring mezzo soprano Suzanne Hendrix-Case (who made her Metropolitan Opera debut in its 2019 production of Akhnaten). This marks CROpera’s 4th commission in its 23 year history.

March 11 – Anna Young’s The Enchanted Forest, a children’s opera featuring CROpera Young Artists and Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre.

Earlier installments of 2nd Thursday Series are still available for viewing at or  

Trump Administration Invests Over $747,000 in Rural Community Facilities in Iowa

Health Clinics, Emergency Equipment and Public Safety Facilities Will Benefit Over 40,000 Iowans

DES MOINES, – The Trump Administration, along with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Iowa Grant Menke, today announced that the USDA is investing $747,700 in 22 projects to improve essential community facilities in rural Iowa. These projects, funded through the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program and Community Facilities Disaster Grant Program, will benefit 40,788 rural residents in Iowa.

“Investing in essential community facilities is a key component of improving quality of life in rural Iowa, and that’s why these 22 projects are so noteworthy,” said Menke. “Under the leadership of President Trump and Secretary Perdue, USDA continues to be a strong partner to rural communities, because we know that when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

The following 22 project investments announced today will be utilized to upgrade a health care facility and library, to assist in purchasing emergency equipment and vehicles, and to make necessary street and sidewalk improvements:

  • The City of Albia will use a $101,100 grant to purchase a truck dump box, slide-in stainless steel sander, reversible plow, and related equipment to be installed on an existing chassis to be used for maintenance of city streets, street cleaning, snow removal and treatment for ice and snow.  This equipment will replace worn out equipment and save repair costs and maintenance issues. The grant will also allow the city to purchase SCBA breathing equipment and other related equipment to be used by the City of Albia's Fire Department.  This will replace the Fire Department's old and outdated equipment, making it compliant with current NFPA standards.  This will help improve the quality of life for rural residents.
  • The City of Creston will use a $41,400 grant to purchase a MILO Range Mobile Situational Awareness Training System (M-SATS) mobile firearms and force options simulator.  The unit will provide officers with training situations, save time and travel resources, and better equip the officers in real life situations. The grant will also allow the city to purchase a new patrol vehicle.  Updated vehicles will help the police department safely serve the community.
  • The Friendship Home Association will use a $50,000 grant to make improvements to the two elevators located in the three-level facility.  Updates will bring the facility into compliance with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Rules of Participation.
  • The City of New Market is receiving a $24,000 grant to purchase an electronic sign for the community.  The sign will be used to get important information out to the city such as boil orders or COVID-19 crisis information that will help enhance the safety and awareness of the community.
  • The City of Moulton will use a $7,700 grant to purchase new SCBA face masks, monitor and other related equipment which is needed to replace the fire department's old and outdated equipment.  The equipment will be used by the Moulton Fire Department and will help improve the quality of life for rural residents.
  • The City of Hastings is receiving a $30,000 grant to purchase a 12-lead cardiac monitor with defibrillation capabilities. Current equipment has become unreliable. The rescue department provides paramedic level care for the city and surrounding areas. This will improve the efficiency and safety of the rescue department and the community members they serve.
  • The City of Belle Plaine will use a $31,400 grant to purchase laptop computers, computer related equipment, and other equipment to help the department be more efficient. The equipment will be used to issue citations, reports, and complete accident reports on the scene. The grant will also allow the city to purchase a new law enforcement patrol vehicle for the city.  The car will be used to protect the community along with responding to public safety and emergency calls.
  • The City of Otho is receiving a $16,800 grant to purchase a generator for the city’s fire station.  The fire station serves as the designated shelter for the community in the event of an emergency.  The station currently runs on 100% electricity and has no backup generator.
  • The City of Farragut will use a $53,900 loan and a $24,100 grant to purchase a tractor and loader for the community.  It will be used to help maintain the streets and for snow removal.
  • The City of Seymour is receiving a $27,000 grant to purchase a patrol vehicle for the city of Seymour Law Enforcement Department. This project will help to replace a high-mileage vehicle with mechanical issues that are costly to repair. This vehicle will allow the city to continue providing efficient public safety services for the city's residents.
  • The City of Boyden will use a $3,300 grant to purchase and install a warning siren.  The existing siren is obsolete and cannot reach all local areas during severe weather situations, hindering the safety of the residents.
  • The City of Bedford is receiving a $50,000 grant to replace several streets and sidewalks in the community.  These streets are dilapidated and in need of repairs which will increase the safety and security of the residents of the city.
  • The Keokuk Public Library Foundation will use a $109,000 grant to purchase lighting, tables, chairs, screen and equipment for the library park.  The new park will have a reading and sculpture garden, plaza, open air amphitheater, and conservation areas.
  • The City of Russell is receiving a $40,900 grant to purchase a new skid loader and related equipment to be used for maintenance of the city streets and other general maintenance around the town.  This will help improve the quality of life for rural residents.
  • Sac City will use a $23,900 grant to purchase a law enforcement patrol vehicle and emergency services equipment.  This investment will replace an aging vehicle and equipment that are becoming costly to maintain and hinder the efficiency of law enforcement officers and safety of the community.
  • The City of Irwin will use a $50,000 grant to make necessary street and sidewalk improvements, furthermore, making them ADA compliant by adding designated parking spaces and required curb ramps for access to the sidewalks.  This will help improve the safety and quality of life for rural residents.
  • The City of Soldier is receiving a $13,200 grant to purchase maintenance equipment for the city of Soldier. The equipment will replace old and outdated equipment and will be used to help maintain city streets and property, improving quality of life for the city's residents.
  • The City of Corning will use a $50,000 grant to purchase a street sweeper for the city. The existing sweeper was purchased in 1994 and is beyond useful life. The new vehicle will help the city continue to provide necessary maintenance for the local residents.


USDA is investing in 22 projects in rural Iowa through the Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant Program and Community Facilities Disaster Grant Program. These programs provide affordable funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas. An essential community facility is defined as a facility that provides an essential service to the local community for the orderly development of the community in a rural area, and does not include private, commercial, or business undertakings.

More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.

Interested parties should contact their local USDA Rural Development Iowa Office for information about additional funding, application procedures and eligibility details. The Community Facilities Direct Loan Program Guidance Book for Applicants also provides a detailed overview of the application process.

USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million residents living in rural Iowa. Office locations include a state office in Des Moines, along with local offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly. These offices help to provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.

Suspect Arrested for Burglary, Theft, and Possession of Stolen Gun

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – On Friday, October 30 at 12:28 a.m. officers stopped an individual on a bicycle near A Avenue and 5th Street NE.  There was no light on the bicycle and officers had an open complaint for a burglary charge on the individual, identified as David Bryant III, DOB/08-22-1996, age 24.  Officers located a 9mm handgun in Bryant’s possession.  The handgun was concealed under his coat on his chest attached to what was later determined to be a fake bullet proof vest.  Officers also found methamphetamine and a glass pipe with methamphetamine residue in the suspect’s possession.

There was a bicycle lock on the bicycle that Bryant was riding.  Bryant claimed the bicycle belonged to him, but the bicycle matched the description of a bicycle that had been reported stolen on October 25.

Bryant had charges of Burglary-2nd Degree and Theft-3rd Degree pending for an incident that occurred on Sunday, October 25.  Investigators determined that Bryant entered an attached garage in the 1000 block of 2nd Street SE around 7:20 a.m. and stole bicycles, golf shoes, and a bicycle helmet.  The incident was captured on video and the suspect was identified by officers from previous incidents with the suspect, including an incident in which the suspect was found in possession of a stolen vehicle and arrested on October 23. 

The handgun located on Bryant was reported stolen on October 26.  The handgun was stolen from an unlocked vehicle that was parked outside of an apartment complex in the 1200 block of O Avenue Place NE.

Bryant was arrested and transported to the Linn County Jail.  Bryant was arrested for Trafficking in Stolen Weapons, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Carrying Weapons, Possession of a Controlled Substance-Methamphetamine, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

There is an ongoing investigation as there were several other items that were collected as found property in the suspect’s possession.

Disclaimer:  Any arrest information included above is based on the legal conclusion that, as with any criminal case, a charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Traffic Alert - Westwinds Drive

IOWA CITY -- Iowa CityWeather permitting, beginning Monday, November 2, 2020 through Thursday November 5, 2020, Westwinds Drive, between Hawaii Court and Samoa Drive, will be closed to traffic during daylight hours. This closure is to accommodate a gas line repair in the area. It is anticipated normal traffic will resume by the end of the day on November 5th.

Motorists are to take note of this work and find an alternate route.  As always, caution should be exercised when driving through all construction areas.

For updated information on road construction in Iowa City, visit

Traffic Alert - Gilbert Street

IOWA CITY -- Iowa CityWeather permitting, beginning on Monday, November 2, 2020, northbound Gilbert Street will be reduced to one lane of traffic between Washington Street and Jefferson Street to accommodate work on underground utilities.  It is anticipated that normal traffic will resume by Wednesday, November 4th.

Motorists are to take note of this work and allow extra travel time as delays may occur.  As always, caution should be exercised when driving through all construction areas.

For updated information on road construction in Iowa City, visit

48th Basic Cedar Rapids Regional Police Academy Graduation

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – The Cedar Rapids Police Department is pleased to announce the graduation of the 48th Basic Cedar Rapids Regional Police Academy. The Graduation Ceremony was held at Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum this afternoon.

Graduates included from the Cedar Rapids Police Department: Nathan A. Adams, Austin M. Bailey, Cody J. Berns, Tanner L. Clinton, Hallie R. Kephart, Mark E. Leber, Zachary A. Lueth, Benjamin M. McAtee, Blake J. Oshel, Jacob W. Robertson, and Marshall W. Sinnwell; from the Cedar Rapids Fire Department: Matthew T. Humphrey; from the Dubuque Police Department: Dane M. Bakken-Drinkall, Aidan P. Carr, Bailey J. Paulsen, and Cody L. Schwochert; and from the Mechanicsville Police Department: William G. Wagner. 

The Cedar Rapids Regional Police Academy began on July 6, 2020 and concluded with this afternoon’s Graduation Ceremony. The Academy included 17 weeks of basic training for police recruits.

During the Graduation Ceremony, the following officers were recognized with specialty awards:

The Academic Award was presented to Benjamin McAtee as the recruit with the overall highest combined score of tests given during the Police Academy.  There are over 35 tests with a combined total of almost 1000 points.  Some of the tests are written and some are performance based.  Tests are given daily.  McAtee showed outstanding academic achievement in all areas of instruction.

The Physical Fitness Award was presented to Marshall Sinnwell as the recruit who not only had exceptional physical fitness scores with the sit-and-reach test, sit-ups, push-ups, and run, but also showed overall supreme performance every day during physical fitness and defensive tactics training sessions.  Sinnwell excelled in all tests of physical strength, agility, and endurance.

The Top Gun Award was presented to Dane Bakken-Drinkall as the recruit who had the overall highest combined score of firearms qualification scores.  Recruits fire over 2,500 rounds of ammunition with their handguns, shotguns, and rifles.  Bakken-Drinkall was consistent with scores throughout the Academy and logged the highest scores with each of the weapons.

The Mechanicsville and Dubuque Police Department officers had been previously sworn into office.  Cedar Rapids Mayor Brad Hart administered the Police Officer Oath of Office for the Cedar Rapids Police Department officers and Cedar Rapids Fire Department officer.

The Cedar Rapids Police Department recruits will be working with field training officers and serving their community on patrols beginning tomorrow.


Cedar RapidsCEDAR RAPIDS, IA – Beginning Monday, November 2, 2020, E Avenue NW will be closed to traffic between Edgewood Road and 28th Street for utility work. Work is expected to take one (1) week, weather permitting. Traffic to follow posted detour.


SiltWEST BRANCH, Iowa – As Iowa farmers consider ways to create more stable incomes, they could consider diversifying their operations with an approach popularized by a Canadian forestry expert, Jonathan Hendricks, agroforestry specialist with the Sustainable Iowa Land Trust, said today.


“A look at the history of agriculture tells us that the concept has been around for centuries, but modern agroforestry was the brainchild of John Bene, who recognized and promoted the role of trees in agricultural production. Simply put, it involves growing crops purposefully along with trees or other woody plants. It can also involve raising livestock along with trees,” Hendricks said. “Both approaches include deriving income from the trees, such as nut or fruit trees or trees that are harvested for lumber.”


The Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT) is a statewide nonprofit that works with landowners to permanently dedicate their land to table-food production and market farming. Hendricks, who recently joined its staff, helps land owners create long-range conservation plans or convert existing short-term plans into longer-action plans. His work is supported in part by an Iowa Conservation Innovation Grant and in partnership with the Savanna Institute. 


“Agroforestry delivers short-term and long-term benefits. The trees reduce soil erosion and the host plants for insects that feed on crops while improving nutrient recycling and sustaining the water table,” Hendricks said. “In a livestock operation, those trees provide shade and shelter for animals. And, over time, they generate income and provide a new revenue source for the farm operation.”


SILT executive director Suzan Erem said agroforestry techniques are also “one of the top solutions to combating climate change.”


“Planting trees with the vision and intention of protecting the land and growing food is an idea for those who operate on a long-term horizon and want to leave a strong foundation for future generations. That describes Iowa farmers to a T,” Erem said. “We’re thrilled to have Jonathan with us now to help farmers and landowners across the state develop effective, long-term plans to create the kind of legacy that will make the future generations proud.”

Reminder to check smoke alarm batteries during daylight saving time switch

A graphic reminding residents of Daylight Savings Time ending on Nov. 1, 2020.

The Iowa City Fire Department is reminding residents to check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detector batteries when changing clocks back one hour at the end of daylight saving time on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020.

Maintaining smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries is one of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce injury and death caused by a fire. 

As we “fall back,” the Fire Department recommends residents do the following:

  • Check the batteries in all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors with removable batteries
  • Check 10-year sealed smoke alarms or those with 10-year batteries installed for date of installation of alarm or battery and replace as recommended by the manufacturer
  • Check smoke alarms for date of manufacture usually located on the back of the alarm and replace smoke alarms older than 10 years.
  • Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors by pushing the test button monthly
  • Develop a fire escape plan that includes two ways out of every room in the house
  • Practice the fire escape plan with your entire family
  • Prepare a home safety kit that includes a working flashlight and fresh batteries

Those with questions can contact Iowa City Fire Marshal Brian Greer at 319-356-5257.

Iowa City Police respond to shots fired near Hollywood Boulevard

On Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020, at approximately 10:43 p.m., Iowa City Police responded to the area of Hollywood Court and Hollywood Boulevard in Iowa City for multiple 911 calls of shots being fired. Officers located multiple witnesses corroborating at least three shots were fired. In addition, a light-colored sedan was seen leaving the area at a high rate of speed, heading westbound on Hollywood Boulevard, right after the shots were fired.  No injuries were reported to police and no suspect description is available at this time

How you can help:

This incident is being actively investigated by the Iowa City Police Department and we are asking the public for assistance. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Iowa City Police Department at 319-356-5275. In addition, anyone in that area with security cameras is asked to review their recordings and contact the Iowa City Police Department with any potential footage or information about this incident.

Iowa City Area Crime Stoppers is also offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information about this incident that leads to an arrest. Crime Stoppers tips can be submitted via the P3 Tips app, online at, or by phone at 319-358-TIPS (8477). All tips and calls are held in strict confidence and anonymity is guaranteed. Individuals providing information are not required to reveal their identity to collect a reward.

CASE # 2020006984