Welcome to the weekend!
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18th.
Aerial view of farmstead at Two Horse Farm, acquired in 2022 by Johnson County Conservation for use by the public. The land also includes 64 acres of forest and15.5 acres of reconstructed prairie. (Johnson County)
Rain appears likely this weekend but it also looks like it will be getting chillier again next week, so maybe go for the umbrella and shorts combo? According to the National Weather Service there will be a 30 percent chance of rain Saturday in the Cedar Rapids area, mainly area 3 p.m. There will be a high of 83 degrees with partly sunny skies. It will be a bit windy, with a 5 to 15 mph wind gusting as high as 25 mph. On Saturday night the rain chance will jump up to 70 percent, with mostly cloudy skies and a low near 68 degrees. Rain chances will continue on Sunday with Saturday’s rain lingering into Sunday morning, and a chance for more rain after 2 p.m. When it is not raining, it should be mostly sunny, with a high near 87 degrees.
Internet hosting and domain-name registrar business GoDaddy plans to move its operations to downtown Cedar Rapids next year, the company told its Hiawatha employees in an email earlier this summer.
“This move represents our need for a smaller space given fewer employees use the office daily,” the company said.
Spokeswoman Kristy Nicholas told The Gazette on Friday that the company had not yet announced its “intended location in Cedar Rapids.”
GoDaddy was founded by Bob Parsons, who sold his Cedar Rapids-based Parsons Technology financial software company to Intuit in 1994 for $65 million.
Johnson County has acquired 83 acres of woodland, prairie and a farmstead near Solon that will be available for public use.
The property known as Two Horse Farm, at 2257 Sugar Bottom Road NE, was acquired in part through a donation by Erin and Brian Melloy, the former owners, and in part through a purchase with $1.2 million in state and county conservation funds.
The land includes 64 acres of forest, 15.5 acres of reconstructed prairie and a 3.5-acre farmstead that includes a 1890’s-era farmhouse and a barn built in 1913 that now houses Raptor Advocacy Rehabilitation & Education (RARE).
A unique part of the land transaction is that seven acres of prairie have been donated to the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska.
“The Native Americans our state is named after have no land whatsoever (in Iowa),” said Brad Freidhof, county conservation program manager.
The Iowa Tribe controls a 12,000-acre reservation in northeast Kansas and southeast Nebraska, but its original land was in Iowa and was the namesake of the state.
As part of the deal with tribal members, the county has agreed to maintain the tribal land as it does the adjacent area. The hope is it will give members of the tribe who now live elsewhere a way to come make connections in the state that was once its home, Friedhof said.
A man who was arrested in a California airport while trying to conceal 5 pounds of methamphetamine in his carry-on bag to bring with him to Iowa pleaded guilty this week in federal court.
21-year-old Kiyonte Sowell, of Los Angeles, was convicted in U.S. District Court of one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. He was indicted with 10 others who were charged with distributing ice meth from 2018 through March 2022.
Early this year, the Drug Enforcement Administration was conducting a wiretap investigation into a meth trafficking ring in Cedar Rapids, according to federal prosecutors. On Feb. 28, Sowell went to the Los Angeles International Airport to take a flight to Cedar Rapids.
Sowell brought a large roller bag and attempted to take the bag through security as his carry-on luggage, according to the plea. Airport security searched the bag and found about 2,200 grams of meth and arrested Sowell.
The drug trafficking ring was led by 36-year-old David Poitier Belton, of Cedar Rapids, also charged in the conspiracy. Belton transported large quantities of meth — between 30 and 60 pounds per trip — from California to Cedar Rapids, Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Chatham said in his detention motion.
Have a good weekend everyone!