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House races to oust Trump
  • Updated

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House rushed ahead Tuesday toward impeaching President Donald Trump for the deadly Capitol attack, taking time only to try to persuade his vice president to push him out first. Trump showed no remorse, blaming impeachment itself for the "tremendous anger" in America.

Already scheduled to leave office next week, Trump is on the verge of becoming the only president in history to be twice impeached. His incendiary rhetoric at a rally ahead of the Capitol uprising is now in the impeachment charge against him, even as the falsehoods he spread about election fraud are still being championed by some Republicans.

The House voted Tuesday night on a resolution urging Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove Trump with a Cabinet vote and “declare what is obvious to a horrified Nation: That the President is unable to successfully discharge the duties and powers of his office.”

Pence said he would not do so in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

He said that it would not be in the best interest of the nation or consistent with the Constitution and that it was "time to unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden."

With Pence's agreement to invoke the 25th Amendment ruled out, the House will move swiftly to impeachment on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, four Republican lawmakers, including third-ranking House GOP leader Liz Cheney of Wyoming, announced they would vote to impeach Trump on Wednesday, cleaving the Republican leadership, and the party itself.

"The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack," said Cheney in a statement. "There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution."

The New York Times reported Tuesday that influential Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell thinks Trump committed an impeachable offense and is glad Democrats are moving against him.

As lawmakers reconvened at the Capitol for the first time since the bloody siege, they were bracing for more violence ahead of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, Jan. 20.

"All of us have to do some soul searching," said Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland, imploring other Republicans to join.

Trump, meanwhile, warned the lawmakers off impeachment and suggested it was the drive to oust him that was dividing the country.

"To continue on this path, I think it's causing tremendous danger to our country, and it's causing tremendous anger," Trump said.

In his first remarks to reporters since last week's violence, the outgoing president offered no condolences for those dead or injured, only saying, "I want no violence."

Trump faces a single charge — "incitement of insurrection" — in the impeachment resolution after the most serious and deadly domestic incursion at the Capitol in the nation's history.

A handful of other House Republicans could join in the impeachment vote, but it's not clear there would be a two-thirds vote needed to convict from the narrowly divided Senate, though some Republicans say it's time for Trump to resign.

The unprecedented events, with just over a week remaining in Trump's term, are unfolding in a nation bracing for more unrest. The FBI has warned ominously of potential armed protests in Washington and many states by Trump loyalists ahead of Biden's inauguration and Capitol Police warned lawmakers to be on alert. The inauguration ceremony on the west steps of the Capitol will be off limits to the public.

Lawmakers were required to pass through metal detectors to enter the House chamber, not far from where Capitol police, guns drawn, had barricaded the door against the rioters. Some Republican lawmakers complained about it.

A Capitol police officer died from injuries suffered in the riot, and police shot a woman during the violence. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies.

In the Senate, Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania joined GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska over the weekend in calling for Trump to "go away as soon as possible."

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, did not go that far, but on Tuesday called on Trump to address the nation and explicitly urge his supporters to refrain from further violence. If not, he said, Trump "will bear responsibility."

No member of the Cabinet has publicly called for Trump to be removed from office through the 25th Amendment.

Biden has said it's important to ensure that the "folks who engaged in sedition and threatening the lives, defacing public property, caused great damage — that they be held accountable."

Fending off concerns that an impeachment trial would bog down Biden's first days in office, the president-elect encouraged senators to divide their time between taking taking up his priorities of confirming his nominees and approving COVID relief while also conducting the trial.


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TRI Clear Lake returns in 2021 with new location
  • Updated
Chris Zoeller, Globe Gazette 

Racers exit the water after the swimming portion of the TRI Clear Lake Triathlon on Sept. 5.

For the past four years, Carrie Tysdahl’s favorite part about TRI Clear Lake has been the finish line at City Park.

It’s there, she said, athletes celebrate something they didn’t know they could accomplish, dreams coming to fruition and their hard work.

“Seeing our finish line experience is the best feeling, the music, the people,” said Tysdahl, triathlete and race director with Jake Kopriva and Trish Fundermann.

This year, the triathlon, which is already 75% full, will start and finish in downtown Clear Lake for the first time.

In years past, the event started at Clear Lake State Park Beach with the swim and ended at City Park, but organizers felt moving everything downtown this year would provide a “more exciting, safe and fun atmosphere for athletes and spectators.”

Chris Zoeller, Globe Gazette 

Racers walk their bikes from the transition area to the mounting area as they begin the bike race portion of the TRI Clear Lake Triathlon on Sept. 5.

Plus, they hope it’ll boost traffic to downtown businesses. 

“We’ve really been pushing for athletes participating in TRI Clear Lake to try out all we have to offer here,” Tysdal said. “We want people to stay and play.”

The Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce will host the fifth annual TRI Clear Lake, sanctioned by USA Triathlon, on Saturday, May 29.

This year will be the triathlon’s first on Memorial Day weekend, Tysdahl said.

Historically, the event has taken place in June amidst other large events, like the Bicycle, Blues and BBQ Festival and Thursdays on Main, but this year, the triathlon will kick off Clear Lake’s tourism season.

Last year, TRI Clear Lake was postponed from May to Labor Day weekend due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 300 people participated in the socially distanced triathlon.

Tysdahl said organizers have limited the triathlon’s capacity, so “it didn’t grow too big too fast,” but this year, because of their experience and the overwhelming response and feedback they’ve received about the change in venue, they decided to increase capacity to around 500.

As of Wednesday, less than 120 spots remained.

Tysdahl attributes some of that to athletes who chose to defer their race registrations from last year to 2021 due to the pandemic.

“That sped up how quickly the race was filling, but we still had record numbers last year, too,” she said.

Last year was also the first year TRI Clear Lake featured an Olympic distance race.

Chris Zoeller, Globe Gazette 

The TRI Clear Lake Triathlon on Sept. 5at Clear Lake State Park.

Because of that, TRI Clear Lake is a “great training race” for Ironman 70.3 in Des Moines on June 20, said Tysdahl, who is a triathlon coach.

“We have a lot of athletes in our area signed up for that race, as well,” she said.

The 2021 TRI Clear Lake event again features sprint and Olympic distances and routes.

The sprint route will start at City Beach with a 500-meter swim, followed by a 12.4-mile bicycle course along South Shore Drive and a 3.1-mile run on North Shore Drive, concluding at City Park in downtown Clear Lake.

The Olympic distance route features a 1,500-meter swim, 24.8-mile bicycle ride and 6.2-mile run.

Tysdahl said TRI Clear Lake is always looking for volunteers to help with its event.

“I encourage people to participate however they can, whatever that looks like for them whether it’s as a spectator, volunteer or athlete,” she said.

For more information about TRI Clear Lake or to volunteer, visit www.triclearlakeia.com or the TRI Clear Lake Facebook page.

COMMUNITY MATTERS: Become a member

Photos: 4th Annual TRI Clear Lake Triathlon

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Cerro Gordo Board of Supervisors moves forward on Iowa opioid lawsuit, county building sale
  • Updated
Lisa Grouette / LISA GROUETTE, Globe Gazette 

The Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors convene for a meeting on June 23.

Lawsuit

At the tail end of this past December, Cerro Gordo County Attorney Carlyle Dalen raised the possibility that the county could join an ongoing class-action lawsuit in Iowa against pharmaceutical companies that produce opioids that have caused addiction crises through the U.S.

On Tuesday morning, the Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors made that possibility more of a reality by unanimously approving the move to sign on to an engagement letter for the suit that's been promoted by the Iowa State Association of Counties.

"At some point we probably need to get on-board with one of these and ride it out," Cerro Gordo County Director of Administrative Services Tom Meyer said. According to him, the relevant suit has already been filed but there is time for counties in the state to join.

In late December, Hancock County Attorney Blake Norman told the board there that they could join the suit and he estimated that attorney fees would be about 25 percent of any overall damage awarded, plus various lawsuit costs, which would be divided among the participating counties. Bill Peterson, the executive director for the Iowa State Association of Counties, said that as of now there are 63 counties that have "engaged the services of the attorneys we have recommended they engage to represent them in the opioid lawsuits."

County building for sale

At a meeting on Monday, Jan. 4, the Clear Lake City Council unanimously approved a resolution to purchase and acquire the Cerro Gordo County Maintenance Garage at 109 S. 15th St. for $250,000. At the county board meeting on Tuesday, the supervisors approved the conditional offer for that real estate.

"(It's a) great addition for Clear Lake," District 1 Supervisor Tim Latham said. 

The plan for the property, which is adjacent to the Clear Lake Aquatic Center, is to make it the site of the city’s inclusive playground as well as other park improvements. That effort has been supported by Everybody Plays, which is a community initiative to have a space in Clear Lake to provide children and adults of all ages and abilities the opportunity to play together.

"That playground they’ve been working on for years over there," District 3 Supervisor Chris Watts said of the tentative plan to sell. "This place makes for a perfect fit."

Per Meyer, the building will be sold as is so any demolition and improvements will be the City of Clear Lake’s responsibility. 

Lisa Grouette / LISA GROUETTE, Globe Gazette 

Cerro Gordo County secondary road maintenance building on South 15th Street in Clear Lake.

Sale of the building won't be finalized until the Cerro Gordo County Engineer's Department moves into its new multi-million dollar building just west of the county's law enforcement center on Lark Avenue.

According to County Engineer Brandon Billings, work continues at the site. 

He said that all of the drywall in the building is finished but that work on areas such as the mezzanine still needs to be finished before the department can move in. Once that happens, the sale of the maintenance garage in Clear Lake can happen. 

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PHOTOS: Opening day of Iowa's 2021 legislative session

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