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Rick's Six: Slippery roads, suspect charged with trafficking stolen guns, Democrats debate, and prep spotlight

Rick's Six: Slippery roads, suspect charged with trafficking stolen guns, Democrats debate, and prep spotlight

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Icy roads

A good Wednesday to all. Heading west this morning on I-80? You might want to rethink that as the interstate is closed in both directions near West Branch because of numerous crashes. While the salt trucks are out in full force, streets still are very slippery at this hour.

• Many schools are delaying the start of classes or are closed today because of the weather

This Special Weather Statement from the National Weather Service provides the details.

"Doppler radar indicates freezing drizzle was increasing across portions of eastern Iowa and western Illinois. The freezing drizzle will continue to expand over much of the area early this morning. This will impact this mornings commute. With temperatures ranging from the teens to mid 20s the freezing drizzle will instantly create an icy layer on roads and sidewalks. Untreated roads will be ice covered and very hazardous. Roads, bridges and overpasses may be slick and hazardous with the ice accumulations. Be extra cautious on bridges and overpasses."

There is also a Winter Weather Advisory in effect until noon.

WHAT: Freezing drizzle and very light freezing rain expected. Total ice accumulations of a light glaze to less than a tenth of an inch.

WHERE: Portions of east central, northeast and southeast Iowa and north central and northwest Illinois.

WHEN: Through noon today.

IMPACTS: Very slippery sidewalks, roads and bridges are expected. The hazardous conditions will impact the morning commute.

ADDITIONAL DETAILS: Eventually temperatures will rise above freezing from south to north by late morning ending the threat for freezing drizzle. Until this occurs, slick roads and other surfaces are expected.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS: Slow down and use caution while traveling. Prepare for possible power outages.

1. Freezing drizzle this morning

NWS: Ice

Look for freezing drizzle before 10 a.m., then a chance of drizzle between 10 a.m. and noon. Skies will be cloudy with a high near 37 degrees. East winds of 5 to 10 mph will become northwest 10 to 15 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 25 mph.

Tonight will be mostly cloudy then gradually becoming clear with a low around 8 degrees and wind-chill values as low as -5 degrees. Northwest wind around 15 mph will gust as high as 25 mph.

Thursday will be mostly sunny with a high near 21 degrees and wind-chill values as low as zero.

Thursday night will be mostly cloudy with a low around 12 degrees.

Friday snow is likely after noon. The high will be near 34 degrees. The chance of precipitation is 90% with new snow accumulation of 2 to 4 inches possible.

2. 'I don't even know': Here was the scene outside of Tuesday's Democratic debate

Debate

Carol Dunitz, dressed as Uncle Sam, spars with Gary Leffler, of West Des Moines, on a Trump-Pence tractor outside Tuesday's Democratic debate in Des Moines. 

The woman dressed as Uncle Sam was only a few bars into one of the songs she wrote for “2020: The Musical” when an Iowa man riding on his home-painted Trump-Pence tractor began heckling her. “Five more years of Trump!” he taunted. “God Bless America, and God bless your 401k’s, too!”

On the opposite side of the street, a giant inflatable chicken with a Trumpian surf of orange hair loomed over a crowd rallying for Minn. Sen. Amy Klobuchar. “It’s time, it’s time,” the animated throng chanted, “it’s time for a woman in the White House!”

Overhead, a small plane had been circling the cerulean sky over Drake University with a large green banner: “TRUMP FIGHTS FOR IOWA FARMERS!”

If the pundits are to be believed, the Iowa caucuses have become “a mess,” a made-for-TV show more spectacle than serious. That idea wasn’t dispelled by Tuesday’s nationally televised Democratic debate in Des Moines. Read more.

Warren makes debate case: Democratic woman can beat Trump

3. Man arrested with firearms, accused of trafficking stolen guns

David Christopher Westby

David Christopher Westby

The Scott County Sheriff's Department arrested a man Tuesday morning who is accused of trafficking stolen weapons.

Affidavits are not available at this time, but David Christopher Westby was booked into the Scott County Jail at 2:53 a.m. Tuesday and is charged with a number of firearm violations, including possessing and selling stolen weapons.

The 33-year-old Westby also is charged with felony interference with a firearm, felon in possession of a firearm and possession of a firearm by a domestic abuse offender.

He faces misdemeanor charges of domestic abuse and carrying a dangerous weapon.

Westby is being held on a $5,000 cash-only bond and a $10,000 secured bond and is considered unbondable for the charge of trafficking stolen weapons.

Related reading

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4. Hawkeyes' Epenesa, Wirfs will chase NFL dreams

Iowa Northwestern Football

Iowa defensive end A.J. Epenesa was named first-team all-Big Ten on Tuesday. He leads Iowa with nine sacks.

After turning one dream into a reality, A.J. Epenesa believes it is time to chase another one, and he's not alone.

Tristan Wirfs, who joined Epenesa in anchoring the lines for the Iowa football team, added their names to the list of underclassmen who have entered in the pool of available talent for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Both projected as first-round selections in this year's draft class, Epenesa and Wirfs made separate announcements Tuesday on Instagram that they had chosen to forgo their final year of eligibility, the latest in a group of what now numbers 10 Hawkeyes to reach that conclusion over the past three seasons.

Also, running back Toren Young announced Tuesday afternoon that he was entering the draft pool while Geno Stone made a similar announcement last week. Read more.

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5. Make Mexican staples at upcoming cooking series

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Martha Nuñez makes mole on Thursday, Jan. 9, inside Catalyst Kitchen at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Rock Island.

Martha Nunez stirred the simmering sauce as the Catalyst Kitchen filled with the sweet, savory and intoxicating aroma of mole.

The East Moline woman, who also owns Taqueria Roly’s in Moline, was painstakingly crafting a batch of mole (pronounced MO-lay), a traditional Mexican sauce. You can, too, on Jan. 28 at Mole with Martha, the first class in the new Mercado Cocina Series, which runs through May at the Catalyst Kitchen inside St. John's Lutheran Church, Rock Island. Read more.