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News 6.25.20: Grandview Park Vandalism, C19 Numbers, IA High School Sports and More

June 25, 2020
George Lindblade

SPM NEWS 6.25.20 - 4:32PM


A Sioux City man is accused of vandalism at Grandview Park in Sioux City.  This morning, officers responded to a report of someone spray painting graffiti on the bandshell.  They found 23-year-old Esteven Avila of  hiding in the park.  He was charged with 3rd degree criminal mischief, possession of a controlled substance (meth) and drug paraphernalia.  His bond was set at $3,000.  A news release from the police department says city crews are unable to come up for an exact estimate for repairing the damage due to the special procedures needed to preserve the bandshell.  The historic structure was built in 1934.  It was covered with several statements and symbols, including “no hope”, “no future” and “BLM” for Black Lives Matters.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reports four more Iowans have died due to complications of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours for a total of 694.  There have been 43 deaths tracked in Woodbury County and five new cases for a total of 3,095.

Dakota County shows three new confirmed cases for 1,761 and 34 deaths.

There are 461 more positive cases for more than 27,000 Iowans.

The state reports 137 Iowans are hospitalized with 42 in the ICU.  Sioux City’s two facilities say they were treating a combined 32 patients.  That is a third of the patients treated at the height of the pandemic locally.

Iowa Workforce Development reports just over 8,500 workers filed new unemployment claims last week, That’s slight decrease from the week before.

Most claims continue to come from the manufacturing industry and self-employed workers.

Nearly 154,000 Iowans continue to receive unemployment benefits.

The Iowa Department of Education says students and staff should be allowed to wear masks when they return to school, but they should not be required to do so.

A set of guidelines shared today (Thursday) tells schools that anyone who may be sick with COVID-19 should stay home. But the agency recommends against screening people when they enter the building since the virus can spread without symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control includes a daily health check as part of its school readiness plan.

In a statement, the Iowa State Education Association says it is disappointed with the guidelines and calls on schools to put in place their own requirements for health screenings and face coverings.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says all team sports can resume with safety guidelines from the state department of education.

Iowa was first to restart high school athletics during the coronavirus pandemic. Baseball and softball teams were allowed to resume practice June first. Several players tested positive, and teams have suspended their seasons and gone into two-week quarantines. 

Reynolds says she still thinks it’s appropriate to allow more sports to resume.

“What we can do is try to manage and mitigate, practice social distancing, good hygiene, make sure we’re sanitizing the equipment. And help these kids get back to some kind of normal activity. They also need that.”

Reynolds also noted there’s been a significant increase in positive tests for Iowans ages 18 to 40. She says everyone should do their part to prevent spreading the virus because it’s still in Iowa.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says she will push for schools to bring students into classrooms at least part of the time during the upcoming school year.

But she will leave it up to school districts to determine exactly what instruction looks like.

Noem has encouraged people to figure out ways to avoid a complete lock downs on life, while avoiding situations where infections could rapidly spread.

President Donald Trump’s plans to kick off Independence Day with a showy display at Mount Rushmore are drawing sharp criticism from Native Americans. 

They view the monument as a desecration of land violently stolen from them.

Several groups led by Native American activists are planning protests for Trump’s July 3 visit.

Many Native American activists say the Rushmore memorial is as reprehensible as the many Confederate monuments being toppled around the nation.

South Dakota is bringing in more resources to fight a wildfire that's burning near Mount Rushmore ahead of next week’s visit to the monument by President Donald Trump. The fire that started in Custer State Park on Wednesday has burned an estimated 150 acres about 6 miles south of the stone monument. Gov. Kristi Noem’s spokesman, Ian Fury, says South Dakota Wildland Fire Division is leading a multi-state, multi-agency effort to fight the forest fire. Trump is planning to attend a fireworks display at the monument July 3. But some wildfire experts have raised concerns the pyrotechnics could spark fires — especially because the region has seen dry weather this year.

Sheila Brummer returns to her radio roots as a Reporter/Special Projects Producer for Siouxland Public Media KWIT-KOJI.