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News and resources regarding COVID-19

News 8.25.20: Pandemic Aid, Storm Impact, Atokad Setback and More

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AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says she is allocating $100 million in federal funds to help livestock producers, the biofuels industry, beginning farmers and small-scale meat processors recover from the coronavirus pandemic. As many Iowa farmers deal with the impact of a massive storm and continue to suffer from lower demand for corn and soybeans and extremely low prices, Reynolds says she will use money from the federal CARES Act to programs to help agriculture related businesses and farmers. Included is $60 million to provide grants to eligible producers of pork, beef, chicken, turkeys, dairy, fish or sheep to serve as working capital to stabilize livestock producers. 

Before an unusual wind storm this month, Iowa corn farmers were expecting a near-record crop. About a month before corn would be fully mature and ready for harvest, a derecho blew in from the west with hurricane-force winds that cut a swath through the middle of Iowa. The Aug. 10 storm flattened corn fields and damaged grain bins, farm buildings and homes. Millions of acres of Iowa corn are damaged to some degree. Crop insurance and other federal programs will help. And those outside the damaged area could benefit from higher prices that may result. 

The Salvation Army is helping people impacted by the pandemic with a drive-thru distribution on Friday.

It starts at 10am at the Salvation Army’s office on Villa Avenue in Sioux City.

There will be 250 boxes of meat available.  All are welcome and no I.D. is required to receive the food.

The state of Iowa coronavirus website shows 20 new cases of COVID-19 in Woodbury County from the day before for a total of 3,979.  The number of deaths in the county remains at 54.  There are 42 deaths in Dakota County and three new confirmed cases for a total of 1,947.

Meanwhile, the two-week positivity rate for corona virus testing in Plymouth County is down just slightly at 20.4%.  It was almost 21% yesterday.  A few schools in the county are planning to delay school for a few days to see if the rate will fall first.  Woodbury County is at 9.5% and Monona County with the lowest rate in the region of less than 1% last week jumped to 10% this week.  There are just over 100 positive cases in Monona County.  Anything more than 15% can allow a school district to apply for virtual learning with the state department of education.  The only other county in northwest Iowa above 15% is Sioux County.  Crawford and Carroll counties in west central Iowa are above the threshold as well.

Today, was the first day of school for the Sioux City Community School District where 30% of students stayed home for virtual learning instead.  

Nebraska’s top elections official says he won’t put three measures to legalize casino gambling on the November ballot, arguing that the language they used was misleading and confusing.

The decision does impact a plan by Ho-Chunk Inc.to allow casino gambling at Atokad Park in South Sioux City and other horse tracks in the state.

Voters won’t get to decide the issue this year unless a court overturns his decision. Supporters of the citizen petition drive announced last month said they had gathered more than enough signatures to submit the issue to voters. They launched the campaign after Nebraska lawmakers repeatedly rejected measures to legalize casino gambling.

Eleven Nebraska lawmakers are making a long-shot attempt to bring the Legislature into a special session focused on the coronavirus pandemic and law enforcement. The lawmakers filed paperwork with the secretary of state’s office to ask their colleagues whether they would support a special session. The secretary of state’s office will now survey all state lawmakers. At least 33 of the Legislature’s 49 senators would have to endorse the idea of a special session, an outcome that’s extremely unlikely. Lawmakers finished their regular session less than two weeks ago after passing a major tax package. The session was also marred by nasty public disputes.

The hundreds of thousands of bikers who attended the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally have departed western South Dakota. But public health departments in multiple states are trying to measure how much and how quickly the coronavirus spread in the bars, tattoo shops and gatherings before people traveled home to nearly every state in the country. The city of Sturgis is conducting mass testing for its roughly 7,000 residents. But health departments in at least eight states are also trying to track outbreaks from the 10-day rally which ended on Aug. 16. They face the task of tracking an invisible virus that spread among rallygoers who then traveled to over half of the counties in the United States.

Sioux City’s Mayor Bob Scott says American Airlines will delay plans to temporarily ground flights at the Sioux Gateway Airport.

At yesterday’s city council meeting Scott said, hopefully Congress can make a death for some financial assistance.

The move was set to begin on October 7th and run through at least November 3rd when money from the CARES Act runs out.

Fourteen other cities were impacted by American’s decision.  The Sioux Gateway airport is considered part of the federal Essential Air Service Program that ensures some air service for smaller communities.

In the middle of October, United Express plans to run daily flights to Denver.  American provides service to Chicago.

(News content provided by SPM News and the Associated Press.)

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