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News 6.2.21: Iowa House Minority Leader to Step Down, C19 Falls in SD, and More


SPM NEWS 6.2.21 - 5:04PM

The former CEO of Make-A-Wish Iowa has pleaded guilty to charges of embezzling tens of thousands of dollars from the charity that supports sick children and their families. Jennifer Woodley admitted in a written guilty plea last week that she made unauthorized charges on a foundation credit card, gave herself unapproved bonus and salary increases, and made false entries in foundation records.


Iowa's state auditor has flagged concerns following an audit of the state's sex offender civil commitment unit in Cherokee showed a worker made more than $50,000 in illicit payments to her husband. State Auditor Rob Sand said in a news release today that an administrative assistant made unauthorized adjustments to the unit's payroll system to pay her husband more than $52,600 in wages and nearly $9,000 in payroll benefits for time he did not work from August 2019 through February of this year. 


Iowa House Minority Leader Todd Prichard of Charles City has announced he's stepping down from his position as leader of the House Democrats.

In a statement, Prichard said it was a great honor to serve as leader of the House Democrats. He said, quote, "After conversations with my family, it's time for me to step aside and allow a new member of our caucus to lead."


Prichard was the leader of three legislative sessions. House Republicans kept their majority the whole time, which means Democrats have not had much say in deciding what bills get passed.

House Democrats are scheduled to choose a new leader on June 14th. According to a news release, Prichard will serve out his fifth term as a state representative through next year.


Active cases of COVID-19 in South Dakota fell dramatically this week, as five more deaths were added on Wednesday, for a total of 2019 since the start of the pandemic. There were 36 additional cases.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported two more deaths and 260 new positive tests statewide, and two in Woodbury County. Meanwhile Iowa’s one-week positivity rate has dropped below two-percent.

Tyson Foods President and CEO Dean Banks is leaving the poultry company for personal reasons, having served less than a year in the top post. Tyson named Banks as CEO in August, but he took officially took over the position from Noel White in October. The company said Wednesday that Donnie King will succeed Banks, effective immediately. King will have much on his plate at the outset, including contending with worker attendance issues and the ongoing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

Two Iowa meatpacking plants outside of Siouxland saw canceled shifts and a halt in production this week, following a cyberattack on the world’s largest meat producer.

Iowa’s Agriculture Secretary tells Radio Iowa he’s concerned about interruptions which can hurt the industry, including local livestock producers.

The White House says the ransomware attack likely came from a criminal organization based in Russia.

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