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NEWS 7.2.21: Drought Update, NE Gender Identity Education Concerns, and SITP Starts Tonight

U.S. Drought Monitor

Credit U.S. Drought Monitor

Even with the deluges of rain, hail, and thunderstorms that brought severe flash flooding to parts of Iowa, June wrapped up with below-normal rainfall statewide.

State experts tell Radio Iowa the first half of the month was in the top ten for warmth.

The second half of June brought storms and plenty of them for other regions of the state, with up to 11 inches in southeastern Iowa.

Despite the long-running drought, the state overall was still lacking rainfall, including northwest Iowa.

The U.S. Drought Monitor showed more than 85% of Iowa in some kind of drought. That is down 7% from the week before. But, more than double the rate of three months ago.

The Iowa Capital Dispatch shows none of Iowa is classified in the two most severe categories of drought. However, a large section of northwest Iowa is facing severe drought.

Thirty Nebraska state lawmakers are urging local school boards to reject proposed state health standards that include lessons for young children on gender identity and gender expression. The senators issued a joint public statement to local school boards. The standards under consideration by the Nebraska Department of Education would be optional if they’re approved, so school districts would be free to accept or ignore them. Under the proposed standards, kindergartners would learn about different kinds of family structures, including same-gender families. First-graders would be taught about gender identity and gender stereotypes. The proposal has drawn huge crowds to education board meetings and faced strong opposition from Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts.

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says it came as a surprise when a billionaire GOP donor reached out with a $1 million offer to fund the National Guard’s deployment to the U.S. border with Mexico. Critics say it creates a troubling precedent that effectively turns National Guard troops into soldiers-for-hire. But Noem describes the transaction as a “wonderful” happenstance in which Willis Johnson, the billionaire Republican donor, gave her an unexpected phone call as she was deliberating where to come up with the money to send the National Guard or law enforcement officers to the border.

Saturday in the Park takes place this weekend. The free music festival was on hiatus last night due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event returns to Grandview Park for a 2-day celebration that kicks off tonight and continues tomorrow at 2 p.m. Some of the musical acts include AJR hitting the stage tonight and tomorrow Waka Flocka Flame, Valerie June, and John Fogerty.

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