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NEWS 7.21.21: Murder Trial, COVID-19 Increase, Heat Impact, Historic Train Project, and More


The first-degree murder trial of 36-year-old Roderick Banks started Wednesday in Woodbury County District Court.

Banks is accused of the shooting death of Solomon Blackbird near 26th and Douglas late last year.

Authorities say the motive for the shooting might be related to a drug deal between two men.

Banks was arrested in Alabama and sent back to Sioux City for trial.

The average daily number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Iowa is up 50% from two weeks ago, and up almost 67% from one week ago, according to the latest data from the New York Times and Washington Post.

Clark Kauffman of the Iowa Capital Dispatchreports as of Sunday, Iowa’s seven-day average of confirmed new cases each day was 128, according to information from the Times.

In early July, that number was as low as 13, although the relatively small number of cases now cropping up means that an increase of only a few dozen cases per day translates to a big percentage increase.

The Washington Post’s COVID-19 tracker indicates that new, daily reported cases are up 66.7% from one week ago, while COVID-related hospitalizations have increased 4.6% over last week.

Statewide, there are an estimated 185 COVID-19 patients hospitalized, which is equal to the number recorded in mid-March and represents a significant increase from the 102 hospitalizations recorded on June 21.

Since mid-May, deaths reported each day in Iowa due to COVID-19 have averaged between one and four.

* Thank you to the Iowa Capital Dispatch.

The Winnebago’s Tribe new masking policy for public spaces on reservation lands does not apply to outdoor activities. This includes the upcoming weekend's annual Homecoming Celebration and powwow. However, people who attend are being asked to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19.

With the National Guard still awaiting reimbursement for its help securing the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the funding shortfall has forced the cancellation of several upcoming Nebraska National Guard events.

The Nebraska National Guard said Wednesday that it is canceling six events planned for August and September to avoid risking the cancellation of annual training.

Individual training course sessions for some Guard members may also be canceled, the spokesman told WOWT Television in Omaha.

The forecast calls for hot — and still hotter — weather for Iowa, including Siouxland and it’s doing no favors for Iowa’s top crops.

A meteorologist with the USDA’s Midwest Climate Hub in Ames tells Radio Iowathe average rainfall for late July doesn’t bode well for the soil, which is already suffering under moderate to severe drought over a wide section of the region.

Corn is reaching a critical pollination stage while soybeans will be more at-risk during August.

Even though we will see a stretch of warmer temperatures in the next few days the National Weather Service tells Radio Iowa you will have to go back 85 years to find the hottest July on record. This month in 1936 saw 15 days with temperatures above 100 with eight-straight days in a row. In Iowa alone more than 230 people died in 1936 due to the heat.the-summer-of-1936.

A groundbreaking takes place tomorrow for an archaeological survey project at the Sioux City Rail Museum along Sioux River Road in Sioux City.

The Siouxland Historical Railroad Association received grants from the Gilchrist Foundation and State Historical Society of Iowa to study artifacts from a railroad constructions camp dating back more than 100 years. The grant of more than $32,000 will also help create online educational resources and documentary films about transportation-related archeology and the preservation of the Milwaukee Railroads Shops Historic District in Sioux City.

Submitted News Release:

Groundbreaking and Shovel Ceremony for Archaeology Survey Project at the Sioux
City Railroad Museum

When: Thursday, July 22, 2021

-       Arrivals: 9:30 a.m.

-       Press Conference and Groundbreaking: 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

-       Display of equipment to be used during the field study: Screens, Shovels,

-       Meet ‘n’ Greet Reception: 11:00 a.m.

Where: Sioux City Railroad Museum | 3400 Sioux River Road | Sioux City, IA

What: The Siouxland Historical Railroad Association in Sioux City received
grants from the Gilchrist Foundation and the State Historical Society of Iowa
to study archaeological artifacts from a railroad construction camp and to
create online educational resources and documentary films about
transportation-related archaeology and the preservation of the Milwaukee
Railroad Shops Historic District in Sioux City.

Please join the Sioux City Railroad Museum and the University of Iowa Office
of the State Archaeologist for a press conference and kick-off event
announcing the details of archaeological survey work to take place during the
upcoming Fall season at the Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District in
Sioux City.

The Sioux City Railroad Museum will host a team of three archaeologists in a
visit to Sioux City on Thursday, July 22. The archaeologists will provide
information on the project, planned scope of work, educational programs, and
volunteer opportunities. They will offer press availability after their
presentation to the public.  A Meet ‘n’ Greet with the Archaeologists
Reception follows the press conference.

The archaeology survey will examine the field area at the Milwaukee Railroad
Shops for evidence of remains from the construction labor camps dating back to
1916—1918. New historical research findings yielded a backstory of two labor
camps existing during the time of construction. The archaeology survey will
include shovel tests to assess the subsurface for evidence of cultural
artifacts not visible on the surface. Archaeologists will take photos of the
area, examine historical images, and conduct a reconnaissance survey to become
familiar with the environmental, natural and human-altered characteristics of
the area.

Why:  The groundbreaking and shovel ceremony event is symbolic of the Sioux
City Railroad Museum’s commitment to the conservation of the heritage and
story of the Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District. The archaeology
survey will help the Sioux City Railroad Museum to grow its collection of data
and information on the backstory of the former steam locomotive and car repair
shops terminal.

Built 1916-1918, the Milwaukee Railroad Shops Historic District is listed in
the National Register of Historic Places. For over 65 years, the railroad
terminal played a critical role in the maintenance and repair of locomotives
and rail cars for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. At
its peak, the site employed over 560 railroad craft workers and shopmen,
repairs and serviced 850 steam locomotives a month, and maintained and
repaired tens of thousands freight cars, passenger coaches and cabooses.

The NFL’s first Black lineman and former University of Iowa player Duke Slater is now in the Hall of Fame. The pioneering two-way lineman was part of the centennial class announced in 2020 to celebrate the NFL’s 100th season. He will be included in induction festivities Aug. 7-8 after they were postponed last year. Slater tackled bigotry head-on, and blocked it, too. He played at Iowa from 1918 to 1921. Slater was the NFL’s first African-American lineman, and often the only Black player on the field. After retiring, he broke down more racial barriers to become a judge in Chicago. 

Credit Associated Press

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