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NEWS 10.15.21: Disability Rights Lawsuit?, Candidate Forum, Freeze Warning, Opening Night & More

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Sioux City Community Schools
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A local disability rights organization is looking at taking legal action against  Sioux City Community Schools if modifications are not made to the district’s virtual academy.

The district launched the VIBE Academy this school year to offer a virtual option for students.

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Don Dew - Executive Director/Siouxland Disabilities Resource Center

The Executive Director of Disabilities Resource Center of Siouxland, Don Dew told Siouxland Public Media last month the program does not allow for some students with disabilities to take part.

“What they are doing is depriving children with disabilities the same right as other student have.”

“I have talked to people who have virtual classes all over the country. Virtual classes are possible with one-on-one care.”

Dew also said parents must either send their children to an unsafe environment due to novel coronavirus or homeschool instead.

A demand letter sent by an attorney on behalf of the Disabilities Resource Center says if the district does not extend the virtual learning program by October 18th it will take further action to protect the needs of disabled students.

The Sioux City Community School District says it does take concerns about the health and safety of all students seriously. A statement released to Siouxland Public Media says in part, existing efforts to produce an education for children with disabilities is in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Act. And, the district will continue to work with individual student and their families to provide accommodations, modifications, and necessary services.

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Credit Sioux City Community Schools
Weekly C-19 Report from the SCCSD
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The candidates for Sioux City Council squared off last night in a forum held by the League of Women Voters.

Four are vying for three open seats, including two incumbents, Dan Moore and Alex Watters.

Two political newcomers are also on the ballot: Ike Rayford, the President of the local NAACP, and art teacher Matthew O’Kane.

Councilmember Pete Groetken chose not to seek reelection after two terms in office.

Election Day scheduled for November 2nd. The last day to request an absentee ballot is Monday at 5 p.m.

The major issues discussed by the candidates included economic develop and recover from COVID-19, affordable housing, a recent violence in downtown Sioux City.

The forum will be the focus of next week’s edition of Siouxland Public Media’s public affairs show “The Exchange.”

Even though Sioux City recently experienced two shootings in about two weeks’ time, the police department says almost all types of crime are down this year, compared a turbulent 2020, with six murders.

"Any violence is concerning and something we do address".

That is spokesperson for the department Jeremy McClure.

There have been four so far this year. The total number of shots fired calls have decreased from 223 to 156.

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Credit Sioux City Police Department
SCPD unofficial statistics for 2021

South Dakota residents will soon need to change how they make local calls, because of a change in the national mental health and suicide prevention hotline.

South Siouxland Public Media’s Mary Hartnett has more. 

The National Weather Service issued a frost advisory for much of Siouxland and a freeze warning for a few counties in Nebraska and northwest Iowa (updated 4 p.m.).

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Credit National Weather Service/Sioux Falls

Officials with the National Weather Service warn conditions could kills crops and other sensitive vegetation. They advise people to protect plants and pipes from the cold.

The warning and advisory kick in overnight.

A long-time Sioux City tradition returns this weekend. As Siouxland Public Media’s Steve Smith reports, the symphony’s 106th season starts with a focus on diversity.

The opening work of the 106th season is by Florence Price, an early 20th Century African American composer who according to the SCSO’s Ryan Haskins has been unfairly forgotten.

 

“So she had this incredible premiere in Chicago and then her music was gone.”

The guest artist on tomorrow night’s program, Michelle Cann, has been working hard to resurrect Price’s legacy.

 

“You know she’s been instrumental in bringing, her being an African American herself and a female, who even at a young age has witnessed struggles and disadvantages because of those elements, unfortunately, she has a story of her own to tell.”

 

The concert is tomorrow night at 7:30 at the Sioux City Orpheum Theater.

The city of Sioux City announced trick-or-treating will be observed on Halloween, October 31st from 6 to 8 p.m.

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