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PM News 7.30.19

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Sports gambling in Iowa now has an official start date. The state Racing and Gaming Commission has given 18 casinos the initial go-ahead to start taking bets at Noon on August 15th,  although some may start at a later date.

However, the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is not on that list.  Officials with the Hard Rock says they plan to be on the agenda next month because they haven’t worked out all of the details with a partnership agreement with their sports book.

Woodbury County Board of Supervisors plans to vote on a  architectural contract for a potential new jail this afternoon.  The estimated cost for the project $49.5 million.  The meeting starts at 4:30 at the Woodbury County Courhouse.

A forum featuring Democratic U.S. Senate candidates took place today.

Siouxland Progressive Women held the event over the lunch hour with three people who want to challenge Senator Joni Ernst in her bid for reelection.

Eddie Mauro, Michael Franken and Kimberly Graham took part in the event at the Delta Hotel in South Sioux City.

The Democratic presidential candidates take the stage for the second round of debates tonight and tomorrow night in Detroit.

Progressives Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren face off this evening for the first time in this campaign.

Meanwhile, several other candidates will be scrambling for a breakout night to get back on voters' minds.  Ten go tonight, another ten tomorrow night.

Supporters of several of the candidates have planned watched parties in Sioux City.  We have a list from the Woodbury County Democratic Party on our website kwit.org.

Meanwhile, former Vice President and candidate Joe Biden plans to open a campaign office on Thursday. 

His wife Jill Biden is scheduled to be at the location at 17th and Hamilton from 3:30 until 5 p.m.

Governor Kim Reynolds is continuing to decline to list the factors that led her to ask the director of the state’s largest agency to resign last month.

The governor says she’s “set the record straight” and wants to take the Department of Human Services in a new direction. But Reynolds isn’t elaborating on what that direction is, and she’s not describing what issues she saw with the department under former director Jerry Foxhoven.  

“I decided to go in a different direction. It is a political appointed position. It is at will. And it serves at the pleasure of the governor.”

Reynolds did confirm that legislative changes to public assistance programs, such as adding work reporting requirements for Medicaid members, are part of the conversation in the search for a new director.

Trade negotiators for the United States and China are back at the table this week in Shanghai.

Meanwhile, on Twitter, President Trump has continued to lash out at the Chinese, saying they “just don’t come through.”

China has not yet made agricultural purchases it agreed to earlier this year. But Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley says to forget Trump’s tweets.

“And if they aren’t talking like for the last two months, you know nothing’s going to happen. So we ought to stress the positive thing and that’s the possibility of an agreement.”

Grassley is also optimistic a trade deal between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico can be finalized this year. He says such agreements are important for Iowa agriculture and also for other industries.

A reward has been doubled to $50,000 for information leading to an arrest in the murders of two Iowa cousins.  The money came from an anonymous donor.

Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins were 10 and 8 when they disappeared in Evansdale in July of  2012.

Their abandoned bikes were later located on a trail near Meyers Lake.

Hunters found their bodies about 25 miles from where they disappeared at Seven Bridges Park about five months later.

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