Mary Hartnett

Announcer/News Director

304 News

Republican US Senator Joni Ernst stopped in Northwest Iowa today to meet with law enforcement officials. Ernst toured the Le Mars law enforcement center and talked with officers about increasing crime and a lack of resources to deal with it.  Ernst said there has been more violence in nearby large cities in Minnesota and Illinois, and it is now spreading to Iowa.

Some high profile Republicans who may run for president are in Des Moines today (Friday) where they’ll speak at a gathering of Christian conservatives.  Two members of the Trump White House will address The Family Leader’s annual Leadership Summit: former Vice President Mike Pence and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem will also be there.

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A prosecutor today has rejected claims that the killing of  a University of Iowa student could be connected to sex trafficking and other abductions.  Mollie Tibbetts disappeared and was found murdered in rural eastern Iowa in 2018.  Cristhian Bahena Rivera was convicted for the murder earlier this year. The 27-year-old dairy farm worker testified that two masked men killed Tibbetts but forced him to dispose of her body.

Sioux City Democrat  J.D. Scholten says today he won’t run for office anytime soon. In fact, today Scholten is announcing he will take a job with a progressive group that seeks rural votes in battleground states. He'll be taking over as executive director of, a super PAC focused on improving Democrats' chances in rural America.

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Last night, some Siouxland residents once again asked Sioux City Council members to ban fireworks within city limits. Councilman Alex Watters said he "battles back and forth" about what can be done regarding the discharge of fireworks. He said he isn't certain that an all-out ban would do anything. Watters floated the idea of having "fireworks zones" located in large parking lots, according to the Sioux City Journal. 

The governors of tri-state region talked about the need to train workers and fill jobs in the post-pandemic era, today at Tri-State Governors' Conference. the conference in the South Sioux City Marriot on the Riverfront. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem talked about possible ways to fill high-demand jobs.

Governor Ricketts said Nebraska is focusing on career pipeline that starts in middle school, to a career academy and post-secondary education the apprenticeship program.

After three public hearings, this week the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors this week approve a new commercial wind farm ordinance that does not exclude the Loess Hills area. 

Board member Mark Monson had requested that the Loess Hills be a restricted area and that change was made after the first hearing. That restriction was removed Tuesday night.

Several community members said restricting wind farm construction would violate land owner’s rights. 

The number of Iowans hospitalized with COVID-19 is ticking up, though the raw numbers are close to what they were at the start of pandemic last year. That uptick in hospitalizations comes as public health officials warn that the more transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus is spreading in Iowa, according to the Des Moines Register.

The Iowa Department of Public Health said that 85 people were hospitalized in Iowa with the disease today, after briefly falling to 50 two weeks before that. 

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he will work with his colleagues to restore the 15% ethanol fuel blend for sale year-round. On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed the rule enacted by the EPA that allowed E-15 to be sold between June and September, a move that was encouraged by then-President Trump. 

 The decision to allow E-15 to be sold year-round put that blend on a par with the popular 10-percent ethanol blend, which has been available for sale all year for decades. Grassley says he'll push for a legislative solution to the issue to give some certainty to farmers and producers as he says the court ruling is a "big hit" to ethanol. "

A tomahawk once owned by Chief Standing Bear, a pioneering Native American civil rights leader, is returning to his Nebraska tribe after decades in a museum at Harvard.

The university's Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology says it's been working with members of the Ponca Tribe in Nebraska and Oklahoma to repatriate the artifact.

The tribe's chairman says its anticipated return is a powerful symbol of homecoming for the tribe.

State officials say Adventureland’s Raging River Ride has received five years of satisfactory inspection reports. An 11-year old boy died after a fatal accident this weekend on the ride. The Raging River ride was inspected last Friday. The inspector found “no code violations at this time,” according to a notation at the bottom of the inspection report. The father of 11-year old Michael Jaramillo told ABC News that his son and other family members were trapped by the ride’s seat belts when the boat carrying them flipped on the Raging River ride. Police say Michael Jaramillo died Sunday from his injuries, and three others were injured. Michael’s older brother is hospitalized in critical condition. The is shut down, and Adventureland says the family-owned park is cooperating with investigators.

Despite a bit of rain, Iowa's drought worsened in the past month, according to the director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Midwest Climate Hub. Dennis Todey says prospects for the rest of the summer are hard to forecast. At best, Iowa would get enough rain to hold off an even worse drought, he predicted. Todey says the drought is the worst in 20 years, and the long-term forecasts don't call for much rain in the Midwest in the next week. 

This week on The Exchange, as we commemorate Independence Day, we take a fresh look at some familiar stories in American history.  We talk with the author of a new book about the rise of President George Washington.  David O. Stewart says the first president, despite being a privileged white man in 18th century society, worked hard and used his ability to overcome the elements and forge alliances with political opponents.  He also wrestled with the problem of slavery, and how to set free the enslaved people on his plantations. 

The US Supreme Court says an expanded number of small refineries can seek an exemption from certain renewable fuel requirements. The high court ruled 6-3 that a small refinery that had previously received a hardship exemption from complying with Clean Air Act requirements may obtain an extension of that exemption.  Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says she is disappointed with the decision.

The Supreme Court says an expanded number of small refineries can seek an exemption from certain renewable fuel requirements. The high court ruled 6-3 that a small refinery that had previously received a hardship exemption from complying with Clean Air Act requirements may obtain an “extension” of that exemption. That’s even if the refinery let a previous exemption lapse.  The Biden administration argued that to get an extension, a refinery had to have maintained a continuous exemption since 2011.Iowa Gov. Reynolds responded to the decision today, saying it is a disappointing setback for Iowa Agriculture and the renewable fuel industry in the state. She said it not only undermines demand for ethanol and biodiesel but it also creates an environment where waivers could grow exponentially.


Dakota County Health Department is offering COVID-19 vaccination clinics to the public. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are offered every Wednesday by appointment at Dakota County Health Department in South Sioux City. Those brands will also be available at a July 7 clinic at South Sioux City's Memorial Hall, from 3 to 7 p.m., as well as a July 14 clinic at Don's Sports Bar & Grill, from 3 to 7 p.m. 


Dakota County Health Department is offering COVID-19 vaccination clinics to the public.


The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are offered every Wednesday by appointment at Dakota County Health Department, 1601 Broadway St., South Sioux City.

Those brands of vaccine will also be available at a July 7 clinic at South Sioux City's Memorial Hall, 201 W. 16 St., which runs from 3 to 7 p.m., as well as a July 14 clinic at Don's Sports Bar & Grill, 801 W. 13th St., which will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. 


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 Today Governor Kim Reynolds announced that Iowa State Patrol officers would be deployed to the U.S. Southern Border to aid law enforcement and border security efforts. The governor is responding to a request from Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. Reynolds said the rise in drugs, human trafficking, and violent crime has become unsustainable. 


The League of Women Voters of Sioux City will sponsor a program including a panel discussion on the present and future reality of voting at the Betty Strong Encounter Center this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. 

The League’s President Dagna Simmons says last year the league focused on the Hard Won right to vote and the founding of the organization. And one of the leaders of the suffrage movement, Carrie Chapman Catt. 

This year, for the first time, Juneteenth is being observed as a national holiday.  President Joe Biden signed the oberservance into law on Thursday. 

This week on The Exchange we talk with the President of the Sioux City Chapter of the NAACP, Ike Rayford about Juneteenth, one year after the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.  Rayford says he is thrilled that Juneteenth is finally national holiday.  However, Ike says he is still concerned about some state laws that restrict information about the history of slavery and racism in America.

About three-fourths of Iowa is gripped in either moderate or severe drought conditions, according to a national report released this week. The conditions make many homeowners look with despair at their browning lawns.  However, a horticulture profressor at Iowa State University says it is time to quit worrying about having the best lawn on the block.  Adam Thoms, says your if your lawn is already turning brown, just let it go.

“You know as they are brown up top, the growth point or the crown of the plant is still green, it could still grow."  

Sioux City native Shelby Houlihan yesterday received some bad news. It looks like she now has very little chance of competing at the U.S. Olympic trials today.  Her chances diminished sharply late yesterday when the country's Olympic committee said it would follow all antidoping rules, and USA Track and Field received long-awaited official notice of her suspension. 

Earlier this week, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld Houlihan's four-year ban for testing positive for trace amounts of a performance-enhancing drug. She blamed her positive test on a pork burrito she ate 10 hours before a test in December. Contaminated meats have led to positive tests in other cases, many of which have been dismissed.At first, the USATF said would not bar the American record-holder at 1,500 and 5,000 meters from running in today's preliminary heats until she had exhausted every appeal. However, later on, yesterday, the USATF was said it would take Houlihan off the start lists since it had received official word from the Athletics Integrity Unit.  The unit conducted the test that led to the suspension, that Houlihan had been banned for four years.

Sioux City native and runner Shelby Houlihan, who holds the U.S. record in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters, cannot compete for four years after testing positive for a banned substance. Houlihan announced yesterday that she consumed the substance by mistake by eating tainted pork in a burrito.

The 28-year-old made the revelation just days before the start of the U.S. Olympic track and field trials. 


This past year subverted everyone’s idea of normal, but probably no group more so than students. In a class titled Truama in our Society, Dr. Carolina Hotchandani, Goodrich professor of English at the University of Nebraska Omaha, saw her Medical Humanities class as an opportunity to collectively mourn what had been lost. She asked her students to record and share the stories of someone they knew, quilting together the experiences that were otherwise lived through in solitude. 



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Iowa’s governor is asking for a congressional investigation after unaccompanied migrant children were flown into Iowa without her office being notified. Governor Kim Reynolds and Tennessee’s governor are asking the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a public hearing about the movement of migrant children into states.

The sponsor of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline says it is pulling the plug on the contentious project. The pipeline would have transported crude from the oil sand fields of western Canada to Steele City, Nebraska. Canadian officials failed to persuade the Biden administration to reverse its cancellation of the company's permit on the day the president took office. Calgary-based TC Energy said Wednesday it would work with government agencies “to ensure a safe termination of and exit from” the partially built project.

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Iowans will no longer be able to use a state website to check their own vaccination histories or those of their children. The change comes amid national controversy over whether employers should be able to require workers to get a coronavirus vaccine and a state law banning use or government issuance of "vaccine passports, according to the Des Moines Register. 

The Exchange aired live from the Sioux City Farmers Market on June 2nd.  We spoke with the market's organizer Becky Barnes about how the market works and what kind of plans she has for the future. We also talked with Roger Caudron, who helped create the farmer's market.  We also spoke with vendors and producers at the market.

Siouxland Public Media's Mary Hartnett and Sheila Brummer are the hosts. Enjoy. 

New unemployment claims in Iowa fell to 3,859 in the week ending May 29. That’s two less than the previous week’s 3,861 claims.

However, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics released yesterday,  overall unemployment is once again on the rise. The DOL reports unemployment in Iowa currently stands at 26,737 claims, more than 1400 claims over the previous week’s numbers.