Mary Hartnett

Announcer/News Director

This week on The Exchange we talk about what it is like to poor in America with the author of a new book called "Broke in America: Seeing, Understanding and Ending US Poverty."   The authors Joanne Samuel Goldblum and Colleen Shaddux say the coronavirus pandemic has plunged millions more Americans to the brink of poverty, but the underlying causes of poverty have been ingrained in society, so that should be no surprise.  I talked with co-auhtor Joanne Samuel Goldblum about poverty, its causes and what the government and each us can do to allieviate those who are living in poverty.

State officials will reduce next week’s share of Covid vaccine doses for a handful of Iowa counties that have lagged behind in getting the shots administered, according to Radio Iowa. Doses are being distributed, based on population. Iowa Department of Public Health acting director Kelly Garcia said the goal is for counties to get at least 80% of weekly doses out the door — and five counties are below that threshold. Garcia made her comments during a telephone town hall with AARP members. She did not name the five counties.

Today the state of Iowa is reporting another 22 COVID-19 deaths and an additional 841 confirmed cases, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

At 10 a.m. today, the state was reporting 5,196 COVID-19-related deaths, according to the state's website. In Woodbury County, there have been 21 new cases added to the total case count in the last 24 hours and no further deaths. The 14-day positivity rate is 6.9%.

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Iowa reported another 35 COVID-19 deaths and an additional 713 confirmed cases today as the number of counties with a high 14-day positivity rate continued to decrease.

At 10 a.m. today, the state was reporting 5,145 COVID-19-related deaths, according to the state's website.  In Woodbury County, there have been 18 new cases added to the total case count in the last 24 hours and no new deaths. 


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An Iowa House subcommittee has approved a one-time appropriation of 30 million dollars for schools that have been in-person during the pandemic. Any district that allowed at least 50 percent of students to attend in-person could qualify for payments, but the schools that offered the most days of all in-person learning would receive the largest share of funding. Supporters say it would help cover the cost of mitigating COVID-19 in the classroom. 

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State health officials reported 804 new positive cases in Iowa between 10 a.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. Friday, according the website.  There has also been another 44 COVID-19 deaths in Iowa in the last 24 hours, bringing the state's death toll to 5,067.  Iowa's 14-day positivity rate decreased to 9.3% to 9.1% since Thursday.

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Today, the Iowa Department of Public Health was reporting another 34 COVID-19 deaths and an additional 804 confirmed cases in the state.

At 10 a.m. today, the state reported 5,067 COVID-19-related deaths, an increase of 34 since yesterday. 

Woodbury County has marked another grim milestone, surpassing 200 COVID-19-related deaths. Today, Siouxland District Health says 201 residents have died from the coronavirus in the county. IDPH data show there have been more than 13, 3oo cases of covid-19 as well. 

Gov. Kim Reynolds says state officials are looking into why Iowa has one of the lowest vaccination rates per capita in the country. Iowa is moving into vaccinating those in phase 1-b, but it ranks near the bottom in the country for the number of first doses administered and its vaccine allocation.

Gov. Kim Reynolds says state officials are reaching out to counties and health providers to determine what's slowing down the vaccination process.


This week on The Exchange, we hear from Iowa's Senators on the hearings for former Iowa Governor and US Food and Drug Administration leader Tom Vilsack.  President Joe Biden has chosen the former Democratic governor to take up the USDA post once again. Senator Joni Ernst questioned Vilsack this week and we hear some of that conversation. 

Also, we talk with members of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska as they receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

 Siouxland District Health Department announced Monday all appointments for public COVID-19 vaccination clinics to be held Feb. 10 and 12 at the Tyson Events Center have been filled.  The health department is holding additional clinics February 17th, February 24th, and March 3rd. Appointments for these clinics are not available yet, but will open up when we know the amount of vaccine we will be allotted. 

Those eligible for vaccination are : 

A new monthly survey shows continued economic improvement in nine Midwest and Plains states, but business leaders indicated the coronavirus pandemic is still hurting business. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey. He estimated a rosier economic outlook in the coming months, citing an increase in the survey's confidence index. The overall index for the region in January suggests improved growth, coming in at a strong 67.3 from December's 64.1. Any score above 50 on the survey's indexes suggests growth, while a score below 50 suggests recession. 

Today, the Iowa Department of Public Health is reporting Iowa has had another 32 COVID-19 deaths and an additional 1,264 confirmed cases.  The state has had more than 300,000 cases of the coronavirus and 4,532 deaths so far.  The 14-day statewide positivity rate is 10.2%.In Woodbury County, there have been 22 new cases added to the total case count in the last 24 hours, and 18 people are hospitalized due to COVID-19.  There have been no new deaths.

This week on The Exchange, we hear from US Senator Joni Earnst about the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.  Ernst says she has constitutional concerns about the process.

Also, we talk with Dennis Todey. He is the director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Midwest Climate Hub in Ames about the possiblity of drought in Iowa this spring and summer.

The state of Iowa reports more than 1300 new coronavirus cases as of this morning.  The state was reporting 33 COVID-19 deaths, for a total of 4,478 deaths since the pandemic came to Iowa, according to the state's website. There have been 310,596 confirmed cases of coronavirus total in Iowa.  There are 450 people hospitalized related to the coronavirus.  The statewide positivity rate is 10.1%.

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Governor Kim Reynolds announced yesterday, Iowans 65 and older will soon be eligible for the next wave of COVID-19 vaccinations. 

Governor Reynolds talked about the second tier of COVID vaccination in Iowa, which will eventually immunize more than 530,000 people. Iowans 75 and over, health care workers and staff, and residents at long-term care facilities were given the first batch,

The second tier rollout begins February 1. It will offer vaccines to essential frontline workers, first responders, and teachers. Reynolds says the state cannot open up vaccines to all Iowans just yet.  

Iowa is currently receiving 19,500 doses per week. However, those numbers could change with the new administration in place.

But Gov. Kim Reynolds said the state currently ranks 46th for the number of doses it's allocated. 

All Iowans 65 and older are included in Iowa’s next wave of  COVID-19 vaccinations, which begin Feb. 1.  Governor Kim Reynolds said at her news conference today that this second tier will eventually immunize more than 530,000 Iowans. Initially, state health officials limited vaccinations to people to 75 and older.  

The second phase rollout will offer vaccines to high priority groups like frontline essential workers, first responders and teachers. But Reynolds said the state could not open up vaccines to all Iowans yet.  

This week on The Exchange, we talk with a Neligh, Nebraska farmer who has long opposed the Keystone Excel Pipeline about President Joe Biden's vow to stop the project. Former President Barack Obama opposed the pipeline as well, but former President Donald Trump rescinded that order in 2017.  Art Tanderup has spent years organizing and raising funds and awareness to stop the pipeline. Many environmentalists says could pollute the land, water and air.

This week on The Exchange, we hear highlights from Governor Kim Reynolds' Condition of the State Address and critique that speech with Woodbury County Democratic leader Jeremy Dumkrieger and Woodbury County Republican leader Suzan Stewart. 

We also preview the 2021 Legislative session with Sioux City Democratic State Senat0r Jackie Smith and Sioux City Republican Senator Jim Carlin. 

  Gov. Kim Reynolds is taking her annual Condition of the State address from day time to supper time.  She will break with tradition, by addressing a joint convention of the 89th Iowa General Assembly at the Iowa Capitol beginning at 6 p.m. tonight, rather than the typical 10 a.m. Siouxland Public Media will broadcast the speech live and a live stream of the speech will be available at Also, you can hear live reactions to the speech live on Siouxland Public Media as soon as Governor Reynolds is finished her address.  

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 State lawmakers returned to the Iowa Capitol today. Education, taxation, safety are the top priorities for 2021 Iowa legislature. And today they were Joined  inside by hundreds of anti-mask protestors.

Hundreds of people --- few, if any, of them wearing face coverings --- packed into the Iowa Capitol rotunda today and then into the Senate and House chamber galleries. The were protesting mask-wearing and other public health measures designed to slow the spread of the new coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic.

State lawmakers returned to the Iowa Capitol today. Education, taxation, safety are the top priorities for 2021 Iowa legislature. And they were joined inside by more than 200 anti-mask protestors.

This week on The Exchange, we remember a Woodbury County teacher who died from COVID-19. Cherie Dandurand taught at Woodbury Central Schools. She was the first teacher in northwest Iowa to die from the coronavirus.

123020 404 NewsThe number of deaths in Northwest Iowa attributed to COVID-19 rose by 13 yesterday,  public health officials announced. The 13 new deaths came in seven area counties. There were no additional deaths reported in Northeast Nebraska or Southeast South Dakota as of yesterday afternoon.In Woodbury County, there have been 55 new cases added to the total case count in the last 24 hours.  There have been more than 12,000 cases of the novel coronavirus cases since the pandemic began. There no new deaths in Woodbury County, so the number of fatalities there remains at 164. There was no information on the genders or ages of the Siouxland people who died yesterday. Ida County had the most significant increase in deaths from COVID1-19. There were four new deaths in Ida County, bringing the total number of fatalities to 26. The number rose by three to 53 in O'Brien County, and by two to 43 in Sioux County.Elsewhere, the number of deaths increased by one in Lyon County to 25, by one to 12 in Clay County, and by one to 22 in Crawford County.Those deaths were reported in statistics from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Jim Schaap of Small Wonders and Siouxland Public Media's General Manger Mark Munger bring stories of Christmas to lighten our load in these difficult days.

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This week on The Exchange, we have a roundtable discussion about the effects of the Coronavirus on schools, students, teachers and families. Siouxland Public Media's Mary Hartnett and Sheila Brummer speak with the families we have been following this fall semester. Each family has children enrolled in Siouxland public or private school. Our guests are Donna Behrens, Pam Venturi and Mandy Engle-Cartie. Engle-Cartie is the executive director of Girls Inc.

Vaccine distribution plans will be discussed Monday afternoon by Siouxland public health officials.  Siouxland District Health Department and Dakota County Health Department will hold a press conference Monday afternoon at the Security Institute at Western Iowa Tech, to provide information related to COVID19 vaccine plans.  That press conference is set for 1:30 p.m. Monday.

One out of every thousand Iowans have died of COVID-19, according to a Des Moines Register analysis of Iowa Department of Public Health data. More than 90% of the people who died were 60 or older. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates there were about 150,000 Iowans aged 80 or older before the pandemic. COVID-19 has killed more than 1% of them.

The department of health today reports another 77 COVID-19 deaths and an additional 2,057 confirmed cases. The state has had more than 274,000 thousand positive cases of COVID-19 and more than 3,000 deaths. Some of the deaths are from earlier in the pandemic as the state's numbers undergo methodology changes. Also, COVID-19 deaths can take up to a week to be reported on the state's website. There are 833 Iowans hospitalized with COVID-19.  For three-fourths of those patients, COVID-19 is the primary diagnosis.