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NEWS 12.6.21

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The state of Iowa reporting a dramatic jump in the number of positive COVID-19 tests.

According to the state’s coronavirus website there were 12,000 new cases, an increase of 20%.

The positivity rate rose to 11.9%, up almost a half-percentage point since Friday. The level in Woodbury County is 12% with 221 new cases a week. Ida County once again has the highest rate in Siouxland at 20% with 33 new cases.

The number of patients statewide did fall by almost 5% with 721. The Department of Public Health says almost 72% of patients have not been fully vaccinated.

The number of long-term care facilities that are experiencing outbreaks has decreased by three since Friday, with 17 current outbreaks.

The CDC says Iowa has 57.2% of its population fully vaccinated, ranking it 24th in the nation. A third of Iowans age 5 and older remain unvaccinated.

The state of Iowa releases COVID-19 updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Frontline workers at Tyson Foods will be getting year-end bonuses totaling $50 million dollars. This move includes thousands of employees in Dakota City, Storm Lake, and Madison, Nebraska.

The also going to hourly staff members bonuses range from $300 to $700 based on tenure.

Jury selection started today in Omaha for the trial of a Winnebago man accused of killing his fiancé.

Jonathan Rooney pleaded not guilty to 2nd-degree murder for the death of was charged with 2nd-degree murder of Kozee Decorah on the Winnebago Reservation in May of 2020.

The Sioux City Journal reports, if found guilty, Rooney could face a prison sentence ranging from 14 years to life.

Iowa’s public schools had an all-time high number of full-time teachers in the last school year. That’s according to the Iowa Department of Education’s annual condition of education report.

Jay Pennington with the Iowa Department of Education says there were a little more than 38-thousand public school teachers working in the 2020-2021 school year, and he says that’s not exactly surprising from an economic perspective.

“There’s been intentional legislation that’s pumped money into raising teacher salary, creating teacher leadership roles, and that money isn’t going away, right? Even though there was uncertainty, there’s still more money, so certainly it was good news to see that all-time high.” 

The average teacher salary for the 2020-2021 school year was up more than six hundred dollars.

Pennington says given reports on schools struggling to fill teacher and substitute openings this year, the department is interested in seeing the report on this year’s numbers.

The University of Iowa has been ordered to pay out nearly $2 million for a pair of legal judgments that ruled it unfairly discriminated against Christian student organizations.

The State Appeal Board approved the payout today.

A federal judge ruled in a pair of settlements that the University of Iowa violated the First Amendment rights of two student groups. Business Leaders in Christ and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship were deregistered for requiring leaders to affirm statements of faith.

UI appealed the ruling, but a federal appeals court upheld it last summer.

The settlement funds will go to pay for attorney’s fees and damages.

News Release from the Woodbury County Auditor’s Office:

The Woodbury County Temporary County Redistricting Commission has published a link to a map that represents the proposed County Supervisor District Plan that will become effective January 15th, 2022.

The Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed districts on December 20, 2021, at 4:30 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors meeting room on the lower level of the Court House. Following the public hearing, the Commission will adopt a proposed plan to be recommended to the Board of Supervisors for their approval. The Board of Supervisors will consider the plan as part of an ordinance to be adopted at their meeting on December 21, 2021, that will also establish county precincts that will become effective January 15th, 2022.

This is the link to the proposed supervisor district map:

https://wcicc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/instant/minimalist/index.html?appid=939201c0b4f24d8e86ccd04db301a131

This is the link to the proposed precincts:

https://wcicc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/instant/minimalist/index.html?appid=fd7a66f9939c4aeaaf7a153adb1f41a2

For further information, please contact Pat Gill, Woodbury County Auditor & Recorder/Commissioner of Elections at 712-251-1153.

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