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NEWS 1.6.21

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The City of Sioux City issued new COVID-19 guidelines for employees today requiring vaccinations for all city employees. Employees not vaccinated must wear a mask and undergo mandatory testing. A news release issued Thursday afternoon states city leaders will continue to monitor court actions and adjust requirements accordingly.

Analysis released by the State Hygienic Lab shows about half of the recent coronavirus infections in Iowa have been caused by the omicron variant.

A spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Public Health says a surge in cases is stressing the state’s health care system.

The Iowa Capital Dispatch reports the state’s infection rate has nearly doubled since Christmas with a recent average of about 2,800 new cases each day.

The omicron variant is now been found in 26 of Iowa’s counting.

So, far no official cases have been identified in Woodbury County. Siouxland Counties with the new strain include Plymouth, Buena Vista, and Palo Alto.

The Iowa state auditor’s office found no wrongdoing by the Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office surrounding vehicle sales and trade-ins.

That’s according to a report released on Thursday.

Woodbury County Sheriff Chad Sheehan requested the review in January of last year.

A former state Republican representative says she is running for Iowa state auditor, accusing the Democratic incumbent of conducting “political witch hunts.”

Mary Ann Hanusa who represented Council Bluffs from 2011 to 2021, says she would seek the GOP nomination to run against Democrat Rob Sand.

Hanusa, who has been endorsed by Gov. Kim Reynolds and other top Republicans, accuses Sand of using the office to launch baseless investigations based on partisan politics.

Sand has conducted audits that criticized Reynolds for misusing federal funds over the past two years. He announced plans to run for a second term in December. Sand defeated incumbent Republican auditor, Mary Mosiman, in his first run for statewide office in 2018.

First-time unemployment claims jumped by almost 1,500 last week in Iowa.

Last week, more than 5,000 Iowans filed for unemployment benefits for the first time.

KCCI Television in Des Moines reports there will be changes to the way Iowans can qualify for unemployment.

Iowa Workforce Development will launch a new Re-employment Case Management Program next week.

In order to receive, Iowans must apply for more jobs or reemployment activities.

Governor Kim Reynolds says the changes will help ease a worker shortage in the state.

Casinos aren’t the only entities that have profited from a strong year for Deadwood’s gambling industry in South Dakota. The South Dakota Department of Tourism receives about $3 million in gambling revenue each year. This past fiscal year it received $3.8 million. Revenue also goes to city governments, school districts and the Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission. About $17 million in gambling revenue taxes will be distributed this year. From July of 2020 to June of 2021, Deadwood gambling brought in $126 million in revenue, a 20% increase over the last fiscal year.

News release from Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts:

Governor Ricketts to President Biden: Stop Using Tragedy to Score Political Points

The right to peacefully protest is at the foundation of our free society. It’s one of the core freedoms that distinguishes our great nation from oppressive regimes around the world. Shame on anyone who uses a peaceful protest as an opportunity to riot, cause destruction, and bring harm to others. It’s unacceptable, and we should prosecute those who break the law and hold them accountable.

This applies to those who broke the law and caused destruction on January 6, 2021 – just as much as it applies to those who broke the law and caused destruction in cities around America in the summer of 2020 in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.

We don’t blame all Black Lives Matter supporters for the hundreds of millions of dollars of property damage, dozens of assaults on officers, and hundreds of ruined livelihoods that stemmed from largely peaceful protests. Why are our politicians and news organizations doing so with last January’s Stop the Steal supporters?

President Biden and Vice President Harris chose today to compare the Stop the Steal protests to the day of infamy at Pearl Harbor and likened the protestors to the terrorists who killed thousands of Americans on 9/11. I cannot begin to tell you how inappropriate, irresponsible, and outright offensive this is.

Rational Americans, from all points of view and political persuasions, will see right through this and find it disgusting. President Biden’s decision to use his bully pulpit to unnecessarily divide Americans for the sake of scoring political points is shameful.

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