© 2022 KWIT

4647 Stone Avenue, Sioux City, Iowa 51106

Business: 712-274-6406
Studio: 1-800-251-3690

Email: info@kwit.org
A Station for Everyone
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

NEWS 1.14.22

Screen Shot 2022-01-14 at 6.05.07 PM.png
National Weather Service
/

A winter storm impacting Siouxland this afternoon and tonight with storm warnings and winter weather advisories. The forecast for Iowa calls for up to 10 inches of snow. That includes the Iowa Great Lakes area.

Several schools canceled for the day, including a two-hour early dismissal for the Sioux City Community School District. The National Weather Service downgraded the snow total for Sioux City. The metro area could see up to two inches. Statistics show less than two inches of snow has fallen in Sioux City all season. That is almost 13 inches below normal.

As a winter storm moves into Iowa, a warning about thin ice, especially in the Iowa Great Lakes region. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources encouraged ice anglers and snowmobilers to use caution after a snowmobile and an ATV broke through the ice on West Okoboji Lake and East Okoboji Lake Thursday night.

The individuals were rescued by nearby anglers and then were treated and released from the local hospital.

A DNR supervisor says the ice quality in the Iowa Great Lakes area isn’t as good as it has been in the past and with incoming snow that can great a dangerous situation since it is hard to see the thin ice. Another issue, geese are keeping a large area open, especially on Big Spirit Lake.

Gov. Pete Ricketts has announced a public health order barring the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha from performing pre-scheduled, non-emergency surgeries, one day after the hospital announced that it had activated its crisis plan because of the pandemic.

Ricketts says the state’s directed health measure would go into effect at 5 p.m. Friday and remain in place through Feb. 13. The measure applies to what are known as Class C, D and E inpatient and outpatient surgeries, which aren’t as pressing as emergency procedures. The Nebraska Medical Center is one of two hospitals within Nebraska Medicine, a nonprofit business which announced Thursday that it was shifting to a “crisis standard of care” because of the coronavirus’ omicron variant.

Almost 1,000 people are hospitalized in Iowa with COVID-19. That’s 100 more than a week ago.

Iowa Health officials reporting the 14-day test positivity rate is at 23.5% That’s up from 17.5 percent last Friday. Woodbury County’s 7-day rate jumped to 29% with 1,600 new cases.

Officials with Siouxland District Health say local case numbers are definitely undercounted with more infections in the community. That’s because home tests are not added to the total case count.

Fifty-six percent of all Iowans are fully vaccinated for COVID-19. The level in Woodbury County is 54%.

The Sioux City Community School District’s weekly COVID-19 report shows a big jump in cases. There were 200 students out with the illness an increase of almost three times from the week before. One-hundred, and nine teachers and staff, or about 4.5% of employees were out sick with the virus. Last week there were 46.

A police department in Jasper County has announced its chief has died from Covid complications. Prairie City Police Chief Michael German died Thursday. According to a Facebook post, German had been Prairie City’s police chief since 2014 and his passing is considered a death in the line of duty.

The Iowa Department of Public Health has so far confirmed 8201 Iowans have died of Covid since the pandemic began here in March of 2020.

Iowa Congresswoman Ashley Hinson of Marion has tested positive for COVID-19 for a second time.

In a written statement, Hinson said she began experiencing “mild, cold-like symptoms” Thursday afternoon, so she took a COVID test and it was positive. She’s isolating and working remotely.

Hinson is fully vaccinated, with a booster shot. She promoted all three vaccinations on social media.

Hinson previously tested positive for COVID in November of 2020, before vaccines were available and right after she elected to the U.S. House. After recovering from that first case of COVID, Hinson said she experienced “complete exhaustion,” but couldn’t tell if it was because of COVID or because the campaign had just ended.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds canceled official activities Thursday and Friday due to an illness but her spokesman says she tested negative for COVID-19. Reynolds was absent from the Condition of the Guard address Thursday morning in the Iowa House by Iowa National Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Ben Corell. Alex Murphy, the governor’s spokesman, says Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg would attend the speech as well as a later event and sign a proclamation at the Iowa Capitol. Murphy noted all other events were canceled for Thursday and Friday. Reynolds has been vaccinated and received a booster shot.

SERGEANT BLUFF, Iowa (AP) — A Woodbury County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a man who authorities say had attacked him with a tire iron. Deputies were called to a mobile home park in Sergeant Bluff about 6 p.m. to check a report of a burglary. The Sioux City Journal reports that after deputies arrived, a witness pointed them to someone who was trying to enter a home. When deputies approached the man, they say he threatened them with a tire iron. A deputy fired a stun gun at the man but it didn’t stop him and he hit another deputy with the tire iron. The second deputy then shot the man. He was taken to a Sioux City hospital, where he died. The injured deputy was treated at a hospital and released.

A South Dakota legislative committee has approved a bill championed by Gov. Kristi Noem to ban transgender women and girls from participating in school sports leagues that match their gender identity. The Republican governor has aggressively pushed the bill this year. It received approval in the Republican-dominated Senate State Affairs committee on Friday, clearing a legislative hurdle that has been a key roadblock to similar South Dakota bills in the past. Every Republican on the committee approved the bill, despite warnings from opponents that it alienates and bullies transgender students. Opponents say it exposes schools to legal action for a political cause that has not been an issue in South Dakota.

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — The chairman of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate offered South Dakota’s Legislature a history lesson during the annual State of the Tribes address as he emphasized tribal sovereignty and government-to-government relations. Chairman Delbert Hopkins Jr. remind lawmakers that treaties with tribal nations have always been a part of the United States government, starting with the Constitution and George Washington. State and tribal governments have perenially had an uneasy relationship in South Dakota. The annual State of the Tribes address is meant to foster cooperation. Hopkins named several areas where the state and tribes could work together, including education, economic development and law enforcement.

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice Steven R. Jensen is requesting $5 million to bolster court security during his annual State of the Judiciary speech. He also updated the Legislature on how the state’s court system is tackling sexual harassment, mental health for judges and a shortage of court reporters. Jensen says he has prioritized the staff of the state’s court system as he has overseen the judicial system during the pandemic. He explained that there is a growing awareness of the mental health risks judges face as they make decisions, such as child custody and prison sentences, that have long-term impacts on people’s lives.

Colorado has warned it will “protect and aggressively assert” its water rights after Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts announced a plan to spend $500 million on a canal and reservoir project that includes claiming access to land in Colorado under a 99-year-old compact between the states. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis says he will work with Nebraska but wants to learn more details about what the state has planned. His comments came as Ricketts released a proposed state budget Thursday detailing how he intends to fund the project. Ricketts and Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson announced the water plan after Colorado released a report that identified new water projects within the South Platte River Basin.

Nebraska state government collected more tax revenue than expected in December. The Nebraska Department of Revenue reports state tax receipts of $510 million, which is 7.4% higher than the forecast of $475 million. The department says net individual income, corporate income and sales and use taxes were all higher than projected, while net miscellaneous taxes came in lower. Nebraska has collected $2.859 billion so far in the current fiscal year, which began on July 1, 2021. That’s 2.7% higher than the forecasted amounted $2.785 billion for this point in the year. The projections were set by the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board in October 2021.

The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that parents must be given preference in regaining custody of their children in cases where other people have been caring for the kids through a guardianship. In a decision involving the case of a single mother and her child's grandparents, the court on Friday established that parents have a fundamental right to the care, custody and control of their children. The court said that in cases where parents are seeking return of children and a dissolving of a guardianship, the juvenile court must presume “the child’s best interests are served by reuniting the minor child with their parent.” The ruling was prompted by the case of a child born to 16-year-old mother. The child lived mostly with her grandparents but the mother sought full return of custody.

Iowa House lawmakers are considering changes to the application process for programs such as Medicaid and SNAP.

A House Human Resources subcommittee advanced a bill (HSB 504) that would require applicants to submit personal information into a computer system to confirm their identity.

Opponents say this change would be extra obstacle for low-income Iowans without easy Internet access.

Supporters say it would cut down on errors and abuse in the system.

The Iowa Board of Regents has voted to remove the ACT and SAT requirements for admission to the state’s public universities.

The requirements were temporarily waived in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and Regents Chief Academic Officer Rachel Boon says it gives the three state schools more options.

The main factors affecting admissions will still be mainly a student’s the high school GPA, the number of core college prep courses taken, and an ACT score. That is going to continue to be the primary pathway for automatic admission for Iowa residents to all three of our institutions.”

UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s in Sioux City is receiving almost $1,000,000 from the state of Iowa to develop onsite children care for employees. The award comes from the Future Ready Iowa initiative. Work on the center to provide care for 56 children starts the first quarter this year with an opening planned for the second quarter. The center will help employees who work 12 hours shifts not covered by traditional childcare facilities.

News release from UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s:

(SIOUX CITY, IA – January 14, 2022) UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s has been awarded $993,750 from Governor Reynolds’ Future Ready Iowa initiative to assist in the development of onsite childcare for UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s team members.

UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s will retrofit current office space into a childcare facility for team members with children ages 0 to 5. The center will provide 56 childcare slots during hours that support the team members at the hospital. Many healthcare workers work 12 hour shifts that are not covered by traditional childcare facilities. Not only will the childcare center create availability in the community, but it will also serve as a way to attract and retain nurses and other clinical staff to a rural area where there is a chronic nursing shortage.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer this benefit to our team members here at UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s,” says Corey Snider, Chief Operating Officer. “We wouldn’t be able to make it happen without this assistance from the Governor, and we are so grateful for her partnership. We hope that this childcare facility will help to alleviate some of the stress that our team members have had to endure, especially over the past couple of years. As they show up daily to care for the Siouxland community, they deserve peace of mind knowing that their children are safe and cared for.”

Work on this project is set to begin the first quarter of 2022 with opening planned for the second quarter of 2022.

Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum is skipping his senior season and entering the NFL draft. The consensus All-American was the Big Ten’s offensive lineman of the year and received the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s top center. He also was a finalist for the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy. Linderbaum started 35 consecutive games at center. He is projected to be a first-round draft pick and the first center selected.

News release from UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s:

DNR urges caution on the ice after snowmobile, ATV go through on the Okobojis

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is encouraging ice anglers and snowmobilers to use caution when going out on the ice after a snowmobile and an ATV broke through the ice on West Okoboji Lake and East Okoboji Lake Thursday night. The individuals were rescued by nearby anglers, and then were treated and released from the local hospital.

Greg Harson, district supervisor for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Bureau, said he’s received a number of calls Friday from people planning to come to the Iowa Great Lakes and his message is that the ice quality isn’t as good as it has been in the past and to use caution if they plan to operate a snowmobile or atv on the lakes.

“There are a number of areas to avoid, like the points, ice heaves, the bridges and locations where geese are keeping the water open. The pressure ridges are opening and are hard to see. If we get skim ice then covered with snow, that can create a dangerous situation,” he said. “Geese are keeping a large area open on Spirit Lake out from the pump house, so be really careful if going out on Big Spirit this weekend.”

Harson stressed that there is always risk associated with going on any ice and that no ice is 100 percent safe. He said better quality ice is available away from the areas to avoid and encouraged everyone to check the ice thickness frequently and to bring a throwable floatation cushion, 50 feet of rope and a set of ice picks. 

“The new snow is going to make identifying these hazards more challenging, and it’s also going to insulate the ice from the cold temperatures and slow its growth. We all look forward to this time of year to enjoy these lakes, but need to think twice and if it doesn’t look right or feel right, do not go out,” he said.

UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s awarded grant from State of Iowa

Governor Reynolds’ Future Ready Iowa initiative makes onsite daycare possible

(SIOUX CITY, IA – January 14, 2022) UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s has been awarded $993,750 from Governor Reynolds’ Future Ready Iowa initiative to assist in the development of onsite childcare for UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s team members.

UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s will retrofit current office space into a childcare facility for team members with children ages 0 to 5. The center will provide 56 childcare slots during hours that support the team members at the hospital. Many healthcare workers work 12 hour shifts that are not covered by traditional childcare facilities. Not only will the childcare center create availability in the community, but it will also serve as a way to attract and retain nurses and other clinical staff to a rural area where there is a chronic nursing shortage.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer this benefit to our team members here at UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s,” says Corey Snider, Chief Operating Officer. “We wouldn’t be able to make it happen without this assistance from the Governor, and we are so grateful for her partnership. We hope that this childcare facility will help to alleviate some of the stress that our team members have had to endure, especially over the past couple of years. As they show up daily to care for the Siouxland community, they deserve peace of mind knowing that their children are safe and cared for.”

Work on this project is set to begin the first quarter of 2022 with opening planned for the second quarter of 2022.

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