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NEWS 2.7.22

Iowa health officials are reporting a significant drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the weekend.

As of Monday, 638 Iowans were hospitalized. That’s down more than 100 since Friday.

The state’s test positivity rate is also decreasing. Officials report 17 percent of COVID-19 tests have come back positive in the past two weeks. This rate is down nearly two percentage points from Friday.

According to state data, more than 57 percent of all Iowans are fully vaccinated.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa is warning eight school districts to reinstate mask mandates or potentially face lawsuits. ACLU of Iowa notified eight of 10 school districts involved in a federal lawsuit against Iowa's ban on mask mandates that they are violating a recent U.S. Court of Appeals ruling on Friday. Two of the 10 districts — Des Moines and Iowa City — kept their mask mandates after the ruling. The other eight — Ankeny, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Decorah, Denver, Johnston, Linn-Mar and Waterloo — have modified or dropped their mask mandates.

Authorities say a woman who was shot twice last week in the parking lot of a Milford medical staffing office where she worked has died. Now a man who was arrested shortly after the shooting faces a murder charge. The Sioux City Journal reports that 25-year-old Shelby Wiozeschke died Sunday at a Sioux Falls, South Dakota, hospital where the mother of two was flown after being shot Thursday morning. Police say the shooting happened in the parking lot at GrapeTree Medical Staffing and that Wiozeschke called 911 and identified 25-year-old Christian Goyne-Yarns, of Spirit Lake, as the person who shot her. Goyne-Yarns was arrested about 90 minutes after the shooting on suspicion of attempted murder. He's now charged with first-degree murder.

A new project based at the University of Iowa has won a national grant to launch a digital reference library of health narratives. They will be in both Spanish and English and will teach people how to gather personal stories about health. Daena Goldsmith is one of the co-directors. She says it has the ability to improve patient lives and improve health care provider moral—especially during a global pandemic.

 “This is a really good demonstration of how the humanities are absolutely relevant and essential to the kinds of issues that we're all facing today.”

The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded about 150-thousand dollars for three years of support.

The Sioux City Council this afternoon will vote on a plan to repair the Grandview Park bandshell. The structure built in the 1930s as part of a New Deal-era program, needs extensive work. The cost by an Omaha Company is more than $43,000 and includes fixing normal wear and tear, including concrete work and window replacement. A separate project will include painting the historic attraction with all work expected to be done by this summer.

The bandshell is the sight of the long-time music festival, “Saturday in the Park”, an underwriter of Siouxland Public Media.

A Sioux City refugee resettlement agency is hosting an event tonight that will allow Afghan refugees to share their experiences with the community.

The Mary J. Treglia Community House wants to initiate conversations on how northwest Iowans can welcome their new neighbors.

The event will be a chance to hear the stories of the new arrivals. Executive director Becky Carlson says she hopes these conversations establish more empathy within the community.

“People forget that refugees actually are fleeing a situation in their home country. And, so this is a great way to explain that personally. So, someone can say I actually know of someone's story. And that hopefully will change their thought processes.”

Carlson says it’s also a chance to clear up misinformation surrounding refugees and provide community members with ways to support their neighbors.

She hopes it will bring awareness to the challenges of all refugees, not just those from Afghanistan.

Caucuses for the Woodbury County Republican and Democratic parties will be held tonight. The Democrats have planned a virtual gathering. The Republics are hosting six different locations based on where people live. The caucuses start at 7 p.m.

From the Woodbury County Democratic Party:

Woodbury County Democratic Party Virtual Caucus Zoom Monday, February 7, 2022 Virtual doors will open and 6:00 pm Virtual Caucus will begin promptly at 7:00 pm ------------------------------------------- SIGN UP HERE TO CAUCUS VIRTUALLY:   CLICK HERE to sign up to receive a ZOOM LINK or can visit www.woodburydems.com to sign up there


A new study finds about one in three Iowans have hypertension or high blood pressure.

Health officials say Iowa ranks 27th in the nation.

The treatable condition can lead to kidney problems, heart attacks, stroke, and death.

Doctors say two years of pandemic living has raised stress levels for nearly everyone, so people need to take action to improve our self-care. This includes eating a healthier diet with more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and less salt. And, more activity.

Census data shows that in the three years since devastating 2019 spring floods submerged Pacific Junction in southwest Iowa, the town’s population has shrunk from 475 to less than 100. Now the question is whether it will remain a town. Pacific Junction Mayor Andy Young recently told Omaha, Nebraska, television station KETV that he’s hopeful the town will see families coming back. Dozens of empty lots around the town are the result of federal buyouts, which stipulate a new home cannot be built on the property once the old one comes down.

Gov. Pete Ricketts and business leaders will travel to the United Kingdom and Ireland in August to promote Nebraska businesses on a trade mission that coincides with Nebraska football’s season opener in Ireland. Ricketts says the trade mission will focus on agriculture, insurance and other major Nebraska industries. It also will allow them to watch the Huskers play Northwestern in person on Aug. 27. Ricketts has led Nebraska business executives and state administrators on trips to Asia, Europe, Mexico and Canada during his tenure, with the goal of helping business leaders build relationships abroad and drawing investments in Nebraska from foreign companies.

Empty seats are outnumbering occupied ones at Nebraska men's basketball home games as the team grinds through one of the worst seasons in program history under coach Fred Hoiberg. The average number of tickets scanned is just under 7,200. That's less than half of Pinnacle Bank Arena's capacity. Three consecutive January games drew fewer than 5,800 fans. Athletic director Trev Alberts acknowledged some fans are staying away because of the mask mandate. But he said the team's poor performance is the biggest factor and a major concern.

A University of South Dakota student has nailed the shot of a lifetime. The Argus Leader reports that USD student Mary Margaret Borer hit a half-court shot at halftime of South Dakota State's 89-79 win over South Dakota at Sanford Coyote Sports Center on Saturday.

The shot won her $10,000. Borer started running forward from the three-point line and released the ball several steps over the half-court line. The ball banked off the glass and went in. The crowd erupted with cheers.

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