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NEWS 2.21.22

National Weather Service/Sioux Falls

Update from the National Weather Service/Sioux Falls:

Areas of freezing drizzle have been reported late this afternoon, mainly across NW Iowa and immediately adjacent areas. This light icing potential will slowly shift eastward with time this evening but may result in slick roads and sidewalks. Light snow or flurries are possible elsewhere. Late tonight into Tuesday morning, the better chance of accumulating snow arrives before tapering off through the afternoon hours. In general, 1-4 inches of snow accumulation are expected with perhaps some higher amounts near and north of Hwy 14. There is some indication of an area of higher snow totals across NW Iowa as well and thus this area carries the highest forecast uncertainty.

Winter weather’s moving into parts of Siouxland.

A Winter Weather Advisory kicked at 3 p.m. Monday for a portion of northwest Iowa including the Iowa Great Lakes area and the counties of Osceola, Dickinson, O`Brien, Clay, and Buena Vista through 6 p.m. Tuesday. Freezing drizzle is expected.

A Winter Weather Advisory starts at 6 p.m. Monday for other Siouxland counties: Sioux, Lyon, Clay, Union, Yankton, Lincoln and Bon Homme, Dixon, Cedar, Knox. Knox and Cedar will also be under a Wind Advisory as well.

The National Weather Service says the area in the Winter Weather Advisory could see 2 to 4 inches of snow.

Due to dry conditions, there is a burn ban for Woodbury County that started on Sunday night.

The State Fire Marshall says open burning in the county will be prohibited until conditions are no longer dangerous to life and property.

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases continues falling across Nebraska in the wake of last month's spike. The state said about 400 people were hospitalized with the virus Sunday, which is up slightly over the past couple of days, but that number has fallen by about half since the end of last month. There were more than 1,900 new cases in the last week, down from about 4,900. The middle of January saw a record of more than 29,000 over 7 days.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing has received a $2.2 million federal grant to address burnout. The three-year grant is funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It’s part of an estimated $103 million in coronavirus relief to help promote mental health among the nation's health care workforce. Officials at the nursing college say they also hope to help with a shortage of medical staff in rural parts of the state.

A Nebraska state senator called for a criminal investigation after one of her colleagues said he would resign after admitting that he took photos of a female legislative aide without her knowledge. Democratic state Sen. Megan Hunt of Omaha sent a letter urging the Attorney General and Nebraska State Patrol to investigate the conduct of Republican Sen. Mike Groene to determine if he committed any crimes. Groene says he planned to resign this week and leave politics to avoid putting his family through a public ordeal but he denied the photos were inappropriate. Groene decision to resign followed a report that one of his staffers had filed a complaint after she discovered the photos on Groene’s laptop.

Frustrated teachers in South Dakota say something needs to be done about the growing number of repeat juvenile offenders who are disrupting classrooms. The state Senate this week is expected to consider a bill that begins the work toward reforming South Dakota’s juvenile justice system. A Senate committee last week heard heated testimony from educators, public defenders, school board officials and others before passing legislation that would create a 15-member task force to study the current system and make recommendations on reform. The Argus Leader reports the task force would have five House members, five senators and five people “with knowledge and experience in juvenile justice” appointed by the governor.

Some Iowa workers are getting a $1,000 retention bonus soon.

It applies to teachers, law enforcement workers, and child care providers.

KCCI Television in Des Moines reports teachers and officers will get their payment in their regular paycheck.

Child care workers can apply on the Iowa Department of Human Services' website. That money comes from federal COVID-19 relief funds.

Republicans in the Iowa legislature released their state spending plans for the budgeting year that starts July 1, 2023. House Republicans propose a 1.8% overall increase in general state spending.

Radio Iowa reports this includes a $31 million increase in spending at the state-supported universities and community colleges.

The House GOP budget plan also includes $19 million extra for public schools to hire bus drivers, cooks, and other staff.

Republicans in the Senate are proposing a state spending increase of a little less than 1%.

Democratic leaders called these spending levels inadequate and shows Republicans are willing to cut or underfund state services to provide tax cuts for the wealthy.

An official leading the search for the remains of students who died at the Genoa U.S. Indian Boarding School said no graves were found during a search last year. But Judi gaiashkibos, executive director of the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs, said the work will continue. Researchers finished their analysis of data from searches conducted late last year and found no evidence of graves. But evidence has clearly indicated children were buried on the school grounds, which operated from 1884 to 1934. She said former students and newspaper stories from the time remember student burials at the school, which once had a 640-acre campus.

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