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NEWS 4.18.22

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Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts signed a law Monday that will allow the state to move forward with plans to build a canal in Colorado to divert water out of the South Platte River because of fears about growing water consumption in Colorado. Ricketts proposed the canal project to help protect Nebraska's water rights, although Colorado officials have questioned the need for it. The law will allow Nebraska to begin work on the roughly $500 million canal, but the measure includes only $53.5 million to start on the project. Officials estimate that it will take eight to 10 years to complete the project.

This is the 15th week of the 2022 Iowa legislative session, but there’s no agreement yet among majority Republicans on the bills outlining the state budget for the fiscal year that starts in 74 days.

Radio Iowa reports two of Republican Governor Kim Reynolds’ top policy proposals are stalled alongside budget negotiations. Republicans in the Senate have passed the governor’s plan to provide parents state money to cover private school expenses, while Republicans in the House have yet to bring it up for a vote.

Republicans in the House and the Senate have passed the governor’s proposal to reduce the maximum amount of unemployment benefits from 26 to 16 weeks, but her recommendation that there be a one-week waiting period before benefits are paid was only included in the Senate’s bill.

During House debate over the past few weeks, minority Democrats have been arguing that with a billion-dollar budget surplus, more money should be spent to address specific problems, like prison staffing and water quality.

The chief federal prosecutor in South Dakota is calling it quits. U.S. Attorney Dennis Holmes announced his retirement on Monday. Holmes spent more than 43 years as a prosecutor in the state. The Custer native began his career as a prosecutor in 1978 as an intern in the Pennington County States Attorney's Office while he was still in law school at the University of South Dakota. He went on to serve as an assistant state attorney general, rising to become chief deputy attorney general. He joined the U.S. attorney's office in Pierre in 1988. Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed him in December as U.S. attorney for 120 days after U.S. Attorney Ron Parsons resigned.

More than 80 countries are restricting poultry from some parts of the U.S. in the wake of the bird flu outbreak.

The U-S-D-A says the top 10 importers of U.S. poultry have put some restrictions in place – largely banning imports from specific counties or regions. Seven years ago, several countries banned poultry from the entire U.S. because of a bird flu outbreak.

Radio Iowa reports efforts are underway to try to save the retired Navy vessel named for the five Waterloo brothers who died together in World War II when a Japanese torpedo struck the USS Juneau.

“The Sullivans” — a Navy destroyer — is a floating museum in the harbor at Buffalo, New York. The ship started sinking last Wednesday due to a breach in the hull.

Multiple news organizations quote the U.S. Coast Guard estimate that there’s a million gallons of water inside the ship. Officials are unclear what caused the breach.

Buffalo’s mayor says efforts to save the USS “The Sullivans” will take time.

The five Sullivan brothers died on November 13, 1942 and the Navy destroyer named in their honor was in service in World War II and the Korean War. It was decommissioned in 1965 and has been in Buffalo since 1977.

Monday is Tax Day — the federal deadline for individual tax filing and payments.

As of April 8, the IRS had received more than 103 million returns for this tax season, and it had issued more than 63 million refunds worth more than $204 billion.

For comparison, last year more than 169 million people completed an income tax return by the end of the year. That probably leaves nearly 40% of this year’s taxpayers still unaccounted for, with many scrambling to submit their documents by Monday.

Officials say if you haven’t filed your taxes by now it’s best to file an extension.

State health officials say the rate of sexually transmitted infections, or STIs, increased last year.

The most significant jump was in new cases of syphilis, which increased by 55 percent from the year prior.

Officials say syphilis cases have increased in groups that historically have had low rates, like women and those who live in rural areas.

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