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NEWS 6.17.22: Heat Wave Hits Siouxland, Iowa Supreme Court Rules on Abortion, Deputy Remembered, Stand Bear's Tomahawk Returned, and More

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National Weather Service

The National Weather Service says the region will experience a multi-day heatwave Saturday afternoon through Monday evening. Temperatures will hit 100 or above in some spots, including Sioux City, with high heat indices. Record warm lows are expected as well. Officials urge people to stay hydrated and take breaks in the shade to avoid heat-related illnesses.

Lea Mathison is with the emergency department at MercyOne in Sioux City.

"Just be aware of how you are feeling or how the people around you are feeling. If you are feeling overheated, it's a good indication you need to get out of the heat."

Mathison says if someone suspects they are suffering from heat stroke, they need to call 911 and seek treatment at an emergency room. Some signs of heat stroke include a temperature of 103 or above, vomiting, unresponsiveness, loss of consciousness, fast breathing or shortness of breath, and not sweating even while feeling too hot.

Mathison says young children and the elderly are more susceptible to heat-related problems people, especially if they don't have access to air conditioning.

An excessive heat watch remains in effect for Saturday afternoon through Monday evening.

Heat Information from MercyOne's Lea Mathison.mp3
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The Iowa Supreme Court has reversed a 2018 court ruling that established strong legal protections for abortion under the state constitution.

The court's majority opinion found that the ruling lacks textual and historical support, and the quote insufficiently recognizes that future human lives are at stake.

Iowa's highest court also reversed a lower court's decision overturning a 2020 Iowa law that requires a 24-hour waiting period for those seeking an abortion. It sent the case back to a lower court for reevaluation.

This significant state ruling comes as the U-S Supreme Court is expected to rule on a case this month that could overturn federal constitutional protections for abortion established under Roe v. Wade.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds issued a statement that says, in part, the "ruling is a significant victory in our fight to protect the unborn." She says, "Every life is sacred and should be protected." She added that before the ruling Iowa was the most abortion-friendly state in the country.

Abortion providers are bracing for the final days of the U.S. Supreme Court's guarantee of a right to an abortion. In South Dakota, the state's only abortion clinic says it has "paused" scheduling abortions beyond the end of the month.

Democratic governor candidate Deidre DeJear announced she has chosen an eastern Iowa county auditor as her running mate. DeJear says Friday she chose Clinton County Auditor Eric Van Lancker as her lieutenant governor candidate because he is “not only a true defender of democracy but also he understands the growing challenges facing small communities across the state.” Van Lancker is a four-term county auditor who last week lost his bid to be the Democratic nominee for secretary of state by more than 40 percentage point to Linn County Auditor Joel Miller. Van Lancker says his priorities include defending voting rights, improving education, prioritizing housing, increasing broadband and protecting healthcare.

Iowa's governor ordered all flags in Iowa to be lowered to half-staff tomorrow in honor of a southwest Iowa deputy killed in a crash this week.

Fremont County Deputy Austin "Melvin" Richardson died Tuesday afternoon after his patrol car collided with a farm combine on Highway 275 north of Hamburg. An investigation by the Iowa State Patrol says the combine was wider than the lane's width and Richardson's vehicle hit a front fire of the combine that was over the center line. The accident report shows Richardson was not wearing a seat belt. The patrol car then rolled several times. A funeral for Richardson, who was 37 years old will be held tomorrow morning at the high school in Sidney, Iowa.

The city of Hornick broke ground on a flood-protection project yesterday. The small western Iowa town of a little more than 250 people is beginning construction on a berm to prevent future floods.

The Woodbury County town was devastated in 2019 when the Little Sioux River overtopped a levee. Former U.S. Representative Steve King says he saw the community pull together in the wake of the disaster to protect their town.

"It's a well-oiled machine of volunteers here that put out everything to save this town from the flood that they came in and put the solution in place to prevent it for the next time."

The project was made possible through an award of 2.1 million dollars in state flood recovery funds. Local officials expect the construction will be complete this fall.
A bird flu outbreak in the U.S. that led to the deaths of more than 40 million chickens and turkeys and contributed to a spike in egg and meat prices appears to be waning, but experts caution the virus hasn't disappeared and worry another surge could take hold this fall. The Department of Agriculture isn't ready to say the outbreak is winding down, but some state agriculture and industry officials are optimistic the end is near as hot weather spreads across the country. The cost of the outbreak is still being tallied but the USDA has already approved $793 million in additional funding this year.

This week the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska announced that an artifact once owned by Chief Standing Bear will return home. The tribal leader gave his pipe-tomahawk to his attorney after his landmark Federal court case in 1879 that recognized Native Americans as people. The tomahawk changed hands several times before ending up at the Peabody Museum at Harvard University. During a ceremony two weeks ago, it was returned to the Tribe and will be on exhibit at a later time.

Standing Bear’s pipe-tomahawk returned to the Ponca Tribe

Statement from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds:

 Gov. Reynolds issues statement on Iowa Supreme Court abortion ruling 

DES MOINES – Gov. Reynolds released the following statement today in response to the Iowa Supreme Court's abortion ruling:

"Today's ruling is a significant victory in our fight to protect the unborn. The Iowa Supreme Court reversed its earlier 2018 decision, which made Iowa the most abortion-friendly state in the country. Every life is sacred and should be protected, and as long as I'm governor that is exactly what I will do."

News release from the state of Nebraska:

Nebraska's Employment Reaches New High, Revenue Receipts Exceed Forecast

LINCOLN – Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Nebraska's May employment data. Nebraska's employment set another record high of 1,042,762. This is the 11th straight month of record employment in the state. Additionally, Nebraska's unemployment rate remains the lowest in the nation, and in state history, at 1.9 percent.

This growth has contributed to another month of strong State General Fund tax receipts. In May, receipts were over $52 million above forecast. May's tax receipts put Nebraska on track to have over $1.8 billion in its cash reserve at the end of fiscal year 2023.

"Nebraskans have an unmatched work ethic, which is reflected in our nation-leading labor numbers," said Gov. Ricketts. "My administration is committed to making it easy to do business in Nebraska, and communities throughout the state have done great work to attract investment. We're seeing the fruits of these efforts with impressive growth in the Good Life. Our strong momentum will enable us to build on the historic tax relief of 2022 with even more tax cuts in 2023."
News release from the state of Iowa:

Gov. Reynolds orders flags at half-staff in honor of Fremont County Sheriff's Deputy Austin "Melvin" Richardson

DES MOINES - Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered all flags in Iowa to be lowered to half-staff Saturday, June 18, from sunrise to sunset in honor and remembrance of Fremont County Sheriff's Deputy Austin "Melvin" Richardson. Richardson died as a result of injuries sustained in a crash while on duty. Richardson's funeral is being held at the Sidney High School on Saturday, June 18 at 11:00 a.m.

"Kevin and I join with Iowans in mourning the loss of Deputy Richardson, a dedicated public servant with a passion and legacy for helping others in times of need," said Gov. Reynolds. "Our prayers are with his family, friends and fellow brothers and sisters in blue as they cope with this devastating loss and we are eternally grateful for his selfless sacrifice to the citizens of Iowa."

Flags will be at half-staff on the State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol Complex. Flags will also be half-staff on all public buildings, grounds and facilities throughout the state. 

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