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NEWS 9.1.22: Skateboarder Critically Injured, Extreme Drought Continues in Parts of Siouxland, Medicaid Coverage, and More

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A teenage skateboarder received life-threatening injuries after being hit by a vehicle early this morning in Sioux City.

The collision happened around 5 a.m. on Lewis Boulevard near the Glenn and Transit Avenue exit.

Investigators say the teen was riding in the middle of the road, and because it was still dark, the driver did not see him until it was too late.

A trial date has been set for the 17-year-old charged with murder in the death of an Iowa high school Spanish teacher. A judge on Thursday set the trial date for March 20 for Willard Miller. The judge had previously set the location of the trial in Council Bluffs.

Miller and Jeremy Everett Goodale, also 17, are charged with first-degree murder in the beating death of 66-year-old Nohema Graber. Her body was found in a park back in November in Fairfield. Goodale’s trial is scheduled for Dec. 5 in Davenport

The FBI and the ATF served search warrants at five locations across west-central Iowa on Wednesday in connection with an ongoing investigation into alleged federal firearm law violations.

Federal agents raided the home of Brad Wendt of Denison, his gun stores in Denison and Anita, a rural property in Manning, and a location in downtown Adair, where Wendt also serves as chief of police.

Radio Iowa reports authorities have not released any further details and indicated the warrants are part of an extensive ongoing investigation.

Wendt had previously worked as a police officer in Denison and, after he was fired, sued the city for wrongful termination. Court records show Wendt received $350,000 to settle the lawsuit.

Iowa’s Medicaid benefits will be administered by three health insurance companies.

The state announced its intent to award managed care contracts with Amerigroup Iowa and Molina Healthcare of Iowa on Wednesday. These new contracts will go into effect while the state finishes out its current contract with Iowa Total Care, which is set to expire in 2025.

The Iowa Capital Dispatch reports these companies will manage Iowa’s $7 billion program, which combines federal and state funding for health care support of more than 790,000 disabled and low-income Iowans.

August continued the summer weather pattern that Iowa has been stuck in now for some time.

State Climatologist Justin Glisan tells Radio Iowa the pattern includes warmer conditions with temperatures about 1.3 degrees above average at a little more than 72 degrees. It was also drier, with 3.5 inches of rainfall in August. That’s about six-tenths below average.

Glisan says Iowa has seen drought conditions for three summers in a row due to a La Nina weather pattern. Conditions did improve a bit in northwest Iowa due to recent showers.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor just released today still shows extreme drought conditions in parts of Siouxland, especially in Plymouth County, and western pockets of Woodbury, Cherokee, Sioux, and Monona Counties.

This holiday weekend is expected to continue what has been a busy summer on Iowa’s lakes and rivers.

The DNR tells Radio Iowa that crowds have been steady and large with an increase in paddle sports.

This season Iowa saw four fatalities this summer. That number is lower than in previous years. Officials want to remind people that alcohol and boating don’t mix.

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