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NEWS 10.12.22: Red Flag Warning, Iowa Crop Report, Woodbury County Candidate Forum, and More

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National Weather Service
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Siouxland remains under a Red Flag Warning and Wind Advisory until seven tonight. The wind paired with low humidity creates a heightened chance for fire.

Unrelenting drought in Nebraska has resulted in massive wildfires, claiming lives and property.

Meteorologists say the danger may persist for some time.
The National Weather Service Office in Hastings issued 30 red flag warnings so far this year which puts 2022 in league with 2012, a year with extreme drought.

Meteorologists say we're experiencing a La Niña pattern which typically means a dry fall with greater moisture chances late in winter.

Iowa’s corn and bean harvest moved ahead quickly last week with dry weather.

The U.S.D.A. report shows the beans in the bin went from 26% two weeks to 55% by the end of last week. The bean harvest had been one day behind the five-year average, but is now nine days ahead of that mark.

The amount of corn pulled from the fields more than doubled from 11% two weeks ago, to 23% this past week. The corn harvest is three days behind average. The corn condition rose slightly to 63% good to excellent.

Sioux City-based Bomgaars says its recent acquisition of dozens of stores from a Missouri-based company has made it the nation's second largest farm and ranch retailer, behind Tractor Supply Company. Bomgaars announced in a news release Wednesday that it has acquired 73 stores from Orscheln Farm and Home, of Moberly, Missouri. The deal brings Bomgaars' total number of locations to 180 in 15 states throughout the central United States, while adding 1,400 new employees. Bomgaars also will acquire Orscheln’s 330,000 square-foot distribution center in Moberly, Missouri.

Another candidate forum is taking place tonight with Sioux City’s League of Women voters at Western Iowa Tech Community College. The focus will be on the candidates running in Woodbury County races. The event that starts at seven will feature Woodbury County Supervisor candidates Daniel Bittinger, a Republican and Democrat Jeremy Dumkrieger, in addition to PJ Jennings and James Loomis who are on the ballot for Woodbury County Attorney. Jennings, a Democrat has held the position for four terms. He works alongside his GOP challenger Loomis, who serves as assistant county attorney.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem will not call a special legislative session to have lawmakers consider repealing the state’s tax on groceries ahead of the November election, despite calls for a special session from a handful of Republican lawmakers as well as her Democratic challenger. The Republican governor acknowledged her campaign proposal does not currently have the votes necessary for passage in the state Senate and she will have to win over lawmakers when they are scheduled to reconvene in January. Repeal of the state tax on groceries, which would cost the state about $100 million in annual revenue, has become a central issue in her reelection bid against her Democratic opponent, Rep. Jamie Smith.

South Dakota’s Public Utilities Commission has authorized its staff to begin reviewing an application for a pipeline designed to transport carbon dioxide from ethanol refineries to an underground site in Illinois. The pipeline is the second proposed in the state. Both projects would pump carbon dioxide to sequestration sites where it would be buried thousands of feet underground. The one before the Public Utilities Commission Tuesday is proposed by Navigator CO2. It would connect ethanol refineries across the Great Plains to a site in Illinois. The commission’s staff found that it could cost over $270,000 to review the application. Navigator CO2 agreed to covering a filing fee of up to $400,000.

A gallon of regular gas could hit $4 in most of the country this week. It's already there in a number of states.

Here in Iowa, AAA said that the average price is around $3.71 a gallon.

County-by-county, the price varies. The average price according to AAA in Sioux City is $3.74.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, some factors include the distance from supply, supply disruptions, retail competition and operating costs.

The process for changing Iowa’s bottle and can deposit law is entering the final steps after the Environmental Protection Commission gave its initial approval to the rules.

Officials tell Radio Iowa the rules now get one more review and then a formal public comment period will start. Public hearing are scheduled to begin on November 22nd.

The law allows retailers to opt out of taking back empty cans and bottles and paying the deposit to customers if they are within set distances of a recycling facility.

The changes in the 44 year old bottle bill were approved in the last session of the Iowa Legislature and signed into law by Governor Reynolds after years of lawmakers trying to do something with the bill.

The Iowa State Auditor's Office is looking at college graduates with 2-year degrees to help fill open accounting positions.

KCCI Television in Des Moines reports the auditor's office reports that it's seeing a shortage of accountants along with a shortage of accounting students with 4-year degrees.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of Americans working as accountants and auditors has dropped 17% since 2019.

Officials are reporting a drop in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and new reported positive tests in Iowa.

As of today (Wednesday), the federal Department of Health and Human Services reports 174 Iowans hospitalized have tested positive for the virus. That’s down from nearly 200 last week.

That’s as state health officials say more than 21 hundred positive tests have been reported. That also marks a slight drop from last week.

Iowa officials also confirmed 28 additional deaths from COVID in the past seven days. More than 10 thousand Iowans have died from the virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 55 percent of all Iowans have received their primary COVID vaccine series and first booster dose.

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