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NEWS 10.19.22: Early Voting, Former South Dakota Gov. Dies, Iowa Alert System, and More

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Early voting started today in Iowa.

In Sioux City, voters began to trickle into the Long Lines Recreation Center, where around twenty voting booths are set up.

Woodbury County auditor Pat Gill greeted the steady stream of people, thanking them for voting early in a period that lasts for 20 days.

Gill says many people’s polling places may have changed due to the redistricting process.

“We want to make sure that people get to the right place and get their votes cast and counted. But, early voting provides that hassle free, that they can come and get it done without all the stress of going to the polling place.

Many races span the ballot, including governor and U.S. Senate. Voters can also weigh in on a proposed amendment to Iowa’s constitution aimed at strengthening gun rights protections.

Another northwest Iowa school district will allow select staff members to carry firearms on school grounds. The Cherokee Community School District passed the measure at their board meeting last night (Monday) in hopes that armed staff could help in a potential active shooter situation. In a statement to IPR, school board president Jodi Thomas said the measure is a response to recent tragic shootings across the country.

All staff members approved to carry a weapon will have to undergo monthly training and screening. The district also plans to establish an oversight committee to ensure the policy’s success and boasts full support from the Cherokee police department.

The Spirit Lake school district passed a similar measure in August. Its plan involves ten anonymous staff members who are not teachers who carry a concealed gun on campus.

Former South Dakota Gov. Harvey Wollman died Tuesday of natural causes, according to his family. He was 87.

Wollman was the 26th governor and served from 1978 to 1979, taking over for Gov. Richard Kneip when he resigned to become the U.S. Ambassador to Singapore.

Wollman was the last Democrat to serve in the Governor's Mansion. He only served five months in office.

John Gaps III, an award-winning former Associated Press photographer, has died. The 63-year-old documented everything from war zones to the NCAA College World Series. His family confirmed his death on Tuesday. They said it was not immediately clear how Gaps died. The Omaha World-Herald hired Gaps in the early 1980s while he was still in college. He joined the AP in 1985. Based in Iowa, Gaps covered events around the world, from the fall of the Berlin Wall to Princess Diana’s funeral. He was shot in the leg by an Israeli officer in the Gaza Strip in 1994. Gaps left the AP in 2000 to become senior photographer at the Des Moines Register. Gaps said: “You become aware of the fact that the work you did is going to outlive you. And that’s something.”

Iowans in almost every county can now get instant messages about threatening weather, missing persons, and other emergency situations unfolding nearby.

Iowans can pick how they’d like to be notified, whether it’s by voice on a landline phone, by text to a cell phone, or by email.

Radio Iowa reports there’s no charge for the Alert Iowa System that is available in 90 of the state’s 99 counties.

Siouxland counties not participating in the new system are Sioux, Dickinson, and Clay, in addition to the western Iowa counties of Harrison and Crawford.

Fired Nebraska football coach Scott Frost would have received a one-year contract extension and had his annual salary restored to $5 million if the Cornhuskers showed improvement, went 6-6 in the regular season and played in a bowl game, according to athletic director Trev Alberts. Alberts said on his radio show Tuesday night that the metrics had been kept private until a judge, citing state open records laws, ordered the terms made public earlier in the day. USA Today had sued the university saying the information is a public record and should not have been kept confidential. Frost was fired on Sept. 11 after the team lost two of its first three games.

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