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Newscast 11.22.22: BCU prepares for March for Lost Children; Iowa gains $5.7 million dollars to expand broadband

20th Annual Memorial March to Honor Lost Children
20th Annual Memorial March to Honor Lost Children

Briar Cliff University hosted workshops today (Tuesday) in Sioux City to reflect on Native communities’ struggles with the child welfare system.

The educational opportunities are a part of the 20th Annual Memorial March for Lost Children.

The march began as a protest against the disproportionate number of Native children placed in the foster care system in Woodbury County. Now, the annual event also integrates workshops that focus on the physical, mental and spiritual healing of Native families.

Terry Medina is a Native American advocate. He says the workshops aim to help people understand and heal from the past.

Historical trauma is very, very much alive. For me, I try to, my message is, you know, we can't change the past, but but we can learn from the past.

The workshops tackle topics like mental health, addiction and recovery. The college also offered classes about understanding racial bias and power structures.

Around eight in ten nursing home residents on Medicare received psychotropic drugs during the past decade, according to a watchdog report from U.S. Health and Human Services that was requested by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley.

Grassley tells Radio Iowa he’s “very disturbed” by the report. He added that he doesn’t think that it’s justified, and that there’s overuse of the drugs in nursing homes.

The report covered the years between 2011 and 2019. Grassley says nursing home residents deserve to be “treated with dignity” and their loved ones ought to have the confidence that nursing homes are appropriately prescribing medicines. Grassley says the report makes it clear that more needs to be done to protect nursing home residents.

Iowans have elected the first Arab-American to the State Legislature. Democrat Sami Scheetz will represent House District 78 which covers parts of Cedar Rapids. Scheetz is the son of a Palestinian-Syrian mother who emigrated from Damascus and put down roots in Cedar Rapids.

He says his story in politics began with former President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection bid. He says he saw firsthand the impact political decisions had on manufacturing towns.

Manufacturing, if you go anywhere on the eastern part of the state – to Lee County, Des Moines County, Dubuque County – you'll see the devastation a lot of these small towns as a result of those decisions. … And that's kind of informed a lot of the way that I think about politics and organizing since then.

Scheetz is 26, making him among the youngest to serve in a Legislature. He argues Iowa Democrats need to mobilize young Iowans like him if they aim to control either chamber.

The Biden administration is sending nearly $6 million to Iowa to improve high-speed internet, part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law's $65 billion plan to expand affordable high-speed digital access across the country.

The U.S. Department of Commerce said Monday that Iowa's $5.7 million grant is its first “Internet for All” award, designed to boost high-speed Internet networks and develop digital skills training programs.

Of the grant total, $5 million will go to the state to identify barriers to high-speed access, and about $700,000 to ensure all families and communities, regardless of income, location or other factors, receive the benefits that broadband provide.

Last week, the Commerce Department announced the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa — or the Meskwaki Nation — would receive a nearly $425,000 grant to upgrade equipment so tribal homes can connect to existing fiber internet, among other initiatives.

Educator Fenecia Homan has been named the first dean of the Governor's Cyber Academy at Dakota State University, which will launch in 2023.

The Academy is a dual-credit program in which South Dakota high school students can take 30 credits while in high school. It's part of the cyber-research initiative that DSU announced earlier this year, and it's an expansion of the DSU Cyber Academy it has begun offering in several school districts over the past few years.

The three top finishers in the Northwest Iowa Big Challenge competition include a first-place winner from Sioux City.

Monday, Dustin Rhoades with Ability Tech was awarded first place and a prize of five-thousand dollars. Dustin says the company started because he wanted to his son Kayden., who loves baseball, but because of his limitations, he is unable to swing a bat or hold a ball without help. Kayden was born with a rare brain condition that limits the motion of his body.

In 2019, the company created the Switch Hitter. This unique piece of adaptive technology allowed Kayden to play his favorite sport with the simple flip of a switch and, for the first time, all on his own.


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