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NEWS 12.2.22: Iowa Loses 1st in the Nation Democratic Caucus Status, Holiday Economy Slowdown, MHRD Awards $250,000 in Grants, and More

STORY UPDATE: Iowa will no longer hold the first-in-the-nation Democratic caucuses.

The Democratic National Rules and Bylaws Committee this afternoon approved a new calendar for the presidential nominating process.

President Joe Biden recommended the following early voting lineup: South Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Georgia and Michigan.

The decision will not impact the Iowa Republican Caucuses which will remain first in the nation.


President Joe Biden says Democrats should give up “restrictive” caucuses and move to champion diversity in the order of their presidential primary calendar. His recommendation deals a major blow to Iowa’s decades-long status as the state that leads off the process.

In a letter to the rule-making arm of the Democratic National Committee, Biden does not mention specific states he’d like to see go first. But he’s told Democrats he would like to see South Carolina moved to the front of the calendar, according to three people familiar with his recommendation

Biden finished fourth in the 2020 Iowa Caucuses but won the South Carolina Primary a few weeks later. Biden’s list for state contests in 2024 starts with South Carolina on February 5th, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada a week later, then Georgia on the 19th, and Michigan on the 26th of February.

Jeff Kaufmann is chair of the Republican Party of Iowa. He says Iowa will still go first for the GOP in 2024. And he’ll back up Iowa Democrats if this plan goes forward and they want to buck their national party and still go first.

“They will find in the Republican Party of Iowa and then me personally, a very strong partner in making sure that they can be successful and that we can share resources.”

Iowa Democratic Party chair Ross Wilburn issued a statement saying Iowa does not have the luxury of conducting a state-run primary, nor are Republicans who control state government likely to support legislation that would establish one. He also emphasized that Iowa law requires that both major political parties hold Caucuses before any other state votes.

The Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic National Committee is meeting in Washington, D.C., to recommend which states will hold the early voting contests in 2024.

The full Democratic National Committee will meet early next year to vote on its calendar for state primaries and caucuses.

Scott Brennan, the only Iowan on the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee, says the DNC had been waiting to hear Biden’s preference for months and tells KCCI Television in Des Moines this new development is “A complete kick in the teeth.” He was very surprised that the news media had the information before the members of the committee.

South Carolina in the leadoff role would represent a huge shakeup from the past when Iowa attracted months of publicity and candidate spending for its first-in-the-nation caucuses.

For more on the story, check out the Iowa Capital Dispatch.

A South Dakota man has been charged with threatening a state official and judge. He is accused of faxing a one-page message to a local TV station in October saying he planned to kill Gov. Kristi Noem. He also allegedly emailed a threat to a judge.

Jason Shields was arrested in October shortly after the threats were made. He now faces a pair of felonies that each carry a maximum five-year prison sentence.

The chief financial officer of Tyson Foods pleaded not guilty to charges of criminal trespassing and public intoxication after police found him drunk and asleep in a stranger’s home last month. Thirty-two-year-old John Tyson appeared in court yesterday in Arkansas.

The Tyson Foods Board of Directors announced continued confidence in John Tyson’s leadership and will keep him as CFO. Tyson, the great-grandson of the company’s founder, will go to trial in February, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Bird flu has hit a Buena Vista County turkey flock.

It’s the 24th case of highly pathogenic avian influenza in an Iowa commercial or backyard flock this year. It’s also the fifth in Buena Vista County - which has been hit harder by bird flu than any other county in the nation.

A spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Agriculture says there are about 40-thousand birds in the flock. The birds are being destroyed to stop the spread of the virus.

This year, more than 15 million commercial and backyard birds in Iowa have died from the virus or been killed to help contain it. That’s more than any other state.

The economy usually perks up with year-end holiday shopping, but there are few signs of optimism heading into December in the latest survey of business leaders in Iowa and eight other Midwestern states.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss tells Radio Iowa for the first time in recent years, the region’s overall index — or business barometer — plummeted below growth neutral, and it’s now fallen six of the past eight months. He says the November survey shows the mid-American economy is not good at all. The level dropped to 48, the lowest rate since the early days of the Pandemic. A number above 50 shows economic growth. Goss says the biggest threat to the economy is higher input prices due to inflation. The survey finds employers across the region are still having significant trouble finding qualified workers to fill vacancies. “

There were a few bright spots. Goss says the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows in the past 12 months, private wages of all workers in Iowa expanded by a little over five percent while manufacturing wages climbed by almost eight percent.

Missouri River Historical Development or MRHD awarded $250,000 in grants to 17 different nonprofits in Woodbury County. The Sioux City Community School District will receive $30,000 to help pay for unpaid student meals. School officials say this has been an ongoing problem for families with more than 900 students with unpaid meal accounts. MRHD MRHD is the licensed, non-profit organization that jointly holds the state gaming license for Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Sioux City.

Submitted news release:


SIOUX CITY, IA (Dec. 5, 2022) – Missouri River Historical Development, Inc., (MRHD) presented Discretionary Grant gifts totaling $250,000 to 17 nonprofit organizations that serve the Woodbury County area.

Discretionary Gifts are not applied for in the customary grant application manner. The MRHD Board members are asked to submit their personal recommendations to the Committee, who consider all suggestions and then decide on a final list with allocations totaling $250,000. This final list is submitted to the full Board for final approval before selected organizations are invited to attend the special awards ceremony.

MRHD Board President Steve Huisenga stated, “It’s MRHD’s privilege to support nonprofits that contribute so much to the quality of life for Woodbury County residents. We thank them for their hard work. We are so grateful for our partner, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City, for helping make these gifts possible.”

Foremost among the gifts was $30,000 to help pay down the unpaid student meals balance within the Sioux City Community School District. Accepting the check on behalf of the school district was Richard Luze, SCCSD Food Service Director, explained that it has been an ongoing struggle for families, and as a result, the unpaid meals balance continues to deepen. Luze continued, “as of this week, there are 941 students whose school lunch accounts are unpaid, so it is a struggle that affects families all across the district.” He concluded, “We are grateful for MRHD’s help to fight against this never-ending battle.”

MRHD December Discretionary Grants pg. 2

In a December 2, 2022 presentation ceremony at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, the Discretionary Gifts committee co-chairs Amanda Beller and Chris Groves announced the names of the following 17 Siouxland organizations and then handed agency representatives previously-undisclosed dollar amounts.

AKRON OPERA HOUSE, for façade rehabilitation, $15,000;

BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS of SIOUXLAND, to help recruit male mentors for Little Matches, $15,000;

DISABILITY RESOURCE CENTER of SIOUXLAND, for housing support services for Veterans and Disabled Population, $10,000;

EAST MIDDLE SCHOOL/JUVENILE COURT SERVICES - weight machine for Weight Lifting Club, $7,000;

FAITH UNITED PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, to be applied to their stained-glass restoration project, $15,000;

FIRST TEE SIOUXLAND, to start a First Tee program in all three Sioux City high schools, $10,000;

GROWING COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS, to offer Ready to Run Workshops to marginalized population, $8,000;

HOPE STREET of SIOUXLAND, to help them purchase a second van, $25,000;

MIDDLE SCHOOL BEYOND THE BELL: Middle School Bicycling Club, $15,000;

LUTHERAN SERVICES in IOWA, for Immigrant & Refugee Community Services to offer Afghan resettlement support & housing assistance, $10,000;

ONE SIOUXLAND, support for Afghan immigration & legal issues: $10,000;

SIOUX CITY NAACP, support for scholarships and graduation recognition: $5,000;

CITY of SIOUX CITY and SIOUX CITY FASTPITCH SOFTBALL ASSOCIATION, installation of a playground at Hubbard Park: $20,000;

SIOUX CITY COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT, FOOD SERVICE DEPARTMENT, to help pay down the unpaid school meals balance: $30,000;

ST. THOMAS EPISCOPAL CHURCH, help with their stained-glass repair project: $15,000;

MRHD December Discretionary Grants pg. 3

SUNNYBROOK HOPE CENTER, to purchase a food pantry refrigerator: $25,000;

TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH, to assist with their stained-glass restoration project: $15,000.

The 2022 Discretionary Gifts Committee members are: Committee Co-Chairs Beller and Groves, Dave Bernstein, Cammy Hauswirth, Steve Huisenga, Sarah Kleber and Edgar Rodriguez. The sum total of the Discretionary Gifts brings MRHD’s total contributions and pledges to Woodbury County nonprofits and governmental entities to more than $48.7 million since 1994.