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NEWS 2.1.23

NEWS 2.1.23_432pm.mp3

The latest economic survey of supply managers in all three Siouxland states shows the business barometer falling to its worst January level in 15 years.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the monthly report ranks the region’s economy on a zero-to-100 scale, and he says fears about recession are growing.

The survey’s individual Business Conditions Index for Iowa dropped to 47.0 in January, down from December’s 47.8. Any level below 50 shows decline.

As the number of drug overdose-related deaths has grown in Iowa, Iowa’s Attorney General is looking at stiffer sentencing guidelines for the dealers.

Brenna Bird tells Radio Iowa prosecutors currently can only charge an offender with involuntary manslaughter, a Class D felony with up to a five-year prison term.

Although Iowa ranked 5th lowest in 2021 for overdose death rates nationwide, Bird states it is a growing issue.

That’s why she is pushing a bill aiming to raise the penalty for those who deal drugs resulting in an overdose death, making it a Class B felony with a 25-year sentence. That’s the same sentence as attempted murder.

The bill has currently passed subcommittees in both the Iowa House and Senate.

State lawmakers in an Iowa House subcommittee have advanced a wide-encompassing bill that includes a range of things from creating paid parental leave for state employees to increase state funding for crisis pregnancy centers.

The bill would allow pharmacists to distribute birth control pills and increase state adoption fee reimbursement for parents, among other proposals.

One of its most controversial parts would increase funding for a state program that supports anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers to $2 million and create new initiatives that support fathers.

Iowa’s senior U.S. Senator is now revealing more details about what caused the injury that required emergency surgery.

Senator Chuck Grassley, who is 89, tells Radio Iowait was his own fault, and he made a “stupid maneuver” in his kitchen and broke his hip and it’s healing “very well.” Grassley’s office announced on January 10th that the lawmaker had been injured and the operation was performed the next day. Grassley, one of the longest-serving senators in U.S. history, says despite the challenges of the past few weeks, he hasn’t missed a vote this year. He is getting around with a walker and plans to return to his morning jogs as soon as possible. He does two miles six times a week.

The New Hartford Republican won his re-election bid this past November and is now in his eighth term in the U.S. Senate.

A district court judge has rejected a request to dismiss the trespassing charge against a land surveyor who attempted to evaluate a northwest Iowa property in August for Summit Carbon Solutions, according to court records.

The Iowa Capital Dispatch reports, a tenant of the property had previously turned away another Summit survey crew in April 2022 and told them not to return.

The surveyor who was charged with trespassing, Stephen James Larsen, 28, of Arlington, South Dakota, was not part of that first crew and went to the rural Spirit Lake property after the company had attempted to notify the landowner and tenant of the survey, as required by Iowa law.

Summit intends to lay about 680 miles of pipe in Iowa to carry captured carbon dioxide from ethanol plants for underground sequestration in North Dakota.

The Dickinson County attorney who is prosecuting the trespassing charge has argued that the company should have obtained a court-ordered injunction to facilitate the survey, which is also allowed by Iowa law when landowners object.

A non-jury trial for the case is scheduled for March 23.

The constitutionality of the law that allows the land surveys is being challenged in separate cases by several landowners — who assert that it violates their land rights — and an Iowa Senate bill that would bar the surveys without landowner permission is pending.

The Iowa court system is trying a pilot project in six counties where text message reminders are sent out for some court services. It updates people on upcoming court dates and payments.

The pilot program is up in running in Sioux County in addition to Shelby, Polk, Marshall, Dubuque, and Davis Counties.

Officials anticipate the court system will expand it to all 99 counties if the pilot continues to go well.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Iowa are down once again.

According to the federal department of health and human services, 131 Iowans hospitalized have tested positive for the virus as of today (Wednesday). That’s down from more than 150 last week.

That’s as Iowa health officials say more than 21 hundred positive tests were reported in the past seven days. Down just slightly from last week.

State officials also confirmed 31 additional Iowans to have died from COVID. So far, 10,597 Iowans have died from the virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 64 percent of all Iowans have completed their primary COVID vaccine series. Just 19 percent have received the most recent bivalent booster.

The search for a new general manager for the Tyson Events Center is underway.

Tim Savona has led the event center as its G.M. for almost four years. To pursue a similar position at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln. Savona has resigned from the Tyson Events Center and will be leaving this month.

OVG360 oversees management at the Tyson Events Center. At this time, they will have a temporary General Manager for the Tyson Events Center until the right person is found.

Submitted new releases:

This resolution would designate February 1, 2023 as “George Washington Carver Day.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-Hull) introduced a resolution – alongside U.S. Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Ashley Hinson (R-IA), and Zach Nunn (R-IA) – honoring the life and legacy of Iowa State University’s first Black student and Black faculty member, George Washington Carver, and designating February 1, 2023 as “George Washington Carver Day.”

U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the same resolution in the Senate.

“George Washington Carver was a trailblazer and leader who conducted groundbreaking research that advanced agricultural science, supported family farmers, and promoted food security worldwide,” said Rep. Feenstra. “As a fellow graduate of Iowa State University, I am proud to introduce this resolution with my Iowa colleagues to honor George Washington Carver’s life, legacy, and contributions to our state and nation. He is truly deserving of this recognition.”

“George Washington Carver’s life and legacy are well worth remembering, especially today, the inaugural Day of Recognition for Carver in the state of Iowa,” said Wendy Wintersteen, President of Iowa State University. “We are especially grateful for the Congressional resolution that brings national attention to this extraordinary and inspiring innovator, who we are proud to say earned two degrees at Iowa State as our first Black student and became our first Black faculty member.”

“George Washington Carver was one of the greatest agricultural scientists of all time, and as Iowans we’re proud that he chose to pursue his education at Iowa State University,” said Rep. Miller-Meeks. “I’m proud to join this resolution to honor Carver’s legacy.”

“As Iowa State University’s first Black student and faculty member, George Washington Carver paved a path of opportunity for the students and professors who came after him. Carver was an extraordinary mind, internationally recognized for his agricultural academic work, as well as his humanitarian efforts that changed countless lives,” said Rep. Hinson. “I am proud to join the Iowa delegation in designating February 1st as George Washington Carver Day to carry on his incredible legacy as we begin Black History Month.”

Carver’s contributions to agriculture in the United States cannot be overstated. Having been born into slavery in Missouri, Carver found opportunity through higher education in Iowa when he enrolled at Simpson College in Indianola to study the arts in the 1880s. Once it became clear that he had a talent for horticulture, his professors encouraged him to enroll at Iowa State College, now Iowa State University, in Ames to pursue a career in agricultural sciences. Through determination and perseverance, he became Iowa State’s first Black student, first Black graduate, and first Black faculty member.

Later, at Tuskegee University, Carver achieved an international reputation in research, teaching, and outreach. He had a hands-on approach and helped poor farmers and families diversify their crops, grow local foods, and conserve their natural resources. His efforts to utilize organic materials for industrial applications earned him the title, the “father of chemurgy.”

His research resulted in the creation of hundreds of products from peanuts, sweet potatoes, soybeans, and other crops native to the American South. His discoveries and inventions include axle grease, plastics, rubber, printer’s ink, diesel fuels, paints, gasoline, glue, insecticide, laundry soap, various medical treatments, and many, many more.

You can read more about George Washington Carver’s life HERE.

You can find text of the resolution HERE.

DHHS Launches the iServe Nebraska Portal Explore Benefits Tool

Lincoln – The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) launched the new feature of the iServe Nebraska portal – Explore Benefits – an anonymous, mobile-friendly, pre-screening tool to help Nebraskans identify benefits for which they may qualify.

The new Explore Benefits tool offers these exciting features:

  • Quick and easy questionnaire that takes less than 3 minutes to complete.
  • Provides a mobile-friendly interface, giving Nebraskans the option to use their mobile phone, tablet, or computer. 
  • Completely anonymous and can be completed in English or Spanish. 
  • Nebraskans do not need to create an account or login to use the Explore Benefits tool.

After completing the questionnaire, Nebraskans who wish to apply for benefits will be directed to ACCESSNebraska to complete the full benefit application.
The iServe Nebraska Portal is a key project under the iServe Nebraska program initiative. The new Portal will be a modernized, easy-to-use system for Nebraskans and provide enhanced self-service capabilities.

“The new iServe portal will serve as an intuitive and user friendly one stop shop for Nebraskans to easily determine what benefits they qualify for,” said CEO Dannette R. Smith. “DHHS continues to explore new ways to better serve our clients and iServe Nebraska is a big step forward towards this goal.”

The iServe Nebraska project team continues to work diligently on the integrated application, which will provide Nebraskans with the functionality to apply for benefits via the new iServe Nebraska portal. This new integrated application is scheduled to launch in late 2023.

Be on the lookout for more information regarding future phases and additional functionality.

You can access the iServe Nebraska portal via the DHHS homepage or directly through https://iserve.nebraska.gov.

For a sneak peek of the Explore Benefits tool, watch this video.

If you have questions or general inquiries, please send an email to iServeNebraskaOCM@Nebraska.gov.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The Morningside Choir has been selected to participate in the American

Choral Directors Association (ACDA) National Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, in February.

Selected by recorded audition from university submissions from across the United

States, the ensemble will serve as a demonstration choir for the ACDA Undergraduate

Conducting Institute Masterclass to be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, February 23, in the

Cincinnati Music Hall.

“The Morningside Choir is honored to have been selected for this special honor from

dozens of university applicants from universities around the United States,” said Dr. Ryan

Person, Director of Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music at Morningside. “We look

forward to representing our university and the state of Iowa at this prestigious event.”

As one of only thirteen universities selected to perform as a part of the conference, the

choir will be conducted by four select university undergraduate conducting students, who were

also chosen via recorded audition from universities across the nation. The Morningside Choir

will perform two selections by contemporary composers: Cum Sancto Spiritu by Hyo-won Woo

and To See the Sky by Jocelyn Hagen.

During the event, the ensemble and the student conductors will collaborate in a clinic

format with four renowned American choral conductors: Felicia Barber, Associate Professor of

Choral Conducting at the Yale School of Music; Joe Miller, Director of Choral Activities at the

University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music; Elizabeth Schauer, Director of Choral

Activities at the University of Arizona; and André J. Thomas, Associate Arts of the London

Symphony and Professor Emeritus at Florida State University. The Morningside Choir is the university’s premier forty-five member touring choral ensemble and will celebrate its centennial year in 2024.