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NEWS 2.20.23

NWS/Sioux Falls Office

The National Weather Service is monitoring a massive winter storm making its way across the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains.

A Winter Storm Watch remains in effect from Wednesday morning through Thursday morning for parts of Siouxland, including the Iowa Great Lakes Area. Blizzard conditions are possible with anywhere between 6 to 13 inches of snow. Woodbury County is not included as of now. But, the watch does involve Union, Dixon, Plymouth, Sioux, Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola, Dickinson, Clay, and Cherokee Counties. Another watch kicks in late tomorrow night for areas north and east and Siouxland and includes a chance for ice accumulation.

The storm also will usher in dangerously cold temperatures as a blast of arctic air sweeps the region. The weather service says temperatures will drop drastically after Tuesday.

Iowa lawmakers are considering proposals from the governor and attorney general to address the spike in overdose deaths caused by fentanyl.

Governor Kim Reynolds is proposing enhanced penalties for fentanyl-related crimes and an expansion of who can provide a medication that reverses opioid overdoses. Attorney General Brenna Bird is proposing a new state-level crime of causing a death by manufacturing or delivering an illegal drug.

Iowa State Patrol pushes for hands-free technology legislation when behind the wheel

The Iowa legislature is still considering having Iowans go hands-free for cell phone use when behind the wheel.

WHO Television in Des Moines reports the bill has passed the Senate but is currently being held up in the House.

Back in 2019, neighboring states like Illinois and Minnesota passed hands-free legislation and saw a 20 to 25 percent reduction in car crashed the following year.

The Iowa State Patrol is hopeful to see those same results in Iowa if the hands-free bill is passed, saying these kinds of crashes are preventable.

After a slow start, Republican presidential prospects are streaming into Iowa, the leadoff presidential caucus state. Notably absent from the lineup, at least for now, is former President Donald Trump. Few of the White House hopefuls face the lofty expectations in Iowa that Trump does. He finished a competitive second to devout social conservative Ted Cruz in 2016. Trump went on to carry the state twice, by healthy margins, as the Republican presidential nominee in the 2016 and 2020 elections. Though the caucuses are nearly a year off, they remain the first event on the nomination calendar, and some Iowa GOP activists have taken notice of Trump’s absence.

A new reward is being offered in the cold case of a missing Mason City TV anchor.

Radio Iowa reports a private investigator is putting up $25,000 for information that reveals the remains of Jodi Huisentruit. She disappeared in June of 1995 on her way to work at KIMT. Evidence suggests she was abducted in the parking lot of her apartment complex, but in the nearly 28 years since Huisentruit vanished, no arrests have been made.

The investigator says he’s hoping the new offer is enough to encourage someone who knows something to come forward

Starting today Iowa’s largest private employer will no longer offer an employee discount to its workers.

According to an internal video obtained by KCCI Television in Des Moines, effective today, employees will no longer receive a 10% discount at the store.

In the video, Hy-Vee executive Georgia Van Gundy explains the change is due to fraud and abuse happening within the program, which was launched in 2019. The company hopes to announce a new employee discount program this summer.

The company has been in the headlines over the past year for several changes to its corporate structure, including laying off hundreds of employees.

The ongoing bird flu outbreak has cost the government roughly $661 million and added to consumers' pain at the grocery store as officials slaughtered more than 58 million birds to help limit the spread of the virus. The farmers who raise chickens and turkeys have also easily lost more than $1 billion but no one has calculated the total cost to the industry yet. The bad news is that with the outbreak entering its second year and the spring migratory season looming, there is no end in sight. And farmers may not be able to do much more than they are already doing to keep the virus off their farms.

The Iowa Pork Producers Association is hosting four regional conferences across Iowa this week. One took place today in Orange City. Organizers say the meetings will be focused on providing useful information for hog farmers, including economic issues and how hot weather can quickly cause critical problems for pork producers during the Iowa summer. The other conferences are taking part in other parts of the state. Learn more at: iowapork.org.

From driving tractors to school to educating elementary students on the importance of feeding the world, FFA Week is underway nationwide. There are 18,606 Iowans involved in the program that is 95 years old. Find out more information or find a chapter in your area at: www.ffa.org.

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