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NEWS 3.1.23

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South Governor Kristi Noem was in Dakota Dunes for the Siouxland Initiative's Industrial Roundtable luncheon, celebrating Siouxland for its economic development and growth.

North Sioux City was ranked as "first in the nation" for economic development for the 11th time along with Sioux City, Dakota Dunes, Sergeant Bluff, and South Sioux City covering the "Siouxland" area in this award. For more on the story from Siouxland News CBS/FOX 44 click here. A news release on the award can be found at the bottom of this page.

A bill advancing in the Iowa House would ban the state’s three public universities from spending money on diversity, equity and inclusion offices and professionals.

The Republican lawmaker leading the bill’s passage says taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be spent on D-E-I professionals. But university officials say the bill could open them up to more lawsuits and jeopardize federal contracts.

A bill in the Iowa Senate that would effectively ban transgender students from using the bathroom that fits their gender identity passed in the Education Committee today.

That means the issue will survive past a legislative deadline this week.

The bill (SF 335) requires public schools to limit all restrooms and changing areas to one sex only.

The bill passed on a party-line vote of 11-5 to move on to the full Senate.

Gov. Reynolds Statement on EPA Decision

DES MOINES – Gov. Reynolds released the following statement in response to the EPA delaying the implementation of year-round sale of E15:

“While long overdue, I am thrilled that the EPA has approved our multi-state bipartisan RVP waiver request that will pave the way for year-round E15 and bring certainty to the industry.

“However, the arbitrary delay in implementation this summer is unacceptable and disappointing, but hardly surprising. Iowa won’t accept it without a fight. I look forward to requesting another emergency waiver for this year while at the same time asking the courts to require the Administration to grant our request immediately. Iowans, and all Americans, deserve immediate access to lower-cost, American made E15.”

Tomorrow, Governor Reynolds will address the National Ethanol Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Gov. Kim Reynolds’ bill that bans discussion of gender identity in Iowa schools and restricts access to some books with sexually explicit content has passed in the Senate Education Committee.

The proposal (SSB 1145) was amended to ban the topic of gender identity in kindergarten through fifth grade and also covers sixth grade if it’s part of an elementary building.

Republican supporters call it a parents’ rights bill, but Democrats say it goes against the rights of parents who approve of their kids learning about gender identity.

The committee voted 11 to 5 on party lines to send the bill on to the full Senate.

A bill advancing in the Iowa House (HSB 219) says Iowa schools must only give students access to books that are age-appropriate. It defines that to exclude obscenity or anything that describes sexual activity as spelled out in Iowa law. Republican lawmakers say the measure comes out of recent hearings with parents who have tried unsuccessfully to remove books with graphic content from their local schools.

Opponents of the bill say it could unintentionally remove classic books from library shelves and would limit older students from gaining awareness of topics such as sexual assault or human trafficking.

The bill is set to come up again later today (Wednesday) in the House Education Committee.

Students in more than a dozen Iowa school districts planned to walk out of their classes today, a protest against proposed legislation they say will hurt LGBTQ people.

Walkouts were planned this afternoon at schools in Storm Lake, the Des Moines metro area, Iowa City, Ames, Bettendorf, Fort Dodge and West Liberty, plus Iowa State University.

Officials with Sioux City Community schools say they are not aware of any protests planned locally.

The Iowa House and Senate are advancing bills that would ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors. It follows similar measures that have passed this year in states like South Dakota and Utah.

The bills bar doctors from providing any care for minors that would affirm their transgender identity, including hormone therapy, hormone blockers or surgery.

Supporters of the bill say kids should finish puberty before they can decide to make a medical transition.

The bills moved out of House and Senate subcommittees just one day after being introduced.

Nebraska lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow teachers and school staff to physically restrain disruptive students and remove them from classrooms without fear of being disciplined. Critics say physical restraint has been used more against minority and disabled students. The action comes as the national debate over unruly students and how to handle them has ramped up in recent months. In Arkansas, the governor just signed a bill that expanded its existing restraint law to add school staff, in addition to teachers, to those allowed to restrain students in some cases. But other states, including California, Texas, Idaho and New York, have introduced bills this year that would put limits on restraining students.

The South Dakota House of Representatives voted 62-7 on Tuesdayin favor of a bill that would place juvenile offenders into Department of Correction custody after three infractions committed in a 12-month period.

The proposal would offer intervention for a juvenile who's been repeatedly in trouble with the law and provide programming through the DOC. Judges would still have the ultimate say over what happened to the repeat offender.

EPA said Wednesday it will propose authorizing the year-round sale of gasoline blends containing 15 percent ethanol in several Midwestern states. But the rule kicks in during next summer’s driving season.

Politico reports the move is an attempt by the Biden administration to balance the competing interests of corn growers and ethanol producers against the petroleum refiners that blend the biofuel into their gasoline. The gasoline industry expressed concern that implementing the change for this summer would strain their supply and push up prices at the pump.

Iowa U.S. Senator Joni Ernst says permanent E-15 year-round in the Midwest is good, but way too late. In a post on Twitter she calls for the president to grant an emergency waiver for this year.

Twitter/Sen. Joni Ernst

White-tailed deer are susceptible to coronavirus infections and researchers at the USDA’s National Animal Disease Center in Ames are looking into how different coronavirus variants operate in deer over time.

The research team has been infecting captive White-tailed deer with different coronavirus variants. The deer don’t develop a fever or clinical signs of COVID-19. The researchers are looking at the virus dynamics in deer, like how long they can find the virus in deers’ nasal passages and how long antibodies last.

USDA Veterinary Medical Officer Mitchell Palmer says once a disease is established in wildlife, it’s difficult to get out of wildlife. And there are about 30 million White-tailed deer in the U.S.

"It’s very possible that in this wildlife species that’s very numerous and it’s everywhere, that a new variant could pop out that might be infectious to people."

Researchers got $1.7 million dollars from the American Rescue Plan for up to three years of this work.

The Stanton County Sheriff says two men illegally shot and killed an American Bald Eagle. The two men were charged with unlawful possession of an eagle. Through an interpretor, the men told investigators they were planning on cooking and eating the bird. The investigation is still ongoing and more serious charges could follow. More information can be found in the following news release.

Two Honduran Nationals Cited for Killing and Possessing an American Bald Eagle

February 28, 2023

On Tuesday afternoon at about 4:00 p.m. the Stanton County Sheriff’s office responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle just northwest of the main Wood Duck Recreation Area that is located about three mile southwest of Stanton. The vehicle was located in a field and while having contact with the two males it was determined that they had a dead American Bald Eagle in their possession. Further investigation revealed that the two had shot and killed the protected national bird in that area and stated they planned on cooking and eating the bird. Nebraska Game and Parks was contacted and took custody of the eagle and the rifle used to kill the eagle. Two Honduran nationals, Ramiro Hernandez-Tziquin, 20 and Domingo Zetino-Hernandez, 20, both of Norfolk were cited for unlawful possession of the eagle. Hernandez-Tziquin was also cited for having No Drivers License. More serious charges are possible as the investigation into the unlawful killing continues.

Submitted news releases:

Celebrate Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Lincoln – Throughout March, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) observes Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The purpose of this awareness month is to educate and encourage Nebraskans to provide individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) the encouragement and opportunities they need to lead fulfilling and productive lives and achieve their full potential, goals, and dreams.

This month also allows Nebraskans to celebrate the achievements that have been made towards this goal. It is an opportunity to educate and remind communities of the need to ensure that people who experience IDD have the same opportunities to live, work, and enjoy life as those who do not need additional supports in this area.

“Over 5,000 Nebraska residents are supported through the DHHS Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD),” said Tony Green, the Director of DDD. “All Nebraskans deserve to live their best life and I urge all Nebraskans to join me in supporting and encouraging individuals with IDD to live full lives, achieve their goals and dreams, and be active members in their community.”

Here are some ways to celebrate Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month: 

Wear Orange. Orange is the official color of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. The color symbolizes energy and positivity. Encourage your friends, families, and coworkers to wear orange to show your support and spread awareness.

Share images, videos, and stories on social media. Social media is a great way to connect with your community and raise awareness about IDD. By highlighting stories, sharing artwork created by individuals with IDD, promoting resources in the community, and using #DDAM2023 or #DDAwareness2023, you can help amplify the voices of individuals with disabilities and build awareness.

Seek volunteer opportunities at local organizations in your community. Seeking opportunities to volunteer in your community is one of the best ways to show your support and help build awareness. Many local organizations have different volunteer opportunities available that provide an opportunity to support and advocate for a welcoming community.

DHHS and DDD are proud to recognize Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month and continue the work of ensuring individuals with IDD are leading fulfilling and productive lives and achieving their full potential, goals, and dreams.

Celebrate Iowa History Month in March

DES MOINES – March is Iowa History Month and the State Historical Society of Iowa is taking a deep dive into the state’s past with programs and activities.

Today kicks off the month-long celebration with an official proclamation from Gov. Kim Reynolds noting the people, places and points of pride that have defined Iowa for generations.

“Since 1857, the State Historical Society of Iowa has been the official keeper of Iowa’s history,” State Historical Society of Iowa Administrator Susan Kloewer said. “There’s no better time to learn about our state’s rich and complex past than during Iowa History Month, and we encourage Iowans of all ages across the state to join us and discover the stories that have shaped our state.”

Beginning with the proclamation, Iowa History Month offers a wide array of in-person and online programs organized by the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. Iowans and others can tune in to online presentations, take part in family-friendly activities, and take guided tours at the state’s flagship museum, the State Historical Museum of Iowa, 600 E. Locust St. in Des Moines.

Here are a few highlights, including programs and activities during Spring Break, March 10-17:

Iowa History 101 Be sure to register for the Iowa History 101 programs that take place online in March, and throughout the rest of the year.

Each program is recorded and made available online. More information is available at Iowa History 101.

Iowa History Book Club Our 2023 Iowa History Book Club online programs explore a number of books related to Iowa history, from the formative years of the American Midwest and an Iowan's ties to Oskar Schindler to First Lady Lou Henry Hoover and the suffrage movement. Here’s the schedule for March and future months:

Spring Break Activities during Iowa History Month

Goldie’s Kids Club Participate in Goldie’s Kids Club online to introduce Iowa history to children ages 12 and under – starting with Goldie the eastern goldfinch, the state bird.

  • March 4, 10 a.m. History Mystery Live Learn about objects related to Women’s History Month.
  • March 4, 10 a.m. Innovative Iowans Learn about the Great State Seal of Iowa.
  • March 15, Open hours Storytime Read “Ten Beautiful Things” by Molly Beth Griff

Iowa Culture App Download the Iowa Culture App to discover historic sites in neighborhoods from all 99 Iowa counties. Visit the State Historical Museum of Iowa

Iowa History Research Center

  • Explore the newly renovated State Historical Library & Archives Iowa History Research Center at the State Historical Building in Des Moines, now open 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Wednesday - Friday. Visitors will find numerous upgrades and improvements and can dive into collections filled with state government records, books and periodicals, newspapers, county records, manuscripts, photographs and more.
  • Iowans can also access the Iowa History Collections Catalog, a unified, user-friendly online catalog that provides greater access to the state’s collection of more than 200 million pieces of Iowa history, available to anyone with an internet connection, anywhere in the world.

“History Happens Here” T-shirt

For more information, visit iowaculture.gov or call 515-281-5111.

District FFA Convention Being Held at Western Iowa Tech Community College

The Northwest District FFA Contests and Convention will be held on Saturday, March 4th at Western Iowa Tech Community College in the Rocklin Conference Center (4647 Stone Ave., Sioux City, Parking Lot 2, Entrance 6). The WITCC Agriculture program is hosting the event.

Approximately 500 students, instructors, volunteers, and contest judges from 43 FFA chapters will be present.

Conference Agenda

8:15 am – Welcome

9:00 am – Contests Begin

10:00 am – Delegate Meeting in Cargill Auditorium

Noon – 1 pm – Lunch

1:00 pm – Contest Results (Top two contestants from each contest will advance to the State competition in April).

1:30 pm – Start of Session

For more information, contact Randi Koehler District FFA Advisor at koehlerr@lb-eagles.org.

Siouxland Collects Fourth Consecutive Title

Ranks First in the Nation for Economic Development for Eleventh Time

SIOUX CITY (Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota) – The Sioux City Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), also known as the Siouxland tri-state region, retained the nation’s top spot for economic development for populations under 200,000 for the fourth year in a row according to results released today by Site Selection magazine in their 2022 annual rankings.  The news, hailed by elected officials, including South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, and local business leaders, represents the eleventh time Siouxland has ranked first in the nation since initially earning the coveted spot in 2007. 

According to results released this morning by Site Selection magazine located in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, the Siouxland tri-state MSA earned the top national ranking for its population category for January through December 2022.  Siouxland also finished first in 2019, 2020, and 2021.  This is the first time Siouxland has earned the recognition four years in a row.

Two years ago, Site Selection introduced “per capita” annual economic development rankings and based on the data released this morning, the Siouxland metro also led the 200,000 and below population category in per capita performance in 2022, as it did in both 2020 and 2021.  Furthermore, when considering overall per capita economic development performance, the tri-state MSA has also led the entire nation, including the larger population categories of 200,000 to 1 million, and 1 million and above.

The announcement was made as part of a Siouxland Industrial Roundtable event sponsored by The Siouxland Initiative (TSI) and the Siouxland Chamber of Commercewhich was keynoted by Governor Kristi Noem at the Dakota Dunes Country Club in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota.  In sharing the regional recognition, Governor Noem was flanked by Adam Bruns, the Managing Editor of Site Selection magazine and Lance Morgan who currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of TSI.

Addressing a gathering of local business executives, community leaders, and elected officials Bruns, who traveled from Atlanta to deliver the news, stated, “Things change, but employers’ trust in Siouxland and its talent remains. By again claiming the No. 1 spot among Tier 3 metros by total projects and by projects per capita, the tri-state area of Sioux City, Iowa-Nebraska-South Dakota, has shown us that no matter how you slice the data, the region always comes up roses. Leading a large contingent of high-ranking metros from the Midwest, Siouxland continues to feature quality growth, an increasing array of quality-of-life amenities and, as always, the quality people that make a place hum.”

Governor Noem, who was recently elected to her second term as South Dakota’s chief executive, focused her presentation to the Siouxland Industrial Roundtable on economic development, as well as her vision for the state in her second four-year-term as Governor.

Lance Morgan, who serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of TSI, explained, “While this is welcome news for our Siouxland community, it also represents an opportunity for our region to aggressively expand our efforts to both recruit entrepreneurs, as well as create new pathways to introduce more ethnic and racial diversity to our economic landscape.” Morgan added that he is grateful to the many organizations that consistently choose to grow and expand in our Siouxland community.

Emphasizing the point that this award is recognition of cooperation among the three states and multiple communities in our tri-state region, TSI President, Chris McGowan explained, “As has been the case nearly every year in the past, all three Siouxland states and each independent community continue to contribute to the region’s overall success.  This award is collective recognition of the economic development collaboration that our Siouxland tri-state and TSI have promoted for over three decades.”

Royal Canin’s $185 million local expansion announcement in January of 2022 was the single largest economic development project included in the past calendar year’s rankings, and representatives of the company were on hand for the announcement and to also lead a tour of their rapidly expanding facilities in North Sioux City for Governor Noem.

Each March, Site Selection magazine publishes its annual rankings.  The publication specifies, “Qualifying projects are those meeting one or more of Site Selection’scriteria for inclusion in the Conway Projects Database: a minimum investment of $1 million, creation of 20 or more new jobs, or 20,000 square feet or more of new space.”

The 2022 ranking marks the eleventh time since 2007 that the Sioux City metro has ranked first in the nation in its population category by Site Selection.  The Sioux City MSA was also recognized as the top economic development community for populations under 200,000 in 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, and 2021.  The Siouxland metro ranked second in both 2009 and 2014 and finished third in 2006 and 2018.  The metro region has ranked in the top three nationally in its population category a remarkable 15 of the last 17 years dating back to its first appearance on the list at third place in 2006.