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NEWS 3.20.23

An investigation is underway after a weekend incident at the Anamosa State Penitentiary sent four people to the hospital.

The Department of Corrections reports an inmate had a medical emergency late Saturday night. The unidentified inmate was found unresponsive in his cell.

It appeared the inmate was under the influence of an unknown substance, though nothing suspicious was found nearby.

A short time later, three of the prison staff members who had cared for the inmate fell ill.

The anti-overdose drug Narcan was administered to the inmate and two of the staffers.

All four were taken to the hospital. All four were treated and later released.

Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen has broken with more than 30 years of gubernatorial practice by not releasing information about his public schedule.

During the 10 weeks since Pillen and Lt. Gov. Joe Kelly took their oaths of office, his administration has not provided schedules for either. Inquiries about the schedules or upcoming events have yielded silence or incomplete information.

Previous governors’ schedules have provided advance notice of press conferences, speaking engagements, participation on public boards and appearances at everything from ribbon-cuttings to Husker football games, complete with information about dates, times and places.

A spokesperson tells the Omaha-World Herald the change in practice as simply a different way of doing business. But government watchdogs of varying stripes criticized the new practice for reducing public access and accountability.

During this session of the South Dakota Legislature, Governor Kristi Noem quit making herself available to reporters for weekly news conferences.

Longstanding disagreements about content in school libraries often focus this year on books with LGBTQ themes. Iowa's Republican governor is backing a bill that could result in the removal of books from school libraries in all state districts if they’re successfully challenged in any one of them. School boards and legislatures nationwide also are facing questions about books and considering making it easier to limit access. One transgender parent in Iowa says it's a symptom of a backlash from those who hope limiting discussion will return American society to an era that didn’t acknowledge people with different sexualities.

Big changes could come to the State Library of Iowa if Governor Kim Reynolds signs her reorganization bill lawmakers sent to her desk last week. The bill directs the power to select the state librarian and set priorities for the state’s libraries away from the Iowa Commission of Libraries. Instead, those powers would flow through the state librarian who would be appointed by the Department of Administrative Services director.

Sam Helmick is the president of the Iowa Library Association. They say the state library could become political.

“Things like best practices, standardization is how we accredit libraries, and make sure that they're getting the appropriate amount of funding is a huge endeavor every single year from the State Library, and I'm a little concerned that if it becomes a political agency, things that that are important for intellectual freedom, information access, and intellectual standards will be at risk.”

The State Library of Iowa provides local librarians with training and support, as well as has a network of resources Iowans can utilize.

SIOUX CITY -- The Sioux City Council will be asked Monday to approve a more than $3.8 million settlement agreement and release between the city and a California clay pipe manufacturer and supplier.

The Sioux City Journal reports the city filed a lawsuit against various Mission Clay Products entities in 2021 for damages sustained from the failure of the sewer pipe, which was installed on the city's north side near Floyd Boulevard. The lawsuit claims sinkholes developed in areas where the pipe had been laid.

Conservation groups are concerned that a bill advancing in the Iowa House would prevent the expansion of public lands for outdoor recreation and wildlife. It would require the Department of Natural Resources to prioritize maintenance of existing public lands above acquiring new lands. Kevin Kuhle (keel) is a lobbyist for the Iowa Farm Bureau, one of two groups registered in support of the bill.

“Our members have set policy that the state of Iowa should concentrate more on the management of currently owned land and reduce the effort to acquire more public land.”

Keel says land being sold for conservation could instead be sold to beginning farmers—but the DNR says the state doesn’t usually buy highly productive farmland.

Conservation groups say the bill is so vague it could effectively stop the expansion of public land and make it harder for Iowa to attract people to the state. Iowa ranks nearly last in the country for percentage of public lands.

If Iowa ethanol plants are not allowed to use pipelines to capture their carbon dioxide emissions, Iowa corn farmers could see a more-than $1 billion dollar per-year decline in the value of corn they sell to ethanol plants.

That’s according to the second phase of a study done for the Iowa ethanol industry. The study, that was commissioned by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, projects big losses for Iowa – the nation’s top ethanol producer – if carbon pipelines don’t move forward in Iowa but do in other states.

Decision Innovation Solutions’ chief economist David Miller says the profitability of Iowa farms will be affected…such as $43-thousand dollars a year in lost revenue for a 1,000-acre Iowa farm with half corn and half soybeans.

It is likely that that corn is going to have to be stored longer that corn is going to have to travel much more distance to find an equitable market.”

The study also says that without carbon capture, Iowa’s ethanol production could decline by 75% because ethanol plants won’t be competitive without access to carbon capture technology that’s connected to tax credits.

Nebraska residents have until the end of March to apply for heating assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

The federally-funded program offered by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has several services, including energy cost assistance for low-income residents. The program would help offset the costs of heating and cooling.

Low-income residents have until March 31 to apply for heating assistance. Cooling assistance begins later in the year on June 1. * More information can be found below.

A chart-topping boy band is being welcomed back to the Iowa State Fair — more than 30 years after the group last took the Grandstand stage.

The Iowa State Fair announced Monday that New Kids on the Block will perform Saturday, August 12 at 8:00 p.m.

Submitted news release:

Gov. Reynolds appoints Deputy Adjutant General

DES MOINES – Gov. Kim Reynolds has selected Brig. Gen. William F. McClintock as the Deputy Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard.

“General McClintock’s extensive experience and proven leadership, alongside General Osborn, will ensure that the Iowa National Guard is ‘Always Ready,’” said Governor Kim Reynolds. “With his nearly four decades of service, including his roles as Assistant Adjutant General and Army Chief of Staff, I know General McClintock can help Iowa navigate this increasingly unpredictable world, no matter what comes our way.”

McClintock previously served as Assistant Adjutant General and as the full-time Army Chief of Staff. McClintock graduated and received commission from the Officer Candidate School Program, Iowa Military Academy, at Camp Dodge.

His military assignments include: Platoon Leader, Executive Officer, Company Commander, Battalion Operations Officer, Battalion Commander and Troop Commander. He was the Director of Human Resources for Iowa of both the Army and Air National Guard. He is a Joint Qualified Officer who served three years in an Operational Assignment at U.S. Northern Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

McClintock holds both a bachelor’s degree in public administration and a master’s degree in business administration from Upper Iowa University. He also holds a second master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College.

The adjutant general is the second highest-ranking position in the Iowa National Guard. McClintock will assist in managing more than 7,000 part-time Soldiers.

McClintock will replace Brig. Gen. Stephen E. Osborn, who is the newly appointed Adjutant General of the Iowa National Guard.

Deadline to Apply for Heating Assistance is March 31

Lincoln – The deadline for Nebraskans to apply for heating assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is March 31. LIHEAP is a federally funded program designed to help lower-income households stay safe and healthy by providing financial assistance to offset the costs of heating and cooling. LIHEAP crisis funding will still be available after March 31.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) wants to ensure that all who are eligible and want heating assistance apply by the March 31 deadline. To qualify for LIHEAP, a household must:

  • Have income at or below 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL);
  • Meet the LIHEAP citizenship and residency requirement;
  • Be responsible for home energy utilities; and,
  • Not be otherwise disqualified or ineligible.

For Nebraskans unsure of whether they may qualify, there is no penalty for applying if you are not eligible. Trained staff is available to walk applicants through all of the services that LIHEAP provides.
Individuals can request or apply for LIHEAP through DHHS:

Size of Household*

Annual Income











*The above table is just an example. All household sizes can apply. For each additional household member, add $7,080 to the annual income maximum.

LIHEAP aid is 100% financed with Federal funds. A total of $53,140,356 in LIHEAP Federal funds were made available for the Federal Fiscal Year 2023 (FFY 2023). LIHEAP administrative costs are paid with Federal and State funds, which varies annually. In the FFY 2022, 14% of LIHEAP administrative costs were State funded and 86% were Federally funded.