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NEWS 4.10.23: SCCSD lawsuit update, Haley visits Siouxland, Blizzard of '73, and more

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — A Woodbury County judge has denied a motion to remove some parts of former Sioux City Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman's lawsuit against the district and four school board members.

Siouxland News CBS/FOX 44 reports Judge Patrick Tott ruled that allegations relating to the board members' complaint about Gausman to the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners, as well as the request to remove them from the board for violating Iowa's Open Meetings law, can remain in the lawsuit for now.

Judge Tott directed the defendants, the school district, board President Dan Greenwell and board members Jan George, Taylor Goodvin, and Bob Michaelson to file a formal response to Gausman's lawsuit by April 20th.

He directed the defendants, the school district, board President Dan Greenwell and board members Jan George, Taylor Goodvin, and Bob Michaelson to file a formal response to Gausman's lawsuit by April 20th.

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley will be in Siouxland tonight. The former South Caroline Governor and UN Ambassador will host a town hall at Port Neal Welding in Salix at six. U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra will join her. Haley plans to visit Denison, Storm Lake, Fort Dodge tomorrow, and Des Moines on Wednesday.

This is Haley’s third visit to Iowa since announcing her candidacy for president.

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office has paused its practice of paying for emergency contraception, and in rare cases abortions, for victims of sexual assault. The move has drawn criticism from some victim advocates. Federal regulations and state law require Iowa to pay many of the expenses for sexual assault victims who seek medical help, including treatment for sexually transmitted infections. Under the previous attorney general, Democrat Tom Miller, Iowa’s victim compensation fund also paid for the so-called “morning after” pill, as well as other treatments to prevent pregnancy. The Des Moines Register reports that a spokeswoman for Republican Attorney General Brenna Bird, who defeated Miller in November, said those payments are on hold as part of a review of victim services.

Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen has declared Cass County a Disaster Area due to a raging wildfire that broke out over the weekend. More than 75 firefighters from 26 departments continue to work the Waconda Fire located just south of Lake Waconda in Cass County, which has burned more than 650 acres. For more on the story click here.

Iowans have seen several unseasonable snowstorms this spring, but none of them compare to what’s known as the Blizzard of ’73.

It was 50 years ago on Sunday that a monster winter weather system blasted into Iowa. The storm hit on a Monday, April 9th, 1973. The National Weather Service says the powerful winds whipped up massive drifts that were so deep, they completely covered houses.

Radio Iowa reports a few locations had the most snow ever, including Dubuque that had almost 20 inches. School was canceled for several days in districts practically statewide. State highways were littered with hundreds of stranded cars.

Submitted news releases:

Landlord and Property Manager Fair Housing Training

The Sioux City Human Rights Commission will host a Fair Housing training on Wednesday, April 26, 2023 at the Sioux City Public Museum, 607 4th Street. The event will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is requested by April 19. Lunch will be provided.

The purpose of this workshop is to educate landlord and property managers about Fair Housing rights, housing discrimination, landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities, ADA, record-keeping and more.

For more information contact the Sioux City Human Rights Commission at 712-279-6985.

Water Payment Assistance Available for Nebraskans

Lincoln – The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is available to help lower-income households with water utility services (drinking water or wastewater) costs including deposits, reconnect fees, standard charges, standard fees, and taxes included in a Nebraska household’s water utility services bill.

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) wants to ensure that all who are eligible, have the opportunity to apply for the LIHWAP assistance program. To qualify for LIHWAP, a household must:

  • Have income at or below 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL) or include an individual with an active LIHEAP case;
  • Meet the citizenship and residency requirements;
  • Be responsible for water utility services; 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 the eligibility determination process. If a household has an active or pending Economic Assistance (EA) case, the household may request LIHWAP without applying. Nebraskans can request or apply for LIHWAP:

Size of Household*

150% FPL











*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.

*LIHWAP in Nebraska is solely funded with federal funds. A total of $5,988,839 in LIHWAP federal funds are available for the federal fiscal years of 2022 and 2023. 

Wages waiting: Department of Labor seeking nearly 2,900 people employed

in response to 2015 bird flu outbreak after recovery of $1.7M in back wages

Clean Harbors Environmental Services hired 145 subcontractors for bird disposal work

DES MOINES, IA – In September 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor obtained a consent judgment to recover $1.7 million for nearly 2,900 workers employed by 145 different subcontractors in 2015 to euthanize birds and dispose of carcasses during the avian flu outbreak and is trying to locate workers owed back wages.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture contracted Clean Harbors Environmental Services Inc. of Norwell, Massachusetts, to remove potentially infected poultry waste – between April and September of 2015 – from sites primarily in Iowa. The department’s Wage and Hour Division later determined that subcontractors hired by Clean Harbors paid workers less than the prevailing wage required by their federal contract.

“Employers of more than 2,900 people who worked long hours in response to an environmental disaster shortchanged their hard-earned wages,” explained Regional Wage and Hour Division Administrator Michael Lazzeri. “Prime contractors, such as Clean Harbors, are responsible for their compliance with federal contract labor protections as well as the compliance of the subcontractors they employ.”

“The Wage and Hour Division is determined to make sure the employers pay federal contract workers their full prevailing wages, and we are eager to find the people owed these back wages,” Lazzeri added.

Many of the workers were employed by subcontractors such as Center for Toxicology & Environmental Health and Cotton Logistics, Cotton Logistics, SWS Environmental Services, Trident Environmental Group LLC and Triad Services at sites in Osceola, Sioux City and Cherokee, Iowa. Workers can use the department’s Workers Owed Wages search tool to see if their names are included in the wage settlement agreement and then email the Wage and Hour Division.

The outreach effort follows Clean Harbors Environmental Services Inc.’s agreement on Sept. 29, 2022, to pay the back wages as part of a consent judgment entered by the department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges. The action resolved a January 2022 lawsuit filed after the division determined the company failed to audit its 145 subcontractors for compliance with the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act and the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act.

Division investigators found the project’s subcontractors failed to pay workers the applicable wage determination. By doing so, they paid workers less than the required prevailing wage and fringe benefit and miscalculated workers’ hourly rate for overtime pay. In some cases, contractors also failed to pay overtime for hours over 40 in a workweek, a CWHSSA violation.

Founded in 1980, Clean Harbors Environmental Services Inc. is a leading provider of environmental and industrial services to the chemical and manufacturing industries, and to government agencies. The company provides hazardous waste management, emergency spill response, industrial cleaning and maintenance, and recycling services. Based in Massachusetts, Clean Harbors operates throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search toolto use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division and how to file an online complaint. For confidential compliance assistance, employees and employers can call the agency’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), regardless of where they are from.

Download the agency’s new Timesheet App for iOS and Android devices – also available in Spanish – to ensure hours and pay are accurate.

UnityPoint Health – Sioux City Announces 2022 Employee of the Year

(SIOUX CITY, Iowa – April 10, 2023) UnityPoint Health – Sioux City is honored to announce Rochelle Reinke as the Employee of the Year for 2022. Rochelle was recognized for this award during an award ceremony at UnityPoint – St. Luke’s. This award is one held in the highest regard and given to deserving team members annually through a vote open to all team members in the Sioux City region.

“Rochelle is a wonderful asset to the UnityPoint Health – Sioux City team,” says Jane Arnold, Senior Vice President of Operations and Regional Vice President of Ambulatory Operations at UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s. “She goes the extra mile and has consistently showcased our FOCUS values throughout her nearly six-year career at St. Luke’s.”

Rochelle works at the hospital as an occupational therapist in the rehabilitation services department. Fellow team members describe her as a team player and does “everything with a smile.” Rochelle is always willing to work extra hours on the weekends to ensure patients receive the highest quality of care.

Along with a beautiful set of roses, Rochelle was awarded a commemorative plaque and special gift for receiving this recognition from St. Luke’s.

The 12 Employee of the Year Nominees were recognized as employees of the month throughout 2022. Congratulations to Pablo Reyes Tapia, PACU; Jerry Olsen, facilities; Yudy Cruz, behavioral health; Angie Renner, laboratory; Liz Lee, food services; Lupita Angulo, med surg; Michelle Jansen, postpartum; Joyce Ellis, pharmacy; Jennifer Reeg-Beckner, ICU; Rochelle Reinke, rehabilitation services; Megan Eisma, behavioral health; and Kellie Corrio, patient access.