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NEWS 5.17.23: Nebraska abortion ban fight, wind turbines, MHRD grants, train history documentary, and more

Conservatives in the Nebraska Legislature have gotten just enough votes to fold a proposed 12-week abortion ban into a bill that would ban gender-affirming health for minors. As expected, the debate Tuesday over the plan was raucous, with lawmakers opposed to the plan sparring with Republican Lt. Gov. Joe Kelly, who presided over the Legislature, and accusing him of trashing legislative rules to help push through the plan. The quarreling stretched what was supposed to be a two-hour process to six hours before a vote to end debate won the 33 votes it needed to set up other votes to advance the plan. The merged bill must now survive another round of voting to pass.

A northwest Iowa man has been arrested after a deadly hit-and-run accident, involving a bicyclist.

Online court documents show 29-year-old Casey Herwig of Cherokee, Iowa is facing one charge of knowingly leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. Investigators say the collision killed 27-year-old Phillip Watterson of Cherokee the day after Christmas.

The Woodbury County Board of Supervisors is getting closer to increasing the setback distance for wind turbines. The board unanimously approved a second reading to move turbines from two miles from city limits and one mile from public conservation areas.

Several citizens who spoke wanted a five-mile setback from city limits.

The Woodbury County Conservation Board recommended one mile from public conservation, instead of a half-mile.

The current ordinance has a setback distance of 600 feet or 110 percent of turbine height from city limits and public conservation areas.

MidAmerican Energy supports a one-mile setback from city limits.

Supervisor Keith Radig said continuing to increase the setback distances creates uncertainty.

"I just think at what point do you say, 'just screw it' and ban wind altogether?”

The last public hearing on the issue is scheduled for May 23rd.

Missouri River Historical Development or MRHD plans to award another $500,000 in grants to local non-profits and organizations.

MRHD will announce more than 30 Target Grant winners next Wednesday at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. The money will be used for short-term projects. Sixty entities were in the running for grants to help with economic development, community improvement, tourism, health, and more.

MRHD was launched in 1989 when Woodbury County voters approved riverboat gaming. The nonprofit group holds the state license for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and disburses a share of the casino's revenues.

Last month, MRHD awarded $750,000 for the Sioux City 'Innovation Center' which will have three floors and feature a food hall, business space and recording studios for Siouxland Public Media.

A train history documentary crafted by the Mass Communications Department at Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City can be viewed on tv tonight. The program covers the history of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific’s shops complex in Riverside.

Several students and their instructor Chris Mansfield worked on the project that provides historic images and interviews, including Dr. Angella Collins, an archeologist with the University of Iowa.

The film also features the last recording of Dr. Rudy Daniels, a local railway expert, and former professor, who passed away in October.

“Trains with History: The Story of the Milwaukee Road Shops and the Sioux City Railroad Museum airs tonight at 6:30 on KTIV News 4.

The sky appears a bit hazy in Siouxland today due to wildfires in western Canada. The National Weather Service says to expect smokey conditions for most of the afternoon, before a lull sets in this evening with tonight’s rain chances. Another round of smoke is expected to return overnight and continue into the day tomorrow.

Submitted news release:

MRHD to Announce Recipients of 2023 Target Grant Awards

SIOUX CITY – Missouri River Historical Development (MRHD) will announce the recipients of their 2023 Target Grant at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center on Wednesday, May 24th, at 2pm. In total, $500,000 will be awarded to 31 local organizations. This event is open to the public and media.

The MRHD Target Grant is a competitive grant opportunity that provides qualified applicants up to $25,000 for one year to support a variety of projects or programs and is designed to address short-term projects or capacity building items.

Grants will be awarded in 5 categories: Economic Development, Community Improvement and Tourism; Human Services and Health Services; Civic, Public, Patriotic, Charitable & Religious; Leisure, Cultural and Historical; and Education. The President of the MRHD Board of Directors, Steve Huisenga, will make the opening and closing comments, and MRHD Target Grant committee members, Dave Bernstein and Chris Groves will make the award announcements and distribute checks during the awards ceremony. Refreshments, photos, and networking will take place following the event.

The MRHD 2023 Target Grant Committee reviewed 60 grant applications before recommending funding for this year’s 31 recipients. The committee’s recommendations received approval from MRHD’s full Board of Directors.

“MRHD is pleased to announce our upcoming Target Grant awards ceremony,” says Sarah Kleber, Chair of the 2023 Target Grant Committee. “This year 31 non-profits and local governmental agencies will be awarded a cumulative total of $500,000. We’re thankful for our partnership with Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City, which allows us to distribute these funds into our community,” says Kleber.

Since 1989, MRHD has invested more than $49 Million into the Siouxland community.

MRHD is the non-profit organization that holds the license for gaming in Woodbury County. Its funding is generated from an agreement between MRHD and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City which allows the company to run a gaming operation in Woodbury County using MRHD’s gaming license.