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Newscast 09.21.23: Gov. Reynolds' husband has cancer; Nebraska lawmaker says state is in mental health crisis; USD deals with sexual assaults on campus

The University of South Dakota

Four sexual assaults have been reported at the University of South Dakota so far this semester, an average of one every seven days since classes began on Aug. 21, according to the Argus Leader.
The victims told university police that they knew their attackers. Three of the assaults were in a residence hall and one in a fraternity house.

The Vermillion Police Department has active investigations for all of the September incidents. No arrests have been made in those three cases.

In each case except the second, the warnings from USD to the campus community indicated law enforcement didn’t believe there was an ongoing threat to campus safety at the time.

According to a study by Mental Health America, Nebraska nearly the highest prevalence of mental illness in the country, particularly among youths, where the state ranks 49th. The state ranks 29th when it comes to access to care.

At a hearing this week, Nebraska lawmaker Kevin Fredrickson asked his colleagues to back Legislative Resolution 202. The resolution calls for an interim study into Nebraska's ongoing mental and behavioral health needs.

Nebraska Senator John Fredrickson (D)
Nebraska Senator John Fredrickson (D)

Fredrickson, a mental health professional himself, said mental health care in Nebraska has reached a crisis point.

Iowa’s First Gentleman, Kevin Reynolds, has been diagnosed with lung cancer.
In a statement announcing the diagnosis, Gov. Kim Reynolds said she and her husband are confident in the medical team that will carry out his treatment. She says they take optimism from medical advancements in treating lung cancer.

The governor and first gentleman have been married for 41 years. The have three children and 11 grandchildren.

Many of Iowa’s trees are struggling in the long-running drought. Joe Herring, a district forester with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in Iowa Falls, says some insects are causing problems with trees, and not just the emerald ash borer.

Herring says fall colors should be coming into view soon, starting with a species of small tree or bush found along roadsides, called sumac.

The DNR says the peak of fall color should be during the second week of October for the northern part of the state, and the second through the fourth weeks of October in southern Iowa.

Autumn arrives Saturday but many Iowa farmers are already starting the fall harvest, and motorists in rural areas will need to share the roads with large, slow-moving farm equipment for the next several weeks.
Distractions are also causing crashes.

From 2017 through June 30th, 2022, the Iowa Department of Transportation reports 30 people died in crashes involving farm equipment in the state. This is National Farm Safety and Health Week.