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Newscast 7.9.2024: More resources for Siouxland flooding recovery come amid concerns; More steps for waterpark coming to Sioux City; Collins named new chief for Sioux City Fire Department

Many Red Cross workers are helping Siouxland people who had their homes flooded in late June 2024 events. Some of the fleet of Red Cross vehicles as part of that recovery effort are shown near the headquarters at the campus of Western Iowa Tech Community College on July 5, 2024.
Bret Hayworth, Siouxland Public Media News
Many Red Cross workers are helping Siouxland people who had their homes flooded in late June 2024 events. Some of the fleet of Red Cross vehicles as part of that recovery effort are shown near the headquarters at the campus of Western Iowa Tech Community College on July 5, 2024.

*When the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency visited flood-ravaged Northwest Iowa last month, she said climate change played a part in the severe weather in Iowa and also across the nation.

FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell toured the town of Cherokee after the Little Sioux River crested way above flood stage. She also met with homeowners who lost everything here in Rock Valley and Spencer.

“Because of the significant impacts that we're seeing from severe weather, it has to be a result of a changing climate,” Criswelll said.

It was her sixth disaster trip in about 45 days, which demonstrates how severe weather is impacting other parts of the country. With warmer water in the Atlantic, Criswell is also expecting a very active hurricane season, with storms that will intensify more rapidly.

Criswell was also in Iowa in late May, seeing first-hand the aftermath of a deadly tornado. There have been three Presidential Disaster Declarations set for the state this year.

*With flood recovery into a third week in Siouxland, a Flood Relief Resource Fair will be held this week for people who live in the Riverside area of Sioux City.

The event will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at Riverside Lutheran Church, as sponsored by the City of Sioux City and Woodbury County.

Resources available at the fair will be offered by such organizations as the American Red Cross, Community Action Agency, The Salvation Army, Sunnybrook Hope Center, Siouxland Mental Health, and more.

That Flood Relief Resource Fair was announced at about the same time as the Sioux City Council meeting late afternoon Monday, in which some Riverside area residents aired their strong concerns about getting adequate and timely help.

Additionally, a city release said the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief team is in Sioux City this week to assist residents who were affected by flooding in Riverside.

Volunteers will visit homes in the Riverside area, evaluate damage, and then assist in remediating the damage, including mold prevention.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is opening two more Disaster Recovery Centers in Northwest Iowa this week.

A center opened in Estherville on Tuesday, and one in Rock Rapids will open on Wednesday. Last week, FEMA opened two such centers in Spencer and Rock Valley, which are two of the most impacted towns by flooding.

*South Sioux City residents can participate in a special election Tuesday. They will decide whether a currently collected sales tax will be redirected in part to the fire department to hire more firefighters.

Polls in South Sioux City will be open to 8 p.m.

The city council in May put forth a proposal to add three more fire department employees contending that more workers should be added.

The measure would have a half-penny sales tax be split from going all to public works infrastructure to being evenly shared with the fire department. If the proposal is defeated on Tuesday, the half-penny sales tax would not drop, it would continue to entirely go to public works, a city release specified.

*Steps keep being taken care of as the first waterpark in Sioux City looks to be built by summer 2025. Siouxland Splash will be built on the city’s north side for roughly $7 million.

There is currently no private waterpark in Sioux City, while within 100 miles there are such facilities in Storm Lake and Sioux Falls. City officials say it will be a great quality of life addition.

Back in December, the Sioux City Council approved the sale of 10 acres of land to Frontline Development LLC to create the waterpark. On Monday, the council and the Iowa Department agreed to split the $1.2 million cost to add a turning lane for people exiting Highway 75 to get more safely to the waterpark.

*Sioux City Fire/Rescue Department Deputy Fire Marshal Ryan Collins was named Tuesday as the next Sioux City Fire Rescue Chief. Collins will succeed current Chief Tom Everett, who will retire later this summer after serving 31 years with the department.

Collins began his career with Sioux City Fire Rescue in 2006 as a firefighter/EMT, serving in that capacity until 2015. He became a lieutenant in 2015 and transitioned to deputy fire marshal – captain in 2018.

Collins will begin his duties as chief on August 12.

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