News 6.24.20: Equity Task Force, War Eagle Vandalism and Museum Reopening

Jun 24, 2020

Credit pxhere.com

A new task force is being put in place to fight racial injustice and to help develop police reform in Iowa after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The Equity Task force will be a joint effort with law enforcement and the NAACP and includes representatives from across the state.

Local members are Sioux City Chief Rex Mueller, Ike Rayford of the President of the local NAACP and Unity in the Community Founder Monique Scarlett.

Siouxland District Health reports nine new positive cases of COVID-19 in Woodbury County and no new deaths. The state coronavirus website shows an additional death for a total of 43 and a running total of 3,087 positive.  There are 690 deaths statewide, two more than yesterday and just over 26,600 positive cases.  That’s an uptick of more than 250 in a 24-hour period.

There are almost 18,100 positive cases in Nebraska and 256 deaths. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services says in the past 14 days there have been 34 positive cases tracked in Dakota County for a total of 1,744. Madison County has 350 cases and Thurston, 73.

In South Dakota, there are 83 deaths and more than 6,300 (6,353) positives cases, including 117 in Union County.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on our mental health due to isolation and the fear of the unknown.

“Where is this county going and the world as a whole?  It does cause anxiety and depressive symptoms and that kind of thing.

That’s Nicky Eaton with the Siouxland Mental Health Center.  She says local providers turned to telehealth to reach people impacted by the pandemic.  She says if you are finding it hard to participate in normal activities it might be a good time to reach out to a professional.  You can listen to a full interview with Nicky Eaton. She talks about a partnership with Sioux City Police, established late last year to reach people in crisis.

The Sioux City Police Department is looking into vandalism at War Eagle monument on Sioux City’s westside.  Someone spray painted racist statements on a restroom.  A spokesperson for the police department says they are trying to raise awareness of the cultural significance of the area.  Even though it is a city park it is also considered a burial site so it should be treated in the same reference as a cemetery.

War Eagle died in 1851 and was buried on top of a bluff overlooking the Missouri River Valley.  The bluff is part of the park and is also a burial ground that includes War Eagle’s daughters and grandchildren.

The Sioux City Public Museum announced plans to reopen to the public early next month.  Museum Director Steve Hansen says starting on July 7th the facility on 4th street in downtown Sioux City will resume normal hours.  They are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and Sundays 1 to 5 p.m.  Visitors will be strongly encouraged to maintain social distancing and to wear masks. 

The museum will showcase a new summer exhibit to recognize the 30th year of “Saturday in the Park”.  It’s called “Saturday in the Park: 29 Years of Memories”.  It also opens on July 7th.  It was planned before the event was postponed for July.  It includes autographed posters, dozens of photos.  Plus, video and audio highlights. People can also view the original ceiling mural from Uncle John Records and Tapes painted by local artist Paul Chelstad back in 1978.

And, the Sioux City International Film Festival will have to wait until next year.  Today, festival organizers announced they plan to reschedule the 16th annual event for the first week of October of 2021 at the Promenade Theater.  They said it would be too hard to recreate the atmosphere of the festival in a virtual setting.