NEWS 7.5.21: Heat, Deadly Motorcycle Crash, Yankton Drowning, C-19 Hospitalization Increase, & More

Jul 5, 2021

Credit National Weather Service/Sioux Falls

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for a large portion of Siouxland until eight tonight.

Officials in the weather service in Sioux Falls say similar to yesterday, hot and humid conditions will be occurring this afternoon across the region. Heat index values will range from 95 to 105 degrees in most areas. They advise people drink plenty of water and stay out of the sun if possible.

Investigators say two of three motorcycle drivers involved in a three-bike crash last week were killed in the collision, while the other was hospitalized with serious injuries. The Sioux City Journal reports that the crash happened just after 9:30 p.m. Friday on a county road south of Storm Lake in northwestern Iowa. The Iowa State Patrol says a motorcycle driven by 39-year-old Luis Angel Garcia Contreras, of Storm Lake, made a U-turn into the paths of the two other motorcycles driven by 28-year-old Phya Soe Aung and 30-year-old Martin de Jesus Cruz. Aung and Cruz died at the scene. Contreras was taken to a local hospital.

Officials say the body of a 16-year-old northeastern Nebraska boy has been recovered from Lake Yankton, which lies on the Nebraska/South Dakota border. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission says witnesses reported the teen fell into the water from a float as he tried to cross the lake on it Sunday afternoon and did not resurface. Five Nebraska conservation officers responded, along with officials from the Cedar County Sheriff’s, US Army Corps of Engineers and South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. The boy's body was found around 8:30 p.m. His name has not yet been released.

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Iowa have remained below 100 for the past two months. But they have been trending upwards in recent days.

One expert is concerned hospitalizations could further increase if more Iowans don’t get vaccinated.

Leyla Best is an infectious disease specialist with UnityPoint in Des Moines.

She says she’s concerned because vaccination rates have plateaued and the highly transmittable Delta variant is circulating in the state.

“We need to understand that the more vaccines in arms, the less transmission of the virus among the community, and therefore the less risk of more mutations and less variants as well as threatening our way back to normalcy.”

Best says more than 90 percent of admissions are unvaccinated people. The rest have compromised immune systems.

Around 60 percent of adult Iowans have been fully vaccinated.

The Iowa Department of Public Health says starting on July 7th, it will slow down the number of updates posted on the state coronavirus website. The state agency plans to shut down the site all together later this summer. And, move weekly updates to the health department’s website.

The positivity rate in Woodbury County is 3% with 11 new cases added in seven days. There have been 230 deaths due to complications of the virus with 6,146 statewide during the pandemic.

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg has been elected to serve as the vice chairman of a bipartisan group of attorneys general. As vice chairman of the Conference of Western Attorneys General, Ravnsborg will also serve on the group’s executive board. The conference addresses emerging legal topics and common areas of interest to the west including water, fish and wildlife, public lands, minerals, energy, environment and Native American law. The group includes 18 member states and territories. Ravnsborg gained the approval of his peers despite three misdemeanor charges currently pending against him related to his driving the night he struck and killed Joe Boever along a highway last September.

Cattle producers see hope in a new beef processing plant coming to southwest Iowa in 2023. Cattle ranchers have often complained about limited choices when it’s time to sell their beef cattle. New corporation Cattlemen’s Heritage will build a facility in southwest Iowa to process 15-hundred head of cattle each day. Iowa State University livestock economist Lee Schulz (SHUL-z) says another player in the packing industry means “tremendous opportunity” for local producers.

“Locally that should really help competition for the cattle that are available. Cattle can only travel so far and so the largest impact is going to be to, you know, producers in that area.”

Schulz says the new large processing facility will also have ripple effects. Cattle that are sent to the new facility would’ve gone somewhere else. That will free up capacity at other plants in the region.

For years, Des Moines Water Works has tried to force or cajole farmers upstream to reduce the runoff of fertilizer that leaves the rivers with sky-high nitrate levels but lawsuits and legislative lobbying have failed. Now, it’s considering a drastic measure that, as a rule, large cities just don’t do — resorting to wells to find clean water. Small communities and individuals use wells, but metro areas the size of Des Moines have always relied primarily on rivers and lakes for the large volumes of water needed. It's frustrating for utility officials but they say they have little choice. Farmers acknowledge they must help reduce nitrates but say voluntary efforts will be more effective than government regulations.

One person has died after a weekend accident at Adventureland Park.  Six people were on a raft on the Raging River when the accident happened Saturday night.  There were critically hurt and another hospitalized. The conditions of the other three people hurt have not been released

A Minnesota woman was killed and three other people injured at an Independence Day parade in Iowa. Iowa State Police say a 2007 Hyundai Sonata was parked on the street after Saturday's parade when pedestrians were in the road. The Des Moines Register reports a 75-year-old woman backed out and struck several people. Four people were dragged under the vehicle. Fifty-nine-year-old Mary Nienow of Alberta Lea, Minnesota, was killed. A 67-year-old woman, a 30-year-old woman and a 6-year-old child were also injured. Each year, 5,000-6,000 people descend on the town of about 1,500 residents for its Fourth of July festivities.

VENTURA, Iowa (AP) — The road running between a marsh wildlife area and Clear Lake in Ventura is dangerous for turtles, even with a turtle crossing sign. So five boys aged 8 to 10 have spent some time this summer helping the turtles cross. The Mason City Globe reports that on one recent summer day, the spent several hours assisting turtles, saving 20 to 30 from being flattened by motorists, and they reckon they’ve saved close to 200 overall. The five friends in on the turtle rescuing are Keygan Hoover, Blake Meyer, Cole Meyer, Zacaious Moe and Casen Wenzel.