NEWS 7.8.21: C19 Concern for Younger Nebraskans, MercyOne Vaccinations, Badgerow Building Update

Jul 8, 2021

Credit CDC

A top doctor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center warns about a new surge of COVID-19 cases with younger people.

The state recorded more than 450 cases last week, an increase of 55% from the week before.

Dr. James Lawler says the increase isn’t a surprise given the presence of the highly contagious delta variant and the number of unvaccinated people in the state.

He also told an Omaha TV station the summer could get “ugly” for people in the 20-to-50 year age group.

He predicted the worst part of the pandemic is coming for this younger demographic.

Data from the CDC shows that the state’s rate of new cases per capita ranked 23rd among the states last week.

Meanwhile, the Iowa Department of Health reports almost 46% of Iowans have been fully vaccinated against the virus.

The Iowa Department of Public Health showed one more death due to complications of the virus for 6,149 since the state of the pandemic. There were 23 new cases.

All colleagues, clinical staff, contractors and those conducting business at several MercyOne medical centers in Iowa will be required to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Michigan-based Trinity Health announced today that it will require its entire health system to be vaccinated, including Sioux City.

Trinity Health is one of two parent companies of Clive-based MercyOne. The company says three of its regions are aligned with Trinity Health for human resources services. Hospitals in these regions will be required to get the shot.

The affected locations are MercyOne Dubuque, Dyersville, Clinton, North Iowa and Western Iowa.

Employees are required to submit proof of vaccination by September 21. Religious and health exemptions will be allowed.

Most Iowa families with kids will start getting a temporary monthly payment of up to 300-dollars per child next week from the federal government.

The payments are temporary, slated to go through December, but some Democratic lawmakers are working to make the tax credit permanent.

Iowans who filed a tax return in one of the past two years or who signed up for a past stimulus check should receive the payments automatically in their bank account or in the mail.

Those who haven’t done so can visit child-tax-credit-dot-gov to sign up for the payments.    

Plans to renovate the Badgerow Building in downtown Sioux City received a big boost.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority is providing $5.5 million in tax credits for the almost 90-year-old structure. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

An Omaha-based company plans to transform the empty building into apartments, health club, restaurant and bar for an estimated cost of $23 million The project could be completed by the end of next year according to Siouxland News CBS 14/Fox 44.

The South Dakota Attorney General’s Office says law enforcement should honor tribal-issued medical marijuana identification cards held by non-tribal members off the reservation, a view not shared by Gov. Kristi Noem’s administration and the state Highway Patrol. Last week, Noem’s administration guided law enforcement officers not to honor Native American tribes’ medical marijuana ID cards if they are not issued to tribal members. But, Tim Bormann, chief of staff for Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, said the tribe’s ID cards are valid under state law because they are medically certified. 

Media mogul and billionaire bison rancher Ted Turner is donating an 80,000-acre ranch he owns in western Nebraska to a nonprofit agriculture ecosystem research institute and says he might do the same with four other ranches in Nebraska’s Sand Hills. But he says he'll continue to pay taxes on the land. The Omaha World-Herald reports that news comes as a relief to state and local officials who had feared Turner might donate the nearly 500,000 acres of Nebraska ranchland he owns and remove them from property tax rolls. Turner Enterprises Inc. and Turner Ranches recently announced the launch of the Turner Institute of Ecoagriculture.

State Department of Natural Resources officials have voted to add protections to a prized stream in northeast Iowa, even as the department is allowing the development of a sprawling cattle operation in the watershed.

The Natural Resource Commission voted today (Wednesday) to approve a conservation easement to allow more public access along Bloody Run Creek.

Environmentalists applauded the decision, but say the effort will be undermined by Supreme Beef’s plan to open an 11-hundred head cattle feedlot upstream.

Wally Taylor is with the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club.

“Let’s see if there’s some way to resolve this and to make sure Bloody Run Creek is not impacted and that these large animal confinements and facilities be sighted in locations where it doesn’t counteract what you folks are trying to do.”

Advocates are considering legal action after the state’s top environmental official declined to review her agency’s approval of the feedlot.