News 8.5.20: Felon Voting, Local Mask Mandate?, C-19 Price-Gouging Case, Hit & Run Boating and More

Aug 5, 2020

Credit Associated Press

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed an executive order this morning restoring voting rights to felons.

“This is a cause so many Iowans worked on for years.  It boils down to our fundamental right for redemption and second changes.”

Iowa was the only state banning felons from voting, unless they appealed directly to the governor.

The order applies to people who have completed their sentence, including probation and parole.

It excludes people who convicted of murder or manslaughter, but they can still apply individually for rights restoration.  Restitution isn't required.

Woodbury County’s board of health wants to approve a countywide face mask recommendation, but stopped short of a mandate.

The recommendation strongly encourages people to wear masks in public and businesses to encourage masks. During its monthly meeting board members asked for additional clarification on what “public” includes. 

Siouxland District Board of Health member Adam Lloyd says he’d like to keep the recommendation broad.

"You can stretch it both ways but I just don’t know that we want to pigeonhole ourselves. We want to try to be all encompassing because we all have the same recommendation to stop the spread and wear a mask."

The board will hold a special meeting to give final approval once the recommendation is clarified. 

There is one more positive case of the coronavirus and one more death reported in Woodbury County for a total of 51.

The fatality had already been updated on Monday afternoon by the Iowa Department of Public Health. 

Siouxland District Health says it sends out sincere sympathy to the family of an older man between the ages of 61 and 80.  There were two new cases in Dakota County.

The Attorney General of Iowa accuses a northwest Iowa woman of price-gouging during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lawsuit says Brenda Kay Noteboom sold more than 320 items needed by victims of the COVID-19 disaster and charged clearly excessive prices.  They include a package of a dozen rolls of Bounty for $66, a 12.5 ounce can of Lysol Spray for $62 and six mega roles of Charmin Ultra Soft Toilet Paper for almost $50.

Her brother Michael Evan Noteboom was sued by the Attorney General in April on price gouging allegations. He denies the allegations.  The potential civil penality is $40,000.

The city manager of Sioux City says based on projections, Sioux City would be eligible to receive $1.9 million to cover COVID-19 expenses.

The state of Iowa has set aside about $100 million for local government to cover expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sixty-million would go to eligible cities and $40 million to counties.

Governor Kim Reynolds says the money will help pay for PPE, sanitizing products, testing supplies and ventilators and even payroll for public health and safety personnel, emergency staffing and overtime medical transportation. 

The Food Bank of Siouxland and Tyson plan to distribute more free meat to people in need.

Last week, more than 40,000 pounds of protein was quickly handed out.

Another truckload of meat will be available tomorrow at the YMCA in South Sioux starting at noon until supplies run out.  It’s the third distribution to off-set a bigger need due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Iowa DNR is looking for a suspect in a hit and run accident in the Iowa Great Lakes Area.

It happened late last night hear Manhattan Point on West Lake Okoboji.

Investigators say the boater left the scene after hitting another vessel.  The operator of the other boat, 52-year-old Vaughn Wickman of Spirit Lake, got hurt and ended up going to the hospital.

DNR officers and local law enforcement tried to find the boat involved by using a thermal imaging drone, but couldn’t find it.

A bill that would allow some Nebraska prisoners to qualify for early parole won first-round approval from lawmakers, despite one opponent who read a Dr. Seuss book out loud to try to delay the vote. The surprise stall tactic by Sen. Andrew La Grone drew a furious response from the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Steve Lathrop. La Grone, a Republican, says he won't support the measure until lawmakers approve a bill to lower property taxes. He launched a filibuster against the bill, at one point reading from the children's book “Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories” to consume time.

U.S. testing for the coronavirus is dropping even as infections remain high and the death toll rises by more than 1,000 a day. It's a worrisome trend that officials attribute largely to Americans getting discouraged over having to wait hours to get a test and days or weeks to find out the results. An Associated Press analysis finds that the number of tests per day slid 3.6% over the past two weeks to 750,000, with the count falling in 22 states. That includes places like Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri and Iowa where the percentage of positive tests is high and continuing to climb, an indicator that the virus is still spreading uncontrolled.

The Big Ten released its 10-game conference-only football schedule beginning as early as Labor Day weekend but cautioned there is no certainty games will be played.  The Big Ten had announced a month ago it would shorten the season and eliminate nonconference games because of the coronavirus pandemic.  Teams will play conference opponents they originally were scheduled to meet and will have one additional cross-division game.  The regular season runs through Nov. 21. The 10 games would be played over at least 12 weeks, with each team having two open dates.  If necessary, makeup games can be played during bye weeks.