Siouxland Public Media Interviews and Features

Weekday mornings at 7:50
  • Hosted by Mary Hartnett, Sheila Brummer, Steve Smith, and Mark Munger

We talk with the people in our community who are making art, news, music, and more. 

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This is Jenn Delperdang with the Sioux City Public Library, and you’re listening to Check It Out.

I love it when a book surprises me—when the story is not at all what I expected, but the writing and storytelling is so good that it draws me in.  Today I am recommending The Reckless Oath We Made by Bryn Greenwood--a novel that caught me completely by surprise—and I couldn’t put it down.  

Sarah McSweeney / WITCC

While we navigate our way through education during a pandemic, it's not just the traditional schools and classrooms that are having to find new methods. For Mara Hall, coordinator of Western Iowa Tech's Lifelong Learning, having to social distance has meant not only revamping her catalogue but working one-on-one with her lifelong learners, often teaching them to connect through new media platforms such as Zoom. When they first arrive online to their classes, though, Mara sees them light up with happiness, not only for overcoming the tech obstacle, but for the rejoining of the community.

The state of Iowa today is reporting more than 850 new cases of the coronavirus this morning and three new deaths.  Iowa has had more than 71 thousand cases of the virus and more than 12 hundred deaths.  Woodbury County Iowa reports 38 new cases of the cor0navirus and a total of 58 deaths, with no further deaths, and a total of over 44 hundred cases since the start of the pandemic. 

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Today Nodland Elementary School moved a second grade class to emergency response virtual learning, after multiple individuals from one classroom either tested positive for COVID-19 or experienced symptoms.

The Sioux City Community School District says it plans to return the class to on-Site Learning on Wednesday, September 23.

Sioux City Journal/Tim Hynds

The last remaining logo for Sue Bee Honey was removed from the headquarters of the Sioux Honey Association this summer.  The image shows a Native American woman and adorned the side of the building along Lewis Boulevard in Sioux City for the past 50 or so years.   

Mark Mammen is the president and CEO of the Sioux Honey Association.  He talks to Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer about the Sue Bee Logo change, the cooperative and about protecting the honey bee.


Coming up this week on The Exchange, we talk about protecting the vulnerable.  

A Siouxland family is dealing with the loss of a loved one from complications of COVID-19, and we hear from his sister.

Chris Mennen who served as an inspiration for others with disabilities. Mennen's sister says Chris brought joy into the lives of countless people, and did a lot with the gifts God gave him. 

Chris Mennen died on August 6, 2020 of respiratory failure and COVID-19 infection
Mennen Family

COVID-19 has claimed the lives of almost 1,200 in the state of Iowa since the start of the pandemic.  More than half were residents of long-term care facilities including a Siouxland man, Chris Mennen.  

Chris had Down Syndrome and lived in Sanborn at Prairie View Nursing Home; the site of an outbreak.  

Chris died on August 6, 2020 at the age of 62 of repiratory failure and COVID-19 infection.  His sister, Mary Sue Moore, who lives in Milford shares details of his inspiring life. 

The abuse and starvation death of 16-year-old Sabrina Ray might have been prevented if Iowa's Department of Human Services workers had been more diligent and shared information more efficiently. That's according to a report released today from the state ombudsman.

This is Sarah Enright, with the Sioux City Public Library, and you’re listening to Check It Out. Today, I am recommending We Are the Luckiest by Laura McKowen.

Siouxland Public Media

On Sunday night it will be an end of an era for long-time Siouxland Public Media announcer Isaac Quinonez, also known as D.J. Tapatio.  He has been the long-time host of the program South of the Border.  For 16-years Isaac has been spending Sunday nights with listeners and sharing their requests with a high-energy and entertaining show.  He moved to Sioux City in the 1990s and studied broadcasting at Briar Cliff.  Isaac plans to return to his home of Guadalajara, Mexico and says leaving is bittersweet because he enjoys making a difference in the community.

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A website that has been analyzing Iowa coronavirus data from the start of the pandemic is now piecing together Iowa schools' reports.

After a court hearing Friday that invalidated the prepopulated ballot request forms and a call to have him resign, Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill and election commissioner says today the problem was caused by a disagreement over home rule.

Omaha Fashion Week

This past weekend a Sioux City woman hit the runway at Omaha Fashion Week with other models 20-30 years younger.  Before the big show, Erika Hansen shared her modeling journey with her friend, Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer.  The 46-year-old explored the changes in society and fashion that allow her to break barriers.

A local advocate launched an on-line petition calling for mandatory face coverings and masks for the state of Iowa.  Cindy Waitt, who works with the Kind World Foundation, the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention and many other charities, talked to Siouxland Public Media about her push for wearing masks.

The petition can be found here.

This is Barb Gross with the Sioux City Public Library, and you’re listening to “Check it Out.” As a new year’s resolution – which now seems like a lifetime ago – a friend and I began a quest to read two books each month written by African American authors. By reading more diversely, we hope to increase our empathy for the experiences of black people in America. Little did we know how important this reading would be now. 

Another 12 people with COVID-19 have died in Iowa, and there have been an additional 2,663 confirmed cases, the state reports today.

At 10 a.m. today, the state reported 1,091 total COVID-19-related deaths, an increase of 12 deaths since yesterday, according to the state's website. There have been a total of 62,031 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Iowa so far.  

The state says changes in the way it reports data have caused spikes in positive data rates. Before the changes, the state was consistently reporting a positivity rate below 10%. Today, the state reported a positivity rate and 14-day rolling average of testing above 10%. 

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Today, Gov. Kim Reynolds has closed all bars, breweries, and nightclubs in six Iowa counties with a coronavirus case spike.  

This week on The Exchange, we are introducing a new ongoing project. It's called: Going Viral: Lessons Learned During the Pandemic. We focus on parents, teachers, and children's experiences as students return to school with the Coronavirus still raging in some parts of Iowa. 

Another nine people with COVID-19 have died in Iowa, and there have been an additional 492 confirmed cases.  At 10 a.m. today, the state was reporting 1,048 total COVID-19-related deaths,  according to the state's website. More than 57 thousand Iowans have tested positive for the virus.

Check It Out: Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink

Aug 24, 2020

This is Jennifer Havlik with the Sioux City Public Library, and you’re listening to Check It Out. 

Today I’m recommending Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink. This gripping and well-researched account of Memorial Hospital in New Orleans in the days immediately before and after Hurricane Katrina is told from Fink’s Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalism.

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American Airlines says today it will stop providing service at Sioux Gateway Airport effective Oct. 7.  It’s one of 15 markets the airline is cutting due to low demand and the expiration of CARES Act funding. United Airlines will begin flying daily from the airport to Denver beginning October 14th. 

Alex Wakefield

For more information on Alex Wakefield and his art click here

This weekend, the green flag drops on the 104th Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  An event pushed back several month, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  A Siouxland man designed this year’s program, a tradition dating back to the first race.  Alex Wakefield, who lives near Sioux City, talks to SPM's Sheila Brummer about the design, his love for racing and how as a young child he only dreamed of such an achievement.

President Donald Trump will visit Cedar Rapids tomorrow.  Trump today has approved Iowa's application for a major federal disaster declaration in the aftermath of last week's devastating storm. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds asked for nearly 4-billion dollars.

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President Donald Trump will visit Cedar Rapids tomorrow.  Trump today approved Iowa's application for a major federal disaster declaration in the aftermath of last week's devastating storm. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds asked for nearly 4-billion dollars, including almost 3.8-billion to cover the loss of corn and soybean crops, and the rest for utilities, homes with major damage, and public assistance. 

Trump today will visit Minnesota and Wisconsin to speak about jobs and the economy. 


This is Kelsey Patterson with the Sioux City Public Library and you’re listening to Check It Out.

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Officials say it will take five days or longer to restore power to some Iowa homes and businesses after a wind storm left damage across the Midwest on Monday and killed at least four people. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds held a news conference in Cedar Rapids today, one of the most heavily affected areas. 

Reynolds says Iowa will submit its application for a federal disaster declaration, and Iowans should have power fully restored by Tuesday. 


More COVID-19 deaths have been reported in Iowa as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases topped 50,000 in the state. The state's online virus tracker shows seven deaths reported this morning from the day before, bringing the state's total to 954. The site also showed a jump of more than 600 confirmed cases this morning from the day before, bringing the state's total to nearly 50,200. 

Woodbury county has 16 new cases of the coronavirus today, with a total 3,760 cases and 52 deaths.  

Dakota county Nebraska has two new cases of the coronavirus today

Coming up on The Exchange, we hear from newly minted Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris, in an interview with SPM last summer when she visited Sioux City.

Also, we talk with Democratic 4th district Candidate JD Scholten, who goes up against Republican state Senator Randy Feenstra in this falls’ general election. 

Plus, Sioux students go back to school on a hybrid plan, a drought is bearing down on western Iowa counties, and suspect Chinese seeds show up in Siouxland.