Siouxland Public Media News

Your daily dose of local news.

Ways to Connect

pxhere.com

Nebraska’s latest unemployment rate of 2% was the nation’s lowest and beat a record for the state

September's level is the lowest since Nebraska began keeping records of unemployment data in 1976. It's also tied with the nationwide record low set by Hawaii in January 2020 and Connecticut in August 2020.

Utah was number two at 2.4% and the national rate for September almost 5%.

Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 4%.

pxhere.com

Nebraska’s latest unemployment rate of 2% was the nation’s lowest and beat a record for the state

September's level is the lowest since Nebraska began keeping records of unemployment data in 1976. It's also tied with the nationwide record low set by Hawaii in January 2020 and Connecticut in August 2020.

Utah was number two at 2.4% and the national rate for September almost 5%.

Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 4%.

         

The nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency has released its second proposal for new political boundaries. That's after Republicans in the state Senate rejected the agency's first plan. Under the second plan, Democrat Cindy Axne and Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks would be pushed into the same congressional district. The proposal also would keep the Democratic counties of Johnson and Linn in separate districts, unlike a previous plan rejected by Republicans this month.

The proposal would move Miller-Meeks into the 3rd District, now represented by Axne. That would leave the southeast Iowa district now represented by Miller-Meeks, newly numbered District 1, with no incumbent living there.  Under the new plan, each of Iowa's four congressional districts would have favored Republican Donald Trump in the 2020 election over Democrat Joe Biden. That's a switch from the first set of maps that created two districts with strong Republican majorities, one that favored Democrats and one that was nearly equal.Trump won Iowa with 53.1% of the vote to 44.9% for Biden.The latest map would include 20 counties in District 1, 22 in District 2, 21 in District 3, and 36 counties in the sprawling 4th Congressional District. Each would be close to the ideal population for congressional districts of 797,592.

coronavirus.iowa.gov

The state of Iowa updated COVID-19 statistics on Wednesday. 

The Iowa Department of Public Health added 100 additional deaths due to COVID-19 bringing the total to 6,848 since the start of the pandemic.

The deaths happened in almost two months starting in the middle of August.

In the past seven days there were almost 6,500 positive test results. The state positivity rate fell to 8.3%. Last week it was 9%. The positivity rate across Siouxland has fallen with Woodbury County at 13%. However, anything over 2 to 4% indicates high community spread.

coronavirus.iowa.gov

The state of Iowa updated COVID-19 statistics on Wednesday. 

The Iowa Department of Public Health added 100 additional deaths due to COVID-19 bringing the total to 6,848 since the start of the pandemic.

The deaths happened in almost two months starting in the middle of August.

In the past seven days there were almost 6,500 positive test results. The state positivity rate fell to 8.3%. Last week it was 9%. The positivity rate across Siouxland has fallen with Woodbury County at 13%. However, anything over 2 to 4% indicates high community spread.

Siouxland Public Media/Sheila Brummer

On November 2nd, voters in Sioux City will head to the polls to cast their ballot for city council.

An hour-long edition of The Exchange presents highlights from a League of Women Voters candidate forum held on October 14th at City Hall for the four people seeking one of three open seats.

The candidates include incumbents, attorney Dan Moore and Alex Watters, Director of Talent and Community Engagement at Morningside University.   

The deadline for requesting a ballot for the city/county election in Woodbury County is today at 5 p.m.

During last week’s League of Women Voter Candidate Forum for City Council, Woodbury County Auditor and Election Commissioner Pat Gill talked about the changes made by the Iowa Legislature.  

“What I am seeing is this is going to have a huge negative impact on the turnout for this election.”

Gill says 5,000 people voted absentee during the last city/county election two-years ago. Last week, his office counted a total of about 200 requests.

Sioux City Community Schools

A local disability rights organization is looking at taking legal action against  Sioux City Community Schools if modifications are not made to the district’s virtual academy.

The district launched the VIBE Academy this school year to offer a virtual option for students.

The Executive Director of Disabilities Resource Center of Siouxland, Don Dew told Siouxland Public Media last month the program does not allow for some students with disabilities to take part.

“What they are doing is depriving children with disabilities the same right as other student have.”

Siouxland District Health

The Iowa Department of Public Health added 94 additional deaths due to complications of COVID-19, including one more in Woodbury County.

The deaths happened between late August and early October for a total of 6,748 since the start of the pandemic.

The number of positive tests in the last seven days continues to fall, down 8% since Monday.

Iowa’s test positivity rate dropped to 9.2%.  However, the positivity rate in Woodbury County is 17% with most cases in younger people according to Siouxland District Health.

nofoottoosmall.org

Friday, October 15th, is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. An event planned for 7 p.m. at Sioux City's Miracle Field includes an opportunity for people and families to light a candle.

Katie Kruse of Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, is the organizer and member of the non-profit No Foot Too Small. She shares her personal story and mission with Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer.

To preregister for the event click here.

Michael Charles

The Vangarde Arts Harvest Blues Fest takes place this weekend with a performance Saturday night from Australian blues master Michael Charles.

Charles took time out of his busy schedule to talk to Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer about his upcoming Sioux City appearance and how his music transcends the blues genre.

* Special thanks to Jane Rogers, publicist for Michael Charles.

Biography:

coronavirus.iowa.gov

The statewide COVID-19 infection rate continues to decline since its recent peak in mid-September, but the Iowa Capital Dispatch reports certain counties in rural Iowa — where vaccination rates lag behind the state average — have new daily cases comparable to their pandemic peak last year.

Iowa State Auditor

The Iowa State Auditor’s office on Tuesday released a reaudit of the Sioux City Community School District that did not show any major wrongdoing.

The report covers a period from June 30, 2017, to June 30, 2019, and recommends the school board approve and document pay raises.  

Facebook/Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska

Nebraska’s four Native American tribes took part in a special celebration at the state Capitol in Lincoln today for Indigenous Peoples Day.   

One of the speakers at the event was the Chairwoman of the Winnebago Tribe Victoria Kitcheyan

"We have an opportunity to educate our friends, neighbors, and relatives in the teaching of the Ho-Chunk People, The Ponca People, Omaha Nation, and Santee Sioux Tribe."

CDC

Information from the Iowa Department of Public Health shows a continuing downward trend in new cases and hospitalizations due to COVID-19.

There were more than 8,300 new positive test results added in one week, down about 600 from the previous week.

The statewide positivity rate is 9.5%, with people 18 and under making up about a quarter of the new cases. However, that age group makes up only 3% of hospitalizations in the state. The positivity rate in Woodbury County is 16%.

A federal judge Friday extended an order that will prevent state officials from enforcing a law that prohibits school districts from implementing mask requirements until a federal lawsuit challenging the law can be heard. Several parents and advocacy groups had sued to overturn the law, saying students who are at risk because of health conditions were not being protected against COVID-19. 

moringside.edu

Morningside University received a $2.3 million dollar grant from the United States Department of Education to offer education programs to help Iowa’s growing immigrant population.

“What we can do is provide pathways for current teachers to earn and English as a second language endorse that will improve their instruction and help English-language learners.”

Dr. Kelly Chaney is the Dean of the Sharon Walker School of Education at Morningside. University officials say Iowa’s Latinx population grew by almost 500% from 1990 to 2017.

Iowa Democratic leaders want Republican leaders to promise they won’t draw their own political boundaries. State Senate Republicans rejected the first set of redistricting maps that were drawn by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency. The LSA will have a second set of maps done by October 21st.  That would likely give lawmakers enough time to get to a third set of maps—which they can amend- by the December first deadline.

Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls says Democrats are very concerned the Republican majority will draw districts for political advantage.

On Saturday night the Clay County Heritage is hosting an event called “An Evening with Teddy Roosevelt” at the Clay County Regional Events Center in Spencer, Iowa. Roosevelt reprisor Joe Wiegand bring the 26th president to life.

Wiegand, has given performances across the country and currently lives in Medora, North Dakota where he works for the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.    

For more information on Joe Wiegand click here.

News 304 100721

A judge has denied a 17-year-old’s request to be tried as a juvenile in a fatal downtown Sioux City shooting in the spring. The trial is set for November 2nd.

Seventeen-year-old Dwight Evans will be tried as an adult on charges of first-degree murder, going armed with intent and two drug counts, the Sioux City Journal reported.

This week on The Exchange we present with the nine canidates for the Sioux City Community School Board.  The election is November 2nd.

testiowa.com

The Iowa Department of Public Health released new COVID-19 data Wednesday showing an additional 91 deaths due to complications of COVID-19.

That brings the statewide total to 6,654 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

There were almost 9,200 positive tests in the last seven days, down about 650.

The state’s 14-day positivity rate dropped from 9.6% to 9.5% since Monday with about a quarter age 18 and under.

The number of Iowans hospitalized with COVID-19 also declined slightly from 629 to 626.

Facebook Video/IA Gov. Kim Reynolds

Nine Republican Governors, including Kim Reynolds of Iowa, visited the U.S.-Mexico border today.

“Joe Biden has done absolutely nothing to confront this self-inflicted crisis,”

Also, in Mission, Texas, Wednesday, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem stayed behind to focus on wildfires hitting the western portion of the state. 

The group urged the President to take action against illegal immigration.

During a news conference today, Reynolds also spoke about concerns over unaccompanied children being moved around the country.

Associated Press

Investigators searching for an Iowa boy who vanished in May days before his 11th birthday say they have found human remains matching his description in a nearby cornfield in Poweshiek County.

The remains were discovered Thursday afternoon by a farmer who was working in a field a few miles outside of Montezuma, where then 10-year-old Xavior Harrelson lived.

A spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation says  the body “appears to be that of an adolescent” and the clothing found on scene match what Xavior was wearing.

CDC

Data released on Wednesday suggested that Iowa might be turning a corner in the fight against COVID-19. The New York Times reported the state has seen a 25% decrease in cases over the last two weeks, with a new daily average of 1,114 cases per day. 

This week on The Exchange, we preview the Sioux City International Film Festival, which begins Thursday, September 30th and runs through Sunday, October 3rd. 

First, we hear from the editor, owner and publisher of the Storm Lake Times, Art Cullen. The Pullitzer Prize winning paper is featured in a new documentary that is being featured at the festival. It's called Storm Lake.  Also, we talk talk with SIFF board members Greg Giles and Leslie Werden about the films, and other activities at the 2021 film festival. 

The Storm Lake Times

The Sioux City International Film Festival kicks off with a showing of the documentary Storm Lake on Thursday, September 30.  

The movie features the Editor of  The Storm Lake Times, Art Cullen, and shows how he and his family work to keep the publication in business as the paper covers important stories including water quality, the Iowa Caucuses and the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Siouxland District Health

A weekly COVID-19 trend report shows higher hospitalizations at Sioux City’s two major medical facilities. The number of deaths due to complications of the virus increased by six for a total of 239 in Woodbury County since the start of the Pandemic.

There were 506 new cases added in a week, down 35 from the week before. Forty-five percent of Woodbury County residents are fully vaccinated that was an increase of .5% or 500 more people.

Associated Press

A federal judge has extended his order blocking enforcement of a state law against school mask mandates.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pratt first ruled two weeks ago that schools must be able to require masks so that medically vulnerable students have equal access to in-person learning.

Pages