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South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem signed an executive order banning COVID-19 vaccine passports in the state.

In a news release, Noem says since the start of the pandemic the state provided up-to-date science, facts, and data and trusted South Dakotans to make the best decision for themselves the their loved ones.

Noem encourages people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, but will not issue a mandate. She wrote, quote, “Under God, the people rule.”

During a news conference today, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds highly encouraged people to get vaccinated.

Siouxland District Health

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported no new deaths due to complications of COVID-19 and about 170 new cases, with two more in Woodbury County. The 14-day test positivity rate in Woodbury County is 6.1%

Siouxland District Health announced plans for the next large-scale vaccination clinic on April 27th at the Siouxland Expo Center. The clinic’s hours from 4:15 until 6:30 p.m. are geared toward people who need appointments outside regular business hours. The appointments are open now and available for anyone 16 years for their first dose.

The Iowa Department of Public Health is reporting 13 additional COVID-19 deaths and an additional 468 confirmed cases. In Woodbury County today, there have been 11 new covid-19 cases added to the total case count. There was one additional death reported yesterday, and there have been 220 coronavirus-related deaths in Woodbury County. 

A group of South Sioux City High School students has invited the public to join them at a protest today, but school administrators have already said that that type of demonstration is not allowed. Last week, 100 students demonstrated to show concerns about school officials are handling racial equality, religious freedom, and treatment of LGBTQ students.

According to a Facebook post, a second protest has been scheduled for 3:30 p.m. across the street from the school. The post said students are asking for community members to attend.

Wednesday, the district published a message regarding the walkout, including a video link. School-sponsored activities planned by the students and faculty shall be in conformance with board policies, Superintendent Todd Strom Strom said in the video. Strom said, "protests, walkouts, demonstrations, those are forbidden in schools and on school grounds are not allowed."

Strom encouraged students to bring concerns to a classroom teacher, school counselor, or building principal. He also said students could reach out to the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Awareness group (IDEA) or use the district's "Let's Talk" form on the website to voice any concerns. Strom said the video and message were an attempt to restate the rules and expectations for students so they do not receive a violation. He said the school wants to provide a safe, educational environment and last Friday was a distraction.

Governor Kim Reynolds today announced she will allocate 11.5 million dollars of federal COVID-relief funds for mental health services in Iowa schools and to support community college job training programs. Reynolds said expanding support services in PreK-12 school will help address the coronavirus pandemic's impact on student's mental health.

She says increasing tuition assistance for job training will allow more Iowans to quickly fill high-demand jobs in industries such as health care, information technology, and trucking.

This week on The Exchange, how women can take control of their financial futures by making some simple changes, also what rural Iowans can expect from the state’s broadband expansion plan, and how Morningside College has brought back hands-on learning with its agricultural and food studies program. . We also hear about the progress of wind energy in Iowa and we hear about the online offerings of a First Amendment forum at the Greenlee School of Journalism at Iowa State University, and this week we talk to one of the orgainizers of Sioux City's first Holistic Health Fair.

The Crittenton Center in Sioux City is closing its emergency shelter permanently, after a temporary closure was announced earlier this month.  The director says issues related to COVID-19 played a big part in that decision. The center's executive director said in a news release today that staff absenteeism related to COVID and a decrease in new applicants make it challenging to run the center. The emergency shelter was opened in the late 1970s at 3901 Green Ave.  In 2020, 180 children were cared for by the shelter.

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Gov. Kim Reynolds says the temporary pause in the use of the Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine should be manageable for Iowa.

Reynolds says the one-dose vaccine accounts for a small portion of its weekly allocation due to manufacturing issues. The governor got the J&J vaccine on March 4. 

In the meantime, Reynolds urged Iowans to seek out the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and keep an open mind while the state waits for further federal guidance.

This week on The Exchange, we hear two little-known stories of the Holocaust. We recognize the Days of Remberence of the Victims of the Holocaust, which is, a day of commemoration in Israel for the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, and for the many members of the Jewish Resistance.

pxhere.com

An internal report has found that state police officers in Iowa drew their weapons and used force against suspects significantly more often in 2020 than prior years, due to a major increase in resistance.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety's annual report on force incidents found that suspects fled in vehicles and on foot from officers far more often in 2020.

Nebraska Health and Human Services

Nebraska Governor Pete Rickets offered a word of caution during a news conference on Monday. Nebraska is seeing an increase in COVID-19 patients after 18 weeks of falling hospitalizations. Ricketts says there is more of the virus out in the community and reminded Nebraskans to avoid the “three C’s”: closed spaces, crowded places, and close contact.

UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's

We recently passed the first anniversary of COVID-19 in Siouxland, Siouxland District Health confirmed the first positive case of the virus back on March 20th of 2020.

Part of our on-going coverage on the Pandemicincluding local health officials. Siouxland Public Media recently talked to The Chief Nursing Officer at Unity-Point Heath-St. Luke’s Wendy Lindley who shares details on the evolution of care and importance of wearing masks. Here is her conversation with Siouxland Public Media's Sheila Brummer.

Iowa Department of Public Health

The Iowa Department of Public Health showed 14 more deaths in the state due to complications of COVID-19 in the past 24-hours and more than 800 new cases with 30 more in Woodbury County. 

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts will get his first vaccination shot tomorrow at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha. The 56-year-old governor had previously signed up for the vaccine online, and was notified earlier this week that he was eligible for an appointment. He’s scheduled to get the first of two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Iowa Democrat Rita Hart announced today she is withdrawing her challenge to U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks' election in Iowa's 2nd Congressional District, according to the Des Moines Register. 

Hart had asked the U.S. House to review the outcome, which was decided by a razor-thin margin of six votes. A district-wide recount showed Miller-Meeks won the race by just six votes out of nearly 400,000 cast, the tightest margin of any U.S. election since 1974. A bipartisan state panel certified the results in January. 

Lutheran Services in Iowa

The Exchange on March 31, 2021 focused on teen sexuality and the increase of pregnancy and STI’s in the community.

GUESTS:

Alyssa Silver - Program Supervisor for Lutheran Services in Iowa 

Kirsten Colt – Manager of Education for Planned Parenthood North Central States

Mackenzie Risner – Mother

Amanda Reis – Mother

Carter Smith - HIV Case Worker with the Siouxland Community Health Center

  

SIOUXLAND COALITION TO PREVENT TEENAGE PREGNANCY/SUGGESTED RESOURCES

Vaccine navigators are now available for Iowans with barriers to scheduling a vaccine appointment on the phone. People who do not have internet access are 65 and older, or 64 and younger with an underlying health condition can now call 211 or (800) 244-7431. A vaccine navigator will assist them with scheduling a vaccine appointment. Translation services are available.

 

The names of two Iowa State Crew Club members who died after their boat capsized on Little Wall Lake Sunday have been released by the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office and ISU Police Department.

Twenty-year-old Yaakov Ben-David was a sophomore accounting major from Washington, D.C. Nineteen-year-old Derek Nanni was a freshman chemistry major from Normal, Illinois. The names of the other Crew Club members are not being released to protect their privacy, according to the release. 

Unemployment in metro Sioux City inched down to 4.1% in February. Employers added 100 non-farm jobs, according to state data released by the state Tuesday.

The jobless rate in Sioux City Metropolitan Statistical area, which includes Woodbury and Plymouth counties in Iowa, Dakota and Dixon counties in Nebraska, and Union County in South Dakota -- fell slightly from 4.3% in January, according to Iowa Workforce. Iowa’s unemployment rate held steady at 3.6%.

Iowans who have not yet filed their 2020 individual state income taxes now will have more time. The Iowa Department of Revenue announced yesterday it had extended the filing and payment deadline to June 1 for 2020 individual returns and first-quarter estimated income tax payments for individuals.

The state's extension comes after the U.S. Treasury also lengthened the time for individuals to file their federal taxes — although those are due May 17, sooner than Iowa's new deadline.

 

The next Woodbury County public COVID-19 vaccination clinics will take place Tuesday, April 6th, and Thursday, April 8th at the Siouxland Expo Center in Sioux City. Appointments will be open to all residents age 16 and older who need their first dose of vaccine. Clinics will be using the Pfizer vaccine, which is approved for use in individuals age 16 and older. You can register online at the Siouxland District Health Department website at siouxlanddistricthealth.org  beginning at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow. 

Hamilton County authorities have found the body of a second Iowa State Crew Club member who went missing during an accident at Little Wall Lake yesterday morning.  Hamilton County Sheriff Douglas Timmons confirmed during a news conference Monday morning. According to a university news release, five members of the Iowa State Crew Club were practicing at Little Wall Lake on Sunday morning when their boat capsized. Three of the students were rescued from the water, treated, and released from Mary Greeley Medical Center, officials said.

A new poll shows that fewer than one-third of Iowans now support the Legislature's push for an amendment that says the state constitution does not secure a right to abortion. The Republican-controlled Iowa Legislature is working this year to approve the amendment.

Fewer than one-third of Iowans now support the Legislature's push for an amendment that says the state constitution does not secure a right to abortion, according to a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll.   Support for the proposal has dipped slightly from 33% last spring to 31% this year, the poll found. The opposition has also risen, with 58% of Iowans now saying they're opposed, up from 54% a year ago.

The South Dakota Department of Health today reports that there are now two new COVID-19 variants in the state, as well as an increase in the number of U.K. variants. The state also reported three additional COVID-19 deaths today, as well as 254 new positive infections.  

The new variants include one case of the variant from from South Africa, and five cases of the California variant. They join the 14 UK. variants which have now been found in South Dakota.  More than 228,000 people in South Dakota have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.

Since last month, Siouxland District Health Department has been holding mass vaccine clinics at the Tyson Events Center in downtown Sioux City. But the department’s health director said activities there have picked back up. But Parks and Recreation Director Matt Salvatore says that’s not a problem at the Siouxland Expo Center. 

 

During the day we’re not as busy with activities. So it fits into our schedule perfectly. It looks like we’re going to host four during April. 

 

In an after-midnight vote, the Iowa House passed a bill to provide public funding for charter schools run by groups unaffiliated with local school districts. Republicans suspended House rules to allow a vote after midnight, without a public hearing requested by Democrats, and placed a “time certain” limit on debate.

Under the bill the State Board of Education would have authority to approve charter school applications from local school boards and from so-called ‘founding groups’ that could operate a school independent from the local school board.

 

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A new round of rental and utility assistance will provide up to 12 months of aid to those affected by the pandemic in Iowa. Governor Kim Reynolds made the announcement at her weekly news conference today.

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Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds offered a prayer today for the family, friends, and coworkers of two members of staff Tuesday at Anamosa State Penitentiary. At her weekly news conference today, Reynolds also asked people to be patient and respectful of the families as officials continue investigating what happened. Department of Corrections officials will hold a news conference about the incident at 3 p.m. today at the prison.

 

Associated Press/Liz Martin

Iowa state prisons officials say a nurse and a corrections officer have been killed in an attack by an inmate at the Anamosa State Penitentiary. The Iowa Department of Corrections says the attack happened Tuesday morning, when an inmate attacked several staff members and inmates in the prison’s infirmary. The department said that it was still collecting and confirming details of the assault but it can confirm “an inmate attacked multiple staff members and inmates.” As a result of their injuries, a correctional nurse and correctional officer died.

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