SPM News: English

The latest news in Siouxland, Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota.

Dakota County Health Department is offering COVID-19 vaccination clinics to the public.

 

The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are offered every Wednesday by appointment at Dakota County Health Department, 1601 Broadway St., South Sioux City.

Those brands of vaccine will also be available at a July 7 clinic at South Sioux City's Memorial Hall, 201 W. 16 St., which runs from 3 to 7 p.m., as well as a July 14 clinic at Don's Sports Bar & Grill, 801 W. 13th St., which will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. 

 

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 Today Governor Kim Reynolds announced that Iowa State Patrol officers would be deployed to the U.S. Southern Border to aid law enforcement and border security efforts. The governor is responding to a request from Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. Reynolds said the rise in drugs, human trafficking, and violent crime has become unsustainable. 

 

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A 20-year-old Sioux City man admitted that he shot the shot that killed a woman at a New Year's Eve party. Christopher Morales pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder and three counts of reckless use of a firearm. Morales was originally charged with first-degree murder for the death of 18-year-old Mia Kritis. She was killed and three other people were injured when Morales and others fired into the house where the party was being held. Morales' 18-year-old brother is charged with first-degree murder in the case.

The League of Women Voters of Sioux City will sponsor a program including a panel discussion on the present and future reality of voting at the Betty Strong Encounter Center this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. 

The League’s President Dagna Simmons says last year the league focused on the Hard Won right to vote and the founding of the organization. And one of the leaders of the suffrage movement, Carrie Chapman Catt. 

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

A man’s body was found in the Missouri River near Onawa, Iowa. The Monona County Sheriff’s office said a fisherman found the body was found near the Ivy Island Wildlife Management Area Sunday afternoon. The sheriff’s office said it appeared that the man had been in the river for some time. Officials are working to identify the man and an autopsy is planned.

Wind energy is a major economic force in northwest Iowa, and the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors is holding the first of three public hearings today on a possible wind energy ordinance.

Iowa Department of Public Health

COVID-19 rates and hospitalizations continue to fall throughout a large portion of the state of Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Public Health on Monday added no new deaths due to complications of the illness with around 30 new cases. There have been 6,114 deaths during the pandemic. Almost one-and-a-half million are fully vaccinated.

Hospitalization have fallen to 54 patients, that is the lowest since the end of March 2020.

The 14-day positivity rate is 2% statewide, and the seven-day positivity rate is 1.9%.

Associated Press

Nebraska and South Dakota closed state offices today to honor the new Federal Juneteenth Holiday. 

However, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has not said anything about Juneteenth. The state started recognizing the holiday in 2002, however, state workers do not get a paid day off.

However, Reynolds did sign a pro-police measure into law yesterday. It includes heightened criminal penalties for certain protest activities.

About three-fourths of Iowa is gripped in either moderate or severe drought conditions, according to a national report released this week. The conditions make many homeowners look with despair at their browning lawns.  However, a horticulture profressor at Iowa State University says it is time to quit worrying about having the best lawn on the block.  Adam Thoms, says your if your lawn is already turning brown, just let it go.

“You know as they are brown up top, the growth point or the crown of the plant is still green, it could still grow."  

Sioux City native Shelby Houlihan yesterday received some bad news. It looks like she now has very little chance of competing at the U.S. Olympic trials today.  Her chances diminished sharply late yesterday when the country's Olympic committee said it would follow all antidoping rules, and USA Track and Field received long-awaited official notice of her suspension. 

Earlier this week, the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld Houlihan's four-year ban for testing positive for trace amounts of a performance-enhancing drug. She blamed her positive test on a pork burrito she ate 10 hours before a test in December. Contaminated meats have led to positive tests in other cases, many of which have been dismissed.At first, the USATF said would not bar the American record-holder at 1,500 and 5,000 meters from running in today's preliminary heats until she had exhausted every appeal. However, later on, yesterday, the USATF was said it would take Houlihan off the start lists since it had received official word from the Athletics Integrity Unit.  The unit conducted the test that led to the suspension, that Houlihan had been banned for four years.

Siouxland Public Media/Sheila Brummer

Ras Smith who is running as a Democrat for Iowa Governor says current Governor Kim Reynolds needs to work for the people. The 33-year-old, three-term state representative from Waterloo visited Sioux City last night.

Smith gained prominence by helping broker a police accountability law that passed unanimously after the murder of George Floyd. 

Since then, he has been critical of priorities passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature, including the new “Back the Blue” bill signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds on Thursday, June 17.

NPR/Getty Images

Banned runner and Sioux City native Shelby Houlihan is in the lineup and will be allowed to run at U.S. Olympic track trials while any appeals she files are pending. The American record holder at 1,500 and 5,000 meters, Houlihan is on the start list for Friday’s preliminaries at both distances. Though those list were initially produced before word of her four-year doping ban went public, USA Track and Field said there were no plans to take her off.

Kelsey Kremer/The Des Moines Register via AP

Iowa. Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed into law a tax bill that requires the state to take over funding of mental health care services, removing them from local property taxes.

The measure that became law Wednesday also phases out the state inheritance tax by 2025 and allows income tax cuts approved three years ago to begin in January 2023.

Authorities in northwestern Iowa are investigating the death of a man hit by a vehicle along U.S. Highway 75 in Plymouth County.  The Sioux City Journal reports that the man's body was found early Monday morning after a motorist called 911 around 3 a.m. to say he had hit something on the road.  A second 911 caller reported seeing a body in the road.  Plymouth County Sheriff's deputies are working on the case.

Sioux City native and runner Shelby Houlihan, who holds the U.S. record in the 1,500 and 5,000 meters, cannot compete for four years after testing positive for a banned substance. Houlihan announced yesterday that she consumed the substance by mistake by eating tainted pork in a burrito.

The 28-year-old made the revelation just days before the start of the U.S. Olympic track and field trials. 

 

The Neighborhood Network held outreach events at Sioux City’s three pools on Monday night. Families enjoyed free swimming, food, and met with members of the Sioux City Police Department. The event is normally held in January at the Long Lines Rec Center but was postponed and reimagined due to COVID.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported no new deaths due to complications of COVID-19 in the past 24-hours and 110 new cases.

An Omaha aviation company is hoping to open a center at Sioux City's airport and offer professional flight training there. The Sioux City Journal reports that the Oracle Aviation of Omaha plans to partner with Morningside University to establish a fully-accredited aviation program, which will offer a bachelor of science degree in aviation-related fields. The Sioux City Council is expected on Monday to consider a resolution inviting proposals for the lease of land and the construction of a new hangar facility for the program.

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

Iowa’s Governor ordered all flags in the state to fly at half-staff on Monday to honor a fallen Siouxland soldier.

Army Cpl. Eldert Beek, of Sibley was killed in 1950 when his unit was attacked during the Korean War. His remains were turned over by North Korea in 2018 and later identified. Beek was 20-years old. Family members say he always had a smile and loved his two little nieces.

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

Iowa’s Governor ordered all flags in the state to fly at half-staff on Monday to honor a fallen Siouxland soldier.

Army Cpl. Eldert Beek, of Sibley was killed in 1950 when his unit was attacked during the Korean War. His remains were turned over by North Korea in 2018 and later identified. Beek was 20-years old. Family members say he always had a smile and loved his two little nieces.

The Sioux City Police released a review of a “use of force” incident at Perkins and found the officers involved acted within the department’s policies.

A video circulating on Facebook in late April showed a struggle between officers and a Black man.

A few days later, the police department released body camera footage from all officers on the scene. Investigators say the man was asked to leave the restaurant and refused and resisted arrest. At one point, the man was pushed into a booth with an officer pointing a taser at him.

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Iowa’s governor is asking for a congressional investigation after unaccompanied migrant children were flown into Iowa without her office being notified. Governor Kim Reynolds and Tennessee’s governor are asking the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a public hearing about the movement of migrant children into states.

Increased Patrols for Impaired and Distracted Drivers

Jun 10, 2021

Local law enforcement entities are teaming up with the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau to help reduce a spike of deaths on the road in Iowa. The Iowa Department of Transportation reported a 25-percent increase in deaths this year over last year. The Iowa State Patrol told the Des Moines Register it is seeing some of the most dangerous driving in the organizations 85 years, with people driving too fast and using their phones.

The sponsor of the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline says it is pulling the plug on the contentious project. The pipeline would have transported crude from the oil sand fields of western Canada to Steele City, Nebraska. Canadian officials failed to persuade the Biden administration to reverse its cancellation of the company's permit on the day the president took office. Calgary-based TC Energy said Wednesday it would work with government agencies “to ensure a safe termination of and exit from” the partially built project.

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Iowans will no longer be able to use a state website to check their own vaccination histories or those of their children. The change comes amid national controversy over whether employers should be able to require workers to get a coronavirus vaccine and a state law banning use or government issuance of "vaccine passports, according to the Des Moines Register. 

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Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a bill into law putting new limits on government agency diversity trainings and school lessons related to racism and sexism.

The new law says trainings and lessons must not promote certain ideas, including that the US and the state of Iowa are systemically racist or sexist.

In a statement, Reynolds claims that “critical race theory” teaches kids to judge people based on their race or gender. She says, quote, “I am proud to have worked with the legislature to promote learning, not discriminatory indoctrination.”

Iowa Department of Public Health

The Iowa Department of Public Health reports no additional deaths due to complications of COVID-19. 6,072 Iowans have died since the start of the pandemic, with 229 in Woodbury County.

There were more than 40 new cases statewide with two more in Woodbury County.

The 14-test positivity rate locally is just under the statewide rate of 2%. This shows low community spread.

New unemployment claims in Iowa fell to 3,859 in the week ending May 29. That’s two less than the previous week’s 3,861 claims.

However, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics released yesterday,  overall unemployment is once again on the rise. The DOL reports unemployment in Iowa currently stands at 26,737 claims, more than 1400 claims over the previous week’s numbers.

Woodbury County Law Enforcement Center Authority

State Auditor Rob Sand is alleging Governor Kim Reynolds’ appearance in COVID-19 public service announcements last year was a violation of Iowa’s self-promotion law. Reynolds denies this.

The law prohibits state officials from using public money to promote their name and image. But it contains an exception for disaster emergencies, and Iowa has been under a disaster emergency proclamation for more than a year because of the pandemic.  

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