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News 11.12.21

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National Weather Service/Sioux Falls
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A cold and blustery day across Siouxland with a Wind Advisory until 6 tonight for most of the region.

Parts of northeast Nebraska are under a High Wind Warning with gusts up to 60 miles per hour. The warning includes the counties of Wayne, Madison, Stanton, Cedar, Pierce, and Knox.

The Winter Weather Advisory that included the northwest corner of Iowa and the Iowa Great Lakes Region expired at noon. Expect flurries to continue for part of the afternoon.

Strong winds, icy roads, and blowing snow are making travel difficult in parts of South Dakota. Gusty conditions created hazardous conditions for truck drivers and other high-profile vehicles.

According to the Highway Patrol, more than 10 semitrailers overturned on state roadways Thursday.

Forecasters say wind gusts could reach up to 70 mph in western and central South Dakota.

In Stanton County, Nebraska, the sheriff’s office responded to several cars in the ditch and rollover accident. It happened early this morning on U.S. Highway 275 as a teenager drove to school. Authorities say a seatbelt kept the teen from suffering serious injuries in the rollover.

South Dakota lawmakers are readying to issue a subpoena on Gov. Kristi Noem’s administration to hand over a document regarding her daughter's attempt to win a state appraisal license.

They want to know if there was an agreement in place to give Kassidy Peters another chance at the license prior to a meeting last year in Noem's office that has spurred conflict-of-interest questions.

The Legislature’s Government Operations and Audit Committee has set a meeting for Monday if it doesn't receive the documents. So far, the governor's administration has resisted handing them over.

After a day of not updating COVID-19 numbers, because state offices were closed in honor of Veterans Day, South Dakota's Department of Health reported 521 new cases and four new deaths Friday.

The new deaths bring the total count since the start of the pandemic to 2,281.

Thirty-two percent of hospital beds are available in the state. Of the 233 people hospitalized with the virus, 65 are in the ICU and 37 are on ventilators, according to the state.

The COVID-19 vaccination rate of Iowa’s nursing home staff increased by 4 percentage points as of mid- October.

But the state’s rate still lags behind national figures.

That’s according to data compiled by AARP Iowa, using federal figures.

It found 71 percent of Iowa’s nursing home staff were vaccinated as of last month. That’s below the national rate of 74 percent

Anthony Carroll is with AARP Iowa. He says he’d like to see the state’s rate further increase.

There's a heightened concern with, with the winter months coming as people, again, are indoors more. And, and these, as we see, repeatedly, these are really some of the places where COVID spreads in the most dangerous places that most vulnerable populations.

The Biden administration is requiring health care workers in facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid be vaccinated by Jan 4. This includes nursing home staff.

Iowa is one of ten states suing the federal government over the mandate, claiming it is unconstitutional and unlawful.

U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry has asked a federal judge to move his trial to February to give his attorney more time to review more than 11,600 pages of government evidence and more than 50 audio/visual recordings. Attorneys for the nine-term Nebraska Republican filed the motion earlier this week. Prosecutors did not object to postponing the trial, which is currently scheduled for Dec. 14 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Fortenberry’s attorneys requested a new date of Feb. 15 and a final pretrial conference on Feb. 8. Fortenberry was accused last month of lying to the FBI and concealing information from agents about an investigation into illegal campaign donations from a Nigerian billionaire. He has pleaded not guilty.

Nebraska State Auditor Charlie Janssen says he won’t seek reelection, and he endorsed his predecessor, Lt. Gov. Mike Foley, who plans to run for his old office.

Janssen and Foley, both Republicans, have held their current jobs since 2015. Janssen says he plans to remain active in politics as a “free agent” and could run for office in the future. But he says he doesn’t have any immediate plans to do so.

Congresswoman Cindy Axne of West Des Moines is running for a third time to represent Iowa’s third congressional district.

The boundaries have changed some because of Iowa’s recently passed redistricting maps. The district will still represent Polk and Dallas Counties. Axne had been mulling a run for Governor as well.

She said on a Friday recording of Iowa PBS’s Iowa Press that the decision came down to where she could make the most impact for Iowa.

This job for me is about standing up for Iowans. That means making sure we have what they need but it also means protecting our democracy. And I play a pivotal role in both of those areas and I intend to make sure that Iowans have the best voice out there.”

Axne is the only Democrat serving in Iowa’s congressional delegation. Several Republicans have already announced they’re running in the new third district.

Sheila Brummer returns to her radio roots as a Reporter/Special Projects Producer for Siouxland Public Media KWIT-KOJI.