Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R)

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. 

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.

https://isea.org

Just hours after a federal judge blocked Iowa’s law banning mask mandates, the Sioux City Community School Board agreed vote on the issue. It will take place tomorrow at 3 p.m., instead of noon.

Board vice-president Monique Scarlett put forth the motion, saying the mask mandate could help stop the spread of the very contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.

School Superintendent Paul Gausman agreed that it was time to bring back face coverings, but some students and staff are likely to be exempt for health reasons.

The Iowa Department of Public is updating the coronavirus.iowa.gov website so Iowans can keep up to date on vaccination rates, case positivity rates and hospitalizations.

change.org

A petition drive condemning Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and lawmakers for passing a law banning mask mandates is gaining traction. Siouxland Public Media talked to the organizer, who says the safety of students and families is at risk.

“It started out with us just wanting to make a statement.”

Associated Press

Public health officials in Iowa’s largest county are sounding alarms that too few people are wearing masks and getting vaccinated as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations climb in the state to levels not seen since January. The surge of the delta variant of COVID-19 comes as schools go back into session banned from requiring masks by a Republican legislature and governor. The Iowa Department of Public Health in its weekly update Wednesday added 42 deaths, bringing the state total to 6,268 deaths. The state reported 7,619 positive tests in the past seven days.

Siouxland Public Media/Sheila Brummer

Democrat Deirde DeJear formed an exploratory committee in a potential quest to run for Iowa Governor in 2022.

The activist and small business owner, who ran for Secretary of State in 2020, told the Des Moines register she is analyzing the political and fundraising landscape to ensure a true path to victory. Part of that exploration took her to Sioux City on August 4, 2021, where she met with a small group of local leaders and activists at Western Iowa Tech Community College.

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Updated national maps now show there are two areas of extreme drought in Iowa. Radio Iowa reports The state climatologist said the northwest and east-central Iowa areas have "missed out on widespread, heavier rains." According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, conditions deteriorated significantly in several large patches in Iowa and Minnesota over the past week.

Education leaders in South Dakota say that as the new school year approaches the state doesn’t have enough teachers and support staff, a situation they attribute to the coronavirus pandemic.

The State Education Secretary says every school district in South Dakota is dealing with staffing shortages with several teachers deciding to retire earlier than planned due to COVID-19.

The National Weather Service issued an Air Quality Alert for northwest Iowa through this afternoon. The wildfires near Lake Winnipeg, Canada, drifted southward and will move through Sioux Falls and the Sioux City area. There were six out-of-control fires near Lake Winnipeg in Canada as of noon yesterday, with the biggest measuring more than 300 square miles. Those sensitive to smoke or with existing health conditions could experience health effects due to the smoke.

National Weather Service/Sioux Falls

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory today for the entire state of Iowa, most of South Dakota and a large portion of Nebraska.

The heat advisory is in effect until 9 p.m. for Siouxland with a heat index near 110.

Governors from all three Siouxland States slam the CDC’s announcement on Tuesday urging both vaccinated and nonvaccinated people to wear masks due to a surge of cases of COVID-19.

The CDC also advises children in schools wear masks this fall.

The governors of tri-state region talked about the need to train workers and fill jobs in the post-pandemic era, today at Tri-State Governors' Conference. the conference in the South Sioux City Marriot on the Riverfront. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem talked about possible ways to fill high-demand jobs.

Governor Ricketts said Nebraska is focusing on career pipeline that starts in middle school, to a career academy and post-secondary education the apprenticeship program.

Siouxland Public Media

Governors from all three Siouxland States spent the day at the Tri-State Governors’ Conference. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem met at the Marriot Riverfront in South Sioux City.

The event hosted by the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce focused on shortage of workers in the region and addressed the impact of COVID-19.

Governor Reynolds was then scheduled to tour the Arena Sports Academy in Sioux City.

 

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 in South Sioux City. Those brands will also be available at a July 7 clinic at South Sioux City's Memorial Hall, from 3 to 7 p.m., as well as a July 14 clinic at Don's Sports Bar & Grill, 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. 

 

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.

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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.

pxhere.com

A new law going into effect in Iowa on July 1st is problematic for Sioux City’s top human rights official. Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer has more.

On Tuesday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a new law banning teaching about white privilege and racial equity in public schools, colleges, and universities. The measure also applies to training for state agencies.

The Director of the Sioux City Human Rights Commission, Karen Mackey, says the measure is short-sided and comes from a place of white privilege. 

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.

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A MidAmerican Energy power outage impacted sections of Sioux City today.  A MidAmerican spokeswoman said the outage began sometime around 10:53 a.m.. Some 1,477 customers are impacted. Customers should have had power restored by 2 p.m..

Unity Point Health-St. Lukes was one of the biggest customers impacted by the outage. In a Facebook post, the hospital reported that their backup generators are running "and patient care continues," though ambulances are being diverted.   

Getty Images

Governor Kim Reynolds is defending her decision to end additional federal unemployment benefits

Reynolds and business groups say the extra payments to unemployed Iowans are keeping them from taking new jobs at a time when businesses can’t find enough workers.

However, Reynolds says employers need to step up and offer more to attract employees. She made her comment today the Food Bank of Iowa where she also announced the end of the Iowa Food Protection Task Force.

State of Iowa

  

Governor Kim Reynolds says Iowa will join a group of Republican-led states ending pandemic-related federal programs that give extra cash to unemployed workers.

Reynolds says the state will end the federal boost, including additional $300-a-week unemployment payments.

Reynolds says benefits are keeping people from returning the work and are hindering the state's economy — a charge echoed by Republican governors in several other states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Montana and South Carolina.

The benefits will end June 12. 

This is week on The Exchange, we talk with the author of a new book tells the story behind the legend of the Whitman Massacre back in 1847, and we a hear A Small Wonder from Jim Schaap that talks about the backstory of Marcus Whitman's wife Narcissa, who, along with her husband Marcus, was killed in the massacre in what is now Washington state.

CDC

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.

City of Sioux City

The Sioux Gateway Airport will receive $1,000,000 from the U.S. Department of Commerce to help build a local flight school. The $7,000,000 project includes hanger and office space and is expected to create 43 new skilled jobs. The aviation center will partner with area schools and colleges to provide education and training opportunities, including a fully accredited flight school. Construction is expected to start this year.

CDC

Iowa Government Kim Reynolds provided an update on vaccinations in the state today. During a news conference that aired earlier today on Siouxland Public Media, Reynolds says so far 44% of Iowans 18 and older have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. The rate is almost double for those 65 years and older. Iowa ranks 9th in the country for vaccinations according to national numbers.

Reynolds says the state plans to concentrate on getting minority groups and college students vaccinated.

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. 

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