Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds

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Sioux City School District Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman could receive a nearly 2 percent raise tonight, boosting his annual pay to more than $243 thousand dollars.  Last year, Gausman asked to board to freeze his salary.

At its meeting tonight, the school board will vote on a new three-year contract for Gausman.  He has been Sioux City school superintendent since 2008.

Gausman’s contract is in line with the previously approved raise for other administrators and the two percent raise union leaders negotiated for teachers. 

President Donald Trump’s trip to Iowa to celebrate his administration’s approval of the year-round sale of the E15 ethanol blend was met yesterday with cheers from Iowa Republicans.

Iowa Democrats provided a more measured response, pointing to the ongoing tariff war with China.

Photo from May 28, 2019
Wells Visitor Center & Ice Cream Parlor Facebook Page

CNN reports the White House denied Congressman Steve King’s request to join the president on Air Force One as he traveled to Council Bluffs, Iowa yesterday.

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst and Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska both joined Trump on Air Force One.

Siouxland Public Media contacted Representative’s King’s office for comment, we’re still waiting for a reply.

President Trump was in Iowa yesterday to celebrate a recent decision to lift restrictions on the sale of gasoline blended with 15-percent ethanol.

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Iowa's court system has blocked public access to online records detailing Gov. Kim Reynolds' 2000 arrest for drunk driving, saying they inadvertently exposed her sensitive personal information.

The records contained the governor's Social Security number, driver's license number and other sensitive information that should not have been made public under court rules.

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The Iowa Department of Transportation is awarding 4.6 million dollars to help transit fleets replace buses. The money comes from Volkswagen as part of its settlement for 2015 Clean Air Act violations.

The largest amount of money will partially fund 107 new school buses across the state. Half of these buses will use a propane engine.

Zac Bitting (BIT-ting rhymes with hitting) is the DOT’s grant manager and says propane fuel generates less pollution than diesel.

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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is back at work after a trip to the hospital today.  Reynolds experienced chest pain earlier today and out of an abundance of caution went to the emergency room to seek medical care. The governor was seen by a physician. 

Her blood tests, chest x-rays, and electrocardiogram (EKG) test were all normal. She has been released from the hospital and is back working at the Capitol.  

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Republican Governor Kim Reynolds says she’ll tell President Trump she’s concerned about his threat to put new tariffs on all products from Mexico when he visits Iowa next week. 

President Trump says all goods coming into the United States from Mexico will be hit with new tariffs next week unless Mexico stops the flow of migrants crossing the southern border. 

Reynolds says she’ll tell Trump it’s critical to focus instead on ratifying a trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, Iowa’s top export markets.

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Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says she’s grateful the U-S Congress has finally approved a 19-billion-dollar disaster aid package that includes money for Iowa communities affected by flooding.

Floodwaters devastated western Iowa in mid-March, and floods have been affecting more and more of the state since then.

Reynolds says officials haven’t been able to get a complete damage assessment yet. 

Missouri River Edit | Remove

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After many delays, Congress has passed a large disaster aid package with help for communities nationwide, including many in Iowa that are recovering from major flooding. Iowa Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley says some on-farm losses not automatically covered by disaster aid now will be eligible.

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Ten members of Sioux City’s Urban Search and Rescue team were deployed to southwest Iowa early this morning, according to Radio Iowa.

The crew took its rescue equipment and an amphibious vehicle. Captain Ryan Collins of Sioux City Fire Rescue says the team will help FEMA make damage assessments in the Sidney area.

The unit was activated by Iowa Homeland Security. The National Weather Service warns flooding will continue in southwest Iowa along the Missouri River for several more weeks.

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The Iowa Supreme Court has affirmed a state regulator’s 2016 decision to allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to be built diagonally across the state. ‘Court also upheld the use of eminent domain to make way for the pipeline against the objections of landowners. 

Landowners and the Sierra Club sued the pipeline and the Iowa Utilities Board because they said the pipeline doesn’t meet the legal standard of “public convenience and necessity” and presents serious environmental risks. 

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Authorities in Sioux City keeping a close watch on rising water levels.

The Iowa DOT has closed a portion of Hamilton Boulevard at Interstate 29, and the southbound on-ramp and off-ramp to I 29.

The Sioux City Public Boat Ramp is closed and access to Chris Larson Park from Hamilton Boulevard has been impacted.

Also, there are portions of I- 29 still closed in western Iowa, one mile south of Missouri Valley to the south of Omaha.  And from Pacific Junction all the way to the Missouri border. There are several flood warnings in the region.  

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Strong thunderstorms hit eastern Nebraska and western Iowa and dumped heavy rain and, in southwest Omaha, piles of hail left some motorists temporarily stranded.

Western Nebraska was first to endure the storms last night, with hail larger than 2 inches in diameter. The Omaha World-Herald reported dozens of cars pulled off Interstate 80 with broken windshields.  In Council Bluffs, Iowa, a number of streets flooded as more than 2 inches of rain fell there overnight. Flash flood warnings were issued there and for areas around Lincoln and Omaha.

Deluge Delays Crop Planting, Causes Hail In SE Nebraska, 5:04

May 28, 2019

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Strong thunderstorms that affected eastern Nebraska and western Iowa dumped heavy rain and, in southwest Omaha, piles of hail that temporarily stranded some motorists.

The Omaha World-Herald reported dozens of cars pulled off Interstate 80 with broken windshields. North Platte also received reports of baseball-sized hail.

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Strong thunderstorms that raked eastern Nebraska and western Iowa dumped heavy rain and, in southwest Omaha, piles of hail that left some motorists temporarily stranded.

Western Nebraska was first to endure the storms Monday night, with hail larger than 2 inches in diameter. The Omaha World-Herald reported dozens of cars pulled off Interstate 80 with broken windshields. About 8,000 Omaha Public Power District customers lost power.

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A statewide sales tax for school infrastructure improvements set to expire in 10 years has been extended through 2051.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill extending that sales tax into law in Sioux City today (yesterday/Friday).

Sioux City Community School District Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman (GAUS-min) says the state’s 1-cent sales tax has helped the school district in the past and will help them in the future.

The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado with winds estimated at over 120 miles per hour touched down near Adair in western Iowa early this morning. There was one death from the storm. 74-year-old Linda Lee Brownlee died when her home was severely damaged.

The weather service says the tornado touched down around 1:29 am.  Meteorologist Chad Hahn says it’s rare to see tornadoes at that time of night.

0522hahn: 10          Looking at the tornadoes that have occurred since 1980, less than 5 percent occur between the hours of midnight and six am.

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Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand today has scheduled a Siouxland stop, while another candidate, Kamala Harris, is canceling her events in Sioux City and other Iowa towns to cast a vote in the U.S. Senate, according to the Sioux City Journal.

Harris had planned to speak tomorrow afternoon at Morningside College about Sioux City about teacher pay and other issues. However, the Harris campaign said that event, plus others in Iowa on Friday, will not be held, so she can vote on a disaster relief measure tomorrow night.

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A Sioux City man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the fire-related death of a woman last year.

The Sioux City Journal reports that 52-year-old Robert Mahoney was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years for first-degree arson and five years for involuntary manslaughter, with the sentences to be served one after the other. A jury convicted Mahoney in March for the death of 51-year-old Wanda Blake. Blake died three weeks after Mahoney torched his Sioux City apartment on Feb. 4, 2018.

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Gov. Kim Reynolds has appointed Paul Trombino to temporarily lead Iowa's human resources agency after its previous director failed to win Senate confirmation.

Reynolds spokesman Pat Garrett said Tuesday that the governor has installed Trombino as interim director of the Department of Administrative Services while she recruits a permanent replacement.

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Iowa's unemployment rate remained at 2.4% in April for the 10th month in a row.

Iowa Workforce Development reported Friday the jobless rate held steady, where it has been since July 2018.

Iowa has the nation's third-lowest rate, behind only Vermont and North Dakota, and tied with New Hampshire.

Nebraska's unemployment rate inched up to 2.9% in April, even though more people entered or re-entered the job market, the state labor commissioner said Friday.

The Nebraska figure had been 2.8% for eight months in a row.

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Iowa’s senior U.S. Senator visited business owners and residents impacted by flooding in eastern Iowa Friday. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley heard from community leaders in the cities of Davenport and Buffalo, which were hit by record high crests of the Mississippi River. 

Grassley says he’s pushing for federal disaster aid in Congress. Senate leaders have set a deadline of Memorial Day.

0517grassley: 17

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The Trump administration has reached agreements with Canada and Mexico to lift tariffs on metals imported from those countries, resolving a yearlong standoff that inflamed North Atlantic tensions and complicated efforts to ratify a revised trade deal.

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Tyson Foods claims a federal meat inspector lied about inspecting thousands of hogs at its Storm Lake, Iowa, plant.  The Sioux City Journal reports that action forced the company to destroy 8,000 carcasses and resulting in $2.4 million in losses and expenses.

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China is hardly buying any U.S. soybeans thanks to the ongoing trade dispute. But as China grapples with a major disease outbreak, there’s a possible silver lining for farmers here.  

African swine fever has led to the deaths of at least a million hogs in China, a country that eats a lot of pork.

To meet that demand, China may need to import more U-S pork.

The U-S has the capacity to raise more pigs, and those animals would eat some of the soybeans that China isn’t currently buying. 

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Current and past attorneys general from both major political parties from several states are asking Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds to veto a measure that would force Iowa's attorney general to seek permission to file out-of-state lawsuits.

They think the move designed by Republicans to keep Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller from joining lawsuits against the Donald Trump administration violates basic checks and balances.

Iowa would be the only state with such limits on an attorney general.

Swine Fever Could Be A Break For Iowa Farmers, 4:04

May 15, 2019

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African swine fever has killed at least a million hogs in China … and the disease has spread to Vietnam, Cambodia and other Asian countries. U.S. hog farmers dread the prospect of the disease coming here, but the outbreak may offer them a slight reprieve from the ongoing trade war. 

As China struggles to meet domestic demand for pork, it may buy more from the U-S. And raising more pigs in the U.S. means feeding them some of the soybeans that China hasn’t been buying.

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Gov. Kim Reynolds has named a corporate attorney who has contributed money to her campaign to a state commission that nominates candidates for positions on the Iowa Supreme Court and the Iowa Court of Appeals.

Reynolds on Friday named Dan Huitink (HOY-tink) to the state judicial nominating commission.

Huitink is a lawyer for Vermeer Corp. in Pella and is a former assistant U.S. attorney.

Democrats have criticized the change, saying Republicans want to stack the courts in their favor after losing recent cases on abortion and same-sex marriage.

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FEMA has approved 12 million dollars in payments to people recovering from Iowa floods, and more than 1,800 people have registered with the agency for help. Those are the latest numbers reported today (Thursday) to the governor’s flood recovery board.

The FEMA money includes home rebuilding grants and rental assistance. Governor Kim Reynolds says those numbers will climb once the Davenport area is added to the federal disaster declaration.

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Republican Governor Kim Reynolds will likely soon face a lawsuit over a provision she signed into law that would restrict publicly-funded health insurance from covering surgeries for transgender Iowans. If she approves a bill that restricts the attorney general’s authority, a lawsuit will likely follow that, too. 

Several new laws in recent years have faced court challenges, and some have been struck down.

Asked why this seems to be happening a lot, Reynolds says it’s part of the process.