local news

Siouxland Public Media/Sheila Brummer

A groundbreaking for the new Woodbury County Law Enforcement Center took place Wednesday, September 15th at the construction site on 28th Street on the northside of Sioux City.

Voters approved spending more than $50 million for the project. Officials say the cost rose to $65 million. The county board plans to spend $15.6 million in Federal COVID-19 relief money to cover the shortfall. 

Hospital capacity remains a concern as the number of virus cases continues to rise across Nebraska.

In Lincoln, Bryan Health officials said their two hospitals are operating “at the breaking point” with large numbers of COVID-19 patients putting stress on the system.

Sioux City Community Schools

The Sioux City Community Schools District’s new virtual learning academy the “Vibe Academy” uses the slogan “Learning Without Limits”. However, one local advocate says some students with disabilities are left out of equation. 

During Wednesday's special school board meeting surrounding masks in the Sioux City Community School District, some citizens talked about a virtual option for parents to send their children. However, as Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer reports that option is not available to all.

Sioux City Community Schools

The Sioux City Community School District will not bring back a mask mandate after an emergency session on Wednesday, September 15.  Siouxland Public’s Sheila Brummer reports.

Even from the start, contention filled the air of the Sioux City Community School District’s headquarters Wednesday afternoon for a special board meeting, mainly from those who did not want their children to wear masks in school.

More than 20 concerned citizens on both sides of the issue shared their viewpoint by phone and in person.

Siouxland Public Media/Sheila Brummer

No mask mandate for the Sioux City Community School District after the board did not have a consensus of support to hold a vote. Concerns were raised about disrespect from citizens who attended today's meeting

Prior to the meeting, the local teacher’s union president said there wasn’t time to meet with members to issue a stance on masks. Lesa Banks says there are educators on both sides of the debate. The state teachers' union hopes school leaders will focus on science and decide what to do next. 

Siouxland Public Media/Sheila Brummer

On Wednesday, September 15th the city of Sioux City launches a new Community Speak-Out series to serve as a citizen listening session for city departments.

The first one starts at noon at the Sioux City Public Museum with a focus on diversity and inclusion.

Siouxland Public Media’s Mary Hartnett talked to Sioux City’s new Inclusion Liaison Semehar Ghebrekidan about this open dialogue and her thoughts on the current atmosphere of the community.

Woodbury County

A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon for the new Woodbury County Law Enforcement Center. The new facility is located on 28th street just off of Highway 75.

Controversy surrounds some of the funding for the facility. In March of last year, voters approved a bond issue of more than $50 million for the project. The Woodbury County Law Enforcement Authority now puts the total price tag at about $65 million.

The County Board of Supervisors allocated $15.6 million in Federal COVID-19 relief money to cover the higher costs.

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.

Sioux City Community Schools

The Sioux City School Board is expected to discuss COVID-19 relief money spending at tonight’s meeting.

The district received a third round of federal funding of almost $39 million. A new budget proposal calls for spending more money to help students who have fallen behind, from 20 to 40%.

Board Member Dan Greenwell says he is worried about the implementation of the plan. 

“Talk is cheap, action much more subtenant in my book. I want to make sure we have action and not just talk.”

Siouxland Public Media/Sheila Brummer

This summer, the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska held an outreach event for young people on the reservation. Part of this exploration included art.    

Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer paints the picture of this creative cultural history lesson.

“Can I start?”      

 “Sure!”

More than a dozen youngsters with brushes in hand help bring a mural to life, including 15-year-old Traylin Sheridan of Rosalie, Nebraska. She and others work to cover a wall once gilded with graffiti.

  

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.”

Siouxland Public Media/Sheila Brummer

A nationally acclaimed artist is putting her talent to work on a mural on West 7th Street in Sioux City. 

The mural is part of a multi-million dollar reconstruction project along the West 7th corridor between Wesley Parkway and Hamilton Boulevard.

The creation by Sarah C. Rutherford is the first of several that will be installed on the sides of buildings to help beautify the area. Sarah, who is from Rochester, New York, talked to Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer about the project.

CDC

The number of COVID-19 cases in Nebraska has increased in each of the past ten weeks, and the total nearly doubled over the past two weeks as the highly contagious delta variant of the virus continues to spread.

Nebraska reported around 5,000 new cases last week to the CDC.

That’s up from the previous week and nearly double the cases recorded the week before.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Nebraska has risen over the past two weeks from 190 new cases per day on Aug. 15 to more than 715 new cases per day on Sunday.

CDC

The Education Department says it’s investigating five Republican-led states that have banned mask requirements in schools, saying the policies could amount to discrimination against students with disabilities or health conditions. The department’s office for civil rights sent letters to education chiefs in Iowa, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah. Those states have barred schools from requiring masks among students and staff, a move that the department says could prevent some students from safely attending school.

pxhere.com

The field is set for the Sioux City Council election on November 2nd. Two incumbents and two challengers will be on the ballot. They are current council members, Dan Moore and Alex Waters. Running for the first time is the President of the local NAACP, Ike Rayford, and Matthew O'Kane, an art teacher for the Sioux City Community School District. The top three will be elected to a four-year term starting in January.

Councilmember Pete Groetken is not seeking another term in office. Since there are less than six candidates, there will be no primary election.

pxhere.com

The field is set for the Sioux City Council election on November 2nd. Two incumbents and two challengers will be on the ballot. They are current council members, Dan Moore and Alex Waters. Running for the first time is the President of the local NAACP, Ike Rayford, and Matthew O'Kane, an art teacher for the Sioux City Community School District. The top three will be elected to a four-year term starting in January.

Councilmember Pete Groetken is not seeking another term in office. Since there are less than six candidates, there will be no primary election.

pxhere.com

The field is set for the Sioux City Council election on November 2nd. Two incumbents and two challengers will be on the ballot. They are current council members, Dan Moore and Alex Waters. Running for the first time is the President of the local NAACP, Ike Rayford, and Matthew O'Kane, an art teacher for the Sioux City Community School District. The top three will be elected to a four-year term starting in January.

Councilmember Pete Groetken is not seeking another term in office. Since there are less than six candidates, there will be no primary election.

Governor Pete Ricketts/Facebook

Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts enacted a hospital staffing emergency in the state. Ricketts says the problem does come from a list of issues: staff shortages, COVID-19 cases, and other illness, including RSV.

Starting on Monday, the state will limit some elective surgeries and waive licensing to try and boost the number of heath care workers. Some facilities already paused elective surgeries to preserve hospital capacity.

However, Ricketts says he is still against mandating masks in schools or enforcing vaccine passports.

Sioux City Community Schools

As school got underway for the Sioux City Community School District on August 23, the USDA recently announced plans to provide free school lunches to school districts across the country, a boost for those family greatly impacted by COVID-19.

Siouxland Public Media reached out to the Food Service Director for the Sioux City Community School District Rich Luze for more details. Here’s part of his conversation with Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer.

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.

The show Parallel Lives continues this weekend at the Sioux City Community Theatre. One of the stars of the show, Amanda Gibson, tells Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer about the show and her love of theatre.

For more information and tickets check out SCCTheatre.org.

2017 Dan Moore Campaign

Sioux City Mayor Pro Tempore Dan Moore tells Siouxland Public Media he filled his nomination petition for city council today.

Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill says if more than six people file for three open seats, there will be a primary on October 5th, otherwise a combined city/school election will take place countywide on November 2nd.

Pete Groetken says he will not seek a third term on the city council. Alex Waters seat is also up for reelection. He told Siouxland Public Media he plans to run for reelection.

National Weather Service/Sioux Falls

Parts of Siouxland are under a heat advisory until six tonight. The heat index will climb easily into the triple digits. According to the National Weather Service, there is a chance for severe storms with hail and high wind. Plus, areas south of Yankton to Spencer will have an elevated risk for a brief tornado.

Due to the heat, Hunt Elementary school will have an early dismissal. While a new school is being built, students are attending class in the old Crescent Park building. It is the only non-air conditioned school in the district.

Siouxland Public Media/Sheila Brummer

The 24 Hours of Le Mans runs this weekend in France, August 21st to 22nd. One Siouxlander will keep close watch due to a deep history with the automobile endurance event.

Dr. Quentin Durward first developed a love for the sport as a child growing up in a land 8,000 miles away.

The neurosurgeon shared an essay with Siouxland Public Media about his journey through racing and cars to achieve his "American Dream".

* Dr. Durward took Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer for a spin in his 2020 Ford GT to record some of the sounds for this segment she produced.

Siouxland District Health

In a weekly update, Siouxland District Health reported lower COVID-19 positivity rates and hospitalizations in Woodbury County. The positivity rate is almost 7% with only three hospitalizations due to COVID only.

However, the number of people vaccinated rose by point-six (0.6) percent.

Deputy Director Tyler Brock says .6% is actually a decent increase for one week for the number of people finishing their two-dose series. One week ago, local officials urged anyone age 12 and older to get their shot.

CDC

Cases of COVID-19 are on the rise in Nebraska as the highly contagious delta variant continues to spread, but those reported totals may be undercounting the actual number of cases because the number of tests being performed each day is down significantly compared to last fall.

Siouxland News CBS14/FOX 44

Community leaders joined forces to stress the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine, especially among younger populations. Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer has more on the push to get more people to roll up their sleeves.

With an increase of cases of COVID-19, including the more contagious delta variant, Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott urged the public to listen to medical experts.

Siouxland News CBS14/FOX 44

Community leaders joined forces to stress the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine, especially among younger populations.

“Many times Siouxland has found itself in a leadership role with initiatives across the state at this point we are lagging. I encourage everyone out there listening to get this vaccine.”

That is the Executive Director of Siouxland District Health, Kevin Grieme, who was also joined by Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott at a news conference in front of the Sioux City Public Museum on August 11, 2021. 

Siouxland Public Media/Sheila Brummer

On Tuesday, August 10, 2021, a gathering to address homelessness took place in Sioux City. This meeting came about after protests following the removal of a camp near 4th and Wesley Parkway just outside of downtown.

All sides brought their concerns to city hall with a dialogue between advocates and professionals tasked with helping the homeless.

Sioux City’s new Community Inclusion Liaison Semehar Ghebrekidan moderated the conversation.

A public meeting is scheduled this afternoon to address homelessness in Sioux City. The gathering at City Hall scheduled for 1:15 comes after a protest at last week’s City Council Meeting surrounding the removal of a homeless camp near 4th and Wesley Parkway.

The information gathered will be shared with the Inclusive Sioux City Advisory Committee who will then provide recommendations to the City Council on ways to improve current practices.

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