South Dakota

PM Newscast 3.16.20

Mar 16, 2020

The head of Siouxland District Health tells Siouxland Public Media there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Woodbury County. 

Kevin Grieme says his department is keeping in close contact with state health officials and health providers locally.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts released new guidelines today when it comes to the coronavirus.

They include limiting public events and gathering to 50 people or less. 

James C. Schaap

Out in the middle of nowhere, an old white frame building is all that remains of a heart-felt dream that, as an answer to prayer, opened its doors in 1893 to a dozen kids who wanted an education not otherwise available in the Dakota Territories before the turn of the century. 

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Iowa Democratic Party officials say they are hiring two high-profile lawyers to investigate the factors leading to a meltdown in the state's lead-off presidential caucuses and how the party responded. 

The party's State Central Committee voted last night to spend up to $50,000 to retain Nick Klinefeldt, a former U.S. attorney, and Bonnie Campbell, a former Iowa attorney general. 

This week on The Exchange, Western Iowa Tech Community College is accused of human trafficking in connection with a group of exchange students from South America.  WIT President Terry Murrell strongly refutes those allegations and pledges to help students finish their programs of study.

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The statewide winter storm today has been upgraded to a blizzard warning in northwest Iowa, while more snow accumulation has been forecast across the state.

Blizzard warning criteria from the NWS are wind gusts of 35 mph or greater and one-quarter of mile visibility or less that lasts up to three hours.  


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The Iowa chapter of March For Our Lives is looking to build support in the legislature for new gun laws.

Their proposals include mandatory reporting for lost and stolen firearms, universal background checks and a seven-day waiting period before completing a gun purchase.

Legislative director Nick Pryor says, in other states, longer waiting periods have been shown to reduce gun violence.

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers doesn't expect to eliminate from its reservoir system all the leftover water from last year's near-record runoff that led to massive flooding along the Missouri River. Officials are raising the current releases in expectation of high spring runoff again this year. The Corps told the Omaha World-Herald the system needs to make as much space as possible in light of forecasts for warmer than normal weather and higher than normal runoff. 

This week on The Exchange, as the new looms, we consider our goals and life choices and sometimes ask ourselves if we have sold out on our values.  We talk with the author of a new book called "The Ethical Sellout," about the many ways compromise can help us make decisions that accord with our values and the practical needs of our lives.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is getting support this afternoon in Siouxland as former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry will visit his campaign office in Sioux City this afternoon.  Listen for coverage during “All Things Considered”.

Iowa’s senior U.S. senator says he expects the U.S., Mexico, Canada trade agreement to get “unanimous support” today in a Senate Finance Committee hearing. Republican Chuck Grassley, who chairs the committee, also expects passage in the full Senate. 

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A vote on a referendum for a new county jail should be delayed, that’s according to Woodbury County Supervisor Jeremy Taylor. Taylor wants a potential vote on a $49 million new county jail to be held in September rather than March.  However, the other four supervisors are not in agreement.

Taylor says today that the public needs more time to understand and think about the details about the project. If passed, the proposal would raise property taxes for county residents for 20 years. 

Associated Press

'Dark money' ties raise questions for GOP Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa

Documents obtained by The Associated Press reveal an outside group founded by top political aides to Sen. Joni Ernst is working closely with the Iowa Republican to raise money and boost her reelection prospects.

Some legal experts say the degree of overlap between her campaign and the nonprofit Iowa Values could violate the law.

Emails show Ernst fundraiser Claire Holloway Avella asked a donor for $50,000 for the group following an introduction by the senator.  

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The three survivors of a South Dakota plane crash that killed nine members of an extended family from Idaho are in stable condition today.

Brothers Jim and Kirk Hansen, who founded the nutritional and wellness products company Kyani, were killed. The crash also killed their father, Kirk Hansen's children, his sons-in-law, and Jim Hansen's son and grandson.

Kirk's son Josh and Jim's son Matt and son-in-law Thomas Long survived.

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The three survivors of a South Dakota plane crash that killed nine members of an extended family from Idaho were in stable condition today, a family representative said.

The survivors were being treated at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls. The family was returning from an annual pheasant-hunting trip when the plane crashed Saturday in a cornfield near Chamberlain shortly after takeoff during a snowstorm.

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Water levels continue to slowly recede on the Missouri River and Big Sioux River, easing flooding worries in the region.

Union County Emergency Manager Andy Minihan said Monday that agencies are watching levees along rivers. 

A southeastern South Dakota school district is installing vape sensors in bathrooms to combat students' use of e-cigarettes that have been linked to hundreds of cases of lung disease nationwide.


Water levels continue to slowly recede on the Missouri River and Big Sioux River, easing flooding worries in the region. The Union County Emergency Manager said today that agencies are watching levees along rivers. The Associated Press reported five days ago the lower Missouri River was flooding in Nebraska and Iowa, following recent exceptionally heavy rains in Montana, North and South Dakota and Nebraska.

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The U.S. Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers on Tuesday issued a no-wake advisory for boaters on the Missouri River from mile marker 750 (at Sioux City) through mile marker 498 (at Rulo, Nebraska).  The advisory is intended to protect river infrastructure amid ongoing high river levels. 

The Missouri River is rising and is expected to crest later this week in western Iowa. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been working on repairing some levee breaches and protecting some recent breach repairs, hoping to prevent future flooding.

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Congressman Steve King has announced that he will host a town hall meeting in Sac County next Saturday, September 21st.. The town hall is open to the public and to the media.

The Sac County town hall will be held in Wall Lake, Iowa at the Wall Lake Shelter House located at Fourth and Stuart Streets. The town hall will run from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. 

This will mark the 39th of the 39 town halls King has held in Iowa's Fourth District this year, beginning in January. 

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Flooding from the torrential rain that's soaked much of southeastern South Dakota closed schools for a second day today submerged city streets and caused some to evacuate their homes. In Brandon, northeast of Sioux Falls, the heavy rain turned the local golf course into a lake. 

The cities of Mitchell, Dell Rapids and Madison have been hit especially hard with the area receiving more than 7 inches of rain over two days.

Airbnb is offering its Open Homes Program to people who are displaced because of recent tornadoes and flooding in South Dakota.

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Flooding from the torrential rain that's soaked much of southeastern South Dakota closed schools for a second day today submerged city streets and caused some to evacuate their homes. In Brandon, northeast of Sioux Falls, the heavy rain turned the local golf course into a lake. Portions of the 18-hole course and an office at the clubhouse were flooded.

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There are still evacuations going in Madison, South Dakota because of flooding. It has received 3 to 5 inches of rain in the latest storm. The South Dakota Highway Patrol says flooding closed a section of Interstate 90 near Mitchell.   And in Sioux Falls, residents and business owners are cleaning up after destructive tornadoes and straight-line winds earlier this week. Crews today were removing fallen trees and debris.

A new report has found Iowa has the seventh-highest obesity rate in the nation.

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Sheriff's officials say flooding around Madison has caused some residents to evacuate.

Lake County Sheriff Tim Walburg urged people not to drive through Madison as crews were busy moving some people from the flooded area. It has received 3 to 5 inches of rain in the latest storm. 

The South Dakota Highway Patrol says flooding closed a section of Interstate 90 near Mitchell.

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The debate for 10 Democratic presidential candidates unfolds in Houston tonight, and here in Sioux City, there will be watch parties.

The debate begins at 7 p.m., and watch parties will be held in support of candidates Beto O'Rourke, Pete Buttigieg and Cory Booker in Sioux City

Flooding around Madison South Dakota has caused some residents to evacuate.

Rep. Steve King's most recent insensitive remarks about rape are the kind that has doomed political candidates elsewhere, but some fellow Iowa Republicans say it's possible they actually could help the embattled congressman's re-election chances by reinforcing his credentials as a social conservative.

King made the comment Tuesday before a conservative group. He was attempting to justify his support for a ban on abortions without exceptions for rape and incest.

The 2020 race for the  4th district is on as 2018 Democratic Candidate JD Scholten of Sioux City officially announced today that he will run against the Republican candidate.  Most people expect that to be incumbent Steve King, however, King is being challenged this year by three candidates.  

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Iowa Highway 2 from Interstate-29 in southwest Iowa to the Missouri River is now reopened to traffic.

The area was closed since late May because of flooding from the river and had been closed for all but eight days between mid-March and late May.  

The Iowa Department of Transportation said in a news release traffic will move in both directions using the westbound lanes of the highway. This limit will be in place until officials figure out a long term solution for Highway-2 to deal with future flooding.

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Siouxland first responders have a new way to identify those with special needs.  Sioux City Police Chief Rex Mueller announced The Special Response Static Sticker Program this morning. 

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It looks like there may be a new law enforcement facility in the near future in Sioux City.  The Woodbury County Board of Supervisors voted last night to advance discussions regarding the construction of a new center. The project would cost an estimated cost of $49.5 million.


If you plan to travel out to the Black Hills of South Dakota this summer, there’s one spot that might be worth the extra drive.  

Devil’s Tower in Wyoming is a geological wonder full of historic folklore.   

Black Hills expert and tour guide Karen Bucholz gives Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer enthusiastic information about Devil’s Tower and a lesson about the trees of the Black Hills.


An investigation is underway after an explosion at a feed mill in northwest, Iowa yesterday afternoon.

No one got hurt at Deluxe Feeds in Sheldon, however the facility was damaged.

The facility owned by Kent Feeds produces feed that is shipped to producers in Iowa and three other states.

It was undergoing a $37-million-dollar expansion.

Authorities say at least two bicyclists participating in RAGBRAI have been injured in a crash.

Police in Indianola say a 22-year-old woman and a 57-year-old man crashed Tuesday afternoon as they rode down a hill.

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It a very hot and humid day in Siouxland and most of Iowa is under an excessive heat warning, where temperatures will reach in the 90s and heat index values could be as high as 110 degrees.

The National Weather Service says the heat warning is for the southern two-thirds of the state under Highway 20. 

Many areas are reporting damage after powerful thunderstorms blew through southeastern South Dakota early Wednesday morning.