South Dakota Govenor Kristi Noem (R)

WHO-TV, DES MOINES, IA

State lawmakers will be back at the Iowa Capitol tomorrow for a rare special session. They’ll vote to accept or reject new political boundaries.

Some states, led by Republicans and Democrats, have already been sued this year over their redistricting plans. Some lawsuits allege state lawmakers purposefully diluted the voting power of various racial and ethnic groups.

In Iowa, the president of the state NAACP Betty Andrews says the organization hasn’t taken a position on the proposed maps yet, but she’s monitoring the process.

Associated Press

Investigators searching for an Iowa boy who vanished in May days before his 11th birthday say they have found human remains matching his description in a nearby cornfield in Poweshiek County.

The remains were discovered Thursday afternoon by a farmer who was working in a field a few miles outside of Montezuma, where then 10-year-old Xavior Harrelson lived.

A spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation says  the body “appears to be that of an adolescent” and the clothing found on scene match what Xavior was wearing.

CDC

Data released on Wednesday suggested that Iowa might be turning a corner in the fight against COVID-19. The New York Times reported the state has seen a 25% decrease in cases over the last two weeks, with a new daily average of 1,114 cases per day. 

Siouxland District Health

A weekly COVID-19 trend report shows higher hospitalizations at Sioux City’s two major medical facilities. The number of deaths due to complications of the virus increased by six for a total of 239 in Woodbury County since the start of the Pandemic.

There were 506 new cases added in a week, down 35 from the week before. Forty-five percent of Woodbury County residents are fully vaccinated that was an increase of .5% or 500 more people.

Associated Press

A federal judge has extended his order blocking enforcement of a state law against school mask mandates.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pratt first ruled two weeks ago that schools must be able to require masks so that medically vulnerable students have equal access to in-person learning.

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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.

National Weather Service/Sioux Falls

A Siouxland Sheriff’s office is mourning the death of one of its own.

The Burt County Sheriff says Deputy Justin Smith passed away yesterday after a battle with COVID-19.

Deputy Smith has been a member of the Burt County Sheriff's Office and since 2008. He also served as the Police Chief of Decatur, Nebraska. 

The Burt County Board of Supervisors has requested that all flags in the county be lowered to half-staff.

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.

Associated Press

Nebraska and South Dakota closed state offices today to honor the new Federal Juneteenth Holiday. 

However, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has not said anything about Juneteenth. The state started recognizing the holiday in 2002, however, state workers do not get a paid day off.

However, Reynolds did sign a pro-police measure into law yesterday. It includes heightened criminal penalties for certain protest activities.

New unemployment claims in Iowa fell to 3,859 in the week ending May 29. That’s two less than the previous week’s 3,861 claims.

However, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics released yesterday,  overall unemployment is once again on the rise. The DOL reports unemployment in Iowa currently stands at 26,737 claims, more than 1400 claims over the previous week’s numbers.

Woodbury County Law Enforcement Center Authority

State Auditor Rob Sand is alleging Governor Kim Reynolds’ appearance in COVID-19 public service announcements last year was a violation of Iowa’s self-promotion law. Reynolds denies this.

The law prohibits state officials from using public money to promote their name and image. But it contains an exception for disaster emergencies, and Iowa has been under a disaster emergency proclamation for more than a year because of the pandemic.  

Associated Press

The head of Sioux City’s NAACP reflects on the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd.

“We have seen change that people are talking about, but I don’t know we can put our teeth into it, because things are still happening.”

That is Ike Rayford who is talking about incidents involving injustice against Black men across the country.

He say accountability is important and is happening in the case surrounding Officer Dereck Chauvin convicted in the murder of  George Floyd and the upcoming litigation involving the other officers in the case.

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.

Siouxland District Health

The Iowa Department of Public Health recorded six more deaths statewide due to complications of COVID-19 with almost 500 new cases, with 17 added in Woodbury County in 24-hours.

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the first death related to COVID-19 in Woodbury County. A post on the Siouxland District Health’s Facebook page remembered the 221 residents of the county who have lost their lives in the past year.

Associated Press

Health officials in all three Siouxland states have temporary stopped use of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, following CDC and FDA recommendations. This move comes after six women experienced severe and rare blood clots, resulting in one death. One case was diagnosed in Nebraska.

Health officials in South Dakota say no adverse cases were reported in nearly 16,000 doses of the J&J vaccine.  More than 78 thousand doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been administered in Iowa.

News release from the state of Nebraska:

CDC

The state of Nebraska plans to open up vaccinations for anyone 18 years or older starting on Monday, April 5th.

Governor Pete Ricketts made the announcement this morning during a news conference.

Ricketts expects additional doses to arrive through the Federal Pharmacy Program, including a big influx of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Ricketts plans to receive his vaccine this weekend.

pxhere.com

Iowa’s revenue forecasting panel is projecting state revenue will come in just shy of the level needed for more income tax cuts to kick in.

Revenue would need to grow 4 percent next fiscal year to trigger more income tax cuts in 2023. But the latest estimate from today is 3-point-8 percent growth, potentially pushing tax cuts to 2024 or later.

Iowa Department of Public Health

The Iowa Department of Public Health reports six more COVID-19 related deaths and nearly 600 new cases with almost 10% coming from Woodbury County. There are still no outbreaks at long-term care facilities in the state.

An on-line vaccine dashboard shows more than 447,000 people in Iowa are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

coronavirus.iowa.gov

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported three more deaths due to COVID-19 in Woodbury County for 214 in all since the start of the pandemic. Statewide there were 35 additional deaths reported in 24-hours and more than 550 new positive tests.

There are currently outbreaks at a dozen long-term care facilities in Iowa, with none in northwest Iowa.

IDPH

The state of Iowa plans to launch a new website tomorrow to provide more information on how to get COVID-19 vaccines.

However, the Governor stressed during a news conference today Iowans will not be able to schedule an appointment on the site www.vaccinate.iowa.gov.

The state also plans to reach out to older Iowans in need of finding a vaccine. Starting on March 8 they will open a 211-call center to answer questions and help with scheduling.

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A bill introduced in the Iowa Senate would require schools to provide an option for full-time in-person learning during the pandemic, a proposal that Governor Kim Reynolds highlighted in her Condition of the State speech.

The president of the Iowa State Education Association says forcing more students into classrooms could make it easier for the coronavirus to spread.

Sioux City Community Schools

The Sioux City Community School District’s Weekly COVID-19 report shows only one new positive case among teachers and staff and no students.  The district also released information about total cases and quarantines and those numbers show 19 students and 17 teachers and staff were out with the illness.  Nine staff members were in quarantine and 245 students. The school district started the first two weeks of 2021 in virtual learning and will go back to five days of face-to-face learning next week.

CDC

Woodbury County added two more COVID-related deaths in the past 24-hours for a total of 175 since the start of the pandemic. There were 46 additional cases. Siouxland District Health says mask up, keep your distance, wash your hands, stay home when sick, and avoid nonessential gatherings.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 10 more Iowans have died of the disease for more than 4,200 (4,232) and almost 1,900 additional cases for a total of 300,000 positive test results.

July 3, 2020
Associated Press

Locally, there are 11 new cases of the novel coronavirus in Woodbury County, for a total of 3,282.  Dakota County reports five more positive cases for 1,805.  In the three counties in the Sioux City Metro area there are 83 deaths in all, with one in Union County where they also logged 140 cases.

Seven more Iowans have died from COVID-19 and 669 more have tested positive for a total of 739 deaths and more than 33,200 positive cases.

coronavirus.iowa.gov

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds is easing more restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Reynolds says starting Friday at 8 a.m., businesses like restaurants, bars and theatres can operation at 100% capacity.

They must still follow social distancing guidelines.

“Eliminating that capacity restrictions will allow businesses the flexibility to adjust their specific operations accordingly, to best meet the needs of their employees and customers.”

Associated Press

Lawmakers returned to the Iowa State Capitol Wednesday to finish work left when the coronavirus pandemic surfaced back in March. 

Their biggest business?  Tackling the budget in this time of economic uncertainty.

Temperatures will be checked at the door and masks will be provided. Meeting rules have been established to allow lawmakers to be at least 6 feet apart. Committee meetings and floor debates will be streamed on the internet.

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