Home News Wednesday News, March 25th

Wednesday News, March 25th


Iowa Reports First Death Associated With COVID-19 Coronavirus

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has announced the state’s first death linked to the coronavirus outbreak. In a statement Tuesday night, Reynolds identified the deceased as a resident of Dubuque County who was
between 61 and 80 years old. Reynolds and the Dubuque County Public Health Department said that no other information would be released about the individual. The announcement came hours after a news conference in which Reynolds and a top state public health official said they had no plans to issue a “shelter in place” order like those in place in some neighboring states.



Iowa Department Of Public Health Reports 124 Cases Of Coronavirus

(Des Moines) — The Iowa Department of Public Health has announced as of Tuesday morning, an additional 19 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Iowa. That brings the total to 124 positive cases. The Iowa Department of Public Health says there have been a total of 2,315 negative
tests to date, which includes testing reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other labs. The counties reporting the new cases of coronavirus includes those that had already had positive coronavirus cases. They include: Black Hawk, Cedar, Dallas, Jasper, Johnson, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Story, Tama, Warren, and Washington Counties. Buchanan County is reporting its first case of coronavirus. Governor Kim Reynolds will hold another coronavirus update briefing at 2:30 p.m. this afternoon.



Total Motors To Close For A Week

(Le Mars) — Total Motors will be temporarily closing both locations (Le Mars, Iowa & Orange City, Iowa) for one week to follow the recommendations from the CDC and government with the 15-day pause to limit the spread of COVID-19, which started on March 16th. Total Motors commitment to the community is to keep our customers, employees and vendors safe during this
time. Total Motors will be temporarily closed through March 31st, and will reopen all departments after the recommended 15 day pause.

Total Motors is encouraging others to assess their day to day interactions and to limit the spread of COVID-19 or coronavirus. General Manager, Mitch Christoffel states, “We see a lot of customers on a daily basis, we understand that we could easily be in contact with the virus and be responsible for the transfer of the virus. We will have some critical staff working behind the scenes through the next 7 days to ensure emergency vehicles are taken care of, but are using this time to deep clean the
facility, and to personally take a moment away from work during the CDC’s 15-Day Pause to Slow the Spread.”

At this point, Total Motors has been following extensive cleaning protocols and is providing protective equipment for each department to use during this time of caution.

Christoffel stated, “As a Company, we believe we are socially responsible for the safety of our customers, employees and vendors, especially because this is a community spread virus. We are very thankful for our loyal customers understanding and patience in this matter. We are ready to come back much
stronger and ready to take care of our community exactly as we have in the past, and even better.”

Total Motors will continue to schedule out appointments in their service and sales departments during this time of temporary closure and beyond. They will also have employees working remotely during the day who can help answer any questions about repairs or vehicles for sale.



Construction Begins On Highway 75 Project Between Hinton And Sioux City

(Sioux City) — Anyone traveling on Highway 75 between Hinton and Sioux City will again encounter a construction zone between the two communities. Iowa Department of Transportation District 3 Transportation Planner, Dakin Schultz says the construction project is similar to last year, only focused on the southbound lanes.

Schultz explains what will take place during the construction period of Highway 75.

The Iowa D-O-T official says in some areas, the southbound lanes will be lowered in elevation by as much as seven feet. Schultz says this will be done to make it easier and safer for northbound traffic wanting to cross the highway, or to make a U-turn to head southbound.

Schultz says beginning Sunday left-hand turns will be prohibited, and no longer be allowed through the construction zone. Motorists will need to travel to either to Sioux City or to Hinton, depending on their destination and direction, in order to change their direction. Peterson Contractors of Rinebeck, Iowa, was again awarded the contract. They are the same company
that worked on the highway project a year ago. The total construction project is estimated to cost $14 million and 437-thousand dollars. Schultz says there is an interesting trivia tidbit about the stretch of roadway under construction on Highway 75.

The construction project which begins now is scheduled to continue until late autumn before it will be completed.



Grassley Upset With Democrats For Blocking COVID-19 Relief Bill

(Washington) — The U-S Senate failed to pass the COVID-19 relief bill as proposed. The vote was conducted late Monday afternoon, and was actually a tie with 47 senators voting in favor of the bill and 47 senators voting against the measure, with the vote split down party lines. The bill was the “phase 3” which would order $1.8 trillion to the American people. Roughly
$300 billion in direct cash checks to American households, $350 billion in loans to small businesses to cover interruption in business, and $500 billion in other relief to businesses, largely through loan guarantees. Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley is upset and baffled as to why the Democrats voted against the bill. Grassley made his comments with Fox
Business News Anchor Neil Cavato.

Democrats believe more funding needs to go to individual family members.
They claim the bill would only have helped corporations. Grassley fiercely denies that charge.

Grassley says in most cases corporations will be given a loan, not a flat-out bail-out check. He questions his Democratic Senate colleagues as to why they have that belief when Grassley says the facts speak differently.

Across the United States, the spread of COVID-19 has grown ten-fold in a week’s time, and many people wonder why our nation’s leaders in Washington D.C. are dragging their feet on a measure that shouldn’t be political. Many people are calling it “dilly-dallying.”

Early Wednesday morning, an agreement was reached with Senate officials and White House Administration officials.  The Senate is expected to vote a second time on the measure sometime today (Wednesday).



Senator Joni Ernst Addresses The U-S Senate Regarding The COVID-19 Relief Bill – Asking Democrats To Help Pass The Bill



Public Relations Board Overturns Firing Of State Employee

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Public Employment Relations Board has overturned the firing of a workplace safety inspector, finding that he unfairly faced retribution after reporting a hostile work environment inside the agency. The board found that managers at the Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration acted with “express bias” when they opened a
disciplinary investigation into Travis Stein for missing a meeting in November 2018. The decision found that the agency had never before punished a worker for missing a meeting and that the investigation of Stein was unfair and incomplete. Stein says the ruling backs his claim that his January 2019 firing was motivated by retaliation and built on false statements.



Des Moines Office Building To Become Hotel

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – One of Des Moines’ taller and more colorful office buildings will house hotel guests by 2022 under a plan being developed by its owner. Floors one through 13 of the Financial Center would become the hotel with 190 guest rooms and include a food market, coffee shop and an upscale restaurant. Floors 14 through 25 would be upgraded for office tenants and have separate elevator access. Wells Fargo announced last year that it was leaving 13 floors in the Financial Center, which is known for lights that change with current events. It opened in 1972.