Home News Wednesday Afternoon News, May 20th

Wednesday Afternoon News, May 20th


Iowa DNR Director Opens Up Campgrounds And State Parks For Memorial Day Weekend

(Des Moines) — Memorial Day weekend is always thought as the beginning of summer, and tradition says many people usually take the time to go camping at their favorite campground site. During today’s daily COVID-19 briefing, Iowa Department of Natural Resources director, Kayla Lyon joined Governor Reynolds
by video from Pine Lake State Park near Eldora. Lyon used the opportunity to announce all of the state parks would open for the busy Memorial Day weekend holiday. However, with the opening, some restrictions will apply due to the presence of the COVID-19 virus within the state.

Lyon mentioned some of the other restrictions that will be placed on the state parks during this Memorial Day Weekend, and until such time the coronavirus is no longer looked upon as a threat.

The DNR director says many Iowans have taken a renewed interest in Iowa’s natural resources and have used to opportunity to explore Iowa’s parks. She says both hunting and fishing licenses have increased over last year’s numbers.

During Wednesday’s briefing, Governor Reynolds mentioned that we will have summer baseball and softball games, but specific details will be announced during Thursday’s briefing when Iowa Department of Education director Ann Lebo is expected to join the governor.



Reynolds Allowing Movie Theaters, Zoos, Museums to Open Friday

(Des Moines, IA) — Governor Kim Reynolds is moving up the re-opening of more Iowa businesses prior to the holiday weekend. The governor said effective Friday, movie theaters, zoos, aquariums, museums and wedding reception venues will be permitted to re-open with appropriate public health measures in place.

Swimming pools will be able to open for laps and lessons
while the D-N-R is opening all modern restrooms and showers at the state’s parks. Reynolds says bars and other establishments that sell alcohol will be able to open next Thursday at 50-percent capacity. She also announced that Iowa school activities and sports can resume on June 1st. Reynolds says
parents and athletes have been anxious to get playing again.



Agriculture Secretary Naig Delivers Good News For Small Sized Meat Processors

(Le Mars) — Good news was given to local community meat locker and processing facilities by the Iowa Department of Agriculture. On Wednesday, it was announced that small size meat processing facilities would be allowed to market their product across state lines. Up to this point, meat processed
at a small-town butcher shop would be inspected by state agriculture department inspectors, but would be forbidden to be marketed anywhere beyond Iowa’s borders. In the past, when meat that was to be transported across state lines would have needed to be inspected by federal meat inspectors by the U-S Department of Agriculture. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig says that has now changed.

Naig says officials had been working for such a deal for sometime, but it took the COVID-19 pandemic to bring the idea to an agreement.

The Iowa Agriculture Secretary says because of the situation, livestock producers are trying to be creative for marketing their livestock. He says farmers are turning to the smaller community butcher shops as a marketing alternative, since large-scale meat processing operations have been disrupted because of COVID-19 outbreaks, causing employee absences and a reduction of
processing capacity.


Naig says it may be months before the nation can resume normal meat processing capacity.



Axne Calls For Investigation Into Perry Pork Plant, Reynolds Responds

(West Des Moines, IA) — Congresswoman Cindy Axne is asking for an investigation of how the Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration handled a complaint about working conditions at the pork processing plant in Perry. Axne said it’s clear the agency’s review was “severely lacking” since the plant later was the site of a COVID-19 outbreak. Governor Kim Reynolds said her staff reviewed Iowa OSHA’s actions and it appears that they followed a normal and their appropriate process. Documents indicate no state inspectors were sent to the Tyson plant in Perry and the case was closed nine days later following an email response from the company. Reynolds said the complaint was made on a weekend on a federal website, and state officials handled it within five business days after getting it, as they were visiting with Tyson about outbreaks at other plants in the state. Axne said in her letter that Iowans need to be assured that issues of workplace safety will be taken seriously by state officials.



Ernst Praises $16 Billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

(Washington, DC) — U-S Senator Joni Ernst is praising the Trump Administration’s plan to provide 16-billion dollars in direct relief to farmers as a result of the CARES Act. The Iowa Republican says she worked hard to bolster the Commodity Credit Corporation and give the U-S-D-A the ability to provide direct assistance to farmers. Farmers and ranchers
impacted by COVID-19 will be eligible for payments under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program beginning May 26th. Ernst said, “Iowa farmers are resilient, working sun-up to sun-down, but we know this pandemic has challenged them.”



Woman Charged in Racially-Motivated Hit-and-Runs Competent For Trial

(Des Moines, IA) — A Polk County woman accused of running over two children because of their race is now competent to stand trial. Forty-two-year-old Nicole Poole is charged with attempted murder after police say she intentionally ran over a Hispanic girl and an African-American boy in December. A judge ruled in February that Poole was suffering from mental
illness and was not competent for trial in the hit-and-run crashes. She underwent treatment, the stay in the case was lifted and her next court hearing is May 28th.



Mason City Council Makes Changes to Allow Outdoor Restaurant Seating

(Mason City, IA) — The city council in Mason City is making some changes to allow restaurants to expand outdoor seating. The move will help prevent the spread of coronavirus and allow for social distancing. The ordinance passed Tuesday night fast-tracks the application process for seating areas on sidewalks and other public property. Restaurants can apply through the city