Home News Wednesday News, May 20th

Wednesday News, May 20th


Primary Election To Have Some Changes

(Le Mars) — In just 13 days on June 2nd, Iowa voters will participate in the primary election for Iowa. Because of the COVID-19 virus, voters will notice a few changes. Plymouth County Auditor, Stacey Feldman says one major change
is there will be only one precinct open for voters. Feldman says all in-person voting will take place in one location.
She says it doesn’t matter if you live in Westfield or Remsen; or Kingsley or Hinton, all voting will occur at the Le Mars Convention Center.

Feldman says due to the pandemic, election officials are encouraging voting by mail. However, the deadline for an absentee ballot is this Friday.

Feldman says ballots need to be returned to the Plymouth County Auditor’s office by June 1st.

The county auditor says voting is open to everyone that has declared a political party, although voters are able to change their voting registration the day of the election.

Feldman says voters wanting to vote in person will need to bring along some form of identification.

The polls will be open on June 2nd for the primary election between 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Feldman encourages all voters to wear a mask, however, she says it is not required. Social distancing measures will be in place, should
there be a line. Questions about the primary election can be directed to the Plymouth County Auditor’s office.



Secretary Of State Pate To Deliver Supplies To Primary Elections

(Des Moines, IA) — Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is distributing a half-a-million dollars in federal grant money to county auditors to help with the expense of safety measures for the June 2nd Primary. Pate says all states were offered this kind of federal financial support for primaries. He has redirected money in his office budget to come up with the state 20-
percent “matching” funds needed to qualify for the federal grants. Last week, Iowa National Guard soldiers delivered masks, gloves and hand sanitizer for use at polling places on June 2nd. Pate’s office has also sent social distancing markers and face shields to all 99 counties for use at the polls.
Pate has encouraged Iowans to vote early with an absentee ballot, but those who wish may still vote at a polling place.



State Officials To Monitor Child Care Facilities For COVID-19

(Des Moines) — Funding assistance for child care facilities was discussed during Tuesday’s COVID-19 briefing. Governor Kim Reynolds says parents across the state want to know and be assured their children will be safe, once they are called back to work, and their children need to return to a daycare facility. Iowa’s Director of Health and Human Services, Kelly Garcia
appeared on-line with the governor. She says as a mother of two small children, she understands the concerns of parents. State officials will start publicly identifying child care centers where there are outbreaks of COVID-19. Garcia says new guidelines require child care providers to report positive cases of the virus among children and staff. Garcia said, “we’re balancing both the public health aspects and the overall well-being of children.” On May 15th, the state’s criteria for qualifying for a COVID-19
test was changed, so children who go to child care and child care center employees may get tested if they had coronavirus symptoms that were not diagnosed as something else. Garcia says once an outbreak is identified, a child care provider will be asked to close anywhere from two days to up to two weeks, depending on the number of children who are enrolled. Garcia
mentioned that her department is working side-by-side with the Iowa Department of Public Health in determining a safe and clean environment for child daycare facilities.

Garcia says the Health and Human Services Department will assure that all staff and children have access to testing. Garcia says her department will work with parents to give them guidance regarding selecting the right child care facility.

Garcia says child care providers will be given some financial assistance because of the pandemic.

The Human Services director says with more than 10,400 child care facilities within the state, she refers people to visit the department’s website for reviews and discussion points with reference to Iowa’s daycare providers.



12 More COVID-19 Deaths, 341 Confirmed Cases

(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Department of Public Health is reporting 12 more Iowans have died of COVID-19, increasing the state’s death toll to 367.
Three-hundred-41 people tested positive for coronavirus for a new total of 15-thousand-296 confirmed cases. State health officials say 383 Iowans are hospitalized with the virus and nearly 79-hundred patients no longer need isolation. There have been 37 COVID-19 outbreaks at long-term care facilities in the state. State Medical Director Caitlin Pedati said more than 12-thousand Iowans have had serology testing which determines if a patient has COVID-19 antibodies in their blood. Nearly 17-hundred tested positive and could donate plasma to infected patients.



No Triple-A Travel Forecast For 1st Time In 20 Years

(Des Moines, IA) — With the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, Triple-A-Iowa won’t release a Memorial Day holiday weekend travel forecast for the first time in 20 years. Spokesperson Rose White says 43-million Americans traveled during the Memorial Day holiday last year and that was the
second-highest travel volume on record. White says with the social distancing guidelines still in practice, this holiday weekend’s travel volume is likely to set a record low. The D-O-T says traffic volume has been down 44-percent from normal — but during the Mother’s Day weekend, the numbers crept up to
75-percent of normal.



Catholic Church Clears The Way For In-Person Masses

(Des Moines, IA) — The Bishop of the Des Moines Catholic Diocese is allowing in-person masses to return in 15 counties beginning Thursday. Bishop William Joensen (Joan-son) says the decision comes after looking at the same medical data that health care officials and state officials have been
reviewing. Joensen says the parishes in those counties will be allowed to hold morning masses Monday through Saturday in what he calls phase one of the restarting of services. Joensen says this is not a mandate and local priests will be able to determine if they can take the steps to safely hold the masses.



Senator Grassley Proposes Relief For Ethanol Producers

(Washington, DC) — U-S Senator Chuck Grassley has proposed relief for ethanol producers through an amendment to the CARES Act. People are driving less, demand for fuel has fallen sharply and dozens of ethanol plants are sitting idle. With Congress working on another coronavirus pandemic relief package, the Iowa Republican is among a group of senators working to ensure
ethanol doesn’t get left out. Grassley says his stand-alone bill is a fairness issue. Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar is co-sponsoring the bill.



Grassley Pushes For Information on Firing of Inspectors General

(Washington, DC) — U-S Senator Chuck Grassley is renewing his call for the Trump Administration to provide a detailed, written explanation for President Trump’s firing of two inspectors general. The Iowa Republican says he’s been talking with White House lawyers who say he’ll get a response this week.
Grassley said, “so, I expect answers, and they know I don’t give up.” The 2008 Inspector General Reform Act requires the president to provide Congress with a written explanation of at least 30 days prior to removing an inspector general. Grassley says “we want inspectors general to be independent of
political pressure.” The president recently announced the termination of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick and Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson.



Iowa DPS Investigates Pella Homicide

(Pella, IA) — The Iowa Department of Public Safety reports a 55-year-old Pella woman has been taken into custody for Monday’s homicide. Pella police say they responded to a domestic disturbance call that night. Officers found 46-year-old Tracy Mondabough of Ottumwa inside a vehicle with serious
injuries. She died before she could be taken to a hospital. Michelle Boat was initially charged with violating a no-contact order, then the charge was upgraded Tuesday to first-degree murder. Boat is being held in the Marion County Jail.