Plymouth County Has Again Double-Digit COVID Positivity Rate
(Le Mars) — Two counties in northwest Iowa are reporting the highest positive rates for COVID-19 in the state. Dickinson County has the dubious distinction of leading all 99 counties, but the other county is none other than right here with Plymouth County. Plymouth and Dickinson counties are two of the four Iowa counties that are reporting double-digit positivity
rates over the last week. The positivity rate in Dickinson County is 14-percent, with fully half of the new cases coming from the 18-to-29 and 80-plus age groups. The positivity rate in Plymouth County is 10 percent.
Public health officials report more than one-fourth of Iowa’s positive cases last week were confirmed in the 18-to-29 age group.
City Council Gives Approval For Floyd Valley Healthcare Expansion Project
(Le Mars) — The Le Mars city council gave their approval for two projects to get started. The council, on Tuesday, voted for Floyd Valley Healthcare to proceed with their Specialty Clinic and Therapy Expansion project.
Construction is projected to begin yet this summer with a total cost at around $10 million dollars. The council also approved the Cleveland Park Parking Lot Improvement project.
April Is Recognized As Sexual Abuse Awareness Month
(Le Mars) — During the city council meeting, council members heard a report from Stephanie Henrich with Center Against Sexual Abuse or CASA informing the council that April is designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Henrich informed the council that the agency is losing money.
Henrich says CASA is visiting with local businesses to ask for donations by participating in what is known as “Denim Day.”
Kwik Star To Hold Grand Opening – Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
(Le Mars) — A grand opening celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for today for the new Kwik Star mega convenience store which recently opened in Le Mars. The celebration will begin at 10:00 a.m. this morning and will continue until 12:00 noon with ribbon cutting scheduled for 11:00 a.m.
Governor Reynolds Wants Minority Groups To Be Vaccinated
(Des Moines) — Governor Reynolds is emphasizing the need for minority populations to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. During her weekly news conference held Wednesday, Reynolds specifically mentioned several clinics across the state, including one at Storm Lake, Iowa, known as “Salute” that is focusing on vaccinating African-Americans, Hispanics and other Latino groups, as well as also Asian-Americans. The governor says although more minority groups are getting their protection against COVID-19, more attention needs to be directed to these communities.
Reynolds says she is encouraged, but admits more needs to be done in order to see Iowa’s minority communities fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. The governor thanked the community partnerships and she says she anticipates to see the numbers improve. Reynolds says more than 1.7 million doses of vaccine have been administered, which according to Reynolds, is 83 percent of all the doses delivered to the state.
Reynolds Against “COVID Passports”
(Des Moines) — Declaring she is against any type of COVID-19 passports, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced during her weekly news conference, that Iowans need to take a stand against such action calling for what is known as a “COVID passport.”
Iowa Broadband Expansion Bill Headed to Governor’s Desk
(Des Moines, IA) — A bill to expand broadband internet in Iowa is headed to Governor Kim Reynolds’ desk. The measure was approved by the Iowa Senate Tuesday night after previously passing the House. It calls for upload and download speeds of at least 100 megabits in most areas, while extending lower broadband speeds into hard-to-reach areas. Reynolds has asked for 450-million dollars over three years to build out Iowa’s broadband.
Two Separate Investigations Are Being Conducted Into Fatal Prison Attacks
(Anamosa, IA) — Two separate investigations are being conducted into the fatal attacks at the Anamosa State Penitentiary. Governor Kim Reynolds says one is being carried out by the Iowa Department of Corrections and the other will be done by outside investigators. While making that announcement Wednesday, the governor also revealed a new position – director of prison security – has been created to oversee the safety at all correctional facilities. Forty-six-year-old correctional officer Robert McFarland and 50-year-old nurse Lorena Schulte were beaten to death March 23rd at the prison in Anamosa.
As Iowa Construction Season Heats Up, Builders’ Supplies Are Scarce
(Des Moines, IA) — As Iowa’s construction season heats up with the season, builders are finding the supplies they need to be scarce. Seventy-one-percent of builders nationwide say they are facing shortages of lumber, steel, electrical, and lighting supplies. Des Moines contractors report drywall prices have jumped by 45-percent and roofing materials are up by 40-percent. Supplies of lumber and drywall are limited right now. Water pipes bursting in the cold snap in Texas caused some of the problems. Severe storms shut down plastics and resin plants which are still not back in operation.
Motorcyclist Accused of Leading Iowa Authorities on High Speed Chase
(Mason City, IA) — A motorcyclist from Colorado is accused of leading authorities in northern Iowa on a high-speed chase Tuesday. The Iowa State Patrol says 23-year-old Cody B. Smith was clocked going 110 miles an hour on Interstate 35 and driving more than 130 miles per hour as officers tried to pull him over. Troopers say Smith was passing vehicles on both shoulders and eventually lost control of his motorcycle on a gravel road, crashing into the front of a squad car. Smith faces several charges including reckless driving, felony eluding and speeding.
Finalists For University Of Iowa President Begin Campus Visits Next Week
(Iowa City, IA) — The four finalists to be the University of Iowa’s next president will begin campus visits next week. The Board of Regents released the schedule Wednesday. The names of the candidates who will be visiting will be released 24 hours before they arrive. Each candidate will visit with different groups, then appear at a public forum at 3:30 p-m. In-person attendance at the forums will be limited, but all will be live-streamed. The regents will interview each finalist Thursday and Friday, April 29th and 30th, then they are expected to announce their choice for the position. Bruce Harreld is retiring after serving as president for five years.
Hawkeye Express Train Shutting Down
(Iowa City, IA) — A popular passenger train service that delivered Iowa football fans outside the gates of Kinnick Stadium is ending. The University of Iowa Athletic Department and Iowa Northern Railway Company said in a statement that continued social distancing measures, a need for future equipment upgrades, and an overall increase in operation expenses figured into the decision to end the 15-year run of the Hawkeye Express. Fans could park in Coralville and board the train and take a ten-minute ride that ended right outside the stadium. An average of 37-hundred fans took the train for each Hawkeye home game in 2019.