HABOOB? NO, DERECHO
The storm that caused a massive dust cloud in parts of northwest Iowa and Nebraska is being classified as a derecho. The National Weather Service office in Sioux Falls says on their website that Thursday’s storm had wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour, lasted for more than 240 miles, and was at least 60 miles wide. It stretched from south-central Nebraska to northeast Nebraska, into eastern South Dakota and northwest Iowa, and into Minnesota.
A four vehicle accident occurred during a severe thunderstorm Thursday afternoon. A press release from the Sioux County Sheriffs Department says all four vehicles were travelling east on county road B40, three miles north of Orange City. The storm caused poor visibility, and the lead driver, 60 year old Santos Fragoso of Albuquerque, New Mexico, slowed down. This led to a chain-reaction accident, as Fragoso’s vehicle was struck from behind, and two more succeeding vehicles struck the rear of the vehicle ahead of them. No injuries were reported, but each vehicle sustained several thousand dollars in damages.
MIDWEST HONOR FLIGHTS
Midwest Honor Flights taking veterans to the U-S Capitol are ramping back up after the pandemic shut them down. One flight is scheduled for today out of Sioux Falls. Midwest Honor Flight President Aaron Van Beek. He says the trip will cost about $150,000.
The Sioux City Musketeers held jersey auctions to raise some of the money for this weekend’s flight. Each veteran on a flight is accompanied by a family member or volunteer who pays their own way. Van Beek says those guardians are an integral part of each Honor Flight.
Van Beek started the Midwest Honor Flight chapter in Sioux Center in March of 2017, when he was still in college.
Van Beek has quit his third-grade teaching job to work full time in organizing flights — There’s a waiting list of 850 veterans from northwest Iowa, South Dakota and southwest Minnesota. Midwest Honor Flight has two flights this spring, and three scheduled this fall.
MEATPACKERS AND COVID
A new congressional report shows meatpacking companies worked with the Trump administration to keep plants open during the coronavirus pandemic despite unsafe conditions. The companies referenced in the report from the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis include Tyson, Smithfield and JBS, which all have operations in the state of Nebraska. It claims lobbyists for the industry spoke with former Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue about sending a message that employees should be discouraged from staying home because they would not receive unemployment benefits.4
FINKENAUER BABY FORMULA
U-S Senate candidate Abby Finkenauer says the federal government must do more to address the critical shortage of baby formula. Finkenauer says as a 33 year old, she has a lot of friends who have babies and she began hearing about the shortage weeks ago. At the end of April, Finkenauer called on President Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act.
Finkenauer is one of three Democrats competing to run against Republican Senator Chuck Grassley in the General Election. Grassley Wednesday wrote a letter to the Food and Drug Administration to demand answers on what they’re doing to make sure families have access to the baby formula they need.
A firm that tracks baby formula sales nationwide found 43 percent of the most popular brands were sold out last week. Republican Congressman Randy Feenstra is co-sponsoring legislation in the House to change F-D-A regulations of baby formula, and it could let more baby formula made in other countries be sold in the U.S.