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Iowa posts second consecutive day of over 1,000 virus cases

News

September 26th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — New coronavirus cases in Iowa have jumped by 1,086 in the last 24 hours marking the second consecutive day of new cases exceeding 1,000. Four more people died pushing the state’s death toll from the virus to 1,303. Data from state health and education departments indicate the virus is circulating in schools and nursing homes. Multiple school districts are reporting hundreds of students in quarantine after positive cases were identified in a school.

The state also reports 50 nursing homes have a virus outbreak with more than 1,000 residents testing positive currently. Gov. Kim Reynolds says she is continuing for another week bar closures in Johnson and Story counties, where major state universities are located.

Report: Iowa lost half its day care providers during this pandemic year

News

September 26th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – A new report finds Iowa has lost about half its licensed child care centers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report by the non-profit Child Care Aware of America found the state’s licensed child care centers dropped from nearly 16-hundred in January to just over 800 in July. Spokeswoman Kristina Haynie says some closures may be temporary, while larger centers may be struggling with additional costs associated with new cleaning and child-staff ratio requirements.

“So, like group sizes, that used to be maybe nine children per classroom has gone down to half that,” she says, “but they can’t let go staff and so they’re paying the same number of staff, but serving fewer children.” The report found in-home providers are faring much better during the pandemic. Their numbers stayed about the same from January to July, actually adding four programs during the time period. Haynie says larger licensed centers may be struggling because they have more children and staff to manage.

“So many parents might be working from home or they’re unemployed, they might not be sending their children to child care at this point,” she says. “And so, centers if they don’t have that many children, it’s really not feasible for them to stay in business.” The report recommends investing more government support in child care and providing more resources and support for families and providers.

(reporting by Natalie Krebs, Iowa Public Radio)

Ernst, a former county election official, encourages Iowans to vote by mail

News

September 26th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – Republican Senator Joni Ernst says confirming President Trump’s third U.S. Supreme Court justice is a way to prevent what she calls the “radicalization” of the court. In 2016, Ernst said she wouldn’t support confirming a justice in an election year. Ernst says Iowans see the situation is different in 2020, with Republicans now in control of the White House and the U.S. Senate.

“What they’re hearing from Democrats is that they will pack the court,” Ernst says. “They’ll get rid of the Senate filibuster and you cannot tell me that Democrats wouldn’t be doing the same thing right now.” Ernst is seeking a second term in the U.S. Senate. She says Democratic challenger Theresa Greenfield has also changed her views on the Supreme Court.

“My opponent already, she said she wouldn’t support packing the court earlier this year and now she hasn’t formed an opinion,” Ernst said. “…She’s not even elected yet and she’s shifting her position there.” After Greenfield said she had no opinion on adding justices to the Supreme Court, Greenfield’s spokesman issued a written statement saying Greenfield believes campaign finance reform is the best way to improve our democracy. Ernst filled up a campaign R-V with ethanol at a gas station in Grimes early Friday morning.

Ernst told a group of reporters gathered around the bus that she’s willing to push back if President Trump sows doubt about the outcome of this year’s election. “Absolutely and I can do that with authority and I have been speaking out about this because I served as a commissioner of elections here in the state of Iowa,” Ernst said, “but I do believe that our election system here in Iowa is very, very safe and if people want to vote by mail — an absentee ballot by mail — please, please go ahead and do that.”

Ernst served as the Montgomery County Auditor for six years before she was elected to the state senate in 2010.

Early harvest lessen the worry of winter hitting before end

Ag/Outdoor, News

September 26th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – The harvest is underway this year weeks ahead of last year and a safety expert says that’s important. Iowa State University professor Charles Schwab says rushing to get crops out of the fields creates more dangerous situations for farmers. He says we have a better window this year to get things done, but there could be some issues with downed corn this year. Millions of acres of corn were knocked down or bent over by the August 10th derecho.

Schwab says the earlier harvest gives more time to deal with that and other situation that arises.  Schwab says not rushing to get the crops in before the first snow is good — although he says you never know with the weather. Schwab says worrying about the timing of the harvest can take a toll. “I don’t think a lot of them realize the amount of stress that comes from that and how that stress impacts your body and how that impacting your body does things that put you at risk. It’s a key element,” Schwab says.

He says farmers need to eat right and get enough rest to stay healthy and not having such a tight window to get the crops in should allow them to do that.

Iowa temporarily replaces 2 top Davenport school officials

News

September 26th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) — Iowa school regulators have temporarily removed the top two officials in the Davenport school district amid concerns about inequities in discipline for minority students, inadequate special education and school safety. The State Board of Education decided Friday to replace Superintendent Robert Kobylski and Chief Financial Officer Claudia Wood while the district rectifies deficiencies.

The Des Moines Register reports that the Iowa Department of Education says Davenport schools have failed to make progress on goals outlined by the state over the past three years. The agency called the decision “a critical step” toward ensuring a quality education in a safe and secure environment.

 

Police: 1 shot and killed, 7 wounded at Iowa biker gathering

News

September 26th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say gunfire erupted at a gathering of motorcycle clubs in Iowa, killing one person and wounding seven others. Waterloo Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald says about 100 people were at the gathering inside a building in Waterloo early Saturday when there was “some kind of confrontation.” He says nearby police officers heard the gunfire and responded within seconds.

Eight people had gunshot wounds and one of them later died. Four other people were hurt by broken glass or other debris while fleeing. Investigators are still trying to determine whether there was more than one shooter and no arrests have been made.

 

Child dies from an accident in Council Bluffs Saturday afternoon

News

September 26th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

Council Bluffs Police responded to an injury accident in the 300 block of Lincoln Avenue a little after 1-p.m., Saturday.  Upon Officers’ arrival, Council Bluffs Fire Department personnel were treating a 2-year old female who suffered life-threatening injuries. The child was transported to Nebraska Medicine Hospital, where she was later pronounced deceased.

A preliminary investigation indicates the child was struck by a vehicle pulling into the driveway. No further details were released as of 3:20-p.m.

7AM Newscast 09/26/2020

News, Podcasts

September 26th, 2020 by Chris Parks

w/ Chris Parks

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Former deputy accused in series of burglaries, thefts

News

September 26th, 2020 by Chris Parks

LeMARS, Iowa (AP) — A former sheriff’s deputy in northwestern Iowa is facing several felony charges for burglaries and thefts that occurred while he was working as a deputy. The Sioux City Journal reports that 41-year-old Aaron John Leusink is accused in a series of crimes between December 2017 and January of this year. Authorities say the thefts were related to prescription medications. Leusink was working as a Plymouth County deputy at the time. Sheriff Michael Van Otterloo asked the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation to investigate after the allegations against Leusink came to light in April. Leusink was initially placed on administrative before being fired in April.

 

Teenager sentenced to life in prison for 2019 killing

News

September 26th, 2020 by Chris Parks

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa teenager has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole for killing another teenager in 2019. The Des Moines Register reports that Eliazar Montoya Gama of West Des Moines was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to first-degree murder in the death of 18-year-old Sakira Bonner. Dallas County Attorney Charles Sinnard says the judge’s ruling allows Gama to be eligible for parole after serving 30 years in prison. Gama was 17 at the time of the crime. Had he been an adult, he would have been sentenced to life without parole.