April 14, 2021 - 4:11 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — This is Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Week — a week in which extension personnel want to tell people what extension is all about.

We talked with Region 1 Extension Education Director Cheryl Heronemus, who tells us things are still not back to normal at the Extension offices.

But, she says, they still have the same goal during extension week — to tell the story of extension.

Heronemus tells us that interestingly enough, the entire extension concept started right in our area. Farmers around Hull wanted to see if research done at Iowa State University in Ames applied to their crops and fields in northwest Iowa — and that’s how the extension concept was born. And Iowa State University Extension was the first in the nation, thanks to those Hull farmers 118 years ago in 1903.

April 14, 2021 - 3:46 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — A new way for businesses, high schools, and community colleges to partner together to get the workers that they need is coming together, and Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon is a big part of it.

We talked with Sarah Breems-Diekevers, who is NCC’s Director of Student Development, Secondary Programs, and Transitions. She tells us about “CAPS.”

Breems-Diekevers tells us that while college students have participated in this program, the addition of high school students is new. She tells us the goal of the program.

She says the program will start in the fall of 2021, and students who are interested should check with their high school guidance counselor. Breems-Diekevers tells us some of the types of opportunities that would be possible.

She says if your business is interested in working with NCC, you can call her at NCC or your local high school.

Statewide Iowa — A University of Iowa study finds health care workers are more likely to catch COVID-19 if the exposure occurred in their home rather than their workplace.

The study used data from more than 17-hundred health care workers at the U of I Hospitals. Brooks Jackson, dean of the U-I College of Medicine, says workers tend to let down their guard when they leave work.

(As above) “The workplace was the lowest,” Jackson says, “and that’s not surprising, given that we have hand sanitizer, and we’ve got masks.”

The data showed 26-percent of exposures at home turned into infections, compared to just 10-percent of exposures in the workplace. The study found 17-percent of exposures overall turned into COVID-19 infections. Jackson says it’s clear that -most- workplaces will be safer.

(As above) “I think when you look at an eight-hour day in the workplace during this time period,” he says, “probably 95-percent of the time, people have been wearing masks.”

The U of I health care workers used in the study all self-reported exposures between September and November of last year.

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa House has unanimously voted to let adults who were adopted get a copy of their original birth certificate that likely shows the names of their biological parents. Representative Marti Anderson of Des Moines says under current state law, that requires a court order.

(As above) “Today, about half of all states allow adult adoptees some form of access to their original birth certificate,” she says, “without the complexity of going to court.” Anderson says. 

Anderson was 19 when she gave up a child for adoption in 1970. Anderson was only able to connect with her daughter in 2018 because each took an Ancestry-dot-com DNA test.

(As above) “This bill is about the rights of a person…to find out about their ethnicity, medical history, family information and culture,” Anderson says.

An original birth certificate may be the only piece of paper showing the NAME a child was given at birth as well as the actual DATE they were born. Anderson says some adoptive parents choose to list the adoption date as their child’s birthday. If the bill becomes law, biological parents would fill out a form to indicate whether they’d like to be contacted by the child they’re giving up for adoption or if they’d like their names redacted from the birth certificate. Representative Brian Lohse of Bondurant says biological parents would be given medical history forms that an adoptee could get when they become an adult.

(As above) “So that they know what’s lurking in their genes,” Lohse says.

If the bill clears the Senate and is signed into law by the governor, state officials would launch a public relations campaign to reach parents who have already given up a child for adoption — so they can fill out those forms, if they wish.

Statewide Iowa — The Iowa Department of Public Health is putting a hold on the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

The move by the state health department comes after the Centers for Disease Control or “CDC” and the FDA announced they are reviewing data involving six reported US cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in people who received the J&J vaccine. Federal officials say the adverse events appear to be extremely rare. The CDC and FDA plan to provide additional information later. Iowa has used part of its allocations of the one-dose J&J vaccine for college students in an effort to get them vaccinated before the end of the semester.

The O’Brien County Public Health Department had scheduled a mass vaccination clinic at the Crossroads Pavilion in Sheldon on Thursday, April 15th. The vaccine to be administered at this mass vaccination clinic was to have been the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Due to this new information, the O’Brien County Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine clinic scheduled for April 15th has been canceled.

O’Brien County Public Health is still planning to conduct the 2nd dose vaccine clinic for the Moderna vaccine on April 15th. If there are individuals that are interested in receiving the Moderna vaccine (1st dose) on April 15th, they are asked to contact the O’Brien County Public Health at 712-957-0105.

Osceola County Health Services gave out 120 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week, and many doses of the vaccine have been administered by Sioux County health officials including several hundred doses of the J&J vaccine to plant workers last month. Governor Reynolds and her husband Kevin also received the J&J vaccine at the beginning of March.

Mayo Clinic experts are telling us that this rare blood clotting reaction has occurred in 6 people out of nearly 7 million people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The six cases involved women between ages 18 and 48 and occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination.

Mayo experts say that if you have received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in the last three weeks and are experiencing unexplained new severe symptoms after 72 hours and up to three weeks after vaccination, such as new severe headaches, leg pain, abdominal pain or shortness of breath, you should seek emergency care. But they remind people that experiencing mild to moderate headache and muscle aches are common in the first 3 days after vaccination and do not require emergency care. They also say that evidence of this rare clotting disorder has not been reported in either the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

O’Brien County Public Health advises peopleto report adverse events following receipt of any COVID-19 vaccine online by clicking here.

They tell us that if you are scheduled to receive the J&J vaccine, you should contact your healthcare provider, vaccination location, or clinic to learn about additional vaccine availability.

Joint CDC and FDA Statement on Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

April 13, 2021 - 3:58 pm - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — Those who work in law enforcement, EMS, or fire fighting are thanking their dispatchers this week during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.

Sioux County Emergency Management Director and Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Nate Huizenga tells us why it’s important to recognize the people behind the microphone and on the other end of the 911 line.

Huizenga says it takes a special kind of person to be able to handle both technology and people who are having a really bad day, and still be able to go home and sleep when the shift is done.

He says they’re they’re grateful to have the telecommunicators that they do.

National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week is April 11th through the 17th.

April 13, 2021 - 3:17 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — Republican lawmakers have yet to decide what the 2021 legislature will do on tax policy. Republican Governor Kim Reynolds says the state can easily afford to speed up a series of income tax cuts. While Republicans in the Senate have endorsed that move, Republicans in the House are more cautious.

Speaker Pat Grassley says Republicans in the House want to make a sound decision that can be sustained for the long term.

(As above) “We’ve been in the majority in the House for 10 years now and I think a lot of that is because of the decisions we’ve made on the budget,” Grassley says, “and the stability that we’ve brought to state government.” 

Under current law, the cascade of income tax cuts only take effect if state tax revenue is projected to increase by at least four percent — and total tax collections are above eight BILLION. Grassley refers to these requirements as “triggers.”

(As above) “The reason the triggers were put in there was that was one of the piece that House wanted to put in during negotiations back in 2018…to make sure that we can stair step our way into it, provide that tax relief we want, without having to put the state budget at risk,” Grassley says. 

Tax revenue is projected to grow at three-point-eight percent. Majority Leader Jack Whitver says Senate Republicans believe that’s sufficient and agree with the governor on income tax cuts. The Senate GOP also wants to reduce county property taxes by having STATE taxes cover mental health system costs.

(As above) “Most states across the country use state funds to pay for mental health,” Whitver says, “and we have a system that has locked in mental health funding for over 20 years on property taxes.”

Whitver says Senate Republicans are not going to wait to find out if federal pandemic relief money being sent to the State of Iowa prevents the legislature from cutting taxes.

(As above) “We want to reduce taxes and I don’t want to wait another year. I mean, I don’t think Iowans want us to wait another,” Whitver says. “…We’re not going to let Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden tell us what we can do with taxes in the state of Iowa.” 

Whitver and Grassley made their comments during separate appearances on “Iowa Press” on Iowa PBS.

April 13, 2021 - 1:41 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — As the COVID-19 vaccine supply continues to increase, more appointments are opening — but getting to those appointments can be challenging for those who are unable to leave their homes without assistance. Harrison March is with the Heritage Area Agency on Aging.

(As above) “It’s a big hurdle to figure out exactly how to get people to a clinic to a central location where there are one thousand vaccines for people in town,” March says. ” And it’s not as easy to allocate the resources on the other end to get to individual homes and do one person at a time.” 

The state’s has six regional agencies — and March says some do have the resources to help homebound residents.

(As above) “There are some areas where there’s assisted transportation that can accommodate a wheelchair for someone who needs to get assistance from door to door as well as have that larger space to travel inside of a vehicle,” March says. 

March says if you need help in getting a vaccination, have your caregiver call the local Area Agency on Aging.

April 13, 2021 - 12:46 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — A new phone scam is surfacing in parts of Iowa where the caller claims to be from Amazon-dot-com.

The caller starts by saying you’ve made a purchase, of say, 500-hundred to 15-hundred bucks. The supposed Amazon rep then threatens to turn you over to the fraud division of the Federal Trade Commission if you don’t pay up. Don’t pay up! It’s a scam! Amazon will email you personally, with your name, if there is a problem with your account. Don’t wire or mail money to someone you don’t know. Don’t deposit a check from someone you don’t know and wire the money back, no matter how good a tale they tell. If anyone calls you about that, or wanting any personal info, just hang up and contact the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

As always, if you think you’ve been scammed, call your local police department and report it.

Statewide Iowa — The Iowa Department of Public Health is putting a hold on the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

The move by the state health department comes after the Centers for Disease Control or “CDC” and the FDA announced they are reviewing data involving six reported US cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in people who received the J&J vaccine. Federal officials say the adverse events appear to be extremely rare. The CDC and FDA plan to provide additional information later. Iowa has used part of its allocations of the one-dose J&J vaccine for college students in an effort to get them vaccinated before the end of the semester.

The O’Brien County Public Health Department had scheduled a mass vaccination clinic at the Crossroads Pavilion in Sheldon on Thursday, April 15th. The vaccine to be administered at this mass vaccination clinic was to have been the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. O’Brien County Emergency Management Director Jared Johnson says it’s likely the clinic will have to be canceled. He says they were also going to administer the second dose of Moderna vaccine to people who need it that day, and that could happen. At last report, Johnson was waiting on more information and confirmation from the Public Health Department.

Osceola County Health Services gave out 120 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last week, and many doses of the vaccine have been administered by Sioux County health officials including several hundred doses of the J&J vaccine to plant workers last month. Governor Reynolds and her husband Kevin also received the J&J vaccine at the beginning of March.