October 23, 2020 - 2:44 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Two more deaths connected to COVID-19 have been reported in Sioux County according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. And 29 more cases of COVID were reported in our part of northwest Iowa on Friday.

Thirty-seven northwest Iowans have died in connection with COVID-19 since the pandemic started — Sixteen in Sioux County, fourteen in O’Brien County, and seven in Lyon County.

Sioux County reports a total of 2360 cases since the pandemic started, after a rise of 20 cases in the last 24 hours. O’Brien County is at 617, which is up 2 cases. Lyon County was up 3 cases at 531, and Osceola County was up 4 at 264.

As far as active cases, those are down significantly. Lyon County has 205, Sioux County has 707, O’Brien County has 223, and Osceola has 97.

Out of the 531 Lyon County residents who have had COVID-19, 319 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 60%.
Out of the 2360 Sioux County residents who have had COVID-19, 1637 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 69%.
Out of the 617 O’Brien County residents who have had COVID-19, 380 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 62%.
Out of the 264 Osceola County residents who have had COVID-19, 167 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 63%.

Total numbers of cases from other counties around the area and their change from the previous report:

Iowa counties:
Plymouth 1613, up 21
Cherokee 387, up 4
Buena Vista 2236, up 15
Clay 511, up 8
Dickinson 719, up 8

These numbers represent the period from noon Thursday, October 22nd through noon Friday, October 23rd.

Alton, Iowa — Multiple hogs were loose in the dark on a major northwest Iowa thoroughfare, and authorities advised people to avoid the area for several hours overnight Thursday into Friday after a semi mishap near Alton.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that a few minutes before 9 p.m. on Thursday, October 22, 35-year-old Lucas Koenen of Steinauer, Nebraska was driving a 2000 Kenworth semi-tractor pulling a livestock trailer southbound on Highway 60, a mile south of Alton, when he lost control of the vehicle. The truck rolled onto its side and entered the median.

No injuries were reported to humans, but the livestock loss in the accident is unknown, according to authorities. Sioux County Chief Deputy Nate Huizenga says that most units had cleared from the scene by 1:30 to 2:00 a.m. Friday morning.

Authorities tell us the truck and trailer sustained approximately $145,000 in damage.

They say Koenen was cited on a charge of failure to maintain control of a motor vehicle.

The sheriff’s office reports the Alton Ambulance Squad, Alton Fire Department, and the Orange City Police Department assisted with the response to the accident.

October 23, 2020 - 10:40 am - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says Iowa hospitals have the resources to manage this month’s surge in COVID patient admissions.

On Wednesday evening, the state’s coronavirus tracker indicated 530 COVID patients were being treated in an Iowa hospital. That’s 44 percent more than a month ago and higher than in any previous month of the pandemic.

Reynolds says about 10 percent of Iowa hospital patients have COVID and she says hospital executives have assured her they have enough ventilators and space in intensive care units to handle current case loads.

The state tracker indicates there are COVID outbreaks at 70 nursing homes and more than 1800 Iowa nursing home residents currently have COVID.

October 22, 2020 - 4:04 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — The downward trend of new COVID-19 cases in the four-county area has been broken. Seventy-seven new cases were reported in the four-county area Thursday, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

On Saturday, 59 cases were reported. Sunday it was down to 33, Monday it was down to 24, Tuesday it was down to 18, and Wednesday, it was up a little at 20. But on Thursday we were back up to 77 new cases being reported in the 24-hour period ending at noon Thursday.

Sioux County reports a total of 2340 cases since the pandemic started, after a rise of 31 cases in the last 24 hours. O’Brien County is at 615, which is up 30 cases. Lyon County was up 8 cases at 528, and Osceola County was up 8 at 260.

Thirty-five northwest Iowans have died in connection with COVID-19 since the pandemic started — fourteen in both Sioux and O’Brien counties, and seven in Lyon County.

As far as active cases, Lyon County has 312, Sioux County has 745, O’Brien County has 242, and Osceola has 99.

Out of the 528 Lyon County residents who have had COVID-19, 312 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 59%.
Out of the 2340 Sioux County residents who have had COVID-19, 1581 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 68%.
Out of the 615 O’Brien County residents who have had COVID-19, 359 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 58%.
Out of the 260 Osceola County residents who have had COVID-19, 161 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 62%.

Total numbers of cases from other counties around the area and their change from the previous report:

Iowa counties:
Plymouth 1592, up 37
Cherokee 383, up 8
Buena Vista 2221, up 9
Clay 503, up 2
Dickinson 711, up 10

These numbers represent the period from noon Wednesday, October 21st through noon Thursday, October 22nd.

Washington, D.C. — Shortly after eight o’clock Thursday morning, Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst voted with other Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee to advance President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee for a vote in the full Senate.

Grassley gave a short speech after the vote, saying Amy Coney Barrett’s would practice judicial restraint.

(As above) “She has the temperament and humility that we would expect of a judge,” Grassley said. “…Most importantly, she understands that a judge should interpret, not make the law.” 

Grassley criticized Democrats on the committee for boycotting Thursday’s vote.

(As above) “Our colleagues don’t think that they ought to represent their states and that’s what they’re not doing is representing their people when they don’t show up here,” Grassley said.

Democrats placed large photos of Americans who’ve benefitted from the Affordable Care Act on their chairs in the committee room. During last week’s committee hearing, Democrats argued Barrett would side with conservatives on the court and nullify the Affordable Care Act. Grassley says that’s nonsense.

(As above) “They claimed her critique of Chief Justice Roberts’ reasoning in the 2012 ACA case dictates how she’d vote in the upcoming case and we all know that that’s bunk,” Grassley said. …She testified: ‘I have no hostility to the ACA.'” 

Senator Ernst did not speak in committee, but gave a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday about Barrett.

(As above) “Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a wise, experienced, compassionate and strong woman and this past week Iowans and all Americans had the chance to see that,” Ernst said. “No matter the question or the topic, she was calm, cool and collected.” 

Ernst accused Democrats of trying to score political points during Barrett’s testimony last week.

(As above) “What has become crystal clear to me throughout this process is that Judge Barrett’s academic and professional qualifications are above reproach,” Ernst said. 

Ernst says her test for a Supreme Court justice is whether he or she will defend the Constitution.

(As above) “Far too often politicians in Washington want the Supreme Court to be a super legislature,” Ernst said, “to push policy that can’t make it through congress.” 

Ernst says the soon-to-be-justice should be viewed as a role model for all women.

(As above) “I’m struck by the irony of how demeaning to women some of the left’s accusations really are,” Ernst said, “that Judge Barrett, a working mother of seven with a strong record of professional and academic accomplishment, couldn’t possibly respect the goals and desires of today’s women.” 

The Republican-led senate is scheduled to take its final vote on Monday to confirm Barrett as a Supreme Court justice.

Statewide Iowa — Four of the seven justices on the Iowa Supreme Court have ruled county election officials cannot use voter registration data to correct mistakes on absentee ballot request forms.

In the past, county auditors have used voter records to fill in missing numbers or make corrections on the forms for requesting an absentee ballot. A new state law prohibits the practice. A majority of the Iowa Supreme Court sided with the argument from Republicans that it’s too close to the election to alter the rules.

Three justices joined in a dissent. They cited unprecedented early voting during the pandemic and evidence that county auditors are scrambling to ensure all who wish to do so may vote.

Under current law just upheld by the state’s highest court, if an absentee ballot request form has an error, county election officials are to call the voter or send a letter to the voter may correct it.

October 22, 2020 - 10:31 am - Posted in News

Northwest, Iowa — The two leading candidates competing to represent Iowa’s 4th congressional district next year agreed there should be term limits for members of the House and clashed over their fundraising during their only televised debate of the campaign.

Republican Randy Feenstra read tweets Democrat J.D. Scholten posted in 2019 saying the Green New Deal would benefit farm families.

(as said) “He’s taken millions and millions of dollars from liberal coastal elites from San Francisco and California,” Feenstra said. “He’s been buddy-buddy with Bernie Sanders. He’s been endorsed by Elizabeth Warren.”

Scholten says once more details about the Green New Deal emerged, it became clear farmers didn’t have a seat at the table.

(as said) “You have been lying in your ads,” Scholten said. “…Listen to me. I don’t support the Green New Deal, so if you had any ounce of integrity, you should take down that ad…”

Feenstra has served 12 years in the state senate and he says, if elected, he would serve no more than 12 years in the U.S. House.

(as said) “It starts with the Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers said that you go to government, you go to Washington, you serve your time and then you go back to work again,” Feenstra said. “You don’t make it a career,”

Scholten says he supports term limits, but the nation’s campaign finance laws must be cleaned up first.

(as said) “If we had term limits…that will just empower the lobbyists,” Scholten says. “One of the biggest things we talk about every single day is securing our democracy because, right now, special interests are dictating it.”

Feenstra’s successful primary win over Republican Congressman Steve King came up at the beginning of the debate. Scholten read a quote from a northwest Iowan who became a national co-chair of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

(as said) “Sam Clovis recently said on radio they found an opportunistic candidate in Randy Feenstra and all this outside money came in and it wasn’t the 4th district that picked Randy, it was outside money,” Scholten says.

Feenstra shot back.

(as said) “I have 2,900 contributors from Iowa…I have taken money from so many people in the 4th district who believe in me because I can help them with ag,” Feenstra said.

The debate was broadcast on WHO TV in Des Moines and KCAU in Sioux City. It began with the moderator’s reference to how tall the two candidates are and both were asked to reflect on the importance of athletics. Feenstra is six-six and played high school basketball at Western Christian High School in Hull.

(as said) “Competition is a good thing. It brings out the best thing in a person,” Feenstra said. “It also brings out camaraderie and an understanding that when it’s all said and done, we shake the other person’s hand.”

Scholten, who is six-foot-seven, played basketball and baseball for Sioux City East High School and played professional baseball.

(as said) “I didn’t care where my shortstop came from and I didn’t care who my left fielder voted for in the last election,” Scholten said. “We needed to work together for a common goal.”

Scholten says he played with teammates who came from six different continents during his baseball career.

Washington, DC — Farmers in a number of northwest Iowa counties can apply for federal disaster aid if they were affected by the drought.

In a letter to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told the governor that he is designating six Iowa counties as primary natural disaster areas due to the recent [and ongoing] drought. He says that according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, these counties suffered from severe drought for 8 or more consecutive weeks or they suffered from the drought categories that the Drought Monitor calls “extreme” or “exceptional.”

He says additional areas of the state and adjacent states are named as contiguous disaster counties.

Iowa US Senator Joni Ernst says the primary disaster area counties are Clay, Dickinson, Humboldt, Lyon, Osceola, and Palo Alto counties. Because of the “contiguous” designation, farmers in all four of our coverage area counties, including Sioux and O’Brien counties are eligible.

Perdue’s office says a Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in primary counties and those counties contiguous to such primary counties eligible to be considered for certain assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. This assistance includes FSA emergency loans. Farmers in eligible counties have 8 months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans.

They say the FSA considers each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses on the farm and the security and repayment ability of the operator. Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with further information.

Hawarden, Iowa — A Hull man turned himself in to authorities Wednesday on arrest warrants stemming from a burglary that allegedly happened in Hawarden back in February.

According to court records, the charges against 36-year-old Vincent Gabriel Perez-Martinez are the result of the investigation into the burglary of an occupied Hawarden apartment on February 29th.

Perez-Martinez is charged with 1st Degree Burglary, which is a Class B Felony; Assault with Serious Injury While Participating in a Felony, a Class C Felony; and Witness Tampering, which is an Aggravated Misdemeanor. He’s accused of burglarizing the apartment and assaulting the resident.

Online court records indicate that warrants for Perez-Martinez arrest on the charges were issued on October 13th, and he turned himself in at the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday (October 21st).

Booking photo courtesy of the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office

Northwest Iowa — Five more COVID-19 deaths and twenty additional COVID-19 cases were reported in the four-county area Wednesday, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

O’Brien County reported three more deaths in the last 24 hours, and Sioux County reported two. Thirty-five northwest Iowans have now died in connection with COVID-19 since the pandemic started — fourteen now in both Sioux and O’Brien counties, and seven in Lyon County.

While the daily death total is up, the daily new positive case totals are trending down, especially from their peak about a month ago at 117 cases in one day.

Sioux County reports a total of 2309 cases since the pandemic started, after a rise of 8 cases in the last 24 hours. O’Brien County is at 585, which is up 4 cases. Lyon County was up 4 cases at 520, and Osceola County was up 4 at 252.

As far as active cases, they appear to be going down a little too. Lyon County has 223, Sioux County has 765, O’Brien County has 225, and Osceola has 99.

Out of the 520 Lyon County residents who have had COVID-19, 290 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 56%.
Out of the 2309 Sioux County residents who have had COVID-19, 1530 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 66%.
Out of the 585 O’Brien County residents who have had COVID-19, 346 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 59%.
Out of the 252 Osceola County residents who have had COVID-19, 153 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 61%.

Total numbers of cases from other counties around the area and their change from the previous report:

Iowa counties:
Plymouth 1555, up 10
Cherokee 375, up 8
Buena Vista 2212, up 9
Clay 501, up 14
Dickinson 701, up 15

These numbers represent the period from noon Tuesday, October 20th through noon Wednesday, October 21st.