September 17, 2020
JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Kim Reynolds says there is nothing inappropriate about her decision to spend nearly $449,000 in federal coronavirus relief money on salaries for aides in her office, including her chief of staff and spokesman. Reynolds responded at a press conference for the first time about a report posted Sunday by the online blog Bleeding Heartland. The report indicated 21 employees on Reynolds’ staff will have more than 60% of their salary paid by the federal emergency funds from March 14 through June 30. Reynolds says federal rules clearly allow salaries to be paid for workers whose job requirements are significantly changed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — As coronavirus deaths push past 1,200 and cases continue to rise Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds stands firm in her opposition to requiring masks or authorizing local cities and counties to enforce face covering mandates widely viewed by medical professionals and scientists as an effective way to slow COVID-19 spread. Reynolds encourages Iowans to wear masks but says orders are not enforceable. She’s been photographed recently at GOP events hugging and talking closely with others without a mask but claims she does wear one and says photo snapshots aren’t reflective of her practice. Community virus spread continues to be high in some counties which lead to a government recommendation of a statewide mask mandate, but Reynolds has declined to enact one.
KEYSTONE, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa State Patrol says one person died and five juveniles suffered minor injuries when a van hit a school bus in northeast Iowa. The crash happened Wednesday morning on a county road in Benton County. The patrol says a person driving a van veered onto the road’s shoulder then over corrected and hit the school bus. The driver of the van died at the scene. Five students on the bus were injured. The bus driver was not hurt. No names have been released and the investigation is continuing.
EAGLE GROVE, Iowa (AP) — Police in north-central Iowa say an officer fired his weapon after being hit by his own squad car that had been commandeered by a handcuffed suspect. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation says the incident happened Tuesday afternoon near Eagle Grove when a Wright County sheriff’s deputy stopped a car being driven by 31-year-old Sean McMillan, of Fort Dodge, who was suspected in an earlier disturbance. Investigators say McMillan was handcuffed in the squad car when he jumped over the center console, punched the accelerator and hit the deputy before speeding off. Officials say the deputy fired a single shot that hit the squad car’s windshield, but did not injure anyone. McMillian was later arrested in Eagle Grove.
September 17, 2020
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says it’s unlikely his party will achieve a veto-proof majority in November’s legislative elections. Republicans have said their goal is to build a two-thirds majority in both the Assembly and Senate, enough to override any veto from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. But Vos said during a WisPolitics.com video conference Wednesday that there’s only about a 30% chance the GOP might pull it off, mostly because outside groups are contributing heavily to Democrats. But he said Republicans still expect to come out of November with strong majorities.
KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) — Kenosha’s fire chief says damage from the unrest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake has now topped $11 million. Fire Chief Charles Leipzig told the Police and Fire Commission Tuesday that the record fire loss came in the days following the Aug. 23 shooting of Blake. The 29-year-old Black man was left partially paralyzed after a white police officer shot him seven times in the back. The shooting sparked protests and violence in Kenosha, where roughly two dozen fires were set and numerous businesses were destroyed. Prosecutors say 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse of Antioch, Illinois, shot three demonstrators, killing two of them, during a chaotic protest Aug. 25.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic has forced an iconic Wisconsin Dells-area water ski show to shut down forever. Tom Diehl, president and co-owner of the Tommy Bartlett Show, said Wednesday that the show can’t recover from the revenue loss this summer and will have to close down permanently after 69 years in business. The show didn’t operate at all this summer due to the pandemic and Diehl says it couldn’t recover from the loss of revenue or risk investing in the summer of 2021 because of the uncertainty the pandemic has created. The decision means the loss of 115 seasonal jobs.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin election officials have decided to stay with their decision not to allow special voting deputies into nursing homes to help residents cast absentee ballots out of fears of spreading the coronavirus. The state Election Commission banned voting deputies from entering nursing homes in March as the pandemic was taking hold. Commissioner Robert Spindell earlier this month asked commission staff to look into lifting the ban for the November election. The staff consulted with public health officials who felt letting deputies back into the homes was too risky. The commission decided at a Wednesday meeting to keep the deputies out of the facilities.
September 17, 2020
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump was quick to spike the ball in celebration when the Big Ten announced the return of fall football at colleges clustered in some of the Midwest battleground states critical to his reelection effort. But his efforts to reverse last month’s decision to postpone fall sports in the conference because of the novel coronavirus were far from the only factor that led officials to change course. The Big Ten was under enormous pressure to restart the season from athletes, parents, coaches and college towns that rely on football Saturdays to provide much needed tax revenue.
MARKHAM, Ill. (AP) — A 30-year-old man visiting relatives in suburban Chicago from Kentucky has been arrested after a woman’s remains were found in several bags of luggage. Police say the man caught a Greyhound bus from Louisville to Chicago over the past few days and was picked up there by relatives who took him to their home in Markham. While the man was at a public library Tuesday, a relative opened one of the bags and found body parts. Police later found more remains in the other bags. Police say the victim was from Louisville and her death resulted from a domestic assault.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The governor of Illinois says he sympathizes with young athletes and their families eager to return to the field, court and ice. But Democratic Gov. J.B. Prtizker said Wednesday that the threat from the coronavirus pandemic is still too great. Parents and fans have been pushing for resumption of football, volleyball and boy’s soccer to traditional fall schedules instead of the spring. He urged them to remember that even if a family decides to let a young person play, the virus can still be spread to other people who aren’t participating. There have been 8,367 deaths in Illinois related to the disease that results from the coronavirus. Overall, there have been 266,151 confirmed cases.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The coronavirus has claimed another 35 lives in Illinois and the state reports 1,941 new confirmed cases of the disease. The Illinois Department of Public Health reports Wednesday that there are more than 266,100 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state and 8,367 deaths. Illinois’ preliminary seven-day average of positive tests is 3.7%. Hospitals were treating more than 1,560 COVID-19 patients. Figures released this week by Chicago Public Schools show that eight of the system’s workers have died from the virus, while more than 250 others have tested positive.