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Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

December 2, 2020

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says there are no plans to use millions of dollars of unused state surplus money to help businesses and families experiencing financial stress due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some other states have approved state funding aid or are considering it. Reynolds said Tuesday there isn’t enough state money. She placed the burden on Congress to reach an agreement. Pubic health data in Iowa shows signs that the coronavirus infection rate is slowing, but the number of people hospitalized and dying with the coronavirus remains high. Iowa reported 24 deaths and 1,906 new confirmed cases Tuesday. Hospitals reported 1,172 patients with the virus.

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — Sioux City police say they are investigating a death inside an apartment used by transients as a homicide. The victim’s body was found Tuesday. Police did not release the gender of the victim, who appeared to have signs of blunt force trauma. The person appeared to have been deceased for a week. A medical examiner has not yet determined the cause of death. The apartment is part of a complex where 33-year-old Solomon Blackbird was shot on Nov. 1. He later died. Police say the two deaths do not appear to be related.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — Police are investigating the fatal shooting of a man inside a Cedar Rapids home, and a person of interest was being questioned. Police say the shooting happened Monday morning, when officers were called to the home for a report of a shooting. KWWL reports that arriving officers found the body of 24-year-old Charles James Griffin. Police have not released other details of what may have led to the shooting and have not announced any arrests, although a person of interest was questioned.

ODEBOLT, Iowa (AP) — A Texas company has announced it will build a $15 million plant in northwest Iowa that will make environmentally-friendly shipping pallets from corn plant waste, such as stalks, husks and leaves. The Des Moines Register reports that Corn Board Manufacturing will build the 50,000-square-foot plant on 40 acres west of Odebolt in Sac County. The company makes a wood alternative, named CornBoard, from corn stover, the plant debris that’s typically left in the field after a crop is harvested. The company already uses CornBoard to make ski, snow and skateboard equipment under the Stalk It brand name, as well as indoor and outdoor furniture. Company CEO Lane Segerstrom says construction will begin in the spring and the plant will employ up to 30 people.


Here is the latest Wisconsin news from The Associated Press

December 2, 2020

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Assembly Republicans are backing a $100 million coronavirus relief package, about a fifth of what Democratic Gov. Tony Evers wants to spend on fighting the virus. But it doesn’t appear Senate Republicans are on board, let alone Evers. The Legislature has not met since April, even as virus numbers have spiked in Wisconsin. Senate Republican Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said Tuesday that Senate Republicans had “serious concerns” about new spending. The back and forth came on the day that Wisconsin reported a new record-high number of deaths. The Department of Corrections also says it is closing a part of the maximum security prison in Waupun due to staff shortages.

WARRENSBURG, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri man accused of killing two brothers from Wisconsin will not be allowed to meet in person with his attorneys, at least for now. Attorneys for Garland Nelson, of Braymer, have not been able to meet with him in the same room at the Caldwell County Jail because of coronavirus restrictions. They argued they need to have personal visits with Nelson because he is facing the death penalty in the deaths of 24-year-old Justin Diemel and 35-year-old Nicholas Diemel, of Shawano County, Wisconsin. A judge ruled Tuesday that he wants to hear from public health officials before allowing the personal meetings.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A powerful Republican lawmaker in the Wisconsin Legislature known for his efforts to combat the opioid abuse crisis is resigning to pursue unspecified opportunities in the private sector. Rep. John Nygren announced Tuesday he was resigning effective Wednesday. His move means there will be two new co-chairs for the powerful budget-writing Joint Finance Committee. Nygren has been co-chair of the committee for eight years. He is also known for championing dozens of new laws that tackle the opioid and heroin abuse crisis. Nygren has been in the Assembly since 2007 representing the Marinette area in northeast Wisconsin.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republicans are calling on the Democratic chairwoman of the Wisconsin Elections Commission to resign. They expressed anger Tuesday that she finalized the state’s presidential election results showing Democrat Joe Biden defeating President Donald Trump. Republican commissioner Dean Knudson called chair Ann Jacobs’ actions finalizing the election on Monday a “little dog and pony show” that violated the law. Knudson says the commission should have been involved. Jacobs says she was following the law and past precedent. She refused Knudson’s call to resign. The debate came after Trump filed a lawsuit challenging the election results.


Here is the latest Illinois news from The Associated Press

December 2, 2020

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Coronavirus cases shot up again Tuesday to 12,542, the highest in 11 days, and there were 125 deaths, Illinois public health officials reported. After a short-lived downturn which saw new cases fall as low as 6,190 on Monday, the uptick came even before officials predict a new wave of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, induced by a busy Thanksgiving week of cross-state travel and family gatherings. Deaths haven’t slowed in relative comparison, however, although the 125 recorded Tuesday accounted for just the second time in five days fatalities topped 100.

CHICAGO (AP) — The county that includes Chicago has seen more than 900 homicides thus far this year compared to 675 in all of last year. The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office says that 2020 is the first year since 2016 and just the second time since 1996 that there have been at least 900 homicides.  The vast majority of those killings occurred in Chicago, where the police department reports that as of the end of November there have been 716 homicides in the city. The medical examiner’s office says the overwhelming majority of the victims were shot to death and 78% of the victims were Black.

CHICAGO (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden is considering former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to serve as his transportation secretary. Biden’s pick to lead the Transportation Department is not believed to be imminent, and Emanuel is among multiple candidates in the running for the Cabinet position. That’s according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private deliberations. Emanuel is a substantial and somewhat divisive figure in Democratic Party politics. Some party progressives are critical of Emanuel’s handling of the police shooting death of Black teenager Laquan McDonald by a white officer when Emanuel was mayor.

ZEIGLER, Ill. (AP) — A southern Illinois house fire has killed three people. WPSD-TV reports callers reporting the blaze Monday afternoon in the city of Zeigler originally reported the home was fully engulfed with multiple people trapped inside. The Franklin County Coroner confirms one adult and two children died. Authorities say firefighters and police officers attempted to enter the home  to rescue anyone inside, but were unable to do so. A female was located outside the home, and airlifted from the scene to a burn center. A firefighter also was injured and was transported to a local hospital before being released.