Officials yesterday said eight more people died from COVID-19 in Iowa, and 83 new cases of the disease were reported between Saturday and Sunday. Last night, Gov. Reynolds’ office advised that she will be holding a news conference at 11 a.m. today; you’ll hear it live on KXEL.
There are not many silver linings to the COVID-19 outbreak, but seeing how successful many companies can be by having employees work from home just may be one of them. Tiffany O’Donnell is CEO of the Cedar Rapids-based group Women Lead Change. You can hear the full conversation with Tiffany O’Donnell by going to the podcast section of KXEL.com.
The Waterloo city council will meet tonight…before the regular meeting, there will be a council work session and finance committee meeting, where changes including eliminating pre-approval of various expenditures will be discussed. Among the agenda items during the regular session which begins at 5:30, action on a rezoning request to allow construction of a new Dollar General store at 5225 Dysart Road…a matter that was deferred by the council previously.
The Iowa Supreme Court has issued an order suspending grand jury hearings and criminal jury trials until mid-July in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Chief Justice Susan Christensen’s order says trials and hearings already in progress will continue. But those that have not begun and are scheduled to begin over the coming weeks have been postponed. Non-jury criminal trials, in which a judge issues a verdict, are scheduled to resume June 1 under the order. Grand juries and jury trials scheduled through June are now pushed back until at least July 13.
Gov. Kim Reynolds received word from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Saturday that more than $44 million has been allocated to the state for reimbursement of expenses related to the COVID-19 response. The governor says this FEMA reimbursement will allow the state to buy additional personal protective equipment (PPE). The $44 million is the 75 percent federal share of that total cost, with the State covering the remaining 25 percent. As the COVID-19 response continues, additional costs will be submitted to FEMA for reimbursement.
At this time when so many are staying at home, they’re spending more time on line to pass the time…and that makes more people susceptible to fraud. The full interview with Special Agent Nathaniel McLaren of the Iowa Department of Public Safety, featuring six tips to help you be cyber-safe, can be heard during KXEL Live & Local today; the program airs between 9 and 11 a.m.
New Hartford has become the second city to cancel a mutual aid fire protection agreement with the city of Cedar Falls, citing safety concerns with the Cedar Falls public safety officer system. The agreement had been in place since 2004. Cedar Falls Fire Chief John Bostwick called the decision “unfortunate” said the move came without any discussions with Cedar Falls officials. New Hartford officials say they haven’t had to call for Cedar Falls’ help in recent years because it they’ve gotten enough aid from smaller surrounding departments.
Flexsteel Industries has laid off 40 workers at its Dubuque corporate location due to COVID-19. A letter recently sent to Dubuque city officials from Flexsteel says the temporary layoff was effective March 23rd and is expected to last three months. The affected positions are primarily are in sales, customer service or other corporate functions. On March 24th, the company had announced it was shutting down its Dubuque manufacturing plant for two weeks. The company has about 150 production workers at that Dubuque plant.
Waterloo police recovered two vehicles Friday that had been stolen from Des Moines-area dealerships. 42-year-old Dustin Alan Armstrong of Des Moines was arrested and charged with on two counts of first-degree theft. Court records say Armstrong had a 2019 van that was stolen from a Clive dealership that he offered for sale on Craig’s List website. A Waterloo man bought the van on March 31st, paying for the vehicle with a money order. A few days later, Armstrong called the buyer back, saying he had trouble cashing the money order and requesting cash instead. The buyer became suspicious and ran the van’s VIN number online; it showed the vehicle was reported stolen. He alerted police, who showed up when Armstrong arrived in Waterloo to collect the money…driving a vehicle stolen from a Des Moines dealership.
Animal shelters across the U.S. say they’ve placed record numbers of dogs, cats and other animals as people suddenly find themselves stuck at home amid the coronavirus pandemic. If past trends hold, many of those who agree to temporarily care for a pet will ultimately decide they want to keep the animal. When the Animal Rescue League of Iowa recently put out a call for temporary homes for 80 cats, it got 160 applications within 12 hours. However, the Cedar Bend Humane Society has closed to the public due to the virus pandemic…the closure was effective this past Saturday with no adoption appointments to be made. No-contact adoptions will resume in the future. The facility will be taking phone calls between 9 and noon weekdays regarding lost pets and those who wish to surrender animals.