KXEL Morning News for Wed. May 27, 2020

KXEL Morning News for Wed. May 27, 2020

Gov. Kim Reynolds announced another step yesterday in the re-opening of the state…starting Monday, a variety of venues including casinos, bowling alleys, and amusement parks can reopen subject to social distancing. In addition, large gatherings for social functions and sports competitions will also be allowed to resume.

The Iowa Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 data is showing an increase of only 104 confirmed cases from Monday to yesterday…total number of positive cases now 17,661. Eight more deaths are also being reported over that 24-hour stretch–meaning 464 Iowans have now died from COVID-19.

The majority of the 2020 Summer Iowa Games have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Organizers say since most of the sports and activities happen in a ‘large-scale sports festival’ environment, they do not feel it is not safe to host the full event. Some smaller competitions, in separate cities, will continue.

One of Iowa’s biggest Independence Day celebrations has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The city of Clear Lake made that announcement yesterday, pledging to “be back in 2021 stronger and better than ever.” Officials are still considering a smaller event later in the summer with the traditional fireworks over the lake.

Iowans who are behind on rent or mortgage payments because of the pandemic will be able to ask the state for help. Governor Kim Reynolds announced she is lifting the state’s moratorium on foreclosures and evictions at 11:59 p.m. tonight. But at the same time, she also announced a new assistance program to prevent people from losing their home, using money the state received through the federal CARES Act. Reynolds says anyone who has experienced a loss of income during the pandemic and are unable to pay their rent or mortgage can apply.

 The governor also announced that in addition to bars reopening tomorrow, other entities ranging from casinos to bowling alleys can reopen next Monday. The governor said she tries to strike a balance between various interests in issuing these orders. The general public health emergency has been extended another 30 days, through June 25.

Police in Cedar Rapids have opened a homicide investigation after determining that a man found dead in a home there last week had been shot to death. Police say the victim has been identified as 69-year-old Daniel James Spangler. His body was found inside his Cedar Rapids home on Friday by an officer who had been sent to check on his welfare. Police initially said Spangler’s death was suspicious. Police now say an autopsy determined Spangler died of a gunshot wound. No arrests have been reported. 

Despite the pandemic, people are still buying and selling homes. But there is a new level of accountability as real estate agents are holding showings of homes for sale. Mary Shileny of the Northeast Iowa Regional Board of REALTORS told KXEL’s Tim Harwood there is a lot of demand relative to the supply of homes in Black Hawk County…and that means the time on market for listings is much shorter than average. More with Mary Shileny in the 9 o’clock hour of KXEL Live & Local today.

The Great Jones County Fair will have an announcement regarding the fair at 8 o’clock this morning. A representative for the fair tells our coverage partner Iowa’s News Now there will still be a fair but it will be different. The Great Jones County Fair is scheduled for July 22-26.

Waldorf University in Forest City has announced it will resume face-to-face classes when the fall semester begins on August 24. President Robert Alsop says the health and safety of students and employees are the first priority, meaning campus operations may look a little different.

State officials are investigating a boat explosion in central Iowa that injured three people over the Memorial Day weekend. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the explosion happened late Monday afternoon on Saylorville Lake, north of Des Moines. Investigators say gas fumes had accumulated in the engine compartment of the boat and ignited when the boat was started, causing the explosion. There were eight people aboard the boat at the time of the explosion. Two were treated for minor burns at the scene, and one was taken to a hospital with serious burns.