KXEL Midday News for Wed. Sep. 16, 2020

KXEL Midday News for Wed. Sep. 16, 2020

WHEN SHOULD THE COUNTING BEGIN? COUNTY AUDITORS CAN LEGALLY START PROCESSING ABSENTEE BALLOTS ON NOVEMBER 2ND. LINN COUNTY AUDITOR JOEL MILLER TOLD OUR COVERAGE PARTNERS AT TV-9 THAT HE WOULD LIKE TO START SOONER, WITH A RECORD NUMBERS OF PEOPLE EXPECTED TO VOTE BY MAIL. MILLER IS LOBBYING THE SECRETARY OF STATE’S OFFICE FOR PERMISSION TO BEGIN COUNTING VOTES AS EARLY AS OCTOBER 31ST. AS MANY AS 90 THOUSAND LINN COUNTY ABSENTEE BALLOTS COULD BE SENT IN FOR THE 2020 ELECTION.

STATE OFFICIALS ARE WORKING TO GET MORE FROM THE TEST IOWA PROGRAM. THE 26 MILLION DOLLAR EFFORT BEGAN IN APRIL. BY LATE JUNE, TEST IOWA HELPED THE STATE REACH A GOAL OF 3,000 CORONAVIRUS TESTS PER DAY FROM ALL SOURCES. AT THIS POINT, OVER 233 THOUSAND OF THE PROGRAM’S 540 THOUSAND TESTS KITS HAVE BEEN USED. NEW TERMS COULD MEAN NEW COSTS; THE CONTRACT WITH UTAH-BASED NOMI HEALTH WAS AWARDED WITHOUT A FORMAL BIDDING PROCESS DUE TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY.

FORMER UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN IOWA BASKETBALL PLAYER NICK NURSE WILL BE STAYING IN CANADA. THE TORONTO RAPTORS ANNOUNCED A MULTIYEAR EXTENSION TO RETAIN NURSE AS THE TEAM’S HEAD COACH. SPECIFIC TERMS WERE NOT REVEALED. THE RAPTORS WON THE 2019 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP AND FINISHED WITH THE SECOND-BEST RECORD IN THE LEAGUE’S EASTERN CONFERENCE THIS SEASON. NURSE WAS ORIGINALLY SIGNED TO A THREE-YEAR DEAL IN 2018. HE GRADUATED FROM UNI IN 1990.

THE CANDIDATES FOR IOWA SENATE DISTRICT 32 WERE BOTH GUESTS DURING KXEL LIVE AND LOCAL THIS MORNING. BOTH TALKED ABOUT WHY THEY ARE RUNNING. REPUBLICAN CRAIG JOHNSON CURRENTLY HOLDS THE SEAT. DEMOCRAT PAM EGLI IS THE CHALLENGER. EGLI IS FROM WAVERLY; JOHNSON IS FROM INDEPENDENCE. SENATE DISTRICT 32 COVERS ALL OR PART OF FOUR COUNTIES. HEAR MORE FROM BOTH CANDIDATES AT KXEL.COM.

THE BLACK HAWK COUNTY AUDITOR’S OFFICE WILL RECEIVE OVER 267 THOUSAND DOLLARS IN NON-PROFIT FUNDING TO HELP COVER ELECTION COSTS THIS FALL. BLACK HAWK COUNTY ELECTION OFFICIALS SAY THE GRANT WILL HELP SUPPORT EXTRA PAYMENTS TO THOSE WORKING AT THE POLLS AS WELL AS MORE STAFF TO COUNT ABSENTEE BALLOTS, WHICH ARE EXPECTED IN RECORD NUMBERS AMID THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. THE MONEY IS COMING FROM THE CENTER FOR TECH AND CIVIL LIFE. FACEBOOK CEO MARK ZUCKERBERG RECENTLY MADE A 250 MILLION DOLLAR DONATION TO THE CHICAGO-BASED GROUP.

NEW E-LEARNING OPTIONS AT IOWA’S THREE REGENTS UNIVERSITIES HAVE COST MORE TO DEVELOP. AS A RESULT, THE BOARD OF REGENTS REPORTEDLY PLANS TO ASK FOR AN 18 MILLION DOLLAR BUDGET INCREASE FOR THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR. IOWA AND IOWA STATE WOULD EACH GET SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS OF THAT NEW MONEY, WITH THE REMAINING FOUR MILLION GOING TO UNI. THE SCHOOLS HAD EIGHT MILLION DOLLAR SLICED OUT OF THEIR BUDGETS BY THE LEGISLATURE THIS SUMMER.

INFRASTRUCTURE OF DIFFERENT KINDS IS ON THE MINDS OF THE CANDIDATES IN IOWA SENATE DISTRICT 32. DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGER PAM EGLI OF WAVERLY IS THINKING ABOUT RURAL BROADBAND. REPUBLICAN CRAIG JOHNSON OF INDEPENDENCE IS SEEKING HIS SECOND SENATE TERM IN DES MOINES AFTER WORKING ON INFRASTRUCTURE ISSUES IN HIS FIRST TERM. JOHNSON IS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF HEARTLAND ACRES IN INDEPENDENCE; EGLI IS A RETIRED TEACHER AND UNION LEADER. HEAR MORE FROM BOTH CANDIDATES AT KXEL.COM.

THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN IOWA’S GALLAGHER-BLUEDORN PERFORMING ARTS CENTER IS GETTING A ONE MILLION DOLLAR UPGRADE FROM ONE OF ITS NAMESAKES. YESTERDAY, UNI ANNOUNCED THAT THE GALLAGHER FAMILY FOUNDATION IS GIVING THE MONEY TO HELP A MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR RENOVATION PROJECT. THE GALLAGHER-BLUEDORN PERFORMING ARTS CENTER OPENED IN 2000 AND HOSTS APPROXIMATELY 600 FINE ARTS AND OTHER EVENTS IN CEDAR FALLS ANNUALLY.

THE BOAT RAMP AT GEORGE WYTH LAKE IN WATERLOO WILL BE CLOSED FOR NEARLY A MONTH. THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES ANNOUNCED THE CHANGE FOR THE STATE PARK OF THE SAME NAME YESTERDAY. OTHER BOAT RAMPS ON DIFFERENT LAKES IN THE PARK WILL STAY OPEN. THE BOAT RAMP REPLACEMENT PROJECT ON GEORGE WYTH LAKE IS EXPECTED TO WRAP UP ON OCTOBER 12TH.