KXEL Morning News for Thu. Sep. 17, 2020

KXEL Morning News for Thu. Sep. 17, 2020

The Iowa State Patrol says one person died and five juveniles suffered minor injuries when a van hit a school bus. The collision happened just after 7:30 yesterday 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. Investigation is continuing.

A Cedar Falls man is in custody after a sexual abuse investigation. Cedar Falls Police say 29-year-old Roman Casey Gray Bezek has been charged with four counts of second degree sexual abuse and one count of indecent contact with a child. Each sexual abuse charge carries a penalty of up to 25 years in prison. Investigators say two minor children were involved.

One person was hurt after an ATV accident in Black Hawk County yesterday morning. Black County Sheriff’s Officials say it happened just before 9 a.m. on Beaver Valley Road. Investigators say the driver of a minivan, 67-year-old Lonna Christensen of New Hartford, collided into an ATV driven by 57-year-old Neal Garbes of New Hartford, when Garbes pulled out of a driveway without yielding. Christensen tried to swerve to avoid Garbes but ended up hitting the front fender of the ATV. Garbes was airlifted to Allen Hospital and is expected to survive. Christensen ended up in the ditch and was treated for minor injuries.

The Iowa City Police Department is investigating the deaths of two people. Emergency crews responded to the 100 block of Aniston St. yesterday following a report of an unconscious female in a house. When they arrived, they found a male and female both deceased inside. The deaths are being treated as suspicious and are under investigation.

During a news conference yesterday, Gov. Kim Reynolds expressed frustration with the Des Moines Public School Districts’ refusal to offer at least 50% in-person learning amid the coronavirus pandemic. The governor said 326 of Iowa’s 327 school districts have an approved return to learn plan, while only Des Moines has continued to resist the mandate to provide at least 50% in-person learning. The school board there did take a step Tuesday toward a hybrid learning model, but there is no date for if or when students will return to the classroom. Waivers have been granted to three Iowa schools to provide online-only learning due to public health conditions. All three have plans to return to the classroom in at least a hybrid level. Reynolds has shared her frustration with the district, calling the district’s actions “unacceptable” as it jeopardizes the standing of its 32,000 students.

After a Charles City player faced racist comments made by opposing fans during a summer baseball game against Waverly-Shell Rock, a district task force has recommended that the school leave the Northeast Iowa Conference and start its own athletic conference. The task force was formed this summer and included district leadership, students, coaches, parents, and a facilitator from outside the district. The task force made the recommendation during a school board meeting on Monday night. The Charles City superintendent says the July incident was one of the reasons for the recommendation, but they also looked at previous incidents and the sustainability of the conference overall. After Oelwein left the conference recently, only six teams remain, which is the bare minimum requirement under state association rules.

The NCAA is allowing Division I men’s basketball competition to begin as early as Nov. 25, 15 days later than originally scheduled. Practice may begin on Oct. 14. No word on Iowa-based teams and how their schedules may be altered by yesterday’s decision.

Bars re-opened in four counties yesterday after a weeks-long shut down, but social distancing will be strictly enforced and businesses can face swift penalties for not complying with the rules. During yesterday’s news conference, Gov. Kim Reynolds said her new public health disaster proclamation clarifies social distancing guidelines requiring patrons at bars and restaurants to sit at socially distant tables while eating or drinking. The order lifted bar closures in Black Hawk, Linn, Polk and Dallas counties. Bars in Johnson and Story counties, home to the University of Iowa and Iowa State University, remain closed through this weekend at least, when the governor said she will re-evaluate. Reynolds warned that businesses that don’t adhere to her public health protections will face consequences.

Students at the University of Iowa will be working with community leaders and residents in Waterloo to identify ways to address local needs through the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities. Organizers with the initiative say each year the university partners with one or two communities to work on projects tied to the local environment, equity, the economy and cultural issues. This year, the university is partnering with the cities of Waterloo and Manchester. Over the next year, graduate and advanced undergraduate students will work on projects to improve those communities. Initiative organizers say so far, 17 projects in Waterloo have been matched with different departments across campus.

The Big Ten, including the University of Iowa, is going to give fall football a shot after all. Less than five weeks after postponing fall sports to spring because of the pandemic, the conference changed course. The Big Ten says its Council of Presidents and Chancellors voted unanimously to restart sports. The Big Ten plans to begin its season on Oct. 23 with an eight-game schedule for each team. The development of rapid daily testing for the coronavirus was a major factor in the decision.