KXEL Morning News for Fri. Oct. 23, 2020

KXEL Morning News for Fri. Oct. 23, 2020

Apprenticeship expansion grants were awarded this week to five Cedar Valley organizations from a state coronavirus relief fund. Grants include $250,000 for Hawkeye Community College and $200,000 for UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital in Waterloo. In Cedar Falls, grant recipients included Western Home Services and Martin Health Center, each receiving $243,000; and Rosemont Companies, with more than $47,000. The grants are intended to increase the number of registered apprenticeship training programs in the state of Iowa. Funds can be used for the purchase of equipment, tools, simulators, related training instruction materials, updated curriculum or other items needed to start or expand programs. Around 70 awardees across the state received $6.63 million. More on this and other workforce development programs when I talk with state deputy workforce director Ryan West on the Iowa Business Report, tomorrow morning at 7 on KXEL.

Nearly $4.4 million was awarded to 43 Iowa colleges and universities yesterday by the State of Iowa and the Iowa Department of Education, to increase internet connectivity for students this school year. It’s part of the $26.2 million in the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund including coronavirus aid. This will help students with barriers to online and remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Meanwhile, Iowa plans to use millions of dollars in federal pandemic funds on a long-term plan to improve data management across state agencies…this is a second information technology project that some critics say may not fit the purpose of the aid. You may recall the Democrat state auditor this week said Iowa’s executive branch should return millions of dollars to the state’s $1.25 billion coronavirus relief fund spent on new accounting and human resources software. This new report says the Office of the Chief Information Officer has been given $16.9 million in pandemic aid for a data collection initiative that was under discussion before the pandemic. 

One of the legendary events in Iowa is the Bill Riley State Fair Talent Search, which was officially started back in 1959. And now Bill Riley Jr., who took over for his father 25 years ago, has announced the 2021 season will be his last. Riley Jr. says he’ll turn the responsibility for the talent search over to the fair, which will determine if or how it will continue.

Gov. Kim Reynolds has spoken with the National Guard about how to contain violence around the election. After a campaign event for Sen. Joni Ernst yesterday, Reynolds told a Carroll newspaper she had spoken to Major General Benjamin Corell about plans if there is politically charged violence in the following weeks. She didn’t explain what specifically would cause the National Guard to step in, or what protocols have been put in place, but said the Guard was on call and ready to go. While on the way to Carroll, the governor called in to our studios…you can hear the full conversation on topics ranging from COVID to federal relief to business recovery on KXEL Live & Local today, beginning at 9.  

The two teens charged in the June shooting death of Malik Sheets have both entered pleas of not guilty to first degree murder. Sheets was a University of Iowa student and Cedar Rapids Washington graduate who was shot and killed at a party in Cedar Rapids on June 18. The two suspects in the case, 17-year-old Christian Emedi and 16-year-old Marshawn Jeffries, are both charged with murder and obstructing prosecution. Trial for both suspects has been set for May 15, 2021.

The Hiawatha Police Department is warning people to be aware of their surroundings. In a Facebook post last night, police said they received a call about a possible large bobcat or mountain lion near Edgewood Road & Canterbury Lane. The post says two people saw the animal described as light brown or blonde about three feet long. 

A Waucoma man has been arrested following a sexual abuse investigation. The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office says it conducted a search warrant at a home in rural Waucoma Wednesday, resulting in the arrest of 45-year-old Russell Eugene Sims on multiple charges inducing two counts of sexual abuse in the third degree and other drug charges. The Department of Human Services was also called to the residence due to minors being there at the time drugs were found. Electronic devices were also taken for a forensic examination.