KXEL Midday News for Thu. Feb. 18, 2021

KXEL Midday News for Thu. Feb. 18, 2021

TWO PEOPLE ESCAPED AN APARTMENT FIRE NEAR KIRKWOOD COMMUNITY
COLLEGE IN CEDAR RAPIDS OVERNIGHT. AUTHORITIES SAY A PIECE OF
FURNITURE CAUGHT FIRE. THOSE IN THE APARTMENT WERE FORTUNATE
UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, BECAUSE SMOKE ALARMS HAD BEEN TAKEN
DOWN IN THE UNIT. MEANWHILE IN NORTH LIBERTY WEDNESDAY NIGHT,
THREE DEPARTMENTS RUSHED TO THE SCENE OF A HOUSE FIRE IN THE 1700
BLOCK OF HEDGEWOOD CIRCLE. TWO FAMILY DOGS DIED IN THAT INCIDENT,
BUT NO PEOPLE WERE HURT.

IOWA GOVERNOR KIM REYNOLDS OFFERED A FORECAST FOR THE STATE’S
CORONAVIRUS VACCINATION EFFORT ON WEDNESDAY. THE
WEEKLY NUMBER OF VACCINES COMING TO IOWA IS CLIMBING FROM ALMOST
50 THOUSAND TO 64 THOUSAND DOSES EACH WEEK. APPROVAL OF A NEW
SINGLE-DOSE JOHNSON & JOHNSON VACCINE IS ALSO EXPECTED AT THE
FEDERAL LEVEL BEFORE THE END OF THIS MONTH.

MEATPACKING COMPANY TYSON SAYS IT IS MAKING IT EASIER FOR ITS
EMPLOYEES TO GET VACCINATED. IN AN ANNOUNCEMENT YESTERDAY, TYSON
SAID IT WOULD PAY WORKERS UP TO FOUR HOURS WORTH OF WAGES TO GET
THE COVID-19 SHOTS ON THEIR OWN TIME, IN ADDITION TO OFFERING
INOCULATIONS AT ITS PLANTS IN PLACES WHERE SUPPLIES ARE AVAILABLE.
TYSON’S PACKING OPERATIONS IN WATERLOO, COLUMBUS JUNCTION, AND
ELSEWHERE SAW THOUSANDS OF CORONAVIRUS INFECTIONS AND SEVERAL
DEATHS DURING THE SPRING OF 2020.

AS OF THIS WEEK, ALL SCHOOL DISTRICTS IN THE STATE WERE REQUIRED TO OFFER A 100 PERCENT IN-PERSON LEARNING OPTION. SPEAKING TO THE MEDIA ON WEDNESDAY, IOWA GOVERNOR KIM REYNOLDS NOTED THAT MOST DISTRICTS HAD ALREADY REACHED THAT STATUS WITHOUT LEGISLATIVE PROMPTING. IN OTHER SCHOOL NEWS, A 2.4 PERCENT INCREASE IN STATE FUNDING TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS HAS NOW BEEN PASSED BY BOTH CHAMBERS OF THE IOWA LEGISLATURE. REYNOLDS HAD ASKED FOR 2.5 PERCENT.

SUBCOMMITTEES IN BOTH THE IOWA HOUSE AND IOWA SENATE HAVE NOW PROVIDED AN INITIAL GREEN LIGHT FOR A STATE-LEVEL RENEWABLE FUELS STANDARD. MORE OF THE CHOICES AT GAS STATIONS WOULD CONTAIN AT LEAST 10 PERCENT ETHANOL. TODAY DURING KXEL LIVE AND LOCAL, IOWA RENEWABLE FUELS ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MONTE SHAW SAID THE LEGISLATION TAKES IOWA’S ECONOMIC FUTURE INTO THE STATE’S OWN HANDS. THE FULL HOUSE AND SENATE WILL LOOK AT THE RENEWABLE FUELS CHANGES NEXT.

THE IOWA HAWKEYE MEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM IS ON THE ROAD TONIGHT. #11 IOWA VISITS #21 WISCONSIN IN MADISON. IOWA HAS WON BACK-TO-BACK GAMES AGAINST RUTGERS AND MICHIGAN STATE. TIP OFF IS SCHEDULED FOR 6 O’CLOCK.

MORE ETHANOL COULD BE FLOWING THROUGH IOWA GAS PUMPS IF STATE RENEWABLE FUELS STANDARDS PROPOSED BY GOVERNOR KIM REYNOLDS ARE PASSED INTO LAW. THE LEGISLATION WOULD REQUIRE ALMOST ALL GAS SOLD BY RETAILERS TO INCLUDE AT LEAST 10 PERCENT BLENDS. IOWA RENEWABLE FUELS ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MONTE SHAW SAYS OTHER CHANGES TO FUEL TAXES WOULD ALSO PROVIDE SUPPORT TO HELP RETAILERS INSTALL MORE E15 GAS PUMPS. SHAW SAYS ALL GASOLINE DISPENSING EQUIPMENT IN IOWA IS CAPABLE OF PUMPING E10 BLENDS NOW. HEAR TODAY’S FULL INTERVIEW WITH MONTE SHAW AT KXEL.COM.

A NEW SATELLITE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA HOSPITAL FACES A SIGNIFICANT HURDLE. ON WEDNESDAY, THE PLAN FOR THE PROPOSED $230 MILLION DOLLAR FACILITY IN NORTH LIBERTY WAS VOTED DOWN 3-2 BY THE STATE HEALTH FACILITIES COUNCIL. UIHC OFFICIALS SAY THEY NEED MORE SPACE FOR ALMOST ALL ASPECTS OF THEIR SERVICES. HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATORS FROM OTHER AREA MEDICAL CENTERS SAY THE NEW PLAN COULD HAVE NEGATIVE IMPACTS ON THOSE FACILITIES. UIHC HAS TO HAVE A CERTIFICATE OF NEED FROM THE STATE, AND IS EXPECTED TO SUBMIT A MODIFIED PLAN TO THE FACILITIES COUNCIL IN THE FUTURE.

THE U.S. SPACE FORCE WILL RECEIVE HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF TECHNOLOGY FROM CEDAR RAPIDS. BAE SYSTEMS HAS ANNOUNCED A DEFENSE DEPARTMENT CONTRACT FOR 247 MILLION DOLLARS OF GLOBAL POSITIONING EQUIPMENT. BAE IS BASED IN BRITAIN BUT PURCHASED THE CEDAR RAPIDS MILITARY GPS OPERATION PREVIOUSLY OWNED BY COLLINS AEROSPACE LAST YEAR.