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Iowa News

April 3, 2020

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Pressure from medical experts and politicians on the federal and state level is building for a mandatory shelter-in-place order from Gov. Kim Reynolds who rejects such a move as unnecessary. The state is reporting 66 new cases for a total of 614 and two additional deaths, meaning 11 have died. Eli Percenevich, an epidemiologist physician overseeing infection prevention research at the University of Iowa, says the metrics Reynolds uses to decide her response isn’t staying ahead of the growth of infections and deaths. He joins Iowa Democratic legislative and congressional leaders in calling on Reynolds to issue a stay at home order.


JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is ordering schools to remain on recess through April 30 as part of her efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus. Reynolds says Thursday that keeping schools closed at least through April was needed as Iowa sees more cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. Reynolds says school districts have until April 30 to let state officials now how they plan to continue to provide educational opportunities to students. Districts may choose programs using distributed paper worksheets or online tools giving students credit or they may provide noncredit lessons. Those offering noncredit must make up lost instructional time beyond what hasn’t been waived by the Legislature.


SEYMOUR, Iowa (AP) — Officials in southern Iowa say hundreds of people have gathered in Wayne County for a horse auction being held on private property, despite a state order limiting gatherings to fewer than 10 people. Des Moines television station KCCI reports that the Midwest Trotting Horse Sale was held Thursday near Seymour on the property of Ura Gingerich, after having first been postponed earlier in the month. The Wayne County Health Department set up checkpoints on the property to screen people before they could enter. Department officials say at least one carload of people was sent away after being questioned as part of the screening. The department says it counted nearly 500 people attending the auction.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — More than 58,000 people filed unemployment claims in Iowa last week as efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus took a toll on the state’s economy. Iowa Workforce Development reported Thursday that there were 58,453 claims for unemployment insurance filed last week. The figures came after a surge of nearly 42,000 claims last week. Nationally, more than 6.6 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week. The largest number of Iowa claims were from workers in accommodation and food service businesses, which saw 12,519 people seek benefits.

Illinois News

April 3, 2020

CHICAGO (AP) — A new federal lawsuit seeks an court order directing state officials “to drastically reduce Illinois’s prison population” on grounds that hundreds of inmates are particularly vulnerable to catching and dying from the coronavirus. The lawsuit filed Thursday in Chicago names ten inmates but seeks class-action status to represent older prisoners and those with underlying health conditions. The filing says that poor medical care and a lack of protective measures behind bars make the COVID-19 virus especially deadly. The lawsuit asks for the court to order the immediate medical furlough for some prisoners and the transfer to home detention of others. Meanwhile, Illinois reported about 7,700 cases statewide and 157 deaths.


CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says she has selected former Dallas police Chief David Brown to be the next police superintendent in the nation’s third-largest city. Lightfoot introduced Brown during a Thursday afternoon news conference. Brown has more than 30 years in law enforcement and was the police chief in Dallas before his 2016 retirement. The announcement comes a day after the city’s police board named him as one of three finalists for the job and hours after Lightfoot announced that a member of the force had died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.


CHICAGO (AP) — Prosecutors say a young man told friends that he was paid $5,000 for killing a pregnant Chicago teenager who was a key witness in a murder trial. Kavarian Rogers was charged in the death of 18-year-old Treja Kelley. She was killed in September, a few months after testifying in a trial about her cousin’s death. Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy called it an execution. Prosecutors say Rogers posted Facebook videos showing off expensive shoes and fanning himself with $100 bills. A judge ordered Rogers to jail without bond over the objections of his lawyer.


CHICAGO (AP) — DePaul University has dropped plans for tuition increases next fall to ease the burden on families during the coronavirus outbreak. President A. Gabriel Esteban says even a modest increase could disrupt a student’s education. The economy is suffering during the pandemic as employers cut jobs. DePaul has more than 22,000 students. Tuition for undergraduates is roughly $40,000 a year before financial aid.

Wisconsin News

April 3, 2020

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A federal judge has decided not to postpone Wisconsin’s presidential primary but will give people more time to file absentee ballots. Democrats and liberal groups had asked U.S. District Judge William Conley to postpone in-person voting for Tuesday’s election and extend the deadline for filing absentees. Conley signaled during a court hearing this week that he was uncomfortable overruling state leaders’ decision to stick with the election date. But he did order Thursday that the deadline for receiving absentees be extended by nearly a week to April 13. The Republican Party of Wisconsin has appealed the ruling, saying it “effectively changes the date of the election.”


MADISON, Wis. (AP) — University of Wisconsin President Ray Cross says the coronavirus outbreak that’s already led to the suspension of all in-person spring classes could also force changes to the fall semester that’s scheduled to begin in August. Cross told the university’s Board of Regents on Thursday that UW was working on various scenarios based on rapidly changing conditions. The flagship UW-Madison campus announced Thursday that it was moving all in-person summer classes scheduled to start in May to online only. Cross says plans for the fall will be made in coming weeks based on an array of ever-changing assumptions.


WEST BEND, Wis. (AP) — Many dairy processing plants across Wisconsin have more product than they can handle and that’s forced farmers to begin dumping their milk down the drain. That’s the case at Golden E Dairy near West Bend. Farmer Ryan Elbe tells WISN-TV they are dumping about about 30,000 gallons a day. The coronavirus has dried up the marketplace for dairy products as restaurants, schools and business in food service have been closed. The Journal Sentinel reports some of Wisconsin’s biggest farm groups are asking the USDA to use money under the federal coronavirus stimulus bill to buy large amounts of dry milk, butter and cheese that normally would go to restaurants and the food-service industry.


MILWAUKEE (AP) — The United States’ top infectious disease specialist is getting his own bobblehead. The creation from the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum features Dr. Anthony Fauci wearing a suit as he discusses the coronavirus pandemic. Museum co-founder and CEO Phil Sklar says Fauci was picked because many people see the plain-speaking expert on the coronavirus as a hero right now. Sklar said the Milwaukee museum will donate $5 from every $25 Fauci bobblehead that’s sold to the American Hospital Association. The funds will go toward getting masks and other protective equipment for health care workers.