Officials with the state Department of Natural Resources reported that two personal watercraft collided about noon Tuesday on Clear Lake, killing an unidentified 14-year-old who was operating one of the water scooters. Iowa DNR investigators said the second craft involved was being operated by an unidentified 12-year-old who sustained minor injuries to the face. A passenger on the second personal watercraft was not injured, according to the state agency. An investigation was continuing.
DHS BUDGET HEARING DELAYED: Officials with the state Department of Human Services announced Wednesday that the agency’s fiscal 2022 state budget hearing had to be rescheduled due to Monday’s severe storm. Members of the Human Services Council were slated to participate in a Zoom teleconference as a precaution due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials say that meeting has been rescheduled until 10 a.m. Tuesday.
FEDERAL LIQUID EGG ASSISTANCE: Gov. Kim Reynolds and Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig — along with Iowa U.S. Sens. Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley — on Wednesday praised the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision to include liquid egg producers in the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. The four Iowa Republicans had sent a letter in June to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting the federal funds. With COVID-19 forcing restaurants and other egg-buying businesses to close or operate on limited capacities, the past few months have been tough on Iowa egg producers. “After a tough spring dealing with COVID-19-related market disruptions, I’m pleased to hear that there’s some financial assistance on the way for our state’s egg producers,” said Naig, noting that Iowa has more than 58 million egg-laying hens producing about one in six eggs consumed annually in the United States.
VICE PRESIDENTIAL VISIT: Vice President Mike Pence was slated to be in Des Moines today to deliver remarks on the Trump administration’s economic agenda. Officials said the vice president also planned to highlight the Trump administration’s support of Iowa’s farmers and ranchers — including the signing of the trade deal that is expected to strengthen Iowa’s relationship with its top trade partners, Mexico and Canada. Administration officials say Pence will tout Republicans’ “staunch rejection of socialist ideals and the administration’s unwavering support of law enforcement” and attend a GOP state dinner before returning to Washington, D.C. Detractors charged Thursday the president has used oil-company waivers to divert more than 40 billion gallons of biofuels, costing biofuel producers billions of dollars and forcing some production plants to shut down at a time when the farm economy that has been ravaged by severe weather, trade wars and the coronavirus pandemic. In conjunction with Pence’s visit, members of the Rural America 2020 placed billboards at the Des Moines International Airport and on the Iowa Fairgrounds blaming Trump administration policies for helping drive large numbers of farm bankruptcies.
DAMAGED TEST IOWA SITES REOPEN: Test Iowa sites in Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Marshalltown that closed Monday after sustaining damage due to severe weather across the state were reopened for testing Wednesday afternoon. And, state officials said those sites would resume regular hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.. Also, Test Iowa sites expect to honor appointments for anyone who was scheduled to test earlier this week but unable to due to weather conditions so there was no need for Iowans to reschedule, officials said. Individuals should bring the QR code they received to any of the eight drive-thru sites operated by the state at any time to be tested at their convenience. Sites are located in Cedar Rapids, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Marshalltown, Storm Lake, Waterloo and West Des Moines. Locations and hours of operation for all test sites can be found at testiowa.com or coronavirus.iowa.gov.
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