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Iowa News

Dozens of students in Iowa schools were quarantined after both staff and students tested positive for the coronavirus. Virus cases surged Thursday by more than 1,300 across the state in the last 24 hours. Superintendent for the Hartwick-Ladora-Victor Community School District says kindergarten through sixth grade students are in quarantined after a staff member tested positive Tuesday. High school students in North Scott switched to online instruction since Friday after nearly a quarter of students were absent. The Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll published Thursday indicated a significant drop in Iowa’s approval of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ virus response.


IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa regulators have issued their first citation to a meatpacking plant with a large coronavirus outbreak that sickened its workforce. The $957 fine was for a minor record-keeping violation. Inspection records show the outbreak at the Iowa Premium Beef Plant in Tama in April resulted in 338 of the plant’s 850 workers testing positive for the virus. That’s 80 more than the state previously acknowledged. The plant is owned by Kansas City-based National Beef. The Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration said on June 1 that it had launched inspections at the Tama plant and four other meatpacking plants where thousands of workers had tested positive.


COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) — A Nebraska man has been arrested in Missouri for his alleged role in an assault on an Iowa police officer in which the officer fired his gun. Council Bluffs police said Thursday in a news release that 29-year-old Ian James Lybarger, of Omaha, Nebraska, was arrested Wednesday night following a police chase that began in Red Oak, Iowa, and ended in northwestern Missouri. Police say Lybarger dragged a Council Bluffs police officer last week for several feet in a parking lot as the officer tried to remove him from his car. During the struggle, Officer John Kuebler fired his service weapon, but didn’t hit anyone. Lybarger is being held in the in Rock Port, Missouri, jail.


FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) — A Fort Dodge man has been charged with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting last weekend of a woman there. The Messenger reports that 18-year-old Denharrio Lewil appeared in a Webster County court on the charge Wednesday, when his bond was set at $1 million cash. Lewil stands accused in the death of 18-year-old Jlynn Beason, of Fort Dodge. Police say the shooting happened early Sunday morning when Lewil and Beason’s brother got into an argument. Police say Lewill pulled a gun and shot several times at the car Beason’s brother was in. Beason, who was also in the car, was hit by at least one of the bullets. Beason was taken to a local hospital, then to a Des Moines hospital, where she died Tuesday.

Wisconsin News

A 17-year-old accused of killing two protesters days after Jacob Blake was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, faces a hearing to return him to Wisconsin to face trial on homicide charges that could put him in prison for life. Kyle Rittenhouse was arrested at his home in Antioch, Illinois, a day after prosecutors say he shot and killed two and injured a third on the streets of Kenosha on Aug. 25. His attorneys have said Rittenhouse acted in self defense. A Friday court hearing in Illinois was to determine whether to send Rittenhouse to Wisconsin to face charges.


MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s daily count of COVID-19 cases has hit its second-highest total to date, while the seven-day average topped 1,900 for the first time. The state Department of Health Services reported Thursday that Wisconsin has seen more than 108,000 positive cases of the coronavirus and 1,265 deaths. The 2,392 new cases reported Thursday was second only to 2,533 new cases reported less than a week ago on Sept. 18. The seven-day average was 1,939. That was nearly three times the seven-day average of 665 a month ago. Gov. Tony Evers urged people to wear masks, keep a social distance and stay home when possible.


MILWAUKEE (AP) — A Milwaukee man is facing criminal charges after police say his 2-year-old son shot himself in the head with a loaded gun he found in his father’s SUV. A criminal complaint signed Wednesday says the child is hospitalized in critical condition and it’s not yet known whether he will survive. Twenty-nine-year-old Tommy Smith III is charged with neglecting a child resulting in great bodily harm. According to the complaint, Smith and his son were waiting in the SUV to pickup Smith’s girlfriend last Saturday in Milwaukee, when a gun went off, striking the boy. Smith and his girlfriend took the child to St. Joseph’s Hospital where he was later transferred to  Children’s Hospital.


MILWAUKEE (AP) — Demonstrations in Wisconsin over a grand jury’s decision not to indict Louisville, Kentucky police officers in Breonna Taylor’s death were relatively peaceful with protesters in Milwaukee blocking traffic on an interstate. Dozens of demonstrators marched along Interstate 94 Wednesday night as a large number of Milwaukee County sheriff’s deputies held traffic back. In Madison, a group of about 60 people gathered Wednesday night on the steps of the state Capitol to remember Taylor. The group spent most of the night listening and dancing to music and passing a microphone around for people who wanted to speak. Taylor, a Black emergency medical worker, was shot multiple times by white officers who entered her home during a narcotics investigation in March.

Illinois News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Ballots have started going out in Illinois for what appears to be the wildly popular option of voting by mail in the Nov. 3 election. Officials started mailing ballots Thursday to what the Illinois State Board of Elections says is a record 1.82 million applicants thus far. Legislation adopted in the spring in response to the coronavirus pandemic ensured widespread publicity for the practice. In-person early voting also began Thursday in much of the state. Ballots may be cast at designated polling places in each jurisdiction.


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting 2,257 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 30 confirmed deaths. The numbers released Thursday reveal that as of late Wednesday, 1,713 people in Illinois were reported hospitalized with COVID-19. Of those, 400 patients were being treated in intensive care units, with 155 patients on ventilators. More than 8,500 people in Illinois have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic’s outbreak earlier this year. The state has reported more than 281,000 positive cases out of nearly 5.3 million coronavirus tests administered. Thursday’s confirmed cases were the result 62,071 tests over the past 24 hours, putting the state’s seven-day positivity rate at 3.5%.


WOODSTOCK, Ill. (AP) — A former Illinois child welfare who investigated allegations of abuse involving a 5-year-old boy who was later beaten to death has pleaded not guilty to child endangerment and reckless conduct. The Northwest Herald reports that 54-year-old Carlos Acosta of Woodstock entered the plea Thursday in a McHenry County courtroom. Acosta worked at the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services in the months before Andrew “AJ” Freund’s body was found in a shallow grave near his family’s Crystal Lake home in April 2019. Both of his parents have since pleaded guilty to charges related to his death.


CHICAGO (AP) — Union nurses at the University of Illinois Hospital say they have reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract. The Illinois Nurses Association said in a statement Thursday the contract includes a promise to hire 160 more nurses to cut down on patient loads, promises of more protective gear and hazard pay for working during the coronavirus pandemic. The Chicago Sun-Times reports the agreement follows a weeklong strike by 800 nurses that ended Saturday when they went back to work without an agreement. The agreement still needs the approval of a majority of the approximately 1,400 union nurses in a vote Monday.