KXEL Morning News for Thu. May 21, 2020

KXEL Morning News for Thu. May 21, 2020

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is reopening movie theaters, museums, zoos and wedding reception venues this Friday. Also reopening in time for Memorial Day activities are state campground restrooms, showers and cabins. Camping will be allowed for tents and all campers, but playgrounds, shelters and visitor centers remain closed. Reynolds says bars can reopen next week, on Thursday, but only at 50 percent capacity. Reynolds says the state’s testing capability allows officials to track and respond to any outbreaks that may occur. 

An Iowa woman accused of intentionally hitting children with her car because of their race has now been ruled competent to stand trial. Court documents show a psychiatric evaluation found Nicole Poole competent. Poole is charged with two counts of attempted murder. Police say she intentionally ran over an Hispanic girl and a black boy near Des Moines-area schools last December. Both children survived. She is also charged in connection with an outburst at a convenience store in West Des Moines on the same day the children were hit. A judge found her incompetent to stand trial in February and she was ordered to receive treatment…and then a new evaluation. 

Des Moines school officials will join with Drake University to build a $19.5 million stadium for high school and middle school sports. The city’s school board unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday to pay $15 million for construction costs, using sales tax revenue. Drake will donate land, pay remaining costs and be responsible for maintaining the stadium, which will be built near the university’s basketball arena. The 4,000-seat stadium will be the home field for four of the district’s five high school football teams and will be home for all of the district’s soccer teams. It also will be available for other school uses, as well as middle school football and soccer games. Drake also will use the field for its soccer teams

14 more Iowans have died from COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours, according to data from the state’s coronavirus website. A total of 380 Iowans have died since the pandemic began. While there were a total of 15,524 confirmed cases of the virus in the state, as of Wednesday morning, that’s only 237 more cases compared with the day before.

The reopening of the state continues, with additional facilities opening in time for the Memorial Day weekend, and bars opening a week from today. Marion Mayor Nick AbouAssaly, speaking at yesterday’s Linn County news briefing, called for citizens to be responsible as the reopening continues.

As part of the governor’s orders yesterday reopening more of the state…she says it’s time for summer school-sponsored activities such as softball and baseball to resume as of June 1…and yesterday afternoon, the governing boards of both the Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union voted to approve the move. Practices will begin June 1st with the first games perhaps as early as June 15…there will be restrictions but plans are to allow fans to attend those outdoor contests.

A Mason City man was jailed after being charged with committing first-degree burglary and stabbing a person. 30-year-old Jared Kropf is being held in the Cerro Gordo County Jail on $25,000 bond. Kropf is accused of entering a residence in the 800 block of 10th St. NE late Monday night with the intention to assault the occupants. Court documents say Kropf was armed with a knife and “intentionally stabbed and slashed another victim” who suffered injuries to his neck and back.

A major church organization be resuming in-person worship and other services at the end of May. The Archdiocese of Dubuque, which oversees the Catholic Church in northeast Iowa, will be allowing the reopening of parishes for gatherings, along with Mass and Sacraments, on the weekend of May 30, according to a statement released by the archbishop’s office. Those who are “sick, or frail due to advanced age, or have an underlying medical condition, or nervous about getting COVID-19, shouldn’t be gathering together for any reason.” The statement added that the dispensation from participating in Mass continues until further notice, potentially until vaccinations are possible.

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics could be facing more than $100 million in loss through June due to the coronavirus pandemic. But it says it has not planned any layoffs. Officials say UIHC will instead look to other cost-cutting options, considering layoffs a last resort.

Blank Park Zoo says it will reopen to members at 9 a.m. Friday, for those members who have a reserved timed-ticket. Timed-ticket sales will be available to the general public later on Friday for a May 24 general public opening. The zoo said it will be implementing enhanced measures for the first phase of its reopening, including reserved, timed tickets for those visiting the facility.

A bicyclist was taken to the hospital with a broken leg after he was hit by a passing semi truck early Wednesday. Police say 28-year-old Michael Gillum Jr. of Reinbeck was riding on the fog line on Broadway Street near Burton Avenue shortly before 4:30 a.m. when he was struck and went into a ditch. The semi driver, 28-year-old Joe Bowman of Denver, pulled over and called for help. Gillum was taken to a hospital for treatment. No citations were issued. Police say the bike didn’t have proper lighting, and the cyclist was wearing dark clothing, so the semi-truck driver didn’t see him until the last second.

A Waterloo family escaped to safety after a fire broke out in their home Wednesday morning. Neighbors called 911 after spotting smoke just before 9:30 a.m., and firefighters found flames coming from an upstairs window at 436 Cutler St. Firefighters rescued a dog from the burning house. The bedroom where the fire started suffered heavy damage, and the fire spread into insulation below the attic space. The second story had heat and smoke damage, and the lower level had water damage. The cause of the fire hasn’t been determined, and officials said it doesn’t appear suspicious.