close
close
Voters in South Sioux City vote on fire plan; More FEMA centers set up in flooded northwest Iowa; Trial begins for Iowa man accused of killing police officers
Voters in South Sioux City vote on fire plan; More FEMA centers set up in flooded northwest Iowa; Trial begins for Iowa man accused of killing police officers

South Sioux City residents can vote in a special election Tuesday to decide whether to divert a portion of the sales tax currently collected to the fire department to hire more firefighters.

Polls in South Sioux City are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The city council submitted a proposal in May to hire three additional firefighters due to the need for more staff. The last time more firefighters were hired was in 2018.

The measure would provide for a split of the half-penny sales tax, which would not go entirely to public infrastructure but would go equally to the fire department. If the proposal is rejected on Tuesday, the half-penny sales tax would not be reduced but would continue to go entirely to public works, according to a city press release.

By hiring three more firefighters from South Sioux City, the department could add one more person to each of its three shifts throughout the day.

Following heavy rains from June 21 to 23, recovery efforts from flooding in Siouxland have entered their third week.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will open two additional disaster relief centers in northwest Iowa this week.

Those centers will open in Estherville on Tuesday and in Rock Rapids on Tuesday. Last week, FEMA opened two such centers in Spencer and Rock Valley, two of the cities hardest hit by flooding.

At these four FEMA disaster assistance centers, staff can explain disaster assistance programs and help people fill out applications for federal assistance or check status. Tiana Suber, a FEMA spokeswoman, said recovery from a natural disaster is more of a marathon than a sprint.

On Wednesday afternoon, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds will return to the flooded cities, visiting Rock Valley, Spencer and Sioux Rapids, the last two of which were flooded by the Little Sioux River.

Seven counties in northwest Iowa have been declared disaster areas, including Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Emmet, Lyon, O’Brien, Plymouth and Sioux.

In addition, the trial of a man accused of shooting a police officer in Algona began on Monday.

Kyle Ricke is charged with first-degree murder for the death of police officer Kevin Cram in September. The trial was moved from Kossuth County to Dickinson County due to concerns about finding an impartial jury. The trial was delayed for two weeks due to flooding in the Iowa Great Lakes area.

The expected schedule calls for jury selection on Monday, with opening statements scheduled for Tuesday.

Investigators say Officer Cram was attempting to arrest Ricke for his involvement in a harassment case when he opened fire. Ricke fled the scene and was arrested four hours later in Minnesota.

Cram served with the Algona Police Department for eight years.

By Liam