KXEL Midday News for Fri. Feb. 19, 2021

KXEL Midday News for Fri. Feb. 19, 2021

THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN HAVE NOT BEEN IN IOWA SCHOOLS THIS YEAR WITH PARENTS KEEPING THEM HOME DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. THAT WILL MEAN REDUCED STATE SUPPORT AND INCREASING PROPERTY TAXES IN 137 DISTRICTS. EVEN THOUGH AN EDUCATION BILL PASSED THIS WEEK WILL PROVIDE APPROXIMATELY 30 MILLION DOLLARS MORE IN STATE SUPPORT THAN LAST YEAR, THE FORMULA USED TO DISTRIBUTE THAT MONEY MEANS THERE WILL BE WINNERS AND LOSERS. AN INFLUX OF KINDERGARTNERS IS POSSIBLE IN THE FALL WITH THOSE STUDENTS THE MOST LIKELY TO HAVE BEEN HELD OUT THIS YEAR.

FORMER IOWA GOVERNOR AND RECENT AMBASSADOR TO CHINA TERRY BRANSTAD EXPRESSED HOPEFULNESS ABOUT THE U.S. APPROACH TO CHINA, DESPITE SOME EVIDENT IMMEDIATE CHALLENGES. RECENTLY HE REFLECTED ON THE AMBASSADORSHIP HE HELD UNTIL LATE LAST YEAR. BRANSTAD SHARED THOSE THOUGHTS WITH INTERVIEWER CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR.

IN SPORTS, THE UNI FOOTBALL TEAM KICKS OFF THIS LONG-DELAYED SEASON TONIGHT AT THE UNI-DOME. PREGAME COVERAGE OF THE PANTHERS’ MATCHUP WITH SOUTH DAKOTA STATE BEGINS AT 6 P.M. HERE ON KXEL. ALSO ON CAMPUS TONIGHT, THE UNI WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM HOSTS LOYOLA IN THE MCLEOD CENTER AT 6. THERE’S NO IOWA STATE WRESTLING; THE CYCLONE’S DUAL AT WEST VIRGINIA IS OFF AS IOWA STATE GOES INTO THE COVID-19 PROTOCOL.

WATERLOO’S PARK AVENUE BRIDGE HAS SEEN BETTER DAYS. THE CONCRETE SIDEWALK OVER THE CEDAR RIVER IS CRACKING AND CRUMBLING IN SOME PLACES. WATERLOO OFFICIALS ARE LOOKING FOR FEEDBACK ON WHAT IMPROVEMENTS TO THE PARK AVENUE AND 11TH STREET BRIDGES SHOULD LOOK LIKE. SOME IDEAS, AS WELL AS A RESIDENT SURVEY, ARE POSTED ONLINE AT WATERLOO-BRIDGES-PROJECT.COM. THE SURVEY IS OPEN THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF NEXT MONTH WITH WORK TO BEGIN IN LATE 2021. WATERLOO COMPLETED A MAJOR RENOVATION OF THE 4TH STREET BRIDGE IN 2017.

TERRY BRANSTAD’S LONGSTANDING RELATIONSHIP WITH CHINESE LEADER XI JINPING MADE HIM A UNIQUE CANDIDATE TO BE THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S AMBASSADOR TO CHINA. IN AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR ABOUT HIS TIME IN BEIJING, BRANSTAD EXPRESSED DISAPPOINTMENT IN THE DIRECTION THAT XI HAS TAKEN THE COUNTRY. XI HAS CONSOLIDATED HIS LEADERSHIP OVER THE CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY, REMOVING SOME CHECKS TO HIS AUTHORITY. BRANSTAD FIRST MET XI IN THE 1980S, WHEN XI VISITED IOWA AS A PROVINCIAL OFFICIAL.

THE CEDAR RAPIDS KERNELS 2020 SEASON WAS WIPED OUT BY THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. THE 2021 SCHEDULE WILL START AGAINST THE PEORIA CHIEFS ON MAY 4TH AT VETERANS MEMORIAL STADIUM. THE KERNELS ALSO ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY A 10-YEAR PLAYER DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT WITH MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL. THAT SHOULD ENSURE PRO BALL REMAINS IN CEDAR RAPIDS AFTER MANY CITIES, INCLUDING CLINTON AND BURLINGTON, WERE DROPPED DURING THE OFF SEASON.

MARCUS SALLAY HAS ENTERED A PLEA OF GUILTY TO DRUG CHARGES AFTER THE OVERDOSE DEATH OF ANOTHER WATERLOO MAN. ADAM SHARKEY DID NOT RECOVER AFTER TAKING HEROIN APPARENTLY LACED WITH FENTANYL IN EARLY 2017. SALLAY WAS ARRESTED AFTER SELLING A SIMILAR SUBSTANCE TO AN INFORMANT IN THE AFTERMATH OF SHARKEY’S DEATH. SALLAY’S THURSDAY GUILTY PLEA LED TO MANSLAUGHTER CHARGES IN THE CASE BEING DROPPED.

A MAN WALKING IN A RURAL LINN COUNTY ROADWAY WAS HIT BY A PICKUP TRUCK ON THURSDAY EVENING. THE LINN COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE CHARACTERIZED THE ACCIDENT WEST OF COGGON AS UNAVOIDABLE. 37-YEAR-OLD DENVIR ROBERTSON OF SHELLSBURG WAS INJURED, BUT THOSE INJURIES WERE NOT BELIEVED TO BE LIFE-THREATENING.

FREDERICKSBURG IS LOSING A MAJOR EMPLOYER AT THE END OF NEXT MONTH. KERRY INCORPORATED ANNOUNCED THAT IT WILL CLOSE IT’S FACTORY IN THE CHICKASAW COUNTY COMMUNITY. THAT WILL PUT 81 WORKERS OUT OF THEIR JOBS. KERRY MAKES INGREDIENTS FOR PROCESSED FOODS.

IN A GLOBAL ECONOMY, THE UNITED STATES AND CHINA NEED EACH OTHER, WHILE THEY ALSO COMPETE WITH ONE ANOTHER. DURING THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION, FORMER IOWA GOVERNOR TERRY BRANSTAD WAS IN CHARGE OF MANAGING THAT COMPLEX RELATIONSHIP. AT THE SAME TIME, CHINA HAS BEEN A MAJOR CUSTOMER FOR U.S. AGRICULTURE. BRANSTAD’S COMMENTS ABOUT HIS TIME AS AMBASSADOR WERE MADE DURING AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR.