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Here First
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Start your day equipped with the essential local news you need to know. Host Clay Masters shares the top news stories of the morning in under 15 minutes, available weekdays by 7 a.m. Listen Here First.

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  • A total of 75 of the state’s 99 counties now have a substantial or high level of spread of COVID-19. The man convicted of killing Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts will not get a new trial. Plus, advocates are raising concerns about restrictions put in place in Iowa prisons, after two staffers were killed on the job, allegedly by two inmates. IPR’s Kate Payne explains that some loved ones are worried the conditions may lead to more violence.
  • Air quality alerts were posted on Sunday for numerous areas of the U.S. including in Iowa because of wildfires. IPR’s Katie Peikes explains that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is helping beef up research at 19 Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Plus, an Iowa casino has re-imposed a mask mandate for its guests to slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to increase in Iowa. Gov. Reynolds is joining other Republican governors in calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn previous rulings on abortion. And Republican state Rep. John Landon of Ankeny has died at the age of 71.
  • Tuition’s going up this fall at Iowa’s public universities. Gov. Reynolds says Iowa state troopers deployed along the U.S.-Mexico border are back in Iowa. She says it was the “right thing to do.” And the very longtime mayor of Manchester, Iowa, says this will be his last term.
  • Gov. Kim Reynolds is rejecting new face mask recommendations from the CDC – even though nearly half of Iowa’s counties have substantial or high transmission of COVID-19. The man convicted of killing Mollie Tibbetts in 2018 was back in court yesterday, asking for a new trial. And lawmakers in Washington hold a hearing today on a lack of competition in the cattle market.
  • Many Iowa school districts are spending at least part of the summer revising policies around diversity and inclusion to comply with a new state law. House Democrats want Gov. Kim Reynolds to fill vacancies on the state board of health. And, Des Moines is joining a national effort to track the spread of COVID-19 by testing wastewater.
  • Wednesday is the deadline to apply for grants to support broadband expansion in Iowa. Community members in Montezuma say they won’t give up looking for Xavior Harrelson, two months after the 11-year-old disappeared. And roughly 70 percent of Iowa is still in some form of drought, with no significant rain in the forecast.
  • Iowa could get up to $170 million from a nationwide opioid lawsuit settlement. Former 1st District Democratic U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer will try to unseat longtime Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley. And thousands of cyclists are headed to LeMars for the start of RAGBRAI. The annual bike ride across Iowa gets underway Sunday.
  • Seventeen Iowa Republican lawmakers want a health care company to explain why it’s requiring workers at seven Iowa hospitals to get a COVID-19 vaccine. In Washington, U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks delivered remarks urging Iowans to get vaccinated. And an organization that works against human trafficking says cases in the U.S. increased during the pandemic.
  • The University of Iowa’s new president says she believes academic freedom is critical to the institution’s success. Many Iowa Latinos’ future status is in limbo after a judge in Texas last week ruled the DACA program unconstitutional. And Sen. Chuck Grassley is among lawmakers calling on the Biden administration to create a national strategy to address the country’s overdose crisis.