A migraine is more than a simple headache. 12% of the population has experienced migraines with women being the most frequently impacted.
"I have had them diagnosed with headaches since my mid-20s, but they started as a frequent occurrence of migraine-like headaches when I was 17."
Lights, sounds, and smells can trigger debilitating headaches that can leave migraine sufferers in bed for days. For some, an aura can develop during a migraine attack.
"My aura is phantom smells and I smell cigarette smoke that doesn't exist."
For Annie Giudicessi, a chronic migraine sufferer, her migraines kept her away from family and friends.
"I used to be an incredibly social person, liked to go out and do things," she said, recalling a time she missed a family member's pregnancy announcement because of a migraine. "I am not anymore because anything I would do for fun I would pay for it the next day with a migraine."
Then came a special green light that changed everything for Annie.
"Within the first two times of using it, I knew it was a gamechanger." This specific band of green light helps people see and function, especially for those who suffer from migraines.
"For me, it was that I could turn everything off, turn the green light on for about a half-hour, and start to notice that the side effects that went along with my migraine lowering while my medication started to kick in and make me feel better," she said about the light.
The Allay Lamp, developed by Harvard Medical School Professor Rami Burstein, releases a specific narrow band of green light, helping people like Annie live with migraines.
"I've been able to control my migraine symptoms with medication and the green light without having to completely just shut down and sleep for 12 to 14 hours," she said, stating she uses the light every day, even when she doesn't have a migraine.
The green Allay light also helps ease anxiety, reduce stress, and helps some people fall asleep faster.
Annie says the light, along with her medications, helps ease her symptoms faster, "so I can return to what I need to be doing more quickly."
While this green light technology is a new therapy for treating migraines, Annie has already seen a difference.
"For me, it was a complete game-changer."
To learn more about the Allay Lamp and how you can order it, visit their website, allaylamp.com.
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"Corrections is the unsung hero of law enforcement. They don't get the credit that they deserve as part of the law enforcement family and they have a very tough job to do."
The deadly attack at the Anamosa State Penitentiary earlier this week has highlighted the need for a new jail here in Woodbury County.
"You can never make sure violence doesn't happen," said Woodbury County Chief Deputy Tony Wingert. "You can't control everything. You can only do your best."
There are more than 230 inmates currently being held in the jail, but the 34-year-old facility was made for only 87.
"In reference to Eastern Iowa, it can be built a lot safer," Wingert said of the current facility. "This is old technology, this is old style. We've become more intelligent in how we house inmates, and we need to be upgraded."
Wingert says with the current jail, it takes more officers to keep staff and inmates safe than it would with a new, modern facility. But now the rising cost of materials has thrown a new wrench in the plans.
The authority took a major step forward in the construction of a new Woodbury County jail, approving the purchase of land on 28th Street for the new jail and officially opened the bidding process for the dirt work.
The project is coming in above the initial budget because of the pandemic, but both city officials and the sheriff's office say this project needs to be a top priority for the county.
"COVID has affected the project greatly," said authority chairman Ron Weick. "The number that we project is almost $8 million and most of that has come on since October."
The original projected cost of $50 million has gone up due to increases in the cost of materials during the pandemic. The jail authority plans to use federal Cares Act money the county is receiving to help offset the increase in price, which includes a 70% hike in steel alone.
"If numbers continue to go up and we don't move forward, our scenario just continues to get worse," Weick said.
Not only that, but we continue to have problems with the building across the street and that is," he continued, "who knows when a major piece of that building fails and it can no longer be utilized, then the Sheriff's Department is looking at having to transport prisoners outside of Woodbury County."
Wingert agreed, saying the problems with the old building will cause a bigger headache for the county the longer they wait. "It's important to get done now because you can spend a lot, $50 million is a lot, but you can have the building go bad, our chillers and our HVAC system, that we'd have to move inmates out. Then it's going to cost taxpayers even more and we are still not going to have the problem fixed."
The new jail will be built on 28th Street just across from Lake Forest Mobile Home Park and Wingert says taxpayers can rest easy knowing that any funding used on the project will ultimately help keep the community safe.
"You don't want to lose somebody's life, either an inmate's life or an officer's life," Wingert said. "No amount of money is going to make that better. I'm a taxpayer, I don't want my taxes raised. I think we can do this in such a way that we won't have to raise taxes and we need to take advantage of that."
As plans move forward on the new jail, corrections staff continue their work inside the jail.
"Our men and women of the Sheriff's Office, they work hard every day and they know that when they go inside the facility that there could be danger done on them," he said about his corrections team. "There could be violence. Our people do a really good job and they work their butts off to keep Woodbury County safe."
The authority will soon be accepting bids for the dirt work at the new jail site, with plans to begin construction early this summer.
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Sioux City Schools are honoring a pair of female trailblazers in the district during "Women's History Month" this year, with something that has never happened in the history of the Sioux City School Board.
"It has been more than 15 years since a woman has been part of the board."
Not only are there women on the school board, but they are also leading it.
"We are extremely grateful for those women who paved the way and that were examples to us," said Perla Alarcon-Flory, "And now to be able to serve in this capacity, we have the hopes that we can encourage younger generations to continue bringing their voices and sharing what they need to share."
Perla Alarcon-Flory is serving as the board's first female president. Alongside her is Vice President Monique Scarlett.
"As an African American woman, I want to thank all of the women that paved the way. Past presidents and women that have served on the board. Without them, I would not be here. It would be impossible," said Scarlett.
These trailblazing women are bringing a unique perspective to the district and the community they serve.
"I believe that the greatest thing that we have brought to this board is an attitude of humility," said Alarcon-FLory. "We are here willing to learn and to hear and listen and to be able to put together all of the different pieces of that puzzle in order to put together a better learning environment for all of the kids in the district."
Both say they hope to serve as role models for young girls and women in Siouxland.
"How could you understand the needs of the population and the school that you are serving if they don't see themselves reflected in you and you don't see yourself reflected in them," said Alarcon-Flory.
"Those that see the need and those that will come after me, I hope that the vision and focus stay the same," said Scarlett. "To make our district the best district in Iowa and nationwide."
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In March of 2020, the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, arrived in the tri-state region. Now one year later, we look back on the impact this virus has had on Siouxland.
A GLOBAL TIMELINE:
On December 31st, 2019, the World Health Organization received the first report of a viral pneumonia in Wuhan, China. Just 9 days later, an outbreak of a novel coronavirus, COVID-19 was confirmed. The first death of this new virus was reported on January 11th and just 20 days after WHO first learned of the virus, it appeared in the U.S. By February 3rd, the U.S. had declared a public health emergency and by March 11th, the WHO had declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.
President Trump declared a national emergency two days later. On April 4th, 1 million cases were confirmed worldwide. Come the end of May, the United States had documented 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 and reached 2 million confirmed cases by June 10th. On August 17th, COVID-19 had become the 3rd leading cause of death in the nation. September 28th brought a grim global milestone: 1 million lives lost. The world reached 40 million confirmed cases by October 19th and by mid-December, the FDA had approved the first two vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna.
On January 1st, 2021, the country reached 20 million confirmed cases. By the 10th of January, 90 million confirmed worldwide. Just 5 days later, 2 million people were dead. By March, millions had been vaccinated and a third vaccine option, Johnson & Johnson, was approved for use: one year after COVID-19 was declared a national emergency.
Here in the tri-state, we've seen more than 652,000 people test positive for COVID-19 in the last year.
Nebraska was one of the first states in the nation to house people in quarantine for COVID-19 following a cruise ship outbreak. More than a dozen people were brought to Nebraska Medicine in Omaha on February 17th to spend two weeks in quarantine after an outbreak on the Diamond Princess. A handful had tested positive and receive treatment at the hospital. It wouldn't be until March 6th that the first confirmed case specifically in Nebraska was reported. Here in Siouxland, Dakota and Madison County saw major outbreaks of COVID-19 after the virus spread through meatpacking plants in Dakota City and Norfolk.
It was a Sunday night, March 15th, when Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds made an announcement no other governor of the state has ever made before, closing schools across the state for four weeks. Classes would never resume for in-person learning for the 2019-2020 school year. March 17th, Gov. Reynolds closed gyms, fitness centers, theaters, casinos, bars, restaurants and many other businesses in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus in the state. The state reached a grim milestone on August 19th, with 1,000 Iowans dead from COVID-19.
South Dakota was one of the first to report a major outbreak of COVID-19, putting the Rushmore state under a national spotlight. The state reported its first cases and first death linked to the virus on March 10th, and just a month later, an outbreak was confirmed at the Smithfield Foods pork plant in Sioux Falls. This outbreak was one of the first to hit meatpackers last spring. The plant shut down on April 11th and the CDC was brought in to investigate its mitigation measures before the plant could reopen. Governor Kristi Noem would host President Donald Trump for a July 4th celebration at Mount Rushmore and then in August, tens of thousands of people flocked to Sturgis for the annual motorcycle rally. Throughout the pandemic, Governor Noem encouraged civic responsibility instead of stay at home and mask orders, urging South Dakotans to use personal responsibility to help slow the spread of the virus. By December 2020, Avera Health, a major health system in the state, reported that South Dakota had the highest mortality rate from COVID-19 in the nation.
COVID-19 vaccine phase updates in the tri-state
RETURN TO LEARN:
Many schools in the Siouxland area released "Return to Learn" plans ahead of the 2020-2021 school year. These included various learning scenarios for students and teachers in case of a virus outbreak in the district or community. Siouxland News spoke to many of these districts ahead of the new school year, which you can find those stories here.
The Sioux City Community School District had three learning plans: in-person, hybrid and online. The district was one of the few large districts in the state of Iowa to remain in-person this school year. Siouxland News Anchor Diana Castillo sat down for an exclusive interview with Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman to look back on the last year, the success of the Return to Learn plan, and what he'd do differently if he had the chance. Watch the full interview below or click here.
SIOUXLAND DISTRICT HEALTH:
They've become a household name over the last year. The team at the Siouxland District Health Department had to quickly adjust to ever-changing protocols from health officials and questions from the public. Our Vivian Rennie sat down with Director Kevin Grieme and Deputy Director Tyler Brock for an in-depth discussion on a year they won't soon forget. Watch the full interview below or click here.
A YEAR FIGHTING COVID-19 INSIDE UNITYPOINT HEALTH-ST. LUKE'S
This virus has changed a lot of lives, but for those who work at Unity Point Health Saint Luke's, they came face to face with an enemy no one could predict.
READ MORE: Vivian Rennie spoke with health officials and nurses at UPH about the last year and COVID-19.
LOCAL BUSINESS IMPACT:
Businesses across the country, Siouxland included, are no stranger to the negative impact of the pandemic. It's been tough and those businesses made a lot of sacrifices in the last year. But, they've also seen growth and development that wouldn't have emerged otherwise.
READ MORE: COVID-19's impact on the local economy
READ MORE: Sneaky's Chicken says they are struggling but surviving the pandemic
READ MORE: A look at how the pandemic has impacted a Siouxland tire and auto repair shop
READ MORE: Tyson Events Center gets creative during the pandemic
SPORTS IMPACT:After the coronavirus canceled spring sports all across the tri-state, Iowa was the first to attempt high school sports over the summer and for the most part, it went off without a hitch. But people were more skeptical about the fall, a time where close contact sports were inevitable. Our Andrew Rogers breaks down the numbers from Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota to find out how much the virus played a role in sports cancellations. Read his story here and watch the video below.
They are a key element in our nation's food supply and became one of the hardest-hit industries early on. COVID-19 outbreaks spread quickly through meatpacking plants nationwide. In the Spring of 2020 meatpacking plants across the midwest became the first hotspots for COVID-19 in the country.
SMITHFIELD - Sioux Falls
The City of Sioux City and the surrounding Siouxland communities have been named the top spot in the Nation for economic development in 2020.
2020 was a difficult year for many, but economic growth took the lead in the Siouxland metro area.
"Iowa, along with Utah, is the best-positioned state in the union to bounce back and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic," said Chris McGowan, President of The Siouxland Initiative.
The Sioux City Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Sioux City, South Sioux City, North Sioux City, Dakota Dunes, Sergeant Bluff and all of Woodbury County, was named the top spot in the nation for economic development by Site Selection Magazine.
"You know, I think it's special this year because of everything that's gone on and it just shows how resilient our community is in the Siouxland region and the city and how we have come together during this difficult time and still made things happen and still grew as a community," said Sioux City's Economic Development Director, Marty Dougherty.
"It's a tribute to our whole region," Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott said about the recognition. "It isn't just Sioux City. We work together in collaboration with other communities and I think it pays dividends for the whole area."
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds helped make that announcement Monday morning at the newly opened Siouxland Expo Center.
"This is such great news for our communities and great news for our state," Reynolds said, also noting that Des Moines and other Iowa communities also saw great economic growth last year. "It's great news for Iowans and the career opportunities that these recognitions bring with it."
This is the 2nd year in a row that Siouxland has had this top honor, and the 9th time overall since 2007.
"This is a reflection of the commitment that local business has to this state, the tri-state and our communities," McGowan said.
"If you look at it as a bigger tri-state community, you have more labor, you have more housing, you have better rates on electricity," said South Sioux City Mayor Rod Koch, who emphasized that all city leaders in the tri-state work together to make strides in economic growth in the area. "You have a better, more experienced, educated field of potential employees and housing. It all works together."
Everyone at the award ceremony said this is just the start of great things to come in the metro.
"This is good momentum for us for the future," said Dougherty. "As the economy grows, it will lift up all of those businesses and we are looking forward to a great year."
"The river is the only thing that divides us," Koch said. "Otherwise, we are just one city."
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Web articles from my time at Siouxland News.