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Goodfellows
Mr. Goodfellow: Guarantee Roofing

DONOR: Guarantee Roofing, Siding and Insulation Co. LLC

AMOUNT: $1,000

ABOUT THE DONOR: Guarantee Roofing, Siding and Insulation Co. LLC has been serving Siouxland since 1926. The company does commercial and residential roofing, as well as siding, insulation and replacement windows, storm windows, entry doors and gutters.

DONOR COMMENT: "My grandfather and father were part of the Yellow Dog Auction from the beginning. I'm proud to say I've also been involved with it for many years. The smiles on the faces of children during the holidays really tug at your heart. Having witnessed people go in to get toys for their children, it's a pretty amazing sight," said Charese Yanney, owner and managing partner of the Sioux City-based business.


Local
breaking top story
UnityPoint Health, Sanford call off merger

SIOUX CITY -- UnityPoint Health, the operator of Sioux City's UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's hospital, and Sanford Health are no longer moving forward with a merger.

According to a statement released Tuesday by UnityPoint Health, after significant consideration, the health system "will not be moving forward with a formal partnership with Sanford Health."

"I'm tremendously proud of our organization and we will continue to work tirelessly to evaluate any avenue that improves the delivery of health care," Kevin Vermeer, president and CEO of UnityPoint Health, said in the statement. "Sanford is an exceptional organization with a bright future ahead. UnityPoint Health moves forward with strong roots and a fierce commitment to improving the experience of the people we serve."

[More health coverage: In near-unanimous vote, MercyOne nurses reject contract offer.]

On June 28, UnityPoint Health and Sanford Health announced that they had signed a letter of intent to merge brands, creating a joint health provider across a large slice of the Midwest and Great Plains. At that time, leaders intended for the transaction to be completed, pending regulatory reviews, by the end of 2019.

Kelby Krabbenhoft, Sanford Health's president and CEO, said in statement released Tuesday that executive management and physicians "worked diligently" for 18 months to provide a merger recommendation, but conversations regarding a potential merger with UnityPoint Health have ended.

Riverview Surgical Center opens in South Sioux City

The $32 million, physician-owned and directed surgical center will a wide variety of medical care. The first surgeries are scheduled for the second week of October. "We want to be a destination. This state-of-the-art facility will help make us a destination," the mayor said.

"We are disappointed that the UnityPoint Health board failed to embrace the vision. Our focus now is on the patients and communities we serve and the 50,000 people working tirelessly to support them," he said.

Sioux Falls-based Sanford, which bills itself as one of the largest healthcare systems in the United States, includes 44 hospitals and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and nine countries. Some 1,400 physicians are affiliated with the system.

Des Moines-based UnityPoint, the nation's fifth-largest nondenominational health system and one of the state's largest medical providers, operates more than 280 clinics, 29 hospitals in metropolitan and rural communities and home care services in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. 

The merged company would have seen as much as $11 billion in operating revenue, according to a statement released when the merger was first announced, and would have been among the 15 largest nonprofit health systems in the United States.

PHOTOS: Sioux City hospitals past and present

UnityPoint-St. Luke's, as it exists today, is the result of repeated mergers over the past century. One of Sioux City's earliest hospitals, Samaritan Hospital (formed in 1873 as Samaritan Home) merged in 1925 with St. John's Hospital, an institution dating back to 1908, to form Methodist Hospital. In 1966, Methodist Hospital merged with Lutheran Hospital (which dated back to 1901) to form St. Luke's Medical Center. 

St. Luke's became affiliated with Iowa Health System in 1996. At that time, the Iowa Health System had five other affiliate hospitals and physicians organizations in the state. 

In 2013, St. Luke's adopted the UnityPoint Health name amid a re-branding of the Iowa Health System.

Sanford Health and UnityPoint Health announce plans to merge

SIOUX FALLS -- UnityPoint Health, the operator of Sioux City's UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's hospital, and Sanford Health have signed a letter of intent to merge brands, creating a joint health provider across a large slice of the Midwest and Great Plains.

PHOTOS: 33 images of Sioux City pizza from the past and present

Washington
Split Supreme Court appears ready to allow Trump to end DACA

WASHINGTON — Sharply at odds with liberal justices, the Supreme Court's conservative majority seemed ready Tuesday to allow the Trump administration to abolish protections that permit 660,000 immigrants to work in the U.S., free from the threat of deportation.

That outcome would "destroy lives," declared Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one of the court's liberals who repeatedly suggested the administration has not adequately justified its decision to end the seven-year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Nor has it taken sufficient account of the personal, economic and social disruption that might result, they said.

But there did not appear to be any support among the five conservatives for blocking the administration. The nine-member court's decision is expected by June, at the height of the 2020 presidential campaign.

President Donald Trump said on Twitter that DACA recipients shouldn't despair if the justices side with him, pledging that "a deal will be made with the Dems for them to stay!" But Trump's past promises to work with Democrats on a legislative solution for these immigrants have led nowhere.

The president also said in his tweet that many program participants, brought to the U.S. as children and now here illegally, are "far from 'angels,'" and he falsely claimed that "some are very tough, hardened criminals." The program bars anyone with a felony conviction from participating, and serious misdemeanors may also bar eligibility.

Some DACA recipients, commonly known as "Dreamers," were in the courtroom for the arguments, and many people camped out in front of the court for days for a chance at some of the few seats available. The term comes from never-passed proposals in Congress called the DREAM Act.

The high court arguments did not involve any discussion of individual DACA recipients or Trump's claims.

Instead the focus was on whether either of two administration rationales for ending DACA, begun under President Barack Obama, was enough.

Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric was a key part of his presidential campaign in 2016, and his administration has pointed to a court ruling striking down the expansion of DACA and creation of similar protections, known as DAPA, for undocumented immigrants whose children are U.S. citizens as reasons to bring the program to a halt.

After lower courts stepped in to keep the program alive, the administration produced a new explanation memo from Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh were among the justices who indicated on Tuesday that the administration has provided sufficient reason for doing away with the program. Kavanaugh referred to Nielsen's memo at one point as "a very considered decision." Roberts suggested that worries that DACA is not legal might be enough to support ending it.

Roberts, who could hold the pivotal vote on the court, aimed his few questions at lawyers representing DACA recipients and their supporters. He did not seriously question the administration's argument.

However, justices' questions don't always foretell their votes. In June the chief justice surprised many when he cast the deciding vote to prevent the administration from adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, despite not voicing much skepticism during arguments in the case.

Justices Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito raised questions on Tuesday about whether courts should even be reviewing the executive branch's discretionary decisions.

Sotomayor made the only direct reference to Trump, saying he told DACA recipients "that they were safe under him and that he would find a way to keep them here. And so he hasn't."

She also complained that the administration's rationale has shifted over time and has mainly relied on the view that DACA is illegal, leaving no choice but to end it.

In her most barbed comment, Sotomayor said the administration has failed to plainly say "that this is not about the law. This is about our choice to destroy lives."

Solicitor General Noel Francisco, representing the administration, did not directly respond to Sotomayor. But near the end of the 80-minute arguments, he asserted that the administration has taken responsibility for its decision and is relying on more than merely its belief that DACA is illegal. The administration has the authority to end DACA, even if it's legal, because it's bad policy, he said. "We own this," Francisco said.

If the court agrees with the administration in the DACA case, Congress could follow up by voting to put the program on surer legal footing. But the absence of comprehensive immigration reform by Congress is what prompted Obama to create DACA in the first place, in 2012, giving people two-year renewable reprieves from the threat of deportation while also allowing them to work.

Young immigrants, civil rights groups, universities and Democratic-led cities and states sued to block the administration. They persuaded courts in New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., that the administration had been "arbitrary and capricious" in its actions, in violation of a federal law that requires policy changes to be done in an orderly way.

If the justices sustain the challenges, the administration could try again to end the program.


Local
featured
Saluting veterans
Artist closing in on end of Iowa Freedom Rock Tour

SIOUX CITY -- Artist Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II recently finished painting his 87th rock in Albia, Iowa, which leaves 12 rocks remaining on his Freedom Rock Tour of Iowa.

During the tour, which Sorensen hopes to wrap up next fall or winter, he honors veterans by painting military-themed murals on large boulders in each of the state's 99 counties. He has completed rocks in every Northwest Iowa county.

Although Sorensen said he had great art teachers in primary and secondary school who "pushed him along," he really didn't get into painting until he majored in art and design at Iowa State University.

"I just sort of started expanding my mediums and things that I was experimenting with. I'd always kind of wanted to try murals out," he said. "That's kind of what led me down this road."

PHOTOS: Freedom rocks in eight Iowa counties

In 1999, Sorensen asked permission to paint a large boulder near Menlo, Iowa. The 60-ton rock, which is located one mile south of Interstate 80, off exit 86, had been a popular spot for graffiti. He painted "Thank you veterans for our freedom" and the flag raising at Iwo Jima. 

After the rock was eventually graffitied over, a group of veterans asked Sorensen if he would go out and paint the same thing for Memorial Day. Instead, he changed the mural.

"It just kind of snowballed from there. Every May, I go out and paint a different 'Thank you' for our veterans," said Sorensen, who doesn't get paid for the murals he paints on Freedom Rocks. "I've always said I'll continue to do it as long as I can afford the paint and afford the time."

After Sorensen started a mural painting and photography business with his wife in 2008, they came up with the idea for the Freedom Rock Tour, which touches all of Iowa's counties.

Tim Gallagher, Sioux City Journal file 

Artist Ray "Bubba" Sorensen II paints the Woodbury County Freedom Rock in Anthon, Iowa, on June 22, 2017. Sorensen has completed rocks honoring veterans in 87 of the state's 99 counties. He expects to finish the last 12 rocks -- all in eastern Iowa -- by next fall or winter.

"I haven't served, so I feel like I and my family, we owe a debt of gratitude to the men and women that have served and are serving and standing at ready to defend this country. All it's done is just deepen my appreciation and understanding of what our veterans are done and are doing," Sorensen said of the tour.

Sorensen said he paints as few as 10 and as many as 16 rocks in a year. He even painted a rock in Wisconsin in January. Each mural takes 1 to 2 weeks to complete, depending on size and complexity. As far as subject matter, Sorensen said that's decided by him and the Freedom Rock committees that naturally form at each site.

[Read more: Sioux City VFW canteen closure a sign of changing times for veterans groups.]

"I'm not so much concentrated on branch and each era and every single thing crammed onto each rock, but rather just tell interesting and inspiring stories at each spot," he said.

Sorensen said the original Freedom Rock is his favorite, simply because he's "the client" and has sole control of the theme. In celebration of the conclusion of the Iowa Freedom Rock Tour, Sorensen said he will paint a 100th rock. Towns will get to bid for the spot. Fifty percent of the proceeds from the auction, Sorensen said, will benefit a veterans' charity.

As Sorensen winds down his Iowa tour, he's already begun the 50 State Freedom Rock Tour, having painted rocks in Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Washington State. 

"The goal, of course, is to try to have one in all 50 states. That one is going to probably move at a little bit slower pace, but that's fine," he said.

PHOTOS: Historic Sioux City fire houses and equipment