It was the second year of the pandemic and as health officials fought COVID-19, Iowans fought each other over whether masks and vaccinations were required.
“I do not believe in mandating vaccines. I’ve been very clear about that,” said Governor Kim Reynolds, who signed the State of Iowa onto multiple lawsuits challenging President Biden’s proposed vaccination mandates.
We all learned the phrase “supply chain,” and saw store shelves empty again, while prices for products in stock rose. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says it’s record inflation.
“We’re seeing some of the highest numbers we’ve recorded here at Creighton University since we began the survey more than 25 years ago,” Goss says.
As prices rose, so did temperatures. Most of Iowa’s fertile soil was exceptionally dry for much of the year, according to state climatologist Justin Glisan.
“We’ve had drought expand across the state, especially the D-3 category, which is extreme drought,” Glisan says.
Despite that, Iowa farmers brought in some of their best-ever harvests in corn and soybeans.
Ten-thousand unionized workers went on strike against John Deere in October, including at five Iowa factories. Curt Christoffel, manager of the Deere dealership in Le Mars, says the strike was long rumored so they prepared.
Christoffel says, “We have been ramping up our stock orders and our inventories at all of our locations to make sure that we are able to service these customers.”
The Deere strike ended in November after 35 days.
Newton’s largest employer, TPI Composites — which makes wind turbine blades, is closing, eliminating more than 700 jobs after losing its main customer to a competitor.
In May, Cristhian Bahena-Rivera was found guilty in the 2018 murder of Mollie Tibbetts of Brooklyn, Iowa. At his sentencing, carried on Court TV, Mollie’s mother Laura Calderwood read a statement:
“Because of your act, Mister Rivera, I will never get to see my daughter become a mother,” Calderwood said.
The judge sentenced Rivera to life in prison with no chance of parole.
Two inmates at the state prison at Anamosa tried to escape in March. A corrections officer and a nurse were killed during the attempt. Corrections director Beth Skinner said: “The loss of Bob McFarland and Lorena Schulte is always going to be a part of our fabric.” Both inmates were convicted and sentenced to life terms.
Eleven-year-old Xavior Harrellson of Montezuma vanished in May. His remains were found in a Poweshiek County field in September. No arrests were made.
In November, Fairfield High School Spanish teacher Nohema Graber was murdered. Among hundreds who gathered for a vigil, Maria Jimenez called Graber an inspiring educator and a much-loved member of Fairfield’s Latino community.
“Nohema meant so much to us. She was considered part of my family,” she said.
Two Fairfield High School students, both 16, are charged as adults in her murder. A judge denied their request for lower bail of one-million dollars each.
In mid-December, Iowa was hit by a second derecho in as many years, spinning off 30 tornadoes and hurricane-force winds, causing widespread damage and one death.