May 25, 2020 - 9:17 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — The five candidates competing in the Republican Primary in Iowa’s 4th congressional district are quarreling about their conservative credentials AND their ability to win the district in November.

Incumbent Steve King, who’s seeking a 10th term, says he was warned soon after his narrow 2018 win that he was going to be broadsided by a coup.

(As above) “I”m happy to have all of this scrutiny,” King says. “…I think the people that are going to the polls are going to be real pleased with the job that I have been doing.”

By mid-May, King had raised about 330-thousand dollars, but had just 32-thousand left in his campaign war chest. Challenger Randy Feenstra of Hull, a state senator, raised 925-thousand and had nearly four times as much money as King left for the campaign’s closing weeks. Feenstra has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Right-to-Life Committee as well as well-known Iowa Republicans like former Governor Terry Branstad and Sheldon native Bob Vander Plaats, president of The Family Leader.

(As above) “You need to be an effective conservative leader,” Feenstra says. “I’ve proven it.”

Jeremy Taylor of Sioux City, a former state legislator and former county supervisor, raised about 165-thousand dollars and had 24-thousand left in mid-May.

(As above) “Most of my funding comes from former Steve King supporters,” Taylor claimed, “about 80%.” 

Bret Richards, the former mayor of Irwin, says he is primarily self-funding his campaign and put 73-thousand miles on his van.

(As above) “Before the pandemic, I was door-knocking,” Richards says. “After the pandemic, it’s been social media — name recognition that way.”

Steve Reeder, a businessman from Arnolds Park, filed paperwork indicating a negative balance in his campaign account on May 13th. Reeder says he didn’t chase the big money or King’s former donors.

(As above) “I’m not beholden to any special interest groups or PACS,” Reeder says. “I’m beholden to the people of Iowa.”

The candidates made their comments during a weekend online forum hosted by Story County Republicans.

Statewide Iowa — An expert on insects says there’s no evidence so-called “murder hornets” are in Iowa and it’s entirely possible they’ll never buzz this far inland.

Donald Lewis, an extension entomologist at Iowa State University, prefers to use the wasp’s proper name, Vespa mandarinia, or the Asian giant hornet.

(As above) “That’s the official name,” Lewis says. “It was a good enough name in its home country of Japan. It should’ve been a good enough name here, but it got called something else which tends to add a little alarmism to the whole process.” 

The hornets were found in recent months in Washington state and in British Columbia, Canada in very small numbers and their nests were quickly destroyed.

(As above) “The possibility of the Asian giant hornet in Iowa is very slim,” Lewis says. “There’s a long history of insects finding their way to the North American continent and establishing and becoming invasive species. The chances for this one are slim but it’s worth watching.” 

The hornets got their murderous nickname because they can brutally wipe out honey bee colonies by decapitating the smaller, beneficial insects. About a dozen people are killed by the giant hornets every year in Japan, while in the U.S., about 50 people die every year from getting stung by various insects. In addition to being the world’s largest hornet at up to two inches long, their coloring is very distinctive.

(As above) “This is a huge wasp and it’s typical of all wasps with an elongated, slender body,” Lewis says. “They have four wings. The abdomen has a black-and-orange stripe. The head is orange, but the eyes are very black, which makes the eyes very prominent.” 

For the most part, if you don’t mess with the hornet, it won’t mess with you, Lewis says, but it will attack if provoked and its sting can be very painful and potentially fatal. If you encounter one, he says the best defense is simply to steer clear.

Statewide Iowa — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) reminds all boaters and anglers to “Clean, Drain, and Dry” their boats and equipment this Memorial Day weekend to protect Iowa lakes and rivers from aquatic hitchhikers.

Aquatic hitchhikers are invasive species – everything from zebra mussels to Eurasian watermilfoil – that move from one waterbody to another by hitchhiking on boats, in bait buckets and on other equipment used in the water. They often grow quickly and spread fast when brought to another lake or stream due to lack of natural controls.

The best way to control the negative impacts of aquatic invasive species in Iowa is to prevent their spread to new waterbodies, according to Kim Bogenschutz, aquatic invasive species coordinator for the Iowa DNR.

These aquatic invasive species can create serious problems for Iowa waters by reducing native species and making lakes and rivers unusable for boaters, anglers and swimmers.

Boaters and anglers can unintentionally spread aquatic hitchhikers if they do not take the proper precautions each time they leave a lake or river:
CLEAN any plants, animals, or mud from your boat and equipment before you leave a waterbody.
DRAIN water from all equipment (motor, live well, bilge, transom well, bait bucket) before you leave a waterbody.
DRY anything that comes into contact with water (boats, trailers, equipment, boots, clothing, dogs). Before you move to another waterbody either: Spray your boat and trailer with hot or high-pressure water; or Dry your boat and equipment for at least five days.
Never release plants, fish, or animals into a waterbody unless they came out of that waterbody and empty unwanted bait in the trash.

It is illegal to possess or transport prohibited aquatic invasive species. It is illegal to transport any aquatic plants on water-related equipment in Iowa.  Signs posted at public accesses remind boaters to stop aquatic hitchhikers and identify infested waters.

Boaters must also drain all water from boats and equipment before they leave a water access and keep drain plugs removed or opened during transport. It is also illegal to introduce any live fish, except for hooked bait, into public waters.

Find more information about aquatic invasive species and a list of infested waters in the current Iowa Fishing Regulations or at www.iowadnr.gov/ais.

Statewide Iowa — Within 10 days, the majority of businesses and facilities Governor Kim Reynolds ordered to close in March will have been allowed to reopen, under new pandemic-related guidelines.

Reynolds says critics of her decisions fail to acknowledge the distress that closures placed on the state’s economy and on individuals with mental health concerns or a volatile home life.

(As said) “There is a societal cost, also, to just shutting down and not realistically moving forward through this pandemic,” Reynolds says. “We can do it. We are doing it. We’re going to continue to do it and we’re going to continue to manage it.” 

Reynolds says she’s monitoring data points that indicate the threat from the virus is leveling off. Reynolds has repeatedly said with expanded testing and ample hospital space, the state will be able to manage COVID-19 outbreaks that may occur.

(As said) “We have never said that we were going to prevent people from getting COVID-19. That’s unrealistic. It’s unattainable,” Reynolds says. “What we have to do is learn to live with it and manage the virus. And we have to get things back to normal.”

Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen of Des Moines says Reynolds has presented Iowans with the “false choice” of saving elderly Iowans or saving the economy. Petersen says the number of COVID-19 cases is still increasing and reopening businesses too soon will be deadly for our health and economy.

May 23, 2020 - 7:59 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — Lakes and rivers are often full on Memorial Day, as many people get their boats in the water for the first time of the year.

Iowa D-N-R boating law administrator Susan Stocker says the desire to get out on the water is probably going to be higher than normal this year.

(As above) “And I do believe based on what’s been happening around Iowa stay at home orders, what have you, I think it’s going to be exceptionally busy,” Stocker says.

Stocker says you should continue to follow social distancing rules on the water, and only allow your immediate family in the boat.

(As above) “That means the people that you’ve been hanging out with at home. And so, that is one of the key things,” Stocker says. She says, “When you are at a fuel dock or loading and launching your boat, continue to maintain the six feet social distancing.”

She says you should stay away from some of the tractional things people do, such as landing on a sandbar and gathering, or doing what’s called “rafting.”

(As above) “That’s when two or three boats tie up together to form a raft. That is truly discouraged also, because you are not social distancing, you are not six feet apart and you are not staying away from people that you haven’t been staying at home together in the same household,” Stocker says.

Stocker says the standard rules still apply whenever you are boating.

(As above) “Everybody needs to have a wearable life jacket that fits them in the boat. And we strongly encourage everybody to wear the life jacket,” she says. “Similar to a seatbelt when you are riding in a car, you have no idea when you might be involved in an accident, so having your life jacket on is the best practice.”

Life jackets are required to be worn by anyone under 12 when the boat is moving. Stocker also reminds everyone that you can be stopped and arrested for drunk boating.

(As above) “The effects of alcohol are greatly increased because you have the wind out there, you have the sun beating down on you, you have the glare of the sun off the water,” Stocker explains. “What’s really, really crazy is that all these individuals are surrounded by water, but yet they are not drinking water, so they are dehydrated also. The effects of alcohol are greatly enhanced.”

Stocker’s final piece of advice is to plan ahead.

(As above) “Because everybody is feeling really, really antsy regarding cabin fever, we need to have some patience at the boat ramp. So, make sure that you have all of your items and gear in your boats and ready before you get to the boat ramp to launch,” Stocker says.

She says continue to follow the social distancing requirements at the launch area as you start and end the day.

Statewide Iowa — Research done in part at Iowa State University finds if we sit less and move more, it could improve our physical and mental health, while the same goes for getting more sleep.

ISU kinesiology professor Jacob Meyer, the lead author of the study, says with so many disruptions to our daily work and exercise routines, a few minor changes can greatly improve our outlook.

(As above) “What we saw was that if you could swap sitting time for just light intensity activity or more sleep, that was associated with better current and future mental health,” Meyer says. “But, if our goal was to change body fat percentage or body mass index, maybe you need to swap that sitting time for that higher intensity physical activity.”

Light intensity activities include a lot of things people wouldn’t really even think of as being beneficial, but Meyer says practically anything is better than sitting still.

(As above) “Standing at your desk instead of sitting at it oftentimes gets people’s energy expenditure up enough to be in the light intensity physical activity category,” Meyer says. “This could be things like washing dishes or any other standing activity. You don’t necessarily have to be doing much. I’m not talking about standing and playing ping pong, but just standing and engaging in the world around you.” 

Light activity can also include walking around your home office while talking on the phone or standing while preparing dinner. A separate study finds people who regularly worked out before the pandemic are now seeing a 32-percent reduction in physical activity.

(As above) “Thinking about ways that we can prevent decreases in physical activity behavior, even given our work-from-home environment, could be really important for helping us psychologically get through this period.”

The ISU-led study also found that substituting sitting time for more sleep was associated with lower stress and a better mood.

(As above) “That’s something that probably a lot of us can think about with the way that our sleep habits are,” he says. “This might just be turning off Netflix or Prime one episode earlier in the evening or thinking about getting up in a consistent morning routine.”

The research is being published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Statewide Iowa — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has ordered all flags in Iowa to be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to noon on Monday, in honor of Memorial Day, and directed that the National League of Families POW/MIA flag also be flown on Capitol grounds for the entire day.

Flags will be at half-staff on the State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol Complex. Flags will also be at half-staff on all public buildings, grounds and facilities throughout the state.

Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect.

In addition, Governor Reynolds released her Memorial Day Message, which can be viewed below.

Northwest Iowa — The continuing pandemic has caused issues with many things we have come to take for granted. The annual Memorial Day observances, services, and honors are among them.

In Doon, the annual Memorial Day Parade and the Memorial Day Services at Hillside Cemetery are canceled this year.

In George, the street flags are up, but Legion officials have canceled the service in the school. Clarence Stubbe with the Legion tells us they do plan to put up 230 big flags on Memorial Day morning at 7 a.m., and retrieve them Monday afternoon at 4 p.m., weather permitting. He says while there will be no program at the school, Legion members will do the 9:30 service at the bridge and throw the wreath. They’ll stop at 9:45 stop at the Veteran’s Memorial, and will process to Evergreen Lawn Cemetery by 10:00 a.m. for the laying of the wreath, but that will be all this year.

In Little Rock, they do plan to hold a service at Pleasant View Cemetery at 10:00 a.m. The service will include the reading of the names of graves being decorated. It will also include a dedication, a salute, and Taps will be played. However, no lunch or fellowship will follow the service.

The Rock Rapids Memorial Day Services at Riverview Cemetery and Holy Name Catholic Cemetery are canceled this year. Legion volunteers will be putting out the small flags on the graves, but they do not plan to put out the Avenue of Flags at the cemeteries.

 

Statewide Iowa — Some Iowa farmers could get checks in June as the USDA implements the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program.

President Trump says 16 BILLION dollars is set aside for direct payments to farmers.

(As above) “These payments will compensate farmers for losses related to the global pandemic,” Trump says.

Marty Smith, president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, attended this week’s White House event to highlight the program. Smith thanked Trump and Congress for the assistance, which he says will help some farmers stay in business.

(As above) “America’s farmers and ranchers continue to work around the clock to feed the public, to feed all of our nation,” Smith said, “to feed a large part of the world.”

Farmers can start signing up for the assistance on May 26th. Most payments will be based on 2019 production. Livestock producers who raise cattle, sheep and hogs are eligible. Farmers who raise crops like corn, soybeans and oats are eligible to apply, as well.

 

Northwest Iowa — The four northwesternmost Iowa counties have seen a net increase of eight cases of COVID-19 in the 24-hour period ending at noon on Friday, according to the latest statistics from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Lyon County reported a decrease of one case, for a total of 19. Sioux County is up eight cases at 188. O’Brien County is up one at 24. And Osceola County is unchanged at 30.

Again, these numbers are raw numbers and do not take into account how many people have recovered.

No deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in these counties.

As far as density of cases, Sioux County is now at 539 cases per 100,000, Osceola is at 497 per 100,000. Lyon is at 161 and O’Brien is at 173 per 100,000.

Total numbers of cases from other counties around the area and their change from the previous report (5/21/2020):

Iowa counties:
Plymouth 102, up 4
Cherokee 10, up 1
Buena Vista 140, up 7
Clay 9 unchanged
Dickinson 8 unchanged

Minnesota counties:
Jackson 37, up 1
Nobles 1432, up 18
Rock 20 unchanged

South Dakota counties:
Minnehaha 3211, up 16
Lincoln 218, up 7
Union 73, up 4