Sheldon, Iowa — A Sheldon woman and her children are the latest recipients of a car through NCC’s SkillsUSA Charitable Chariots program.

In a presentation ceremony Tuesday morning at Northwest Iowa Community College, Serina Garcia of Sheldon was presented with the keys to a refurbished 2007 Ford Fusion. Garcia and her family had applied through Upper Des Moines Opportunity of O’Brien and Osceola counties, and were identified by the Family Crisis Centers.

SkillsUSA is a student run organization that promotes professional development, community service, and technical training. Students in the Automotive Service & Light Duty Diesel and the Diesel Technology programs at Northwest Iowa Community College refurbish automobiles, vans, and trucks for the purpose of donating back to area families in need. Families that receive the donated vehicles are selected by area social service agencies like the Family Crisis Center.

NCC’s SkillsUSA organization extends a special thank you to the Iowa Auto Recyclers organization for help with this project

This is the 24th vehicle donated by Charitable Chariots at NCC since 2009.

 

Des Moines, Iowa — Several public informational meetings are scheduled in the next few weeks to inform landowners in 36 Iowa counties about a proposed large-scale carbon capture pipeline.

Navigator Heartland Greenway LLC is the company behind the idea.

The pipeline is proposed to span approximately 1,300 miles across five states, including Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Navigator’s pipeline system would capture carbon dioxide at local facilities, convert it to liquid form, and transfer the liquefied carbon dioxide to a permanent underground sequestration site in Illinois.

The proposed project is classified as a hazardous liquid pipeline.

Under Iowa Code, the pipeline company is required to hold informational meetings in each county in which real property or property rights would be affected, and the meetings are to be conducted at least 30 days prior to the company filing a petition for a new pipeline permit.

The Iowa Utilities Board has scheduled a virtual meeting in addition to the in-person meetings in each affected county and has approved the following schedule of public informational meetings:

· Lyon County: November 29, noon – Forster Community Center, 404 First Ave., Rock Rapids
· Plymouth County: November 29, 6 p.m. – Le Mars Convention Center (lower level), 275 12th St. S.E., Le Mars
· Cherokee County: November 30, noon – Aurelia Community Center, 235 Main St., Aurelia
· Woodbury County: November 30, 6 p.m. – Sioux City Convention Center (Rooms A & B), 801 Fourth St., Sioux City
· O’Brien County: December 1, noon – Crossroads Pavilion Event Center (Great Hall), 301 34th Ave., Sheldon
· Osceola County: December 1, 6 p.m. – 9th Street Center, 418 Ninth St., Sibley
· Dickinson County: December 2, noon – Dickinson County Community Center, 1602 15th St., Spirit Lake
· Clay County: December 13, noon – Clay County Regional Events Center, 800 W. 18th St., Spencer
· Buena Vista County: December 13, 6 p.m. – Alta Community Center, 28 N. Lake St., Alta

The virtual meeting on January 19, 2022 will be conducted at the IUB’s Hearing Room and available by remote access. Details and virtual registration information for that meeting will be posted on the IUB’s online hearing and meeting calendar. Information about the proposed pipeline project also will be available on the IUB’s website, iub.iowa.gov. That site also has the locations and dates for several more meetings.

Larchwood, Iowa — Shipping containers are in high demand and short supply as continued supply chain shortages pose a unique challenge for Iowa’s dairy industry.

Chad Hart, an agricultural economist for Iowa State University, says exporting dairy products overseas was already tricky, and it’s worse right now.

Farmers on the local level have their own headaches. Doug Stensland, a dairy farmer in Larchwood, says he’s in the habit of ordering inventory way ahead of time. That’s because he can’t be certain the semi-trucks full of empty milk jugs will arrive at his farm on time. That, combined with the rising cost of feed additives and labor, makes business hard right now.

For many Iowa dairy farmers, supplies like dry tubes, ear tags and milk jugs have been harder to purchase. They say the uncertainty of finding both affordable labor and packaging has put a dent in profits.

 

 

November 22, 2021 - 9:18 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Positive COVID test results took another jump in the four-county area of O’Brien, Sioux, Osceola and Lyon counties during the past seven days.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, Sioux County saw the biggest increase, jumping from 67 positives last week to 90 in the latest report. O’Brien County reports five new positives, for a total of 21, while Osceola and Lyon counties, each had the same number of new positives during the past seven days; Osceola County reports 20 new positives, while Lyon County reports 25.

According to this week’s report, there have been a total of 198 deaths from COVID-related illnesses in the four-county area since the pandemic began. That’s an increase of four from the previous report. The additional deaths are all reported in Osceola County, after last week’s report, in which the IDPH  reported a three death reduction in Osceola County. This week’s report lists 77 deaths in Sioux County, 61 in O’Brien County, 42 in Lyon County and 18 is Osceola County.

According to the latest report, 59.9% of O’Brien County adults have been fully vaccinated against COVID, with 53.3% of Osceola County adults fully vaccinated, 51.0 of Sioux County adults and 50.6% of Lyon County adults have gotten the poke.

The Iowa county with the highest adult vaccination rate is Buena Vista County here in northwest Iowa. 79.1% of Buena Vista County adults are reported to be fully vaccinated. The county with the lowest adult vaccination rate is in far southeast Iowa’s Davis County, where they report a 46.1% adult vaccination rate.

Spirit Lake, Iowa — Democrat Mark Lemke of Spirit Lake has announced his candidacy for the special election in state Senate District 1. 

Lemke started his career working at Sears in Estherville. When Sears closed in 1982, he moved to Des Moines to work for RCA, which became General Electric in 1988. He rose through the ranks of the company to the position of National Training Manager for the Northwest Region. In 1999, he left General Electric to start his own company. Lemke retired in 2016 and moved to Spirit Lake and has served as a member of the Monarch Cove Lake Association Board since 2016.

Lemke says that in the Iowa Senate, he’ll fight for policies that will raise incomes for hardworking Iowans, invest in our public schools and our children’s futures, and make it easier for parents to work and raise a family. 

Lemke says Iowa can be a great place to live, work, raise a family, and retire, but only if Republicans and Democrats can come together and pass common sense policies that help hardworking Iowans.

Lemke grew up in Armstrong and graduated from Armstrong High School in 1974. He attended Iowa Lakes Community College and studied business administration. He is married with 5 children and 8 grandchildren. He is a member of the Lutheran Church.

The special election to fill the unexpired term of former Iowa District 1 Senator Zach Whiting, will be held on Tuesday, December 14. Senate District 1 is comprised of Lyon, Osceola, Dickinson, Clay, and Palo Alto counties.

November 20, 2021 - 7:08 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — The long wait is almost over. For an expected 55-60,000 deer hunters, the shotgun deer seasons are right around the corner and before they head to the timber, it’s important that everyone go through their gear to make sure everything still fits and still works and takes time to review their hunting safety plan.

The hunting plan identifies the hunt location, who’s on the hunt and outlines their role, describes how the hunt will unfold and when the hunters are expected to return home. Hunters are encouraged to leave a copy of the plan with someone or somewhere easy to find, in the event of an emergency.

Hunters will also want to check their blaze orange gear to make sure it still fits and that that orange hasn’t faded to the point of being ineffective. The minimum amount of blaze orange required by Iowa law to hunt in the firearm deer season is a 100 percent solid blaze orange vest, but Matt Bruner, district supervisor with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says they encourage hunters to wear blaze orange hats and gloves, too.

He also reminded hunters to not only properly identify the target before shooting, but also what is behind the target and to avoid shooting at running deer. It’s also a good idea to talk to the landowner or tenant to confirm permission to hunt and to see if anyone else has permission to hunt the same property.

Before setting foot in the timber on opening morning, Bruner advised hunters to spend some time sighting in their firearm to get reacquainted with its accuracy and the range that the bullets and slugs can travel, to treat every gun as if it were loaded and to always point the gun in a safe direction.

The first shotgun deer season opens Saturday, December 4th.

November 20, 2021 - 7:00 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — The Farm Bureau’s annual survey of items used for a traditional Thanksgiving feast found a 14 percent increase in cost compared to last year.

Iowa Farm Bureau economist, Sam Funk, says they based the cost on a meal for ten people.

The price of the meal centerpiece turkey was up an average of one dollar, 50 cents per pound.

Some people canceled the big holiday gathering last year, but plan to return to the tradition this year — and that comes as he says the supply of turkeys is down by about four percent.

Other items in the Farm Bureau survey include frozen pie crusts, pumpkin pie mix, whipping cream, dinner rolls, fresh cranberries, rolls, whole milk, frozen peas, sweet potatoes, and stuffing. The increase for those items minus the turkey is six-point-six percent compared to last year. Funk says many people will tell you they can get a better turkey price by shopping.

Funk says in some cases you might find a late sale where turkey prices are below a buck a pound.

November 19, 2021 - 2:13 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 3.9 percent in October, down from 4.0 percent in September and 4.2 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent.The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 64,700 in October from 66,200 in September.The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,596,200 in October. This figure is 1,600 higher than September and 34,800 higher than one year ago. The labor force participation rate remained steady at 66.8 percent.

Iowa businesses added 1,000 jobs in October, lifting total nonfarm employment to 1,539,900 jobs. This increase marks the second consecutive gain following a drop in August, and the fifth job increase in the last six months.

Visit www.iowalmi.gov for more information about current and historical data, labor force data, nonfarm employment, hours and earnings, and jobless benefits by county.

November 19, 2021 - 11:40 am - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — Officials say as many as 13-hundred Afghans who were evacuated from their Asian homeland this summer could be relocated to central Iowa by June of 2022.

Three weeks ago, the Pentagon announced nearly 67-hundred Afghans had been resettled throughout the country, but more than 53-thousand remained at U.S. military facilities in six different states. Polk County Supervisor Robert Brownell has been leading efforts to make arrangements for Afghans who’re being sent to the Des Moines area.

Brownell says the coalition working on the resettlement project has secured warehouse space for beds and other furniture.

Pashto and Dari are the two official languages of Afghanistan and Brownell says they’re also working on a contract with a call-in translation service so Afghans can communicate with English-speaking Iowans as soon as they arrive.

November 19, 2021 - 11:23 am - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — A national report ranks Iowa’s highway system 22nd in the country, a drop from 20th last year, in terms of its condition and cost-effectiveness.

The study’s lead author, Baruch Feigenbaum of the Reason Foundation, says they calculated the rankings based on a series of 13 categories, including pavement quality, spending, safety, and traffic congestion.

Among Iowa’s other placements, the organization’s Annual Highway Report showed Iowa ranked 30th in urban interstate pavement condition, 22nd in traffic congestion and 18th in overall fatality rate. The study also rated the states for how much they spend per mile of state-controlled road.

Earlier this week, President Biden signed a massive infrastructure bill into law which promises to pump some five-billion federal dollars into Iowa for projects from roads to public transportation to airports. It likely won’t mean anything visible right away, he says, as far as improvements to our highways.

Even with the influx in federal dollars, he’s doubtful Iowa’s 22nd place ranking on the report will shift significantly in either direction.

Compared to nearby states, Iowa’s overall highway performance is better than Illinois (ranks 40th overall) and Wisconsin (26th) but worse than Missouri (2nd), Minnesota (18th) and Nebraska (21st). The Reason Foundation is a non-partisan, non-profit think tank, based in Los Angeles.

See the full report at: reasons.org.