“Nightfall” by David Smith

Statewide Iowa — Summer is here and Keep Iowa Beautiful is announcing the 13th Annual Keep Iowa Beautiful Photography Contest.

Keep Iowa Beautiful officials tell us Iowans have the next six months to grab their cameras, or phones, and enter one or all of the five categories.

Kevin Techau, Keep Iowa Beautiful Executive Director says that this is a great way for Iowans to share what they like about Iowa. He says there are five categories to enter your favorite photo of what makes you proud to be an Iowan and captures the beauty and spirit of Iowa. Techau says that again, this year the contest will feature over $2,000 in cash awards.

The two-phase contest begins now with an entry deadline of December 17, 2022. The first-place winner will get $100, second place: $75, and third place: $50.

From January 15-29, 2023, the five first-place winners will be featured on Keep Iowa Beautiful social media for voting and selecting the Public Favorite Photo. The winner will receive an additional $100. The Robert D. Ray Best of Show Awards, determined by a distinguished panel, will also be announced at that time. The Robert D. Ray Best of Show first place winner will get $500, second place: $250 and third place: $100.

Randi Ray, Robert and Billie Ray’s eldest daughter, has agreed to serve on a panel of judges. She says that photography was one of her dad’s favorite pastimes. She says, “During his 14 years as governor, he and my Mother traveled to many places around the world and he always had a camera around his neck. Dad was so proud of Iowans and their efforts to make Iowa a great place to live.”

The five categories are:

Iowa Landscape
Capture Iowa’s beauty through depictions of Iowa’s landscape, including but not limited to farm fields, rolling hills, and wooded forests.

Iowa Water
Feature Iowa’s beautiful water systems with depictions of Iowa rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes.

Iowa Cities
Iowa’s urban centers are hubs of history, culture, and beauty. This category features depictions of Iowa’s cities, street scenes, and urban landmarks.

Iowans in Action
This category aims to capture the spirit of Iowa through depictions of the people that live, work, and play in Iowa. All means of action that can be captured: biking, running, fishing, hunting, and hiking are but a few.

Iowa Wildlife
Iowa is home to a variety of beautiful critters. This category aims to showcase Iowa’s beauty through depictions of Iowa’s wildlife animals: mammals, fish, birds, bugs, and more!

A $5 fee is required for each photo entered. Contest rules and entry guidelines are on KIB’s website: www.keepiowabeautiful.com/photograph-contest/

Statewide Iowa — All three student body presidents spoke Monday during the Board of Regents meeting as they held the first reading of a proposed four-point-two-five percent tuition increase.

The Board says the increase is needed after they requested an additional 15 million dollars from the Iowa Legislature and lawmakers gave them a five-and-half million. ISU student body president Jacob Ludwig says he understands the situation.

He says the tuition increase is another hurdle students face following the challenges of the pandemic.

The increase translates to around 350 dollars at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University and 330 dollars at the University of Northern Iowa. Ludwig says students are grateful for the increase in state support this year — but says state support is not keeping up.

UI student body president, Patrick Johnson, talked about the impact of the tuition increase on student debt.

He says he is also concerned that it costs out-of-state students around 30-thousand dollars just for one year of tuition and fees.

He says state lawmakers need to do more to help.

UNI student body president, Leila Masinovic, echoes the concerns.

Masinovic says UNI depends on the state funding even more than the other two universities.

The Board of Regents will take its first vote on the tuition proposal at its next meeting.

Lyon County, Iowa — A Sioux Falls woman faces criminal charges after a traffic stop in Lyon County late Saturday afternoon.

According to court documents, shortly after 5 pm Saturday, a Lyon County Deputy stopped a vehicle for speeding, and allegedly smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the vehicle when he approached.

The vehicle’s driver, identified as 40-year-old Molly Marie Hawk of Sioux Falls, reportedly showed signs of impairment and was arrested for 2nd Offense OWI, which is an Aggravated Misdemeanor. Deputies say Hawk had her 8-year-old son in the vehicle with her at the time of her arrest, and charged her with Neglect or Abandonment of a Dependent Person, which is a Class C Felony. Hawk was taken into custody and taken to the Lyon County Jail in Rock Rapids.

A Preliminary Hearing in the case is set for 9:00 am on Tuesday June 28th in Lyon County Magistrate Court.

June 20, 2022 - 11:17 am - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — Deidre DeJear, the Democratic Party’s nominee for governor, is asking party activists to remember Iowa has a history of progressive politics.


DeJear spoke at the Iowa Democratic Party’s state convention this weekend and formally accepted the party’s nomination to challenge Republican Governor Kim Reynolds in the General Election. DeJear also announced Clinton County Auditor Eric Van Lancker is her running mate for the General Election.

Van Lancker, who’s in the middle of his fourth term as Clinton County’s top election official, lost his bid for the Democratic Party’s nomination for secretary of state in the June 7th Primary. Van Lancker says he and DeJear will provide leadership on issues like voting rights as well as public education, housing, broadband and health care.

DeJear told Democrats the race ahead won’t be easy, but she says issues like abortion access and public schools can sway independent voters.

After her speech, DeJear told reporters Reynolds appears to be more focused on enhancing her national profile and that will be an issue in the race.

June 20, 2022 - 10:42 am - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — Big changes are coming to Iowa’s Bottle Bill.

Governor Kim Reynolds has approved a bill that will soon let most grocery stores and other retailers opt out of accepting empty bottles and cans and paying back the nickel deposits. The 44-year-old Bottle Bill was created for the reduction of litter and the encouragement of consumers to recycle their drinking containers.

In the past, grocery stores have complained about being forced to allow these into their stores due to sanitation issues.  There are only around 60 redemption centers left, as the fee for handling recycling has remained at a penny per container.  This bill signed by Reynolds triples this fee, hoping to encourage more people to open redemption centers.

Those who oppose this bill may think that because many retailers have the chance of opting out of the program, many Iowans, depending on their area, will lose the convenience of returning empty containers, resulting in more litter and trash in the landfill.

Reynolds’ staff also announced late on Friday that the Governor had approved a two-year postponement on new state casino licenses. This hinders developers and city officials who had previously planned to seek a license for a Cedar Rapids casino complex. Reynolds has also given the okay for the new January deer hunting season for areas overrun with deer, and hunters would be allowed to use AR-15 type rifles during that season.

June 20, 2022 - 9:58 am - Posted in News


Statewide, Iowa — The search for workers to fill open jobs continues to be one of the top priorities in surveys of Iowa businesses. Iowa Workforce Development Director, Beth Townsend, says the numbers for March don’t show a lot of workers leaving one job for another.

She says that may change when the numbers for April or May are released.

Townsend says there may have been an incentive to move to another job in the past — but businesses have taken steps to keep employees.

She says her agency tries that issue in evaluating the skills and needs of employees.

She encourages you to seek out help from Iowa Workforce Development if you are looking for a job.

June 18, 2022 - 7:39 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — Representatives from the ACLU of Iowa and Planned Parenthood talked with reporters Friday in reaction to the Supreme Court decision on abortion.

ACLU of Iowa legal director Rita Bettis Austen says the ruling that abortion is not a fundamental right under Iowa’s constitution is a devastating reversal of prior precedent.

The ruling on the constitutional question came as the Supreme Court reviewed a lower court decision that said the 24-hour waiting period for abortion that was passed in 2020 was not legal. Austen says the ruling does impact abortion law review.

Bettis Austen says the lower standard of scrutiny known as the Undue Burden still holds.

She says that is the level of protection that is in place at the FEDERAL. Bettis Austen and a representative from Planned Parenthood cited an Iowa Poll that showed a majority of Iowans supported keeping abortion legal. Iowa Republicans who have pushed to end abortion in the state have control of both Houses of the Iowa Legislature and the governor’s office. Those on the conference call could not say why Republicans have such control if a majority of Iowans support abortion, according to ACLU of Iowa Communications Director Veronica Fowler.

Bettis Austen says the next step in this case is for them to go back to the district court and continue the challenge that the 24-hour waiting period for an abortion is an undue burden.

Pro-life advocates welcomed the Supreme Court ruling on abortion. Kristie McGregor has spent every Wednesday outside the Sioux City Planned Parenthood clinic for the last two years praying. She says since her miscarriage in 2017, she’s devoted herself completely to fighting for a ban on abortion. McGregor says she’s happy with today’s ruling – but she’s not celebrating yet. She says that won’t come until abortion is outlawed completely.

She sees the court’s reversal as a step in the right direction. But until abortions in Iowa are banned, McGregor says she’ll keep showing up every Wednesday to pray.

Northwest Iowa — With the mercury expected to reach the centruy mark on Sunday and Monday, and heat index values forecasted in the 100s, according to the National Weather Service, now might be a good time to brush up on those heat illness tips.

According to Sanford Sheldon Nurse Practitioner Michael Grevengoed, overheating or heat exhaustion is a serious issue.

But, he says heatSTROKE is an emergency.

He tells us how to know the difference.

If that’s the case, Grevengoed says you should call 911 and get them to an emergency room as soon as possible.

He tells us what to do if you notice someone has had too much of the heat.

Grevengoed says heat exhaustion and heat stroke are preventable. Just take it easy and drink enough water.

Experts say if you don’t have air conditioning at home or it’s broken or not keeping it cool enough, you can go to an emergency room or clinic and tell them what’s going on. Also, you can spend time in an air-conditioned store, mall, theater, museum, or somewhere else with air conditioning. Experts also say to be aware that opening the windows when it’s so humid outside may actually make indoor conditions worse in a non-air-conditioned home rather than better.

Grand Rapids, Michigan — There are many Christian Reformed congregations in northwest Iowa. The governing body for the denomination, Synod (2022) met at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Mich., from June 10-16.

This year’s CRC Synod voted to no longer require two services on Sundays. In 1995, Synod, facing the fact that many churches no longer held two services, decided to enter the word “ordinarily” into the Church Order, forming the rule, “The congregation shall assemble for worship, ordinarily twice on the Lord’s Day . . .” This year’s Synod voted to remove the words “ordinarily twice,” but at the same time, out of pastoral consideration for churches that still maintain a meaningful evening service, they said that it is important to include affirmation of this rich tradition in the Church Order.

This year, Synod voted to appoint a committee in loco and empower it to begin conversations with the Neland Avenue Christian Reformed Church of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and its Classis, Grand Rapids East after Neland Avenue elected a person in a same-sex marriage to the office of deacon. Neland was ordered to comply with the denomination’s position that “homosexual sex, though not the orientation, is incompatible with God’s will as revealed in Scripture,” according to the Christain Reformed Church’s magazine, The Banner.

Over 50 people, dressed in all black, gathered on Wednesday to lament the decisions made at Synod revolving around a human sexuality report.

Although gender and sexuality issues took first priority at this Synod, delegates discussed racial justice for more than an hour. They worked through a series of proposals as a response to Classis Greater Los Angeles’ overture to “oppose white supremacy and systemic racism.”

Synod also asked member churches to review a code of conduct that is being considered before Synod adopts it. The code is supposed to prevent an abuse of power.

(Contributions from The Banner (TheBanner.org) news staff — Thanks)

Pella, Iowa — A governing body that makes decisions for many churches in northwest Iowa has wrapped up their annual meeting. Read The Full Story…