Hinton Fire Department Responds To Corn Crib Fire
(Hinton) — The Hinton Fire Department responded to a structure fire Monday evening. The fire was reported at around 7:15 p.m. at a farmstead located at the junction of Lynx Avenue and 280th Street, about five miles east of Hinton and
nine miles south of Le Mars. According to Hinton Fire Chief Chad Beck, the homeowners were burning a brush pile when some embers were blown on to a nearby corn crib. Fortunately, the homeowners were home at the time, and started to
spray water on the corn crib. When firefighters arrived, Beck says the wooden corn crib was smoldering.
The corn crib is no longer being used to store grain, but rather is used to help store machinery. Beck says the corn crib is still standing and fortunately did not suffer much fire damage. The Hinton Firefighters were on the scene for about an hour. Beck reminds people to be careful when burning brush. He says
the dry conditions is what caused the corn crib to start smoldering.
County Supervisors To Declare Surplus Property For Auction
(Le Mars) — The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will convene at the County Courthouse Boardroom this morning. The supervisors are expected to approve Chance Klemme as a trustee for Preston Township. The supervisors will also
declare surplus property eligible for an upcoming county auction. The supervisors will hear from Jack Martin as he discusses an entrance access on property located in Perry Township from a vacated road. Plymouth County engineer Tom Rohe will seek permits for tile crossing in Stanton, Washington, and Preston Townships. Rohe will review with the supervisors an agreement with the Burlington Northern-Sante Fe railroad regarding a crossing lights and gate for the crossing on county road C-12 near Struble. Rohe will also finalize plans for two culvert and one bridge repair projects. Following the regular weekly supervisor meeting, the supervisors will convene as the Plymouth County
Drainage Board to discuss the Akron Drainage District.
City To Begin Business Highway 75 Overlay Paving Project
(Le Mars) — Beginning Monday, April 3rd, motorists using Business Highway 75 will need to think about using a detour. That’s because the city will start its overlay project. City Administrator Scott Langel says the overlay project will
go from Highway 3 heading south to near Airport Road. Langel says the 1.7 miles of construction zone will be done in four separate phases.
Langel says city officials hope to be able to complete the overlay of phase 1 of Business Highway 75 within a few weeks. He says all four lanes of traffic will be shut down at the same time, and detours will be directed to 6th Avenue
The city administrator says with overlay projects, weather isn’t as much of a concern as with other paving construction projects.
Langel says phase 2 paving overlay project will get started following the completion of phase 1. He anticipates phase 2 will be completed within two weeks. Langel explains the remaining phases of the overlay project.
The entire Business Highway 75 overlay project comes with a price tag of $1.8 million dollars. Langel expects the project will be completed in June. He says the city has included as part of the contract, an incentive bonus pay for the contractor.
House Committee Passes Stricter Texting While Driving Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A House panel has approved a bill that would toughen Iowa’s regulations for texting and driving.
A subcommittee of the House Transportation Committee unanimously agreed Monday to support the legislation. It’s now eligible for a full committee vote.
The bill would allow a law enforcement officer to pull over a driver specifically for texting. It’s a secondary offense under current law, meaning an officer must have another reason to initiate a traffic stop.
The law now prohibits drivers operating a vehicle from using a cellphone or other hand-held electronic communication device to write, send or read a text message. The bill would expand those rules to include use of social media, games
and internet sites.
The Senate passed the bill 43-6 this month, an indication of bipartisan support.
Branstad Supports Moderate Raise In Minimum Wage
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad says he still supports a modest minimum wage increase, just days after Republican leaders in the Iowa House made clear they weren’t interested.
Branstad told reporters Monday he has informed House leaders he supports raising the wage.
Last week, House Speaker Linda Upmeyer noted Republican legislators didn’t support an increase.
Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, who will succeed Branstad if he is confirmed as ambassador to China, says she would consider supporting an increase if she’s convinced it wouldn’t hurt job growth.
The House recently approved a bill blocking local jurisdictions from approving minimum wages above the state level of $7.25. If approved by the Senate, workers in some Iowa counties with approved higher minimums could see pay cuts.
Iowa last raised its minimum wage in 2009.
Senate Passes Worker’s Compensation Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Senate has approved a bill to overhaul how workers are compensated for on-the-job injuries, sending the measure to Gov. Terry Branstad.
The legislation, which passed Monday night with only Republican support, reduces benefits for employees injured at work in Iowa. It decreases some coverage for shoulder injuries and permanent injuries impacting the whole body.
The bill is expected to decrease payouts from the state Workers’
Compensation Fund by about $1.8 million annually beginning in the 2018 budget year. A new retraining program is expected to increase some state costs.
Senate Democrats have accused Republicans of cutting costs at the expense of injured workers, while Republicans say the changes are necessary to reduce unnecessary lawsuits.
If signed into law by Branstad, the changes would go into effect July 1.
Farmland Values Inching Up
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A new survey suggests that farmland values in Iowa have inched upward in the past six months.
A report from the Iowa Realtors Land Institute Chapter No. 2 says the farmland values climbed nearly 1 percent from September to March, hitting $6,545 an acre. The
increase was the first since September 2013.
The report says, however, that farmland values are still 2.8 percent lower for the past 12 months. The institute’s surveys suggest that the average value of Iowa’s farmland has dropped about 25 percent since March 2013. Iowa farmland
values peaked in 2013 but have since fallen along with commodity prices.
The institute surveys about 135 agricultural real estate brokers,
appraisers and other professionals.