Get Branded 360 Wins Main Street’s “Open 4 Business” Contest
(Le Mars) — A Le Mars business was selected as a finalist for the Iowa Mainstreet “Open 4 Business” competition. The contest was held Wednesday and businesses from across the state submitted their ideas for growth and expansion to qualify for a grant. Get Branded 360 with owners Tom and Lori Schuch won the Medium-size city population category. They will now compete
at the State finalists competition scheduled for August. Get Branded 360 was awarded with a $8,000 state grant. Each of the state’s 54 Main Street organizations could submit one business to represent their program. The contest is designed to help local Main Street programs provide financial and technical support for business retention, expansion, and recruitment efforts
that improve Main Street districts. Mary Reynolds, Le Mars Main Street Coordinator says,”We are delighted that the Schuchs were selected as the winner of the medium population cate-gory. They had a strong 15 minute presentation via skype with the judges in Des Moines,”A year ago, The Browns Musical Family with their Century Theater was among the state finalists and were awarded a total of $18,500 in city and state grants.
FDA Officials Visit Wells Enterprises Plants
(Le Mars) — A team of officials representing key departments of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) visited Wells Enterprises, Inc., and two of its facilities in Le Mars, Iowa, this week to see firsthand the company’s manufacturing practices for consistently ensuring food safety, quality and allergen protection during the production process.
Wells Enterprises, which makes Blue Bunny ice cream and frozen desserts, is a member of the International Dairy Foods Association, and together they arranged for a six-person team from FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition to tour the plants, which make packaged ice cream and frozen
novelties. The visit was designed to help inform the agency’s ongoing efforts to update its Frozen Dessert Processing Guidelines and make certain that any new recommendations align with good manufacturing practices and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
Monica Metz, chief of milk and milk products for FDA, joined the other agency representatives for a comprehensive, two-day tour of the Wells Enterprises manufacturing plants. During the tour, employees demonstrated their knowledge and understanding of the importance of food safety and shared how the Wells
team approaches the process within the manufacturing facilities.
More than 30 Wells employees participated, including five members of the company’s leadership team: Mike Wells, CEO; Ramin Ghaffari, senior vice president, operations and logistics; Brad Swart, senior director, quality and food safety; Brad Galles, South ice cream plant manager; and Lyle Loutsch, North ice cream plant manager.
USDA Report Shows Record Number of Hogs and Pigs
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the number of pigs on farms has reached a record high for June 1.
The agency says in a report released Thursday that the inventory of pigs was 73.5 million, up 3 percent from a year ago and up 1 percent from March 1.
It’s the highest June 1 inventory of all pigs since estimates began 54 years ago.
The USDA says 33.2 million baby pigs were born from March to May, the largest number of new pigs for the same period since 1970 when records began.
Iowa has the most pigs with 22.7 million animals, also a June 1 record for the state. North Carolina is second with 8.9 million and Minnesota third with 8.6 million.
Ernst Says She Is Confident Yet Concerned With Trump’s Trade Negotiations
(Des Moines) — Senator Joni Ernst and the rest of the Iowa Congressional Delegation recently sent a letter to President Donald Trump expressing concern about the impact of trade negotiations on farmers in the state.
Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, says process for handling trade issues isn’t exactly the way she would do it — but she says she the president does
Ernst says she favors a more linear approach to handling the trade issues.
She says in her talks with the president he has expressed confidence he can get the North American Free Trade Deal done by this fall. Ernst says the president says Canada has been the problem in NAFTA, so they’ve encouraged the president to do a bilateral deal with Mexico while continuing to work on
Ernst says they continue to remind the president of the concerns of farmers.
Ernst and Senator Chuck Grassley recently met with Terry Branstad, who is the former Iowa governor and now Ambassador to China to discuss trade with that country.
She says they also talked with Branstad about North Korea and while they have trade issues with China — China is important in helping to ensure the de-nuclearization of North Korea.
One Percent Of Voters Didn’t Have Identification
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Nearly 1 percent of the electorate in Iowa’s largest counties did not show identifications during the June 5 primary, prompting critics to warn that the requirement could disenfranchise some voters in elections beginning next year.
Figures provided by the 10 counties with the highest turnout show that 1,198 voters signed oaths attesting to their identities of 144,000 ballots cast.
Those voters either didn’t have one of the IDs required or chose not to show one in protest. It won’t affect the November election, when there are competitive statewide and congressional races, because the oath will still be allowed.
A spokesman for Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate says the numbers aren’t an indicator of future problems and the oath educates voters so they are familiar with requirements next year.
Insurance Representative Sentenced For Fraud
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say a former insurance claims representative in West Des Moines, Iowa, has been sentenced to two years’ probation in a fraud case.
The Iowa Insurance Division said Thursday that Cora Harrington pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree fraudulent practices, a felony. Besides probation, she was also ordered to pay restitution.
An investigation begun in 2017 concluded that Harrington submitted false information in support of insurance claims and altered insurance company records to generate payments for her own benefit.
Investigators say she altered the names of parties involved in insurance claims and created payments under those fictitious names. Checks totaling more than $4,000 were generated and deposited into bank accounts belonging to Harrington.