Plymouth County Board Of Supervisors Vote Down Plywood Trail Grant Application
(Le Mars) — The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors decided to vote down a grant application, that if approved, would have helped with a portion of the funding of the proposed recreational trail known as the Plywood Trail. For several years, organizers have been wanting officials to approve the proposed trail. Plywood Trail would be a bicycle and hiking trail that would connect Le Mars with Sioux City while passing through the towns of Merrill and Hinton. There have been some questions as to the final location of the trail. McClure Engineering is the survey team with the task of creating a final trail. Officials with McClure appeared before the county governing board on Tuesday to seek the county’s approval to be listed on the REAP state grant application. Don Kass is the chairman of the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors and says he and some of his colleagues questioned the location of the trail.
Kass says he wonders how a bicycle trail is helping protect natural resources?
Some people have wondered if the Iowa Department of Transportation, during their construction project involving Highway 75 were just going to place the Plywood bicycle trail within the right-of-way running parallel to the highway.
D-O-T officials have denied the claim during past conversations. The county governing board met with Iowa DOT officials during their Tuesday meeting relating to the status of the Highway 75 construction project, but Kass says the Plywood Trail was never brought up during their Tuesday conversation.
The county board of supervisors voted 3 to 2 to defeat the REAP grant application. Kass says since the county did not sign on to the grant application, he believes with relation to this specific grant the issue is “dead in the water.” However, Kass acknowledged there are other grants that the Plywood Trail Association may pursue.
Many Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative Customers Still Without Power
(Marshalltown) — The manager of one of the Rural Electric Cooperatives hit by Monday’s storm says restoration of power has been complicated because of the wide path of destruction — and because every link in the transmission system has been heavily damaged. Jim Kidd is general manager of Consumers Energy based in Marshalltown.
According to the Iowa Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives outage map, about two-thirds of Consumers Energy customers remain without power.
Power generating facilities send electricity out on high-voltage transmission lines to substations. Kidd says that high-voltage transmission grid seems to have taken a significant hit, which delays getting substations back online.
From the substation, electric power is sent to a transformer which converts the power to the voltage you use inside your home. The final trip for the electricity is on power lines from a transformer to a customer’s home or business.
About 30-thousand Rural Electric Cooperative customers in 27 counties still do not have power. The largest group is in Linn County, where more than 12-thousand customers of three Rural Electric Coops are without electricity.
Iowa Governor Believes State Will Qualify For Federal Disaster Declaration
(Des Moines, IA) — While adding three counties to the list, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds tells reporters she believes the state will qualify for a federal disaster declaration. Reynolds says the data is being collected on the damages caused by hurricane-force winds. Buildings were torn up, trees were downed and power was cut to hundreds of thousands of Iowa customers.
The governor says Iowa is still early in the process and she doesn’t have a definitive timeline. She expects preliminary damage estimates to increase.
Reynolds says she spoke with the president Tuesday. Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to visit the state today (Thursday).
Cedar Rapids Uses Snowplows To Clear Downed Trees
(Cedar Rapids, IA) — Cedar Rapids continues to dig out from under the large number of trees that were blown down by Monday’s storm. City spokesperson, Maria Johnson, says there is limited electricity back on in some areas, Johnson says there were so many trees down in the streets they had snowplows
out to help clear a path. The city has been under a curfew from 10:00 p-m until 6:00 a-m. Johnson says the curfew will stay in place until further notice — likely until the electricity is back on. She says with no street lights on the streets and power lines that are still broken and hanging in some areas they felt it was unsafe to have people navigating the streets in the dark. Johnson says they got limited cell service back Wednesday — and that has helped the mood of people.
Spilled Milk Causes Issues In Ankeny Creek
(Ankeny, IA) — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources got a report of water in a creek turning white Wednesday and that fish were struggling near the surface. The white color was traced back through a storm drain to milk released at a Hy-Vee store. The D-N-R says it is working with Hy-Vee to prevent the milk-laden water from reaching Fourmile Creek on the northeast
side of town. Hy-Vee officials determined 800 gallons of milk were released.
D-N-R staff members have not seen any dead fish — but say as bacteria break down organic products the bacteria use up oxygen and low oxygen levels can kill fish and aquatic organisms like crayfish and insects.
Four State Parks Still Closed With Wind Damage
(Undated) — Four of Iowa’s state parks remain closed to all visitors due to extensive damage from Monday’s strong wind storm, while several other state parks are only partly open as cleanup operations continue. Alex Murphy, the spokesman for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says the majority of
the trouble is with downed trees, as there was little structural damage in the parks. The state parks that are closed are Palisades-Kepler, Pleasant Creek, Lake MacBride and Wapsipinicon. Parks that are partly open as cleanup
is underway include Big Creek, Ledges, Pine Lake, Walnut Woods and Rock Creek. Murphy says volunteers want to help clear out the mess but now is not the time. He says the staff needs to have space to do the cleanup.