Government Officials Celebrate Rural Broadband Internet Connection
(Hawarden) — It was just last November when the U-S Department of Agriculture extended a $7.2 million dollar “Re-connect grant” to Premier Communications of Sioux Center to expand broadband internet to rural areas.
A celebration was held at Land Mark Company of Hawarden on Wednesday for the connection process being completed. Several speakers were featured during the event, including USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development, Betty Brand and Iowa Lt. Governor Adam Gregg. During her address, Brand says being connected to the internet is a necessity for rural America.
Following her formal remarks, Brand told reporters she equates the need for broadband internet into the rural areas, much like when electricity and phone services were introduced and delivered to rural American homes in the 1930’s and 40’s.
Premier Communications C-E-O, Doug Boone informed the gathering as to how much fiber optic cable has been installed since last November in order to connect rural Sioux County with the high speed broadband internet.
Lt. Governor Adam Gregg returned to his hometown of Hawarden for today’s announcement. Gregg says high speed broadband internet will help increase economic development in rural Iowa, and rural America.
Gregg says having connection to the broadband internet means being connected to the world. He says it will be essential for businesses to have internet access in rural areas in order to recruit young people to rural area jobs.
Gregg says the Iowa legislature has been very supportive of expanding broadband to the rural areas of the state. He says Governor Reynolds has also allocated some CARES Act funding to be directed towards expanding broadband internet in the rural areas of Iowa.
Soybean Harvest Off To A Good Start
(Craig) — Harvest has only begun, but already local grain officials are predicting that as much as 20 percent of the soybean harvest is complete.
Doug Schurr serves as the general manager of the Farmers Cooperative Elevator in Craig. He says area soybean yields are doing better than expected.
Schurr says the quality of the soybean crop has also been better than previously expected.
Schurr says it has been too early in the season to have any of this year’s corn delivered to his grain storage facilities.
Tractor Roll-overs Account For The Most Deaths And Injuries On A Farm
(Le Mars) — We continue our series of reports focusing on farm safety during this National Farm Safety Week. Of all the different types of farm-related accidents that can occur, including grain suffocation, road-way collisions, machine entanglement, electrocution, chemical exposure, the one that produces
the most serious injuries and the most deaths are tractor roll-overs. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Farm Safety Specialist, Chuck Schwab says tractor roll-overs ranks highest in terms of farm-related accidents.
Schwab says farmers have a much better chance of surviving a tractor roll-over when a tractor is equipped with a cab or the roll over protection structure or simply referred to as ROPS.
The Iowa State University official says the number of farm accidents and fatalities is starting to drop, but more education and awareness is still needed.
Schwab says the number of tractor fatalities from roll-overs have dropped by half since the 1990’s, but he says we need to drop the rate by half again.
Businesses Face Fines For COVID-19 Violations
(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division has filed complaints against six businesses in four cities for violating the state’s COVID-19 social distancing rules. I-A-B-D lawyer, Lolani Lekkas says they meet with the business owners and try to reach a settlement. She says they use the guidelines set forth by the governor that gradually move up the sanctions starting with three warnings and now these businesses face a one-thousand dollar penalty. A second complaint after that
would be a seven-day suspension of their license. Lekkas says the licensee has the right to a hearing by an administrative law judge if they decide not to accept the settlement and one-thousand dollar fine. The businesses facing complaints are: Bo-James in Iowa City, Cube Ultra Lounge in Council Bluffs,
Xcaret Club and Lounge in West Des Moines, Shotgun Betty’s in West Des Moines, Knights of Pythias – Furgerson Lodge #5 in Waterloo, Edo’s Sports Bar in Waterloo.
Carroll Man Admits To Receiving Child Pornography
(Sioux City, IA) — A central Iowa man pleaded guilty in federal court to receiving child pornography. Twenty-nine-year-old Kyler Colten Cook of Carroll admitted he knowingly received pornography that included minors. He was released pending trial and was caught sending graphic texts and visual images to a female and was then detained in federal custody pending trial.
Cook will be sentenced at a later date and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Greenfield Talks About Supreme Court
(Des Moines, IA) — Democrat U-S Senate candidate Theresa Greenfield says adding more justices to the U-S Supreme Court is not what should be done. Greenfield says, “I wouldn’t say that I have formed an opinion on that, but that’s certainly not a high priority for me and it’s not something that Iowans are talking about at this point in time.” Greenfield, made her comments Wednesday afternoon during an hour-long, online forum hosted by the Greater Des Moines Partnership, an alliance of central Iowa chambers commerce. Greenfield’s communications director released a written statement afterward, saying campaign finance reform is the best way to make our democracy more representative. Greenfield is challenging Republican Senator
Joni Ernst’s bid for reelection. A spokesman for Ernst’s campaign blasted Greenfield for refusing to give a clear answer on whether she supports “packing” the U-S Supreme Court with more justices.
DOT Looking For Snowplow Drivers
(Ames, IA) — The Iowa Department of Transportation is already putting out the “help wanted” sign as it tries to hire hundreds of snowplow operators to help clear the roads during the winter ahead. D-O-T winter operations administrator Craig Bargfrede (BARG-freed) says they’re looking for around 600 positions people to help augment the fulltime staff in the 101 garages
spread across the state of Iowa. Bargfrede says the work begins in early October and runs through the middle of April. The pay is 18-19 an hour, and the amount of time worked depends on the amount of snow. You must have a commercial driver’s license and be at least 18 years old. Apply online at www.iowadot.gov/careers.
Iowa Legislators to Consider More Election Accommodations
(Des Moines, IA) — More than a half-million Iowans have requested an absentee ballot – which is five times as many as at this point in the 2016 election. Iowa’s secretary of state is asking a legislative panel to approve more changes to accommodate counting the huge increase mailed-in ballots.
Absentee ballots are placed inside a “secrecy” envelope and that envelope gets inserted into another envelope for mailing the ballot. According to a draft memo, Secretary of State Paul Pate will ask the Legislative Council to give county election officials authority to start opening those outer envelopes on October 31st. Pate also plans to ask lawmakers for permission
to approve the relocation of precinct voting sites on his own, plus he’s asking legislators to okay letting I-D cards that expired this year be used as a form of voter I-D on Election Day. Due to the pandemic, some Iowans haven’t been able to renew their licenses or get an I-D card at the D-O-T this year. The Council is scheduled to meet Friday to vote on Pate’s requests.
856 New COVID-19 Cases in Iowa, 8 Additional Deaths
(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Department of Public Health is reporting 856 new positive tests for COVID-19, increasing the state’s total to 82-thousand-six cases. Eight more Iowans have died from coronavirus complications bringing the death toll to one-thousand-293. Three-hundred-one people are hospitalized with COVID, 77 patients are in intensive care and 37 are on ventilators. Nearly 60-thousand-300 patients are considered
recovered. Almost 751-thousand tests have been done in the state since the pandemic began.
House Continuing Resolution Includes $30 Billion For USDA Corporation
(Washington, DC) — The congressional showdown over funding for a government-owned corporation that finances U-S-D-A programs is over. The resolution that cleared the U-S House Tuesday night includes 30-billion dollars for the Commodity Credit Corporation. Iowa’s entire congressional delegation sent a letter to House and Senate leaders, saying farmers
shouldn’t be used as a “bargaining chip” in budget negotiations.
Congresswoman Cindy Axne said, “I fought back against our leadership and said: ‘We are not going to get behind this unless our farmers get the aid they need.” The plan that passed the House not only includes funding for the Commodity Credit Corporation, it also prevents the U-S-D-A from using C-C-C-
funds to undermine the Renewable Fuel Standard and make payments to oil refiners.
Mount Pleasant Man Accused of Stealing From Johnson County Ag Association
(Iowa City, IA) — A Mount Pleasant man is accused of stealing money from the Johnson County Agricultural Association and using it for personal use. Thirty-one-year-old Zachery Russell is charged with theft for using company debit cards, a checking account and lines of credit between September 2018 and February of this year. Russell was hired to perform maintenance and bookkeeping duties on the Johnson County Fairgrounds – but hired a commercial cleaning business to do his work for nine-thousand dollars. Investigators say he transferred money to his bank and PayPal accounts and bought a truck and A-T-V. He also reportedly wrote a check for 45-hundred dollars to himself.