Saturday News, August 15
Tyson Closes Denison Beef Packing Plant
(Denison) -- Tyson Foods has closed its Denison, Iowa beef packing and processing facility, leaving nearly 400 people without jobs. Friday was the last day of operations for the Denison plant. The plant in Denison was the very first beef slaughtering facility for the former IBP, which was purchased by Tyson in 2001. Tyson officials blame the shift in the cattle industry and lower cattle numbers for the closure. Gary Mickelson is the spokesman for Tyson.
Mickelson says it was a difficult decision for Tyson officials to close the Denison facility.
Tyson Foods has another cattle processing facility located in Dakota City, Nebraska which was recently remodeled and expanded to handle additional cattle numbers. Mickelson says Tyson will work with the displaced workers to find other employment opportunities with Tyson.
With the closure of the Denison beef packing plant, what will that mean for area cattle producers? Tony Schroeder feeds cattle on his farm located between Le Mars and Remsen, and has sold cattle through Tyson. He says the closure will have little affect as to where he markets his cattle. Schroeder says he and other cattle producers will transport his cattle to the Dakota City, Nebraska facility.
Farm Credit Services Donates $2000 To Fire And Rescue Department
(Le Mars) -- Farm Credit Services presented a $2,000 check to the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department this morning, as part of the "Working Here" grant. Cody Griffin, Financial Loan Officer, with Farm Credit Services, explains why the agricultural lender is interested in providing grants to area fire departments.
Recently, the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department received some equipment allowing for grain bin or other confined space rescues. Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says the grant money from Farm Credit Services will be used to purchase special type of air masks filters for when fire or rescue personnel need to perform a rescue inside a grain bin.
Schipper says fire and rescue personnel will be able to wear the air filter mask and perform a grain bin rescue, without having to equip themselves with an air tank.
Schipper says the fire and rescue department has purchased eight of the special air masks filters.
The Le Mars Fire Chief says the fire department has had to perform three grain bin rescues in recent years. Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department is one of 55 organizations to receive a "Working Here" fund grant. Farm Credit Services has awarded a total of $91,460 during the latest grant cycle.
Jeb Bush Visits Iowa State Fair
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - No endorsements were made, but Jeb Bush got the next best thing Friday from the top three Republicans in Iowa - personal time at the Iowa State Fair.
Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst welcomed the former Florida governor to the fair early Friday and Governor Terry Branstad joined him to flip pork loins on the sizzling grill at the Iowa Pork Producers tent later in the morning. Bush's comprehensive tour included snacking on a deep fried Snickers bar, sampling pork chops on sticks and appearing on the political soapbox - where he got pinged on Iraq, capping a week in which he focused heavily on foreign policy.
Recent polls indicate the former Florida governor is struggling in Iowa, but Bush said many voters are still looking at the field.
Kim Weaver Announces Candidacy For Congress
(Clear Lake) -- A Department of Human Services Medicaid case manager has announced her candidacy for Iowa's 4th District Representative. Kim Weaver made the announcement last evening at the Democratic "Wing Ding" fundraising event, held at Clear Lake. Weaver informed the Democrat crowd that it is time to replace Republican Congressman Steve King. In her speech, Weaver says, "Everyone in this room knows that Steve King does not represent real Iowa values. We hardly go a week without seeing King on television, embarrassing us with attacks on immigrants and other minorities." Weaver says she is a life-long resident of Iowa, having grown up in Des Moines. She raised her three children in Sheldon. Weaver informed the crowd she is an active member of the AFSCME union, and she says unions, along with family farms, small businesses and union jobs are the key to protecting and building Iowa's middle class. Weaver says she will do everything she can to support Iowa's hard working families and protect them from Washington corruption. Weaver says she will put Iowa families first by reforming the student loan system, protecting Iowa's farms, and making sure that corporations and the super-rich pay their fair share.
School Superintendent Appeals Suspension
TREYNOR, Iowa (AP) - A schools superintendent has appealed the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners' decision to suspend his state license for 30 days.
The attorney for Kevin Elwood told the Daily Nonpareil that the appeal was filed Wednesday in Polk County District Court and that Elwood may continue in his Treynor district post during the appeal process.
On August 7th the board suspended Elwood's license, saying he should not have let his son work unsupervised as a custodian for the district after the son was accused of inappropriate sexual conduct. Elwood was accused of two violations of Iowa code, including failing to make reasonable efforts to protect the health and safety of students.
In September 2013 Elwood's son, Kreighton Elwood, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault and one of false imprisonment.
Fort Dodge School Not Structurally Sound
FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - Classes for about 350 elementary students in Fort Dodge will be held this fall elsewhere due to structural concerns recently discovered at the school.
The Messenger reports that Duncombe Elementary's students will start the school year at the former Fair Oaks Middle School building.
Issues with the school's structure were discovered during summer remodeling efforts. The school district's superintendent says they weren't a result of neglect, but rather due to the building being at least 100 years old.
The middle school closed in 2013 and was sold to Foutch Bros. LLC of Kansas City, Missouri.
The company told district officials the former school could be used for elementary students at no cost for a minimum of two years.