Monday Afternoon News, April 11th
Soil Conditions Still Cool For Planting As Farmers Prepare For Spring Fieldwork
(Le Mars) -- The calendar says it is time to be doing field work. However, the soil conditions remain a little cool. So, should farmers be concerned? Iowa State University Extension Crops Specialist for Northwest Iowa Joel DeJong says despite the cooler temperatures, soil conditions are showing signs of being ready.
Ideally, soil temperatures should be at least 50 degrees before planting takes place. DeJong says the four-inch soil temperatures are currently in the low 40's, but he says the ten-day weather forecast is favorable.
Many farmers are still applying anhydrous ammonia for their fertilizer needs, and DeJong says conditions are still favorable, if farmers make certain they are applying that anhydrous ammonia at deep enough levels.
DeJong says southern Iowa farmers have already started with their planting, but he says northern Iowa farmers may want to wait a few more days, even though research studies indicate better yields are obtained with early planted seed.
The extension crops specialist says farmers still have plenty of time to plant their seed, and there is no reason to rush.
Plymouth County Republican Chairman Says District Convention Was Civil
(Le Mars) -- "Things went smoothly". That's how Plymouth County Republican party chairman Don Kass described the activity of the Iowa 4th District Republican convention that was held on Saturday at Fort Dodge.
Kass says the Ted Cruz campaign was well organized and well attended at the district political party convention.
The Plymouth County republican official says he was surprised at how quickly the district delegates were able to approve the party's platform and its planks. Kass says when usually it takes hours to discuss and approve, this time it took only minutes. Republican voters will need to decide who they wish to have represent them from the fourth district in the U-S Congress as incumbent candidate Steve King of Kiron will face challenger State Senator Rick Bertram from Sioux City. Kass says it was interesting that Bertram did not make an appearance at the district convention.
Senator Chuck Grassley is seeking re-election this fall, and according to Kass, the U-S Senator gave a heart-felt inspirational speech to the district delegates.
Plymouth County has 28 voting delegates for the the Republican convention, and Kass says the state republican convention is scheduled for Saturday, May 21st in Des Moines, and he encourages everyone to stay active.
Kass was elected to serve on the electoral college, meaning his vote will count towards the presidential elecion.
The Democratic District convention will be held in Ames and is scheduled for April 30th.
Sioux City Elementary School Converted To Become Apartments
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A former elementary school in Sioux City has been converted into 14 loft-like apartments for families to live in.
The 25,000-square-foot building that used to be known as Joy Elementary School now houses two- and three-bedroom apartments.
The more than 100-year-old building has 12-foot ceilings and exposed ductwork, granite countertops and sleek kitchen cabinets. The apartments also include all brand new appliances, such as a refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, microwave and in-unit washer and dryer.
Joy Elementary School closed in 2012 when another elementary school opened. Old School Properties LLC bought it for $70,000. The group also recently purchased Whittier Elementary, which closed in 2015, for $102,000 and plans to convert it into apartments as well.
OSHA Fines Urbandale Postal Service For Safety Violations
URBANDALE, Iowa (AP) - A federal safety agency has cited the U.S. Postal Service distribution center in Urbandale for one new and two repeated safety violations.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration said in a news release Monday that the citations follow an October 2015 OSHA investigation of a complaint alleging forklift operators were handling unstable loads and driving forward with no clear path of visibility.
OSHA has proposed $88,000 in penalties.
OSHA spokesman Scott Allen said no accidents or injuries directly resulted from incidents cited in the citation. A regional post office safety administrator didn't immediately return a call from The Associated Press.
Lawmaker Challenges Agency On The Restoration Work Of Iowa Battle Flags
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa lawmaker is challenging an agency's assessment that its longtime preservation work on historic battle flags is complete.
Sen. Bill Dotzler, a Waterloo Democrat, says the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs is misinterpreting the intended scope of a project involving more than 300 battle flags stored at the state historical museum. He plans to propose language in a budget bill requiring DCA to keep restoring the flags.
Department spokesman Jeff Morgan says the project's original goal was to stabilize the flags in their current condition. Dotzler and historians say the project requires more labor-intensive conservation work addressing previous damage to the flags.
Documents show the department undertook the more extensive conservation work for years. Morgan says that was to allow a portion to be displayed as required by law.
Loras College Students Still Displaced After Fire Destroyed Dormitory
DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) - Nearly a month after a residence hall fire at Loras College, some students continue living in other spots on campus and uncertainty remains about what will happen to the damaged structure.
45 people were displaced from Visitation complex after an apparent lightning strike sparked the fire March 16.
Seventeen students who lived in the south building were able to return to their living quarters within 10 days. Another nine students who lived in the north complex were able to move to an unused floor in the south building. The remaining 18 students have been relocated to a variety of campus apartment buildings and residence halls.
The assistant dean of students says officials haven't decided how to repair the damage.
Work Release Fugitive Now Apprehended
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Iowa authorities say a man listed as escaped from a work release facility in Council Bluffs has been apprehended.
Iowa Corrections Department spokesman Fred Scaletta said Monday that Colton Benson-Blaine is in custody at the Shelby County Jail. Benson-Blaine was put on escaped status Sunday after he didn't return from his job.
The 25-year-old is serving a 12-year sentence for voluntary manslaughter and other crimes. He began serving his time on Aug. 5, 2011. He was transferred to work release on March 16.