Home News Thursday Afternoon News, May 21st

Thursday Afternoon News, May 21st


Le Mars Mayor Urges Residents To Complete Census Report

(Le Mars) — Every ten years the U-S government conducts a census to determine the nation’s population. People are being encouraged to complete the census as it helps determine Congressional representation, and it also helps determines how much money is allocated to communities and counties. Le
Mars mayor Dick Kirchoff says Le Mars and Plymouth County have so far had a 70 percent response. He is urging the remaining 30 percent to complete the census questionnaire. Kirchoff says it’s important for the town’s future, and
he cites the road-use tax as an example.

The Le Mars mayor says the road use tax is used for street repairs within the city.

Kirchoff says the amount of money now allocated to cities across the nation has increased from $85 dollars per person to a new rate of $125 dollars per person, thus further underlining the importance to complete the census report.
Kirchoff says he hopes the city of Le Mars has grown to a population of more than 12,000 people. At the very least, he believes the town has surpassed the 10,000 population plateau.

Kirchoff says people can complete the census on-line, or there are several local entities set up to assist people with the completion of the census, including the Le Mars library and city hall.

The U-S Census officials want everyone to complete the census form as soon as possible, and in July officials will be sent to go to the communities and knock on doors to those residents that have not completed the census. It is the law to complete the census report.



Schools Can Begin Offering Classes After June 1st

(Des Moines) — Schools will again be able to perform educational instruction beginning June 1st, according to Iowa Department of Education director, Ann Lebo. Lebo appeared with Governor Reynolds during the Thursday briefing to explain the procedures schools must now follow.

Lebo says schools will be able to hold summer classes, academic enrichment opportunities, and activity-based camps such as STEM, robotics, and drama as a few examples. Lebo says as the summer progresses, education department officials will work with public health officials and will evaluate the spread of COVID-19 virus after July 1st to have a better plan going forward into the start of the new school year.

Lebo says it is up to the individual school district to determine whether in-class educational opportunities for the summer are necessary. Lebo offered a clarification about what would be allowed regarding summer high school sports events.

It was hinted during the news briefing that schools with summer sporting events, may not be able to have a concession stand, transportation may be different so to accommodate the no more than ten people gathered at a time, players may find the dug-outs a bit different, and the end of the game congratulatory handshake may also need to be different.



Iowa High School Sports Can Return to Practice June 1st, Games June 15th

(Boone, IA) — The Iowa High School Athletic Association and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union will allow the summer sports seasons to resume next month. Both organizations met Wednesday and voted to permit sports to start up under Iowa Department of Education and Iowa Department of Public
Health guidelines. High school baseball and softball teams can hold team practices June 1st and play games on June 15th. The guidance includes having parents drop off and pick up players after practice, coaches taking player temperatures, using their own gloves, helmets and bats as much as possible,
and proper social distancing.



USDA To Issue COVID-19 Relief Assistance Payments To Farmers

(Le Mars) — The U-S Department of Agriculture is trying to help farmers who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by offering them assistance payments. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig, says the package program is part of the CARES Act that was passed by Congress. He says it is a two-stage program.

Naig says the second portion of the program will be to purchase food products.

The Iowa Agriculture Secretary says it is a good start, but he notes there were some farmers that were left out of the assistance payment program.

Naig says a formula will be used by the U-S Department of Agriculture to determine the amount of payments each farmer will receive.

Naig says the sign-up period will extend through the summer.



Iowa Restaurant Association CEO Pleased Bars Can Open Next Week

(Mason City, IA) — Iowa bars and other establishments that serve alcohol will be allowed to re-open next Thursday at half capacity. Iowa Restaurant Association executive director Jessica Dunker says bars will be opening under the same sets of restrictions that restaurants currently have to follow during the pandemic. She says they’re working with the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals and the governor’s office to put more guidelines out and to create an ‘Iowa Bar Promise.” Dunker said “we’re pleased that all establishments across the state will be treated equally and be able to open.”
Dunker also said the coronavirus pandemic could wind up permanently closing one-thousand bars and restaurants around the state.




Attorney General Tom Miller Joins Push for Safeguarding America’s First Responders Act

(Des Moines, IA) — Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is joining a bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general urging Congress to pass the Safeguarding America’s First Responders Act. It would allow the families of first responders who die or are permanently disabled as a result of COVID-19 to receive the same federal benefits extended to those killed or injured in
the line of duty. Current federal law would only allow survivors access to certain benefits if evidence is provided proving the deceased or permanently disabled first responder contracted COVID-19 while on duty. The legislation is co-sponsored by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley.



Unemployment Claims Drop in Iowa For Second Straight Week

(Des Moines, IA) — Another drop in first-time unemployment claims in Iowa.
Just over 13-thousand new unemployment claims were filed in the week ending May 16th. That’s down by nearly four-thousand from last week and the lowest number of claims since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Iowa Workforce Development says the state paid out nearly 51-million dollars in unemployment
benefits last week. More than 106-million dollars in federal unemployment payments were made in Iowa.