School Board Learns That Students Are Adapting Well To COVID-19 Virus Mitigation
(Le Mars) — The school board heard reports from the district’s elementary and middle school principals during Monday evening’s meeting. At which time, board members asked the principals if the students were easily adapting to the COVID-19 restrictions? From that discussion, Dr. Steve Webner informed
the school board of information related to him by Plymouth County Community Health Services Director, Tara Geddes.
Scott Parry, the principal for Kluckhohn Elementary says on occasion, he needs to remind students to wear their mask.
Neil Utesch serves as the principal for both Clark and Franklin elementary schools. He says due to the distancing and gathering requirements, they have had to modify their lunch program.
All of the school’s principals say the students had adapted well to the virus mitigation protocols.
Grassley Says Two Issues Are Holding Up Second Relief Bill From Passing
(Washington) — Time is running out on Congress to pass a second COVID-19 Relief Bill before the scheduled adjournment which is this Friday, December 18th. U-S Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa told reporters Tuesday during his weekly news conference that a compromise is close, and
he is hopeful an agreement can be reached, but he says two major issues still stand in the way of an agreement.
Grassley says Iowa has proven to be fiscally responsible as we have a surplus of revenue funds. But Grassley offered an example from Senator Scott of Florida as to why the federal government is shy of sending money to states.
The Iowa Republican then shared with reporters those issues pertaining to a COVID virus relief bill that do have bi-partisan support.
Grassley says there could be a bi-partisan agreement either including the two contentious issues, or without the two stale-mate issues.
Grassley Says He Will Get COVID-19 Virus Vaccination
(Washington) — Saying he has full confidence in the researchers and scientists that developed the coronavirus vaccine, U-S Senator Chuck Grassley informed news reporters during his weekly media conference call on Tuesday, that he fully intends to get vaccinated when it becomes his turn to do so.
Only a couple of weeks ago, the Iowa Republican had tested positive with the COVID-19 virus, but never suffered from any of the symptoms. Grassley says he was pleased when the Food and Drug Administration had given the green light to Pfizer pharmaceutical company to begin distributing the vaccine.
The FDA is expected to act accordingly in a similar manner for Moderna Pharmaceutical Company.
1338 COVID Cases in Iowa, 67 Additional Deaths
(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Department of Public Health is reporting 67 more people have died of COVID-19 complications which brings the death toll to three-thousand-340. One-thousand-338 positive tests are confirmed, increasing the state’s total to 258-thousand-251 cases since the pandemic began. Seven-hundred-98 people are hospitalized with coronavirus. One-hundred-66 of those patients are in intensive care and 88 are on ventilators.
There are currently COVID outbreaks at 139 long-term care facilities in Iowa. Forty-five counties have a two-week average positivity rate of at least 15 percent.
Annual Iowa State Survey Finds Farmland Value Up Slightly in 2020
(Ames, IA) — The annual Iowa State University Land Value Survey finds a modest one-point-seven percent statewide increase in the value of an acre of farmland in 2020. Survey leader Wendong Zhang (When-dong Jon) says there was
a big difference in price changes based on the type of land. He says it was nearly flat for higher quality and six-point-seven percent growth for low-quality land,. Zhang says “overall across the nine crop reporting districts, only southwest Iowa saw a modest one-percent decline.” That puts the average price of an acre of ground at seven-thousand-559 dollars. He says continued
low interest rates were part of the reason for the slight land value increase. Zhang says the federal payments to farmers from the pandemic had some impact — but he doesn’t think we’ve seen their full impact yet. Scott and Decatur counties reported the highest and lowest values, respectively for the eighth straight year.
Iowa Homeland Security Director Announces Retirement
(Des Moines, IA) — The state of Iowa will have to find a new director for its Homeland Security and Emergency Management agency. Joyce Flinn plans to retire January 29th. Governor Kim Reynolds says she will choose an interim director to serve while a replacement is found. Flinn and her department have played an important role in coordinating the Iowa response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She took over as acting director in June 2018 and got the job on a permanent basis the following January. Flinn has worked in the department since 1997.
Food Insecurity Will Remain An Iowa Problem For Years – After Coronavirus
(Des Moines, IA) — The people fighting the problem on the front lines say food insecurity will remain an Iowa problem for years after the coronavirus pandemic. Food insecurity has reportedly doubled since March. Organizations like the Food Bank in Iowa says state and federal government support is
essential. A recent food distribution event at the Iowa State Fairgrounds served five-thousand households – and 60-percent of them had never needed food assistance before. Estimates indicate food insecurity in this state won’t peak until 2024 and won’t see pre-recession levels until three-to-four years after that. Governor Kim Reynolds has used more than six-million
dollars in federal CARES Act funding to help meet the demand.