Marcus-Merriden-Cleghorn School District Voters To Decide On A $20 Million Bond To Build New Elementary Building And Daycare Center
(Marcus) — Residents living within the Marcus-Merriden-Cleghorn school district will have the opportunity to vote on a proposed bond issue, if it passes, will mean a new constructed elementary school, and renovations to the high school building, as well as the construction of a new day-care facility.
School Superintendent Dan Barkel says the bond issue will only be voted upon by residents within the MMC district. Those living in the Remsen-Union school district will not be voting on the measure. Barkel says this will be the second time voters will decide on the proposed bond.
Barkel says the project would require an increase in the tax levy rate of at least four dollars from the present tax levy rate that is set at $9.38.
The MMC-RU school superintendent says the construction costs estimates for all of the proposed projects would exceed $20 million dollars, which he says is needed to upgrade the aging facilities.
Barkel says this coming Thursday, the school district will hold a general media informational meeting, with a community meeting scheduled for Monday, February 22nd to be held at the Marcus High School gymnasium beginning at 7:00 p.m. Barkel says a super majority of 60 percent approval is needed to pass the bond. He says the ballot will consist of three questions. Barkel
says construction may not get started until spring of 2022. Election for the school bond measure will take place on March 2nd.
Plendl Feed Store To Take Over Chet’s Grocery In Kingsley
(Kingsley) — A feed store will be taking over the grocery store in Kingsley. Plendl Feed Services has announced it has purchased Chet’s Grocery effective February 1st.
The store, under the new ownership, will be closed for four weeks to do a store reset, interior improvements, making relationships with multiple vendors, and acquiring the proper state licenses.
On March 1st the grocery store will reopen as Hometown Pantry. Plans call for receiving deliveries twice a week and the installation of a new cooler that will increase the quality and freshness of our produce and meat products.
The new grocery store owners say they will implement a phone app, as well as taking orders by phone, so customers can place an order, and have curbside pickup. The Kingsley Hometown Pantry will also make deliveries Plendl Feed Service believes a small community cannot lose a business, especially the grocery store, because of the domino effect it will have on other businesses within the community. In 2009, Plendl Feed Service purchased Clark’s Hardware for the same reason.
They plan to be priced fairly and keep the produce and meat fresh, so it will not be worth the time, travel, and fuel to drive to Sioux City, Le Mars, or Cherokee.
The new owners says, “Hometown Pantry will be another enhancement to our community. We are very excited to take this challenge on and we will succeed with the help of our
community\surrounding communities who have lost their local grocery stores.”
This will bring Plendl Feed Services payroll up to around 28 employees.
(photo courtesy of Hallie McNaughton)
Iowa Pork Congress Offers On-line Virtural Informational Seminars
(Des Moines) — The Iowa Pork Congress is normally held during this week in Des Moines, but this year, because of the COVID-19 virus, many of the scheduled events will be held on a virtual basis. Iowa Pork Producers president, Mike Paustian of Walcott says delegates debated four different submitted resolutions Tuesday morning.
The pork producers president believes there may be some opportunities available in 2021 that will allow U-S pork producers to expand trade into new markets, while remaining competitive with other pork producing nations around the world.
Paustian says there are other southeastern Asian nations that look promising in terms of increasing U-S pork exports.
Pork producers can register with the Iowa Pork Producers Association in order to view the informational seminars that will be featured virtually online.
This year’s key-note speaker is Damian Mason who will present: “The Business of Agriculture.” Mason, a professional speaker and economist, will address the “F” words of agriculture: farming, food, fights, fair trade, foodies, feelings, food police, finance, and the future of the industry. His presentation addresses the current news and developments in agriculture.
Mason’s seminar can be viewed beginning at 12:00 noon.
In Person Learning Bill Passes Out Of Committees
(Des Moines, IA) — Committees in the Iowa House and Senate have approved a bill to require 100 percent in-person classes in Iowa schools. Republican Representative Phil Thompson of Jefferson says parents in some districts haven’t had the choice to send their kids to school every weekday and the learning experiences have “not been equitable for our children.” He says
national studies show that keeping children out of the classroom has resulted in a significant learning loss. The bill is a priority for Republican Governor Kim Reynolds. Representative Tracy Ehlert , a Democrat from Cedar Rapids who is a teacher, says the bill is being fast-tracked before adequate safeguards are in place for students and educators. The Centers for Disease Control released a report this week showing there’s little evidence
in-person classes in K-through-12 schools are contributing to the rapid spread of Covid-19.
Republican Lawmakers Back Bill Eliminating Tenure For College Professors
(Des Moines, IA) — Republicans in the Iowa House are backing a bill eliminating tenure for college professors. The measure passed through a subcommittee Tuesday. Supporters say the new law comes in reaction to alleged discrimination against conservative students. Representative Skylar Wheeler of Orange City, points to an Iowa State professor who said in a syllabus that student projects couldn’t oppose abortion rights or gay marriage. A lobbyist for the Iowa Board of Regents says the passage would bring on an exodus of the best professors and researchers – and make the system a “backwater” of higher
education. Several business groups also oppose the bill.
Ernst Says Democrats Aren’t Seeking Unity
(Washington, DC) — Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Red Oak, says the impeachment of former president Donald Trump won’t do anything to unify the country and there is still a question about whether a private citizen can be impeached. Ernst says President Joe Biden spoke about unity in his
inaugural address — but hasn’t followed through. She says Biden’s actions have been totally opposite of that with the executive orders that he has signed. Ernst says those orders “are very, very, left-leaning liberal policies that will continue to divide the nation.” She says the actions in the Senate of Democrat Majority Leader Chuck Schumer are also “very divisive.”
Reynolds Calls For E15 and B11 in All Iowa Fuel Pumps
(Des Moines, IA) — Governor Kim Reynolds says any new fuel pumps installed in Iowa should be able to dispense gas with at least a ten percent blend of ethanol and B11 — 11 percent biodiesel — should be the standard for diesel pumps. Reynolds said at the virtual Renewable Fuels summit on Tuesday,
“as we look forward to this year’s legislative session, I am excited to advance policies that will grow the biofuels and ag industry.” A spokesman for the governor says a draft of the legislation Reynolds proposes will be released soon. Reynolds is asking Iowa legislators to expand the state grant program for installing fuel pumps that dispense higher blends of biofuels.
The program has a three-million-dollar budget this year. Reynolds suggests it should be ten million next year.
(photo courtesy of the Iowa Soybean Association.)
Iowa Lawmakers Consider Ban on Cell Phones While Driving
(Des Moines, IA) — It would be illegal to use a hand-held smart phone while driving under a bill that’s being proposed again in the Iowa House. Susan Cameron Daemon is a lobbyist with the Iowa Sheriffs and Deputies Association — a group that’s been supporting a “hands-free” law for years.
She says Iowa is one of the few states that does not have this law, and we know that it works and saves lives.” Michael Triplett, a lobbyist for the Alliance for Automobile Innovation, says the companies developed the technology in dashboards that now makes hands-free driving while talking on a cell signal possible. The Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau first proposed a
ban on handling a cell phone while driving in 2015, but the bill has repeatedly failed to pass the legislature. Minnesota passed its hands-free driving law in 2019.
803 New COVID-19 Cases in Iowa, 4 Additional Deaths
(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Department of Public Health is reporting 803 new positive COVID-19 tests, increasing the state’s total to 314-thousand-66 cases. Four more Iowans have died of coronavirus complications which brings the death toll to four-thousand-492. The number of COVID hospitalizations in
the state increased by 33 to 415. Seventy-eight of those patients are in intensive care units and 37 are on ventilators. Sixty long-term care facilities in Iowa currently have virus outbreaks. Seven counties have a 14-day average positivity rate of at least 15 percent. Just over three-thousand tests contributed to Tuesday’s numbers.
Des Moines Put Marijuana Possession Change On Hold
(Des Moines, IA) — The Des Moines City Council has put a change in marijuana enforcement on hold. The city will wait for federal or state action to decriminalize pot. An ordinance will be drawn up, then brought before the council for a vote within 30 days of any change in state or federal law. A task force has recommended that marijuana possession be the lowest enforcement priority for Des Moines police. Police Chief Dana Wright told the Des Moines Register that “arbitrarily assigning a level of “seriousness” or “priority” beyond what is currently established by Iowa Code is problematic.”