Home News Monday Afternoon News, February 1st

Monday Afternoon News, February 1st


City Council To Again Discuss Hosting RAGBRAI During Council Meeting

(Le Mars) — During the weekend, officials with the Des Moines Register announced the route and host cities for the 2021 edition of RAGBRAI, the bicycle ride across Iowa. The route remains nearly identical as last year’s proposed route, but was cancelled due to concerns with the COVID-19 virus. Le Mars is slated to be the host city to start the ride across Iowa, however, city officials are still not certain if the “Ice Cream Capital of the World” will participate in this year’s event. Two communities, Storm Lake and Maquoketa decided to back out from hosting the 20,000 plus bicyclists that participate on RAGBRAI. Now, Sac City and DeWitt have been selected to fill in as the over-night host communities. The Le Mars city council discussed the situation during last council meeting. Fire Chief Dave Schipper informed the city council that Le Mars may need to again review the original plans, with the understanding that changes may be needed due to continued COVID-19 virus concerns. City Administrator Jason Vacura says he has contacted several of the over-night communities, as directed by Councilman Rex Knapp, to gauge their concerns. Vacura says many of the other over-night host communities share the same thoughts of that of Le Mars. Vacura says no final decision has been determined, however, RAGBRAI officials have indicated a deadline of March 15th as to whether or not the ride will be a go, or no go. Vacura says he will present an update on the situation during tomorrow’s city council meeting. During the last city council meeting, city officials and local RAGBRAI organization officials are eager to host the ride, but they do share concerns about the safety of all people concerned due to the COVID-19 virus.




Le Mars Ranks Second For Safest Iowa Community

(Le Mars) — In a recent survey conducted by Safety.com website, Le Mars was ranked as the second most safest community in Iowa. Le Mars Police Chief, Kevin Vande Vegte says it certainly means good news for the “Ice Cream Capital of the World.”

Vande Vegte says the survey is based upon the number of incidents reported from the major crime categories.

The Le Mars Police Chief says the ranking is a testament of how officers often interact with the community.

Vande Vegte says it is not just the police department that contributes to making Le Mars a safe community, but he shares the credit with many other city departments.

Mount Vernon took top honors as being rated as Iowa’s safest community, while Pleasant Hill, Pella, and Dubuque rounded out the top five.




Primebank Presents A Check To Gehlen Catholic School Officials

(Le Mars, IA) – This past Friday, Primebank officials presented Gehlen Catholic with a check for the funds raised through the Primebank Gehlen Catholic Visa® credit card program in 2020.

Primebank Le Mars President Josh Kovarna and Vice President Cole Sitzmann (Gehlen Catholic class of ’03) presented the check for $2,644.78 to Lori Nussbaum, PreK – 6th grade Principal; Jeff Alesch, 7th – 12th grade Principal; and Amy Jungers, Development Director.

(photo contributed.)

For the past 20 years, Primebank has donated a percentage of total purchases made using the Gehlen Catholic Visa credit card to the school. With this year’s gift, Primebank has now donated $62,150.67 through the program.

“Gehlen Catholic is grateful for the continued support from Primebank through the Visa credit card program. They go above and beyond by not only supplying this program but by also supporting our athletics, fine arts and the Friends of Gehlen Catholic Ball,” said Jungers.

Proceeds from the card are used to benefit Gehlen Catholic students through local scholarships to ensure students can receive a high-quality, Catholic education.

“Since 2000, Primebank has been pleased to offer the Primebank Gehlen Catholic Visa credit card program,” said Primebank CEO, Matt Ahlers (Gehlen Catholic Class of ’79). “Primebank prides itself on supporting educational opportunities in the Le Mars area and we are proud to have provided 20 years of ongoing support to Gehlen Catholic.” Ahlers continued, “I hope that friends of Gehlen Catholic will participate in this program because it provides funding for Gehlen Catholic when cardholders simply make normal, every-day purchases with their Gehlen Visa credit card.”

Also, the Primebank Gehlen Catholic Visa credit card is part of UChoose Rewards® which provides card holders with great reward opportunities ranging from merchandise to travel and more.

To receive information regarding the Primebank Gehlen Catholic Visa credit card program, contact Primebank, 546-4175 or Amy Jungers in the Gehlen Catholic Development Office at 546-4181 x237.




Iowa Pork Producers Association Honors Iowa Pork Industry Center

(Clive, Iowa)-– The Iowa Pork Industry Center (IPIC) at Iowa State University has been presented with the Iowa Pork Producers Association’s first President’s Award. The award recognizes all employees at IPIC for their work and dedication to helping Iowa’s pig farmers manage through so many extraordinary challenges to the industry in 2020.

When pork processing plants closed or slowed down from March through May of 2020, many Iowa farmers were faced with decisions on how to continue caring for pigs.

Several team members of the Iowa Pork Industry Center were on hand at the IPPA Master Pork Awards banquet where IPIC was recognized with the President’s Award. Back row, left to right, are Dr. Jason Ross, director of IPIC; Dr. Chris Rademacher, associate director; Matt Romoser, Extension & Outreach swine specialist; Dr. Anna Kerr Johnson, professor of animal behavior & welfare. Seated in the front are Dr. Nick Gabler, professor of swine nutrition & physiology; and Dr. John Patience, professor and associate chair, Department of Animal Science.
that were ready to enter the food chain. The solutions lay in many areas of expertise.

“The team that works for IPIC assisted us with economic analysis, nutritional changes to slow hog growth when we had a breakdown in the food supply chain, suggestions for animal care during those times when farmers had to hold pigs longer than expected, while employees even provided information and resources outside of the pork industry,” said Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) past president Mike Paustian of Walcott.

Those other services included the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) providing expertise to the University of Iowa to increase the numbers of COVID-19 tests that could be run daily. The VDL had established procedures nearly a decade before to process substantially more tests of that type in a limited time period.

The IPIC is a coordinated effort of interdisciplinary programs with ISU’s Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, Engineering and Veterinary Medicine that provides services and information to pig farmers in Iowa and many other states. IPIC also focuses its efforts in programs that are integral and complementary to work by ISU Extension and Outreach.





Iowa Pork Schedules Regional Conferences in February

(Clive, Iowa) — The Iowa Pork Producers Association is inviting the state’s pig farmers to attend one of four Iowa Pork Regional Conferences being held in February. The events are being held at different locations from Feb. 15 through Feb. 18.

In addition to the regional conference program that runs from 1-4:30 p.m. each day, a separate morning session from 9 a.m. to noon will provide Pork Quality Assurance (PQA) Plus training. The PQA Plus training is sponsored by IPPA and provided by Iowa State University Extension.

“The afternoon conferences include five speakers providing timely and relevant information,” says Jamee Eggers, IPPA producer education director. “The farmer members of our producer education committee partnered with the Iowa Pork Information Center to select topics and identify relevant speakers.”

The site selection for these meetings allows for physical distancing as required by the State of Iowa. If weather or coronavirus conditions require the cancellation of the event; the conference sessions will be recorded and made available online.

The locations of the conferences are:
Monday, Feb. 15 – Orange City at the Sioux County Extension Office, 400 Central Ave. NW, Suite 700
Tuesday, Feb. 16 – Osceola at the Clarke County Fairgrounds Event Center, 2070 W. McLane St, Hwy. 34
Wednesday, Feb. 17 – Waverly at the Waverly Civic Center, 200 1st St. NE
Thursday, Feb. 18 – Washington at the Washington County Extension Office, 2223 250th St.
Topics and speakers for the afternoon conferences are:
Water Quality in Pig Production – Dr. John Patience, an ISU professor of animal science, will discuss the central role of water and water quality in swine production.
Hot Topics in Swine Health – Dr. Chris Rademacher of the Iowa Pork Industry Center will provide an update on current swine health issues and foreign animal disease preparedness activities
Economic Issues Update – ISU Extension Livestock Economist Dr. Lee Schulz will talk about the many new economic tools for pork producers that became available or were updated in 2020
Optimizing Your Most Valuable Resource – Valerie Duttlinger, Summitt SmartFarms, will talk about the best ways to keep yourself and your employees focused on the business goals
Helping You Find the Right Resources – A review of decision-making tools that Iowa State University Extension Swine Specialists can provide for you to solve production problems and other issues on your pig farm.

Check-in starts 30 minutes before the start of the conference. Pre-register for the conference and/or certification training to ensure adequate materials are available to all. To pre-register, go online to IowaPork.org/IPPA-Regional-Conferences, or call IPPA at (800) 372-7675 or email croepke@iowapork.org.




Trespassing Charges Dropped Against Activist Who Recorded Pigs Being Killed

(Iowa City, IA) — Iowa prosecutors have dropped trespassing charges against an activist who secretly recorded the way pigs were killed at the state’s largest pork processing facility. Matt Johnson had faced two counts of trespassing for his activities at Iowa Select Farm properties. Iowa Select asked that the charges be dropped last week. Johnson is an Iowa native who now lives in California. He claims Iowa Select is desperate to conceal the way it kills animals before processing them. He calls the company’s conduct “abhorrent and criminal.”




Man Enters Alford Plea In Assault Case

(Des Moines, IA) — A Polk County man has entered an Alford plea in an assault case from last May. Darquan Jones was attacked on the man’s property. Police say Dale Millard admits he fought with Jones in a creek bed. Jones suffered several injuries, including a broken nose and wrist. Jones has claimed two white men beat him, with one of them yelling racial slurs. Millard could face five years in prison when he is sentenced next month. The second man, Jesse James Downs, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of willful injury.




Long-Time Polk County Treasurer Dies

(Des Moines, IA) — Polk County officials are paying tribute to long-time county treasurer Mary Maloney who died last week. Maloney held the office for seven terms and more than 31 years. The cause of Maloney’s death hasn’t been disclosed. Board of Supervisors Chair Angela Connolly said she “was a public servant through and through. The news released issued Friday says county leaders are shocked, calling Maloney’s death “a profound loss to our community.” A former chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, Troy Price, tweeted Saturday it is “impossible to imagine Iowa Democratic politics without Mary Maloney.”




Dubuque County Sheriff To Move Jailers To Road Patrols

(Dubuque, IA) — The Dubuque County sheriff says a growing population is forcing him to move five deputies from working at the jail to patrolling roads. The transition will take place over the next five years. Sheriff Joe Kennedy says Dubuque County’s population has grown by 11-thousand people over the last 30 years, but in the same time period the county has added only one deputy to road patrols. Kennedy says comparable counties average about twice as many deputies patrolling their roads. He says he wants to be prepared for additional growth in the county.