Home News Tuesday News, March 30th

Tuesday News, March 30th


Power Outage Reported In Le Mars Due To Strong Winds That  Knocked Down A Tree Branch

(Le Mars) — Some Le Mars residents living around the Plymouth Street East and 4th Avenue Northeast neighborhood were without power for a couple of hours Monday afternoon when strong southerly winds knocked down a tree branch that consequently fell on a power line causing power to be lost in the neighborhood. Mid-American spokesperson Geoff Greenwood says a tree fell onto a powerline east of the intersection of 1st Street Northeast and 3rd Avenue Northeast. Greenwood says 14 residents and one business were without power Monday afternoon. The incident happened at about 4:30 p.m. The force of the tree branch falling on the utility power line caused an utility pole to lean, which in turn affected some homes on 3rd Avenue Northeast. Mid-America Energy officials were dispatched to the scene and needed to replace the utility pole and re-connect the affected homes and business. The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was initially dispatched to the area, and remained on scene for at least 45 minutes, until Mid-American Energy officials arrived at the scene. Full restoration of power was completed by 7:30 p.m.




Students Enrolled At Community Colleges While Still Attending High School Has Set A Record

(Le Mars) — The Iowa Department of Education announced the number of high school students earning college credits while still attending high school is on the rise. A record has been established with more than 51,800 students across the state taking dual credits from high school, as well as from a community college. The number indicates an increase of 2.4 percent over last year. The trend is also occurring at the Le Mars Community School District. Dr. Mark Iverson, the high school principal says several students are currently enrolled with Western Iowa Technical Community College.  Iverson says 253 Le Mars Community High School students are taking dual credit courses.

Iverson says the types of classes high school students enroll as part of the community college credit can vary depending on the student’s needs.

With college tuition costs constantly rising, and more students facing expensive student loans, Iverson says the dual credit courses are financed through the high school, making it affordable for any student.

The high school principal says it was former school district superintendent, Dr. Todd Wendt, that established the dual credit program for Le Mars Community, and allowing students to take courses from a community college.

Iverson says one benefit to offering the community college credit courses is that it made enrollment to other colleges and universities a bit more consistent.

The Le Mars Community High School principal says indications are that students are interested in pursuing community college credit courses for the next school year.

Iverson says the students taking the community college courses are across the board that include men and women, as well as minorities, and students from economically challenged families. Iverson says more than 30 percent of the Le Mars Community School District student body are taking a higher level class course.

Governor Kim Reynolds says “Iowa puts a strong emphasis on dual enrollment because it helps students get a head start with college coursework while lowering the overall cost of higher education.” Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo says she is “proud that Iowa makes joint enrollment available to all high schools across the state, and we will continue to look at ways to ensure joint enrollment growth in future years.”




Commodity Market Analyst Says There Is Reason To Be Optimistic

(Sioux Center) — Farmers were given a message of optimism by a commodity markets analyst during last week’s Appreciation of Agriculture event held at Sioux Center. Joe Kerns of Partners for Production Agriculture, based in Ames, Iowa, was the featured speaker. He says for the last few years corn prices and have remained fairly stable and the factors affecting the price of corn have also been stable.

Joe Kerns (left) standing next to Sioux Center Chamber Executive Barb Den Herder.

Kerns says farmers have reasons to be optimistic for both grain and livestock markets. He says agriculture is entering a new era of a price-level stage of which have never before been experienced. Kerns says China has entered the marketplace on a large scale demand basis.

Kerns says the same story can be told about the soybean market. Kerns says there is a large demand for additional soy products by the Chinese that U-S farmers will need to swap some acres that traditionally are used to grow other crops, and instead grow additional acres of soybeans. Kerns says he doesn’t see the Midwest farmers making much of a change, but rather the Dixie southern farmers. He says wheat and perhaps cotton acres may be reduced, to make up for the anticipated demand for soybeans. Kerns says the carry-over stocks for soybeans are low, and we could see the U-S supply of soybeans run out before the start of the autumn harvest.

Kerns was equally optimistic about livestock futures prices. We will hear his comments regarding the outlook for livestock during tomorrow’s news update.




Iowa House Passes Bill Establishing Guidelines For Broadband Grants

(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa House has unanimously passed a bill that establishes the guidelines for state grants to companies that extend broadband to areas of Iowa that lack adequate service. The bill specifies that most grants should go to companies that install broadband capable of download and upload speeds of at least 100 megabits per second. However, some grants could be used for lower-speed broadband in rural areas. The bill does not appropriate money for the grants. That spending decision will be made later according to legislative leaders. House Speaker Pat Grassley says it’s likely to be around 100 million dollars. Governor Kim Reynolds asked lawmakers for 150 million in each of the next three years.




Second Body Of ISU Student Found In Lake

(Jewell, IA) — Searchers have found the body of an Iowa State University student who disappeared after the crew team’s boat overturned Sunday. One other student died and the body was recovered Sunday — but the search for the missing student was called off after it got dark. Hamilton County Sheriff Douglas Timmons says they recovered the second body after crews resumed the search Monday morning. The University says the students were practicing at Little Wall Lake when their boat capsized. Three students were rescued from the water and treated and later released from Mary Greeley Medical Center. The names are being withheld until their parents can be notified. released.

UPDATE: Iowa State Conducting Internal Review Of Double-Fatal Accident On Lake

(Ames, IA) — Iowa State University officials say they are conducting an internal review of policies and procedures related to a double-fatal accident on Little Walk Lake Sunday. Two members of the Iowa State Crew Club drowned when their boat capsized. Search crews found the second victim’s body Monday. Safety guidelines say the team shouldn’t row when wind speeds are above 14 miles-an-hour. The National Weather Service reports it recorded wind speeds of nearly 25 miles-an-hour at Ames Municipal Airport, but that location is 15 miles away from the lake.




Secrtetary Of State Sends Letter To Speaker On 2nd District Race

(Des Moines, IA) — Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate sent a letter to U-S House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging her to drop a review of Iowa’s Second District Congressional race. The U-S House Committee on Administration is reviewing Democrat Rita Hart’s petition calling for an examination of 22 ballots that were not counted in six-vote loss to Republican Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks. Pate, who is a Republican, says the General Election and the recounts were all conducted in a bipartisan manner. Pate says at the end of the process, Miller-Meeks was certified the winner by a bipartisan group of statewide elected officials. Hart is not claiming fraud, but that legally cast absentee ballots were excluded from the November recount.




Congressional Candidate Files Legal Brief On Contested Vote

(Washington, DC) — Democratic congressional candidate Rita Hart has submitted a legal brief arguing a U-S House committee has a moral and legal obligation to count every vote against in Iowa’s Second Congressional District. Hart is challenging the six-vote margin of victory for Republican Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks. Hart has identified 22 ballots she says were wrongfully counted. Republican officials have called Hart’s case a partisan power grab. In return, she says that is meant as a distraction, pointing out that Miller-Meeks has offered no argument for why the ballots shouldn’t be counted.




Iowa Tax Deadline Moved Back

(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Department of Revenue is following the lead of the I-R-s and extending the deadline for individuals to file and pay Iowa income taxes. The Iowa deadline has been moved from April 30th to June 1st. Federal officials moved the federal income tax deadline from April 15th to May 17th. Iowa Department of Revenue director Kraig Paulsen says the new June 1st deadline for filing and paying income taxes will help Iowans whose lives have been disrupted by the pandemic. Businesses are still required to meet Iowa’s April 30th tax filing deadline.




Person Associated With Iowa Senate Tests Positive For COVID-19

(Des Moines, IA) — Legislators have been notified that someone associated with the Iowa Senate tested positive for COVID-19 Monday. According to the notification from the Secretary of the Senate, Thursday the 25th is the last time the person who has the virus was in the Senate. This is the first publicly-reported case in the Senate. In January and February, six cases were reported among people associated with the Iowa House. It’s a voluntary reporting system and names are not disclosed in the email advisories of positive cases. Senator Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids was among a handful of senators who were absent yesterday (Monday). Hogg tweeted that he stayed home because the Capitol is not a safe place to work due to a lack of safety precautions.