Home News Wednesday News, March 31st

Wednesday News, March 31st


Lt. Governor Adam Gregg Tours Northwest Iowa Promoting High Speed Broadband Internet For All Regions Of The State

(Le Mars) — Iowa Lt. Governor Adam Gregg made a swing through northwest Iowa on Tuesday, stopping at KLEM radio offices as part of his tour. The Lt. Governor began his northwest Iowa journey by donating blood at Sioux City saying he wants to call attention to the importance of donating blood.

Gregg was also scheduled to make visits to Lyon, Osceola and O’Brien Counties, to observe examples of Iowa innovation and entrepreneurship.

Later this evening, the Lt. Governor will participate in an event with some level of familiarity.

Gregg is touting Governor Reynolds message of the importance of installing high speed broadband to all regions of the state. On Monday, the Iowa House took its first steps to approving a plan to include high speed broadband internet throughout the state. Gregg says the pandemic showed why connectivity is important to the state of Iowa.

Governor Reynolds had requested the state legislature to pass a package that would include funding $450 million dollars over the course of the next three years to install high speed broadband throughout the state. It appears the state legislature may settle on an investment of $100 million dollars for this year. Gregg calls it a bold plan.

Gregg says he and other members of the Governor’s staff have been negotiating with state legislators on a broadband plan that can be adequately funded.

The Lt. Governor says having broadband connectivity to all areas of the state should help small businesses grow, retain businesses within our state, and even attract graduates to stay in Iowa.




North West REC Holds Annual Meeting

(Sioux Center) — Members of the North West Rural Electric Cooperative gathered last evening (Tuesday) at Sioux Center for their annual meeting. Members of the power utility cooperative had the opportunity to ask questions of a panel consisting of executives from North West REC, NIPCO, and the Basin Power
Generation. Jeff Rehder (Raider) of Hawarden, is the president of North West REC and was one of the panelist. Rehder says many of the members were interested in the situation that occurred in February when temperatures had dropped below zero, causing problems in Texas, which ultimately affected many power companies and electrical cooperatives.

Other questions focused on the New Green Deal that is being proposed by some Congressional members.  Rehder says if the Democratic controlled Congress, along with the Biden Administration moves ahead with plans to reduce a carbon footprint, and the reduction of fossil fuels, it may prove to be a costly venture for electrical utility companies, including North West REC.

Rehder says it may be that power generation plants that are being operated with either coal or natural gas would need to retire before their depreciation ends.  Another area of interest from the cooperative membership involved the future of electrical-powered vehicles.

Rehder says North West REC has a goal of burying at least 80 miles of power lines each year, but admits it may take a while to accomplish, since North West REC services more than 3,740 miles of electrical lines.  North West REC provides power to rural residents in Sioux, O’Brien, Ida and Plymouth Counties.




Authorities ID ISU Crew Club Members Who Died in Boat Accident

(Jewell, IA) — The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department and Iowa State University Police are releasing the names of the two students who died in Sunday’s boating accident at Little Wall Lake near Jewell. The victims are identified as 20-year-old Yaakov Ben David, a sophomore accounting major from Washington, D-C; and 19-year-old Derek Nanni, a freshman chemistry major from Normal, Illinois. The names of the three other Crew Club members are not being released to protect their privacy. There will be more information released when the investigation and the internal review by Iowa State is complete.




Iowa Senate Bill Would Boost Funding For High School Sports, Activities

(Des Moines, IA) — The budgets for Iowa high school sports, music and other activities that have taken a hit during the pandemic may get a boost.
Many schools had dramatically fewer ticket sales for games, reduced student fees and cancelled fundraisers. A bill ready for debate in the Iowa Senate would let school boards shift money from a district’s general education budget to cover deficits in extracurricular programs or co-curricular activities like speech competitions. The options would be available for last year — when there were no springtime music concerts or track and golf meets — and for the current school year as well as the next. Senator Tim Goodwin of Burlington, a former teacher and coach, led Senate Education Committee consideration of the bill  Tuesday. The proposal has already won unanimous approval in the Iowa House.




Iowa Senate Advances Expansion Bill For Charter Schools

(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Senate has advanced a bill letting nonprofit groups establish taxpayer-funded charter schools with getting input from local school boards. That charter school expansion legislation passed the Iowa House last week. Opponents of the bill as it is written say the charter school governing boards should be subject to more oversight. The measure goes next to the full Senate Education Committee Thursday. Supporters say charter schools are better-suited to create unique programs for students who struggle in public schools.




US Senator Ernst Wants Investigation Into Origins Of Novel Coronavirus

(Washington, DC) — U-S Senator Joni Ernst is calling for an independent, scientific investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus. The Iowa Republican says it shouldn’t be influenced or controlled by the Communist Party of China. Ernst says she also wants to know how many American tax dollars may have gone to research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. She
wants to make sure American taxpayers shouldn’t fund “unregulated” wet markets in Red China and elsewhere. Ernst maintains China influenced the World Health Organization’s report on the origin of the virus that has caused a worldwide pandemic.




Ames Police Officer Arrested After Driving Wrong Way

(Nevada, IA) — Ames police have put an officer on administrative leave after his arrest for speeding and driving in the wrong direction on Highway 30 Monday. Jason Wayne Eaton is charged with operating while intoxicated, eluding, failure to obey traffic signs, and speeding. A Nevada police
officer says Eaton was going west in the eastbound lanes at 126 miles-an-hour in a 65 mile-an-hour zone. An Iowa State Patrol trooper says Eaton refused to pull over after he activated his lights and siren. When he finally stopped, Eaton admitted drinking one-to-two beers. The police officer who
took him into custody reported smelling “a strong odor of alcoholic beverage” on Eaton’s breath and seeing open and unopen containers of alcohol inside the car.




Former Bosnian Soldier Arrested In Des Moines After 25 Years On The Run

(Des Moines, IA) — Federal agents have arrested a former Bosnian soldier who had been living in Waukee. Dzevad Pajazetovic fled custody 27 years ago while he waited for his murder trial to begin. He was charged with killing a
fellow military officer. The 58-year-old fugitive has a status conference scheduled for today (Wednesday). Pajazetovic has worked at a tire factory, becoming a naturalized citizen and registering to vote in 2004. He had been released from custody in 1996 and fled to the U-S. He was tried in absentia and convicted in 1999.




Iowa’s Ride Will Be Weekend Event This Summer

(Eldora, IA) — The statewide bicycle ride that was initially designed to compete with RAGBRAI is finding it can’t compete with COVID-19. Iowa’s Ride is being modified and this year will be Iowa’s Ride Weekender. Organizers had hoped to go from Iowa’s eastern border to the west, the opposite direction of RAGBRAI, but several overnight stops have pulled out due to the
pandemic. A post on the Iowa’s Ride Facebook page says it’ll now just be July 16th through the 18th in Eldora. There will be a designated 40 to 50-mile bike route on Saturday and several riding options on Friday and Sunday.
RAGBRAI will start the following weekend and runs July 25th through the 31st, pedaling 454 miles from Le Mars to Clinton.