Broadband Companies Excited For Bill’s Passage
(Sioux Center) — Earlier this week, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed into law the broadband internet bill that allocates up to $100 million dollars for the installation of high-speed broadband internet services through out the entire state of Iowa, including rural areas. Communications companies are
thrilled with the passage of the bill which will provide state-funded grants to the private sector to install broadband internet services. Doug Boone is the C-E-O of Premier Communications of Sioux Center. He says providing broadband internet services is important.
Premier Communications serves 29 different communities in northwest Iowa, and southeast South Dakota and has already begun the process of providing broadband internet services to rural regions of northwest Iowa through U-S-D-A Rural Development grants, as well as state grants. Boone says the passing of the bill will help Premier Communications expand even further.
The broadband bill requires private companies to also invest with the program by putting up matching funds. Boone says the bill may allow for Premier Communications to move into other uncharted territory, or areas that may presently be under-served.
Boone believes high-speed broadband internet is essential for rural areas to continue to grow and prosper.
The Premier Communications executive says he appreciates the leadership as exhibited by Governor Reynolds and of the state legislature. He says there are now efforts underway on a national basis to expand broadband internet services.
Premier Communications of Sioux Center currently has 23,000 customers.
City Declares May 3 – May 8 As Spring Cleaning Week
(Le Mars) — The city of Le Mars has designated next week as Spring Cleaning Week. Beginning on Monday, May 3rd and continuing through Saturday, May 8th the city is picking up the tab to haul refuge to the Plymouth County Landfill.
City Administrator, Jason Vacura says residents can haul up to one thousand pounds of refuge.
Vacura says large appliances are eligible for the spring cleaning week, however, he says there is a fee associated with the disposal of those items.
The Plymouth County Landfill is open between 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturday mornings between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon.
Iowa Remains Dry
(Des Moines)— April wrapped up on a very dry note Friday and the state’s drought conditions are worsening in some areas. State climatologist Justin Glisan says the latest drought map from the U-S Drought Monitor has a new “D-1” area of moderate drought that’s appeared in northeast Iowa. Also, the vast
majority of the state is now considered abnormally dry, which Glisan says is something of a warning.
Forecasters are calling for a chance of rain early next week and turning the calendar page may bring a change in the drought conditions.
On the plus side, in recent weeks there was a large patch of D-3 — or extreme drought — covering several northwest Iowa counties, which is just below the worst category, D-4, for exceptional drought. This latest map shows no D-3 in Iowa at all.
Walleye Weekend Scheduled For Iowa Great Lakes
(Okoboji) — Anglers are excited that this is the opening to “walleye” season with this weekend known at the Iowa Great Lakes as “Walleye Weekend.” It is the 39th annual “Walleye Weekend”, with a grand prize of $39,000. Officials with the Iowa Great Lakes Chamber of Commerce say fishing enthusiasts may be eligible to win the grand prize if they are able to catch one of the specially tagged ten walleye fish. All contestants, regardless of age, must register and have paid their entry fee prior to the beginning of the contest. Those of the age 15 and younger the registration fee is $15, and those contestants 16 years and above have a registration fee of $25. Ten specially tagged walleye have been released in the Big Spirit Lake, East Lake Okoboji, and West Lake Okoboji. Iowa Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Biologist Mike Hawkins says their is some good news when it comes to fish population on the chain of lakes through Dickinson County.
Despite the plentiful numbers, Hawkins says there are still restrictions in place for both quantity and size of Walleye pulled from the water.
While lower lake levels brought on by the ongoing dry conditions are not expected to affect fish patterns when the season opens on Saturday, Hawkins tells us anglers would be wise to study some lake maps ahead of time and beware of rocks and other obstacles that may not have been a problem in years past.
New University of Iowa President Named
(Iowa City, IA) — The Board of Regents today (Friday) selected University of Illinois vice president, Barbara Wilson, to become the 22nd president of the University of Iowa. Regents president Michael Richards says the 63-year-old Wilson will start on July 15th and her contract will go through June 30th of 2026 at an annual salary of 600-thousand dollars. She will also receive a
five-year deferred compensation plan with annual contributions of 400-thousand dollars.
Bill Sets New Penalties For Property Owners Who Rent to Human Traffickers
(Des Moines, IA) — A bill passed unanimously in the Iowa House and Senate gives prosecutors another legal tool to crack down on human trafficking. It targets people who set up businesses like nail and hair salons, spas and massage parlors, with workers who are actually victims of human trafficking.
Representative Megan Jones of Sioux Rapids said this bill establishes a crime for knowingly letting your property be used for human trafficking. Victims of human trafficking will be able to avoid charges if they’re caught being forced to work in one of these businesses. Senator Brad Zaun of Johnson said the
bill makes it harder to try to run an illicit spa or massage business using forced labor. The bill also calls on the Iowa Public Safety commissioner to establish a task force on human trafficking to understand the scope of the problem in Iowa and identify services for victims.
Iowa Supreme Court Sides With Auditor in UI Utility Lease
(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Supreme Court is siding with the state auditor in a subpoena request from the University of Iowa. State Auditor Rob Sand sought information from the U-I on its plan to lease out its utility system for the next 50 years for lease payments of more than one-billion dollars.
The University and Board of Regents fought the subpoena request, saying the auditor was not engaged in a legally authorized audit. The Iowa Supreme Court ruled it does not need to decide the exact moment the request for information
turned into an audit. It says the state auditor has wide latitude to audit state agencies — and had the right in this case to subpoena the information.
Authorities ID Victim in Deadly Iowa City Shooting
(Iowa City, IA) — Authorities in Iowa City are still investigating a shooting Wednesday night that left a man dead. The Johnson County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victim as 31-year-old Tommy Curry of Iowa City. Officers found Curry with gunshots wounds and he died at U-I Hospitals and Clinics. Iowa City Area Crime Stoppers is offering a one-thousand-dollar
reward for information that leads to an arrest in the shooting.
Davenport City, School Officials to Bury 2020 Time Capsule
(Davenport, IA) — The City of Davenport and Davenport Community School District will bury a time capsule this evening (Friday 6 p-m) aimed at marking the eventful year that was 2020. City and school officials along with students will bury the time capsule at Vander Veer Park. The “Time Capsule of
Hope” project started last October to inspire hope in the community after several challenges in 2020, including the COVID-19 pandemic, civil unrest, and the derecho.