Home News Tuesday Afternoon News, November 16th

Tuesday Afternoon News, November 16th


Stacy Bunkers Selected As Le Mars Community School District “Employee Of The Month”

(Le Mars) — A Franklin elementary teacher was awarded the school district’s “Employee of the Month” honors during a small ceremony held Tuesday morning.  Stacy Bunkers, a reading literacy teacher, was surprised by the honor when Janelle Bixenman and Carolyn Vance with the Le Mars Community School District Foundation and Le Mars Community School Alumni Association presented Bunkers with a plaque and certificate acknowledging her accomplishments.  Principal Neil Utesch had nominated Bunkers for the honor.  In his nomination, he writes: “Stacy Bunkers works very hard every day to impact the instruction of our literacy programs at the elementary schools.  She has a passion for learning and teaching and will do everything and anything she can to help out her peers and students.  She goes above and beyond her duties without being asked, and will take on work that will help her fellow teachers because she knows it will make their jobs easier.  She is dedicated to Le Mars Community Schools and comes to work every day with a smile, along with a “can do” attitude, and a desire to help where ever she can.  She is a positive role model to her peers, and helps at the drop of a hat when she is aware of someone who needs assistance.  I am honored to have worked with her as her principal when she taught third grade.  Stacy Bunkers will do all she can to make students become better versions of themselves.”  Bunkers’ family members consisting of her husband, Jeremy, and eldest son Jackson, along with her mother, and in-laws were in attendance for the award presentation, and shared their congratulations.  Our congratulations go to Stacy Bunkers for being named Le Mars Community School District’s “Employee Of The Month.”




Floyd Valley Foundation Reports Raising More Than $60,000 During “Celebrate Our Heroes” Wine And Craft Beer Fund Raiser

(Le Mars) — The 6th Annual Floyd Valley Foundation Wine and Craft Beer tasting event held this past Saturday, November 13th at P’s Pizza House, brought in more than $60,000 to the hospital foundation.

Over $60,000 in cash sponsorship and evening proceeds was raised and will be used to support Floyd Valley Therapies with upgrades in equipment and technology.  Amy Harnack, Foundation Manager says, “We are extremely grateful for the support of P’s Pizza House, members of the community and businesses who contributed in helping to make this another outstanding event year.”

Nearly 150 attendees enjoyed select wines, craft beers and food throughout the evening as well as participated in silent and live auctions.  Staff from Floyd Valley Healthcare were honored, as well as area fire/EMS rescue, and law enforcement.  Ralph Klemme, Floyd Valley Board of Trustees Chair, was also honored with a presentation of a Quilt of Valor for his military service.

Dustin Wright, CEO, of Floyd Valley says, “It was an amazing evening to celebrate our local heroes and raise money for a great cause. Thank you to our sponsors, Ps Pizza House and everyone that came out to have a fun evening with Floyd Valley Healthcare Foundation. This even continues to surpass our expectations and we are thankful for such a giving community.” 

For more information about the Floyd Valley Foundation or how you may still make a contribution, contact Amy Harnack, Foundation Manager, at 712-546-3348 or amy.harnack@floydvalley.org.




State’s Harvest Nears Completion

(Des Moines) — The state’s farmers are just about finished with this year’s harvest.  According to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, the latest crop harvest progress report indicates the state’s soybean harvest is now 97 percent complete, while the state’s corn harvest sits at 91 percent complete.  Variable precipitation slowed harvest activities in parts of Iowa, allowing farmers 4-point-one days suitable for fieldwork during the week that ended on November 14th.  Field activities included harvesting, baling corn stalks, applying fertilizer, manure, and anhydrous ammonia, along with fall tillage.  Moisture levels across the state have shown some slight improvement.  Topsoil moisture was rated as one percent very short, 10 percent short, 81 percent as having adequate or sufficient moisture levels, and eight percent with surplus moisture levels.



Grassley Praises Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Signed by Biden

(Washington, DC)  —  U-S Senator Chuck Grassley calls the bipartisan infrastructure package signed into law by President Biden “an investment in Iowa’s future.”  Grassley was the lone Republican in the state’s delegation to vote for the one-point-two-trillion-dollar measure.  Iowa is expected to receive up to five-billion dollars for projects on everything from roads to public transportation to airports.  Grassley says 300-million dollars will help repair the 23 percent of Iowa’s bridges that are structurally deficient, which ranks 50th in the U-S.  He also says there is four-billion dollars for highway improvements and money to improve broadband internet service in rural Iowa.  Grassley was invited to the White House bill signing Monday, but didn’t have enough advanced notice to make it.




Deadly Police Shooting of Suspect Under Investigation in Waterloo

(Waterloo, IA)  —  The Iowa D-C-I is investigating a police shooting early this morning (Tuesday) in Waterloo that left a man dead.  Police say the officer was on patrol when a vehicle driving recklessly tried to strike the squad car.  The man led the officer on a chase for several minutes before additional officers were able to stop the vehicle.  Investigators say that’s when the driver accelerated and hit an occupied squad car head-on.  A Waterloo officer then fired at the driver and the 42-year-old man died at the scene.  That officer has been placed on leave.  The man shot and killed hasn’t been identified.




Mason City School Board Votes to Drop Mohawks Nickname

(Mason City, IA)  —  A unanimous vote by the Mason City School Board Monday night will lead to the retirement of the Mohawks mascot and nickname.  The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe recently called for the district to end the use of the name and associated imagery.  The board approved administrators start the transition from the use of the Mohawk name to a new mascot immediately and to present the information at the January 17th meeting.  The district will stop using Mohawks to introduce athletic teams, and the name will be removed from electronic communications such as the district’s website and other documents that can easily be edited.  The goal is to have a new mascot by July 1st.




12 Hogs Die After Semi Trailer Tips in Story County

(Gilbert, IA)  —  About one dozen hogs are dead after a semi tipped over Monday in central Iowa near Gilbert.  The Story County Sheriff’s Office says new gravel on the shoulder of Highway 65 caused the semi trailer carrying 100 pigs to tip onto its side in the ditch.  The driver wasn’t hurt, but veterinarians from Iowa State University had to euthanize a dozen pigs due to their injuries.  The Story County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook, “this is a pig deal. Highway 65 at 160th Street will be shut down as a semi has tipped with hogs.”




Federal Court Rules In Favor Of States In Tax Mandate Lawsuit  

DES MOINES — A federal district court judge in Alabama ruled on Monday in favor of 13 states suing the Biden Administration over an unclear provision of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) that attempts to prohibit states from cutting taxes.  

The State of Iowa joined the lawsuit in March, which challenges a provision of ARPA that prevents states from using ARPA funds to “directly or indirectly” offset tax cuts. The court found that Congress exceeded its authority by attaching vague and ambiguous conditions on receipt of the ARPA funds.  

The court wrote in part:  

“The language of the Tax Mandate makes it impossible for States to make an informed choice about the costs of receiving ARPA funds because it is impossible to know how to exercise taxing authority without putting ARPA funds at risk. Money is fungible, meaning ‘of such a nature that one part or quantity may be replaced by another equal part or quantity in paying a debt or settling an account’ or ‘capable of mutual substitution: interchangeable.’ Thus, any ARPA funds the Plaintiff States receive could be viewed as indirectly offsetting any reduction in net tax revenue from a change in state law or policy.”

“This is a major victory for the State of Iowa and Iowa taxpayers,” said Gov. Reynolds. “The Biden Administration was trying to punish fiscally responsible states like Iowa, which has a record budget surplus, and that’s why we took legal action. With this ruling, Biden’s Administration can’t keep us from cutting taxes and I look forward to doing just that.”  

The Court permanently enjoined this provision of ARPA against the plaintiff states.

Northwestern College Actuarial Program Ranked Among Best Values 

ORANGE CITY, Iowa—Northwestern College’s actuarial science program is ranked among the nation’s best-value programs by College Values Online. The ranking lists Northwestern 26th out of the top 30 best-value colleges and universities¾joining research institutions such as the University of Michigan, Ohio State University and the University of Texas.

Northwestern is one of only two Iowa institutions to be ranked and is the sole representative of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).

The ranking compares all undergraduate actuarial science programs in the U.S. based on key metrics such as graduate placement, quality of curriculum, program-related clubs or network opportunities, tuition costs and scholarship availability.

“By preparing students in a well-rounded liberal arts setting, our students are not only equipped for actuarial work, but possess the communication skills to work with other departments in a large organization,” says Dr. Tim Huffman, professor of mathematics and director of Northwestern’s actuarial science program. “As a result, they’re able to discuss complex issues with others outside the actuarial department and are well prepared for moving into leadership roles.”

Northwestern is one of just three CCCU schools recognized by the Society of Actuaries on their exclusive Universities and Colleges with Actuarial Programs¾Advanced Curriculum (UCAP-AC) list. Northwestern actuary students have a 90% first-time pass rate on the P (probability) and FM (financial mathematics) actuarial exams, compared to the national average of around 50%. Graduates are employed at Nationwide Insurance and Principal Financial Group in Des Moines, among other places.




Dordt University Ranks Ninth In “2021 Best Colleges Ranking”

(Sioux Center) — Dordt University has been ranked ninth by Washington Monthly on their “2021 Bachelor’s Colleges Ranking” and ninth on their “2021 Best Bang for the Buck Midwest” ranking.

According to Washington Monthly, the Bachelor’s Colleges Ranking queue four year institutions “based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories: social mobility, research, and promoting public service.” For the Best Bang for the Buck Ranking: Midwest, institutions are “ranked according to how well they help non-wealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices.”

“It is encouraging to be recognized by a publication such as Washington Monthly. Dordt’s faculty and staff serve our students well and our collective aim is to develop effective kingdom citizens to serve Christ throughout the world,” says Brandon Huisman, vice president for enrollment and marketing. “For example, we strive to provide students with excellent financial aid options; 95.7 percent of our graduates complete their degree in four years compared to a national average of five years; and our alumni have a low student loan default rate—they’re able to pay back loans as they understand the dignity of work and are able to land good jobs.”

The Princeton Review named Dordt to their 2022 “Best Midwestern” colleges list, which consists of schools they “consider academically outstanding and well worth consideration in your college search.”

Dordt is one of 158 institutions in the Midwest to receive this honor.

“We are thankful that national publications such as Washington MonthlyPrinceton Review, and The Wall Street Journal recognize that Dordt University is a special place, a place that seeks to serve and prepare students to live out our mission,” says Huisman. “We seek to help students and alumni work toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of life.”

As an institution of higher education committed to the Reformed Christian perspective, Dordt University equips students, faculty, alumni, and the broader community to work toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life. Dordt, located in Sioux Center, Iowa, is a comprehensive university named to the best college lists by U.S. News and World Report, Forbes.com, The Wall Street JournalWashington Monthly, and Princeton Review. To learn more, visit dordt.edu.




Feenstra Passes Proposal to Utilize Biomass for Biofuel Production, Discusses Negative Impact of EPA’s Delayed Biofuel Blending Requirements

WASHINGTON — Today, Rep. Randy Feenstra (IA-04), a member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology (SST), led an effort to bolster bioenergy and biofuels production in an amendment to H.R. 5781, the National Wildland Fire Risk Reduction Program Act.

His effort would allow biomass collected through wildfire mitigation efforts to be utilized to produce bioenergy, including biofuels. The proposal passed with unanimous support.

“The recent surge in fuel prices highlights the importance of research and development on cost-effective biofuels,” Feenstra said, later adding, “Researching new ways to create bioenergy from excess vegetation has the potential to not only provide a new fuel source, but to create an additional economic value for smart wildfire mitigation.”

Click here or below to watch Feenstra’s remarks

Additionally, Feenstra participated in a Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit Agriculture Subcommittee hearing on renewable energy. Since the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has yet to release Renewable Volume Obligation (RVO) levels, and as reports indicate the Biden administration is considering cuts, Feenstra discussed the importance of maintaining strong RVOs.

“Ensuring that our biofuels producers are prioritized through strong RVOs is not only critical for the industry, but also for my constituents who engage with an economy built on its success,” Feenstra said. “Biofuels like ethanol are a low cost, low carbon solution and can be a carbon negative fuel in the next decade. An announcement for strong RVO levels will encourage further investment and innovation.”