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Monday News, May9

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BURN BAN LIFTED

The State Fire Marshal says that as of noon today (Monday), the open burning ban in Plymouth County will be lifted. Le Mars Fire/Rescue Chief David Schipper, representing every fire department in Plymouth County, requested the Fire Marshal lift the ban. This is the second open burning ban in Plymouth County this year. The first one was lifted in late March, but another burning ban was called in late April, after three damaging fires near Le Mars, Merrill, and Remsen.

 

WARMER WEATHER

Iowa’s weather pattern is expected to make a big shift this week, from cold and rainy to hot and humid, raising familiar concerns about drought. Meteorologist Doug Kluck, climate services director for the Central Region of the National Weather Service, based in Kansas City, says some forecasts show improving conditions in the months ahead across the Missouri River basin.

While Iowa’s high temperatures last week were mostly in the 40s, 50s and 60s, the week ahead promises highs climbing into the 70s and 80s to near 90. Looking ahead, Kluck says there are conflicting signals.

Forecasters had expected the La Nina weather pattern to fade away in the past few months, but that hasn’t happened.

The U-S Drought Monitor map issued for Iowa late last week showed little change from the week before, with no drought at all in roughly 56 counties, 30 counties were abnormally dry, and 10 counties were considered in moderate drought. Parts of three northwest Iowa counties, Plymouth, Monona and Woodbury, were in severe drought.

The National Weather Service says we could see some of the hottest temperatures so far this year — with some areas up into the 90s. The heat comes along with strong winds and a chance for showers and thunderstorms. There’s a wind advisory in place for much of northern Iowa, including Osceola, O’Brien, and Buena Vista counties, and points east.. Winds this afternoon will gust in the 40 to 45 miles per hour range. The Storm Prediction Center says the eastern two-thirds of Iowa have a marginal chance of severe weather late this afternoon.

 

SCHOOL BOARD, LIBRARY BOARD MEET

The Le Mars Community School District Board holds their regular monthly meeting tonight. The board will hear the end of the year report from the Teacher Leadership Committee.  Several personnel items are before the board, including approval of resignations and new contracts for educators and coaches.  The list of 2022 graduates will be presented for board approval.  Renewal of the concurrent enrollment agreement with Western Iowa Tech, and a Title I third party provider agreement with Gehlen Catholic Schools are also before the board for their approval.  And the Board will set a public hearing for a 2021-22 Budget Amendment.  The LCSD board meeting is at 6 this evening.

The Le Mars Public Library Board will meet later this afternoon.  They will begin with a public hearing at 5-30 pm concerning compliance with the Children’s Internet Protection Act.  During their regular meeting, the Library Board will hear a report from their Space Needs Committee.  Items for board action today include a Request for Proposal for a library Space Needs Assessment.  The board will also discuss meeting room capacity limits, and their Technology Use Policy.

 

GOP CAMPAIGN OFFICE

It’s only four weeks before the Primary Election, Iowa Republicans have established a campaign office in central Iowa in preparation for the General Election. Governor Kim Reynolds spoke to a crowd at the West Des Moines location this weekend, listing the G-O-P candidates for statewide office who’ll be on the November ballot.

Reynolds had raised four-point-eight million dollars for her reelection by the end of 2021 and this weekend she was focused on turnout for what she described as a pivotal election in November.

Reynolds is unopposed in the June 7th Primary. The Iowa Democratic Party is hiring a director to coordinate campaign efforts for candidates across the General Election ballot.

DEMOCRATS DEBATE

Last weekend’s debate among the three Democrats running for the U.S. Senate highlighted their different views on ethanol policy. Glenn Hurst, a physician from Minden, says it’s time to scale back the emphasis on ethanol because the auto industry is shifting to electric vehicles.

Former Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer says the Biden Administration made the right move to allow E-15 sales this summer, but she says the move should be made permanent.

Former Navy admiral Mike Franken also supports year-round sales of E-15 as a temporary solution, but he says the focus should be on finding alternate uses for ethanol as fuel for planes and ships or for power generation in Iowa.

The candidates made their comments this weekend during a televised debate hosted by K-C-C-I in Des Moines, K-C-R-G in Cedar Rapids, K-T-I-V in Sioux City and K-W-Q-C in Davenport. The three U.S. Senate candidates will meet in one more televised forum on Thursday, May 19th on Iowa P-B-S.

 

  • – Two of the three Democrats running for their party’s U.S. Senate nomination say American troops should not be deployed to Ukraine — but candidate Mike Franken says if Russia uses nuclear weapons, plans should change. Franken, a retired Navy Admiral, says the United States and like-minded countries must respond to help pick up the pieces if there’s a nuclear strike on Ukraine.

Candidate Abby Finkenauer (FINK-en-ow-er), a former congresswoman, applauds the sanctions the U.S. and its allies have imposed on Russia and she supports providing Ukraine with the weapons and humanitarian aid it needs.

Candidate Glenn Hurst, a physician from Minden, says the focus should be on working with European allies to support Ukraine and on resettling refugees in the United States.

The three candidates are competing to run in the General Election against Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, who is expected to win his G-O-P Primary race against state senator Jim Carlin of Sioux City.

 

HY-VEE CUTS

The Iowa-based Hy-Vee grocery store chain has cut more workers.  A company statement says 57 positions were eliminated across Hy-Vee’s corporate offices. They include employees from the  I-T, engineering, equipment, real estate, and construction departments. All of the employees were offered retail positions at Hy-Vee and will be provided 30 days of pay and benefits. The statement says they have now reduced their corporate office staff by more than 415 positions. The employees transferred to leadership positions in retail, took early retirement, or voluntarily left the company. The statement concludes by saying Hy-Vee is confident that these changes will help them be better prepared for the potential economic difficulties to come.

 

IOWA-OWNED HORSE

The horse owned by Iowans finished fifth in Saturday’s Kentucky. Des Moines attorney Jerry Crawford and his Donegal racing group own Mo Donegal. The horse was one of the favorites heading into the race. Crawford had been through Derby Day as an owner on three previous occasions and had two horses finish third and another was seventh.

 

BISON CALVING

It’s bison calving season at Blue Mounds State Park in southwest Minnesota. The first calf of the season was born on April 25th. Park officials say baby bison can be found all around. They expected between 25 and 30 calves to be born in the coming weeks. Calving season wraps up in mid-June.