Home News Wednesday News, May 18

Wednesday News, May 18

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SIOUX CENTER AIRPORT

The City Council of Sioux Center has given final approval to the sale of its former airport to Sioux County.  The 78.5 acre site was sold for 1 million dollars.  The county plans to use the site for the county fair and equestrian activities.  Several buildings on the airport site, including hangars, will be purchased by the county at a cost of some 250-thousand dollars, and will be refurbished to accommodate fair exhibits and and Sioux Center Saddle Club activities.  The Sioux County Board of Supervisors earlier gave their approval to the sale.  The airport, located 1.5 miles north of Sioux Center, was closed to make way for the Sioux County Regional Airport near Maurice.  The county airport is a joint venture between Sioux County, Sioux Center, and Orange City.  The Orange City Airport was also closed.  It is now part of the city’s industrial park.

 

ORANGE CITY WATER

The Orange City council gave first reading to an amended water rate ordinance this week.  The new ordinance will increase water rates in the city by 20 percent as of July 1.  Another 15% increase will go into effect next January, if the amendment passes.  Three readings are required before the ordinance is approved.  City Administrator Earl Woudstra says Orange City is in the midst of a 10 million dollar project to increase water capacity in the city.  The council has already awarded contracts for the purchase and installation of a new pipeline to the city’s southwest deep well site.  Another contract to install a new well at the site will be awarded this spring.  The increase would raise water rates for residential customers from 16 to 18 dollars per month this summer, and to 20 dollars per month by January.  The well project will provide additional water capacity to accommodate anticipated city growth.  Woudstra says at the same time, the city is increasing their water restrictions from a Water Watch to a Water Warning level.  Under this level, Orange City residents are urged to curtail lawn and water gardening, and stop any unnecessary use of water to wash cars or clean sidewalks and driveways.

 

PLYMOUTH COUNTY ARREST

A Sioux City man was arrested by the Plymouth County Sheriffs Department on multiple charges.  38 year old Jonathan Ian Matthew Rainwater was found walking along Iowa Highway 12 in rural Plymouth County.  He was the subject of two active warrants from Woodbury County.  A subsequent investigation revealed that Rainwater was in possession of drug paraphernalia.  He was arrested and charged with 3rd offense possession of a controlled substance, and two other drug counts.  He was booked into the Plymouth County Jail and held on bond.

 

ETHANOL MANDATE

Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a bill into law that will significantly expand the number of Iowa gas stations that sell E-15 — fuel that has a 15 percent ethanol blend.

Stations that sell less than 300-thousand gallons of gasoline annually or have older tanks and pumping systems that are not compatible with ethanol can apply for waivers — but the rest will have to start selling E-15 by 2026.

The law also requires most retailers that sell diesel to start selling B-20 — diesel with 20 percent of a soybean-based additive.

Reynolds signed the bill on a farm near Prairie City. Representatives of the biofuels industry and farm groups as well as several legislators were there.

Reynolds says rather than electric vehicles, biofuels offer energy independence and security for the United States.

Will Cannon, a district director in the Iowa Corn Growers Association, hosted the event at the century farm where he’s grown crops for the past 20 years.

The law requires any gas stations that are built after January 1st of 2023 to sell E-15 immediately.

The plan also includes additional state grants for stations that install blender pumps and equipment that can handle higher concentrations of ethanol and biodiesel.

Tax credits for fuel retailers are in the legislation and it also doubles the biodiesel production tax credit.

The price of E-15 is about 10 cents less per gallon — sometimes lower in rural areas.

E-15 is often identified at “Unleaded 88” on a pump — and someone from the Iowa Corn Growers Association brought cookies to the event that were decorated with the number 88.

 

CROP PROGRESS

Farmers finally got a chance to spend some extended time pulling their planters last week.

The U-S-D-A reports dry warm weather gave farmers five days suitable for fieldwork and they made use of them.

Corn planting advanced from 14 percent to 57 percent completed, and soybean planting went from seven percent in the ground to thirty-four percent.

Corn and soybean planting are both still two weeks behind last year’s progress.

Beans are a full two weeks behind the average planting schedule, and corn is nine days behind.

 

LESS HYDRO POWER

Due to low runoff into the Missouri River basin, the U-S Army Corps of Engineers predicts power production from the six main stem dams will be about 77-percent of normal this year. Electricity from the dams is distributed through the Western Area Power Administration, where spokeswoman Lisa Meiman says despite the hydropower shortage, they will meet power demand.

Meiman says they normally need to add to their power portfolio, buying some power every year because the capacity doesn’t always meet customer needs.

Meiman says they supply power to many rural customers, serving primarily municipalities, rural electric co-ops, irrigation districts, Native American tribes and state and federal agencies.

The hydropower is supplied to Montana, North and South Dakota and parts of Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska.

 

EARLY VOTING

Early voting for the Iowa primary begins today.

Iowa voters must remember to bring an accepted form of identification – like a driver’s license, a non-operator state I-D, or a voter PIN card. Local election offices will remain open for in-person early voting through June 6th.  When you’re ready to return your absentee ballot, it can be taken to the county election office in person, put in a ballot dropbox if your county has one, or returned through the mail to the county auditor. No matter what method you use, your ballot has to be received by the county auditor by 8:00 p-m on June 7th to be counted.

 

PRIVATE SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIPS

Governor Kim Reynolds says she is not giving up on her bid to get state scholarships for students in private schools before the Iowa Legislature shuts down for the year. Reynolds says there have been a lot of discussions on doing a smaller number and limiting the number of schools that it would apply to. The Republican-led Senate passed the governor’s plan in March to provide state scholarships to 10-thousand students in low and moderate income households who enroll in private schools. The plan has stalled in the House, as many House Republicans worry the proposal will hurt small, rural schools and benefit urban areas like Des Moines.

 

LEGISLATORS WORK ON BUDGET

A small group of legislators will return to the statehouse today (Wednesday) and begin negotiations among Republicans on the spending plan for the state fiscal year that starts July First. House Republicans have drafted and passed budget bills for all state agencies and operations. Senate Republicans have only passed the D-O-T budget out of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Senate G-O-P leaders say their overall spending target of about eight-point-two BILLION dollars matches the governor’s proposed budget plan. House Republicans are proposing spending about 70 million dollars more than that.

 

MEDICAL MARIJUANA

New data shows slow but steady growth in the number of Iowans planning to buy products from Iowa’s medical cannabis dispensaries.

About half a percent of Iowans who are 21 years of age or older had a state registration card and could buy medical cannabis products at the five state licensed dispensaries in April.

A doctor, P-A, or an advanced registered nurse practitioner has to recommend medical marijuana as treatment for an illness. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, nearly 97-hundred patients had state-issued cards in April — that’s a 36 percent increase since May of last year.

About 26-hundred Iowa caregivers have registered to buy cannabis products for someone who is too young or too ill to buy it for themselves, a 26 percent increase in caregiver registrations from a year ago.

 

PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT

A draft of a new report says Governor Kristi Noem’s daughter received preferential treatment while going through the state’s real estate appraiser licensing program.  The five page report is set to be adopted this week by a legislative panel.  The Government Audit and Operations Committee has investigated allegations against Noem for months involving abuses of power and issues with the South Dakota Department of Labor Appraiser Certification Program.  The findings were put together by the committee after meetings that included testimony from Labor Secretary Marcia Hultman and former director of the appraiser program Sherry Bren.