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Friday News, May 20

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WELLS INCENTIVES

The Iowa Economic Development Authority Board Friday approved tax incentives to aid an expansion project at Wells Enterprises of Le Mars.  Wells is working on a 70 million dollar plan to expand their product lines, and to update equipment at their plant.  The expansion is expected to create 135 jobs.  Under a tax incentive through the IEDA’s High Quality Jobs Program, 82 of those new jobs are incented at a qualifying wage of $23.94 per hour.

 

SIOUX GATEWAY REJECTS PROPOSAL

THE SIOUX GATEWAY AIRPORT BOARD OF DIRECTORS HAS VOTED TO REJECT A NEW PROPOSAL FROM BOUTIQUE AIR TO PROVIDE ESSENTIAL AIR SERVICE FOR SIOUX CITY.
AIRPORT DIRECTOR MIKE COLLETT (COE-LET) SAYS THAT MEANS CURRENT CARRIER SKYWEST WILL LIKELY CONTINUE TO PROVIDE FLIGHTS:

IN MARCH, SKYWEST FILED A NOTICE OF INTENT TO DISCONTINUE ESSENTIAL AIR SERVICE BETWEEN SIOUX CITY AND CHICAGO AND DENVER.
THE CITY COUNTERED BY ASKING THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION TO REDUCE the number of FLIGHTS FROM 12 TO 7 FLIGHTS PER WEEK BEGINNING JULY 1ST UNTIL SKYWEST IS ABLE TO RESTORE SERVICE TO E-A-S MINIMUMS.
COLLETT SAYS TALKS WITH SKYWEST WILL CONTINUE:

HE SAYS THE PROCESS SHOULD MOVE FAIRLY QUICKLY:

IT’S YET TO BE   DETERMINED IF FUTURE AIR SERVICE WILL INCLUDE BOTH CHICAGO AND DENVER SERVICE OR JUST ONE MARKET.

 

PARK PLAN TABLED

The Orange City council this week tabled a plan to build an inclusive park adjacent to their Puddle Jumper recreation trail. The council reviewed bids for the project, but they were over the project estimates of some 1.3 million dollars.  Rather than award a contract, the council decided to table the plan for now.  The park would include features that would accommodate persons with disabilities.

 

WESTERN IOWA TECH LAWSUIT

A federal lawsuit against Western Iowa Technical Community College is set for 2024.  Eight students from Brazil accuse the Sioux City school of human trafficking.  They accused school officials and local companies of recruiting them for educational internship programs.  When they arrived they saw they were forced to work 50 hours a week at a food processing plant or a pet food company.  They say they had been promised free room and board and tuition, but they were forced to do the work to cover the expenses.  W-I-T-C-C denies the claims.  A similar lawsuit involving 14 students from Chile is also headed to federal court.

 

CAPITAL SECURITY

A senate committee has voted to spend a million dollars to replace security cameras and enhance security in the Iowa Capitol Complex. Senator Janet Petersen of Des Moines says she’s grateful because “we have had a number of threats on this building.” A 23-year-old man was charged with vandalism in early 2020 after breaking into the Capitol on a Sunday morning. Surveillance camera footage showed he made it all the way onto the floor of the Senate. Iowa is among the 30 state capitol buildings with metal detectors at the doors where visitors enter. Last year, a security fence was installed around Terrace Hill, the governor’s mansion in Des Moines.

 

PIPELINE MORATORIUM

Senators are scrapping a moratorium that would have prevented developers from seeking eminent domain authority to seize property for carbon pipelines before next February. The Iowa House attached the plan to a budget bill in March. Late yesterday (Wednesday), Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee passed a similar budget bill, but there was no reference to the carbon pipelines in the bill and lawmakers on the committee didn’t mention it. Republican Senator Dennis Guth of Klemme called the temporary moratorium meaningless. Guth says he’s been assured by the Iowa Utilities Board that it’ll be after February when the process of seeking eminent domain to seize land along pipeline routes can start.

 

IOWA UNEMPLOYMENT DOWN

Iowa’s unemployment situation isn’t following the national trend.  Iowa Workforce Development reports one-thousand-379 people filed for unemployment benefits for the first time during the second week of this month.  That represents a decrease of just over 10-percent.  Nationally, the number of American filing unemployment claims went up by 21-thousand.  Despite that development, the total number of Americans collecting the benefits is at a 53-year low.