Home News Thursday News, May 26

Thursday News, May 26

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SCHOOL RADON TESTING

The governor has signed a bill into law that requires testing for radon gas in public school buildings. The legislation is named in honor of Gail Orcutt, a retired teacher from Pleasant Hill who died of radon-inducted lung cancer in 2020. She had lobbied for the bill for a decade. Senator Jackie Smith of Sioux City is among the lawmakers who paid tribute to Orcutt before voting “yes” on the bill.

The bill lets school districts use local option sales taxes to install radon mitigation systems. Testing to screen school buildings must be completed by July 1st of 2027. Senator Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City voted for the bill, but raised concerns about that deadline.

Senator Craig Johnson of Independence says it’s his understanding many schools have already been tested for radon, but this will spur others to do so.

Officials estimate about 400 Iowans will die of radon-inducted lung cancer this year. Radon is an odorless gas that seeps into homes and buildings through cracks in the foundation and every Iowa county is considered to have high levels of radon in the soil. In addition to testing of existing school buildings, the new law requires radon control systems to be part of any new school construction projects. Representative Art Staed of Cedar Rapids is a retired teacher.

The bill passed with the support of all but two members of the legislature. The governor held a private bill signing ceremony on Tuesday for advocates who’d pressed for passage of the legislation.

 

NEW WAREHOUSE

Cold-Link Logistics of Miami, Florida, has officially broken ground on construction of a cold storage facility in Sioux City’s Southbridge Business Park area.

The company will build a multi-phased, $60 million facility on 37 acres of the Southbridge industrial site.

A release from the city of Sioux City says Wells Enterprises, makers of Blue Bunny ice cream, is expected to fill half the space of the facility.

The initial phase will include cold storage warehousing with approximately 2,-thousand pallet positions and blast freezing, plus truck docks and mechanical areas.

The initial 60 jobs include 50 production staff at an hourly wage of over 23 dollars per hour.

The facility should open sometime in 2023.

 

CATTLE INDUSTRY MEETING
A Regional Cattle Market Roundup will take place next Tuesday, May 31st, at The Grainery Lodge in Cherokee. Featured at the event will be a panel discussion with U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley and U.S. Representative Randy Feenstra. The event is sponsored, in part, by Plymouth, Sioux, O’Brien, and Cherokee County Cattlemen’s Associations.

 

WOODBURY BEACH CLOSINGS

Two Woodbury County Beaches will be closed over the Memorial Day weekend. Due to low water levels, the swimming beach at Little Sioux Park near Correctionville will remain closed until further notice. The beach was scheduled to open on Memorial Day weekend, however low water levels have reduced the zero-entry beach area causing sudden drop-offs and unsafe swimming conditions.
Additionally, the beach at Brown’s Lake-Bigelow Park near Salix will remain closed until the road replacement and park improvements have been completed.

 

CONTINUED DRY

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration predicts dry conditions will continue for western Iowa and expand eastward. Meteorologist Adam Hartman authored the report — which he says leans heavily on the below normal soil moisture anomalies that are currently in place across the state along with the long-term dryness. He says the La Niña weather conditions which are a climate pattern that produces drier days are also a factor. Much of the northwest region of the state is already experiencing abnormally dry conditions. Plymouth, Woodbury, and Monona counties face severe drought.

 

BLOOD TO TEXAS

The Des Moines-based LifeServe Blood Center is sending blood to Texas to help the school shooting victims. LifeServe is part of a coalition of more than 35 blood centers across the U-S that have committed to collecting extra blood units on a rotating, on-call schedule. Spokeswoman, Danielle West, says they are sending blood even though their supply is low. She says they need more blood donors — especially O-negative and O-positive. She says you can go to their website: LifeServeBloodCenter.org to find a blood drive or donor center

 

CASH RENTS UP

The latest  Iowa State University Extension survey of farmland cash rental rates shows an increase by an average of more than ten percent (10.3) in 2022. Economist Alejandro Plastina says there still seems to be room for more of an increase based on the price of land and commodities.

He says the survey is conducted every year in February and April when many rents are already decided — but some are not decided until September and August. He says the question asked about rent is more general.

The U-S-D-A survey is based on individual contracts.  The 256 dollars an acre rate in this survey is the third consecutive increase — and largest uptick in cash rents since 2013 went rates hit 270 dollars. Plastina believes the rate will go up again based on what he’s seeing.

He says more than half of the farmland in the state is rented to others to farm. And he says the percentage of tenants that are not already landowners is small.

That’s because Iowa farmland doesn’t go up for sale very often.

The average cash rents increased by similar percentages across different types of land quality.

 

VEHICLE PURSUIT

Lyon County authorities last night arrested a Sioux Falls man after a motor vehicle pursuit.  24 year old Daniel Lingar tried to elude a deputy who attempted to stop him along Iowa Highway 9 for an equipment violation.  The chase at times reached speeds of up to 100 miles per hour.  Lingar’s vehicle was eventually stopped by deployment of stop sticks.  He fled on foot, but was arrested a short time later. 15 charges resulted from the incident. The most serious include eluding and being a fugitive from justice – both felonies.  Lingar is held in the Lyon County jail, where he was also served with two outstanding warrants from Minnehaha County, South Dakota.

 

GAS PRICES UP

Triple-A Iowa reports Iowa gas prices increased eight cents from last week. The price of regular unleaded gasoline averages four dollars, 23 cents. The price for a gallon of gas is one dollar, 34 cents higher than one year ago. The national average for gas on Wednesday was four dollars, 60 cents, up three cents from last week’s price.

 

SCHOOL TRANSFERS

Republican legislative leaders say the new plan unveiled on the final day of the 2022 legislative session was drafted after the governor’s proposal for state scholarships for private school expenses faltered in the House. The plan gives parents of kids in public schools the option of immediately transferring their child to any other public school in the state. House Speaker Pat Grassley, a Republican from New Hartford says the open enrollment proposal isn’t targeted at any specific district, but was inspired by frustrated parents.

 

TWIN TROOPERS

The latest graduating class of troopers to join the Minnesota State Patrol includes identical twin sisters. Jessica and Jamie Bird were among 12 graduates who joined the Patrol Tuesday at a ceremony in Minneapolis. They saisd they decided together to pursue a career in the State Patrol while in college. The Bird sisters will both be stationed at the Minnesota State Patrol station in Montevideo.