Home News Friday News, May 27

Friday News, May 27

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HIGHWAY SAFETY

This is the first holiday of the summer, and the Iowa State Patrol is reminding drivers to slow down and pay attention to their driving. Trooper Kari Yaneff is a public resource officer with the State Patrol.

Law enforcement will be looking out for speeding drivers.

Yaneff says drivers should be extra cautious this weekend.

State and local law enforcement are primarily concerned about the mounting number of fatal accidents nationwide.

Yaneff says some drivers are concerned about safety on the roads, but some are not.

In one way, the national Click it or Ticket campaign is paying off. A high number of drivers obey the seat belt laws.

Police and Sheriffs Departments, and the State Patrol, will increase patrols this weekend. They want to be more visible to drivers, in order to promote safe driving through the Memorial Day weekend.

 

WORK ZONE RULES

The first days of the summer travel season arrive this weekend and the Iowa Department of Transportation reminds that despite it being a holiday, drivers need to obey the rules in construction zones. Pete Hjelmstad, with the D-O-T’s Mason City office, says even though work crews will likely not be in those areas this weekend, you need to obey the posted speed limits.

Hjelmstad says during this Memorial Day weekend, Iowans need to slow down and focus on driving — and not other things inside the car.

Hjelmstad says you can use the D-O-T website 511ia.org to find out about where road construction is happening. He adds, most states have their own version of that website.

 

FUNDING FOR NON-PROFITS

Governor Kim Reynolds has announced 20 million dollars in federal funding will be used to help nonprofit organizations in Iowa. Information from her office says the new “Nonprofit Innovation Fund” will provide a competitive grant opportunity to help nonprofit organizations make transformational investments in vertical infrastructure that will enable them to offer additional services or help more Iowans. Nonprofits are encouraged to apply with shovel-ready projects that expand the number of services provided to Iowans and/or projects that increase the number of Iowans served by the nonprofit. Applications will be accepted starting June 27th at iowagrants.gov.

 

FORMER STATE AUDITOR DIES

Former State Auditor Richard Johnson died Thursday at the age of 87. Johnson, a Republican, served 25 years as State Auditor before his retirement in January of 2003. Johnson began working in state government in 1968 and served as the finance director of what was then called the Iowa Highway Commission. Governor Robert Ray appointed Johnson to the office in early 1979 when the previous auditor died, and Johnson won reelection as state auditor six times. In the 1990s, Johnson joined State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald, a Democrat, in pushing for state government to use accounting standards that more clearly showed both revenue and expenses.

 

WATER CONDITIONS VARY

Boaters on both sides of Iowa need to use caution during the upcoming holiday weekend, but for different reasons. Water levels are expected to rise more than a foot on the Mississippi River due to snowmelt and rains to the north. On the Missouri River, however, D-N-R fisheries biologist Bryan Hayes says it’s exceptionally dry and the water levels are very low.

Some of the trouble areas in the west include Carter Lake in Pottawattamie County, which is is three feet below crest. The water level at Lake Manawa (MAN-ah-wah) has been down a few feet all spring. Elsewhere, low levels are reported on Blue Lake in Monona County, DeSoto Bend in Harrison County, Snyder Bend and Browns Lake in Woodbury County, and several others along the Interstate 29 corridor.

The watershed of the Missouri River extends all the way to Montana, with several flood control reservoirs in South Dakota.

Meanwhile, National Weather Service forecasters say the Mississippi River is rising quickly and currents are strong. That waterway is expected to crest at Davenport on Sunday around 13-and-a-half feet, that’s about 18 inches shy of the initial flood stage.

 

PRISON FUNDING

Republican legislators have sent the governor a budget plan for the Iowa’s justice system and it includes a seven million dollar spending increase for the state’s prisons. Democrats like Representative Todd Prichard of Charles City say the murders of two Anamosa prison employees by two inmates attempting an escape last year should have prompted a higher amount, to address on-going staff shortages.

Republican Representative Gary Worthan of Storm Lake says lawmakers immediately provided the prison system 20 million dollars last year,

The director of the Department of Corrections recently hired a recruiting director and plans to set up a booth at the State Fair as a way to spread the word in person about job openings. At the end of April, there were more than 200 job openings for correctional officers.