A large number of area schools will benefit from nearly 20 million dollars awarded through the Registered Apprenticeship Program of Iowa Workforce Development. This program provides opportunities for students to work as apprentices at local businesses and industries. The students earn a paycheck, while receiving training in a number of fields, from advanced manufacturing, to information technology, financial services and healthcare. Cherokee Community Schools received a 6.3 million dollars award, but the program through this award will also affect students in several other schools, including the Kingsley-Pierson school district. MOC/Floyd Valley received a 6.3 million dollars award, which will also benefit students in 11 other school districts in Sioux, O’Brien, Lyon, and Osceola Counties. Sioux City Schools received a 1.2 million dollar award for their district alone.
BEEF PLANT HALTED
Plans for a major expansion project at a beef processing plant in Tama County are now on hold indefinitely due to high construction costs. Iowa Premium had announced plans to replace its current beef processing facility in Tama with a bigger plant in 2021. In a filing with the state, the company announced that it planned to hire 400 additional workers by the end of 2024, bringing its total workforce to more than 1,200. Company officials announced Thursday that the current facility will continue to function at normal capacity where nearly 800 people are presently employed. The company plans to further review the status of the expansion at a later time.
ERNST GUN BILL
A small bipartisan group is trying to come up with gun reform measures that could pass the Senate — and both of Iowa’s Republican senators say they’ll wait to comment on potential ideas until a plan is unveiled. Senator Joni Ernst has described herself as an ardent supporter of the Second Amendment and she says any proposal must be thoroughly examined before a vote is taken.
Grassley says he has not ruled out any specific proposals. Ernst is expressing similar sentiments.
Ernst and Grassley in the past have raised due process concerns about so-called red flag laws that let law enforcement seize guns from people deemed a threat to themselves or others. Grassley says the Texas senator leading the negotiations has asked his fellow Republicans not to lock themselves in as being opposed to any specific proposals. Ernst is part of the Senate’s Republican leadership team, but not directly involved in negotiations.
The Republican and Democratic senators who are leading negotiations over a gun bill say they hope to make incremental progress. The gun reform measure the HOUSE passed this week will not be considered in the Senate. The wide ranging HOUSE bill called for raising the minimum age for purchasing the type of rifles used in recent mass shootings in Texas and Buffalo to 21. Both shooters purchased their guns when they were 18.
TE PASKE SCULPTURE
A sculpture to honor a couple who were long time Sioux Center civic and cultural leaders was unveiled last week. The sculpture, in Sioux Center’s Open Space Park, recognizes the vision and service of Maurice and Vera Te Paske. Maurice Te Paske was a long-time mayor of Sioux Center, and pressed forward the idea of “Progress Through Cooperation”, which de
scribes how the city operates to this day. Vera Te Paske is a supporter of many of the cultural activities Sioux Center now enjoys. Open Space Park is a section of the city annexed during Te Paske’s tenure. It marked the cooperation between the city, the Sioux Center Community Schools, and Dordt University, in developing joint use facilities.