Home News Friday News, June 24

Friday News, June 24

389

ROE VS WADE
Iowa’s Governor and northwest Iowa’s congressman are hailing the Supreme Court’s ruling today, overturning Roe vs Wade.  Governor Kim Reynolds said “The Supreme Court’s greatest moments have come when it allows America to embody more perfectly the enduring truth on which it was founded: that all human beings, without exception, are created equal. By that measure, today’s historic decision is clearly one such moment. Fourth District US Representative Randy Feenstra of Hull says “I am overjoyed that the sanctity of life has triumphed”.

Ross Wilburn, chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, calls it a “dark day for freedom,” and says “Iowa Democrats will continue to fight for every Iowan’s right to decide for themselves if, when, and with whom they want to have a family.”

The High Court’s 5-4 decision released today says the US constitution does not include a right to abortion.   The issue now falls back individual states to decide.

 

MELTON FOR CONGRESS

The Democratic candidate for the US House of Representatives wants to create an economy that retains young people.  Ryan Melton is a businessman from Nevada.  He’s focusing his campaign on promoting policy that convinces young people to stay in the district.

He also wants to tone down the tensions between people and policy and bring back the attitude that “we’re all in this together.”

Melton advocates for strong public schools.  On his website, Melton says “teachers should be empowered to teach an accurate history of our nation.

He rejects the controversy over alternate history courses, saying courses like The 1619 Project are not taught in Iowa schools.  He opposes Governor Reynold’s plan for providing students private school tuition.

Melton is challenging first-term incumbent Representative Randy Feenstra of Hull in the November election.  Melton spoke to the Plymouth County Democrats earlier this week in Le Mars.

 

DROUGHT MONITOR

The Midwest Drought monitor shows all of northwest Iowa has some level of drought registered in the past week, and the severity has increased into a wider part of the area.  The latest report, issued Thursday, shows Plymouth, Woodbury, and Monona counties again were in severe drought, but that are also extended into parts of  Cherokee and Buena Vista counties.  An area of moderate drought has also broadened into Sioux, O’Brien, Clay, Palo Alto, Emmet, and Pocahontas counties.  The southeast quarter of Iowa is listed as abnormally dry, and the rest of the state is rated normal. Drought persists in most of Nebraska, the western plains, the Rockies, and the western US.

 

HOLIDAY TRAVEL

Travel industry experts predict the upcoming Fourth of July holiday will be the busiest-ever for travel by car, truck, S-U-V, and van in Iowa and nationwide, despite record or near-record gasoline prices. Meredith Mitts, spokeswoman for Triple-A-Iowa, says the forecast predicts nearly 48 million people will travel at least 50 miles from home over the holiday, and 42 million will travel by motor vehicle. The average price for gas in Iowa is now four dollars-68 a gallon, down from the all-time record set last Wednesday of four-76. The national average is four-94. A year ago, gas in Iowa was averaging two-89 a gallon.

 

VAN GOGH EXHIBIT

An immersive art exhibit is bringing its global tour to southwest Iowa, showcasing the work of Dutch post-Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh (GO). The high-tech display features 300 of Van Gogh’s works projected on 50-thousand square feet of walls, floors and ceilings at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs. The works are projected in 3-D with more than four-trillion content pixels, for an incredibly detailed, high-resolution portrayal of Van Gogh’s work. Visitors are welcome to take photographs and selfies inside the exhibit, which is described as “Instagram-friendly.” Tickets are sold online only at Van-Gogh-Omaha-dot-com.

 

SOLAR FARM

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held this week for the largest solar-power electricity plant in Nebraska.  The array is located just west of Norfolk on U.S. Route 275.  It can generate eight-and-a-half megawatts, which is about ten-percent of the city’s power load.  The project is a private-public partnership involving the companies that make up N-Solar, the Norfolk city government, and the Nebraska Public Power District.

 

GUN SAFETY BILL

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley voted “no” and Senator Joni Ernst voted “yes” on the bipartisan gun bill that passed the U-S Senate last (Thursday) night. Both of Iowa’s Republican senators issued written statements shortly after the bill passed on a 65-to-33 vote. Ernst says every American wants to keep our kids and our schools safe and provide folks access to mental health treatment, and she says this proposal helps do that without placing new restrictions on law-abiding gun owners. Grassley says he shares the concerns of Iowans disgusted with gun violence and much of the legislation is good, but he says the bill’s vague legal definitions mean there’s no guarantee courts will equally safeguard the due process rights of gun owners. The U-S House is expected to vote on the bill today (Friday).

 

MENTAL HEALTH BILL

The US House passed a bill that addresses mental health issues, strengthening federal programs, and promoting behavioral well-being.  It also expands access to substance abuse treatments, including opioid addiction.  An amendment sponsored by US Representative Randy Feenstra of Hull would establish a Veteran Crisis Line that is intended speed up wait times for veterans seeking mental health services.  Feenstra says veterans wait, on average, 27 days for a mental health appointment.  The bill passed in the house 402-20.

 

FERTILIZER PRICES

An Iowa State University study finds there’s not enough evidence to show fertilizer companies are taking advantage of inflation to raise prices. The study was requested by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller earlier this year because of fertilizer price spikes. I-S-U ag economist Chad Hart, one of the study’s authors, says several factors caused fertilizer prices to rise, including supply chain problems, energy market fluctuations and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The price of ammonia is up 126-percent compared to a year ago. Farmers use nitrogen, phosphate and potassium-based fertilizers to help their plants grow. Hart says there was a “perfect storm” of factors but there’s not enough evidence to say whether fertilizer companies are using their market power to hike prices.

The I-S-U study predicts fertilizer prices will decline in the second half of this year but they won’t return to where they were in mid-2020 because farmer demand is high and supply chain problems still exist.

 

CAUCUS PITCH

Officials with the Iowa Democratic Party have presented data to national party leaders as they try to keep the state caucuses first in the nation.  The Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws Committee began hearing presentations from 16 states and Puerto Rico Wednesday.  All want to be among the five “early” states to vote when the party selects its presidential nominee.  National Democratic Party leaders have said it may be time to remove the caucuses from their leadoff role after Donald Trump won Iowa twice.  The Democratic leader of the Iowa House, Jennifer Konfrst points out that three of the state’s four congressional districts are considered to be among the most competitive races nationwide.

 

HOLIDAY TRAVEL

Travel industry experts predict the upcoming Fourth of July holiday will be the busiest-ever for travel by car, truck, S-U-V, and van in Iowa and nationwide, despite record or near-record gasoline prices. Meredith Mitts, spokeswoman for Triple-A-Iowa, says the forecast predicts nearly 48 million people will travel at least 50 miles from home over the holiday, and 42 million will travel by motor vehicle. The average price for gas in Iowa is now four dollars-68 a gallon, down from the all-time record set last Wednesday of four-76. The national average is four-94. A year ago, gas in Iowa was averaging two-89 a gallon.

 

VAN GOGH EXHIBIT

An immersive art exhibit is bringing its global tour to southwest Iowa, showcasing the work of Dutch post-Impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh (GO). The high-tech display features 300 of Van Gogh’s works projected on 50-thousand square feet of walls, floors and ceilings at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs. The works are projected in 3-D with more than four-trillion content pixels, for an incredibly detailed, high-resolution portrayal of Van Gogh’s work. Visitors are welcome to take photographs and selfies inside the exhibit, which is described as “Instagram-friendly.” Tickets are sold online only at Van-Gogh-Omaha-dot-com.