VISION TO VITALITY
Business leaders from several communities took part in a Vision to Vitality Conference this morning in Le Mars.
Wells says workforce is the biggest issue facing his business.
Joe Murphey, Executive Director of the Iowa Business Council, says workforce is an issue to these firms because Iowa’s population is growing slowly, while the workforce is smaller – there are 38-thousand less Iowans in the workforce than in January 2020. Murphey says these discussions are valuable to his organization.
The Iowa Business Council is a group which represents 20 of the largest employers in Iowa. The panel of local leaders spoke this morning about ways to improve their businesses and communities in challenging economic times.
The panel included, from left to right, Joe Murphy, Executive Director of the Iowa Business Council; Le Mars Mayor Rob Bixenman; Barbara Den Herder, CEO of the Sioux Center Chamber of Commerce; Mike Wells, CEO of Wells Enterprises; Brandon Huisman, Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing at Dordt University, and Dustin Wright, CEO of Floyd Valley Healthcare.
A global fertilizer shortage has Iowa farmers considering the use of liquid manure for their cropland. The shortage has caused prices for commercial fertilizer to spike. Iowa State University Extension agricultural engineer Kris Kohl says liquid manure can be a cheaper alternative. I-S-U Extension will hold a workshop in Storm Lake on August 2nd for those who have manure to sell – and those looking to buy it. I-S-U experts estimate 14-billion gallons of manure are spread on Iowa fields in a typical year.
RESOURCE CENTER CLOSURE
The leaders of two Iowa health care groups say they’re concerned about the pending closure of the state-run Glenwood Resource Center for residents with profound disabilities. After a federal investigation of how residents were being treated, state officials announced the facility would close in 2024. Di Findley, founder of the advocacy group Iowa Care-Givers, says transferring Glenwood residents to community or home-based care will be difficult. Brent Willett (WILL-it) of the Iowa Health Care Association, which represents nursing homes, says he’s concerned that “the infrastructure is not there” and the timeline is too “aggressive.” Willett says his association would like to see deep new investment in the facilities and services that are caring for frail and elderly Iowans.
The Le Mars Street dept. will be closing the south side of 12th St. S.E. and 3rd Ave. S.E. part of intersection starting this morning July 26, 2022. We will be repairing some of the street and sidewalk .
In most Iowa communities, National Night out takes place in early August. For Le Mars Police, early October is the best time to observe National night out. This is Le Mars Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte.
Chief Vande Vegte says their event will be held at the Le Mars Police Department, from 5 to 7 pm October 4.
National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community.
MOUNTAIN LION SIGHTED
A mountain lion was spotted in Lincoln this week. The?Nebraska?Game and Parks Commission says the big cat that was seen in the Air Park neighborhood on Wednesday had been collared last November in northern?Nebraska, near Valentine.? This is the first-known confirmed mountain lion sighting in the city limits of Lincoln.? Anybody who has an encounter is being advised to back away, but don’t turn your back on the animal, and if it attacks, fight it off with whatever tools you have at your disposal.
The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will take action today on a recommendation for appointment of a new county medical examiner, deputy examiner and assistants. A report from the county treasurer, Shelly Sitzmann, will come before the board today. Conservation Director Nick Beeck will update the board on work done in his department, and County Engineer Tom Rohe will bring several items before the board for their action.
The first case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Woodbury County. Tyler Brock of Siouxland District Health says it’s an isolated case.
Brock says there is very little risk to most members of the general public.
The state of Iowa has about six-hundred doses of monkeypox vaccine. State health officials say those who’ve been exposed to the virus are being prioritized for vaccination. As of Sunday, more than three-thousand cases had been confirmed in the U.S.
The rules for collecting unemployment in Iowa changed this month — going from 26 weeks to 16 weeks before the unemployment benefits end. Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend says the June unemployment rate fell to the level we saw before the pandemic hit. Townsend says with the number of jobs available and I-W-D’s return to work focus, this should not be a big deal for many job seekers.
One of the twists in the downturn of the economy is many people who retired are coming back into the workforce. Townsend says it’s hard to say how long these workers will stay before going back into retirement.
She says each person will have to decide how much longer they have to work to make up the economic losses. Townsend says the job market right now favors retirees and others when it comes to job options.
Townsend encourages anyone looking for work — retirees or otherwise — to contact I-W-D to get help finding the best job that fits their needs.
RECREATION TRAIL GRANT
A regional recreational trail system spanning more than one-hundred miles in northwestern Iowa will connect several towns, including Sergeant Bluff, Sioux City, Merrill, Hinton and Le Mars. Siouxland Chamber of Commerce president Chris McGowan says linking the communities is a strategy to overcome the area’s labor shortages.
Sioux City is one of the largest towns in the state without a trail connection to another city. It’s estimated it could double the amount of visitors the trails see within five years of the project’s completion. Sioux City Parks and Recreation director Matt Salvatore says the regional trail system will be a real game-changer for the area.
A seven-million dollar grant awarded by the Iowa Economic Development Authority makes the expansion possible. As part of the grant, the project must be completed by 2026.
PONCA CHIEF HONORED
A new effort is made to posthumously honor Ponca Chief Standing Bear. The tribal leader was involved in a landmark 19th century federal court case in Omaha which determined that Native Americans had civil rights. The Nebraska court administrator’s office is now called the Chief Standing Bear Justice Administration Building. Governor Pete Ricketts and members of the Ponca tribe attended a naming ceremony on Thursday, which also featured the unveiling of a bust. Earlier this summer, the tribe was given back Standing Bear’s pipe-tomahawk from Harvard University.