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Wednesday News, July 27

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FAIR JUDGE
The Plymouth County Fair is underway. 4Hers have been placing their entries, and a livestock judging event occurred this afternoon. The other judging that took place on this day was among the static exhibits. Sheryl Phipps was judging crafts today.

Phipps describes what sets the best entries apart from the others.

The numbers of entries in the craft and quilt categories have been down due to covid. Phipps says there were some rules changes made this year to bring those numbers up.

Phipps says judges are moved around in order to maintain fairness.

Phipps has judged open class and 4H at the Plymouth County Fair for several years, and sometimes even enters her own crafts in her home county fair.

Highlights tonight at the fair include opening ceremony at 6:40 at Pioneer Village, followed by the 4-H Foundation donor ceremony, and the crowning of the fair king and queen. For a complete schedule of events at the fair, go to plymouthcountyfair.org

 

WORKFORCE ISSUES

Future population trends are a concern of Iowa businesses, as they are already struggling with workforce issues.  Joe Murphy, executive director of the Iowa Business Council, says there are 38-thousand fewer workers today than there are jobs available in the state. That’s on top of Iowa’s current population, which is one of the slowest-growing in the nation.

The business and community leaders who met Tuesday in Le Mars discussed ways to attract and keep
employees.

Murphy urges businesses to become involved in workplace learning, as a means to develop a new generation of employees.

 

OPIOID SETTLEMENT

An opioid manufacturer is willing to pay up billions to settle thousands of legal claims, including one filed by the State of Iowa. Attorney General Tom Miller has been a lead negotiator for a dozen states that sued Teva Pharmaceuticals. The deal is contingent on the willingness of a generic drug manufacturer that’s associated with Teva to also strike a nationwide settlement. Still, Teva executives have announced the company’s willing to pay up to three-point-seven billion dollars in cash over a 13-year period. Teva, which is based in Israel, will also provide one-point-two billion dollars’ worth of a drug that reverses opioid overdoses. Miller says the settlement will help cover treatment for opioid addiction and help prevent fatal overdoses.

 

CASINO RECORDS

Iowa casinos took in a record amount of money in the fiscal year that just ended — despite a slowdown in the final months. Racing and Gaming Administrator, Brian Ohorilko says pent up demand showed early, as there was “a lot of success at the beginning of the fiscal year,” July through December of 2021. Iowa casinos reported one-point-seven-six billion dollars in gross revenue for casino games and slots. Ohorilko also says many other entertainment options either closed or had reduced hours, while Iowa casinos did not. As for the recent slowdown, he says it’s due in part to people going on vacation and engaging more in outdoor activities during the summer.

 

ROUND BARN

The Round Barn at the Plymouth County Fair is the focal point of the fairs theme each year.

Jordan Sitzmann is a member of the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce, whose Agriculture Committee puts on the exhibit.

The displays at the Round Barn will honor several women who are agriculture leaders in Plymouth County.

Plymouth County women in agriculture are proving they can do the job as well as anyone.

Everything is falling into place for a great run at this week’s Plymouth County Fair.

The Plymouth County Fair runs today through Sunday.  Gates open at 7 and close at midnight daily.  The Round Barn opens at noon each day. Tonight’s highlights will include official opening ceremonies at the Pioneer Village at 6:40, followed by the 4-H Foundation donor ceremony, and the crowning of the fair king and queen.  For a complete schedule of events at the fair, go to plymouthcountyfair.org

 

VISION TO VITALITY 2

Iowa has a strong economy compared to its neighbor states, but there’s several areas which must be addressed, including workforce issues..

The Iowa Business Council held a discussion at the Wells Visitors Center in LeMars.  Wells Enterprises CEO Mike Wells addressed the community and business leaders gathered yesterday.  He reminisced about his start in the family business, and sees some of the same questions facing his newly-hired employees.

Joe Murphy, Executive Director of the IBC, says a diversified economy helped steady Iowa’s economy.

Murphy says the biggest problem facing Iowa businesses is a shrinking workforce.  And in the future, the concern is one of slowest growing populations in the country.  Iowa businesses must also face inflation concerns, supply chain issues, and rising costs.

The Iowa Business Counci represents 20 of the largest employers in Iowa, including Wells Enterprises in Le Mars.

 

DEAD FISH

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is investigating the discovery of thousands of dead fish washing up on the shores of Storm Lake.  D-N-R fisheries biologist Ben Wallace says it appears to be a disease that impacts the common carp.  Wallace says more sample fish will be tested to get additional information about the problem.  He says the fish kill could last a couple more weeks before the disease runs its course.  Wallace says he doesn’t expect other species of fish in the lake to be affected.

 

INVASIVE BUG

The Iowa Department of Agriculture wants people to keep an eye out for bugs called “spotted lanternflies.”  It’s an invasive species that feeds off fruit, ornamental, and woody trees.  They can damage grape, orchard, nursery, and logging businesses.   The Ag Department reports two immature spotted lanternflies were found in Dallas County recently.  The insect was accidentally introduced to the U-S eight years ago and it has been confirmed present in 11 states.  It’s native to China, India, and Vietnam.  The Ag Department wants any Iowan who sees a lanternfly to report it.

 

RAGBRAI

The thousands of bicyclists on RAGBRAI are heading for Mason City today on the longest leg of the ride in almost four decades. Lindsey James, of Visit Mason City, says the trip from Emmetsburg to Mason City will be 105 miles, the first so-called “Century Day” since 1985. Several large “100” signs have been placed throughout Mason City in commemoration of the 100-mile ride into town. Today’s stretch of the race is dedicated to the late RAGBRAI co-founder John Karras.

 

TOP ISSUES

Sixty percent of the people who responded to the most recent Des Moines Register Iowa Poll say inflation is an issue critical to them.  The people surveyed were questioned about a dozen issues leading up to the mid-term elections in November.  Following inflation as priorities were abortion and gas prices singled out by 54-percent.  Education policies, gun policies, and health care were next.  All other issues – including crime, election laws, and climate change were cited by less than half the people contacted.