Home News Wednesday News, August 17

Wednesday News, August 17

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HISTORIAL MUSEUM TRIP
A three day trip to revisit the roots of Plymouth County settlement will take place in October. Judy Stokesberry, President of the Luxembourgers, says St Donatus, north of the Quad Cities, was the area where Luxembourg immigrants first settled in Iowa.

Once the area filled up, there began a migration west.

They will join the Plymouth County Historical Museum in sponsoring this year’s tour.

Will spend part of a day touring St Donatus,

The bus trip will include a visit to the German-American Heritage Center and Museum in Davenport.
Registration for the tour Oct 6-8 will end Thursday, September 1. Registration can be made through the Plymouth County Historical Museum.

 

AG AGENCY FOCUS

The Democratic Party’s nominee for state ag secretary says the Iowa Department of Agriculture needs to represent both producers and consumers.

John Norwood is a business consultant and currently serving as a Soil and Water Commissioner in Polk County. Norwood says Iowa’s ag industry is tremendously productive, but there’s an imbalance and the state’s voluntary approach to reducing farm chemical run-off isn’t working.

Norwood’s first job out of college was at the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority which handled drinking water and wastewater. Norwood has not proposed specific limits on nitrogen and phosphorus application on cropland. He says innovative thinking is needed to improve Iowa’s water quality and reduce top soil loss.

Norwood says if Iowa is to weather more frequent floods and droughts, it needs healthy soil — and more acres planted with cover crops like oats, barley, rye and hay.

Norwood says Iowa needs to dedicate more ag land to crops that aren’t corn and soybeans.

Norwood made his comments on the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair.
Current Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig, a Republican, has been in office since the spring of 2018 and in this year’s election he’s seeking a second full term. A spokesman for the Iowa Republican Party says Naig knows Iowa feeds and fuels the world – and he defends Iowa farmers, livestock producers, and promotes the state’s high quality products on the world stage.

 

ARNOLDS PARK RESTORATION
An engineer hired to evaluate a historic site in Arnolds Park is recommending major repairs to the Abbie Gardner cabin. It’s the site of what’s known as the Spirit Lake massacre of 1857, where about three dozen Europeans were killed by members of the Dakota tribe who used the area for hunting. Thirteen-year-old Abbie Gardner survived and was briefly taken hostage, and three decades later she bought her family’s cabin and gave tours. The cabin needs to have the shingles and boards on the roof replaced, repair corners of the structure and install a handicapped accessible door. The cabin was one of Iowa’s first tourist attractions and Gardner operated it herself until her death in 1921. Her son sold the property to the Iowa Conservation Commission in 1941.

 

CARBON PIPELINE DISCUSSION

A representative of Summit Carbon Solutions presented information to the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors Tuesday concerning the pipeline they plan to run through the county.  Kaylee Langrell told the supervisors the pipeline is necessary because it’s tied to the ethanol industry, which uses 57% of the corn produced in Iowa.  Without it, ethanol plants will suffer, and farmers will, in turn, struggle, as corn prices fall.  Langrell says the pipeline will bring a total investment of 42 million dollars to Plymouth County, and pay 1.6 million dollars in property taxes.  Summit has acquired 55% of the easement miles needed in Plymouth County, and 41% in all of Iowa. Landowners such as Steve Breuer, is concerned about the level of foreign companies who are investment partners in the project, and safety issues involved in maintaining the pipeline. Langlee says Summit does not have a permit to build the pipeline in Iowa.  Supervisors Chairman Don Kass says the board does not oppose the pipeline, but objects to the use of eminent domain to obtain easements for the pipeline.  Langlee says the company does not now have the authority to use eminent domain, and plans to use it only in situations where land titles are in question.  She says the company prefers to negotiate with landowners for easements.

 

LE MARS PROJECTS

The Le Mars city council took action on projects and financing of improvements at the city waste treatment plant.  The council received two bids for construction of a disinfection system at the plant.  Both were well over the engineer’s estimate of 4.3 million dollars, but the engineer recommended acceptance of the lowest bid, 5.8 million, from Christensen Construction of Pender Nebraska.  The council also approved an engineering services contract with Bolton and Menk, Inc. of 465-thousand dollars.  They also set September 6 as the date of a public hearing for financing this project.  The city plans to issue Sewer Revenue Bonds in an amount not to exceed 7.4 million dollars.

 

ORANGE CITY TEST WELLS

The Orange City council has approved agreements to drill test wells at two sites for the city’s water utility.  The sites are located near the city’s southwest well field.  The wells will be drilled in the next few weeks.  The city is seeking to expand its water capacity, due to drought, and to plan for future growth.  Earlier this summer, the council approved the sale of over 11 million dollars in bonds to drill more wells and expand distribution of water into the city.

 

CLEANUP DAYS 

Le Mars Cleanup Days are September 6 through 10.

Plymouth County Landfill Manager Kent Herbold says the city calls an amnesty from landfill disposal costs over that period of time.

Items which can be brought to the landfill during cleanup days without charge include urniture, construction waste except concrete, and metal items, but not most appliances.

Other items such as tires and hazardous waste, can be brought only by appointment.

Residents must bring these items to the landfill, and they must be covered.  There will be a 15 dollars charge for uncovered loads.

 

IRS OVERREACH

U-S Senator Chuck Grassley says a bill that includes 80-billion dollars to pay for the hiring of 87-thousand I-R-S agents over the next decade is an example of overreach.  The Iowa Republican says he thinks the federal tax collection agency will use the added manpower to go after the middle class and small business people.  Grassley says that’s because the wealthy and corporations are already being targeted.  Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin says audit rates won’t be increased for taxpayers with a yearly income of under 400-thousand dollars but Grassley says he’s not buying it. President Biden signed the bill Tuesday.

 

NEW BEE SPECIES

A bee survey around the campus of Luther College in Decorah has found some species that have not been documented there before. Junior Emmelyn (Emma-line) Cullen says they’ve checked some 15-hundred bees in the survey this summer and identified 55 different species, with seven of those not having been found before in Iowa. The seven new species of bees are found in the states surrounding Iowa. Fellow junior Gwen Coleman is also helping with the survey and says some of the bees could have flown in from outside the state. Cullen, meanwhile, says once they wrap up the survey it will give them a good baseline for the bee population.