Home News Wednesday News, August 31

Wednesday News, August 31



Joel De Jong is retiring today as a field agronomist with the Iowa State University Extension, after working most of those 40-plus years based in Plymouth County.

DeJong says his work as a “crop doctor” has been through partnerships, businesses, area colleges, and individual farmers.

DeJong started with the extension shortly after earning his first degree from Iowa State in 1980 and he’s stuck with it ever since.

An open house is scheduled for DeJong from 5 to 7 P-M at the Le Mars Convention Center. DeJong says people can come and go as they wish, he just wants to express his gratitude to those he’s worked with over the years.

This is also the last day for Sioux County Sheriff Dan Altena. Altena announced in July that he will retire from the office August 31. The Board of Supervisors will meet tomorrow to name a replacement. Altena is running for Sioux County Board of Supervisors. He won the Republican primary in June, and is running unopposed in the November election. Altena has served Sioux County law enforcement for 43 years, the last 18 as sheriff.



After setting multiple records during the pandemic, the Food Bank of Iowa is setting yet more records this summer for the number of people using its pantries. Annette Hacker is spokeswoman for the Des Moines-based agency that serves Iowans who are facing food insecurity. She says they served nearly 122-thousand individuals in May, while the number exceeded 135-thousand in June — an all-time high. Some may have a perception that the people who use food pantries are homeless, unemployed, or both, but Hacker says the “vast majority” are working, with some having two or three jobs but no benefits and they just can’t make ends meet.



Hunters in Iowa bagged the most pheasants in more than a decade last year and the results from the recent roadside survey indicate another good year is ahead. D-N-R wildlife biologist, Todd Bogenschutz, says the pheasant count was 20-point-four last year and this year it came out to 19-point-six and both round off to 20. Hunters shot 375-thousand pheasants last year — and the numbers are likely to be around that again this year. The youth pheasant season is October 22nd and 23rd. The regular pheasant season opens October 29th and runs to January 10th.

As NASA prepares to send its first rocket toward the Moon in nearly 50 years, a University of Iowa researcher is among the lead scientists on a separate robotic mission. Jasper Halekas (HAL-uh-kus), a U-I professor of physics and astronomy, is deputy principal investigator for the Lunar Vertex project. It will send a space probe to an area of the Moon where there’s a strong magnetic field as well as a mysterious swirl of both very light and very dark soils.

The Lunar Vertex spacecraft, due for launch in 2024, will include a rover that will explore the Moon’s surface. On Monday, NASA had to scrub the scheduled launch of its unmanned Artemis One rocket due to an engine problem. It may be able to lift-off as soon as Friday on a planned 42-day mission. It’s NASA’s first significant rocket launch since the space shuttle program was retired 11 years ago and it’s the first moonshot since the 1970s.

In Greek mythology, Artemis is the twin sister of Apollo, which was the name of the successful Moon missions of the 1960s and ’70s. Some may question why we’re planning to invest so much money to return to the Moon, but Helekas says NASA spending is only three-tenths of one-percent of the national budget, versus 13-percent for the military.

From huge evolutions in medical care to T-V remote controls and even microwave ovens, many of the modern pleasures we enjoy today have their roots in the American space program.

The Artemis missions are exciting, he says, as they’re just the first steps toward building a permanent base on the Moon which could be used as the launch pad for crewed missions to Mars. Iowa astronaut Raja Chari, a Cedar Falls native, is part of the Artemis team and -could- be among the first Americans to again make bootprints in lunar dust.



The town of Sheldon can’t find it’s time capsule. The community had planned to open the capsule on Friday as part of its 150th anniversary celebration, but that part of the celebration is on hold. Sheldon officials are planning to hire a company with underground radar to find it. The time capsule was buried in 1972 as part of Sheldon’s centennial celebration.



A Sioux City man is accused of beating his eight-year-old daughter.  The incident happened July 6th after the girl had taken money from his wallet to buy some snacks.  She had been told to do that by her aunt.  Forty-nine-year-old Leon Bearshield is accused of pulling her from a closet at her friend’s house and repeatedly hitting her before throwing her to the ground.  The girl required hospital treatment for her injuries.  Bearshield faces a charge of child endangerment resulting in injuries.



Northwest Iowa economic development organizations are holding a competition to find the best new business startup ideas.  It’s called the BIG Challenge.  From September 5 until October 2, entrepreneurs and small business owners from seven counties including Plymouth, Sioux, Woodbury, can visit www.iawestcoast.com, and click on The BIG Challenge to submit their ideas.  These ideas will be voted on October 5 through 14.  The top three ideas will become part of a showcase contest to be held November 17 in Sioux City. 10-thousand dollars in prize money will be awarded for the first, second and third place entries.



Both Republican Senator Chuck Grassley and Mike Franken, the Democrat challenging Grassley’s bid for reelection, have completed tours with stops in each of Iowa’s counties. Grassley addressed a crowd in the Taylor County Historical Museum in Bedford Tuesday, where the audience expressed opposition to vaccine mandates for the military and President Biden’s move on student loan debt. Franken chose Grassley’s hometown of New Hartford as the last stop on his campaign’s 99 county tour, where he accused Grassley of choosing “division and distraction over unity and understanding.” Franken and Grassley are scheduled to appear together in a debate on Iowa P-B-S on October Eighth. The November Eighth election is 69 days away.



A-A-R-P and two state agencies will be holding a series of seminars around Iowa to alert older residents to some of the most common scams and how to avoid them. Brad Anderson, A-A-R-P’s state director, says his wife recently got a phone call from a scammer, claiming her business had to pay a fine immediately — but when she called the county attorney, he told her it was a scam and that she was not being fined. Officials from the Iowa Insurance Division will be part of the “Fraud Watch Tour” this fall — admission is free but attendees must sign up in advance through the Iowa A-A-R-P’s website. The first tour stop took place this week in Des Moines. The tour is also headed to Dubuque, Waterloo, Mason City, Indianola, Clarinda, Council Bluffs, Sioux City, Fort Dodge, Ames, Ottumwa, Burlington, Bettendorf, and Marion.