TERMINATION SUIT DISMISSED
A Polk County judge says former Iowa Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven was serving at the governor’s discretion so there is no basis for a wrongful termination claim. The judge dismissed Foxhoven’s suit against Governor Kim Reynolds this week. Foxhoven had claimed he was fired three years ago because he refused to keep paying a governor’s aide with federal Medicaid money. Reynolds says she knew all along that the suite “was baseless from the start.”
The City of Le Mars Street Dept. has hired Holzman Construction to do some street repairs on Turnberry Ave. The contractor plans to start Tuesday, Sept. 6th. This will require the closure of the street to traffic and they plan on about 12 days for construction, weather permitting.
PLYMOUTH COUNTY CYCLISTS
Plymouth County Cyclists and Le Mars Police are teaming up to promote bicycle safety. Cyclist member Mark Sturgeon says they recently held a helmet giveaway at the city’s Recreation Trailhead near US Highway 75
One of their ongoing promotions is bike safety.
A recent incident in Le Mars involving a car and a bicycle is another issue the Plymouth County Cyclists and Le Mars Police can address.
Hotel/Motel tax proceeds help fund some of these programs, including the recent installation of bike racks in downtown Le Mars.
The first set of residents with profound intellectual disabilities moved out of the state-run Glenwood Resource Center last week. The facility, where over 150 adults were living this spring, is scheduled to close in 2024. Iowa Health and Human Services director Kelly Garcia says 27 community providers have stepped forward as options for Glenwood residents.
Providers have been meeting on the Glenwood campus with the legal guardians for residents to discuss their options for care elsewhere. The state will host another “provider fair” at the state-run Woodward Resource Center this fall.
Garcia says decisions need to be made, to ensure residents get the care and services they need when they leave the facility. Glenwood’s closure follows a federal investigation of allegations that residents were being mistreated and were not getting adequate medical care. The Department of Justice concluded that with the right support services, nearly all residents could live in community-based settings. Garcia says very few Glenwood residents will be transferred to nursing homes.
Garcia is now the director of an expanded agency, renamed the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services. Plans are underway to fold the Department on Aging into the agency. And the state is hiring a California company to join two other private firms managing Iowa Medicaid, which Garcia says now provides health care services for one-third of the state’s residents.
BEEF PLANT PURCHASE
Retail giant Walmart bought a minority share in a Nebraska beef packing plant on Wednesday, what an Iowa cattleman says is a “seismic shift” in the beef processing industry. Chad Tentinger, principal developer of Cattlemen’s Heritage Beef Company, says the move is historic — and it was inevitable.
Cattlemen’s Heritage is planning to build a 325-million dollar beef packing plant in southwest Iowa’s Mills County. Tentinger says Walmart’s move this week is what he sees for the future, which he says represents a “massive, fundamental change” to the beef industry.
Tentinger sees Walmart’s investment in the North Platte property as the first step by retail into beef production, which he predicts will be good for the consumer and good for the cattle producer.
It may only be a matter of time, he says, before Iowa-based grocery chains like Hy-Vee or Fareway make a similar move to Walmart by investing in localized meat processing.
Tentinger is founder and owner of TenCorp, a cattle industry construction firm with offices in Des Moines and Marcus. The planned beef plant in Mills County is on target to begin construction late this fall, Tentinger says, with the opening scheduled for late 2024. It will employ up to 750 workers and at capacity, will be able to process up to 15-hundred head of cattle per day.
HONEY BEE HEALTH
Honey bees are becoming increasingly endangered in South Dakota. Based on information compiled by Stacker, using data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the state has 184-thousand colonies. That’s down over 12 percent from 2021. Nationwide, colonies are down 22 percent year-over-year. It’s estimated honey bees contribute 15-billion dollars to the U.S. economy annually. More than a third of all crop species depend on honeybees for pollination.