LE MARS COUNCIL
The Le Mars city council passed a motion accepting a Destination Iowa Outdoor Recreation Grant, The grant, from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, will provide 7 million dollars for construction of nearly 30 miles of recreation trail, between Le Mars, Sgt Bluff, and Sioux City, This includes the Plywood Trail. Phase 1 and 2 of Plywood trail funds total just over 5 million dollars.
The council today gave first reading to an update to the city’s flood plain ordinance. Federal and state agencies have updated flood hazard determinations for Plymouth County, including the city of Le Mars. The flood insurance study and rate map become effective in late October.
The council also adopted a resolution taking action to finance wastewater improvements – a 7.4 million dollar sewer improvement plan. The city will issue bonds up to that amount. A Des Moines bond counsel will sell the bonds, which will be used to fund construction of the improvements.
Wells Enterprises has notified the city that they intend to build improvements at their North Ice Cream Plant. This will require one block of 1st St SE, between 1st and 2nd Ave. to be closed. The council passed a motion in support of the closure. It will begin October 1, and extend to March 31 of next year. Another closure, at 1st Ave NE on September 17 was approved. This is for the Olson Concert Bash at the Olson Cultural Events Center.
The council also held a closed session to consider a real estate matter.
Jury selection is underway at the Plymouth County Courthouse for the trial of Thomas Knapp. The Merrill man is standing trial on first-degree murder and willful injury charges. The courtroom today is packed with people making up the pool from which jurors will be chosen. Trial will begin after the jury is chosen.
The 84-year -old Knapp is charged with the death of his stepson, 52-year-old Kevin Juzek, on May 11, 2020. He’s also charge with willful injury and domestic abuse for striking his wife and causing bodily injury in the same disturbance at their rural Merrill home. Knapp has been found competent to stand trial.
Sioux City Police say the 15-year-old boy injured in a skateboarding crash early last Thursday morning has died. Police say a decision was made last Friday to remove the boy from life support so that his organs could be donated. The boy was skateboarding in the middle of the 2400block of South Lewis Boulevard around 4:45 AM last Thursday when he was struck by a vehicle.
Investigators say the driver of the vehicle was unable to avoid a collision because of the dark conditions on that stretch of the roadway.
The name of the teenager is not being released.
Before farmland covered nearly 90-percent of Iowa, the vast majority of the state was prairie. Only a small fraction of that natural habitat remains, making Iowa one of the most biologically altered states in the nation. Some Iowans are working to resurrect the state’s natural habitats and the wildlife that comes with it. Kelly Madigan, who lives in Monona County along the Loess Hills, says Iowa’s natural areas have become very fragmented.
Only a tiny sliver of Iowa prairie land, around one-tenth of one-percent, remains untouched by agriculture and the development that surrounds it. Graham McGaffin, with the Iowa Nature Conservancy, points to the birds and the bison that populate the Loess Hills. McGaffin says it’s one of the state’s most biodiverse areas because it holds 75-percent of Iowa’s grassland prairies.
Only a tiny sliver of Iowa prairie land, around one-tenth of one-percent, remains untouched by agriculture and the development that surrounds it. Since 1963, the Iowa Nature Conservancy has been collaborating with landowners to bring back wildlife and he says they do so by connecting the fragmented natural spaces. The lack of protected natural land isn’t sustainable for Iowa’s wildlife, according to biology professor David Hoferer (HOE-fur-er) at Briar Cliff University in Sioux City. Hoferer says the destruction of the ecosystem is part of what has led to 47 animals and 64 plants being listed as endangered within the state.
Hoferer says it will take thousands of individual landowners stepping up to implement conservation practices to reverse the process. He says the state should focus on giving farmers incentives to reintroduce natural habitats on steep or flood-prone lands. Farmer Lee Tesdell planted strips of prairie across his 76 acres in Story County a few years ago and now has patches of purple and yellow wild vegetation interwoven in his soybean fields. Tesdell says the biodiversity on his farm is blooming.
Tesdell says the strips can reduce sediment movement by 95-percent, significantly reducing water pollution.
The Sioux County Sheriffs Department made an arrest Monday in an assault that occurred in Maurice. 45 year old Marcos Zavala-Martinez of Alton was charged with assault. An investigation revealed that Zavala-Martinez assaulted a co-worker over a dispute at their workplace. The victim was injured in the incident.
FRANKEN SUPPORTS BIDEN SPEECH
An Iowa Democrat running for federal office say President Biden’s speech last week highlighted the dangers of extremism in American politics. Mike Franken, the Democratic nominee for U-S Senate, sees the president’s speech as the first inning of the push to November’s election. Franken told a crowd of supporters at the “county line” fundraiser in Lisbon that Biden has tried to be conciliatory and to give as many outs as possible to the segment of the Republican Party “which has gone adrift.” Franken is running against longtime Republican U-S Senator Chuck Grassley. Fellow Democrats Christina Bohannan and Liz Mathis echoed Franken’s support of Biden’s speech during the weekend fundraiser.
LA NINA IMPACT
State Climatologist, Justin Glisan (Gliss-en), says June, July and August have been warmer and drier than normal for the last three years. Glisan says the La Nina weather pattern is to blame and it could impact fall as well.
He says La Nina is a cold sea surface temperature anomaly in the Pacific that impacts where the storm tracks set up over the United States. It could hang around through winter.
Glisan say the La Nina impact has been felt across much of the upper Midwest.
SLOWER GROWTH IN IOWA
Economic growth slowed in Iowa and in the Midwest during August, according to the latest survey of supply managers in nine states. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says while the numbers slipped on the Business Conditions Index at the state and regional levels, both remained above growth neutral for the 27th straight month. Still, he says the forecast remains cloudy and the economy remains “painful” for a lot of consumers and businesses. Hiring during August dropped compared to July, while inflation rates remain punishingly high. Goss says they asked supply managers to identify the biggest challenges moving forward in 2022, with most of them naming supply chain disruptions — others cited labor shortages, inflation, and higher interest rates.
SIOUX FALLS MARIJUANA DISPENSARY
Flower Shop Dispensary is the first medical marijuana dispensary to open in Sioux Falls. The store was the first of five businesses to win a medical marijuana license as part of a lottery held nearly a year ago by the city of Sioux Falls. The business is located near the intersection of 49th and Western as part of the city’s “green zone” for dispensaries. It is the third state-licensed medical marijuana facility to open in South Dakota.
Crews are finishing clean up work in Sioux Falls following two major storms that hit in May. Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Operations Manager Kelby Mires says the large scope of work has taken all summer. Trees have been replanted in McKennan Park and the fence near the tennis courts has been replaced. The park was hit particularly hard in the storms.