SCHOOL BUS ACCIDENT
Four persons were injured this morning in an accident involving a semi truck and school bus in Cherokee County.
The Iowa State Patrol says a semi hauling grain was northbound on F Avenue east of Marcus around 7:35 AM and failed to stop at a stop sign.
The semi collided with a school bus from the Marcus Meriden Cleghorn Remsen Union School District that was westbound on 470th Streeet.
A Facebook post this morning from MMCRU schools says only minor injuries are reported. 3 juveniles and one adult – the bus driver, 62 year old Leslie Pedersen of Cleghorn – were transported to the Cherokee Hospital. 3 students were seen in an ambulance and not transported.
The driver of the semi, 61 year old James Nieuwenhuis of Hospers, was not injured.
Emergency personnel examined all the occupants of the bus. Those without injury were put on an alternate bus and brought to school.
Ambulance teams from three communities were called to the scene. The Iowa State Patrol is investigating the accident.
Counselors were at the school today to talk with students affected by the accident.
Today, the Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service, says a third consecutive winter of La Nina conditions will extend drought across the western half of the US. through the winter months: December, January and February.
The 3-month forecast for Iowa calls for slightly below normal temperatures for all but the southern extreme of the state. Normal levels of precipitation are predicted for Iowa. The drought outlook shows the western 2/3 of Iowa will see continued or worsening drought.
This winter is forecast to be the third consecutive winter of La Nina conditions, the third time that’s occurred since the early to mid 1970s. La Nina affects the Midwest by blocking moisture patterns from the south, which disrupts precipitation patterns here.
Jon Gottschalck of the Climate Prediction Center, says drought conditions are now present across nearly 60% of the US, with the western and southern plains hit hardest this winter.
ORANGE CITY COUNCIL
The Orange City council will hold a public hearing at their next meeting to consider an appeal to rezone residential property in southwest Orange City. A proposal to rezone a property adjacent tothe corner of 7th St SW and Florida Ave SW from single family residential to multifamily residential was rejected by the city’s planning and zoning commission on a 3-2 vote. The owner of the property appealed the decision to the city council. this week. The council did not endorse the plan, but set a public hearing for November 7 to hear the appeal. After the public hearing, the council must have a supermajority in order to reverse the planning and zoning commission decsion.
The Orange City council this week approved entering into a joint agreement with Sioux Center and Sioux County to form an Explorer Trail group. The three entities will work together to develop a recreation trail from Orange City to Sandy Hollow Park, part of the Sioux Center trail system. The Explorer Trail Group will now work to submit an application for a grant to help build the proposed trail.
The Council also gave approval to an amendment to the city ordinance as it refers to use of all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles in the city limits. The amendment will restrict access to Iowa Highway 10. It prohibits these vehicles from using the highway, and it restricts crossing of the highway at four points – at three stoplight intersections, and at Iowa Ave, on the west end of the city.
LOW RIVER FLOWS
Low levels on the Mississippi River are leading to problems with commodity movements as barge traffic slows to a crawl. Flows from the Missouri River won’t be much help either, according to John Remus, chief of the U-S Army Corps of Engineers’ Missouri River Basin Water Management Office in Omaha.
Remus says the Corps has minimal options for flow control on the Mississippi River.
Remus says the Missouri River does, at times, provide a good portion of the flow in the Mississippi above St Louis.
The 2022 calendar year runoff forecast for the upper basin is only 76% of average. The total system storage was 48.5 million acre feet, which is 7.6 million acre feet below the base of the flood control zone.
As some of her fellow Republicans call for deep cuts or an end to U-S aid for Ukraine, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst suggests that would be a dangerous step. Ernst says it would give authoritarians like Russia’s Putin and China’s Xi Jinping the impression they can invade other countries without facing repercussions. The top Republican in the U.S. House says the Biden Administration shouldn’t get a blank check for the war in Ukraine — and the G-O-P should insist on a plan for ending the conflict. While Ernst agrees unlimited spending on the war effort is unwise, she says the U.S. needs to keep supporting Ukraine as long as Ukraine is willing to fight Putin’s aggression.
FORMER LEGISLATOR DIES
A northern Iowa woman who served in the Iowa House of Representatives for 22 years before two recent terms as a state gambling regulator has died. Dolores Mertz, a farmer from Ottosen, passed away this week at a health center in West Bend. She was 94. Mertz, a Democrat who was a precinct leader in Kossuth County for 25 years, is being praised by leaders of both political parties. Iowa Republican Party co-chair Linda Upmeyer says Mertz was a tiny powerhouse and Upmeyer says no one had a deeper love of where she was from and who she served than Mertz. Iowa Democratic Party chairman Ross Wilburn says Mertz was a powerful voice for rural Iowans and her ability to work across the aisle is what made her such a tremendous public servant.
The Plymouth County Road Department says two railroad crossings in Plymouth County will be closed early next week. The crossings in downtown Remsen, on county road L12, and at K64 in Oyens will be closed on October 24 to replace both crossings. They will reopen on Wednesday, October 26.
BIG CHALLENGE FINALISTS
Five northwest Iowa businesses have emerged as finalists in a grant competition to select the best idea to start or expand a business. The five entries are businesses from Rock Rapids, Sheldon, and Sioux City. Sympatico, a home décor and design business in Le Mars, was one of the competitors. It did not make the final round. In the final round, the finalists will present their idea to an audience and judges at an event in Sioux City on November 17th. It’s called the BIG Challenge, and its put on by Northwest Iowa Development, Siouxland Economic Development corporation, and Iowa’s west Coast Initiative. It includes five counties, including Plymouth.
INSURANCE PREMIUM JUMP
A study finds the average rate of family premiums for health insurance offered by private employers in Iowa has risen significantly. The report from the State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota found the average premium rate for Iowa families jumped about nine percent from 2020 to 2021, while the national average is only three percent. Robert Hest, a research fellow at the center, says Iowa’s relatively small population may be a factor. Iowa has nearly three-point-two million residents, ranking it the 31st most populous state in the U-S. The report found about 87-percent, or one-point-two million Iowans, who work in the private sector were offered employer-sponsored insurance last year.