Home News KLEM News for Monday, October 24

KLEM News for Monday, October 24

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TWO WEEKS LEFT
Events this past weekend have showcased the closing messages both political parties have for Iowa voters.
Governor Kim Reynolds spoke Saturday at a fundraiser hosted by fellow Republican Joni Ernst. Reynolds, who is up for reelection this year, made a pitch for all the Republicans running — and started at the top of the ticket.

Senator Chuck Grassley, at the same event, emphasized the team concept, too.

A week ago, a Des Moines Register Iowa Poll suggested Grassley’s in his toughest re-election campaign since 1980. Mike Franken, Grassley’s Democratic opponent, campaigned in six cities this weekend.

On Sunday, Deidre DeJear — the Democratic candidate for governor — urged a crowd of Democrats to get out of their comfort zones and go door-to-door to reach voters.

The third-ranking Democrat in the U.S. House campaigned in Des Moines with DeJear and third district Congresswoman Cindy Axne.

 

RAILROAD CROSSINGS

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.

 

FAKE AUTO DEALERS
The consumer protection division of the Iowa Attorney General’s office reports an upturn in the number of complaints about fake car dealerships appearing online. Ashley Kieler, a spokeswoman for the A-G’s office, says crooks are building sophisticated websites that mirror legitimate dealerships and they’re luring in customers with great deals — on vehicles they don’t own.

Supply chain issues stemming from the economic slowdown of the pandemic are making it difficult to find new or used cars, forcing potential buyers to search outside their local areas.

One recent complaint came from a Texas man who lost 38-thousand dollars while trying to buy a Porsche from what appeared to be a legitimate dealership in Waterloo — that ended up being a carefully crafted scam.

Before purchasing a vehicle, the A-G’s office recommends you always see the vehicle in person. You can also check the Iowa D-O-T’s list of registered auto dealers here: https://iowadot.gov/mvd/buyingselling/dealers.pdf. That table is updated monthly and will tell you the legal name of the dealer, the dealer number, and the address. Check that information against the information given to you by the online dealer. If you think you’re dealing with a scammer, report it to the Iowa Attorney General’s office at 888-777-4590.

 

BURIED UTILITIES

Recent events like Hurricane Ian hitting the southeastern U-S and derechos in the Midwest have prompted some to ask if it’s better to bury power and communication lines underground versus hanging them above ground on utility poles. Rod Pritchard, a spokesman for I-T-C Midwest, says compared with overhead line construction, the cost of undergrounding transmission is five to ten times more. Pritchard says environmental factors are also a consideration, as putting cables underground disturbs a lot of soil. While underground line is much better protected in terms of storms, when you have an outage with underground line, it can take a lot of work to find that as well as to fix that problem. He says overhead lines are much easier to repair.

 

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

Early voting for Iowa’s General Election began last week and a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution is on the back of the ballot.

Richard Rogers of the Iowa Firearms Coalition says gun rights advocates began lobbying for it 12 years ago — after they realized Iowa is one of only six states without state level constitutional protection of the right to keep and bear arms.

The amendment says any gun restrictions would have to be judged by a legal standard called strict scrutiny. Richard Rogers of the Iowa Firearms Coalition says the U.S. Supreme Court set up an even tougher legal standard in a ruling this summer.

Critics say if this STATE constitutional amendment is adopted, it will be nearly impossible to pass new gun safety measures in Iowa. Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner has joined Iowans for Responsible Gun Laws, a coalition of 30 different groups.

The only other states with similar constitutional amendments are Alabama, Missouri and Louisiana.

 

ETHNIC FOOD FAIR

The Plymouth County Historical Museum will be the site of an Ethnic Food Fair, set for Sunday, November 13.  The Museum is calling the community to bring culinary samples for the food fair.  Signup deadline is November 1.  Last year more than a dozen nationalities were represented at the food fair.

 

KANAAL HUIS

The Orange City Area Health Foundation is holding a series of public forums next month to discuss a new 55 plus residential community.  It’s called Kanaal Huis, and it is a joint project with Orange City Area Health Foundation and Vision Builders.  This will consist of single-family homes, twin homes, and a 36-unit Kanaal Huis.  There will be two presentations on November 17 at the Prairie Winds Events Center, at 12:45 and 6:45.

 

HOME SALE PRICES

Data from the Iowa Association of Realtors indicates the number of existing home sales in Iowa continues to decline and the overall prices for Iowa homes sold remain above last year’s levels. The median price for an Iowa home sold in September was 225-thousand dollars. It’s down slightly from the record set in July — but it is 13-and-a-half percent higher than the media sales price of Iowa homes sold in September of last year. The NUMBER of homes sold last month was down nearly 24 percent compared to last September. The president of the Iowa Association of Realtors says there’s typically a slow down in sales in September — plus the number of homes on the market remains lower than normal. Iowa homes up for sale in September spent an average of 31 days on the market before being sold. The president of the Iowa Realtors Association says industry experts project homes will start spending longer on the market and there will be slower growth in home prices soon.

 

FARM DEBT RELIEF

Republican Congresswoman Ashley Hinson — a critic of President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan — supports the new debt relief program for farmers.

The U-S-D-A is providing one-point-three BILLION in debt relief to 36-thousand farmers who face foreclosure or have fallen far behind in loan payments.

Hinson says it’s important to take into the financial pressures on farmers.

Hinson made her comments this (Friday) morning with a conference call with Iowa reporters before leaving for her first public event this week. Hinson was admitted to a hospital in Cedar Rapids Sunday for treatment of a kidney infection and released Tuesday. Hinson told reporters this (Friday) morning she feels much better.

Hinson, seeking reelection to a second term in the U.S. House, faces Democrat Liz Mathis (MATH-is) of Hiawatha in Iowa’s new second congressional district which includes Mason City and Dubuque as well as Cedar Rapids.

 

WORLD FOOD PRIZE

This year’s Iowa-based World Food Prize is being awarded to a NASA climate scientist. Cynthia Rosenzweig (ROSE-en-swyg) is a senior researcher at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. She studies the effects of climate change on food systems. During her acceptance speech last night in Des Moines, Rosenzweig said climate change mitigation needs to address greenhouse gas emissions from food systems. She also highlighted the urgency to act against climate change. The award comes with a 250-thousand dollar prize. Rosenzweig says she’ll use that money to establish a fund for global workshops on climate change and food through the Columbia Climate School.

 

RURAL ECONOMY

The rural economy continues to slide.  The October Rural Mainstreet Index, a survey of bankers in 10 states, including Iowa, fell below growth neutral for the fifth consecutive month.  The reading was 44.2, from 46.3 in September.  Any number below 50 indicates a shrinking economy.

Survey results indicate farm equipment sales dropped for the second time in three months.

The economic confidence level fell to its lowest level in 18 months.  One in four bankers surveyed say the rural economy is in recession.  Three of four bankers expect a recession to begin in 2023.

Iowa’s index was 45.6 in October, down from 48 in September.

 

IOWA ALERT SYSTEM

Iowans in almost every county can now get instant messages about threatening weather, missing persons, and other emergency situations unfolding nearby. Tracey Bearden, the 9-1-1 coordinator for the Polk County Emergency Management Agency, says Iowa’s most populous county is upgrading from Code Red to the new Alert Iowa system starting today (Wednesday). It will be used for a host of weather alerts, including warnings about severe thunderstorms, tornadoes and floods. Bearden says it’s important to stay connected, especially if there’s a missing child or adult, search-and-rescue, a public works emergency, or an active crime scene. Iowans can pick how they’d like to be notified, whether it’s by voice on a landline phone, by text to a cell phone, or by email.