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News for Wednesday, November 2

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LE MARS COUNCIL

The Le Mars City Council Tuesday awarded a contract for repaving 12th St SW. Hulstein Excavating, Inc. of Edgerton, Minnesota, was the lowest of two contractors bidding on the project. They had a low bid of 740-thousand dollars, 47-thousand below the project estimate. They were awarded the contract. 274-thousand dollars of the project’s cost will be paid for through local Road Use Tax funds. The rest will come from Surface Transportation Block Grant funds, through the US Department of Transportation.

The City of Le Mars will use American Rescue Plan Act funds to begin a community development plan. The city asked ten firms to submit a proposal, and six responded. ISG Incorporated was authorized by the city council Tuesday to enter an agreement with the city – at a cost of 105-thousand dollars. City Economic Development Director Mark Gaul says this plan will take nine months to a year to complete. It will take suggestions from business, industry, and the public to develop the plan.

The Le Mars City council Tuesday approved an agreement with a consulting firm, JEO, to provide design services for the Southview Industrial Park. The city council approved concept plans for the development, and they were approved by the city’s Planning and Zoning Council. City planners intend to design the infrastructure of Southview, and then make further agreements as the city decides to construct. The agreement carries a fee not to exceed 158-thousand dollars.

 

BIRD ATTORNEY GENERAL

A county attorney running for statewide office is opposing an entrenched incumbant. Brenna Bird, who is running against Attorney General Tom Miller, says it’s important to get out the vote in northwest Iowa.

Bird was part of a Republican campaign swing which stopped at Orange City last weekend.  She says incumbent Tom Miller works against Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

Bird says it’s time to retire the incumbent.

Bird’s opponent does not support agriculture

Bird is the Guthrie County attorney

Miller is the nation’s longest-serving attorney general, He is seeking his 11th term in that office. Miller says he is an independent voice for ordinary Iowans. He was first elected Attorney General in 1978, and served 3 terms. He then went into private practice for four years, He was again elected attorney General in 1994, He’s served 7 terms since then.

 

AIRPORT REOPENS

 Airplanes are flying again at the Le Mars Municipal Airport.

The airport was closed since April, but reopened two weeks ago after completion of a runway project.  This is airport manager Tom Mullaly.

Mullally says they had to completely replace the airport’s 5-thousand, 76 foot runway.

It was an old runway in need of replacement.

The project was eventually paid for entirely by federal transportation sources.

The construction of the new runway took longer than expected.
Mullally says the contractor went well over the number of days alloted for construction.

The delay cost Mullally some business.

The project began in April, and was to be finished in July. Instead, construction concluded a couple of weeks ago.

Godberson-Smith Construction of Ida Grove was the low bidder for the project, at 2.7 million dollars.  The project estimate was nearly 3.8 million.

 

MID-AMERICA ECONOMY

The midwest’s economic index improved over the past month, but business manager’s confidence levels have dropped off sharply.

Economist Ernie Goss says the overall index rose less than half a point to 53.1, compared to September.

Also, the nine-state region is seeing a loss of about 77,000 workers since COVID hit.  Labor force issues continue to be a drag on the midwest economy

Inflationary pressures have eased a bit.

Goos says watch oil prices as an indicator of the future economy.

Goss says he’d still place the manufacturing economy of the Mid-American states in a slow-to-no-growth stage.Iowa’s growth index fell below growth neutral in October, to 49.8, from 50.9 in September.

Supply managers across the region were asked about what they see as their biggest obstacles for the rest of the year and Goss says their responses focused on four key areas: Supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, higher input costs, and higher interest rates.

 

DRY OCTOBER

 October wrapped up as one of Iowa’s 20 driest Octobers in 150 years of record keeping. State climatologist Justin Glisan says the statewide average of just under an inch of rain was about one-and-three-quarter inches below average. The northwest and central regions of the state were as much as two-and-a-half inches below normal. Temperatures were widely varied for the month, with some days in the 90s for highs and some nights falling well below freezing and into the teens. For this month, Glissan says a wet signal is building, so there may be some replenishing of subsoil moisture.

 

SHORELINE REHAB

 Crews will soon begin shoring up the shoreline at a state-owned lake in northwest Iowa. Ingham Lake in Emmet County is east of Wallingford. The project is focused on about a quarter mile of shoreline on the north side of the lake where there’s been significant erosion. The shore in that area will be lined with natural fieldstone. Ingham Lake is one of the 34 natural lakes in Iowa that were formed about 20-thousand years ago by retreating glaciers.

 

CHARGING STATIONS

 Ankeny-based Casey’s General Stores has more than doubled the number of electric vehicle charging stations at its retail locations this year and the company plans to add more in 2023. Radio Iowa’s O. According to a company news release, Casey’s has 134 electric vehicle charging stations at 28 different locations in the Midwest and South. The C-E-O of Casey’s says the company is exploring a number of ways to provide guests with more lower carbon options, including biofuels and E-V charging stations. Casey’s currently has charging stations at eight of its Iowa stores — in the cites of Altoona, Ankeny, Avoca, Carroll, Clarinda, Early, Emmetsburg and Sioux City. ANNOUNCER OUT: According to the D-O-T, there are 270 public E-V charging spots in the state of Iowa and Casey’s accounts for eight percent of them.