LE MARS PROJECTS
The Le Mars City Council will hold a public hearing on December 20, to consider plans, contract and project estimate for a bridge repair project along 24th ST SW. Bids will be opened January 22, and will be considered by council on February 7. The estimated cost of the repairs is some 141-thousand dollars, and will be paid for through the city’s Road Use Tax Fund.
The council awarded a contract for a joint city/Plymouth County road resurfacing project. This is along 7th Avenue SE and county road K49, south of Le Mars. The combined bid of 2.48 million by Godberson-Smith Construction of Ida Grove was approved. The bid was 17% over the city’s share of the project cost of a little over one million dollars. The estimate of the city’s share was 911-thousand dollars. The contract was awarded to the low bidder by the council. The work will take place next year.
Summit Carbon Solutions updated the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors on their carbon capture pipeline project through the county. Riley Gibson, representing the pipeline company, told the board that they have procured 70% of the easements needed in Plymouth County. That’s compared to 54% six months ago. This covers 18.1 miles of the 25.8 mile route through the county. Summit plans to begin construction next August, pending Iowa Utilities Board approval. Construction is expected to take 13 months. Later in the meeting, the Supervisors approved a permit for road crossings along the route of the CO2 pipeline. The crossings will be along Kestral Avenue south of the Le Mars, and Juniper Avenue north of Le Mars. The company gave assurances to the Board that they will not interfere with other lines already buried along the route. Summit’s right of way extend 50 feet back from fence lines.
The Supervisors today also approved a contract with a consulting service which handles contract negotiations, Human Resources issues, and legal advice. Iowa Negotiation and Consulting Services will contract with the county at 54-hundred dollars over the next fiscal year.
The Area Crop Specialist says subsoil moisture levels across northwest Iowa are very low. Leah Ten Napel last month measured moisture in land planted to primarily corn, but also soybeans and alfalfa. Measurements in Plymouth County showed .4 to .8 of an inch of moisture in the top five feet. That compares to 5.8 to 8.8 inches last year. There’s even less moisture noted at sites in Woodbury and Monona counties. Across the rest of Ten Napel’s reporting district, the highest readings were up to 2.5 inches. These figures align with the latest drought monitor map released last week. Parts of Woodbury and Monona counties are in exceptional drought. Plymouth, Cherokee, and most of O’Brien and Sioux Counties, are in extreme drought.
The Supreme Court is considering a California law which may require Iowa pork producers to change the way their use of sow housing. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Swine Specialist Dave Stender says producers are awaiting the courts decision.
The California law would require that sows have more space for gestation, and it limits the use of individual sow housing.
For some producers, complying with the California law would require costly changes in swine buildings.
Stender says since California imports nearly all of its pork products, nearly all pork producers, especially in Iowa, would be required to make changes in their swine facilities.
If the new law takes affect, it will have a disproportionate affect on pork prices.
Stender says local producers object to California deciding which humane practices they must follow.
Proposition 12 is on hold while the Supreme Court decides if the bill is constitutional.
MAJORITY LEADER’S RESIDENCY
Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald has ruled the Iowa Senate Majority Leader’s residency in a newly-drawn district where he won re-election in November was valid. Grimes resident Ann Gale filed the challenge to Republican Jack Whitver’s use of a Grimes address — arguing that utility bills for his Grimes condo showed little water was used there this fall. Fitzgerald says the evidence submitted prior to Whitver’s September 2022 move to Grimes was insufficient to overturn his residency.
DEMENTIA CARE SUMMIT
Dozens of state health officials, government leaders, medical researchers, and advocates for older Iowans will be attending today’s (Tuesday) Dementia Care Summit in Des Moines. Robyn Mills, public policy director for the Iowa Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, says panelists will share what statewide resources and programs are available, what’s planned for the future, and what more is needed. Speakers will include the heads of the Department of Human Services and the Department on Aging, as well as the lieutenant governor. Mills says the goal of the summit is to explore ways to coordinate efforts for improved care for those living with dementia — and for their caregivers. Some 66-thousand Iowans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and 73-thousand caregivers are giving approximately 60-million hours of unpaid care.