A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect across a swath of Siouxland until 6 pm. The counties included in the advisory are Plymouth, Woodbury, O’Brien, Sioux counties in Iowa and Lincoln and Union counties in South Dakota. In Plymouth County, a mix of rain and snow this morning will give way to a mix of rain, freezing rain, and snow by late afternoon. Snow will fall into the evening hours. Snow accumulation is forecast between 1 to 2 inches, and ice may accumulate to a light glaze. Roads will become slippery at times today.
SHOP FOR A CAUSE
Three local organizations will be awarded checks on Friday as part of the annual Shop for a Cause promotion. This is organized by the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce and Main Street. The total raised this year was $1945. CAASA will receive $435.00, Wet Nose Animal Rescue $750.00 and Christian Needs Center $760.00. The Chamber thanks local shopper’s for their participation.
Between November 14th and December 10th, customers at local retailers were able to purchase a Shop for a Cause Card offering special discounts for $5.00 at any of the 23 participating businesses. Customers could then select one of three non-profits – Christian Needs Center, Wet- Nose Rescue, or CAASA- in which their $5.00 donation would benefit.
Le Mars Chamber and Main Street Director, Lori French says thank you to the 23 participating businesses in Shop for a Cause. She also recognized the local banks for their support of this cause.
Top Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate say the 2023 legislature will consider new guidelines for pipelines that would capture and carry carbon away from Iowa’s ethanol plants. The proposed Summit and Navigator pipelines run through areas House Speaker Pat Grassley represents.
Grassley suggests an outright ban on carbon pipelines is unlikely.
Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver says it won’t be an easy debate.
Whitver says there are similar debates about the siting of wind turbines and large-scale solar arrays.
This fall, Grassley sent a letter to the Iowa Utilities Board, expressing concern about a waiver developers of the Navigator pipeline were seeking from current regulations about sampling and restoring topsoil in farm fields.
Grassley says. Navigator withdrew its request to reduce the amount of testing and restoration of topsoil currently required by state regulations. This fall during a televised debate, Governor Reynolds said she supports existing state law outlining when carbon pipeline developers would be able to seize property from unwilling landowners, but she has not commented on county ordinances which establish local rules for where the pipelines may be built.
Iowa’s Attorney General has reached settlement with an electronic cigarette maker over the company’s advertising practices. The A-G’s office says JUUL has agreed to pay the state five million dollars over four years after allegations the company promoted the electronic devices to those under 21 in violation of Iowa’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The agreement has JUUL sending more than one million dollars to the Department of Health and Human Services each of the next fours years to help Iowans quit using e-cigarettes, fund prevention programs, and help adopt age-verification technologies. The company has also agreed to change the way it promotes and sells its products in Iowa.
MASTER GARDENER TRAINING
Iowa State University Extension is looking for volunteers for its Master Gardner training program that will start soon. Program coordinator, Alicia Herzog, says the training will be offered in 27 counties beginning in February. The master gardener extension volunteers work in the different counties across the state and Herzog says most of the training is set up online so you won’t have to venture out into the winter weather. The application window for the 2023 Winter Master Gardener training opens January 9th. Once you go through the training, Herzog says there are variety of way you can work in your community. Iowa State has offered Master Gardener training for more than 40 years. You can find out more at the I-S-U Extension website. The 31 counties involved in the training include Clay, Dickinson, and Woodbury.
CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS
The wintery weather is forcing most Iowans to spend more time indoors — and with furnaces, fireplaces and space heaters running, there’s a serious risk from an odorless, colorless gas. Le Mars Fire and Rescue Chief Dave Schipper strongly recommends carbon monoxide detectors in all houses, apartments and mobile homes.
When people close up their houses because of the cold and there is little ventilation, Schipper says that’s when carbon monoxide calls to his department become common.
Schipper says it’s critical to take precautions since carbon monoxide is invisible and has no scent, and without a detector, there’s no way to know if it’s seeping into your house.
A good C-O detector can cost as little as $15 and it could save your life.
The Sioux City Police Department is warning the public about a group called the National Police and Trooper Association after it contacted the police chief. Officer Valerie Rose says the legitimacy of the group cannot be verified
She says they do know that local law enforcement is not being helped by the group. Rose rose says this is the time of year when scammers try to take advantage of people being in a giving holiday spirit:
Rose says they always advise you to take the time to verify online what the organization is and if you know they are local or otherwise legitimate.
If you do decide to donate, be suspicious of how they want you to pay them.
She says these scams primarily use the telephone to contact you, but scammers may also use email, text messages, social media, or U-S Mail. Rose says Chief Rex Mueller immediately recognized it might be a scam and checked it out.
MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LIMITS
Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver says enacting limits on what judges and juries can award in medical malpractice lawsuits will be a priority for the 2023 legislature. Whitver says rural hospitals are struggling, and one of the ways to try to recruit and keep doctors is to make sure they’re in a liability situation that’s comparable to other states. Whitver says Iowa is trying to compete with the states around us as Nebraska and South Dakota have a 500-thousand dollar cap on non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. Wisconsin’s is 750-thousand dollars. Missouri’s limit is adjusted annually to account for inflation and it’s nearly 800-thousand dollars this year.
HOME SALES DROP
Homes sales in the state were down nearly 30 percent in November compared to one year ago. The Iowa Association of Realtors report says the drop was not unexpected as interest rates continue to rise. The median sales price of single-family homes was one-thousand dollars below November of last year at 1891-thousand. The report says home sales for the year are down only nine percent. The number of homes available in November were up — bucking the trend of decreasing inventory that started prior to COVID. The report says homeowners who have been sitting on the sidelines watching interest rates should be ready to buy in 2023 as interest rates are expected to settle in and the inventory of homes is increasing.