TAYLOR – GOVERNOR’S AGENDA
A local legislator thinks Governor Kim Reynolds will use her election victory as a launch pad for another bold agenda in the 2023 Iowa Legislature. State Senator Jeff Taylor of Sioux Center, who represents northern Plymouth County, says the governor has not been complacent since her election in 2018, and her re-election last November.
The Governor has already said she will expand on her proposal for school choice in 2023. She will outline her agenda next week, during the Condition of the State address. Senator Taylor represents the newly-drawn Senate District 2, which includes all of Lyon and Sioux Counties, and northern Plymouth County, including the city of Le Mars.
January is typically one of Iowa’s coldest months of the year, but forecasters say this January could be less frigid than in the past. State climatologist Justin Glisan says new computer models being released by the Climate Prediction Center indicate Iowa could be starting off 2023 a bit balmier than usual.
The weather pattern known as La Nina, which impacts conditions all across the continent, is lingering for a third straight year, which is exceptionally rare. Glisan says that pattern may bring Iowa more than its usual share of precipitation during January, and that’s much needed, given the long-running drought.
Last year was a very dry year, with drought worsening across much of Iowa. December was one of only three months during 2022 where Iowa’s precipitation was above-average.
Parts of northwestern Iowa got more than 13 inches of snow this week, but Glisan says it takes between eight and 12 inches of snow to equal just one inch of rainfall.
The growing of industrial hemp has not taken off as some envisioned when it returned to Iowa fields in 2020. Lane Kozel with the Iowa Department of Agriculture says the number of growers fell again this season.
Kozel says one of the factors is the cost of the inputs and the amount of manual labor needed to properly cultivate and grow a crop .
The processing needed to extract the C-D-B or to create seeds, for grain or fiber has not taken off in Iowa.
Many other states also approved industrial hemp programs, and he says that created a lot of product.
Kozel says there needs to be development of processing to use the hemp to make it worthwhile for growers to invest in.
The industrial hemp is required to pass a test that shows it has a T-H-C level below three-point-nine percent. The crop has to be destroyed if it can’t meet that standard. Kozel says everyone passed the test this year.
A new sports complex in Sioux Center has announced its grand opening. The American State Bank Sports Complex will officially open Friday, January 20 at 1 pm. The 8 million dollar project is an indoor turf facility, and is a joint endeavor between the city of Sioux Center and Dordt University. Construction of the sports complex was aided by a CAT grant from the Iowa Department of Economic Development. Iowa Economic Development Director Debi Durham will be on hand to help celebrate the grand opening. Tours of the facility will follow a ribbon cutting on January 20.
Sioux County has had a series of semi-trailer accidents this week. The Sheriffs Office reported reports two more accidents, one Wednesday night and the other Thursday morning. These took place near the same location – in the northbound lanes of Iowa Highway 60, two miles south of Hospers. In both cases, the vehicles went out of control, went into the east ditch, and jackknifed. No injuries were reported in either accident. Iowa 60 was reduced to one lane Thursday morning, while both trucks were removed from the accident scenes.
Recent cold weather has resulted in a rash of stolen cars in Sioux City. Many people are warming up their cars on these cold winter days to melt the snow and ice off the windshields before they head out. Sioux City Police Department spokesman, Jim Clark says that has led to a surge of stolen cars Wednesday.
The unlocked cars were all stolen within a half-hour period. Sergeant Clark says you need to take steps to lock the car if you are going to start it and then come inside.
Clark says there was another car left running that was stolen Thursday morning.
IOWA TRAFFIC DEATHS
Iowa Traffic deaths in 2022 were lower than the previous year, but well short of their goal. Iowa State Patrol spokesman, Alex Dinkla, says 2022 ended with 338 fatal traffic accidents — which was above their goal of 300 or less — which hasn’t happened since 1925. In 2021, there were 348 traffic deaths. Sergeant Dinkla says one stat stood out is the 11 A-T-V or U-T-V deaths. Two of those UTV deaths occurred in rural Plymouth County, near Sioux Ctiy. Dinkla says part of the increase could be because more people are driving them and the recent legislation that allows those vehicles to be legally driven on state roadways. Dinkla says there were 114 people who died in accidents who may have been saved if they had been wearing seatbelts.
A University of Iowa graduate has been managing the voting and debate on the House floor as Republicans try to elect a new House Speaker. Cheryl Lynn Johnson has been the Clerk of the U-S House since February 25th of 2019 and manages the debate until a speaker is selected. Johnson graduated from the U-I in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication. Johnson, who was born in New Orleans, earned a law degree from Howard University in 1984. For nearly two decades, she was legal counsel for several House committees, then worked at the Smithsonian Institute for 10 years before returning to the U.S. House four years ago.
More than 600 Iowa businesses and industry groups are now part of an initiative aimed at identifying and responding to human trafficking in the state. Iowa Businesses Against Trafficking was launched a year ago. Secretary of State Paul Pate says businesses that join the program are asked to help raise public awareness of trafficking or train workers to spot people who may be trafficking victims. Pate says the number of reported trafficking incidents in Iowa has risen, with nearly 300 contacts from Iowa in 2021. Those tips led to dozens of cases reaching law enforcement. Pate says anyone with information about possible human trafficking should call local police or the Iowa Victim Service Call Center at 1-800-770-1650.