The Le Mars Community School District Board meets tonight in their regular mnthly session.
Their agenda includes an Open Enrollment update, and information on upcoming school board and administration events.
The board will act on several personnel items, including retirements and resignations, and new contracts.
The meeting is at 6 pm at the Education Service Center in Le Mars.
USDA GRANTS AND LOANS
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is announcing more than nine-million dollars in grants and loans for projects to bolster independent meat processing, with direct impact on two ag projects in Iowa. U-S Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says these investments are a way to give more marketing opportunities to small and mid-size farming operations.
A meat locker being built in the northwest Iowa town Marcus is receiving an 800-thousand dollar loan for new construction. Vilsack says the loan to Jordan’s Meat Market in Marcus will fund new construction and bring new jobs.
A cattle operation in the southwest Iowa town of Tabor gets a 210-thousand-dollar grant to expand production. The two Iowa projects are among 25 across 15 states.
The 2023 Iowa Legislature began this morning. Republicans hold a super majority in the Senate. With 34 of the 50 votes, Democrats will be unable to block Republican Governor Kim Reynolds’ nominees for appointed positions in state government. Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver says it’s been a remarkable turn around for Senate Republicans.
Representative Brent Siegrist of Council Bluffs was House Majority Leader in the mid-1990s when the House G-O-P held the same number of seats. He warns there’s no guarantee every bill Republicans try to advance will have 64 “yes” votes.
Republicans in the legislature say property tax reform is a top priority. Governor Reynolds says her top goal is ensuring every parent can choose where to send their child to school. House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst says she doubts Reynolds has the votes in the House to get that passed in 2023.
Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls says Democrats will shine a light on Republican efforts to enact new abortion restrictions.
The House and Senate convened at 10 o’clock this morning. Governor Kim Reynolds will deliver the annual “Condition of the State” message at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
There was a rural house fire reported early this morning north of Le Mars. The fire call went out just before 3 am, to a home north of Seney. Le Mars Fire Rescue Chief Dave Schipper says there was a fire reported in the attic of the home. The house is owned by Melisa Haakenson of Le Mars. By the time firefighters arrived, family members and pets were out of the home, and in a place of safety. The fire was in an attic above an upstairs bedroom. Firemen removed the ceiling and put out the fire. Schipper says an electrical malfunction in a ceiling fan in the bedroom was the likely cause of the fire. There was little damage. After an electrician isolated service to the fan, the family was allowed to re-enter the home. There were no injuries. Assisting Le Mars Fire-Rescue were Oyens and Orange City Fire Departments, the Plymouth Sheriffs Office, and Campbell’s Electric.
NEW YEAR’S BABY
The first baby of the new year was born Sunday at Floyd Valley Health Care in Le Mars. A baby girl was born at 11:53 a.m. to to JT Selet and Irmalinda Ponce. The baby’s name is Aecho Amirah-Jo Gonzalez Ponce.
IOWA LEGISLATURE BEGINS
The 2023 Iowa Legislature begins today. Republicans have firm control of the agenda since they occupy 65 percent of the seats in the Iowa House and Senate.
Plymouth County will be represented in the Senate by Kevin Alons of Salix and Jeff Taylor of Sioux Center, and in the House by Tom Jeneary of Le Mars, and Jacob Bossman of Sioux City. All are Republicans. In all of northwest Iowa, only one Democrat was elected – JD Scholten, in House District 1.
Republicans have what’s called a super majority in the Senate. With 34 of the 50 votes, Democrats will be unable to block Republican Governor Kim Reynolds’ nominees for appointed positions in state government.
In the House, Republicans hold 64 of the 100 seats. House Speaker Pat Grassley says each of Iowa’s 99 counties is now represented by at least one House Republican. Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls says Democrats intend to shine a light on Republican efforts to enact new abortion restrictions and send public money to private schools.
Today’s activity at the statehouse is mainly organizational and procedural work. Governor Kim Reynolds addresses the legislature tomorrow.
US HOUSE SWORN IN
Iowa’s four US Representatives were sworn in early Saturday, after the chamber selected a House Speaker. That selection was held up for several days as a group of Republicans opposed Kevin Mc Carthy’s election. Mc Carthy was elected, but not after giving up some of his power. The four Iowans supported Kevin McCarthy’s bid for House Speaker throughout last week. Fourth district Congressman Randy Feenstra of Hull said he’s encouraged by the deals McCarthy struck this past week that will ensure massive spending bills from being passed in the U.S. House.
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is proposing a series of steps he says will ensure the recount process in close elections is the same in every county. Pate recorded a statement about the bill he’s asking legislators to pass.
Pate is recommending that when a candidate asks for a hand recount, ballots are recounted by hand and by machine. In addition, larger counties would be able to have up to seven members on recount boards. Under current law, every county is limited to a three-person board to oversee a recount.
Pate’s also calling for all counties to conduct their official canvass of elections on Tuesdays, to make the timeline uniform for every county.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will stock rainbow trout in five urban lakes and ponds this month for anglers who enjoy winter fishing. Mike Steuck, a D-N-R regional fisheries supervisor, says trout get stressed in warmer water and can even die if the temperature is too high.
Steuck says water temperatures are much cooler now, in the 30s, so it’s an ideal time for the D-N-R to stock the trout — and for Iowans to seek them out by casting a line.
Steuck says the DNR will stock one-to-two-thousand trout in lakes in Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Mason City and a few other locations. He says people catch the fish generally within a month after they’re stocked.
POSITIVE BUSINESS OUTLOOK
The Iowa Business Council’s fourth-quarter Economic Outlook Survey shows some positive expectations for the next six months. Executive director, Joe Murphy, says it’s a good way to start the new year as it marks the end of a three quarter decline in the overall level of optimism. The I-B-C is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose 20 members are the chief decision makers for major Iowa employers. Murphy says it appears the business leaders have seen the national and international trends and believe that Iowa will be relatively well insulated from that. Murphy says there are still challenges, as 77-percent of members cited inflation as a primary business concern