Home News KLEM News for Thursday, January 19, 2023

KLEM News for Thursday, January 19, 2023

WINTER ROADS

Today was spent digging out from a winter storm which produced heavy snows over most of northwest Iowa. Snowfall reports of generally 6 to 9 inches caused clogged roads and limited travel this morning. However, by afternoon, road crews were able to get the primary roads cleared of snow. By afternoon, the Iowa Department of Transportation reported that all of northwest Iowa roads were partially snow covered. The snow caused the cancellation of classes at area schools today. Most of the day was spent clearing snow off of streets, sidewalks and driveways. Cloudy skies will remain through Saturday, with high temperatures in the mid to upper 20s and lows in the teens.

 

ASH BORER

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says an invasive pest has been found in three more Iowa counties. The DNR says emerald ash borer has now been found in Sioux City, Melvin, and Blencoe in western Iowa. That leaves just three counties – Plymouth, Emmet, and Palo Alto, without a reported case of emerald ash borer. It was originally detected in Iowa in 2010. The ash borer is a significant threat to ash tree species. Typically, the pest can kill a tree in two to four years after infestation. The larvae from the ash borer feed on the inner bark of ash trees, cutting off the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. The beetle can fly long distances, but it’s spread by moving materials, particularly firewood, which the beetles infest.

NIXON OBIT
Dave Nixon, who anchored TV news on both KCAU and KTIV, has died in Emmetsburg, Iowa at the age of 83.
Nixon started as a weatherman in the first of his two stints at KCAU Channel 9,, left for a radio job in Minneapolis, and then returned to Sioux City to be Channel 9’s main anchor in the 1970’s.
George Lindblade was one of his co-workers there:

Nixon left Channel 9 for W-H-O in Des Moines in 1978, but Bill Turner brought him back to Sioux City in 1980 to be the main anchor at KTIV Channel 4.
Nixon was the anchorman there in 1989 when United Airlines Flight 232 crashed at Sioux Gateway Airport, just one of many big stories he broadcast in his career.

When Nixon retired from TV, he became president of Iowa Lakes Community College in Emmetsburg and also was president of Monroe County Community College in Michigan.

In recent years he took part in the Sioux City Journal’s Little Yellow Dog auction each year broadcast on KSCJ as the grand growler and co-host of the radio broadcast.
Funeral services for Dave Nixon are pending.

 

TRANSIT VEHICLES

Getting new buses and vans for the state’s public transit sytems has become harder and more costly. D-O-T Public Transit director, Kristin Haar (like car), says supply chain issues and pandemic related manufacturing problems caused some bus prices to go up and some contracts to get cancelled. Haar says the D-O-T worked with the vendors to renegotiate the costs and came up with more than six million dollars in extra funding to help 24 of Iowa’s transit systems buy 189 vehicles. Haar says it can take up to two years to get the new vans and buses delivered and the buses and vans being replace have many more miles on them than normal. Haar says a lot of the buses use the same chassis used for pickup trucks, ambulances and delivery vehicles — so vendors have to compete for them.

 

IOWA VETERANS FUND

Veterans groups are urging lawmakers to find more money for a state fund that helps low income veterans cover unexpected expenses. Iowa Commission on Veterans Affairs chair Elizabeth Ledvina (led-VEE-nuh) says the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund must be updated to meet needs in the 2023 economy. Veterans with an annual income below 41-thousand dollars may apply for grants from the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund for things like medical equipment, counseling and emergency repairs to a home or vehicle. The fund awarded half a million dollars worth of grants last fall and is out of money until the next state budgeting year starts July 1st.

UNI FILM FESTIVAL

The University of Northern Iowa is hosting its third annual French Film Festival starting this weekend, but you don’t necessarily need to visit Cedar Falls to take part. Instead of showing the half-dozen movies in a theater on campus, they’ll all be made available online, allowing audiences everywhere to experience French culture without actually traveling. Each of the six films will stream for one week, with a weekly discussion that’s both in-person and on Zoom. The film options run the gamut, from classic to contemporary, and it’s free to attend, virtually or in person, you’ll just need to register online. All six movies include English subtitles. The festival will run January 22nd through February 26th.

 

REYNOLDS EDUCATION PLAN

Governor Kim Reynolds’ new plan to let the parents of private school students apply for state funds to cover tuition and other expenses is speeding thru the legislature. It cleared Republican-led committees in the House AND Senate Wednesday and a bill is eligible for debate in the House as early as Monday. Republican Representative John Wills of Spirit Lake says the concept has been adequately discussed.

During that time, the governor’s less expansive plans to give state money to low income parents who want to send their kids to private school never came up for a vote in the House.

House Speaker Pat Grassley has used his power to change committee rules, so the bill may be debated on the House floor soon. Grassley says while the plan is projected to spend over 900 million dollars on the education of private school students over the next four years, the state is likely to send over 15 BILLION dollars to public K-through-12 schools during that time period.

House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst says those numbers come from the governor’s staff and lawmakers should at least wait for a nonpartisan agency to review the plan and come up with a cost estimate.

Konfrst says debating the bill in the third week of the legislative session is irresponsible.

Senate President Amy Sinclair of Allerton rejects the idea things are being rushed, since Republicans in the Senate have already voted for the governor’s previous plans.

The Senate Appropriations Committee is scheduled to review the governor’s new plan at 10 a.m. today (Thursday) — and the bill would be eligible for debate in the Senate next week as well.

 

CORELL RETIREMENT

The Iowa National Guard’s leader is retiring on March 1st. Major General Benjamin Corell has been in the National Guard for 37 years. He enlisted after his wife saw a newspaper ad about the guard and started out in a unit in Oelwein. Corell, who grew up on a farm near Strawberry Point, says he wants to spend his retirement ensuring his seven grandchildren learn the same values he learned from his grandparents. Governor Reynolds appointed him to lead the Iowa National Guard in August of 2017 and she will name his replacement. Corell was the commander of a Waterloo based Iowa National Guard unit that spent two years on active duty in Iraq, the longest deployment for Iowa Guard soldiers since World War II.

 

ISU VET LAB

Governor Kim Reynolds funding for Iowa State University to complete phase two of the new Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The governor is sending I-S-U 40 million dollars in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding and is proposing that an additional 20 million dollars from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund go to the project. I-S-U President Wendy Wintersteen earlier said phase one construction would end this year — but phase two is needed to provide an additional 70-thousand square feet for laboratory testing, research and support functions — and would put them all under one roof. Governor Reynolds has earlier indicated her support — saying the Vet Lab is  critical to supporting and protecting the country’s ag industry and food supply.

 

IOWA DRIVING

Where would you rather spend the winter, Iowa or Hawaii? For most people, it’s an easy call, but not if you plan to do much driving.  A survey by the credit reporting website Wallethub says Iowa is the best state in the nation for driving, while Hawaii came in last. The study is based on 31 different criteria, things like rush hour traffic, road conditions, safety records, and the cost to maintain a car, including gas prices. Iowa ranked seventh for ownership costs and ninth for its infrastructure. Full car insurance coverage in Iowa averages 12-hundred-60 dollars a year, more than 400-dollars below the national average. Commute times for Iowans average about 19 minutes, one of the lowest in the country, while New York’s commute is longest at more than 33 minutes.