JENEARY FOOD PROGRAM
The Iowa House Health and Human Services Committee will soon begin work on a bill that would modify the state food assistance program.
Committee member Tom Jeneary of Le Mars says one of the components he wants to change are the eligibility requirements for food aid. Iowa agencies will merge program eligibility into one single system
Rep Jeneary says this bill would eliminate participation in the federal Women’s Infants, and Children’s program, and shift beneficiaries to the broader SNAP program. He says SNAP offers a better variety of healthy foods. The bill will also create what’s called a Double Up Food Bucks program, using one million dollars in seed money from the state. The bill is a work in progress. It will be several weeks before the committee completes its work on the bill.
MASTER PORK PRODUCERS
Iowa’s Master Pork Producers for 2022 were announced Wednesday night at the 2023 Iowa Pork Congress banquet in Des Moines.
The Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) and Iowa State University Extension co-sponsor the program.
IPPA’s 81st class of Master Pork Producers include:
Chris and BreeAnn Bohnenkamp, Remsen
Brad & Donell Nagel and Matt & Kate Nagel, Little Rock
Steve Doeden, Cleghorn
A Master Pork Producer award denotes an individual’s or family’s excellence in pork production, as measured by their pork production statistics, their commitment to We Care® principles, and their contribution to their community. The We Care principles outline a pig farmer’s responsibilities to uphold high standards for animal well-being, food safety, the environment, as well as support of their local community.
IPPA started the Master Pork Producer Award program in 1942 and has now named 1,506 Iowa pig farming businesses as Master Pork Producers.
The Pork All-American is Curt Winters, Sioux Center. The IPPA Pork All-American award was established in 1970 to honor producers 40 years of age or younger who have established themselves as community leaders and successful and dedicated business people. Winners also have previously been named Master Pork Producers. Winters received the Master Pork Producer award in 2009 with his parents, Lloyd and Norma Winters.
Nominations for the 2023 Master Pork Program awards will open in May.
BLACK BEAR HUNTING
Black bears would become a protected species under legislation working its way through the Iowa House. Representative Dave Jacoby of Coralville says the goal is to let state officials regulate hunting if the black bear population grows. Jacoby sponsored the bill after hearing from a number of people in Winneshiek County who saw black bears a couple of years ago. The bill directs the Department of Natural Resources to monitor the population of black bear in Iowa and set up a hunting season if the population needs to be controlled or reduced at any point. The bill has cleared a House subcommittee and is eligible for consideration in the House Natural Resources Committee.
A bill that would let Iowans pay extra for a license plate that bears the message “Don’t Tread On Me” has cleared a Senate subcommittee. If the bill becomes law, a specialty Iowa license plate in the image of the yellow Gadsden Flag would be created, with a three inch tall coiled rattlesnake on the left side and the phrase “Don’t Tread on Me” along the bottom. Republican Senator Scott Webster of Bettendorf says he has a lot of veterans in his area who may be supportive of the proposal. Senator Tony Bisignano, a Democrat from Des Moines, says the flag has become an aggressive symbol of the extreme right and he opposes the bill. About a dozen states sell Gadsden Flag speciality license plates, including Missouri and Kansas.
A fast-moving weather system will cause winter weather difficulties in northwest Iowa, beginning tonight. A Winter Storm Warning and Winter Weather Advisory cover northwest Iowa from 9 o’clock this evening until 6 o’clock Saturday evening. The Winter Storm Warning covers Plymouth, Cherokee, Buena Vista, Woodbury and Ida counties. Snowfall is expected between 5 to 8 inches, and winds gusting up to 30 miles per hour. The Winter Weather Advisory covers Sioux, O’Brien, Lyon and Osceola counties. Snowfall there is expected between 3 and 6 inches. Travel could be very difficult in the area, with patchy blowing snow reducing visibility. Low wind chills will be a factor with the storm.
Governor Kim Reynolds has announced that 23 communities have been awarded a total of $9 million in grants to advance water quality projects. This includes the city of Remsen.
Remsen received a 500-thousand dollars toward construction of a drinking water treatment facility, estimated to cost a total of 10.6 million dollars. The city of Primghar also received a 500-thousand dollar award, toward a wastewater treatment plant project estimated at some 6.7 million dollars.
The funding is made available through the Wastewater and Drinking Water Treatment Financial Assistance Program, which was created as a part of Senate File 512, the first legislation signed into law by Governor Reynolds in January 2018.
JENEARY TOWN HALL MEETINGS
State Representative Tom Jeneary has announced a couple of town hall meetings in his district in Feburary. On Saturday February 11 at 10am, a town hall meeting will be held in Orange City at the City Hall. Another town hall meeting will be on Saturday, February 18th at the Hawarden Community Center at 9am. Rep. Jeneary is seeking feedback from the community at these meetings.
State authorities are investigating the death of a child in Emmetburg that occurred last week. Last Thursday afternoon, Palo Alto EMT’s and Emmetsburg Police were called to an Emmetsburg residence, and attempted life-saving measures before transporting the child to the Palo Alto County Hospital. The child was later transferred to Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines. Wednesday, the child passed away. The next day, an autopsy was conducted at the State Medical Examiner’s officer in Ankeny. An investigation into the incident is ongoing. The Department of Criminal Investigation has been on the case since it was reported over a week ago.
IOWA RADON LEVELS
A federal E-P-A report says Iowa’s soil has the nation’s worst concentration of radon, with about seven in every ten Iowa homes containing enough of the gas that action is needed. Liz Orton, outreach coordinator for the Iowa Cancer Consortium, says radon is invisible, tasteless and odorless — and it’s also radioactive. Radon occurs naturally in the soil and it’s given off by radium and uranium. The gas is the second-leading cause of lung cancer in Iowa, behind only tobacco use. The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services says radon results in about 400 deaths in the state every year. Orton recommends every Iowa homeowner invest in a radon test kit as radon levels in Iowa are almost seven times higher than the national average. The kits cost around 20-dollars, and while radon mitigation may cost 12-hundred dollars, Orton says it’s definitely lower than the cost of getting lung cancer and being treated for that.
WIND TURBINE RECYCLERS
A new eastern Iowa business will soon start recycling wind turbine blades to prevent the massive fiberglass, wood and foam blades from taking up large amounts of landfill space. Jeff Woods, director of business development at Travero (trah-VARE-oh), says the blades have to be handled very carefully when they’re removed from the towers, as each blade weighs between eight and ten tons.
Those fibers can be used in things like mortar and concrete to reinforce sidewalks, roads and floors. The balsa wood and foam inside the blades can also find new life.
Travero owns REGEN Fiber which has developed what Woods calls an eco-friendly process to convert decommissioned wind turbine blades into reusable materials. A REGEN Fiber factory is being built in the Cedar Rapids suburb of Fairfax to recycle the blades. Specially-trained crews will be dispatched to take apart wind turbines, as the blades have about a 20-year lifespan.
While Iowa has built a national reputation for both manufacturing and using wind turbines, Woods hopes this new venture will build on that reputation to also recycle the blades after they’ve served their purpose. He notes the company should have plenty of business for years to come.
Once the Fairfax factory is in full swing, the goal is to recycle more than 30-thousand tons of shredded blade material every year. REGEN Fiber is already recycling blade materials at a facility in Des Moines. Travero is owned by Alliant Energy Corporation.