Home News KLEM News for Monday, February 20, 2023

KLEM News for Monday, February 20, 2023


MMCRU’s Industrial Technology Program received a STEM Best Plus HD Award by the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.

Matt Hansen is one of two the grades 7 through 12 Industrial Trades Instructors at MMCRU.

Hansen explains how MMCRU will use this 40-thousand dollars award.

This is the second STEM Best award MMCRU has received.

Hansen says northwest Iowa manufacturing is actually an attractive field to some students.

Hansen says exposing students to advanced manufacturing shows them they can be successful in a skilled trade and stay close to home.

Hansen says building up the industrial technology program at MMCRU requires connections to industry, and instructors must keep up with the technology.

37 school districts in Iowa received such awards this year.  Other school districts so honored include Boyden-Hull, MOC-Floyd Valley, Sergeant Bluff-Luton, and Sioux Center Christian School.


Iowa’s largest manufacturing employer is reporting a stellar first quarter of the fiscal year, Deere and Company reports net income for the first quarter of one-point-nine billion dollars, that’s up just over a billion from the first quarter a year ago. Deere also reports worldwide revenues rose 32 percent, Net sales hit 11-point-4 billion, compared to 8-point-5 billion the year before. In a news release,
Deere chairman and CEO John May said the company’s performance is a reflection of favorable market fundamentals, healthy demand for equipment, and solid work by employees, dealers and suppliers.


There’s a new reward offered in the cold case of missing Mason City T-V anchor Jodi Huisentruit.  A private investigator is putting up 25-thousand dollars for information that reveals the remains of Huisentruit. She disappeared in June of 1995 on her way to work.  Evidence suggests she was abducted in the parking lot of her apartment complex, but in the nearly 28 years since Huisentruit vanished, no arrests have been made.  The investigator, Steve Ridge, says the offer does not stipulate that an arrest or conviction has to be made to collect the reward.  Ridge says he’s hoping the new offer is enough to encourage someone who knows something to come forward.



The Iowa Pork Producers Association is hosting four regional conferences across Iowa this week. The first is in Orange City today.  Spokeswoman Dal Grooms says the meetings will focus on providing useful information for hog farmers. Morning sessions will include Pork Quality Assurance Plus training, which helps people understand how to take better care of pigs. Afternoon sessions will include a host of local and regional experts who will be discussing a range of issues like African Swine Fever, the impact of heat stress on hogs, and the economics of the livestock industry.



US Representative Randy Feenstra will tour Morningside University’s new Rosen Agriculture Center in Sioux City on Wednesday.  Feenstra will also meet with faculty, students, and staff to discuss agriculture education, the Farm Bill, and other issues.



Nursing programs around the state are asking lawmakers to create a tax incentive for nurses who agree to guide nursing students through something similar to an apprenticeship. Dr. Candace Chihak (chee-HAWK) is chair of the nursing department at Briar Ciff  University in Sioux City. She says these nurses are called “preceptors” (PREE-sehp-tors) and they are currently volunteering their time.

Seniors at Briar Cliff who are studying for a bachelor’s degree in nursing are to spend 120 hours with a licensed nurse who agrees to be a preceptor.

Chihak says it’s hard to find nurses who’ll volunteer to be preceptors and providing some sort of state financial incentive would help.

A handful of states offer income tax credits to doctors or nurses who agree to be preceptors for medical or nursing students. A proposal to establish a one-thousand dollar Iowa income tax credit for nursing preceptors will be considered in a House committee next week.



The Orange City council meets this afternoon.  On their agenda is a public hearing to approve maximum property tax dollars for fiscal year 2023-24. A public hearing on construction of a new water well to serve the city will take place.  The council will consider bids and award a contract.  A resolution to authorize issuance of 3.28 million dollars in bonds is before the council.  These bonds will raise funds for construction of the proposed Puddle Jumper Park, and infrastructure near the new elementary school.  Solid waste and recycling fees, and an employee wage and bonus proposal will also be considered by the council.



The director of the Iowa Department of Education is resigning. March 14th will be Ann Lebo’s last day in the post.  Governor Kim Reynolds announced Lebo’s departure Friday, noting Lebo started as state education director in March of 2020, just days before the governor ordered Iowa schools to close due to the pandemic. Reynolds credits Lebo for guiding schools in their transition to remote learning that spring, then back to school in person in the fall of 2020. Lebo says she’s decided to explore new opportunities see where they lead.  The governor’s announcement did not name a temporary successor to Lebo or indicate a timeline for finding a permanent replacement.