LE MARS FIRE AND RESCUE REPORT
Le Mars Fire and Rescue recently made a quarterly report to the city.
From December through February, total calls numbered 418. This included 338 EMS calls, covering emergencies and transfers, and 47 fire calls.
The report also listed pieces of equipment which were paid for through donations. These include new fire hose, new radios installed in their grass rigs and tankers; new LED lights installed on one of the tankers, and a new gear rack.
And, for the first time in several winters, Le Mars Fire and Rescue cleared snow from 96 fire hydrants to make for easier access.
MOBILE EMT TRAILER
A moblie education program trailer will be permanently located in Sioux City to provide training to emergency responders in the western third of Iowa.
Jacinda Bunch is a senior advisor with the Iowa College of Nursing, whose Simulation In Motion program trailer will be housed at Sioux City Fire Rescue’s training center.
The trailer will also travel throughout western Iowa, helping to train rural EMT’s.
Bunch says the patient simulators can be used in a wide variety of medical emergency scenarios.
Bunch says they can help train every responder in a community by bringing the trailer to them.
The trailer is one of three being used in Iowa.
The Iowa House has sent Governor Kim Reynolds the state government reorganization plan her staff and a consulting firm developed over the past year. It reduces the number of state agencies from 37 to 16. It also shifts some government functions, like fire investigations and services for students with disabilities, to different areas of state government. Representative Jane Bloomingdale, a Republican from Northwood, says the nearly 16-hundred-page bill will streamline state government and make it more efficient. Fifty-eight House Republicans backed the bill. All Democrats and five Republicans voted against it. Democrats say efficiency in state government is important, but the bill was rushed through the process and it gives the governor too much power. Governor Reynolds calls the bill transformational and she says it will bring an end to a bloated bureaucracy.
USE PASS PHRASES, NOT PASSWORDS
With a rash of recent cyberattacks on Iowa hospitals, schools and companies large and small, it’s recommended we consider abandoning the use of passwords and instead, switch to using pass phrases. Computer security expert Jesse La Grew says the old way of creating short, cryptic passwords that you change frequently is no longer practical for most Iowans.
The longer a password, the more secure it should be from hackers. Some computer systems require passwords that need to be between 16 and 20 characters, which is where using a pass phrase is handy.
You can create a pass phrase out of a series of four or five words that are easy for you to remember, but that are exceptionally hard for anyone else to discover. It will make your account more secure from most attempts by hackers to force their way in.
La Grew says don’t ever reuse passwords, especially on any service where you might have credit card or banking information saved.
FEENSTRA AG ADVISORS
U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra of Hull announced the formation of an Agriculture Advisory Board, leading up to the reauthorization of the 2023 Farm Bill. 60 members, representing all 36 counties in Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District, will serve on the board. It includes three members from Plymouth County – Don Kass, Andy Schroeder, and Darin Dykstra. The members represent a wide variety of the agricultural sector: producers, equipment sales, ag inputs, lending, and veterinary services among them. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig will serve as the honorary Chairman.
Feenstra held a Farm Bill town hall meeting in Sanborn Wednesday. Some of the topics discussed include tax cuts and job creation; stop China from purchasing US farmland; the inheritance tax; biofuels production and international trade; fentanyl; and border security. 24 people attended the meeting.
DIGITAL TOWN HALL MEETINGS
There will be digital town hall meetings in the area later this month. The Department of Management, Office of the Chief Information Officer has scheduled more than 50 public town hall style meetings to get feedback from everyday Iowans on digital services, including broadband, in their area. They want to hear from Iowans on how they use the internet and digital services in general. Attendees will hear a short presentation on digital services followed by a discussion with the audience on the barriers and potential solutions for full participation in the digital aspects of society.
There will be two meetings in Sioux City later this month, on march 27 at Western Iowa Tech, and March 28 at Aalfs Downtown Library. There will also be a town hall meeting April 26 at Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon. All meetings will start at 6 pm.
PIPELINE HEARING TIMELINE
The Iowa Utilities Board heard Tuesday from the attorneys representing two companies which hope to build carbon dioxide pipelines as they try to work out scheduling issues for their permit requests. Wolf Carbon Solutions attorney, Amanda James, says they are not sure yet if they still want a hearing on the issue in the second quarter of 2024. She says they are just getting out in the field now to work with property owners. Navigator Ventures attorney, Samantha Norris says they will request a hearing in the first quarterr of 2024. Norris says they would like to start construction in the first half of 2024 if approved. Summit Carbon Solutions is the third company proposing a pipeline — with a public hearing on the project set for October.
STABLE IOWA BANKS
With the recent collapse of two U-S banks, one based in California, the other in New York, some Iowans may be concerned about the stability of their local financial institutions. Ron Sorensen, president and C-E-O of the Iowa Bankers Association, says there’s nothing to worry about, as the banks that failed were run much differently from how banks operate in Iowa. Sorensen says the East and West Coast banks used unique business models, primarily tech companies funded through venture capital and crypto. Sorensen says they also had issues with their securities portfolios and says none of that exists in Iowa’s banks. He says we have record capital levels in Iowa banks with strong liquidity, and they’re based on a very safe and sound business model — and they’re backed by F-D-I-C insurance.
IOWA INCOME TAX
A Senate committee has approved a bill that would gradually eliminate the state income tax — if state tax revenues continue to grow. Governor Reynolds signed a bill into law last year that will gradually reduce the state income tax to three-point-nine percent. This new bill would cut the rate to two-and-a-half percent by 2028, then paring it down to zero if there’s excess tax revenue in the state’s Taxpayer Relief Fund. Senator Dan Dawson, a Republican from Council Bluffs, says the state cannot rest on its laurels and must continue cutting taxes. Senator Herman Quirmbach (KWIRM-bawk), a Democrat from of Ames, says the state won’t be able to pay its bills if the income tax is eliminated because state income taxes account for more than half of all state revenue.