The city of Le Mars will provide tax incentives for two multi-family housing projects. One is a proposal by Galles Construction to build 5 duplexes at South Green View Estates. Capital investment at the site is 1.9 million dollars. Another is a proposal by Morrow Lin Properties LLC to build a 12-unit apartment building on property at the corner of Holton Drive and Airport Avenue. Their capital investment in the project is 1.3 million dollars. In both cases, the developers have asked the city to help them apply for incentives from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. As part of the application process, the city is required to match the incentive provided by the IEDA. The Galles Construction project will be a 5 year tax exemption on 75-thousand dollars of assessed value, estimated at 55-thousand dollars. The Morrow Lin project will be a seven year tax exemption of 142-thousand dollars. The council passed motions approving both applications and the tax exemptions.
PRACTICAL FARMERS OF IOWA
One of the guest speakers at Ag Day in Le Mars this week was Sarah Carlson of Practical Farmers of Iowa. Carlson explains their purpose and mission.
Practical Farmers of Iowa has partnered with Iowa State University and Dordt University on several research projects but Carlson wants to get more farmers interested in joining, and carrying on their own research.
PFI is a non-profit organization which assists farmers in the work they do on their own farms.
Carlson says PFI does research projects in northwest Iowa, but is most interested in attracting more farmers to join them.
One place where PFI has been able to make inroads with potential members is through discussions on cover crops.
Cover Crops not only a discussion starter, but also a new ground to grow businesses.
Water quality is another area where PFI can make inroads with producers.
She says ideally, she would like to see Plymouth County farmers make presentations to each other on new ideas which work on their farms.
SENATE APPROVES EDUCATION BILL
The Iowa Senate has approved most of the governor’s education bill — including requiring educators to tell parents if a child asks to be known by a different name or gender at school and it would prohibit teachers from leading discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through sixth grade classrooms. Republican Senator Ken Rozenboom of Oskaloosa says those topics are totally unnecessary for elementary students as parents and guardians who wish to have that conversation with their child can do so. The Senate bill also calls for removing books from school libraries that describe or depict sex acts. Democrats in the Senate voted against the legislation. Senator Molly Donahue, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, is a teacher says this country is supposed to be a country of freedom of speech, freedom of ideas — but those freedoms end when politicians begin censoring certain ideas because they find them uncomfortable. House Republicans have approved elements of the governor’s education package as separate bills. Republican legislative leaders now have to decide whether to approve the policies separately or together in one large bill.
NURSING HOME REIMBURSEMENT
House Speaker Pat Grassley says Republicans in the House plan to increase the rate Iowa nursing homes are paid to care for residents enrolled in Medicaid. The Medicaid program pays for the care of over half of Iowa nursing home residents. Grassley says the current reimbursement rate was set before COVID hit, based on nursing home costs in 2018. Since then, nursing homes have been dealing with inflation and paying higher wages to try to keep and attract workers. Governor Reynolds has recommended increasing the Medicaid reimbursement rate for nursing homes by 15 million dollars. Grassley says House Republicans haven’t settled on a number yet. Seventeen nursing homes closed last year due to financial strain and advocates warn more closures will happen if the Medicaid reimbursement rate doesn’t rise.
TIK TOK RISKS
Iowa Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks says congress cannot let TikTok stockpile sensitive information and spy on Americans. Miller-Meeks and other members of the House Commerce Committee quizzed TikTok’s C-E-O for more than five hours Thursday. Miller-Meeks — a Republican who is Iowa’s first district congresswoman — says the hearing shows there are valid concerns about the app — from Republicans and Democrats. TikTok is owned by a Chinese company and the Biden Administration is demanding that the Chinese sell their stake in the company — or the app will be banned in the U.S. Miller-Meek says China’s opposition to the sale shows TikTok poses a risk not only to children, but to national security.
IOWA UNEMPLOYMENT LOWER
Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped below three percent in February. Iowa Workforce Development director, Beth Townsend, says that’s s positives along with the labor force participation rate holding steady. She says the participation rate is important as they have been working to get more people back into the workforce. Townsend says leisure and hospitality jobs are up almost 45-hundred jobs over the course of the year, and the service industries had the biggest increase in jobs this past month — gaining 13-hundred jobs. The construction industry did lose 16-hundred jobs in February — which Townsend says is probably related to bad weather. She says they expect to see the industry gain back jobs as the weather improves and more projects get underway outside.
One teenager died and another was hospitalized following a two vehicle accident Wednesday evening in rural Woodbury County, north of Correctionville.
The county sheriff says two vehicles were traveling south on Highway 31 near 145th Street, when they collided. Both vehicles entered a ditch, with one rolling multiple times, ejecting the driver.
That 17 year old male driver was airlifted to Mercy One with critical injuries, and later died of those injuries. The 16 year old male driver of the other vehicle was transported to the hospital with minor injuries. Both drivers are students at Cherokee High School.
The school says counselors are available through today to talk with their classmates about the tragedy.
The names of the students have not been released and the accident remains under investigation.
On Monday, March 23, at 6:56 a.m., the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office investigated a motor vehicle accident that occurred on Garfield Avenue, three miles southeast of Rock Valley, IA.
Guillermo Luna-Perez, age 41, of Sioux Center, IA, was driving a 2015 Chrysler 300 northbound on Garfield Avenue when he lost control of the vehicle, entered the west ditch, struck a culvert and rolled.
Luna-Perez was trapped and was extracted from the vehicle by responders of the Rock Valley Fire Department; he was transported to Hegg Health Center for treatment of his injuries.
The Chrysler received $10,000 in damage.
The sheriff’s office was assisted by the Rock Valley Police Department, Rock Valley Fire Department and Rock Valley Ambulance.
Iowa Representative Zach Dieken, a Republican from Granville, was a reluctant yes on a bill which requires at least 90 percent of miles along proposed carbon pipeline routes be voluntarily secured before the government’s eminent domain authority could be used to seize the rest.. He says the pipeline is a cash cow for developers. He praised landowners who’ve refused to sign voluntary easements with pipeline developers.
Summit Carbon Solutions released a statement saying the carbon capture projects will play a critical role in ensuring the long term viability of the ethanol industry and the future of Iowa’s ag economy. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association says the bill is a mistake that will reduce ethanol production and depress corn prices.