PLYMOUTH COUNTY ROADS
It will be a busy road construction season in Plymouth County.
County Engineer Tom Rohe reported to the Board of Supervisors this morning that three paving projects will take place starting in May. One is a repaving of County Road K22, between C44 and Iowa Highway 3. Detours will be routed 5 miles east and west of the road to be paved in western Plymouth County. Another is a repaving east of Hinton on County Road C60. Detours will run on K49, C70, and US Highway 75. A third project is the widening of K49 south of Le Mars. That is a joint project with the city of Le Mars. Detours will be routed along C30, K64, and C36.
The Iowa DOT is also planning a repaving of US 75 between Hinton and Merrill. Traffic will be one-lane while construction on the four-lane highway is pivoted between the northbound and southbound lanes. Work on that project has already begun. DOT will also be doing patchwork along US 75 between Le Mars and Sioux Center later this summer. This is in response to winter road damage.
DOT will also carry out a rail crossing project on Plymouth Street this summer. Traffic will be detoured along 1st St. NW, a block north of the construction site.
HANSON FINALIST FOR NATIONAL AWARD
5 mathematics, science educators named finalists for prestigious award
Date: Monday, March 27, 2023
Five Iowa educators have been named 2023 finalists in the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. They include a treacher from the MMCRU schools. Matt Hansen, who teaches STEM subjects in the Science Department, was one of three science teachers named as finalists for the award. There were also Iowa two mathematics teachers who were named as finalists.
Teachers are selected based on their distinction in the classroom and dedication to improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.
The program, administered by the National Science Foundation on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, recognizes outstanding teachers for their contributions to the teaching and learning of mathematics and science.
The program is the highest recognition that a kindergarten-through-12th grade mathematics or science (including computer science) teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. Since 1983, more than 5,000 teachers nationwide have been recognized for this honor.
Winners will be announced later this year.
MORE STUDENTS TAKING C-T-E COURSES
More Iowa high school and middle school students are enrolling in educational programs offering courses directly related to employment in current or emerging occupations. Dennis Harden oversees the career and technical education area for the Department of Education, and says the number of courses increased seven-point-six percent in 2022 from the previous year. School districts are required to offer at least 12 units of coursework within four of the six C-T-E service areas. Harden says all school districts experienced growth in courses with a statewide average of two courses being offered and the participation rate of students in 2022 was 73-point-one percent. He says the largest C-T-E service area with 90 programs is applied science, technology, engineering and manufacturing, followed by health science and information solutions, human services, business, and finally agriculture.
A fire Monday morning has damaged a building in the business district of Hawarden, Iowa. Firefighters found smoke coming out of the front doot and upstairs at the old Dunloop building in the 800 block of Central Avenue. The nearly 100 year old building houses Big Sioux Screen Printers on the first floor and the upstairs is vacant. Mutual aid came from the Sioux Center Fire Department, which sent a ladder truck which kept the fire from spreading to an adjacent building. Akron, Ireton, Hudson, and Alcester firefights also assisted. No injuries were reported, and firefighters remained on the scene for several hours.
Authorities have identified the woman who was found dead in a home in Sheldon last week. 62-year-old Jody Lynn Duskin’s body was discovered in her home on Thursday by a family member. Duskin’s death has been ruled as a homicide, but the specific cause of death has not been released. She is the mother of the suspect in her death, 41-year –old Nathaniel Kassel.
Kassel is currently in custody at the Brookings County Sheriff’s office in South Dakota. Kassel is held on two Iowa arrest warrants of First Degree Murder and Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Kassel will be returned to Iowa after a judge approves his extradition. No other details of the shooting are being released as police continue to investigate.
PLYMOUTH COUNTY SUPERVISORS
The regular session of the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors today will include several property issues, action items from the county engineer, and a zoning issue. A surveyor and a landowner are on the agenda to propose parcel splits on their properties. The county Zoning Administrator will discuss wind farm distance separations. Later the County Drainage Board will consider approval of a contract for a project in the Hinton Drainage District.
COUNTY OFFICIALS’ SALARIES
Four bills introduced in the Iowa legislature this year have been designed to set a new statewide policy for determining how much elected officials in Iowa’s 99 counties are paid, but lawmakers are still working out the details. An alternative that may be debated in the Senate this week is still being drafted, but key senators say it will require county compensation boards to show how their salary recommendations compare to pay for officials in counties of similar size. The Iowa House has already approved a bill that would let county supervisors dissolve compensation boards and make the salary decisions themselves. The bill also would forbid county supervisors from reducing one elected official’s salary, while all the rest are increased.
NEW MEDICAID AND SNAP RULES
Republicans in the Iowa legislature are proposing an asset test and a new system to conduct frequent income checks for Iowans who’re enrolled in Medicaid or receiving what are commonly known as food stamps. The 34 Republicans in the Senate approved a bill last week to take those steps. Senator Jeff Edler, a Republican from State Center, says elected officials have a responsibility to ensure tax dollars are being responsibly allocated. Under the Senate-passed bill, Iowans with more than 15-thousand dollars in assets that can quickly be converted to cash, like stocks or a savings account, would no longer be eligible for food stamps. A vehicle or a house would not be included in the asset calculation. A bill under consideration in the House sets up the same asset test, but also includes work requirements and a proposed ban on using food stamps to buy pop or candy. Democrats oppose the changes. Senator William Dotzler (DOTS-ler), a Democrat from Waterloo, says the proposals feed the fallacy that people getting government food and health care assistance are too lazy to work.