The Area Crop Specialist says soil moisture levels have improved since fall, but are behind heading into the spring planting season. Leah Ten Napel, says most places where she has measured soil moisture are nearly adequate for this time of year.
Soils in some counties are farther behind.
Cooler soil temperatures are delaying some spring planting, but the weather shouldn’t keep farmers from planting on time.
Ten Napel is optimistic about this crop season.
The area has suffered three years of drought, and the weather condition which has contribute to it has broken down. A new weather pattern could provide more moisture during the growing season.
FAITH AND FREEDOM GATHERING
Over a thousand Christian conservatives gathered this weekend in central Iowa to hear from several likely competitors for the G-O-P’s 2024 presidential nomination. Former President Donald Trump spoke at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event via a live video. Trump reminded the audience he had appointed three U.S. Supreme Court justices, creating the court’s conservative majority that overturned Roe v Wade.
The other declared and potential Republican presidential candidates appeared in-person. Former Vice President Mike Pence said it’s likely abortion policies will be decided at the state level. Former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has previously said he’d be hesitant to take power away from the states, but this weekend Hutchinson said he’d sign a national 15-week abortion ban into law if he’s elected president. The other candidates and potential candidates who spoke — like South Carolina Senator Tim Scott — did not focus on the abortion issue.
Radio talk show host Larry Elder; Vivek Ramaswamy, a biotech entrepreneur; entrepreneur Perry; Former Texas Congressman Will Hurd and former Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard also spoke at Saturday’s event in Clive.
DORDT STEM GRANT
Dordt University has received a $1,2 million dollars grant that will be distributed over the course of five years. This grant continues a previous one which provides scholarships for students who are science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education majors. Dr. Valorie Zonnefeld, professor of mathematics at Dordt, says these scholarships are $14,500 dollars for eligible juniors and seniors. They are contingent on the students teaching for at least two years in a high needs school. These schools are mainly rural schools where it is difficult to fill positions for teachers in STEM subjects. There is a national shortage of STEM teachers to fill positions in schools. Dr. Zonnefeld says in many cases these teachers are the only STEM educators of staff. They also teach all the high school match and science courses. The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program is the source of the funding. Dordt received the first grant from this program in 2017. 30 teachers have so far participated in the program.
The Iowa Utilities Board has issued two MILLION dollars in fines against two pipeline companies for operating in Iowa for years, without state permits. State officials recently checked the National Pipeline Mapping System and discovered Houston-based Enterprise Products Operating L-L-C didn’t have current permits for two underground storage facilities in Iowa and seven pipelines that cover about 750 miles in Iowa. All interstate pipelines are required by a 1995 Iowa law to get operating and maintenance permits from the state. The Iowa Utilities Board is assessing a one-point-eight MILlION dollar fine against the company. Last year the Iowa Utilities Board began reviewing hazardous liquid pipelines in the state, checking operators had expiring permits, and the board discovered these two companies had facilities in Iowa, but didn’t have permits. Both companies have recently filed new petitions seeking permits for hazardous liquid pipelines and underground storage facilities.
SECURE YOUR PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
Le Mars has three year-round sites where you can dispose of your unused prescription drugs. Le Mars Police Department is one of those sites.
Sgt. Jeff Kramer says they receive deposits at their site weekly.
Sgt. Kramer urges people who have prescription drugs, especially opioids, to keep them in a secure place.
The other year round drop off sites in Le Mars are at Floyd Valley Health Care, and the Hy Vee Pharmacy. Lewis Pharmacy in Kingsley is another year-round drop off point..
The legislature has approved the governor’s recommendation that sentences be hiked for fentanyl-related crimes. The bill passed the House four weeks ago on a 91-to-three and this week the Senate approved it — 41-to-nine. Those convicted of a crime with 50 or more grams of fentanyl or a related substance could be sentenced to up to 50 years in prison. The bill also significantly increases the penalty for making or supply drugs that lead to a fatal overdose. Senator Jeff Reichman (RIKE-man), a Republican from Montrose, says fentanyl is now the leading cause of overdoses in America and opioid-involved deaths in Iowa have increased by 45 percent since 2019. Senator Janice Weiner (WY-ner), a Democrat from Iowa City who voted against the bill, says increasing helping Iowans struggling with an opioid addiction should be the focus.
A Sioux City native who’s been an animator, screenwriter, director and producer for Disney films was in his hometown this weekend for a special showing of his animated movie “Aladdin.” The Sioux City Symphony performed the film’s soundtrack as the movie screened Saturday night. Ron Clements is a 1971 graduate of Sioux City Bishop Heelan High School and he spoke to students at the school today.
Clements worked in the creative department at Channel 9 television in Sioux City before he moved to California in 1973. He was 20 years old when he started working at Disney Studios in January of 1974.
The Orpheum is where Aladdin was screened Saturday night. Clements was a screenwriter for Moana and co-director of the 2016 movie. Aladin was released in 1992. Clements was a producer/director and writer on that film as well. Clements, who is retired, worked for Disney for 45 years and is credited with leading a renaissance for Disney with the concept and then production of The Little Mermaid.