WIND TOWER SETBACKS
The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors today approved new setbacks for wind generators. This morning, the project engineer for Phase II of Invenergy’s wind farm presented how changing setback distances affect placement of wind towers. The County Zoning Board earlier recommended that setbacks be 4 times the height of the tower and blades., with a variance of three times. Harry Finch with Invenergy used an example of an area of contiguous land west of Oyens that is signed up for Phase II. His graphics showed that with 15-hundred foot setbacks, the standard they now use, there are 110 acres available, ten different locations where towers could be placed. At 18-hundred feet, it would be three or four locations, and at 25-hundred feet, just 11 acres, or one location is available. Finch said if they used 600 foot towers – which they are considering for this project – these longer setbacks would be incredibly restrictive. The Board of Supervisors discussed setbacks of 3.5 times the height of the wind tower, based on the 600 foot towers. Supervisor Mike Van Otterloo made a motion to create a 3.5 times setback, and on the suggestion of Supervisor Craig Anderson, included a waiver to shorten the distance. That waiver would have to be approved by the Zoning Board, and, on appeal, the Board of Adjustment. The Supervisors unanimously approved the motion. The measure will take effect immediately.
PLYMOUTH COUNTY DETOURS
Starting tomorrow, detours will be put in place for a resurfacing porject in central Plymouth County. The County Road Department says a concrete pavement resurfacing of five miles of County Road K22 will shut down that roadway for five miles between C44 and Iowa Highway 3. Traffic will be detoured along K30, C43, 270th Street, K18, Highway 3, K42, and C38. The detours will be in place until Friday, August 4.
One of the services that will benefit from the expansion of Floyd Valley Healthcare’s expansion is the various therapies offered there. Alison Vlieger, is head of Occupational Therapy and says her field is one that assists people of all ages in carrying out day to day tasks..
Occupational Therapy even addresses the needs of infants.
Vlieger’s group deal with a wide variety of cases and ages. They also do home visits
In some cases, they work with other disciplines like speech and physical therapy.
Adding services, and they are kind of disjointed in their current space.
Vlieger say the new space will afford new therapies
Occupational Therapy, speech therapy, and physical therapy, are now scattered in different areas of Floyd Valley Healthcare. The expansion includes an entire floor where all of these therapies will be housed in one place. The expansion will be completed later this summer.
SLOW PLANTING PROGRESS
The latest U-S-D-A crop report says cold, wet weather slowed planting progress last week. The report says there were only two-and-a-half suitable days for fieldwork. Corn planting advanced only three percent compared to the first week — and now sits at ten percent complete. That is nine days ahead of last year — after being 14 days ahead in the first week. Planting is now equal to the five-year average — after being six days ahead of that average after the first week of planting. Five percent of the expected soybean crop is in the ground. That is ten days ahead of last year and three days ahead of the average.
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.
REYNOLDS ABORTION FIGHT
Governor Kim Reynolds says after getting key priorities like private school tuition assistance through the 2023 legislature, she plans to be front and center in the fight over abortion. Reynolds signed a law in 2018 to ban nearly all abortions after the sixth week of a pregnancy. While other states have recently enacted similar laws, Iowa’s law was ruled unconstitutional four years ago and Reynolds is asking the Iowa Supreme Court to overturn that opinion. Reynolds says she attended oral arguments at the Iowa Supreme Court about the law, so Iowans would know she will not rest until new abortion restrictions take effect in Iowa. Abortions are currently legal in Iowa up to the 20th week of a pregnancy.