The Community Emergency Response Team, based in Le Mars, held a training session Wednesday, using their new Bearcat response vehicle. Plymouth County Sheriffs Office Chief Deputy Rick Singer describes the armored vehicle that was delivered to the agency this summer.
Singer says the Bearcat is an intimidating vehicle.
The Plymouth County Sheriffs Department drove the vehicle to Iowa from its manufacturer in Massachusetts. Chief Deputy Singer says the Bearcat will be used in specific instances.
It will also be used in weather emergencies.
In some ways, use of the Bearcat is still being explored. CERT is working through how to respond to calls using the Bearcat.
Singer calls the Bearcat a regional resource.
Members of the CERT Team have been trained in use of the Bearcat. Wednesday they carried out field exercises using the vehicle. CERT is made up of members of the Plymouth County Sheriffs Office, Le Mars Police Department, the Sioux County Sheriffs Office, the Cherokee County Sheriffs Office, and the Cherokee Police Department.
The Plymouth County Fair Board meets tonight at 7-30 in Century Hall
Their agenda includes discussion of snow removal at the fairgrounds, and the Pioneer Village Christmas.
The Plymouth County Conservation Board also meets tonight, at the Hillview Recreation Area Outdoor Learning Center.They will discuss the recently held Fundraising event. Hillview Recreation Area Master Planning, land acquisition, and PCCB maintenance and storage are other items for discussion, and possible action. The Conservation Board meeting is at 7 pm.
CORN YIELD PROJECTION
Weather conditions have prompted the U-S-D-A to lower its prediction of corn yields in Iowa by one-and-a-half percent. Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson reports.
ANNOUNCER OUT: Fewer acres of soybeans were planted in Iowa this year. The U-S-D-A expects the total soybean harvest in Iowa to be down two percent from last year.
Farmers in Ukraine are now raising hogs thanks to a little help from Iowa State University. Justin Brown, an I-S-U professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, is leading a series of webinars just for Ukrainian farmers. Due to the prolonged war with Russia, Brown says corn producers in Ukraine aren’t able to export much, if any, of their grain.
Brown says the response to the I-S-U webinars has been very good. He presents them early in the morning and they air in Ukraine around the lunch hour.
Brown prepares his presentation slides in English and sends them to the president of the Association of Ukrainian Pig Breeders, who translates them into Ukrainian, while the lectures themselves are dubbed in that language for the Ukranian farmers.
Those questions are translated live, along with his answers. The last of the webinars will be presented this month.
AVIATION PROGRAM USES SPENCER AIRPORT
The aviation program at Iowa Lakes Community College will be expanding into nearby air space. Tim Busch is chief flight instructor for the program, which operates at Estherville’s airport and will fly in and out of Spencer’s airport next year as well.
Enrollment in the aviation and airport management program at Iowa Lakes Community College has nearly tripled in the past four years. The Spencer airport had been a landing spot for Great Lakes Aviation, but the regional airline ended commercial service out of the Spencer airport 22 years ago.
Iowa Lakes classes at the Spencer airport will start next August. The community college program trains private and commercial pilots as well as flight instructors. Graduates with an associate degree earn an F-A-A license. Commercial airlines are short about 17-thousand pilots this year according to several estimates. There’s a shortage of flight instructors, too.
Starting on Monday Sept. 18th, 2023, Holzman Construction will be closing 6th St. S.E. in front of 620-6th St. S.E. to repair the street and the 42” storm sewer pipe underneath the street. This project should be done in 14 days weather permitting. See attached picture of the street closure.
ERNST RUNWAY UPGRADE
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst pressed an Air Force general during confirmation hearings on Tuesday about what Ernst called an unfulfilled promise the military made to Sioux City. Ernst questioned General David Allvin, who is nominated to be the 23rd Chief of Staff for the Air Force. She said the promise was made 20 years ago to expand the runway at Sioux City.
During the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Ernst said the lack of a runway upgrade puts the future of the National Guard in Sioux City in jeopardy.
Ernst called the potential loss of those guard members unacceptable, and Allvin responded that he’d get the runway project reviewed.
The general called the 185th a fantastic organization and promised to work with the secretary of the Air Force to pause any discussion to change the 185th’s mission until the assessment is complete.
CASEY’S FIRST QUARTER
The Ankeny-based convenience store chain Casey’s reports a good first quarter. C-E-O Darren Rebelez says inside gross profit dollars were up over 10 percent to 556 million dollars, and the company generated 169 million dollars in net income, an increase of 11 percent. He says the company saw gas sales increase slightly, while maintaining a gas margin of nearly 42 cents a gallon. Rebelez has said in the past the company has been able to take advantage of big changes in gas prices, but he says they maintained their margin this quarter without that happening. The company says it now expects to add 150 new stores in this fiscal year after recently purchasing 63 stores from a chain in Kentucky and Tennessee. That’s up from the previously projection of 110 stores in the 2024 fiscal year as part of its overall plan to add 350 new stores by the end of the 2026 fiscal year.
NUNN INTRODUCED YOUTH SUICIDE ACT
Iowa Congressman Zach Nunn is co-sponsoring a bill that would require suicide awareness and prevention training for most school employees in every state, at least every other year. All but two states have laws that encourage school personnel to take suicide prevention training, but Iowa is one of only 17 states where it’s mandatory for school staff each year. It’s a requirement Nunn supported when he was a member of the state legislature. Nunn, a Republican from Bondurant, is co-sponsoring the Prevent Youth Suicide Act with a Democrat from Alaska. It would require suicide prevention training for all licensed staff in public and private schools that serve sixth through 12th grade students.
RESTORED HELICOPTER TOURS IOWA
A Huey helicopter from the Vietnam era has completed its tour of Ames, Boone and Carroll areas. Tom Aretz is one of the crew members on the helicopter that was restored by a group called Friends of Army Aviation. He says the group of Vietnam, Iraqi and Afghan vets rebuilt a couple of Huey helicopters to be able to show people a little bit of what the helicopters did in Vietnam. Aretz and his fellow volunteers flew Huey flights out of the Ames, Boone and Carroll airports over the past week. Aretz says they fly with the doors open, not to scare the passengers who spend 85 dollars on tickets for the ride, but to give them insight into the way the Hueys were used in war.