LE MARS DEVELOPMENT PLAN UNDERWAY
Le Mars officials are already implementing parts of the city’s development plan. Economic Development Director Mark Gaul says the city is forming a new development district on the Business 75 corridor in order to take advantage of economic incentives.
The council is setting priorities for the plan in a number of different areas.
Improvements in the Le Mars industrial park are already underway, guided by a recently approved city development plan.
Gaul describes the kind of businesses they are trying to attract to the industrial park.
Some of the development comes from increased demand, some from a ‘build it and they will come’ approach
The city council of Le Mars recently deleted the old urban renewal area along Business 75, and will replace it with a new one. This will make projects in the new district eligible for outside fuindiong for development projects.
SIOUX COUNTY SHERIFFS SURVEY
The Sioux County Sheriff is urging residents to take an online survey. The Sheriffs Office wants to determine the department’s level of engagement, and degree of impact, with the communities they serve. This is a joint project of the Sheriffs Office and a Dordt University marketing class. The class will collect the data and prepare a report for the Sheriffs Office. The survey is available through the Sheriffs Office website until December 2.
A RISE IN THANKSGIVING TRAVEL ACROSS IOWA
Long-range weather forecasts predict favorable conditions in Iowa for Thanksgiving next week, while the travel forecast indicates it’ll be a very busy holiday on Iowa’s roads. Brian Ortner, spokesman for Triple-A-Iowa, says their estimates are showing a significant boost in Thanksgiving travelers for our region of the Midwest, which contains Iowa and five other states.
In the months since the COVID-19 pandemic ended, we’ve seen a steady increase in travel numbers for Iowa and across the country, as Ortner says many people are taking a “YOLO” attitude.
When people make plans to take a trip, gasoline prices often won’t make an impact once their decision is made, but Ortner says it’s a nice bonus when pump prices fall in correspondence with a holiday.
The motor club says about four-point-three million people in our region will be traveling over Thanksgiving, with three-point-eight million going by motor vehicle and another 231-thousand will be flying.
Nationwide, Triple-A projects 55-point-four million people will be traveling at least 50 miles from home over the four-day Thanksgiving holiday.
FARM TO FLY ACT
Republican Randy Feenstra, who represents Iowa’s fourth congressional district in the U.S. House, is co-sponsoring a bill called the Farm to Fly Act. It’s designed to spur development of aviation fuel made with a range of plant materials.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel produced with corn-based ethanol already has a 15 percent lower carbon intensity rating than petroleum-based available fuel.
The aviation industry currently accounts for 10 percent of U-S greenhouse gas emissions.
Republican Ashley Hinson, who represents Iowa’s second congressional district in the U.S. House, is another co-sponsor of the bill. Hinson says it would provide clarity about how U-S-D-A programs will support Sustainable Aviation Fuel development.
IOWA CAUCUSES TWO MONTHS AWAY
The January 15th Iowa Caucuses are just two months away. Over 10-thousand Republican volunteers will run the more than 16-hundred precinct meetings for their party’s Caucuses. Iowa G-O-P chairman Jeff Kaufmann says given the kind of campaign activity he’s seeing here, there could be record-setting Caucus attendance. Nearly 187-thousand Republicans participated in the 2016 Iowa Caucuses, a record. Iowa Democrats also plan to hold in-person Caucuses on January 15th to conduct party business, but national party leaders decided South Carolina Democrats will vote first in their party’s presidential nominating process.
CHANGES IN WINTER STORM NOTIFICATION
Meteorologist Chad Hahn, at the National Weather Service in Johnston, says they’re launching new guidelines which stipulate how winter storm watches and warnings are issued, based on the amount of snow that’s predicted to fall. For Iowa and all points north, Hahn says it’ll be six inches or more of snow, but as you go south, that criteria decreases to account for climatological differences. Hahn says the changes won’t be all that noticeable for the winter storm forecasts that are being issued in Iowa. The old system used time restraints, so much snow over so many hours, and he says now, it’ll simply zero in on a winter event.
BOOK REMOVAL FROM SCHOOL LIBRARIES
The Iowa Board of Education is advancing a set of rules that give schools and teachers some clarification on a law to requires schools to remove books with sexually explicit content or illustrations. Enforcement of the law is set to take effect in January. Iowa Department of Education attorney Thomas Mayes says the proposed rules give officials the ability to end an investigation when a district responds to a complaint.
State officials will not be releasing a list of books which are not to be in classrooms or school libraries. Another part of the new law forbids classroom instruction about gender identity or sexual orientation in kindergarten through sixth grade. The Board of Education’s proposed rules say a neutral mention of those topics does not violate the law. Mayes says that would include something like reading a book that happens to have L-G-B-T-Q characters.
The law, which went into effect July 1st, requires schools to notify parents when students ask to use a name that’s different from what’s on school registration forms. The proposed rules clarify that does not apply to a nickname, but only when a student asks to use a name or pronoun at school as part of a gender transition. The department is taking comments on the rules. Public hearings are scheduled to take place in Des Moines on January 3rd and 4th.