COMMUNITY DAY CARE
Le Mars Community Daycare Center Wednesday announced the purchase of the existing Building Blocks childcare facility in Le Mars.
Rich Zeittlow, president of the Le Mars Community Daycare Center, says this is part of a broader plan to expand and improve child care in Le Mars.
This is one of the initial steps toward bringing daycare in Le Mars under one entity.
Building Blocks is the largest community child care center in Lemars.
Another component of the purchase is that the Crittenton Center of SIoux City will be contracted to provide child care services at the new Community Daycare.
The change will be completed by early January
Zeittlow says the LCDC is an organization suited to help develop and expand daycare in Le Mars.
There is a shortage of 400 day care spaces in Le Mars. Acquiring Building Blocks will cover 270 of those spaces. There’s also room to expand the facility in the future.
WATER QUALITY PROJECT
The Iowa Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig, has announced an expansion of a water quality project in Plymouth and three other northwest Iowa counties.
This project will also expand to include additional conservation practices. in Plymouth, Sioux, O’Brien and Cherokee Counties.
The Deep Creek Water Quality Initiative Project began in 2014. Cover crops were seeded in over 27-thousand acres of farmland. Cover crops will continue to be the focus of the project, but will expand to include practices including saturated buffers and bioreactors. These filter water as it leaves the field, and keeps nutrients out of waterways.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will allocate 660-thousand dollars for the next phase of this project.
Partners in the project include the Plymouth County Farm Bureau, Pheasants Forever, and Pork Producers. Agribusinesses in Le Mars, Remsen, Hinton, Oyens, Akron, and the Plymouth County Soil and Water Conservation District will take part.
The Plymouth County Conservation Board meets this evening at the Center for Outdoor Learning at Hillview Recreation Area. Their agenda includes Hillview master planning, a discussion on land acquisition, and continued discussion of the Conservation Board budget for the next fiscal year.
The Conservation Board and Foundation also announced that the 11th annual Snow Scamper 5K will take place at Hillview Park on February 3rd. The event is a fundraiser for the Foundation. The race will go on, snow or shine.
DITCH CLEARING AT AKRON
The Plymouth County Engineer was urged to work quickly to clear trees and brush from a section of the Akron Drainage Ditch. County Engineer Tom Rohe says he was notified that a housing development is planned near a section of the ditch north of 160th Street. Rohe told the Board of Supervisors this week that a 300 foot section of the of the ditch is overgrown with brush and trees. Some of the trees are 40 to 50 feet tall. It would take 8 to 10 days to clear the area in question. The work may be limited by costs. The Akron drainage district budget holds 26-thousand dollars, but the costs to clear the ditch would easily exceed that amount. The Supervisors urged Rohe to begin work immediately, while the weather holds.
FEENSTRA VOTES FOR IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY
Iowa 4th District Congressman Randy Feenstra was among U.S. House members who voted Wednesday to advance a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
The Hull Republican released a statement saying the American people deserve accountability and transparency from their elected officials, and the president is no exception.
Feenstra says President Biden has been uncooperative and evasive and that’s why he voted to advance a formal impeachment inquiry into biden and his “questionable conduct”.
SBA LOANS TO IOWA BUSINESSES DROPPED DURING 2023
The U-S Small Business Administration reports a significant drop in both the number of loans made to Iowa businesses and the overall dollar amount approved. Jayne Armstrong, district director of the S-B-A in Iowa, attributes the fall to bounding interest rates, and the fact so much money was put out during the pandemic years through grants and forgivable loans.
The number of S-B-A-guaranteed loan approvals made in Iowa during the past year reached 340, down from 466 loans last year, while the amount approved dropped from more than 242-million dollars last year to 139-million this year. Armstrong notes, that 139-million figure is still a very significant amount of money that was pumped into start-up and expanding Iowa businesses.
As a direct result of S-B-A loans, she says more than 16-hundred jobs were created in Iowa and nearly 19-hundred more were retained. Armstrong isn’t particularly worried about the year-end figures, as she says the S-B-A continues to play a critical role in helping Iowa small business owners access capital.
Of the 340 loans approved in Iowa during the fiscal year, 208 of them went to new business start-ups or to finance changes in ownership, which are considered new businesses by the agency.
STATE PANEL SAYS RECESSION FEARS RECEDING
Members of the panel that predicts state tax revenue say recession fears are receeding and, while total receipts are down slightly, that’s due to previously approved tax cuts. The December report from the Revenue Estimating Conference sets the stage as Republican Governor Kim Reynolds and G-O-P lawmakers signal they hope to eventually eliminate the state income tax. Iowa Department of Management director Kraig Paulsen, the governor’s top budget advisor, is chairman of the Revenue Estimating Conference.
The panel predicts the state of Iowa will collect over nine-point-seven BILLION dollars in taxes during the current budgeting year. By January, there will be more than three-point-six BILLION dollars in the Taxpayer Relief Fund where unspent taxes are being deposited. Paulsen says consumer spending in Iowa appears strong and, while, corporate income tax reductions have been made, total corporate tax receipts are up 15 percent over the past five months.
Clear Lake C-P-A David Underwood is another member of the tax-predicting panel.
The Revenue Estimating Conference predicts the State of Iowa will collect over nine-point-seven BILLION dollars in taxes in the current budgeting year that ends June 30th. The prediction for the following 12 months is slightly less, primarily due to tax cuts approved in 2018 and 2022.
January, there will be more than three-point-six BILLION dollars in the Taxpayer Relief Fund where unspent taxes are being deposited.
UNI FACULTY ALARMED ABOUT ATHLETICS SPENDING
The leader of the University of Northern Iowa’s faculty union is voicing concerns over how the school is handling its money. U-N-I released a statement defending the movement of nearly a million dollars from its general fund to athletics, saying one of its missions is to identify opportunities for those programs to be more self-sustaining. United Faculty leader Chris Martin says that shouldn’t come at the cost of education, especially when athletics can already borrow from the general fund. Martin says athletics borrowed nine-hundred thousand dollars, which exceeded the allowed two-point-four percent of the budget. He says the university’s overall budget has shrunk by several million dollars since 2019, largely due to a decrease in funding from the state legislature.