IOWA HOUSE REPUBLICANS PRIORITIES
Improving education outcomes is one of several priorities outlined by Iowa House Republicans for the 2024 legislative session. Speaker of the Iowa House Pat Grassley says they will review Iowa’s K-12 education standards to ensure they are setting up students and teachers for success. They will work to empower teachers with disciplinary tools and compensation. Grassley says higher education has lost its focus on its true mission. House Republicans will work to ensure they are focused on preparing students to fill the jobs most needed here and doing all they can to connect students with internships and careers in Iowa. Other goals concerning public safety and security, improving the state’s economy, and keeping government transparent and efficient are also on the GOP’s list.
SUPERVISORS SUPPORT REMSEN PROJECT
The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors approved a letter of support for ballpark improvements in Remsen. Remsen St Mary’s and MMCRU have applied for a grant to help make improvements at Sunrise Park, their home for softball games during the summer. A two phase plan calls for turning a sand volleyball court into a 3-lane bullpen for the pitchers. The second phase of the project will replace both dugouts, and provide additional storage. They’ve already received donations from the Remsen Lions Club and from the Community Foundation of Greater Plymouth County. The project will cost some 30-thousand dollars. The schools are also seeking donations to help pay for the project.
A truck driver was injured early Sunday when he rolled his semi on US Highway 71 in Clay County. The Sheriffs Office says Ronald Peters of Rembrandt was reaching over the passenger side of his cab while driving, and the semi went into the median. Peters tried to bring the tractor trailer back onto the roadway, but it rolled onto its side. Peters was trapped inside, and had to be extricated by Spencer and Fostoria Fire Departments. He was taken to Spencer Municipal Hospital for treatment of injury.
IOWA UNEMPLOYMENT RISES IN NOVEMBER
Iowa’s unemployment rate increased to three-point-three percent in November. That’s six-tenths of a percent higher than it was in July and the fourth consecutive month it has inched up. Beth Townsend, director of the Iowa Workforce Development agency, says there were about a thousand job losses in Iowa’s professional and business services sector in November — including a reduction in administrative support staff.
Just over 68 percent of Iowans who are 16 or older and actively seeking employment were working in November — that’s about five points higher than the national average.
There were about 100 layoffs in Iowa’s manufacturing sector in November, but Townsend says compared to the beginning of the year, there were about three-thousand more people employed in Iowa manufacturing by the end of November. The most job GROWTH in November came in Iowa’s construction industry, which added 18-hundred jobs.
Townsend says 11-hundred people were hired in November to work in Iowa hospitals, nursing homes and other health care settings.
The state’s IowaWORKS website lists 62-thousand job openings today. According to government data, more than one-point-six million people are working in Iowa. The national unemployment rate dropped to three-point-seven percent in November.
GRAIN BIN MAKER ACQUIRES HIGH TECH FIRM
Sheffield based Sukup Manufacturing Company is acquiring Ramco Innovations, a West Des Moines company that specializes in factory automation. Sukup is the world’s largest family-owned manufacturer of grain storage, grain handling and grain drying equipment. Emily Schmitt, Sukup’s Chief Administrative Officer, says Ramco has done work at Sukup facilities in Sheffield, Manly and Hampton that are being automated, with robots. Hank Norem, Ramco’s CEO, will be chief innovation officer for a new division of the Sheffield company called Sukup Innovations. Ramco’s 65 employees will continue to work at Ramco’s facility in West Des Moines. Sukup has over 800 employees.
AVOID COOKING DISTRACTIONS
Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are the top three worst days of the year for cooking fires in Iowa and nationwide. Andrea Vaspis (VAS-pis), public education director for the National Fire Protection Association, says there’s a lot more cooking going on over the holidays — and a lot more people to distract from the food that’s cooking and baking. Vaspis says when somebody thinks someone else is paying attention to something that’s on the stove — that’s a recipe for a home fire. Vaspis offers this advice: stand by your pan and keep an eye on what you fry.