The educartion agenda for House Republicans this session may include adjustments to Education Savings accounts, which were implemented in Iowa last year. State Representative Tom Jeneary says lawmakers will be considering tweeks to the system in this legislative session.
Rep. Jeneary says the ESA program in its first year has not caused any problems with school administrators.
One of the changes which could take place in the system has to do with special education services.
Education Savings Accounts will be fully implemented in Iowa over the next two years.
TWO KILLED, FIVE OTHERS WOUNDED IN PERRY HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING
Authorities say two people are dead, including the shooter and five others wounded following a shooting at Perry High School in central Iowa Thursday morning.
Mitch Mortvedt of the Iowa D-C-I says the call of an active shooter came in from the Dallas County school at 7:37 a.m.:
Mortvedt says the lone shooter was quickly located in the school, and a second threat was discovered:
Mortvedt says the shooter shot six people in the school:
The names of the victims have not been released, and Mortvedt says four are in stable condition with the fifth in critical condition with injuries termed as non-life threatening. .
Mortvedt did identify the shooter:
Over 150 law enforcement members responded to the shooting.
Mortvedt says the investigation will continue and did not speak about a possible motive behind the shooting.
STATE BROADENS EFFORT TO CLEAN UP A POLLUTED RIVER IN NW IOWA
The state of Iowa is expanding a water quality program to clean up a northwest Iowa river, one of the state’s most polluted waterways. The Deep Creek Water Quality Initiative Project was launched in 2014 with a focus on adding cover crops along the Floyd River and tributaries in four counties — Plymouth, Sioux, O’Brien and Cherokee. Ben Brady, a conservationist with the U-S-D-A’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, helps oversee the project. Brady says a high number of livestock confinements in the region contributed to the Floyd River’s high pollution rates, but he says the water quality initiative is working. Iowa’s secretary of agriculture recently announced a new grant for a larger area. Almost 700-thousand dollars is available for farmers to add buffers and bioreactors to help filter water from fields.
NEW WINTER HOURS AT PLYMOUTH COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM
Starting Monday, January 8, 2024, the Plymouth County Historical Museum in Le Mars will be open to the public every Thursday through Sunday from 1 PM to 5PM.
The new Winter Hours will allow Museum staff and volunteers to work on some much needed updates around the building, updating exhibits, changing out artifacts in the displays to freshen them up, and adding new exhibits and displays to the Museum. Hours will return to normal in the spring.
If interested in volunteering, please contact the Museum by phone at 712-546-7002 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Father Eisele Memorial Epiphany Concert will be at 2 p.m., this Friday, Jan. 5, among the Nativities in the Study Hall. The Gehlen High School Choir will sing, under the direction of Terra Falkena.
Father Eisele was the accompanist for the choir prior to his unexpected death April 24, 2023. He also had performed Epiphany concerts for 6 years, following his gift of his 80 Nativities to the Museum in 2016. The Nativities can be seen near the Study Hall.
The public is invited to the free concert at the Museum.
IOWA’S NOW SEEN 182 STRAIGHT WEEKS OF DROUGHT
The final tallies are in, and state climatologist Justin Glisan says 2023 is going down as one of Iowa’s warmest and driest years in more than 150 years of record keeping. Glisan says when you average out the temperatures over 365 days, it’s rare for Iowa’s year-long average temperature to vary by even one-degree above or below the previous year, but that changed during 2023.
As 2023 concluded, Glisan says it ended 182 consecutive weeks of at least D-1 moderate drought in some part of the state. That’s more than three-and-a-half years of continuous drought and some sections of the state have very dry conditions.
The only corner of the state that recorded above-average precipitation during 2023 was northwest Iowa, which saw between one and three inches more than the norm. However, he says the rest of the state was exceptionally dry.
After three consecutive La Nina winters, we’re now in an El Nino pattern, which Glisan says tends to bring the Midwest warmer temperatures in addition to wetter conditions.
FOOD BANK OF IOWA CEO APPEALS FOR STATE FUNDING
The leader of Iowa’s largest food bank is urging Iowa lawmakers to provide state funding for the six major food banks in Iowa. Michelle Book is president and C-E-O of the Food Bank of Iowa, which distributes food in 55 counties. She says many states provide taxpayer funding to Feeding America food banks and she’s suggesting a public-private partnership could ensure Iowans who’re retired, live on disability benefits or work in low-wage jobs have enough to eat. Book made a direct appeal to Governor Kim Reynolds during an online forum yesterday (Wednesday). Reynolds recently notified federal officials Iowa would no longer participate in a program that provides 40 dollars a month for each child in a low income family, to help pay for food while school is out for the summer.