PORK PRODUCERS HONORED
A Le Mars pork producer has been named to the Iowa Pork Producers 82nd class of Master Pork Producers. Joe Kessenich was one of eight producers from around the state of Iowa to be named this year. Also on the list is an Aurelia producer, Aaron Hinkeldey. The Master Pork Producer program began in 1942. Over 15-hundred pig farming businesses have been so honored. Another Le Mars resident honored this week is Jim Hitchler, who was named a Master Pork Partner. Hitchler delivers feed for pork producers as a driver for Gengler Feed Service in Remsen. An O’Brien County couple received the Iowa Environmental Steward Award. Dennis and Lori Heemstra of Primghar own a 33-hundred head wean-to-finish pork operation in O’Brien County. They were named Master Pork Producers in 2014. The Iowa Pork Congress held the annual awards banquet in Des Moines on Wednesday.
JENEARY TOWN HALLS
Iowa Representative Tom Jeneary of Le Mars plans two town hall meetings next week. Rep. Jeneary says the meetings will be Saturday, February 3. The first will be at 9 a.m. in Akron in the Security National Bank community room. The second will be at 11 a.m. in the lower level conference room at Floyd Valley Healthcare. Both meetings will be open to the public.
NORTHWESERN SPRING ENROLLMENT
Northwestern College in Orange City has reported another enrollment record.
Enrollment for the Spring semester was 1603, up from 1584 a year ago, and is the fifth consecutive year of record spring enrollment. 639 students are enrolled in Northwestern’s graduate programs, up 24 from last year. International student enrollment is growing, now accounting for 5.5% of their residential undergraduates.
FEENSTRA SEEKS ANSWERS FROM HOMELAND SECURITY
U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra wants to know if reports are true that the Federal Homeland Security Agency is allowing illegal immigrants to board and travel on U.S. airliners without proper identification. Rep. Feenstra sent a letter to U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary seeking answers to his questions. Feenstra says reports indicate that immigrants are allowed to upload information on an app which fails to verify if the information is valid.
REYNOLDS AND 25 OTHER GOP GOVERNORS SAY TEXAS HAS A RIGHT TO SELF-DEFENSE
Governor Kim Reynolds and two dozen other Republican governors are siding with the governor of Texas in his border dispute with the Biden Administration. The statement from the governors comes after the U-S Supreme Court ruled federal agents can remove razor wire Texans installed at Eagle Pass, along the U-S-Mexico border. Reynolds says the State of Texas should be able to use every tool necessary to defend itself from the tide of mass migration across the border. Reynolds and the other Republican governors say the U-S Constitution gives states the right of self-defense in times like this. A spokesman for the U-S Departnent of Homeland Security says enforcement of immigration law is a federal responsibility and the razor wire, fences and gates stalled by the State of Texas have only made it harder for federal agents to do their jobs.
LEGISLATOR ATTEMPTS TO CAST IOWA DARTER AS STATE FISH
Iowa is one of three states that does not have an official state fish. A northwest Iowa legislator’s proposal could change that. State Representative John Wills of Spirit Lake says the nomination came from a constituent who told Wills the Iowa Darter is the only fish that has Iowa in its name and that would make it a great state fish.
Wills expects to hear other names floated for state fish, like the blue gill or the channel cat, but he is casting his lot with his constituent. The Iowa Darter is small — under four inches — and its scales and fins are covered in rainbow colors. Iowa has just a handful of state symbols.
The last one was done in 1967 when the legislature declared the geode as the state rock.
OKOBOJI WINTER GAMES OPEN
The annual Okoboji Winter Games are underway in northwest Iowa. Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce director, Blain Andera (An-dare-uh), says the games are on despite the warmer weather. He says they did move a few of the events off of the ice, but this is much nicer than last year when they had temperatures at ten below and a stiff northwest wind. He says they get between 30 and 40-thosuand people who attend the games. Several businesses and restaurants open up just for the weekend that are seasonal and are typically closed in the wintertime. The games run through Sunday and you can find a complete listing of the events at uofowintergames.com.
COUNTY HEALTH OFFICIAL FEARS STATE PLAN WOULD HURT QUALITY OF CARE
A report from the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services proposes big changes to public health models, including the consolidation of county public health offices into ten to 15 regions across Iowa. It could mean local public health workers would become state employees. Kaitlin Emrich (EM-rick), public health director for Black Hawk County, worries the quality of care could diminish the further it gets from the local level. Emrich says the plan would have “significant impacts” on how the communities are served, with a loss of decision making, and potential workforce changes. She says keeping public health as close to home as possible is important for quality care.
YOU CAN E-FILE YOUR FEDERAL RETURNS NOW
Iowans who are anxious to get their federal tax returns done in hopes of securing a refund can submit the forms yet today, if they want. I-R-S spokesman Christopher Miller says the agency won’t formally start accepting returns until next week, but you can get your electronic filing done right now. Miller says returns that are filed now will simply be held by the I-R-S until next Monday, when the filing period formally begins. There’s no rush, he says, as the more important thing is to file your taxes when you have all the paperwork together and can file a complete and accurate tax return. For most filers, the deadline for 2023 federal tax returns is Monday, April 15th.