Home News KLEM News for Friday, February 16

KLEM News for Friday, February 16

FV HEALTHCARE PROJECTS
The Board of Trustees of Floyd Valley Healthcare last night approve contracts for two projects.  CEO Dustin Wright says two bids were received for an expandsion of the hospital’s laboratory and Maternal Health Departments.

 

Steffes Construction of Spencer was the low bidder, at 1.3 million dollars.  A contract was also awarded for a retail pharmacy at Floyd Valley Healthcare.

 

Construction will begin on the maternal health expansion next month, and will be finished in November. The Laboratory project will begin later this year, and conclude in 2025.

Work on the retail pharmacy will begin in March, and will be concluded in June.

 

PLYMOUTH COUNTY GOP CONVENTION
Plymouth County Republicans meet for their county convention Saturday. It will take place at the Le Mars Community High School Theater. The convention will be called to order at 1 p.m. Those in attendance will choose delegates to the District and State Republican Party Conventions, and decide on the party’s platform. The Plymouth County Democratic Party convention will be March 23 in Le Mars

 

FEENSTRA PROPOSES TAX CREDITS FOR YOUNG FAMILIES
U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra introduced legislation that would create a new tax credit for small businesses with up to 100 employees for the start-up costs of offering Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts, or DCFSA’s, as an employee benefit.
Feenstra says this bill is based on a similar credit addressing the start-up costs for small business owners who begin offering retirement plans.
A 2023 Bureau of Labor Statistics Survey indicates only 27 percent of employees of small businesses with fewer than 100 employees have access to a DCFSA. 61 percent of employees at larger businesses have access to one. These accounts allow single filers and married couples to contribute up to $5,000 per year to an employer-provided account, pre-tax, to help pay for the childcare costs of dependent children under the age of 13 or for the care of an adult spouse or dependent unable to work or care for themselves.

SUPER BOWL SPORTS BETTING SETS RECORD
Iowa Gaming Association C-E-O Wes Ehrecke says there was a record amount of money bet on the Super Bowl at state sports books this year. The 21-point-four million dollars wagered broke the record set last year. Ehrecke says this is the only sporting event where the state-licensed casinos keep an individual total on the betting. A total of more than two-point-four-seven BILLION dollars was wagered on sports in Iowa for the last fiscal year that ended in June.

 

TAX CREDITS FOR ELDERLY AND DISABLED HOMEOWNERS

The Plymouth County Treasurer is reminding residents of a tax credit that’s available for elderly or disabled homeowners.  To qualify for the tax credit, Iowa homeowners must be 65 or older as of the end of 2023, and have a total household income under 25,328 dollars last year.  Residents age 70 or older with a household income above that figure may still be eligible for a credit that will “freeze” your property tax.  Go to the Plymouth County web site, or the Treasurer’s Office for income guidelines.  The deadline to apply for the credit on next fiscal year’s property taxes is May 31.

 

HEGSTAD AWARDED MILKEN PRIZE

An MOC/FV teacher was surprised Thursday at an all-school assembly, with a $25,000 Milken Educator Award.  Grant Hegstad is an assistant principal, Extended Career Experiences coordinator, Center for Advanced Professional Studies instructor.  Dr. Jane Foley, Milken Awards Senior Vice President, made the announcement at the assembly:

 

This is part of nationwide tour honoring 75 people who achieve excellence in K-12 education.  Hegstad is the only Iowa recipient this year.

 

Hegstad is the 47th Iowan to receive the award.

 

Hegstad became the 2,979th Milken Educator recognized on the coast-to-coast journey to 3,000 recipients.

He is the second teacher from MOC-Floyd Valley to receive a Milken Educator Award.  Superintendant Russ Adams was a Milken Award recipient in 2003.

 

CHEROKEE MAN ARRESTED FOR FELONY OWI

A Cherokee man was arrested early Thursday morning, and charged with third offense OWI, a class D felony. The Plymouth County Sheriffs Office arrested 34 year old Spenser Ryan Domsch.  They responded to a call around 1-30 a.m. A vehicle was in the middle of the roadway on 190th street near HIghway 140.  The driver, Domsch, was asleep at the wheel.  A field sobriety test was administered, and the suspect was placed under arrest. He was jailed at the Plymouth County law enforcement center.

 

INJURY ACCIDENT WEST OF ORANGE CITY

One person was injured in a one vehicle accident Thursday morning west of Orange City.  The Sioux County Sheriffs Office says the accident occurred around 7 a.m. on Iowa Highway 10, five miles west of Orange City. A car driven by Kathryn Pine 25, of Hull lost control, crossed the center line, and struck a car driven by 15 year old Annika Kroeze of Sioux Center.  Pine was taken to Orange City Health System for treatment of minor injury.

 

SENATE GOP UNVEILS ITS OWN PLAN FOR AEAS

Senate Republicans are proposing changes in Governor Kim Reynolds’ plan to overhaul Iowa’s nine Area Education Agencies. Reynolds wants to send all government funding for special education services to schools, so districts could continue using A-E-As for those services or choose another provider. A bill approved by the Senate Education Committee would still send 10 percent of that special education funding to A-E-As, but school districts would control the rest. A-E-As also would get 40 percent of the money they receive now for media services as well as other A-E-A services for teachers and all students. Republican Senator Lynn Evans, a retired superintendent from Aurelia, says their plan provides a safety net for the A-E-A system.

 

House Republicans have proposed their own alternative that would guarantee A-E-As keep all government funding to provide special education services in Iowa schools. Governor Reynolds says she appreciates that the conversation about A-E-A changes is continuing. Evans says Senate Republicans will make more adjustments to their plan when the bill is debated in the full Senate.

 

Senator Claire Celsi, a Democrat from West Des Moines, says the A-E-A system is working and the proposed changes in distributing special education funding would make it difficult for A-E-As and schools to provide services to students with disabilities.

 

Senator Molly Donahue, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, says if the goal is to improve test scores among students with disabilities, the Senate G-O-P plan won’t get there.

 

Senate Republicans say some A-E-As provide more services than others and putting the Iowa Department of Education in charge will fix that.

 

BILL ON LIABILITY PROTECTION FOR ROUNDUP’S MAKER

The Iowa Senate Ag Committee has approved a bill that gives some liability protection to farm chemical manufacturers, including Bayer which makes the widely used weed killer Roundup. In 2020 the E-P-A determined the main ingredient in Roundup is not a carcinogen, but Senator Jeff Edler (ED-ler) of State Center says the bill takes away a loophole that may allow people to sue if they felt Roundup caused cancer. Senator Dan Zumbach (ZUM-bah), a Republican from Ryan, says companies like Bayer will stop developing and improving farm chemicals if their legal exposure grows. Democrats on the committee opposed the bill. Senator Nate Boulton (BOLT-tun), a Democrat from Des Moines, says he’s siding with farmers who contend they’ve contracted cancer from exposure to farm chemicals rather than some of the wealthiest corporations on the planet.