March 2, 2021 - 5:46 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — This month of March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. That means it’s time to tell you that experts say those of us over 50 should get tested for colorectal cancer. Read The Full Story…

March 2, 2021 - 5:43 pm - Posted in News

Sioux City, Iowa — A Lake Park man who conspired to distribute methamphetamine was sentenced last week to more than two years in federal prison.

According to the United States’ Attorney’s Office, 38-year-old Dustin Noble of Lake Park received the prison term after an October guilty plea to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.

The US Attorney’s Office says the evidence at the hearings showed that between November 2019 and March 2020, Noble and others conspired to distribute at least 5,000 grams of pure meth. Noble admitted to helping acquire and transport 20 pounds of meth from a source of supply in California for which he was to receive money and/or meth.

Noble also admitted to helping acquire meth in three trips to Sioux City to obtain one-half to one-pound quantities of meth in January and/or February of 2020, from another source of supply.

Noble was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand to 27 months in federal prison. The U.S. Attorney’s Office says he must also serve a 4-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

Washington, DC (RI) — The three Republicans from Iowa who serve in the U.S. House voted against the pandemic relief House Democrats approved this weekend.

Fourth District Congressman Randy Feenstra of Hull is blasting Democrats for removing his amendment which would have added derecho relief for Iowans to the bill. His proposal cleared the House Ag Committee with the support of Democratic Congresswoman Cindy Axne and the Republicans on the committee.

(as said) “There was one bipartisan amendment in this entire process — one — and that’s mine,” Feenstra says, “that allowed some funding to be spent toward helping areas of rural America that were devastated by natural disasters.”

Majority Democrats stripped Feenstra’s proposal from the bill before a final vote was taken.

(as said) “Iowa deserves better from Democrats,” Feenstra says. “Rural America deserves better from Democrats.”

Congresswoman Ashley Hinson, a Republican from Marion, recorded a video after she voted “no” on the one-point-nine trillion dollar package.

(as said) “This bill is really a disservice to the hardworking taxpayers and children in Iowa’s first district,” Hinson said. “…We need to get more targeted relief. We don’t need more Washington pork spending.”

Second District Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa issued a written statement, saying it was unacceptable that less than one-half of one percent of the bill will fund local and state public health workers to speed up vaccinations. Third district Congresswoman Cindy Axne, a Democrat from West Des Moines, voted for the bill. Axne says it’s a comprehensive relief package that will help Iowans in need. The bill provides a new round of direct payments to most Americans and extends enhanced unemployment benefits. It’s projected to provide 947 million to Iowa cities and counties, money Axne says is needed to protect local services and close budget deficits from last year. The State of Iowa stands to get one-point-three billion dollars. Republican Governor Kim Reynolds and 21 other governors co-signed a statement objecting to the way money is distributed to the states. The allocation is based on the number of unemployed in each state rather than on each state’s total population.

March 1, 2021 - 10:31 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — More people in our area are receiving COVID vaccines each day and the number of new positive COVID tests continue to remain relatively low in our four-county area.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, in the past seven days 17 positive test results were reported in O’Brien County, for a positivity rate of just 4% for the period. Osceola County reports 7 new positive test results, with 5% of the total tests conducted being positive. Lyon County reports 5 new positive tests, with just 2% of the tests conducted coming back positive for the coronavirus. and Sioux County lists 35 positive test results in the past 7 days, with that number amounting to 7% of the tests conducted during the period.

The Health Department reports no deaths from COVID-related causes in the past seven days, so the numbers remain at 54 deaths in O’Brien Counties, 14 in Osceola County, 41 in Lyon County and 69 in Sioux County, for a total of 178 lives lost to COVID in our four-county area since the pandemic began.

February 27, 2021 - 7:28 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — A pair of Spirit Lake lawyers have been nominated for the 3A Judicial District bench.

The Judicial Nominating Commission for the 3A Judicial District has nominated Attorney Matthew T.E. Early of Spirit Lake and Attorney John M. Sandy of Spirit Lake, for the judgeship created by the retirement of District Court Judge David A. Lester. A total of 5 applicants were considered for the position.

Judicial District 3A consists of Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Kossuth, Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola and Palo Alto Counties.

Governor Kim Reynolds has 30 days to appoint one of the nominees to be a district judge. District court judges typically hear a variety of cases including probate, felony criminal cases, dissolution of marriage, adoptions, disputes involving actions of state administrative agencies, juvenile cases and other matters.

February 27, 2021 - 7:22 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — With the weather warming up it’s time to start thinking about spring cleaning. Keep Iowa Beautiful executive director Kevin Techau says the organizations is signing up groups for the annual “Pick-Up Iowa” in late March.

(As above) “For over 20 years Keep America Beautiful has done the Great America Pick-Up. We participated in Pick-Up Iowa, where we try to reach out to all corners of Iowa for trash and litter pickup in the spring”.

He says Keep Iowa Beautiful will help coordinate the volunteers for the project.

(As above) “We offer free supplies, trash bags, grabbers. We also expect to have some safety vests and gloves available. And hopefully some masks as well to do this safely during this COIVD time.”

He says the groups can sign up on the organization’s website at keepiowabeuatiful.org.

(As above) “It could be an individual who wants to get a group together and clean up their own neighborhood. Or it could be a 4-H group, or we have a lot of city groups, friends of parks groups. Any individual who wants to put a group together and participate, we more than welcome them.  It’s a great opportunity to keep Iowa beautiful.”

He says there is always plenty to do when spring comes.

(As above) “When the snow melts there unfortunately a lot of trash and litter that needs to be picked up each spring. We’re doing better than we used to, but there is still some work to be done, and this is a good time to give us a good clean slate as we get into better days of weather.”

Pick-Up Iowa will be held March 26th to June 30th. To participate you must register your group/organization before March 12th.

 

Northwest Iowa — There’s a deadline coming up for farmers to decide what program they want to participate in.

Kevin McClure, Chief Program Specialist for the Iowa Farm Service Agency tells us March 15th is the last day to complete enrollment for the 2021 ARC and PLC programs. He gives us a quick refresher on what the programs are about.

(as said) “ARC/PLC is basically two parts, we’ve got the price loss coverage section and then we have the agricultural risk coverage section that makes up the ARC/PLC program. The Agricultural Risk Coverage is more of the revenue-based. And then the PLC is more straight price-based for price loss. We use a marketing year average price against an effective price that was set by Congress.”

If it seems like these deadlines have been moving around the calendar, you’re not wrong, says McClure. He says it’s been a bit confusing.

(as said) “We started out with the [20]18 Farm Bill back in 2019. Producers made one set of elections and completed enrollment and that was for the [20]19 year and the election then was locked in for 20. Starting with the [20]21 year. We have a deadline. That’s March 15th of 2021 to revise any elections on a farm and then complete enrollment. If you don’t want to revise your election, that’s not a problem.  You can just complete the annual enrollment process and that deadline still remains as of March 15th, 2021. So we have changed a few dates around between the 19, 20 and then the 21 year. [For] 21 through 23, March 15th will be the deadline. “

Signup for the programs started in October 2020.

McClure says just like everything else in farming, making these choices is a little like gambling.

(as said) “What may be the best options depending on what they think the future prices are going to be. With 2021 we won’t know an MYA price until we go through that marketing year say for corn and soybeans which starts September 1 of this coming fall through August 31st of 2022.”

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach encourages ag producers and landowners to be proactive and attend an in-person or virtual session if they have questions about their options. In order to properly mitigate COVID-19 risks, pre-registration is required, and a fee may be assessed. Sessions will be one-hour in length, with additional time for questions at the end.

There will be meetings:

 · March 1, 7:00 p.m., Le Mars Convention Center, 251 12th St. SE, Le Mars; Preregister to 712-546-7835.

 · March 2, 5:30 p.m., Dordt University Ag Stewardship Center, 3648 US 75, Sioux Center; Preregister to 712-737-4230.

 · March 4, 1:00 p.m., Immanuel Lutheran, 409 N. 6th St., Estherville; Preregister to 712-362-3434

 · March 9, 9:30 a.m., Community Room, Dickinson County Fairgrounds, 1602 15th St., Spirit Lake; Preregister to 712-336-3488.

 · March 11, 9:30 a.m., Grace United Methodist Church, 311 2nd Ave. W, Spencer; Pre-register to 712-262-2264.

If you would prefer to attend a virtual learning session, Extension officials tell us you can visit the Ag Decision Maker Farm Bill information and resources webpage at https://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/info/farmbill.html. Additional questions can be directed to Gary Wright at 712-223-1574 or gdwright@iastate.edu.

McClure says there are some COVID restrictions and the FSA counters remain closed. But they are doing business via phone, fax, US Mail, and email, so just call your local FSA office and they can get the ARC and PLC process started for you.

February 26, 2021 - 1:22 pm - Posted in News

Washington, D.C. — U.S. House Democrats have proposed an amendment that would remove a provision by Iowa Republican Congressman Randy Feenstra, of Hull, that provides money in the pandemic relief bill for victims of natural disasters. Areas of Iowa damaged by the August derecho would see some of that money and Feenstra says he will push to keep it in.

(As above) “Unfortunately, it seems that the outcome is already predetermined. But I am not letting this stop me. I will continue to fight for Iowa farmers, families, and Main Street,” Feenstra says. 

Feenstra says his provision was one last hope for bipartisanship in the entire reconciliation process.

(As above) “I even did my due diligence and reached out to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who I know have constituents who have suffered losses from natural disasters. I was able to find common ground- but it seems Speak Pelosi doesn’t care,” Feenstra says.

He says Iowa wouldn’t be the only state to benefit.

(As above) “Many states in the south and west were also affected by wildfires, severe drought, and weather-related incidences, that further harmed producers and rural businesses that were already dealing with the economic fallout of the pandemic,” according to Feenstra. 

Feenstra says House Democrats would rather use the bill to pay for abortions with taxpayer money and to fund their pet projects instead of helping natural disaster victims.

February 26, 2021 - 11:24 am - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says a new state website is now available, with information on COVID-19 vaccines, who is eligible to get a shot and links to providers giving shots.

(As above) “But I want to be clear, you cannot schedule an appointment on this site or register to be contacted when scheduling is available,” Reynolds said, “but it will connect you to a provider for scheduling in their system.”

A private company built the vaccinate.iowa.gov website this past week after Reynolds cancelled a contract with Microsoft for a website that would have helped Iowans schedule shots. The new website has a “vaccine locator.”

(As above) “You can find providers near you, click through to their websites to check availability and get details about scheduling,” Reynolds says. 

State officials say the website will be functional for smart phones as well as laptops and other computers. In addition, a call-in system is being set up to help Iowans age 65 and over who’ve been unable to schedule vaccinations. The governor says operators answering calls to 211 will begin that service the week of March 8th. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 622-thousand doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been administered to Iowans — and nearly 53 percent of Iowans over the age of 65 have had at least their first dose.

(As above) “The progress we’ve made over the last several weeks is pushing us toward a turning point in our Covid-19 recovery,” Reynolds says, “and I’m committed to continuing this forward momentum in Iowa.” 

Reynolds says it’s expected that 70-percent of the Tier One populations in Iowa will have gotten at least one dose, which includes first responders, K-12 teachers and child care workers. She says the state’s planning ahead for the -next- group.

(As above) “Essential workers and individuals with disabilities living in home settings are expected to start vaccination in early March and achieve the 70% mark in early April,” Reynolds says. “At that time, we could again expand to the next eligible group.” 

The governor says doses of the third vaccine, made by Johnson and Johnson, will begin arriving in Iowa next week, with an initial shipment of nearly 26-thousand doses. It will require only a single vaccination, with no follow-up booster shot. The State of Iowa is scheduled to receive more than 91-thousand first doses of vaccines next week for distribution to counties.

 

Northwest Iowa — The second and final installment of your property taxes is technically due on Monday (March 1st). However, county treasurers in northwest Iowa are reminding you that the taxes may be paid without penalty on or before March 31st.

If you own real estate you’re required to pay a half year’s taxes on that real estate every six months. Or you can elect to pay the full year’s taxes in one payment. The first payment was due in the fall of the fiscal year, with the last payment due the following spring. The final 2020-2021 payment is due March 1st. If you have a mortgage, your property taxes are probably paid by your lender through an escrow account.

Taxes can be paid online, in person, or by mail. And during the pandemic, most county courthouses have a dropbox near the courthouse, allowing you to pay your taxes at the courthouse without having to deal with anyone in person.

The treasurers advise that if you want to pay your taxes online, the website to use is www.iowatreasurers.org. Paying online requires the payment of a convenience fee. If you pay by credit card, the fee is a percentage of your tax payment plus a flat fee. But if you pay with an e-check, the entire fee is less than a dollar.

The county treasurer’s offices in the four-county area are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

If you’re going to pay your taxes in person at your county treasurer’s office, via dropbox, or via US Mail, the proper stub needs to accompany your payment. For more information, call your county treasurer’s property tax department.