January 25, 2022 - 4:07 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — Two people from the state of Georgia face felony drug charges after a traffic stop on Wednesday near Sibley.

According to the Osceola County Sheriff’s office, one of their deputies arrested 30-year-old Dominique Demetrice Farrar and 27-year-old Silk Lesure, both of Marietta, Georgia. The report says Farrar and Lesure were charged with Failure to Affix Drug Tax Stamp and Controlled Substance Violation, both Class D Felonies.

They also face misdemeanor charges of Possession of Controlled Substance – Marijuana 1st Offense and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Farrar was additionally charged with allegedly Operating While Under the Influence – 1st Offense, a Serious Misdemeanor.

Farrar and Lesure were booked into the Osceola County Jail and at last report were being held on a bond of $5,000 each. The arrests stemmed from a traffic stop on Hwy 60 south of 130th Street.

They both face a preliminary hearing on Monday, February 14th, according to court records.

Des Moines, Iowa — The voting delegates of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, representing all of the state’s 99 county pork organizations are in Des Moines for the annual meeting to vote on policies.

Association spokeswoman Dal Grooms explains what is being discussed.

Under the pork check-off program, producers pay 45-cents per 100-dollars of pork value. Membership dues are used for lobbying, while the check-off funds can only be used for promotion, education, research, market development, and exports.

The industry trade show and seminars as part of the annual Iowa Pork Congress are being held this Wednesday and Thursday at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines.

Des Moines, Iowa — Key lawmakers say the Republican-led legislature is focused on cutting personal income taxes and the corporate income tax cut Governor Kim Reynolds has proposed isn’t part of their plans at this point.

Republican Senator Dan Dawson of Council Bluffs is chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Some of the current credits are so lucrative some corporations get a tax refund check from the state. House Speaker Pat Grassley says corporate tax credits and sales tax exemptions have to be reduced or eliminated if the corporate income tax rate is to be reduced.

Senator Dawson says the governor’s other tax proposal, to have just one rate of four percent for personal income taxes, is the focus.

The governor’s proposal retains current credits and deductions for individuals and couples filing personal income taxes. Reynolds is calling for a study about which tax breaks to get rid of and which ones to keep. Dawson says of some credits could also be called tax shelters for upper-income Iowans.

Dawson says Republicans do not intend to do away with the standard deduction, credits for the parents of minor children, or the minimum income threshold for filing, all of which ensure the poorest Iowans don’t pay income taxes.

January 24, 2022 - 4:18 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — This is National School Choice Week in the United States.

We talked to Trish Wilger, who is the executive director with Iowa Alliance For Choice in Education. She tells us they have a special message for Iowans.

In northwest Iowa, we tend to think of “school choice” as being support of Christian and Catholic schools. But Wilger says they have more of an “all of the above” point of view.

She says there are two distinct organizations, and she outlines their purposes.

Wilger tells us Iowa Alliance will be sponsoring a School Choice Breakfast for legislators this week at the Capitol.

She says they support education savings accounts, which are different from vouchers. She says vouchers are a direct payment to a specific school or family, where the state funding would go into an account for qualified education expenses under an education savings account or ESA.

For more information on National School Choice Week, which runs from now through Saturday, January 29th, you can visit schoolchoiceweek.com.

January 24, 2022 - 4:00 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — There were 72 more positive COVID test results in the four northwesternmost Iowa counties this week than there were last week, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

In the last seven days, of all the tests that were given, 786 of them came back positive, which compares to 714 the previous week. The highest percentage of tests coming back positive in Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola, and Sioux counties this week was Lyon County, where 34 percent of given tests came back positive. 151 tests came back positive, an increase of 16 tests. In sheer numbers, O’Brien County had the highest number of positives, with 188, an increase of 45 positive results over the 143 positives a week ago. But only 33 percent of tests given came back positive, which is lower than Lyon County’s percentage. There were 11 more positives this week than last week’s positive count in Sioux County. Last week it was 366, this week it was 377, which represents 26 percent of given tests. Coincidentally, Osceola County had the exact same number of positive results this week as they had last week, at 70, which this week represents 30 percent of given tests.

Three more people lost their lives to COVID-related causes in the last seven days. They were two people in Sioux County and one person in Lyon County. Sioux County’s total is now 80. Lyon’s is 45. Osceola and O’Brien remain at 20 and 63, respectively.

January 24, 2022 - 2:48 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — This summer’s RiseFest Christian music festival in Sheldon is taking shape. And a couple of announcements were made Monday morning.

Already announced as planning to appear at this year’s RiseFest are TobyMac, For King and Country, Mac Powell, and Unspoken. Rise Ministries is the Sheldon organization that runs RiseFest, and Rise Ministries Founder and President Rob Rozeboom tells us about two more artists and a speaker.

Rozeboom tells us about Megan Fate Marshman, who he says “Has a lot of energy.”

He says Marshman has had to deal with tragedy in her life.

If you’d like to know more about Marshman, be listening for the latest issue of Rozeboom’s podcast and/or visit her website at meganfate.com.

Rozeboom tells us more about Ben Fuller and his music.

Find out more at riseministries.com. RiseFest is set for June 10 and 11 in Sheldon.

Statewide Iowa — Advocates in Iowa are stunned over the decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, to deny coverage for an entire class of drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

Lauren Livingston, spokeswoman for the Iowa Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, says the blanket decision has tremendous implications beyond the initial drug, Aduhelm.

The draft decision says all future FDA-approved treatments in this class of drugs, regardless of clinical trial results and what the FDA recommends, will NOT be covered except in another clinical trial.

Aduhelm is showing promise in the treatment of early-stage Alzheimer’s and for others with mild cognitive impairment. For CMS to deny coverage, Livingston says, is putting concerns about money over the lives of patients.

Many other drugs used in treating other afflictions are quite expensive and ARE covered by CMS, she notes. A statement from the national association’s CEO says: “People living with Alzheimer’s disease deserve the same access to therapies given to those living with other conditions like cancer, heart disease and HIV/AIDS. For those in the Administration to treat those with Alzheimer’s disease differently than those with other diseases is simply unacceptable.” About six-million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, including some 66-thousand Iowans.

You can visit the Iowa Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org/iowa.

January 22, 2022 - 5:38 pm - Posted in News

 

Statewide Iowa — Iowa’s record 2021 corn harvest led to a significant increase in traffic on the rail lines that run through Iowa.

That’s Iowa DOT director Scott Marler, who says railroad traffic nationwide increased seven percent in 2021, but has not rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. Marler says the volume of cars and trucks on Iowa streets and highways dropped over 40 percent at the beginning of the pandemic.

Marler says that’s likely because of the high volume of trucks carrying freight on Iowa highways and interstates. Passenger traffic at Iowa airports that offer commercial flights dropped significantly during the first year of the pandemic and Marler says it’s bouncing back.

Marler made his comments during a briefing for the Iowa House Transportation Committee.

Des Moines, Iowa — MidAmerican Energy has filed plans with the Iowa Utilities Board for a three-point-nine BILLION dollar($3.9) renewable energy project.

Company spokesman Geoff Greenwood says the goal is to hit net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

They are calling the project Wind PRIME and Greenwood says they would add more than two-thousand megawatts of wind generation and 50 megawatts of solar. The location of each has not yet been decided.

Greenwood says past projects were built with federal production tax credits — but the amount paid in tax credits is dropping — and could lead to customers paying more.

The wind and solar projects are the major part of the plan, while Greenwood says they want to explore other things like carbon capture. That would help reduce emissions for coal-fired energy plants.

He says they want to look at all the technology available and the does include the small modular nuclear generation.

The proposal has to go through the IUB process to get the plan approved. That will include public hearings and comments on the plan.

In our area, MidAmerican provides both natural gas and electric service in Sheldon, Archer, Germantown, Calumet, Sutherland, Granville, Newkirk, Hospers, Boyden, Hull, Rock Valley, Doon, Alvord, and Inwood. They also provide electric service only in Beloit, Carmel, Middleburg, Chatsworth, Ireton, Maurice, Carnes, and Gaza.

Des Moines, Iowa — Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Economic Development Authority have announced more than $500,000 in grant funding will be awarded to rural communities across the state through the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative, and some of that money will be going to communities in northwest Iowa.

Governor Reynolds says that the Empower Rural Iowa Initiative has played a key role in transforming rural communities by expanding broadband access and affordable housing options, which are essential to the growth and retention of our state. She says that these programs help turn innovative ideas into reality for small communities across Iowa, “…paving the way for opportunity and prosperity for generations to come.”

The grants cover 38 projects across the state.

Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg says that rural communities are “the backbone of our state, and this latest round of grants will help them tackle tough challenges like housing, childcare, and recruitment.” He says the Empower Rural Iowa initiative looks forward to building on this success and further ensuring opportunity and prosperity are present in all corners of Iowa.

The Rural Innovation Grant program supports creative, nontraditional ideas to overcome rural community development challenges, such as workforce development and housing shortages.

The Rural Housing Assessment Grant program supports efforts to expand access to quality housing tailored to communities. The program leverages data from the Iowa Finance Authority’s Profile of Iowa tool and provides support through a partnership with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

The new Rural Return Grant program supports creative programming that attracts new residents to move and/or work in rural communities. The new Rural Child Care Market Study Grant program supports the use of data and analysis by rural communities, in partnership with First Children’s Finance, to determine the specific needs and solutions for their area.

Three Osceola County communities are among 10 communities that received Rural Housing Assessment grants. The City of Ocheyedan,the City of Ashton, and the City of Sibley each received $10,000. Rural Housing Assessment grants and will be working with Iowa State University Office of Extension and Outreach to undergo a facilitated readiness assessment and implementation process. The cities of Keosauqua, Emmetsburg, Lee County, Clarinda, Grinnell, Forest City, and Wayne County received Rural Child Care Market Study grants and will be working with First Children’s Finance to undergo a data and analysis study.

Also, Northwestern College and the City of Orange City received a $1,000 Rural Leadership Bootcamp Grant for a project called, “Accelerate Siouxland.”

For more information on the Center for Rural Revitalization programs, visit https://www.iowaeda.com/empower-rural-iowa/ or contact Liesl Seabert at Rural@iowaeda.com

A full list of the of the 2022 Rural Grant recipients is available here.