Tea, South Dakota — Pending the final allocation decision by the Bureau of Reclamation, the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System will have nearly enough funding to not only finish the entire project but also pay back the states that assisted them with federal funding advances when the federal funding wasn’t keeping pace.

The Lewis & Clark system has been trying since the late 1980s to move Missouri River aquifer water to communities in the tri-state area where it can be used to help spur economic development.

According to Lewis & Clark Executive Director Troy Larson, the system will likely secure more than $130 million from the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Act to accelerate construction and put the project on the cusp of being able to deliver 45 million gallons a day to its 20 member cities and rural water systems.

Communities not yet connected include Hull, Sheldon, Sibley, and Sioux Center, as well as Madison, SD.

Chairman Murray Hulstein of Sioux Center says that having everyone connected will have a positive impact on water rates for all 20 members. He says the infrastructure bill is a huge boost for construction efforts and will, “have an immense impact on improving the quality of life and expanding economic development opportunities in northwest Iowa and the rest of the tri-state region.”

Washington, D.C. — With gasoline prices in Iowa averaging more than a dollar a gallon higher than a year ago, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is calling on President Joe Biden to challenge OPEC in international court.

Grassley, a Republican, says the president’s energy policies discourage domestic production, while Biden “resorted to pleading” with OPEC to ramp up production, only to be turned down.

Grassley is calling on the president to support his bipartisan No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels, or NOPEC, Act, which he’s reintroduced. Grassley says Biden backed the original bill some 21 years ago when he was still a senator.

Grassley is urging the administration to support the bill to hold the cartel accountable for its anticompetitive behavior that elevates global oil prices. He says NOPEC would provide the Department of Justice with an effective tool to ensure American consumers are “no longer beholden to artificially inflated gas prices.”

According to Triple-A, gas prices in Iowa are averaging three-13 a gallon, compared to a dollar-97 a year ago. An official with the motor club in Iowa notes, prices a year ago were exceptionally low due to drastically-reduced travel levels caused by the pandemic — and lower demand brought lower prices.

Statewide Iowa — A federal judge in Missouri has temporarily blocked a federal agency’s COVID vaccine mandate for most health care workers in Iowa and nine other states.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued the requirement that U.S. healthcare facilities ensure staff are fully vaccinated by January 4th. Hospitals, clinics and nursing homes that failed to do so were at risk of losing the federal funding that pays the bills for Medicare and Medicaid patients.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds joined the lawsuit challenging the requirement earlier this month. Reynolds says the vaccination mandate would make workforce shortages worse and was an attack on individual liberties. The judge says the vaccination rule has vast economic and political significance and should have been approved by congress.

Sheldon, Iowa — Northwest Iowa Community College is one of three Iowa community colleges, and one of 150 community colleges across the nation to receive notification that they’re eligible to compete for a one million dollar prize.

NCC President Dr. John Hartog talks about the Aspen Institute Prize for Community College Excellence.

Dr. Hartog says this is not the first time NCC has qualified to compete for the Aspen Institute Prize.

He says there various criteria that are used for judging the qualifying schools.

In addition to qualifying to compete for the Aspen Institute Prize, NCC is recognized on a fairly regular basis for the quality of the programs they provide. Dr. Hartog says they find the recognition very humbling.

The next Aspen Institute Prize for Community College Excellence will be awarded in early 2023.

 

 

November 30, 2021 - 11:40 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — The Iowa Utilities Board is holding several public hearings on a proposed carbon pipeline that would run through 36 Iowa counties.

Navigator CO2 Ventures proposes what it calls the Heartland Greenway System pipeline — which would cross Iowa and four other states — transporting carbon to be stored in Illinois. At a hearing in Rock Rapids Monday, landowner Dan Rentschler, said he believes the project risks outweigh its good.

Landowners will receive compensation for the land being used and for any crop damage within the first three years of its construction. Landowner Bill Van Gerpen is another landowner who would be impacted by the project. He says he doesn’t trust that his northwest Iowa land will be safe.

There was also a hearing in Le Mars Monday. Plymouth County Board of Supervisors chairman, Don Kass of rural Remsen asked members of the Utilities Board about how the company would use eminent domain to get the land it needs.

IUB chair Geri Huser said the Iowa statute lays out a process where the company can come in and say they can’t work out an arrangement with landowners. She says the process also includes allowing landowners to offer an alternative route. Navigator vice president Elizabeth Burns-Thompson said they don’t want to have to use eminent domain.

Company representatives also said they would collaborate with landowners to ensure fair compensation and safety. It is estimated that the pipeline would capture 15 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.

November 30, 2021 - 10:36 am - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission recently voted to appoint administrator Brian Ohorilko to another four-year term. Ohorilko took over in 2012 to fill out two years of the term of Jack Ketterer, who retired.

The IRGC eventually opened up the license again and then settled on the plan to retire the riverboat and move the casino to land. The company that had held the license then sued and lost the case.

Ohorilko got started in the gambling industry in 2001 and was the director of gaming in Iowa when he was elevated to the administrator position.

Ohorilko will still have to be confirmed by the Iowa Senate to serve in his second four-year term.

November 29, 2021 - 3:36 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — On average, Iowa registered nurses are near the bottom of the national pay scale, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to that federal agency, the average registered nurse in Iowa is paid $62,570 annually, with Iowa ranking #47 on the list. That compares to California RNs who make, on average, $121,000 a year, and are the highest paid nurses in the nation.

The lowest paid registered nurses in America are those in Alabama, where the average annual salary is $60,230.

Salaries in the states surrounding Iowa include: South Dakota, which ranks 49th at $60,960 per year. Kansas ranks #44, with an average salary of $64,200. Missouri is #41, with an average annual salary of $65,900. Nebraska ranks #35 in RN salaries, with an average of $69,480. North Dakota comes in at #33, with the average registered nurse there earning $69,630 per year. Illinois is at #20, with an annual salary of $74,560. Wisconsin ranks #19, with the average RN earning $74,760. Meanwhile, Minnesota ranks highest of the state’s surrounding Iowa, at #13, with an average registererd nurse in the Gopher State earning $80,960.

 

 

November 29, 2021 - 3:02 pm - Posted in News

Sioux Center, Iowa — A Hull man was arrested Thanksgiving night after being pulled over for a traffic violation.

According to court records, shortly after 5:00 Thanksgiving evening, a 1997 Volkswagen Jetta, driven by 22-year-old Jose Hernandez-Ortiz, of Hull, was pulled over by an Iowa State Trooper on Highway 75 in Sioux Center for having a loud exhaust, broken windshield and expired registration.

Following the interaction with Hernandez-Ortiz, the Trooper placed him under arrest for 3rd Offense OWI which is a Class D Felony, as well as Driving While Barred which is an Aggravated Misdemeanor and Driving While License Revoked or Suspended, which is a Serious Misdemeanor.

Hernandez-Ortiz was transported to the Sioux County Jail following his arrest.

Ireton, Iowa — A routine traffic stop very early Saturday morning resulted in a combination of felony and misdemeanor charges against a Le Mars man.

Shortly after 3:00 am Saturday, a Sioux County deputy pulled over a minivan driven by 27-year-old Tyler Dimmick for speeding and a turn-signal violation, about four miles southwest of Ireton.

Upon further investigation, the deputy allegedly discovered that Dimmick was in possession of psilocybin mushrooms and marijuana, and suspected that he was under the influence of a drug.

Authorities say Dimmick was charged with possession with the intent to deliver psilocybin mushrooms which is a Class “C” Felony, possession with the intent to deliver marijuana which is a Class D Felony and operating a motor vehicle while drugged which is a Serious Misdemeanor.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Hawarden Police Department and the Orange City Police Department.

November 27, 2021 - 8:33 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Private pesticide applicator continuing education meetings have been scheduled for December through early-April. These trainings will be held live and in-person.

Individuals who choose to renew their private pesticide certification through annual continuing education should plan to attend one of these sessions.

In Iowa, private pesticide applicators can receive their initial three-year certification by passing a test offered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Once certified through testing, renewal can occur in two ways. Applicators can re-test every three years to renew or attend a training session every year during that three-year time period.

The 2021-22 Private Pesticide Applicator Training schedule for Northwest Iowa is as follows:

· Dec. 9, 9:30 a.m. – Paullina Legion Hall, Paullina; Preregister to 712-957-5045.

· Dec. 14, 9:30 a.m. – ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County Office, Lower-Level Meeting Room, Orange City; Preregister to 712-737-4230.

· Dec. 15, 9:30 a.m. – Le Mars Convention Center, Le Mars; Preregister to 712-546-7835.

· Dec. 16, 1:30 p.m. – St. John’s United Methodist Church, Mapleton; Preregister to 712-423-2175.

· Dec. 16, 7 p.m. – Cobblestone Inn & Suites Conference Center, Holstein; Preregister to 712-364-3003.

· Dec. 21, 1:30 p.m. – Presbyterian Church, Sibley; Preregister to 712-754-3648.

· Dec. 22, 9:30 a.m. – Forster Community Center, Rock Rapids; Preregister to 712-472-2576.

· Jan. 4, 10 a.m. – Crop Advantage Series, Northwest Iowa Community College, Sheldon. Preregister online at http://www.aep.iastate.edu/cas/. You must attend all day to qualify.

· Jan. 12, 1:30 p.m. – Westwood School Auditorium, Sloan; Preregister to 712-276-2157.

· Jan. 13, 7 p.m. – West Monona High School Auditorium, Onawa; Preregister to 712-423-2175.

· Jan. 19, 7 p.m. – ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County Office, Lower-Level Meeting Room, Orange City; Preregister to 712-737-4230.

· Jan. 20, 7 p.m. – Moville Community Center, Moville; Preregister to 712-276-2157.

· Jan. 26, 10 a.m. – Crop Advantage Series, Le Mars Convention Center, Le Mars. Preregister online at http://www.aep.iastate.edu/cas/. You must attend all day to qualify.

· Jan. 31, 1:30 p.m. – Forster Community Center, Rock Rapids; Preregister to 712-472-2576.

· Feb. 1, 1:30 p.m. – Ida Grove Skate Palace, Ida Grove; Preregister to 712-364-3003.

· Feb. 2, 9:30 a.m. – Le Mars Convention Center, Le Mars; Preregister to 712-546-7835.

· Feb. 3, 9:30 a.m. – Cherokee Community Center, Cherokee; Preregister to 712-225-6196.

· Feb. 24, 9:30 a.m. – ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County Office, Lower-Level Meeting Room, Orange City; Preregister to 712-737-4230.

· March 1, 1:30 p.m. – Primghar Community Center, Primghar; Preregister to 712-957-5045.

· March 1, 7 p.m. – Aurelia Community Center, Aurelia; Preregister to 712-225-6196.

· March 7, 7 p.m. – Le Mars Convention Center, Le Mars; Preregister to 712-546-7835.

· March 10, 7 p.m. – Inwood Community Center, Inwood; Preregister to 712-472-2576.

· March 14, 7 p.m. – Presbyterian Church, Sibley; Preregister to 712-754-3648.

· April 7, 7 p.m. – Northwest Iowa Community College, Building C, Room 328, Sheldon; Preregister to 712-957-5045.

For additional information, contact your local ISU Extension and Outreach county office or Field Agronomist Joel DeJong at 712-546-7835.