Des Moines, Iowa — A bill signed into law allows Iowa parents to enroll their children in any public K-through-12 school at any time.

Governor Kim Reynolds just approved this change to Iowa’s current open enrollment policy, which now allows parents to transfer their children out of their residing district. Previously, parents usually had to make a request of transfer by March 1st, and transfers were only permitted into nearby school districts.

As of today, the adjacency rule is also gone, but school districts may still refuse transfer applications for a lack of room. These changes were included in a budget and policy catch-all bill that was approved on the last day of the 2022 legislative session.

Governor Reynolds signed two other bills into law Wednesday, completing action on all bills approved during the 2022 Iowa General Assembly. One bill outlines the budget for the Iowa Department of Agriculture. The other is designed to boost the artisanal butchery profession in Iowa.

Statewide Iowa — Three Iowa Democrats made a pitch to national party leaders Thursday, arguing the Iowa Democratic Party’s Caucuses should be first in 2024.

National Democrats are hearing applications from 16 states and Puerto Rico seeking to be among the five early voting states in the presidential campaign. Members of the party’s Rules and Bylaws Committee have made it clear they’re looking for states with diverse populations. State Representative Ras Smith of Waterloo is a member of the Black Caucus in the Iowa House.

Smith says while Iowa’s overall population is nearly 91 percent white, Iowa is diverse in other ways.

The chairmen of the Iowa Democratic Party AND the Iowa GOP have both been arguing that Iowa inserts geographic diversity in the presidential selection process. Smith says national party leaders need to consider what will be lost if Iowa’s Caucuses aren’t an early proving ground for those who aspire to be president.

Smith made his comments during a recent episode of Iowa Press on Iowa PBS. Iowa Democratic Party chairman Ross Wilburn, Democratic National Committee member Scott Brennan of Des Moines and House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst made Iowa’s pitch to the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic National Committee Thursday morning. They discussed a big change in the voting process, specifically detailing mail-in balloting rather than a Caucus Night scramble in precinct meetings that involves complicated math to ultimately decide who wins the Democratic Party’s Caucuses. The Republican National Committee has already set its calendar of 2024 presidential contests. The Iowa GOP’s Caucuses, which essentially conduct a straw poll to determine the winner, are first.

Statewide Iowa — In July 2020, the Federal Communications Commission directed phone companies to implement 988 as the new toll-free nationwide suicide prevention hotline by July 16, 2022. The nationwide 988 crisis line will go active next month, providing help for people experiencing a mental health crisis.

Foundation 2 Crisis Services in Cedar Rapids is one of the two Iowa centers that will answer calls. CEO Emily Blomme tells KCRG TV she is concerned about meeting anticipated demand.

It’s estimated 71 thousand Iowans will call, chat or text 988 during the first 12 months of the launching of the new service. One of the biggest concerns is having enough staff.

The second Iowa center is CommUnity Crisis Services in Iowa City. If a call center in Iowa is not able to pick up — the call will be rerouted to a center in another state. While every call will be answered, Blomme says having them answered locally is ideal. She says about 87 percent of situations can be de-escalated over the phone, saving lives.

The 988 line goes active on July 16th. The current National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number 1-800-273-8255 is still active for anyone who is struggling.

June 22, 2022 - 12:29 pm - Posted in News

 

Des Moines, Iowa — The University of Iowa unveiled a new mobile medical training truck Tuesday at the Iowa State Capitol. UI program advisor, Cormac O’Sullivan says it allows medical professionals to get trained at home.

He cites one example where they would stage a car accident with mannequins for the local fire department.

They would then take them through training in the emergency room. O’Sullivan says there’s already staff shortages — and it’s tough for small towns to take everyone to a training session.

O’Sullivan is an associate professor in the College of Nursing where this first truck will be based in Iowa City. Two more trucks will be coming.

The goal is to reach every single facility, provider, and county in the state at least once a year with some continuing education training with simulation. Sioux City EMT Trainer, Terry Regaller, was on hand for the announcement.

He says the training is very important to the success of first responders.

The start-up of the program is funded with an eight-million-dollar grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust. Trustee Walter Panzirer, says Iowa is the fifth state to get these types of trucks.

The funding will gradually drop down over four years, and then the University of Iowa has to find money to keep the program going.

Orange City, Iowa — A Hull man has been sentenced to probation and a suspended 10-year prison term in a sexual assault case.

According to the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, 21-year-old Treyton Huyser was arrested in January as the result of an investigation that began in October 2021, following the report of a sexual assault that allegedly occurred at a rural Hull residence.

Deputies say their investigation revealed that Huyser allegedly sexually assaulted the victim on multiple occasions between 2020 and 2021.

Huyser was charged with four counts of 3rd Degree Sexual Abuse, which is a Class C Felony, and one count of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child, a Class B Felony.

Huyser originally pleaded not guilty in February but changed his plea to guilty as part of a negotiated plea, according to court records. In total, on three of the four counts of sexual abuse, Huyser was sentenced to a suspended indeterminate 10-year prison sentence. He must serve three years of probation and pay fines, costs, and fees. The remaining count of sexual abuse and the count of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child were dismissed, according to court records.

“Nightfall” by David Smith

Statewide Iowa — Summer is here and Keep Iowa Beautiful is announcing the 13th Annual Keep Iowa Beautiful Photography Contest.

Keep Iowa Beautiful officials tell us Iowans have the next six months to grab their cameras, or phones, and enter one or all of the five categories.

Kevin Techau, Keep Iowa Beautiful Executive Director says that this is a great way for Iowans to share what they like about Iowa. He says there are five categories to enter your favorite photo of what makes you proud to be an Iowan and captures the beauty and spirit of Iowa. Techau says that again, this year the contest will feature over $2,000 in cash awards.

The two-phase contest begins now with an entry deadline of December 17, 2022. The first-place winner will get $100, second place: $75, and third place: $50.

From January 15-29, 2023, the five first-place winners will be featured on Keep Iowa Beautiful social media for voting and selecting the Public Favorite Photo. The winner will receive an additional $100. The Robert D. Ray Best of Show Awards, determined by a distinguished panel, will also be announced at that time. The Robert D. Ray Best of Show first place winner will get $500, second place: $250 and third place: $100.

Randi Ray, Robert and Billie Ray’s eldest daughter, has agreed to serve on a panel of judges. She says that photography was one of her dad’s favorite pastimes. She says, “During his 14 years as governor, he and my Mother traveled to many places around the world and he always had a camera around his neck. Dad was so proud of Iowans and their efforts to make Iowa a great place to live.”

The five categories are:

Iowa Landscape
Capture Iowa’s beauty through depictions of Iowa’s landscape, including but not limited to farm fields, rolling hills, and wooded forests.

Iowa Water
Feature Iowa’s beautiful water systems with depictions of Iowa rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes.

Iowa Cities
Iowa’s urban centers are hubs of history, culture, and beauty. This category features depictions of Iowa’s cities, street scenes, and urban landmarks.

Iowans in Action
This category aims to capture the spirit of Iowa through depictions of the people that live, work, and play in Iowa. All means of action that can be captured: biking, running, fishing, hunting, and hiking are but a few.

Iowa Wildlife
Iowa is home to a variety of beautiful critters. This category aims to showcase Iowa’s beauty through depictions of Iowa’s wildlife animals: mammals, fish, birds, bugs, and more!

A $5 fee is required for each photo entered. Contest rules and entry guidelines are on KIB’s website: www.keepiowabeautiful.com/photograph-contest/

Rock Valley, Iowa — The citizens of Rock Valley are being asked to conserve water.

The City of Rock Valley has enacted a Water Watch. City officials tell us that means voluntary consumer limitations for all water customers. The voluntary water restrictions shall apply to all properties, including those properties that utilize wells or sand points to water their lawns. They say the City’s watering restrictions do not apply to people who are watering gardens.

Rock Valley officials tell us there are special exceptions for commercial wells that are permitted by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

They say the lawn watering restrictions are necessary because of high water demands and the persistent dry conditions. The City does have an ample supply of water for public health and emergency purposes.

The City says they want people to abide by this schedule:

  • Do not water your lawns on Sundays.
  • If your property is east of Main Street, you may water your lawn on Mondays – Wednesdays – Fridays before 5:00 AM and after 9:00 PM.
  • If your property is west of Main Street, you may water your lawn on Tuesdays – Thursdays – Saturdays before 5:00 AM and after 9:00 PM.

City Administrator Tom Van Maanen says, “While this Water Watch is voluntary at this time, if the citizens don’t adopt these voluntary watering schedules, I expect the Mayor and Council to immediately adopt a Tier 1 Water Warning that will greatly restrict or eliminate watering of all lawns.”

For more information, please contact the City at tomvm@cityofrockvalley.com or (712) 476-5707.

June 21, 2022 - 12:55 pm - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — A 16-year-old Orange City female was arrested by Orange City Police about 1:00 am Tuesday.

According to Orange City Police, the arrest stemmed from the juvenile female calling 911 in Cherokee County and admitting she had cut off her probation ankle bracelet and stole a car in Orange City. She reportedly told the 911 dispatcher that she was running out of gas.

Upon further investigation, officers determined that the juvenile female did in fact allegedly take a car from an apartment complex parking lot in Orange City without the vehicle owners knowledge or consent.

Police say she was located by Cherokee County Sheriff deputies 3 miles west of Marcus on Highway 3.

The girl was transported to the Youth Emergency Services Center in Cherokee where she was charged with operating a vehicle without owner’s consent, according to authorities.

Maurice, Iowa — Sioux County authorities have filed drug charges against a trio of juveniles after one of the girls was taken to the hospital for a possible overdose.

According to the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, on Thursday night, they received a report from the parents of a 14-year-old who had taken their daughter to Orange City Area Health for a possible overdoes reaction to drugs.

On Friday, June 17, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office cited three juvenile females into Juvenile Court for drug offenses.

Deputies say that their investigation revealed that three 14-year-old females used THC edibles and THC vapes at a residence in Maurice.

Upon her release from medical care, the female was charged with delivery of a controlled substance for furnishing the substances to the others. The two other females were charged with possession of a controlled substance, according to Sioux County authorities.

June 21, 2022 - 10:40 am - Posted in News

Sioux Center, Iowa –The Dordt University Agriculture Department has initiated a program change called Defender Crops, which allows students to manage 80 acres of crop land at Dordt’s Agriculture Stewardship Center.

The students make production, business, and marketing management decisions regarding the land. All farming operations from planting to harvesting are completed by the students.

The students are let to make the decisions with regard to inputs, and are given advice as to the inputs from the Hull Coop agronomy team. Dale Vos, instructor of agriculture technology shares that the program pays to rent the land from Dordt and pays custom rates for the equipment used. The students also make tillage decisions.

With this new approach to the Dordt University Agriculture Department, students learn a variety of skills that will help them throughout the years, such as managing profits and losses over periods of time, which makes the program very realistic.

In the past, all decisions at the Agriculture Stewardship Center (ASC) have typically been made by the farm steward. With this new program, the department has adjusted the curriculum to give students more responsibility and hands-on learning experiences at the ASC.