The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency says the Fire Danger rating for grassland and field fires, will remain HIGH this week. Fire stations and participating businesses are asked to please keep your Local Fire Danger Signs in the HIGH category. The next update will be on Thursday, March 23rd.
Senator Joni Ernst says she’s “legitimately undecided” about the health care plan House Republican leaders have crafted as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. And Ernst is raising concerns about some of the budget cuts President Trump proposed last week, including a 21 percent cut to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“When you look at Iowa as a whole, we are a rural state, so our issues are very different from some of the other states that may have much more metro areas, I will be working, watching out for SNAP and other programs like that in the Farm Bill,” Ernst said. Ernst talked about “SNAP” benefits — food stamps — on Friday night during a town hall meeting in Des Moines.
Ernst says there are a lot of issues “nested together” when it comes to addressing poverty in rural America, including inadequate housing and lack of financing for rural businesses in addition to “food insecurity.” Drastic cuts to the free and reduced-price school lunch program would likely meet resistance from lawmakers, according to Ernst, as lawmakers craft a federal budget.
“I think we all understand that we need to tighten our belts a little bit moving forward because we are $20 trillion dollars in debt, but I think this will be a huge push for the members of the Midwestern coalition, especially,” Ernst says. “If you look at Iowa, we do have a lot of children that are food insecure and so this is something that I will be watching out for.”
Ernst held town hall meetings in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines on Friday.
A national campaign is encouraging boaters to enroll in a boater education course before the kickoff to the boating season. Many boater education courses are offering discounts or other incentives during the week of March 19-25, to students who enroll or complete a boating safety education course.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) works with BoaterExam and Boat-Ed to offer online boater education courses and during the March 19-25 week, they will be offering 50 percent off the on-line course price.
“March is the perfect time to take a course. The summer boating season will be here before we know it and all of us could benefit from a refresher course,” said Susan Stocker, boating law administrator for the Iowa DNR.
The exam covers required equipment, boating basics, navigation rules, environmental stressors, aids to navigation and takes about six hours to complete. Once a student has passed the test, they can print off their course completion certificate.
An estimated 236,000 boats are registered in Iowa. Last year, there were 37 boating incidents reported on Iowa waters.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a Des Moines water utility’s lawsuit against three counties, claiming their agricultural drainage districts have been sending nitrate pollution into the rivers the water utility uses for drinking water.
The judge on Friday dismissed all of Des Moines Water Works’ claims against drainage districts in Sac, Buena Vista and Calhoun counties, ruling that water pollution is an issue for the Iowa legislature to address.
The water utility alleged the three counties that oversee the drainage districts should be required to obtain federal water pollution discharge permits and pay the utility more than $1 million it has spent for increased filtration methods to remove the nitrates from water.
Utility CEO Bill Stowe says the utility’s board will review its options in the case.
Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad, Friday, signed a proclamation to allow the transportation of oversize and overweight loads of forage through Iowa. The proclamation is intended to aid cattle producers in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, where wildfires have caused a shortage of forage.
The action will allow vehicles transporting forage through Iowa to be oversize and overweight, without a permit, until May 16, 2017. The proclamation applies to loads transported on all highways within the state excluding the interstate system, and those which do not exceed a maximum of 90,000 pounds gross weight, do not exceed the maximum axle weight limit determined under the non‐primary highway maximum gross weight table in Iowa Code, by more than 12.5 percent, do not exceed the legal maximum axle weight limit of 20,000 pounds, and comply with posted limits on roads and bridges.
The Iowa Department of Transportation will monitor the operation of the proclamation to assure the public’s safety, and to facilitate the movement of trucks involved in transporting forage to the impacted states.
The Cass County Conservation Board is holding a Leprechaun Geocache Hunt Saturday afternoon at the Sunnyside Park- Kiddie Corale Shelter.
The FREE event takes place from 1-until 4-p.m. GPS units and guides will be available for checkout. You’re asked to pre-register in order to guarantee a GPS unit for the event. Call Cass County Naturalist Lora Kanning at 712-769-2372 to pre-register.
Participants will meet at 1pm to obtain their leprechaun locations. Complete them to find all of the hidden locations (geocaches) and return to the shelter for your “pot o’ gold!”
The hunt will require driving, all locations are within the Atlantic zip code but not within walking distance. A limited number of GPS units will be available to checkout for the event.
Two men have pleaded guilty to poaching-related charges in Greene County after a trespassing report to conservation officers. Forty-one-year-old Brett Cranston of Jefferson admitted to spotting a deer six miles south of Jefferson in December and firing shots at the animal. He followed the deer on county roads for around nine miles and firing shots at it until he was able to catch the buck in a cornfield southeast of Cooper.
Cranston pleaded guilty to trespassing while deer hunting, using motor vehicle to hunt deer and shooting within 200 yards of residence. He was fined 665 dollars, assessed eight-thousand dollars in damages, had his hunting privileges suspended for one year and forfeited his shotgun and the deer.
Forty-two-year-old Jeramiah Pedersen of Greene Mountain helped Cranston chase the deer and pleaded guilty to not having a hunting license and trespassing while hunting deer. Pedersen was fined 416 dollars.
The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency says drying conditions will prevail over the weekend, therefore the Fire Danger rating for grassland and field fires, will remain HIGH. Officials say ss the forecast changes though, we may be looking at very High Danger from time to time during next week, with expected low humidity, sunshine, and winds. At times during the days next week, the fire danger may become EXTREME. But for now, fire stations and participating businesses are asked to please keep your Local Fire Danger Signs in the HIGH category. The next update will be on Monday, March 20th.
Cass County: Corn $3.05, Beans $9.17
Adair County: Corn $3.02, Beans $9.20
Adams County: Corn $3.02, Beans $9.16
Audubon County: Corn $3.04, Beans $9.19
East Pottawattamie County: Corn $3.08, Beans $9.17
Guthrie County: Corn $3.07, Beans $9.21
Montgomery County: Corn $3.07, Beans $9.19
Shelby County: Corn $3.08, Beans $9.17
Oats $2.12 (always the same in all counties)
(Information from the USDA’s Farm Service Agency offices)
One dozen of the 57 Republicans in the Iowa House have signed onto a bill that would incrementally raise the state sales tax by fractions, to raise money for water quality initiatives. Representative Bobby Kaufmann, a Republican from Wilton, is the proposal’s lead sponsor.
The bill would raise the sales tax by one-eighth of a percent in each of the next three years. By that third year, it would raise 180-million dollars annually. Kaufmann says that 180 million could REPLACE other state tax money being spent on water quality projects — and he’s suggesting INCOME taxes for low-income Iowans could be reduced as a result.
Representative Ashley Hinson, a Republican from Cedar Rapids, says voters told her last year water quality is a quality of life issue. Representative Andy McKean, a Republican from Anamosa who is another co-sponsor of the bill, says it’s crafted in the tradition of former Republican President Teddy Roosevelt who founded the National Park system. “I think it’s high time that Republicans start taking the lead on some of these environmental and conservation issues,” McKean says.
There’s another water quality improvement package already moving through the legislature. Governor Branstad has expressed support for its contents — and Branstad has said he’s not interested in raising the sales tax to expand the state’s water quality efforts.