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Iowa sales tax revenue dropped $101 million in July


August 12th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – State sales tax revenue for the month of July fell significantly. Jeff Robinson of the Legislative Services Agency said the $101 million drop may be because consumer spending was so high in July of 2021.

“All states experienced a very large increase in sales tax revenue as economies reopened and consumers returned to the market with pent up demand and federal stimulus money to spend,” Robinson said. “Eventually, this situation was going to subside and perhaps this is a sign retail spending is returning to normal.”

Quarterly sales tax and income tax payments to the state were due July 31. Total state tax collections for the month of July declined.

“The slowdown is rooted both to changes in the state accounting process and to the unusual nature of the national economy as retail spending emerged from the pandemic lockdown,” Robinson said.

The Iowa Department of Revenue created a new account last
November that intitially holds all payments to the state — including state fuels taxes that must be separated and deposited in the Road Use Tax Fund. That accounting change makes month-to-month comparisons difficult until taxes are separated into categories.

Secretary Pate provides grants to every county to improvement accessibility for voters with disabilities


August 12th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is providing a $1,000 grant to every county in the state to improve voter access ahead of the 2022 general election. The grant is intended for counties to partner with local advocacy organizations and self-advocates to receive feedback on how polling places can be more accessible for Iowans with disabilities.

“I want all voters to have a positive experience when they cast their ballot,” Secretary Pate said. “Every polling place is required to be accessible, but we need to move past simple compliance. Inclusion begins in the planning stages and providing county auditors with the resources to work with local organizations to improve access will make sure every Iowan can easily navigate their polling place on Election Day.”

Approximately 300,000 Iowans have a disability. Counties can use the grant to improve accessibility considerations and receive communication, etiquette, and sensitivity training to understand the perspective of voters with disabilities.

“Voting can be challenging for people with disabilities,” said Bill Kallestad, public policy manager for the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council. “This grant opportunity is a great way to take steps to understand and address these challenges. Learning about voting challenges from people with disabilities can lead to meaningful change.”

Secretary Pate’s efforts to improve access for Iowans with disabilities have earned national recognition from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and the National Association of Secretaries of State.

“We are excited by the continued commitment to making voting accessible for Iowans with disabilities,” said Catherine Johnson, executive director for Disability Rights Iowa. “As the Protection and Advocacy system for Iowa, voting accessibility is one of our main focus areas. We are passionate about making sure Iowans with disabilities have the chance to share their opinions with all of Iowa through voting. We are grateful for the continued partnership with Secretary of State’s Office and their making this grant accessible to all counties in Iowa.”

The deadline for counties to request the grant funds is August 31 and the scope of work must be completed by the November 2022 general election.

Audubon County Livestock Producer’s Bull wins “Super Bull” title at the 2022 IA State Fair

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 12th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Des Moines, Iowa) – Audubon County Farm Bureau Board Member Randy Dreher and his huge bull named “Albert the Bull,” s the 2022 Iowa State Fair Super Bull! “Albert” weighed-in at 3,042-pounds! Make sure to give Albert a visit when you are at the Iowa State Fair!

Randy Dreher & family. (Audubon Chamber of Commerce FB photo)

Cass County General Election filing update


August 12th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(UPDATED] (Atlantic, Iowa) – Cass County Deputy Auditor Sheri Karns reports two candidates filed their nomination papers in advance of the November General Election, as of Friday, Aug. 12th:

Chad Becker is running for the Agricultural Extension Council. And,

Mike Klocke is running for Hospital Trustee.

Sunnyside Pool End of Year Update


August 12th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Atlantic, Iowa) – Atlantic Parks and Recreation Department Director Bryant Rasmussen and his staff say they would like to thank everyone who supported the Sunnyside Pool over the summer. “Unfortunately,” Bryant says, “the season is starting to wind down and school with be starting soon. Due to the lack of lifeguards the pool will begin reducing its days.

After Sunday August 14th, the Sunnyside Pool will only be open on the weekends: Saturday the 20th and Sunday the 21st, and again on Saturday the 27th and Sunday the 28th.

Rasmussen said “Once again, thank you for a great pool season, and we look forward to seeing you again in 2023!”

Semi-tractor trailer rollover near Marne Friday morning


August 12th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Marne, Iowa) – The driver of a semi-tractor trailer suffered minor injuries during a rollover accident this (Friday) morning on Interstate 80 westbound, in Cass County. According to dispatch reports, the accident happened just west of  the 54 mile marker, at around 3:57-p.m.

When the semi rolled into the ditch, the driver was left hanging upside down by his seat belt. Passing motorists stopped and helped cut him free. He suffered shoulder and head pain, along with minor bruises and abrasions. The driver (and only occupant of the vehicle) was transported to Cass Health. His name was not released.

Marne Fire and Rescue, Cass EMS and the Cass County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene.

Possible presidential candidate Hogan touts his blue-state record


August 12th, 2022 by Chris Parks

(Radio Iowa) Maryland Governor Larry Hogan says he’s not sure he plans to run for president, but he has just joined the ranks of hundreds of White House hopefuls who’ve visited the Iowa State Fair. Hogan, a Republican, is a two-term governor who cannot seek reelection due to term limits in Maryland. Hogan told Radio Iowa he wants to continue to be a voice in the G-O-P when his term ends in January.

The Republican candidate Hogan backed to succeed him as governor lost in July to a candidate endorsed by former President Trump. Hogan won’t be voting for Trump’s preferred candidate.

If Republican voters were to pick their 2024 Republican presidential nominee today, Hogan says it would likely be Trump. Hogan says politics can change dramatically in a year and he intends to be among a group of Republicans trying to figure out if there’s room for other candidates.

On Thursday, Hogan met with a small group of Iowa law enforcement officials and Republican Congressman Randy Feenstra to discuss efforts to combat crime. As governor, Hogan has used state tax dollars to pay for more federal prosecutors who handle gun-related cases and he approved a 50 percent increase in state spending on local policing. Hogan calls it “RE-funding” the police, as a counter to progressives’ calls for DE-funding. Hogan says he didn’t like hearing some fellow Republicans call for “defunding” the F-B-I following the search at Trump’s Florida home

Hogan says there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered to end speculation about the F-B-I’s actions, but Hogan says the U.S. Attorney General took a step in the right direction by filing a motion to make public both the warrant and list of items removed from Trump’s Florida home.

State Treasurer renews call for state-run ‘Retirement Savings Iowa’ program


August 12th, 2022 by Chris Parks

State Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald is again calling for creation of a state-managed investment program for Iowans who don’t have a pension or retirement plan through their employer.

Fitzgerald first proposed a “Retirement Savings Iowa” program in 2016, to be managed by the State Treasurer’s office.

Fitzgerald’s office has managed the College Savings Iowa program since in 1998. It currently has seven-and-a-half billion dollars in assets for 280-thousand accounts set up by parents and grandparents to cover college expenses for the next generation. Fitzgerald says it makes sense to set up a similar program, so Iowans can set aside money for retirement without paying taxes on it.

Fitzgerald made his comments Thursday afternoon at the Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair. Fitzgerald, a Democrat, is the nation’s longest-serving state treasurer. Roby (ROB-ee, like “Robbie”) Smith, a state senator from Davenport, is the Republican challenging Fitzgerald’s bid for an 11th term.

Summit Carbon pipeline hearing will be held at Webster County Fairgrounds

Ag/Outdoor, News

August 11th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) – The Iowa Utilities Board has determined the Webster County Fairgrounds will be the site of the public hearing on the Summit Carbon Solutions request for a permit to build a carbon pipeline. The order sets the place for the hearing — but the date has not been set as I-U-B staff are continuing to review the information submitted with the permit request.

Webster County was chosen as the site for the hearing because it is at the middle of the proposed 681-mile pipeline. There was some discussion about using the Webster County Fairgrounds because the site is four-thousand yards outside the corporate limits of the county seat, which is Fort Dodge. But the I-U-B determined the site substantially complies with Iowa code hearing requirements.

Atlantic neighborhood program recipients announced


August 11th, 2022 by Ric Hanson

Atlantic, Iowa, August 10, 2022 – TS Bank partnered with SHIFT ATL of Atlantic for the second year in row on a program called AMP for Neighborhoods, which focused on assisting local homeowners with exterior home repairs, curb-appeal-type projects and neighborhood block initiatives. Individuals were encouraged to nominate themselves or a neighbor with outdoor housing needs. Project requests ranged from landscaping, siding, painting, fencing, driveways, sidewalks, windows, roofing and exterior doors.

Volunteers from the different AMP sponsor organizations, and community members, showed up on the morning of August 10th to help spread the pea gravel to complete the project.

In addition to SHIFT ATL and TS Bank, other contributing sponsors included Cass/Atlantic Development Corporation, Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce, Meyer and Gross Real Estate, Cass Health and Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial bringing the grand total to $4,500 awarded.

“We love being able to partner on this project and help homeowners beautify the space they’re living in. Not everyone is able to climb a ladder or bend over to pull weeds and old landscaping out. By working together, we can spruce up some properties and encourage those within the neighborhood to follow suit,” Bailey Smith, Executive Director at the Atlantic Area Chamber of Commerce stated.

This year, the AMP program received an anonymous nomination for the Midtown Apartments neighborhood playground, citing the need for more playground equipment. With over 20 children in the complex and only a couple of items to play on, the need was great.

To help make this project possible, SHIFT ATL partnered with Atlantic Parks and Recreation to receive used equipment from a city-owned park that was on the dock to get new equipment anyways. In addition to donating the equipment, they hauled over 50 ton of pea gravel to fill the playground area as fall material and railroad ties to make it look nice. Lindeman Tractor and the Atlantic Parks and Recreation department also donated their resources to help install the playground equipment.

“Being able to contribute to and take part in such a transformational initiative is so rewarding. We love that we can be hands on through volunteering on these projects, and see the homeowners face makes it all worth it. Our hope is that by helping spruce up one property at a time, we can create a new standard for curb appeal in our community that trickles to all property owners,” said SHIFT ATL board member Alexsis Fleener.

The curb appeal transformation has been a blessing to the apartment complex residents to have more equipment so children have more opportunity to play together outside. Additionally, this benefit will add to the overall property value for the area and be a new gathering place for several families in the Midtown Apartments and foster further neighborhood connections.

“We are very grateful for AMP for putting together the playground for the kids! This was definitely a wonderful gift, and we are very appreciative to them for all that they have done to make this happen,” said Midtown Apartment complex owner, Tracey Bell.

(Photos and story courtesy Jessie Shiels, Marketing Manager, TS Banking Group)


If interested in volunteering for or supporting our AMP for Neighborhoods program in Atlantic next year, contact marketing@tsbg.com. Learn more about the projects at tsbank.com/amp.