Tuesday News, December 1st
Road Crews Try To Keep Roads Clear Of Continuous Snowfall
(Le Mars) -- The second round of snow for this season has caused numerous schools, businesses, and meetings to be postponed or cancelled. Northwest Iowa was again on the receiving end of a heavy snow fall with amounts of at least six inches, with the prediction of perhaps two more inches still to come by Tuesday afternoon. Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe (Roy) says road crews encountered difficulties in keeping the roads clean.
Rohe says Plymouth County has 14 snowplows to clear its 365 miles of paved roadways. He says it takes the county road crews nearly two and a half hours to clear the roads. However, as Rohe says, the clearing of roadways was a non-stop continuous process on Monday.
The road engineer says the gravel roads are cleared after the paved highways have been cleared. He says the crews usually wait until the snowfall is finished before working on the secondary roads.
Rohe says since it was continuing to snow all day, the road crews held off on dispensing sand and de-icer agents until such time when the snow quits falling.
Check the KLEM website at www.klem1410 for the listings of postponements and cancellations.
Environmental Protection Agency Sets Renewable Fuels Standard
(Des Moines) -- The Environmental Protection Agency announced the long-awaited renewable fuels standard on Monday, and ethanol industry officials are disappointed. Monte Shaw serves as the executive director with the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. He says the EPA only solidified big oil company's monopoly on this nation's fuel source.
Shaw says Congress had set the production levels for ethanol at 15 billion gallons for the years 2015 and 2016. The Environmental Protection Agency has instead set the ethanol production levels slightly above 14 billion gallons for 2015 and 14.5 billion gallons for 2016. Shaw says the actions of the E-P-A will hurt the farm economy and the midwest economy.
The ethanol industry official believes the EPA's actions may result in the slowdown for future ethanol investments.
Iowa Caucus Is Two Months Away
(Le Mars) -- In just two short months, Iowa voters will attend their local caucus to stand up for their candidate of choice. Don Kass is the chairman of the Plymouth County Republican party. He says its now "crunch time" for the candidates, and he believes some presidential candidates will be making additional visits to Plymouth County and northwest Iowa, while others may drop out of the race, or focus their attention on other states.
Without the assistance of scientific polling, Kass believes Donald Trump, and Senators Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida may emerge as leaders in the Plymouth County Republican caucus. He also believes that former Hewett-Packard CEO, Carly Fiorina may also pull in some support. Kass does believe there may be more people to participate in the Republican caucuses this year than in previous election years.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum won the Iowa Caucuses in 2008 and 2012. However, this year neither candidate have been able to show double digit percentage numbers of support. Kass says perhaps a reason why the former winners of Iowa are not doing as well this year is because the political climate is different.
Some people have questioned why Iowa is so important to presidential races, given the fact the state has a relatively small population base. The Plymouth County Republican party chairman offers two reasons why Iowa matters to presidential candidates.
Plymouth County Supervisors And Le Mars City Council To Hold Regular Meetings Today
(Le Mars) -- Both the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors and the Le Mars City Council will convene for their meetings today. The county supervisors have a short agenda. They are expected to approve the 2015 Family Farm Tax Credit Applications, and they will hear from county engineer Tom Rohe as he reviews the PCC overlay project plans. The Le Mars City Council will hold a public hearing regarding the use of All Terrain Vehicles and snowmobiles on Le Mars city streets. The council is expected to take action on the Energy audit recommendations, as well as approve the second reading of the name change for Floyd Valley Hospital to Floyd Valley Heathcare. The council will also review the capital projects in the Le Mars Urban Renewal Area. The city council will also set up a schedule as to when they will hear from each city department as they propose their budget for the next fiscal year.
Clay County Authorities Investigate Shooting Incident
(Spencer) -- Clay County, Iowa authorities are investigating a shooting that occurred Sunday evening at about 5:25 p.m. in Everly. Multiple 9-1-1 calls were placed to the Clay County Communications office reporting the shooting. When deputies arrived on the scene, it was determined 57 year old Michael Shorey had retrieved a firearm from his residence and shot at a male subject in the course of an argument held outside. Sheriff's deputies recovered a .38 caliber revolver at the scene. Shorey was taken into custody, and charged with intimidation with a dangerous weapon, and reckless use of a firearm. Shorey was transported to the Clay County Jail in Spencer. Sheriff Randy Krukow advised the incident is still under investigation and further charges are pending. The Clay County Sheriff's Office was assisted by the Iowa State Patrol and the Spencer Police Department.
Larchwood And Lester Look To Add Natural Gas For Municipal Utilities
LARCHWOOD, Iowa (AP) - Two small northwest Iowa towns are considering bringing natural gas to their communities after voters supported exploring the idea.
The voters in the cities of Larchwood and Lester approved referendums on Nov. 3 that allow each city to establish municipal gas utilities.
Larchwood Mayor Dean Snyders says the decision to pursue city-run natural gas utilities was partially a result of high propane prices. Lester Mayor Dan Gerber says a natural gas line could spur more economic development.
Snyders says a feasibility study, which began in March, will help determine a potential natural gas supplier, the rate that would be charged, and the cost of installing a gas main.
The gas main will likely be a joint venture between the two cities. According to Gerber, the main would stretch 12 to 15 miles to serve both communities.
Branstad Says No Reason To Delay Plans For Medicare Privatization
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says there is no reason to delay plans to shift Iowa's Medicaid operation to private management, even though a judge has recommended that the state throw out one of four contracts awarded to companies to run the program.
Branstad says Monday that the state always planned to have between two and four companies running the program. He says that if the state takes the judge's recommendation, it can continue with three private firms.
Administrative Law Judge Christie Scase recommended Wednesday that Iowa reverse its contract with Florida-based WellCare.
Branstad stressed the state has not decided how to proceed. Iowa Department of Administrative Services Director Janet Phipps will review the judge's decision.
Iowa is set to shift the $4.2 billion Medicaid program to private management starting Jan. 1.