10-1 NEWS

THE FRAC SAND MINING ISSUE IS BACK IN THE HEADLINES IN HOUSTON COUNTY. THE HOUSTON COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION VOTED DOWN A PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO BAN FRAC SAND MINING IN THE COUNTY AFTER A FOUR HOUR MEETING TUESDAY NIGHT. SEVEN MONTHS AGO, THE HOUSTON COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS NARROWLY FAILED TO PASS ON A BAN ON THE PRACTICE. THE GROUP THAT BROUGHT THE ORDINANCE TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION PLANS TO BRING THE SAME ORDINANCE TO THE HOUSTON COUNTY BOARD DESPITE THE LACK OF A RECOMMENDATION FROM THE PLANNING COMMISSION.

Corn and politics. They’re two big things Iowa is known for. But one person is saying presidential candidates don’t need to focus so much energy on states like Iowa. For more than 40 years, it’s been a tradition for Iowans to be able to say they’ve met presidential candidates face-to-face. But National Republican Chairman Reince Priebus says spending less time on the early states wouldn’t be a bad thing.
In an article in the National Journal, he says Iowans shouldn’t get too comfortable with their first in the nation status. Others argue against this chairman’s opinion. They say that not starting in Iowa would turn the primary process into one that’s all about money.

A judge is upholding an Iowa law that requires the boards of corporations and labor unions to approve any money they spend to influence elections. U.S. District Judge Robert Pratt ruled Monday the board-approval requirement does not violate the right to free association or illegally restrain speech. He says the requirement ensures the integrity of the political system by letting the public know the spending is backed by the group and not “just an individual with access” to its bank account. Iowa lawmakers passed the requirement after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that corporations and unions can spend money directly from their own treasuries to influence campaigns. Pratt’s ruling dismisses a long running lawsuit filed by the Iowa Right to Life Committee, which argued the requirement was unconstitutional.

IOWA’S COMMUNITY COLLEGE STUDENTS ARE DOING A LITTLE BIT BETTER, PAYING OFF THEIR FEDERAL STUDENT LOANS. M-J DOLAN OF THE IOWA ASSOCIATION OF COMMUNITY COLLEGE TRUSTEES SAYS A NEW STUDY SHOWS IOWA HAD THE 9TH HIGHEST STUDENT LOAN DEFAULT RATE IN THE NATION IN 2013, COMPARED TO 6TH IN 2012. SHE CREDITS MORE SUPPORT SERVICES FOR THE IMPROVEMENT.

DOLAN

THE STUDY FINDS THOSE WHO BORROW THE LEAST, HAVE THE HIGHEST DEFAULT RATES.

WINNESHIEK COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH IS HOSTING ITS FIRST FLU SHOT CLINIC TODAY. IT WILL BE HELD FROM NOON UNTIL SIX AT THE DANAN LANSING BUILDING ON THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS. THE COST IS 35 PER SHOT AND 40 DOLLARS FOR THE FLU MIST.

AN ANTI-BULLYING PROGRAM WILL BE HELD AT THE DECORAH PUBLIC LIBRARY TONIGHT. LIBRARY DIRECTOR LORRAINE BOROWSKI.

BOROWSKI

THE PROGRAM BEGINS AT SIX-30 AT THE LIBRARY MEZZANINE

9-30 NEWS

LOW INCOME IOWANS WILL SOON BE ALLOWED TO APPLY FOR THE “LIHEEP” PROGRAM, TO OFFSET SOME OF THEIR WINTER HEATING COSTS.

MCKIM

COORDINATOR JERRY MCKIM SAYS SOME FOLKS CAN APPLY IN OCTOBER: INCLUDING HOUSEHOLDS WITH SOMEONE WHO IS OVER AGE 60 OR DISABLED, OR IF A HOUSEHOLD IS DEEMED TO BE “IN CRISIS” -THAT IS THE FURNACE IS NOT OPERATIONAL, OR THERE’S BEEN A DISCONNECTION NOTICE. HE SAYS EVERYONE ELSE HAS TO WAIT UNTIL NOVEMBER TO APPLY. MCKIM SAYS LAST YEAR, THE AVERAGE LIHEEP BENEFIT, WAS A ONE-TIME PAYMENT OF AROUND 450-DOLLARS.

A PUBLIC HEARING ON THE FINANCING FOR THE FRANKVILLE WATER DISTRICT WAS POST-PONED MONDAY. THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MONDAY RE-SET THE HEARING FOR OCTOBER 19TH. PROJECT ENGINEER GEORGE TEKIPPE SAYS WHEN THEY SAW THE PUBLIC HEARING IT INCLUDED A 20 YEAR PAYBACK IN GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS. TEKIPPE SAYS WHEN THEY DISCUSSDED THE MATTER WITH FRANKVILLE RESIDENTS THEY DECIDED TO USE A 30 YEAR PAYBACK. TEKIPPE SAYS ANY PAYBACK LONGER THAN 30 YEARS WOULD REQUIRE REVENUE BONDS PER STATE LAW.

Iowa could do better in the list of “fattest” states. And, the Director of the Iowa Department of Public Health says a good place for you to start could be the annual “Healthiest State Walk” scheduled for next week.

Clabaugh

Director Gerd Clabaugh (KLAY’-baw) says there’ll be multiple walks held around the state again this year. It’s called “Walks At The Whistle” because it’ll be held in conjunction with fire drills that are probably going to get you out of your building anyway. Clabaugh says you might as well keep walking.

Gov. Terry Branstad has signed an executive order to create an office that will tackle school bullying in Iowa, a move that follows years of failed attempts to pass comprehensive legislation on the issue. Branstad announced the order Monday at an elementary school in Cedar Rapids. The order will establish a bullying prevention office through the University of Northern Iowa’s Center for Violence Prevention. The office will examine training opportunities, develop guidelines on various issues and address inconsistencies in data reporting of school bullying cases. The new office’s responsibilities have similar language to proposed bills in recent years aimed at combating school bullying in Iowa. Branstad made the issue a legislative priority in the last two sessions. The effort failed to translate into legislation that could reach Branstad’s desk.

9-29 NEWS

SOLAR POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENTS WILL BE DISCUSSED IN A DECORAH CITY COUNCIL COMMITTEE MEETING TONIGHT. THE UTLITIES COMMITTEE WILL DISCUSS THAT ISSUE AND OTHER COMMUNITY BASED SOLAR INITIATIVES BEGINNING AT FIVE P.M. TONIGHT AT CITY HALL.

A SLIGHT INCREASE IN HEADCOUNT IS BEING REPORTED AT NORTHEAST IOWA COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOR THE FALL SEMESTER. THE COLLEGE’S ENROLLMENT FIGURES WERE REPORTED AT LAST WEEK’S BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING. N-I-C-C VICE PRESIDENT FOR ACADEMIC AFFAIRS KATHY NACOS-BURDS THE COLLEGE HAS SEEN A ONE PERCENT INCREASE TO 4958 STUDENTS. NACOS-BURDS SAYS THE COLLEGE IS FLAT IN CREDIT HOURS.

THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY SUPERVISORS HAVE APPROVED THE FIRST READING AND WAIVED THE SECOND AND THIRD READINGS OF A REVISED ZONING ORDINANCE. THE BOARD TOOK THE ACTION AT ITS MEETING TODAY. DURING A PUBLIC HEARING HELD PRIOR TO THE FIRST READING, THREE PEOPLE SPOKE IN FAVOR OF THE REVISED ORDINANCE AND ONE SPOKE AGAINST IT. MOST OF THE CONVERSATION HAD TO DO WITH THE REGULATION OF INDUSTRIAL MINERAL MINING. LYLE OTTE SAID THE REVISED ORDINANCE ELIMINATE THE POTENTIAL BURDENSOME ASPECTS OF INDUSTRIAL MINERAL MINING. DICK JANSEN COMPLEMENTED COUNTY OFFICIALS ON THEIR DUE DILIGENCE SAYING THE CAME UP WITH AN ORDINANCE BASED ON THE FINDINGS OF FACT. STEVE MCCARGAR SAID HE WANTS TO SEE THE PRACTICED BAN, BUT SAID IN REALITY THE ORDINANCE COUNTY OFFICIALS CAME UP WITH THE BEST POSSIBLE APPROACH AGAINST INDUSTRIAL MINERAL MINING AT THE PRESENT TIME. STEVE LUSE SPOKE AGAINST THE ORDINANCE, SAYING THE BOARD SHOULD PROHIBIT INDUSTRIAL MINERAL MINING DUE TO ITS CLEAR, HARMFUL IMPACT ON THE COMMUNITY. THE BOARD PASSED THE ORDINANCE UNANIMOUSLY. THE COUNTY PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION HAD UNANIMOUSLY RECOMMENDED APPROVAL AT ITS MEETING EARLIER THIS MONTH.

Gas prices in Iowa have fallen 1.1 cents per gallon in the past week to about $2.32 a gallon Sunday, according to GasBuddy’s latest report. The report says the national average has not moved in the last week, and averages $2.29 per gallon. According to GasBuddy, prices Sunday were 91.5 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago, and 26 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 22.1 cents a gallon during the last month.

WE’RE A LONG WAY FROM ELECTION DAY, BUT THERE’S GROWING CONCERN ABOUT OUT-DATED VOTING MACHINES. DOUG JONES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA’S COMPUTER SCIENCE DEPARTMENT SAYS THE “HELP AMERICA VOTE ACT” -IN 2002, REPLACED A LOT OF OLD EQUIPMENT, ALL AT ONCE. JONES SAYS NOW, MANY OF “THOSE” MACHINES ARE NOW OUT OF DATE.

JONES

JONES SAYS SOME ELECTRONIC COMPONENTS AGE BADLY, ESPECIALLY IF THEY’RE NOT PLUGGED IN ALL THE TIME. THE ISSUE CAME UP IN A BI-PARTISAN PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON ELECTION ADMINISTRATION- WHICH CALLS THE OUTDATED MACHINES AN “IMPENDING CRISIS.

9-28 NEWS

THE PRESIDENT OF NORTHEAST IOWA COMMUNITY COLLEGE WANTS THE STATE TO CHANGE WHEN COMMUNITY COLLEGES ARE REQUIRED TO REPORT THEIR ENROLLMENT TO THE STATE. DOCTOR LIANG CHEE WEE SAYS THE REQUIREMENT OF REPORTING THE ENROLLMENT ON THE TENTH DAY OF CLASSES IS ONLY A SNAPSHOT AND NOT ACCURATE FOR DECISION MAKING. WEE TOLD THE COLLEGE’S BOARD OF TRUSTEES LAST WEEK REPORTING ENROLLMENT AT THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR WOULD PROVIDE A CLEARER PICTURE OF HOW MANY CREDIT SSTUDENTS THE COLLEGE IS SERVING.

THE UTILITIES COMMITTEE OF THE DECORAH CITY COUNCIL WILL MEET TONIGHT. THE COMMITTEE WILL DISCUSS SOLAR POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENTS AND OTHER COMMUNITY BASED SOLAR INITIATIVES. THE MEETING WILL BEGIN AT FIVE P.M. AT CITY HALL.

THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WILL HAVE A BUSY DAY TODAY. A PUBLIC HEARING WILL BE HELD ON AN AMMENDED ZONING ORDINANCE. THE COUNTY PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION RECOMMENDED APPROVAL OF THE AMMENDED ORDINANCE EARLIER THIS MONTH. COUNTY ZONING ADMINISTRATOR TONY PHILLIPS SAYS THE CHANGES INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO THE REGULATION OF INDUSTRIAL MINERAL MINING. A PUBLIC HEARING WILL ALSO BE HELD ON A LOAN FOR THE FRANKVILLE WATER DISTRICT. UPDATES WILL ALSO BE PROVIDE BY THE COUNTY’S VETERANS AFFAIRS AND I-T DEPARTMENTS. THE MEETING WILL BEGIN AT NINE-30 AT THE COURTHOUSE IN DECORAH.

TWENTY DIFFERENT SITES IN THE NORTHEAST IOWA DRUG TASK FORCE AREA HOSTED NATIONAL PRESCRIPTION DRUG DROP-OFF DAY EVENTS SATURDAY. TASK FORCE OFFICIALS SAYS 686 POUNDS OF PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS WERE COLLECTED AT THE 20 LOCATIONS. AUTHORITIES SAY THE PURPOSE OF THE EVENTS IS TO KEEP MEDICATIONS OUT OF THE HANDS OF PEOPLE WHO MAY MISUSE OR ABUSE THEM, ESPECIALLY YOUTH.

A NEW SHERIFF’S DEPUTY WILL BE INTRODUCED TO THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS THIS MORNING. COUNTY SHERIFF DAN MARX WILL INTRODUCE TODD SCHMITT TO THE BOARD. GARTH NARUM RETIRED AFTER 23 YEARS ON THE JOB LAST FRIDAY.

THREE PEOPLE WERE INJURED IN A TWO VEHICLE ACCIDENT AT HIGHWAY 52 AND THE MADISON ROAD SATURDAY. THE DECORAH POLICE DEPARTMENT SAYS AROUND ELEVEN-30, A VEHICLE DRIVEN BY 78 YEAR OLD SALLY LUDEKING ENTERED THE INTERSECTION AND COLLIDED WITH A VEHICLE DRIVEN BY 51 YEAR OLD DAVID MUETERTHIES OF CEDAR FALLS. MUETERTHIES AND TWO PASSENGERS, 48 YEAR OLD CINDY MUETERTHIES AND 16 YEAR OLD GINA MUETERTHIES WERE ALL TAKEN BY AMBULANCE TO WINNESHIEK MEDICAL CENTER WITH COMPLAINTS OF PAIN. LUDEKING WAS CHARGED WITH FAILURE TO YIELD THE RIGHT OF WAY.

9-27 NEWS

THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY PLANNING AND ZONING COMMISSION WANTS TO HEAR FROM THE PUBLIC. THE COMMISSION IS INTERESTED IN KNOWING WHAT AREAS, FEATURES AND RESOURCES THE RESIDENTS OF WINNESHIEK COUNTY FEEL NEED PROTECTION FROM DEVELOPMENT AND WHAT REGULATION IS WARRANTED TO PROTECT THOSE AREAS, FEATURES AND RESOURCES WITH OUT CAUSING UNDUE HARDSHIP TO THE LANDOWNER. PERSONS INTERESTED IN GIVING THEIR TWO CENTS ON THE ISSUE ARE INVITED TO THE COMMISSION’S NEXT MEETING WHICH WILL BE HELD OCTOBER 13TH AT SEVEN-30 IN THE LARGE COURTROOM OF THE COURTHOUSE.

OFFICIALS ARE WORKING TO PUT TOGETHER A PACKAGE OF REFORM SUGGESTIONS TO PRESENT TO THE STATE LEGISLATURE NEXT SESSION. THE GOVERNORS WORKING GROUP ON JUSTICE POLICY REFORM HELD ITS FIRST OF FOUR MEETINGS (THURSDAY). ONE OF THE TOPICS ON THE DOCKET – MENTAL HEALTH COURTS. TERESA BOMHOFF WITH THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF MENTAL ILLNESS DES MOINES CHAPTER SAYS THE DEDICATED COURTS ARE MAKING AN IMPACT, BUT THE LEGISLATURE NEEDS TO ADEQUATELY FUND THEM.

BOMHOFF

BOMHOFF SAYS THE ENTIRE MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM NEEDS TO BE FUNDED, AND REAL SOLUTION IS TO GET PEOPLE TREATMENT BEFORE THEY ARE IN THE JUSTICE SYSTEM.

The advertising phrase “got milk?” may mean something more to dairy producers in northeast Iowa in about a year. That’s because a Swiss Valley Farms cheese plant in Luana just launched a $20 million dollar expansion plan. Swiss Valley leaders and workers broke ground officially late Thursday afternoon, but contractors had already started site preparation. The expansion is expected to wrap up in late 2016 and add 49,000 square feet of space to what is already the company’s largest cheese plant.

AN INTERACTIVE ANTI-BULLYING PROGRAM WILL BE HELD AT THE DECORAH PUBLIC LIBRARY THIS WEEK. LORRAINE BOROWSKI IS THE DIRECTOR OF THE DECORAH PUBLIC LIBRARY.

BOROWSKI

THE PROGRAM WILL BE HELD THURSDAY NIGHT AT SIX-30 AT THE LIBRARY MEZANNINE. OCTOBER IS NATIONAL BULLYING PREVENTION MONTH.

THE NORTHEAST IOWA COMMUNITY COLLEGE WAUKON CENTER WILL HOST AN OPEN HOUSE NEXT FRIDAY. COLLEGE OFFICIALS SAY THE OPEN HOUSE WILL ALLOW COMMUNITY MEMBERS TO TOUR THE CENTER, SEE THE NEW PROJECT LEAD THE WAY LAB AND LEARN MORE ABOUT CREDIT COURSES AND PROGRAMS AVAILABLE THROUGH N-I-C-C. ROOT BEER FLOATS WILL BE SERVED AT THE EVENT WHICH WILL BE HELD FROM TWO-30 UNTIL FOUR, FOLLOWING THE WAUKON HIGH SCHOOL HOMECOMING PARADE.

9-26 NEWS

A REVISED ZONING ORDINANCE WILL GO BEFORE A PUBLIC HEARING AT MONDAY’S WINNESHIEK COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING. THE CHANGES WERE RECOMMENDED EARLIER THIS MONTH BY THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY ZONING COMMISSION. COUNTY ZONING ADMINISTRATOR TONY PHILLIPS SAYS THE CHANGES INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO THE REGULATION OF INDUSTRIAL MINERAL MINING. THE SUPERVISORS MEETING BEGINS AT NINE-30 MONDAY MORNING AT THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY COURTHOUSE.

PERSONS WILL HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DISPOSE OF THEIR PRESCRIPTION DRUGS SAFELY (SATURDAY). THE DECORAH POLICE DEPARTMENT SAYS THE PRESCRIPTION DROP OFF DAY EVENT WILL BE HELD FROM TEN A.M. UNTIL TWO P.M. AT TWO DECORAH LOCATIONS. PRESCRIPTION DRUGS CAN BE DROPPED OFF AT THE DECORAH WAL-MART SUPERCENTER OR THRIFTY WHITE PHARMACY. OTHER AREA LOCATIONS ARE AVAILABLE BY LOGGING ON TO D-E-A-DOT-GOV.

FOLLOWING THE LEAD OF COMMODITY PRICES, PRICES FOR AG LAND IN IOWA HAVE DROPPED 11.3 PERCENT SINCE THE FIRST OF THE YEAR. THAT’S ACCORDING TO THE LATEST IOWA REALTORS INSTITUTE SURVEY OF LAND VALUES. KYLE HANSEN SAYS WITH COMMODITY PRICES DROPPING, SO HAVE THE NET REVENUES FARMERS HAVE BEEN GETTING FROM THE LAND

HANSEN

SINCE THEIR MARCH SURVEY, LAND VALUES DROPPED 3.7 PERCENT FOR TILLABLE LAND IN THE STATE.

THE UTILITIES COMMITTEE OF THE DECORAH CITY COUNCIL WILL MEET MONDAY NIGHT. THE TOPIC OF DISCUSSION WILL BE SOLAR POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENTS AND OTHER COMMUNITY BASED SOLAR INITIATIVES. THE MEETING WILL BEGIN AT FIVE P.M. AT CITY HALL.

THE 39TH ANNUAL RENDEZVOUS DAYS WILL BE HELD IN FORT ATKINSON THIS WEEKEND. ACTIVITIES INCLUDE AN 1840S MILITARY CAMP, CANNON DRILLS, PERIOD CRAFTS, COOKING CONTEST, KID’S GAMES,SKILLET AND HAWK THROWING, A BOW SHOOT AND THE COUNTRY ROAD PLAYERS PERFORMING A MELODRAMA. THE FREE TO THE PUBLIC EVENT WILL BE HELD NINE-30 UNTIL FOUR-30 SATURDAY AND NINE A.M. UNTIL FOUR P.M. SUNDAY. FOR MORE INFORMATION PERSONS CAN GO TO THE RENDEZVOUS PAGE ON FACEBOOK.

THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS WILL HOST THE 2015 NORTHEAST IOWA ANTIQUE SHOW, VINTAGE JUNK AND FLEA MARKET THIS WEEKEND. EDNA SCHRANDT IS THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY FAIR BUSINESS MANAGER.

SCHRANDT

THIS YEAR IS THE 20TH ANNUAL EVENT, WHICH WILL BE HELD IN MULTIPLE BUILDINGS ON THE FAIRGROUNDS.

9-25 NEWS

TUITION WILL BE GOING UP FOR NON-STATE OF IOWA RESIDENTS WHO ATTEND NORTHEAST IOWA COMMUNITY COLLEGE. THE COLLEGE’S BOARD OF TRUSTEES APPROVED THE INCREASE AT ITS MEETING THIS WEEK. COLLEGE OFFICIALS SAY THE NEW NON-RESIDENT RATE WILL BE 172 DOLLARS PER CREDIT HOUR. STATE RESIDENTS PAY 167 DOLLARS PER CREDIT HOUR. COLLEGE PRESIDENT DR. LIANG CHEE WEE SAYS OUT-OF-STATE STUDENTS WHO ENTERED COLLEGE THIS FALL WILL BE GRANDFATHERED IN FOR THIS SEMESTER. THE NEW RATE WILL AFFECT NEW STUDENTS ENROLLING IN THE 2016 SPRING SEMESTER.

THE DECORAH HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION WILL HOST A WORKSHOP (FRIDAY) MORNING. JANE OLIVE FULL, THE CONSULTANT FOR THE COMMISSION’S EFFORT TO PLACE THE DECORAH COMMERCIAL DISTRICT ON THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES, WILL BE AT THE DECORAH PUBLIC LIBRARY FROM TEN UNTIL NOON. COMMISSION OFFICIALS SAY THE PURPOSE OF THE WORKSHOP IS TO PREPARE VOLUNTEERS FOR THE RESEARCH REQUIRED FOR THE NATIONAL REGISTER NOMINATION.

IOWA’S REPUBLICAN AG SECRETARY BILL NORTHEY SAYS HE’D LIKE TO HEAR THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES SPEND MORE TIME, ADDRESSING ISSUES AFFECTING IOWA’S LEADING INDUSTRY. NORTHEY SAYS MOST OF THE CANDIDATE “TALKING POINTS” ARE BROAD, AND NATIONAL IN “SCOPE.

NORTHEY

SECRETARY NORTHEY SAYS NOW THAT TWO GOP CANDIDATES HAVE DROPPED OUT, HE EXPECTS THE RACE TO START EVOLVING A LITTLE MORE.

The Governor says he’s planning on working with lawmakers next session to end public funding of Planned Parenthood in Iowa. Terry Branstad says it’s “a complex issue” because currently no Iowa tax dollars go to provide abortion services.

Branstad

And, the Governor says those are mainly Federal dollars used in a state-administered program. Branstad says it’s also a tricky issue because Planned Parenthood has been quick to sue over previous disagreements, so, he says he needs to be on solid legal ground when he takes any actions.

9-24 news

MOST AMERICAN DRIVERS WANT TO STEER CLEAR OF SELF-PARKING TECHNOLOGY, ACCORDING TO A NEW STUDY. TOM NULLER REPORTS.

COMMODITY PRICES ARE DOWN AND SO IS THE VALUE OF IOWA FARMLAND. THAT’S THE NEWS FROM THE LATEST IOWA REALTORS INSTITUTE SURVEY OF LAND VALUES. KYLE HANSEN CHAIRS THAT GROUP AND SAYS TILLABLE ACRE PRICES HAVE DROPPED OVER ALL THE STATE.

HANSEN

OVERALL, AG LAND VALUE HAS DROPPED ABOUT 11.3 PERCENT SINCE THE FIRST OF THE YEAR. BESIDES COMMODITY PRICES, THE AMOUNT OF LAND PUT UP FOR SALE WAS LIMITED. THE SURVEY HAS BEEN DONE IN MARCH AND SEPTEMBER OF EACH YEAR SINCE 1978.

THE DRIVER OF A SCHWANNS TRUCK WAS INJURED IN A TUESDAY MORNING ACCIDENT ON THE BLUFFTON ROAD. THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT SAYS AROUND NINE A.M. THE TRUCK DRIVEN BY MARC HINES WAS CROWDED BY AN UNKNOWN VEHICLE CAUSING HINES’ TRUCK TO HIT THE SIDE OF A BRIDGE. THE TRUCK ENDED UP IN THE DITCH STRIKING AN EMBANKMENT. 15-THOUSAND DOLLARS DAMAGE WAS REPORTED IN THE ACCIDENT.

THE SOUTH WINNEHSIEK FUTURE DIRECTION COMMITTEE EXPECTS TO MAKE NO DRASTIC RECOMMENDATIONS WHEN THEY PRESENT TO THE SOUTH WINNESHIEK SCHOOL BOARD NEXT MONTH. STEVE CARNESI IS THE CO-CHAIR OF THE COMMITTEE. HE SAYS RELATIVELY STABLE ENROLLMENT AND STABLE FINANCES HELPED THE COMMITTEE COME TO THAT CONCLUSION.

CARNESI

THE PRESENTATION TO THE SCHOOL BOARD WILL BE MADE OCTOBER FIFTH. ONE OF THE CONSIDERED RECOMMENDATIONS WILL BE MOVING DISTRICT SEVENTH AND EIGHTH GRADERS TO THE CALMAR BUILDING FROM OSSIAN.

9-23 NEWS

The Decorah City Council has approved entering into a 28E agreement leading to the establishment of an Upper Iowa River Watershed Management Authority, pending the approval of City Attorney Rick Zahasky. County Supervisor John Beard told the council that HUD will be asked to be the source of a large share of money required. Beard says they plan to request over $8 million from the agency.

A Decorah resident is asking the city to make the pedestrian crossing on Mechanic Street near Carrie Lee Elementary School safer. Eric Bywell addressed the city council Monday night, calling the crossing a safety issue. Bywell suggested a flashing yellow light and a “Walk” button be installed because drivers don’t slow down for pedestrians until they step onto the roadway. Bywell says the city should consider a crossing guard until they can install the requested equipment. Mayor Don Arendt referred the matter to the Street Committee chaired by Gary Rustad.

Nothing drastic will be recommended. That’s what Steve Carnesi, co-chair of the South Winneshiek Future Direction committee told a town hall meeting regarding the district’s future which was held in Calmar last night. Carnesi says the committee took into account enrollment and financial numbers in finalizing the recommendation.

Carnesi

One of the recommendations will include moving seventh and eighth graders from Ossian to the high school building in Calmar. The recommendations will be presented to the South Winneshiek school board at its October fifth meeting.

The WInneshiek Emergency Preparedness Coalition will host a meeting night. Coalition represented say the meeting will offer an explanation on emergency preparedness and is open to anyone who wants to hear more about disaster relief and what you can do in an emergency. The meeting will be held from six until seven-30 tonight at Vennejhem in Decorah.

THE DECORAH SCHOOL DISTRICT IS LOOKING INTO THE POSSIBILITY OF BUILDING A NEW BUS GARAGE. SUPERINTENDENT MIKE HALUSKA SAYS THEIR EFFORT HAS A FEW BARRIERS.

HALUSKA

HALUSKA SAYS THEY ARE ALSO LOOKING INTO A SHORTER TERM LEASE WITH BRUENING ROCK PRODUCTS. BRUENING OWNS THE FACILITY WHERE THE BUSES ARE CURRENTLY HOUSED.

9-22 news

The city of Decorah could face a substantial increase in healthcare costs for its employees in 2018, according to the current administrator of coverage. Tom Scheutz(shoots) of Group Services Incorporated told the city council at last night’s meeting that costs for the “Cadillac Plan”, due in 2018, could increase current costs by over $300,000. Scheutz suggested the city and his company plan a strategy to plan for the increase before it takes effect. Group Services has administered the city’s health insurance plan for several years. Midwest Group Benefits of Decorah has also proposed to administer the city’s insurance plan. City Manager Chad Bird says the city can switch from one administrator to another at any time.

The new Decorah Pool Waterslide Replacement Project is on track for a November construction start. The Decorah City Council last night approved the plans, specifications and form of contract for the project after a public hearing. The firm assisting with the project says 3 options have been approved by the pool committee and the Park and Recreation Board, and bids on the basic option are set to be opened October 8th.

A substantial property tax cut approved in Iowa two years ago has become a major expense for the state budget and views differ on whether this was a good investment. The business-focused tax cut is costing the state budget about $260 million in the current fiscal year, both in tax credits and dollars to help replace lost local tax revenues. When he signed the bipartisan bill into law, Gov. Terry Branstad said this would make it easier for businesses to grow in Iowa. But the expense was felt during budget negotiations in the spring. Democratic Sen. Joe Bolkcom, of Iowa City, said the cost of the tax cut affected Democratic spending priorities. Branstad’s budget chief David Roederer called this an important investment.

It’s national Farm Safety and Health week – that declaration originally made in 1944 by President Franklin Roosevelt. Chuck Schwab with Iowa State University Extension says over the last SEVENTY TWO years, the concern has remained the same.

Schwab

Schwab says agriculture consistently ranks as ONE of the deadliest professions. This year, they’re focusing on safety when making repairs, making smart decisions for youth worker, and fitting roll-over structures to tractors.

Gas prices in Iowa have fallen 6.2 cents per gallon in the past week to an average of $2.35 a gallon, according to GasBuddy’s latest report. The national average fell 3.7 cents per gallon to $2.29. GasBuddy says prices Sunday were 90.9 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago, and are 36.7 cents a gallon lower than one month ago. The national average fell 34.1 cents per gallon during the last month.

The South Winneshiek Future Direction Committee will hold another town hall meeting tonight. The committee is scheduled to make a recommendation to the school board next month regarding the future of the district. The meeting will begin at six-30 at the high school auditorium.