12-1 NEWS

The director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says he’ll be forced to layoff employees and reduce services “significantly” if there’s not an increase in the fee for an Iowa fishing license. The 19-dollar annual fee hasn’t been changed since 2003. Those license fees go into the state’s Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund, which is used to run the state-run fish hatcheries and other related services, but the D-N-R’s Chuck Gipp says that budget’s becoming “a challenge.”
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Gipp 1 :14 :the personnel there.”
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Gipp has met with groups that represent Iowa hunters, fishing enthusiasts and others to discuss the situation.
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Gipp 2 :13 :the fish hatcheries.”
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Gipp made his comments Tuesday during a budget presentation in the governor’s office.
WITH THE HOLIDAY SEASON UPON US, KEEPING THE POUNDS OFF WILL BE A CHALLENGE FOR MANY. JEAN IRVIN WITH WINNESHIEK MEDICAL CENTER ENCOURAGES PEOPLE TO TAKE A SIMPLE APPROACH.

IRVIN

HEALTH OFFICIALS ALSO SUGGEST MAKING TIME FOR A REGULAR EXERCISE ROUTINE DURING THE BUSY HOLIDAY SEASON.
THE DECORAH METRONET TECH COMMITTEE IS THE GOVERNING BOARD FOR THE FIBER OPTIC NETWORK SHARED BY THE CITY OF DECORAH, WINNESHIEK COUNTY, WINNESHIEK MEDICAL CENTER, THE DECORAH SCHOOL DISTRICT AND UPPER EXPLORERLAND REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION. THE DECORAH TELECOMMUNICATIONS UTILITY BOARD IS A FIVE-MEMBER GROUP EXPLORING THE POSSIBILITY OF DEVELOPING A PUBLIC TELECOMMUNICATIONS UTILITY IN DECORAH. THE TWO GROUPS WILL MEET TO DISCUSS ITEMS OF MUTUAL INTEREST (THURSDAY) MORNING AT ELEVEN-30 AT THE DECORAH SCHOOL DISTRICT CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION OFFICE.

Iowa’s secretary of agriculture is touting a water quality plan House Republicans advanced earlier this year. Bill Northey (NORTH-ee) says the plan would dedicate “significant” state resources to address water quality concerns.
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Northey 1 :08 :of that.”
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This past January, Republican Governor Terry Branstad proposed diverting some sales tax money levied for school infrastructure projects to water quality initiatives. House Republicans came up with their own plan, using water usage fees and gambling taxes for water quality projects. Neither idea was debated in the Senate, where Democrats controlled the debate agenda.
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Northey 2 :07 :quality funding.”
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Northey says farmers in Iowa have been “very active” in trying to control and reduce farm chemical run-off from cropland. Critics say the voluntary approach isn’t working and it’s time for the federal government or the courts to force changes in farming practices.

11-30 NEWS

THE SEAT BELT USAGE RATE IN DECORAH INCREASED SIX PERCENT DURING LAST WEEK’S SPECIAL TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM. DECORAH POLICE REPORTED 90 PERCENT OF MOTORISTS WERE BUCKLED UP DURING THE EFFORT. OTHER STATISTICS FROM THE STEP PROGRAM INCLUDE TWO O-W-I ARRESTS, ONE SEAT BELT VIOLATION, 13 SPEEDING CITATIONS, TWO REGISTRATION VIOLATION CITATIONS, 18 NARCOTICS ARRESTS, FOUR NO INSURANCE CITATIONS, FIVE OTHER TRAFFIC OFFENSES, SEVEN PROPERTY DAMAGE ACCIDENTS, ONE PERSONAL INJURY ACCIDENT, 22 EQUIPMENT VIOLATIONS, SIX MOTORISTS ASSISTED AND SIX CANINE/DRUG INTERDICTION STOPS.

More motorists were on the state’s roadways over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend than possibly any time in history. Radio Iowa’s Pat Curtis reports.

Curtis voicer

Iowans will send tens of thousands of holiday packages over the next few weeks and the U-S Postal Service wants those shipping an item to take safety precautions. Radio Iowa’s Matt Kelley reports:

Kelley voicer

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad says he’s open to discussing changes in public employee pension plans, sparking a discussion about whether a switch to a defined contribution plan, similar to a 401(k), would meet worker needs and better protect taxpayers. Democratic State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald tells The Des Moines Register public employees in the state should be concerned about the potential to do away with the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System, also known as IPERS. The system has 350,000 members. Fitzgerald says the problem with defined contribution plans proposed by some lawmakers and organizations is that they place the financial risk on employees who are stuck with high fees for investments. The Iowa Chapter of Americans for Prosperity, Iowans for Tax Relief and the Public Interest Institute in Mount Pleasant have endorsed shifting IPERS to a defined contribution plan.

11-29 NEWS

A WAUCOMA MAN WAS ARRESTED FOLLOWING A REPORT OF A DOMESTIC DISTURBANCE THURSDAY. THE FAYETTE COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT SAYS 30 YEAR OLD BERN DANIEL LARSEN WAS CHARGED WITH DOMESTIC ASSAULT.

DECORAH SCHOOL DISTRICT OFFICIALS ARE EXPLORING OPTIONS FOR A NEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN DECORAH. SUPERINTENDENT MIKE HALUSKA WAS ASKED IF A NEW SCHOOL IS BUILT AWAY FROM THE CURRENT JOHN CLINE SITE, WHAT WOULD BECOME OF THE JOHN CLINE PROPERTY.

HALUSKA

DISTRICT OFFICIALS ARE CURRENTLY IN DISCUSSIONS WITH LUTHER COLLEGE ABOUT BUILDING A NEW SCHOOL AT THE INTERSECTION OF COLLEGE DRIVE AND RIDGE ROAD. THE SCHOOL BOARD HAS STUDIED SEVEN POTENTIAL SITES FOR A NEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.

Iowa families are heading out to select the centerpiece for decorations in their living rooms. State horticulturist Paul Ovrom (OH-vrum) says the Iowa Christmas Tree Growers Association can be a big help in making decisions about which tree would be best for your home.
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Ovrom :18 “different characteristics”
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The website address is Iowa Christmas Trees-dot-com. Ovrom says Christmas trees are big business for the state.

Deer hunters will soon be out in full force and a wildlife research supervisor with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is reminding those hunters who are successful to report their hunt to the state’s harvest reporting system. Chris Ensminger (ENZ-ming-er) says around 20-percent of hunters who kill a deer fail to report it to the DNR.
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Ensminger 1 :14 forget
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Ensminger said. Other hunters may intentionally fail to report.
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Ensminger 2 :15 reasons
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The reported harvest is an important piece of information used when wildlife experts discuss possible changes to seasons, antlerless quotas, or other potential regulation changes. Hunters who are caught failing to report within 24 hours of the deer kill can face a fine and court costs of roughly $80. The first of Iowa’s two shotgun deer seasons opens on December 3.

THE DECORAH TELECOMMUNICATIONS UTILITY BOARD WILL MEET TONIGHT. THE BOARD WILL MEET WITH CURTIS DEAN FROM THE IOWA ASSOCIATION OF MUNICIPAL UTILITES AND WILL DISCUSS THE PROGRESS TOWARDS A MUNICIPAL UTILITY FEASIBILTY STUDY. THE MEETING BEGINS AT FIVE-30 AT CITY HALL.

11-28 NEWS

A DECORAH MAN HAS BEEN ARRESTED AFTER A SEARCH WARRANT WAS EXECUTED ON NORTH STREET EARLY SUNDAY MORNING. DECORAH POLICE SAY 18 YEAR OLD JONATHAN DROW WAS CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF L-S-D. AUTHORITIES SAY FURTHER CHARGES ARE PENDING.

THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WILL BEGIN DISCUSSIONS ON THE FISCAL YEAR 2018 BUDGET AT ITS MEETING TODAY. THE BOARD WILL HEAR FROM STEVE SMITH REGARDING THE I-T DIRECTOR POSITION AND WILL TAKE A TOUR OF THE FREEPORT AREA FACILITIES AND PROPERTIES. THE MEETING WILL BEGIN AT NINE-30 AT THE COURTHOUSE IN DECORAH.

THE DECORAH CITY COUNCIL APPROVED THE SECOND READING OF AN ORIDNANCE TO ENACT A FRANCHISE FEE FOR BLACK HILLS ENERGY AT ITS MEETING LAST WEEK. THE MEASURE PASSED ON A 6-1 VOTE. COUNCILMAN CHUCK LORE VOTED AGAINST IT SAYING IT WOULD BE EASY FOR A FUTURE COUNCIL TO INCREASE THE FRANCHISE FEE. CITY MANAGER CHAD BIRD SAYS IF A FUTURE COUNCIL WANTS TO DO SO, THEY NEED TO GO THROUGH THE SAME PROCESS THE COUNCIL CURRENTLY IS.

BIRD

BIRD SAYS THE FRANCHISE FEE WILL REPLACE THE ONE-PERCENT LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX ON CUSTOMERS’ BILL SO THEY WILL SEE NO DIFFERENCE IN WHAT THEY’RE PAYING.

WITH THE CHALLENGES BEING PRESENTED THROUGH THE AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE ACT, IS THE UNITED STATES CLOSE TO ENACTING A SINGLE-PAYER HEALTH CARE SYSTEM? BRIAN HUINKER IS WITH MIDWEST GROUP BENEFITS IN DECORAH.

HUINKER

HUINKER FEELS INSURANCE COMPANIES WOULD SURVIVE SINCE MANY WOULD PURCHASE SUPPLEMENTAL PLANS TO GO ALONG WITH THEIR BASIC GOVERNMENT COVERAGE WHICH WOULD BE PROVIDED UNDER A SINGLE-PAYER SYSTEM.

11-27 NEWS

THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WILL BEGIN ITS DISCUSSIONS REGARDING THE FISCAL YEAR 2018 BUDGET AT ITS MEETING TOMORROW. THE BOARD WILL ALSO DISCUSS THE I-T POSITION AND WILL TAKE A TOUR OF FREEPORT AREA FACILITIES. THE MEETING WILL BEGIN AT NINE-30 AT THE COURTHOUSE IN DECORAH.

THE PUBLIC UTILITY BOARD OF TRUSTEES IN DECORAH ARE TAKING STEPS TOWARD FINALIZING A FEASIBILITY STUDY REGARDING THE ISSUE. CITY MANAGER CHAD BIRD SAYS THE BOARD WILL MEET TUESDAY NIGHT. CURTIS DEAN FROM THE IOWA ASSOCIAITON OF MUNICIPAL UTILITES WILL ATTEND THE MEETING TO DISCUSS THE STEPS IN ORGANIZING THE STUDY. THE BOARD IS EXPECTED TO CONDUCT A STUDY TO SEE IF A MUNICIPAL COMMUNICATIONS UTILITY COULD WORK IN DECORAH.

PERSONS WANTING TO SERVE WINNESHIEK COUNTY HAVE SOME OPPORTUNITIES TO DO SO. COUNTY AUDITOR BEN STIENES (STY-NESS)

STIENES

STIENES SAYS THERE ARE OPENINGS ON THE UPPER EXPLORELAND REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION, PIONEER CEMETRY COMMISSION, BOARD OF HEALTH, HISTORIC PRESERVATION COMMISSION AND CONSERVATION BOARD. ANYONE INTERESTED CAN CONTACT THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY AUDITOR’S OFFICE.

Good weather conditions have led to healthy populations of animals trapped in Iowa for their fur. D-N-R furbearer biologist, Vince Evelsizer, says one animal in particular has flourished.
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Evelsizer :12 :bit low”
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Evelsizer says. He is hoping trappers will help manage the raccoon population. He says trappers should be aware that there has been some distemper in raccoons. There are some signs the animals may be infected.

Deer hunters in the state are urged to consider taking part in a program that benefits needy Iowans. Radio Iowa’s Pat Curtis reports.

Curtis voicer

11-26 NEWS

THE HOLIDAY LIGHTS, MAGICAL NIGHTS FUNDRAISER FOR HELPING SERVICES FOR YOUTH AND FAMILY IS UNDERWAY. THE DISPLAY AT THE DECORAH CAMPGROUND WILL BE OPEN EVERY NIGHT FROM NOW UNTIL CHRISTMAS NIGHT. DENNIS OSMUNDSON WITH HELPING SERVICES SAYS A HIGHLIGHTED EVENT WILL BE HELD (SATURDAY) NIGHT.

OSMUNDSON

THE HOURS WILL BE FIVE UNTIL NINE P.M. EACH NIGHT AND ADMISSION IS BY FREE-WILL DONATION. OSMUNDSON SAYS THIS YEAR’S EVENT WILL FEATURE 65 DISPLAYS. PROCEEDS WILL BENEFIT THE PROGRAMS OF HELPING SERVICES.

THE DECORAH AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IS ENCOURAGING LOCAL RESIDENTS TO DO THEIR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING LOCALLY THIS YEAR. CHAMBER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NIKKI BREVIG SAYS (SATURDAY) IS KNOWN AS SMALL BUSINESS (SATURDAY)

BREVIG 1

BREVIG SAYS DECORAH AREA SMALL BUSINESSES HAVE SOME SPECIAL EVENTS PLANNED.

BREVIG 2

THE CHAMBER IS ALSO SPONSORING THE COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS GIVEAWAY. FOR EVERY 25 DOLLARS SPENT AT A PARTICIPATING MERCHANT, PERSONS GET ONE ENTRY FORM FOR A VARIETY OF PRIZES WHICH WILL BE GIVEN AWAY EACH FRIDAY BETWEEN NOW AND CHRISTMAS.

THE DECORAH CITY COUNCIL IS CONSIDERING AN ORDINANCE TO NOT ALLOW ANY VEHICLES TO IDLE MORE THAN FIVE MINUTES. THE COUNCIL DISCUSSED THE ISSUE THIS WEEK. CITY MANAGER CHAD BIRD SAYS THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS IN THE PROPOSED ORDINANCE.

BIRD

POLICE CHIEF BILL NIXON TOLD THE CITY COUNCIL HIS DEPARTMENT WOULD NOT ACTIVELY ENFORCE SUCH AN ORDINANCE, BUT WOULD RESPOND TO COMPLAINTS. THE COUNCIL WILL HOLD THE FIRST READING OF THE IDLING ORDINANCE AT ITS NOVEMBER FIFTH MEETING.
Iowa’s governor expects the Republican-led congress and President-elect Donald Trump to quickly repeal the Affordable Care Act and Branstad says it’s unclear what may happen to the 145-thousand low-income Iowans who now are covered by Medicaid because of the law. However, Branstad says those 145-thousand Iowans who are on Medicaid due to the Affordable care act are unlikely to completely LOSE coverage.

Branstad

The Affordable Care Act offered states additional federal funds if more low-income citizens were enrolled in government-paid Medicaid. In Iowa, Branstad and legislators created an “Iowa Health and Wellness Plan.” Iowans with an annual income up to 133 percent of the poverty level have been eligible to enroll under the “Medicaid expansion that’s part of the legislation. Branstad suggests if “more flexibility” is granted to states run the Medicaid program it can yield cost savings.

THE CITY OF DECORAH WANTS YOU. TO SERVCE ON LOCAL BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS. DECORAH MAYOR DON ARENDT (AREN’T) SAID AT THIS WEEK’S COUNCIL MEETINGS THERE ARE VARIOUS OPENINGS ON SEVERAL CITY BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS AND POTENTIAL OPENINGS IN THE FUTURE. ANYONE WISHING TO SERVE THE CITY ON A BOARD OR COMMISSION CAN CONTACT CITY HALL.

11-25 NEWS

THREE PEOPLE WERE ARRESTED AND THREE OTHERS WERE REFERRED TO JUVENILE COURT SERVICES AFTER AN POLICE INVESTIGATION ON THE OLD STAGE ROAD AROUND ONE-30 FRIDAY MORNING. DECORAH POLICE SAY 19 YEAR OLD NICHOLAS HOWE AND 18 YEAR OLD LUKE PRICE, BOTH OF WAUKON, AND 22 YEAR OLD RYAN MELCHER OF LANSING WERE ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA AND POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA. HOWE WAS ALSO CHARGED WITH OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE WHILE IMPAIRED. AUTHORITIES SAY THE THREE JUVENILES REFERRED WERE ALSO CHARGED WITH POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA AND POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA.

LUTHER COLLEGE AND DECORAH SCHOOL DISTRICT OFFICIALS HAVE BEEN IN DISCUSSIONS ABOUT USING SOME LUTHER LAND FOR A POTENTIAL NEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. COLLEGE VICE PRESIDENT FOR FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION ERIC RUNESTAD (RUN-IS-TAD) SAYS THE COLLEGE IS JUST BEGINNING TO DO THEIR DUE DILLENGENCE REGARDING THE IDEA.

RUNESTAD 1

RUNESTAD SAYS IF THE COLLEGE DECIDES TO MOVE FORWARD ON THE IDEA, IT WON’T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT.

RUNESTAD

THE LAND WHICH IS BEING DISCUSSED IS AT THE CORNER OF COLLEGE DRIVE AND RIDGE ROAD, ACROSS FROM THE DECORAH MUNICIPAL SWIMMING POOL. COLLEGE OFFICIALS HELD A FORUM WITH CAMPUS EMPLOYEES TO DISCUSS THE PROCESS WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON.

(FRIDAY) IS BLACK FRIDAY, HISTORICALLY ONE OF THE BUSIEST SHOPPING DAYS OF THE YEAR. DECORAH AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NIKKI BREVIG SAYS LOCAL MERCHANTS HAVE A LOT TO OFFER.

BREVIG

BREVIG SAYS BLACK FRIDAY SEGWAYS INTO SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY. SHE SAYS THE NATIONWIDE INITATIVES ENCOURAGES CUSTOMERS TO SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES, WHICH MANY REFER TO AS THE BACKBONE OF THE AMERICAN ECONOMY.

Iowa roadways have been a dangerous place this year. Patrick Hoye (rhymes with “toy”), chief of the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, says traffic fatality numbers in Iowa had been declining, year-over-year, earlier this decade. Last year, 320 people were killed in traffic crashes in the state.
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Hoye :16 a year ago
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The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is one of the busiest times of the year on Iowa’s roadways. A campaign is underway and runs through Sunday involving an increased law enforcement presence on Iowa’s highways and interstates.

AT THIS WEEK’S DECORAH CITY COUNCIL MEETING, COUNCILMAN CHUCK LORE (LORE-1 SYALLABLE) ASKED CITY MANAGER CHAD BIRD TO LOOK INTO PRICING A FLY-OVER DEER COUNT THIS WINTER IN DECORAH. BIRD SAYS THE PROCESS WOULD BE COMPLETED BY THE IOWA D-N-R.

BIRD 1

BIRD SAYS THE FLYOVER WILL NOT BE THE ONLY METHOD OF COUNTING DEER

BIRD 2

THE COUNCIL APPROVED A PLAN TO MATCHUP WILLING PROPERTY OWNERS WITH BOW-HUNTERS IN AN EFFORT TO CONTROL THE DEER POPULATION WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS IN SEPTEMBER. EARLIER THIS MONTH, CITY OFFICIALS TOLD THE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE OF THE COUNCIL ZERO DEER HAD BEEN HARVESTED THROUGH THAT PROGRAM.
The U.S. agriculture secretary has for years been telling anyone who will pay attention that Democrats needed a better message for rural America. But no one listened to Tom Vilsack, who’s held his post since President Barack Obama took office in 2009. He’s also spent most of his tenure as agriculture secretary trying to revitalize areas that ultimately voted for Republican Donald Trump in this year’s presidential election. In an interview Tuesday, Vilsack says Democrats didn’t make enough of an effort to talk to rural voters and failed to counter powerful Republican themes of less regulation and lower taxes. Exit polls showed that about 17 percent of voters in this year’s election hailed from small cities or rural areas. Sixty-two percent of them said they voted for Trump.

11-24 NEWS

THE UNITED METHODIST CHURCH IN DECORAH WILL HOLD ITS 29TH THANKSGIVING COMMUNITY MEAL (THURSDAY). JOHN CALDWELL IS THE PASTOR AT UNITED METHODIST.

CALDWELL

THE MEAL WILL BE SERVED BEGINNING AT NOON. CALDWLL SAYS TURKEY, DRESSING AND A BEVERAGE WILL BE PROVIDED. THOSE ATTENDING THE EVENT ARE ASKED TO BRING COMMUNITY SPIRIT, WILLING HANDS AND A COVERED DISH TO SHARE.

The American Farm Bureau’s annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner survey finds a drop in price this year. Iowa Farm Bureau Director of Research, Dave Miller, says you will once again be able to serve a family of 10 for five dollars each.
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Miller 1 :07 :11 cents”
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The survey checks the prices of turkey, bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a relish tray of celery and carrots, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk when setting its meal price. The average cost of turkey this year is 22-dollars, 74 cents for a whole bird or one-dollar, 42 cents per pound. That’s a decrease of 30 cents for a whole bird compared to last year. Miller says the Thanksgiving meal survey hasn’t seen a lot of ups and downs.

Miller 2 :16 :the Thanksgiving Dinner”

This is the 31st year the American Farm Bureau has done it’s Thanksgiving Meal Survey.

A national survey by an Iowa marketing firm finds Americans place a high value on family but to maintain good familial relationships, they want to keep politics off the table this Thanksgiving. Doug Jeske (JESS-kee), president of the Meyocks (MEEKS) Group in West Des Moines, says the presidential election two weeks ago was so divisive, many families are placing a ban on all political discussions, especially during dinner.
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Jeske :17 “politics right now”

Family remains central to Thanksgiving, far outpacing food, football and Black Friday, but to keep family a blessing, Jeske says many of us will chose to avoid conversations that might change our feelings toward family members. While the survey found politics are strictly off-limits during many holiday celebrations, almost as many respondents said “money” is another forbidden subject.

THE DECORAH AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IS SPONSORING A HOLIDAY GIVE-AWAY AS AN INCENTIVE TO SHOP LOCALLY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON. DECORAH AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NIKKI BREVIG

BREVIG 1

BREVIG SAYS A VARIETY OF PRIZES WILL BE GIVEN AWAY

BREVIG 2

A LIST OF PARTICIPATING MERCHANTS IS AVAILABLE AT THE DECORAH AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WEBSITE.
SOUTHWEST AND SOUTH CENTRAL IOWA ARE BEHIND IN THE HARVEST BUT THE OVERALL HARVEST IN NEARLY COMPLETE IN THE STATE. RADIO IOWA’S DAR DANIELSON REPORTS.

Danielson voicer

11-23 NEWS

THE DECORAH CITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED CONTINUING THE CITY’S RESIDENTIAL TAX ABATEMENT PROGRAM AT ITS MEETING MONDAY NIGHT. CITY MANAGER CHAD BIRD SAYS THE PROGRAM WAS FIRST INITIATED IN NOVEMBER OF 2014. AT THAT TIME, A CAVEOT WAS PUT IN PLACE ALLOWING THE COUNCIL TO REVIEW THE PROGRAM EACH NOVEMBER. BIRD TOLD THE COUNCIL IN OCTOBER THERE HAD BEEN 15 NEW HOMES BUILT THIS YEAR, VALUED AT FIVE-POINT-SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS. BIRD ADDED OVER ONE MILLION DOLLARS IN REMODELS AND ADDITIONS HAVE BEEN COMPLETED THIS YEAR AS WELL. THE COUNCIL ALSO VOTED TO PARTICIPATE IN A NEW HOUSING STUDY WHICH WILL BE CONDUCTED BY WINNESHIEK COUNTY DEVELOPMENT. W-C-D-I DIRECTOR STEPHANIE FROMM SAYS THE NEW STUDY WILL PROVIDE MORE SPECIFIC DATA THAN A 2013 STUDY, WHICH WAS A GENERAL OVERVIEW OF HOUSING IN THE COUNTY.

THE FUTURE OF HEALTH INSURANCE HAS BEEN A BIG POLITICAL DISCUSSION AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL. BRIAN HUINKER WITH MIDWEST GROUP BENEFITS IN DECORAH SAYS ALTHOUGH CHANGES ARE NEEDED, THERE ARE PARTS OF THE AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE ACT THAT ARE POPULAR.

HUINKER

HUINKER SAYS INCREASING PREMIUMS ARE CRIPPLING AMERICA’S MIDDLE CLASS. HE SAYS IF ELECTED OFFICIALS CAN FIND A SOLUTION WHERE FAMILIES ARE PAYING LESS TO THEIR INSURANCE, IT WILL HAVE A POSITIVE EFFECT ON THE NATION’S ECONOMY.

THE COST OF TAPPING INTO THE CITY OF DECORAH’S WATER AND SEWER SYSTEM COULD BE LESS IN THE NEAR FUTURE. THE DECORAH CITY COUNCIL APPROVED THE SECOND READING OF ORDINANCE DDEALING WITH CONNECTION CHARGES TO BOTH AT ITS MEETING MONDAY NIGHT. CITY MANAGER CHAD BIRD SAYS AFTER STAFF REVIEWED THE CITY’S POLICIES, THEY RECOMMENDED THAT TAPPING FEES BE SET AT 250 DOLLARS AND THAT THOSE FEES GO TO THE RESPECTIVE UTILITY. BIRD SAYS AFTER THE CITY HAD ESTABLISHED SOME SPECIAL WATER AND SEWER DISTRICT, SOME HAD BEEN PAYING OVER ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS TO CONNECT TO THE CITY’S WATER AND SEWER SYSTEM. BIRD SAYS STAFF DECIDED SUCH FEES WERE A HINDERANCE TO GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT IN THE CITY.

Iowa grocery stores will be exceptionally busy this weekend as Iowans stock up on supplies for next week’s Thanksgiving feast. Turkeys will be one of the top sellers for the next several days. Shayle Shagam (Shale SHAG-um) is a livestock analyst with the U-S-D-A and says production has rebounded in Iowa and elsewhere after last year’s bird flu outbreak.

Shagam

Turkey industry officials in Iowa say the state’s operations are back at capacity and Iowa has moved from the 9th largest turkey producing state to the 8th largest.

THE ANNUAL HOLIDAY LIGHTS, MAGICAL LIGHTS FUNDRAISER FOR HELPING SERVICES FOR YOUTH AND FAMILY WILL BEGIN (WEDNESDAY). DONNA KUBESH WITH HELPING SERVICES SAYS (WEDNESDAY) WILL THE ONLY NIGHT PERSONS CAN SEE THE DISPLAYS ON FOOT.

KUBESH 2

KUBESH SAYS FOR THOSE WANTING TO SEE THE DISPLAY (WEDNESDAY) NIGHT.

KUBESH 3

THE WALK THROUGH WILL BE HELD FROM FIVE UNTIL SEVEN P.M. (WEDNESDAY) NIGHT. THE EVENT WILL BE HELD AT THE DECORAH CAMPGROUND AND ADMISSION IS A FREE WILL DONATION. PROCEEDS WILL BENEFIT THE PROGRAMS OF HELPING SERVICES.

DECORAH POLICE ARE INVESTIGATING A BURGLARY IN THE 300 BLOCK OF CENTER. AUTHORITIES SAY AN INDIVIDUAL REPORTED LAST THURSDAY THEIR HOME HAD BEEN BROKEN INTO AND SEVERAL ELECTRONICS WERE STOLEN FROM THE HOME. ANYONE WITH INFORMATION IS ASKED TO CONTACT DECORAH POLICE.

11-22 NEWS

TO IDLE OR NOT TO IDLE. THAT IS A QUESTION THE DECORAH CITY COUNCIL IS PONDERING. A PROPOSED ORDINANCE TO LIMIT IDLING TIME FOR HEAVY DUTY VEHICLES TO FIVE MINUTES IN THE CITY WENT BEFORE THE COUNCIL MONDAY NIGHT. COUNCIL MEMBERS ON A 4-3 VOTE CHANGED THE ORDINANCE TO INCLUDE ALL VEHICLES AND CHANGE THE PENALTIES. THE REVISED ORDINANCE WILL INCLUDE A WARNING FOR THE FIRST OFFENSE AND A 25 DOLLAR FINE FOR THE SECOND. COUNCILMAN DAN BELLRICHARD SAID IT’S A WAY TO LIMIT AIR POLLUTION AND CLIMATE CHANGE, AND HE FEELS THAT’S SOMETHING THE CITY SHOULD REPRESENT. COUNCILMAN GARY RUSTAD SAID THE COUNCIL CAN MAKE ALL THE LAWS THEY WANT TO BUT WITHOUT A REALISTIC WAY TO ENFORCE IT THERE’S NO POINT IN PASSING A NEW ORDINANCE. DECORAH POLICE CHIEF BILL NIXON SAYS THE POLICE COULD ENFORCE SUCH A MEASURE BUT SAID THE IDEA FEELS CUMBERSOME. NIXON SAYS POLICE ENFORCEMENT WOULD BE RESPONDING TO COMPLAINTS RATHER THAN LAW ENFORCEMENT INITIATION. NIXON TOLD THE COUNCIL HE DID NOT REMEMBER RECEIVING ANY COMPLAINTS ABOUT A VEHICLE IDLING TOO LONG. SINCE THE ORIGINAL ORDINANCE THAT WENT BEFORE THE COUNCIL WAS CHANGED SIGNIFICANTLY, AT THE ADVICE OF ASSISTANT CITY ATTORNEY JOHN ANDERSON THE COUNCIL VOTED TO CHANGE THE ORDINANCE. THE COUNCIL WILL HOLD THE FIRST READING OF THE REVISED ORDINANCE AT ITS DECEMBER FIFTH MEETING.

THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS HAS VOTED TO OFFER THE I-T DIRECTOR TO STEVE SMITH. THE BOARD TOOK THE ACTION AT ITS MEETING THIS MORNING. SMITH IS CURRENTLY A WEB PROGRAMMER ANALYST AND SYSTEM SUPPORT EMPLOYEE AT LUTHER COLLEGE. THE JOINT I-T POSITION SHARES DUTIES BETWEEN THE COUNTY AND THE CITY OF DECORAH. IT HAS BEEN VACANT SINCE JUNE.

Iowa’s roads will be very busy this week as the Thanksgiving holiday is expected to see more travelers than in almost a decade. Rose White, spokeswoman for Triple-A-Iowa, credits improvements in the economy during the second half of this year, including rising wages, a boost in consumer spending and overall strength in consumer confidence.

White

A motor club report predicts the majority of travelers, about 89-percent of them, will be driving to their holiday destinations.

Numerous Iowa law enforcement agencies will participate in special Thanksgiving holiday traffic enforcement effort this week. The Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau enforcement program begins Tuesday and runs through Sunday and will coincide with a nationwide “Click It or Ticket” campaign. The goal of the campaign is to increase the awareness of and compliance with Iowa’s seat belt and child restraint laws. This year alone, Iowa has seen more than 335 traffic fatalities, and nearly half of those involved people not wearing a seat belt. Over the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday, five people were killed on Iowa roads.

An ag industry analyst says the economic downturn is hitting all sectors of agriculture and virtually all Iowa farmers are feeling the brunt. Dave Miller, director of research and commodity services for the Iowa Farm Bureau, says every commodity is being impacted.

Miller

Miller says part of the reason for the economic drop is tied to large crops globally

y.