12-31-16

DECORAH CITY MANAGER CHAD BIRD SAYS HE HAS TWO HIGH-PRIORITY GOALS IN 2017. ONE IS TO UTILIZE  FRANCHISE FEE REVENUE: (AUDIO-BIRD)  BIRD SAYS ANOTHER GOAL IS STORMWATER MANAGEMENT. HE SAYS HIS GOAL IS TO PREPARE THE CITY OF DECORAH FOR POTENTIAL FLOODING ISSUES, AND WOULD ALSO LIKE TO IMPROVE DRY RUN CREEK SO THAT IT ENHANCES THE TOWN.

THE NORTHEAST IOWA CHAPTER OF THE AMERICAN RED CROSS IS HOPING YOU KNOW OF SOMEONE WHO SHOULD GET RECOGNIZED FOR THEIR EFFORTS TO IMPROVE THE REGION. EACH YEAR, THE CHAPTER HONORS INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE MADE SIGNIFICANT AND POSITIVE DIFFERENCES IN THEIR NORTHEAST IOWA COMMUNITY. THE EFFORT IS CALLED “EVERYDAY HEROES OF NORTHEAST IOWA”. HEROES ARE CHOSEN BASED ON THE DEGREE TO WHICH THEIR ACTS OF HEROISM AND KINDNESS UPHOLD THE VALUES AND VISION OF THE RED CROSS. IF YOU’D LIKE TO NOMINATE SOMEONE FOR THEIR HEROISM, THE EVENT MUST HAVE OCCURRED BETWEEN MARCH 1ST OF 2016 AND JANUARY 23RD, 2017. THE HERO HAS TO LIVE, WORK OR GO TO SCHOOL IN THE AREA SERVED BY THE NORTHEAST IOWA CHAPTER, AND MUST BE NOMINATED BY JANUARY 23RD. E-MAIL NICOLE DOT BREITBACH @ RED CROSS DOT ORG.

THE IOWA WATER AND LAND LEGACY COALITION IS WORKING TO RAISE THE STATE SALES TAX BY 3/8THS OF A PENNY. THEY WANT TO FUND THE NATURAL RESOURCES AND OUTDOOR RECREATION TRUST FUND. SETH JOHNSON WITH THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION OF IOWA, A COALITION MEMBER, SAYS THE FUND HAS SAT EMPTY SINCE IT WAS APPROVED BY VOTERS IN 2010:  (AUDIO-JOHNSON). JOHNSON SAYS THE HEART ASSOCIATION’S INTEREST IN THE ISSUE IS THAT 2/3 OF ADULTS AND CHILDREN DON’T GET THE RECOMMENDED AMOUNT OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. HE THINKS THE FUND WILL CREATE OPPORTUNITIES SUCH AS WALKING PATHS, BIKE TRAILS AND OTHER ACTIVITY PROJECTS.

THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY UNITED WAY GOAL FOR 2016 IS $135,000. CURRENTLY, THE EFFORT IS ABOUT $15,000 SHORT. CINDY SIMPSON, WHO IS ON THE ALLOCATIONS COMMITTEE OF THE UNITED WAY, SAYS THERE WERE SOME FACTORS THAT HAVE AFFECTED THIS YEAR’S FUND-RAISING:   (AUDIO-SIMPSON)  SIMPSON EMPHASIZES THAT THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY UNITED WAY IS A VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATION ASSISTING 20 LOCAL AGENCIES. SHE SAYS 100% OF THE FUNDS RAISED GO BACK TO SUPPORT THOSE AGENCIES.

A FORT ATKINSON MAN IS IN WINNESHIEK COUNTY JAIL ON A PROBATION VIOLATION. 46-YEAR OLD ROBERT COONRADT WAS TAKEN INTO CUSTODY BY SHERIFF’S DEPUTIES THURSDAY AFTERNOON.

THERE ARE MORE THAN ONE AND ONE-HALF MILLION CHARITABLE  ORGANIZATIONS IN THE U.S.  IT CAN BE TOUGH TO CHOOSE WHICH TO SUPPORT FOR END-OF-YEAR DONATIONS. ATTORNEY BEVERLY SALHANICK SAYS YOU SHOULD FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE GROUP’S MISSION AND FIND OUT EXACTLY HOW IT TACKLES THE PROBLEM. SHE SAYS IT’S ALSO HELPFUL TO GO ON-LINE TO CHECK THE SITES THAT GRADE CHARITIES: (AUDIO-SALHANICK)  THE AVERAGE IOWAN WHO ITEMIZES DEDUCTIONS REPORTED GIVING OVER $3500 TO CHARITY IN A YEAR, ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR CHARITABLE STATISTICS.

12-30-16 KDEC NEWS

COLLEGE’S LEGENDARY CHORAL DIRECTOR, WESTON NOBLE, WILL BE BURIED IN RICEVILLE AT A PRIVATE FAMILY SERVICE FRIDAY. NOBLE DIED AT AGE 94 ON DECEMBER 21ST.  HIS 57-YEAR CAREER AT LUTHER MADE HIM THE MENTOR OF THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS AND GAINED FAME FOR THE COLLEGE AND HIMSELF WORLDWIDE.   NOBLE WAS INTERVIEWED BY MINNESOTA PUBLIC RADIO AT THE REQUEST OF LUTHER COLLEGE A SHORT TIME AGO. A PORTION OF THE INTERVIEW EXPLAINED THE FIRST STEP IN WESTON’S LIFELONG LOVE OF MUSIC:    (AUDIO-NOBLE1)  A PUBLIC VISITATION IS SCHEDULED FOR NOON-6 P.M. THURSDAY AT FIRST LUTHERAN CHURCH IN DECORAH.     A CELEBRATION OF LIFE SERVICE AT THE CENTER FOR FAITH AND LIFE ON THE LUTHER CAMPUS WILL BE SCHEDULED FOR THE 2ND SEMESTER. OUR THANKS TO LUTHER COLLEGE FOR ALLOWING KDEC TO AIR A PORTION OF WESTON’S INTERVIEW BY MPR.

THE 21ST ANNUAL NEW YEAR’S EVE BASH AT THE REGENTS CENTER IS SET FOR SATURDAY NIGHT. THE DECORAH PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT PUTS ON THE FAMILY FRIENDLY OPEN HOUSE EVENT THAT OFFERS OPPORTUNITIES TO SWIM, PLAY BASKETBALL, BADMINTON, PICKLEBALL, RACQUETBALL, FOOTBALL AND PING PONG. LUTHER’S NORTH GYM IS ALSO SET ASIDE FOR YOUNGER CHILDREN, WITH A BOUNCY HOUSE, TRICYCLES AND SOME OTHER SPORTS EQUIPMENT. THE BASH IS FREE AND OPEN TO ALL AGES, AND RUNS FROM 6:30 TO 10:30 NEW YEAR’S EVE. CONCESSIONS WILL BE AVAILABLE, WITH PROCEEDS SUPPORTING THE YOUTH PROGRAM AT FIRST LUTHERAN CHURCH IN DECORAH.

SPECIAL NEW YEARS HOURS FOR THE WINNESHIEK MEDICAL CENTER CLINIC AND URGENT CARE HAVE BEEN SET. URGENT CARE WILL BE OPEN FROM 8-4 SATURDAY, SUNDAY AND MONDAY. THE CLINIC WILL BE CLOSED MONDAY. THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT WILL BE OPEN 24 HOURS A DAY, EVERY DAY.

THE NEW YEAR MEANS NEW GOALS FOR MOST OF US, INCLUDING IOWA DNR DIRECTOR CHUCK GIPP: (AUDIO-GIPP 3)   GIPP SAYS THE IOWA DNR MANAGES 68 PARKS, PLUS ANOTHER 20 MANAGED BY CITIES AND COUNTY CONSERVATION.

PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP HAS YET TO ANNOUNCE HIS PICK FOR U.S. SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE. IOWA AG SECRETARY BILL NORTHEY SAYS HE’S NOT SURE WHY IT’S TAKING SO LONG, OR EVEN WHAT THE PRESIDENT ELECT IS LOOKING FOR IN THE POSITION:  (AUDIO-NORTHEY)   ONE OF THE NAMES ON THE SHORT LIST IS FORMER IOWA STATE REPRESENTATIVE ANNETTE SWEENEY OF ALDEN. TRUMP HAS INDICATED HE WOULD LIKE TO  NAME A WOMAN TO THE POST THAT’S BEEN HELD THE PAST 8 YEARS BY FORMER IOWA GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK.

IOWANS WHO SHOP ONLINE USING AMAZON WILL HAVE TO PAY MORE BEGINNING SUNDAY. THE POPULAR WEBSITE WILL BEGIN CHARGING THE 6% IOWA SALES TAX AS OF JANUARY FIRST. VICTORIA DANIELS FROM THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE SAYS THE CHANGE IS NOT AN EFFORT BY THE STATE TO MAKE MONEY. SHE SAYS OFFICIALS AT AMAZON APPROACHED THE STATE FIRST. AMAZON ALREADY CHARGES SALES TAX IN ABOUT 30 OTHER STATES.

12-29-16 KDEC NEWS

THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY BOARD IS PROCEEDING WITH AN APPLICATION FOR FUNDING FROM USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT TO UPGRADE THE BURR OAK SEWER SYSTEM. JOHN HJELLE WITH ERDMAN ENGINEERING SAYS THE PROJECT WILL COST ABOUT $580,000 FOR AQUISITION OF ABOUT 4 ACRES OF LAND, CONSTRUCTION AND ENGINEERING. HJELLE SAYS THE PROJECT WILL BE FUNDED WITH A COMBINATION OF GRANTS AND LOANS. THE GRANT AMOUNT DEPENDS ON THE LOW TO MODERATE INCOME LEVEL OF THE 70 HOUSEHOLDS IN BURR OAK.  SUPERVISOR CHAIR JOHN LOGSDON SAYS A SURVEY SHOWED THAT THE PERCENTAGE OF HOUSEHOLDS EASILY SURPASSED THE 50% THRESHOLD NEED TO QUALIFY FOR A COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT.  HE SAYS THE APPLICATION NEEDS TO GO FORWARD THIS WEEK SO THE COUNTY CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LOW INTEREST RATES…IN THIS CASE, A 1.75% RATE IS ANTICIPATED. INTEREST RATES ARE EXPECTED TO GO UP NEXT QUARTER. IOWA D.N.R. APPROVAL IS REQUIRED BEFORE THE PROJECT CAN PROCEED.

A 14-YEAR OLD SUSTAINED MINOR INJURIES IN A FAYETTE COUNTY ACCIDENT THAT OCCURRED LAST FRIDAY. THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE REPORT SAYS 40-YEAR OLD JEREMY MENUEY OF SUMNER HAD STOPPED HIS PICKUP ALONG THE ROAD NEAR THE INTERSECTION OF 120TH STREET AND W AVENUE TO ASSIST A MOTORIST. 60-YEAR OLD BRUCE NIEBUHR OF FAIRBANK THEN REAR-ENDED MENUEY’S TRUCK, WHICH WAS PUSHED INTO THE DITCH. THE 14-YEAR OLD, WHO WAS A PASSENGER IN MENUEY’S TRUCK, WAS TAKEN TO SUMNER HOSPITAL FOR TREATMENT. THE ACCIDENT REMAINS UNDER INVESTIGATION.

INFORMATION FROM THE LATEST SURVEY BY ISU EXTENSION SHOWS MOST FARMLAND REMAINS IN THE HANDS OF LOCALS WHEN IT’S SOLD. ECONOMIST WENDONG ZHANG (ZHAW) CONDUCTED THE ANNUAL SURVEY:     (AUDIO-ZHANG 1)    HE SAYS THE LAND GENERALLY STAYS IN THE FAMILY UNTIL NO MEMBERS WANT TO CONTINUE FARMING: (AUDIO-ZHANG 2)    WHILE THE LATEST SURVEY SHOWED LAND PRICES DROPPING FOR THE THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR, ZHANG SAYS IT’S STILL HARD FOR NEW FARMERS TO FIND THE RESOURCES TO GET INTO FARMING.

A FORT ATKINSON MAN IS FREE ON BOND AFTER BEING ARRESTED BY WINNESHIEK COUNTY DEPUTIES LAST WEEK. 39-YEAR OLD STEVEN ANDERSON IS CHARGED WITH BEING A FELON IN POSSESSION OF A FIREARM. DEPUTIES ARRESTED HIM LATE LAST WEEK.

THE MINNESOTA DNR SAYS A THIRD  WILD DEER INFECTED WITH CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE HAS BEEN FOUND IN FILLMORE COUNTY. A HUNTER HARVESTED THE DEER IN MID-NOVEMBER. TWO OTHER DEER WITH C.W.D. WERE PREVIOUSLY FOUND ABOUT FOUR MILES WEST OF LANESBORO. THE LATEST ANIMAL WAS KILLED ABOUT FIVE MILES NORTH OF THOSE. A DISEASE MANAGEMENT ZONE HAS BEEN DECLARED AND A SPECIAL HUNT HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED. IT WILL BEGIN THIS SATURDAY. A LANDOWNER SHOOTING PROGRAM HAS ALSO BEEN AUTHORIZED. IT BEGINS JANUARY 16TH.

SECURING LONG-TERM FUNDING FOR WATER QUALITY PROGRAMS REMAINS A HIGH PRIORITY FOR IOWA FARM GROUPS. IN LIGHT OF THE STATE’S NEARLY 100-MILLION DOLLAR BUDGET SHORTFALL, THE TASK MAY BE MORE CHALLENGING. IOWA FARM BUREAU PRESIDENT CRAIG HILL SAYS, FOR NOW, HIS ORGANIZATION IS NOT PROMOTING ANY SPECIFIC SOLUTIONS TO WATER-QUALITY FUNDING:  (AUDIO-HILL 1)   THE IOWA SOYBEAN ASSOCIATION IS ALSO TAKING A MORE GENERAL APPROACH.

12-28-16 KDEC NEWS

TWO PEOPLE WERE INJURED IN A CHRISTMAS DAY ACCIDENT ON THE LOCUST ROAD NORTH OF DECORAH. THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE REPORT SAYS A TWO-VEHICLE ACCIDENT HAPPENED SHORTLY BEFORE 6 P.M. SUNDAY WHEN 25-YEAR OLD ZACHARY BENITZ OF MOSINEE WISCONSIN LOST CONTROL OF HIS VEHICLE, AND SLID ACROSS THE CENTERLINE OF THE ICY ROAD AND STRUCK THE VEHICLE DRIVEN BY 49-YEAR OLD STEVE RANSOM. THE DECORAH FIRE DEPARTMENT USED THE JAWS OF LIFE TO EXTRICATE RANSOM AND HIS PASSENGER, KATHY RANSOM. BOTH WERE TAKEN BY AMBULANCE TO WINNESHIEK MEDICAL CENTER. NO CONDITION REPORT WAS MADE AVAILABLE TO KDEC. THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED ON THE LOCUST ROAD NEAR COUNTY ROAD W-40. BENITZ WAS CITED FOR FAILING TO MAINTAIN CONTROL.

A DECORAH MAN WAS UNINJURED IN A FRIDAY CAR VERSUS SEMI ACCIDENT. FAYETTE COUNTY AUTHORITIES REPORT 19-YEAR OLD BROOKE MEYERS OF SUMNER LOST CONTROL OF HER CAR ON A SNOWY 120TH STREET SHORTLY AFTER 10 A.M. HER CAR CROSSED THE CENTERLINE AND INTO THE PATH OF A SEMI LOADED WITH ROUND BALES, DRIVEN BY 52-YEAR OLD WILLIAM HEADINGTON OF DECORAH. MEYERS WAS TAKEN TO THE SUMNER HOSPITAL WITH MINOR INJURIES. MEYER’S CAR WAS A TOTAL LOSS.

A FORT ATKINSON WOMAN IS THE NEW LEADER OF DOWNTOWN INITIATIVES IN WINONA. EMILY KURASH, FORMERLY WITH THE GREAT RIVER SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL, IS TAKING OVER AS THE MAIN STREET WINONA PROGRAM COORDINATOR. KURASH, WHO WAS WITH THE DECORAH AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE STAFF PRIOR TO MOVING TO WINONA, BEGINS HER NEW DUTIES JANUARY 3RD. THE MAIN STREET PROGRAM IS A LOCAL CHAPTER OF A NATIONAL PROGRAM, FACILITATED THROUGH THE WINONA AREA CHAMBER. KURASH SAYS SHE PLANS ON BUILDING ON EXISTING EVENTS TO LEAD NEW EFFORTS TO PROMOTE WINONA’S DOWNTOWN.

IOWA FISHING LICENSES HAVEN’T HAD A COST INCREASE SINCE 2003.  IOWA D-N-R DIRECTOR CHUCK GIPP SAYS THE FISH AND WILDLIFE TRUST FUND, WHICH IS CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED, NEEDS MORE REVENUE TO PROTECT FISHING AND HUNTING FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS:  (AUDIO: GIPP-NEED)  GIPP CALLS THE PROPOSED INCREASE MODEST:  (AUDIO: GIPP-FISHING LICENSE INCREASE)     GIPP SAYS THE INCREASE WILL BE PAID FOR BY THOSE WHO USE THE SERVICES, AND NOT ALL IOWA TAXPAYERS, MAKING IT A FAIR INCREASE.

THE NEW PRESIDENT OF THE IOWA CATTLEMAN’S ASSOCIATION HAS GUARDED OPTIMISM FOR 2017. MIKE CLINE, WHO RAISES CATTLE NEAR ELGIN, SAYS HE’S HOPING TO BUILD ON THE SUCCESS OF THE JUST-PASSED 50-CENT PER-HEAD STATE BEEF CHECKOFF. CLINE SAYS THE FUNDS WILL HELP PRODUCERS WEATHER TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES:  (AUDIO-CLINE 1)            CLINE SAYS THE ASSOCIATION’S LEADERS ARE ALSO TRYING TO HELP MEMBERS DEAL WITH THE RECENT MARKET VOLATILITY, AND SAYS THE RECENT APPOINTMENT OF GOVERNOR TERRY BRANSTAD AS THE U.S. AMBASSADOR TO CHINA SHOULD HELP INCREASE TRADE OPPORTUNITIES (AUDIO-CLINE 3).     CLINE SAYS ASSOCIATION MEMBERS ALSO WANT TO SEE REGULATORY RELIEF AND ARE ENCOURAGED BY WHAT THEY’RE HEARING FROM PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP.

A DECORAH CITY COUNCIL MEMBER IS SUGGESTING WHAT HE THINKS IS A BETTER WAY FOR MEMBERS TO DO COMMITTEE WORK.  STEVE LUSE, AT LAST WEEK’S REGULAR MEETING, SAID SCHEDULING REGULAR WORK SESSIONS COULD BE SET TO OCCUR ON THE 4TH MONDAY OF EACH MONTH AND REDUCE THE NUMBER OF INDIVIDUAL COMMITTEE MEETINGS FROM THE CURRENT LOAD. LUSE THINKS IT MAY BE SIMPLER TO HAVE SET MEETING DATES INSTEAD OF HAVING TO CONTACT INDIVIDUAL COMMITTEE MEMBERS TO FIND OUT WHO CAN MAKE THE MEETINGS EVERY TIME THEY’RE NEEDED.

IOWA IS ONE OF ONLY 12 STATES THAT CONTINUES TO ENFORCE A FEDERAL POLICY CALLING FOR AUTOMATIC SUSPENSION OF DRIVERS LICENSES FOR ANYONE CONVICTED OF A DRUG-RELATED OFFENSE. THE PRISON POLICY INITIATIVE REPORT AUTHOR, JOSHUA AIKEN, SAYS ALMOST 49-HUNDRED IOWANS HAD THEIR LICENSE SUSPENDED LAST YEAR FOR SIX MONTHS FOR DRUG CONVICTIONS UNRELATED TO DRIVING, AND A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF PEOPLE HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS AFTER LICENSE SUSPENSION:  (AUDIO-AIKEN)  LICENSE SUSPENSIONS ARE ALSO USED IN CASES OF MISSED CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS AND SIMPLE INABILITY TO PAY. AIKEN SAYS MANY STATES ARE ROLLING BACK THOSE PENALIIES, AND THAT ALL BUT 12 STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HAVE OPTED OUT OF THE LICENSE SUSPENSION PROVISION OF THE FEDERAL LAW PASSED IN 1991.

12-27-16 KDEC NEWS

A WAUKON MAN WAS INJURED IN A MONDAY ACCIDENT THAT COULD HAVE BEEN MUCH WORSE. 42-YEAR OLD MICHAEL HITCHCOCK WAS RIDING IN A VAN BEING DRIVEN BY 45-YEAR OLD JEREMY RISSMAN OF WAUKON ON HIGHWAY 14/61 BETWEEN LA CRESCENT AND LA CROSSE. RISSMAN LOST CONTROL ON THE ICY ROADWAY ABOUT 7:15 MONDAY MORNING. THE VAN CROSSED THE MEDIAN AND WENT DOWN AN EMBANKMENT, COMING TO REST UPSIDE DOWN AND PARTIALLY SUBMERGED IN THE RIVER. BOTH HITCHCOCK AND RISSMAN WERE ABLE TO ESCAPE THE VEHICLE, ACCORDING TO THE MINNESOTA STATE PATROL. HITCHCOCK’S INJURIES WERE CALLED “NON-LIFE THREATENING”.

A FOUNTAIN MAN WAS INJURED IN AN ACCIDENT EAST OF SPRING VALLEY EARLY TODAY. 21-YEAR OLD IZACH OVEREND RECEIVED NON LIFE-THREATENING INJURIES WHEN HIS VEHICLE WAS REAR-ENDED ON HIGHWAY 16 THREE MILES EAST OF SPRING VALLY BY 52-YEAR OLD KENNETH BRANDT OF SPRING VALLEY. THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED AROUND 1:45 A.M. TODAY.

BECAUSE OF YESTERDAY’S FEDERAL HOLIDAY, THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS IS MEETING TODAY FOR THEIR LAST REGULAR SESSION OF 2016. VETERAN’S ISSUES WILL OCCUPY TWO AGENDA ITEMS: ROBERT GROSS FROM THE MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS WILL MEET WITH SUPERVISORS AT 10:15 TO TALK ABOUT THE NEW VETERANS CEMETERY IN PRESTON, AND IS EXPECTED TO INCLUDE THE CURRENT PLANS OF REPRESENTATIVE GREG DAVIDS TO INTRODUCE A BILL IN THE MINNESOTA LEGISLATURE NEXT SESSION CREATING A VETERAN’S HOME IN FILLMORE COUNTY. V.A. ADMINISTRATOR FAITH HLUBEK WILL ALSO TALK WITH SUPERVISORS ABOUT POLICY CHANGES IN THE V.A. SYSTEM.  A PUBLIC HEARING IS SET FOR 11 THIS MORNING RELATING TO THE BURR OAK SEWER SYSTEM. THE IOWA DNR HAS GIVEN THE BURR OAK SEWER DISTRICT UNTIL JUNE OF 2018 TO MAKE IMPROVEMENTS. THE SEWER BOARD HOPES TO GET A GRANT TO UTILIZE PROPERTY ALONG HIGHWAY 52 FOR ITS PROJECT.

A RULING ON THE LATEST IOWA LAWSUIT TO FIGHT THE DAKOTA ACCESS OIL PIPELINE MAY NOT COME UNTIL THE NEW YEAR. NINE IOWA FARMERS AND LANDOWNERS WERE IN COURT IN DES MOINES RECENTLY TO CHALLENGE THE GRANTING OF EMINENT DOMAIN POWERS TO ENERGY TRANSFER PARTNERS…THE PIPELINE’S OWNERS.  ED FALLON, STATE DIRECTOR OF BOLD IOWA SAYS THE CASE HAS NATIONAL IMPLICATIONS: (AUDIO)      FALLON SAYS, WHATEVER THE RULING FROM THE DISTRICT JUDGE, BOTH SIDES WILL LIKELY APPEAL IF THE DECISION GOES AGAINST THEM. HE SAYS THE IDEAL RULING WOULD FORCE THE COMPANY TO REMOVE THE PIPELINE AND RESTORE THE LAND ACROSS ALL 18 IOWA COUNTIES THAT ARE AFFECTED.

IOWA LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR KIM REYNOLDS HAS UNVEILED A NEW ENERGY PLAN FOR THE STATE: (AUDIO-REYNOLDS 1)     THE REPORT SPANS MORE THAN 100 PAGES. A TOP PRIORITY IS CONTINUING TO PROMOTE A DIVERSITY OF ENERGY SOURCES, INCLUDING WIND POWER AND PLANT MATERIALS WHICH CAN BE AN INGREDIENT FOR BIOFUELS:  (AUDIO-REYNOLDS 2)    THE PLAN ALSO CALLS FOR PROMOTING NEW ENERGY TECHNOLOGY LIKE CELLS THAT CAN STORE THE POWER GENERATED BY WIND TURBINES. DEVELOPING A MORE MODERN POWER GRID IS ALSO MENTIONED IN THE PLAN. THE REPORT DOES NOT OUTLINE STATE SPENDING PLANS FOR THE INITIATIVES, AND DOESN’T CALL FOR LEGISLATIVE ACTION EITHER.

12-26-16 KDEC NEWS

TODAY IS A FEDERAL HOLIDAY, MEANING MOST BUSINESSES AND ALL GOVERNMENT OFFICES ARE CLOSED. THE WINNESHIEK COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WILL MEET TOMORROW FOR THEIR REGULAR SESSION. VETERANS ISSUES WILL OCCUPY TWO AGENDA ITEMS: ROBERT GROSS FROM THE MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS WILL MEET WITH SUPERVISORS AT 10:15 TO TALK ABOUT THE NEW VETERANS CEMETERY IN PRESTON, AND V.A. ADMINISTRATOR FAITH HLUBEK WILL TALK WITH THE BOARD ABOUT POLICY CHANGES IN THE V.A.  A PUBLIC HEARING IS SCHEDULED AT 11 RELATING TO THE BURR OAK SEWER SYSTEM. THE IOWA DNR  HAS GIVEN THE BURR OAK SEWER DISTRICT UNTIL JUNE OF 2018 TO MAKE IMPROVEMENTS. THE SEWER BOARD HOPES TO GET A GRANT TO UTILIZE PROPERTY ALONG HIGHWAY 52 FOR ITS PROJECT.

A NEW REPORT SHOWS MORE IOWANS BOUGHT HOMES IN NOVEMBER COMPARED TO A YEAR AGO.  RADIO IOWA’S PAT CURTIS REPORTS: (AUDIO-ripcCindyWrap)

THE CITY OF DECORAH HAS LOOKED INTO PARTICIPATING IN A DEER MANAGEMENT PROGRAM TO CONTROL THE NUMBER OF DEER WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS.  IOWA D.N.R. DIRECTOR CHUCK GIPP SAYS HIS DEPARTMENT TRIES TO FIND THAT DELICATE BALANCE:   (AUDIO-GIPP ON DEER)          GIPP SAYS, WHILE HE UNDERSTANDS THE CONCERN FOR SAFETY REGARDING URBAN DEER HUNTS, HE SEES NO ONE HAS BEEN INJURED EXCEPT HUNTERS THEMSELVES WHEN THE D.N.R. HAS AUTHORIZED A HUNT WITHIN A MUNICIPALITY.

THE DECORAH SCHOOL DISTRICT WILL BE HOSTING AN IOWA ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL BOARDS REGIONAL MEETING NEXT MONTH. SUPERINTENDENT MIKE HALUSKA SAYS THE WORKSHOP WILL FOCUS ON THE STATEWIDE PENNY SALES TAX FOR SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE, AND THE SCHOOL DISTRICT’S DESIRE TO SEE THE CURRENT 2029 SUNSET OF THE TAX BE LIFTED BY LAWMAKERS. THE MEETING IS SCHEDULED FOR JANUARY 19TH.

ADVOCATES OF A SCHOOL VOUCHER PROGRAM ALLOWING STATE TAX DOLLARS TO FOLLOW THE STUDENT TO A PUBLIC OR PRIVATE SCHOOL MADE THEIR CASE TO THE GOVERNOR LAST WEEK. SUSAN FENTON IS A LOBBYIST FOR THE IOWA ADVOCATES FOR CHOICE IN EDUCATION. SHE USES THE PHRASE “EDUCATIONAL SAVINGS ACCOUNTS” RATHER THAN VOUCHERS, BUT IT’S THE SAME CONCEPT. PARENTS WOULD GET STATE TAX DOLLARS AND USE THAT MONEY TO SEND THEIR CHILD TO A PUBLIC OR PRIVATE SCHOOL:   (AUDIO-FENTON)     AUDRA MEYERS OF CLIVE, A FORMER PRINCIPAL AT HOLY TRINITY CATHOLIC SCHOOL IN DES MOINES, SAYS IT’S TIME FOR ROBUST EDUCATION CHOICE IN IOWA:   (AUDIO-MEYERS)  GOVERNOR BRANSTAD SAYS HE SUPPORTS PRIVATE SCHOOLS, BUT IN A TIGHT BUDGET YEAR THERE ARE LOTS OF ISSUES TO CONSIDER.

12-24-16 KDEC NEWS

WINNESHIEK COUNTY CONVENTION AND VISITORS BUREAU EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR CHARLENE SELBEE SAYS THE EMERGENCE OF CRAFT BREWERS LOCALLY IS BRINGING RECOGNITION, AND TOURISM, TO THE AREA. BEERPULSE.COM FOUNDER ADAM NASON VISITED TOPPLING GOLIATH AND PULPIT ROCK BREWING COMPANIES THIS WEEK, AND ALSO VISITED CRAIG AND SARAH NEUZILL (NEW zhull) IN CALMAR.  THE NEUZILLS ARE SLATED TO OPEN WINNESHIEK COUNTY’S THIRD BREWPUB IN 2017. THURSDAY, INCOMING DECORAH CHAMBER DIRECTOR KRISTINA WILTGEN(WILT jin) WAS ON THE KDEC “OUR TOWN” PROGRAM THURSDAY AND WAS ASKED ABOUT THE IMPACT OF BEER TOURISM LOCALLY:   (AUDIO: WILTGEN)           SELBEE SAYS TRAVEL BLOGGERS, JAY JAY GOODVIN AND LISA TRUDELL ARE ALSO PLANNING VISITS TO DECORAH.

WINNESHIEK MEDICAL CENTER IS INVITING THE COMMUNITY TO ITS ANNUAL CHRISTMAS DINNER ON CHRISTMAS DAY. THE EVENT IS SCHEDULED FROM 11 TO 1:30, AND PROVIDES A TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS DINNER. THERE IS A $10 CHARGE FOR ADULTS, $5 FOR 6-12 YEAR OLDS, AND UNDER 6 FREE.  WMC IS ALSO ADOPTING FIVE LOCAL FAMILIES, SUPPORTING THEM THROUGH THEIR GIVING WREATH PROGRAM. THE HOSPITAL COORDINATES WITH NORTHEAST IOWA COMMUNITY ACTION TO PROVIDE GIFTS TO THE FIVE FAMILIES.

MOST FAMILIES IN NORTHEAST IOWA WILL BE DEALING WITH BOXES, PAPER AND OTHER CHRISTMAS PARAPHENALIA IN A FEW DAYS. WINNESHIEK COUNTY RECYCLING DIRECTOR TERRY BUENZOW (BEN zoh) SAYS PEOPLE’S PURCHASING HABITS ARE CHANGING:    (AUDIO: BUENZOW 1)     BUENZOW SAYS CARDBOARD BOXES ARE NOT ALLOWED IN YOUR TRASH IF YOU’RE A WINNESHIEK COUNTY RESIDENT:  (AUDIO-BUENZOW 2)          WINNESHIEK COUNTY RECYCLING IN FREEPORT ALSO ACCEPTS DISCARDED ARTIFICIAL TREES, AND BUENZOW SAYS THEY’LL ACCEPT CHRISTMAS LIGHTS TOO…SOMTHING MANY RECYCLING CENTERS WON’T ALLOW. HE SAYS THIS HAS BEEN A BIG SEASON FOR THE RECYCLING OF OLD CRISTMAS LIGHTS….PERHAPS BECAUSE SO MANY PEOPLE ARE CONVERTING TO ENERGY-EFFICIENT L.E.D. LIGHTS.

MANY ETHANOL INDUSTRY OFFICIALS AND CORN-GROWERS IN IOWA ARE CONCERNED PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP HAS CHOSEN PEOPLE WHO HAVE STRONG TIES TO BIG OIL TO FILL KEY ADMINISTRATION POSTS. THOSE INCLUDE FORMER TEXAS GOVERNOR RICK PERRY, OKLAHOMA ATTORNEY GENERAL SCOTT PRUITT AND EXXON MOBIL C.E.O. REX TILLERSON.  BUT, RENEWABLE FUELS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT BOB DINEEN SAYS HE’S NOT OVERLY CONCERNED. HE SAYS ALL THAT REALLY MATTERS IS WHO IS IN CHARGE:   (AUDIO-DINEEN 1)           IOWA IS THE NATION’S TOP PRODUCER OF ETHANOL. DINEEN IS CONFIDENT TRUMP WILL BE PRO-ETHANOL.  EARLIER THIS MONTH, GOVERNOR BRANSTAD ALSO EXPRESSED CONFIDENCE THE NEW ADMINISTRATION WILL BE PRO-ETHANOL.

A MITCHELL IOWA MAN CONVICTED OF FIRST-DEGREE KIDNAPPING IN THE BEATING AND IMPRISONMENT OF A WOMAN HAS BEEN SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON WITH THE POSSIBILITY OF PAROLE.  23-YEAR OLD NICHOLAS LENZ WAS SENTENCED TO THE LIFE TERM THIS WEEK IN MITCHELL COUNTY DISTRICT COURT. PROSECUTERS SAY LENZ HAD BEEN INVOLVED WITH THE WOMAN BUT ATTACKED HERE WHEN SHE TOLD HIM TO LEAVE HER HOME IN MARCH. LENZ HELD HER AGAINST HER WILL FOR TWO DAYS, TAPING HER TO A CHAIR, PUNCHING AND KICKING HER AND THREATENING HER WITH A GUN.

12-23-2016 KDEC NEWS

AN OSTRANDER COUPLE IS FACING MULTIPLE CHARGES OF CHILD MISTREATMENT FOLLOWING AN INVESTIGATION BY LAW ENFORCEMENT. 36-YEAR OLD RYAN RECHTZIGEL AND 31-YEAR OLD ANGELA STEWART ARE BEING CHARGED WITH CHILD NEGLECT, FALSE IMPRISONMENT, MALICIOUS PUNISHMENT OF A CHILD, 3RD DEGREE ASSAULT, CHILD ABUSE, POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA, STORING METH WASTE PRODUCTS IN THE PRESENCE OF A CHILD AND STORING METH PARAPHERNALIA IN THE PRESENCE OF A CHILD.  AUTHORITIES ALLEGE THEY FOUND THE COUPLE’S  5-YEAR OLD IN AN UPSTAIRS ROOM, APPARENTLY BEING HELD PRISONER BECAUSE THE ROOM WAS BLOCKED OFF SO THE CHILD COULD NOT GET DOWNSTAIRS. THE CHILD WAS ALLEGEDLY WEARING ONLY PAJAMAS, NO SOCKS OR SHOES, AND HAD A VARIETY OF INJURIES. STEWART AND RECHTZIGEL HAD THREE CHILDREN REMOVED FROM THEIR HOME BY SOCIAL SERVICES IN THE PAST. THE FILLMORE COUNTY COUPLE IS PLEADING NOT GUILTY.

A POSTVILLE MAN, HIS WIFE AND ANOTHER WOMAN WERE TAKEN TO THE HOSPITAL IN WATERLOO WEDNESDAY AFTER BEING INJURED IN A TWO-VEHICLE ACCIDENT IN CEDAR FALLS.  64-YEAR OLD NELSON CONVERSE, HIS WIFE TWILA AND 71-YEAR OLD LINDA HAUSCHILD, WERE INVOLVED IN A COLLISION WITH A WATERLOO MAN, 63-YEAR OLD RICHARD LAMBERT. THE CONVERSE PICKUP WENT INTO A DITCH AND HIT A UTILITY POLE AS A RESULT OF THE ACCIDENT.

A HOWARD COUNTY ACCIDENT WEDNESDAY RESULTED IN TWO PEOPLE BEING TAKEN TO MAYO IN ROCHESTER FOR TREATMENT. THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED SHORTLY AFTER 7 A.M. ON HIGHWAY 63, TWO MILES SOUTH OF CHESTER. THE SHERIFF’S REPORT SAYS JEFFREY WALLER OF DAVENPORT, AND HIS PASSENGER, WERE INJURED AFTER WALLER CROSSED THE CENTER LINE AND HIT A VEHICLE DRIVEN BY DENNY LUBERT OF CHESTER. LUBERT WAS UNINJURED. WALLER IS LISTED IN FAIR CONDITION IN ROCHESTER.

A CITIZEN’S GROUP IN DES MOINES IS CALLING OUT IOWA’S DNR DIRECTOR BECAUSE HE HASN’T ASKED FOR MORE MONEY FOR WATER QUALITY PROTECTION. THE IOWA CITIZENS FOR COMMUNITY IMPROVEMENT SAYS DIRECTOR CHUCK GIPP SHOULDN’T BE SETTLING FOR A BUDGET WITH NO INCREASE, AND ACCUSE HIM OF MARCHING IN LOCKSTEP WITH GOVERNOR BRANSTAD. GIPP SAYS, HOWEVER, THAT CONSIDERABLE FINANCIAL RESOURCES GO TO WATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENT: (AUDIO-GIPP 1)  GIPP SAYS THERE’S ANOTHER IMPORTANT FACTOR WHEN IT COMES TO THE UPCOMING BUDGET:  (AUDIO: GIPP 2)       THE DNR NOW HAS JUST 16 FULL-TIME INSPECTORS FOR IOWA’S MEDIUM AND LARGE PRODUCTION FARMS. THEY ASSERT THERE ARE MORE THAN 10,000 OF THOSE FARMS IN THE STATE THAT SHOULD BE MONITORED.

OFFICE PARTIES AND HOLIDAY GATHERINGS BRING PEOPLE OF ALL POLITICAL STRIPES TOGETHER ACROSS THE COUNTRY, AND EMOTIONS ARE STILL CHARGED FOR MANY AFTER THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. PARISA PARSA OF ESSENTIAL PARTNERS SAYS EVERYONE NEEDS TO ASK THEMSELVES IF THEY’RE GROUNDED ENOUGH TO RESIST ANGRY OUTBURSTS SO THEY DON’T DAMAGE RELATIONSHIPS. SHE SAYS, IT MAY BE A GOOD IDEA TO AVOID POLITICAL CONVERSATIONS IF YOU’RE FEELING TENSE:   (AUDIO-PARSA)     PARSA SAYS IT’S A GOOD IDEA TO BE SINCERE AND CURIOUS, AND AVOID THE PATTERN OF “ATTACK AND DEFEND”

A RECORD NUMBER OF TRAVELERS IS EXPECTED TO BE ON THE ROAD OVER THE HOLIDAYS. IT’LL MEAN GAS PRICES ARE LIKELY TO RISE. GAIL WEINHOLZER FROM TRIPLE-A SAYS GAS PRICES IN IOWA ARE NOW AVERAGING $2.28….AN INCREASE OF 6 CENTS IN THE PAST WEEK AND 16 CENTS IN THE PAST MONTH(AUDIO-RIMKAAA1)   WEINHOLZER SAYS THEY EXPECT OVER 103-MILLION AMERICANS TO TRAVEL AT LEAST 50-MILES OR MORE BETWEEN FRIDAY(TODAY) AND MONDAY, JANUARY 2ND. THAT’S A 1.5% INCREASE FROM A YEAR AGO.

THE LEGENDARY WESTON NOBLE PASSED AWAY PEACEFULLY WEDNESDAY AT THE AGE OF 94. THE RENOWNED CHORAL DIRECTOR, BORN IN RICEVILLE IN 1922, WAS BEST KNOWN FOR HIS 57-YEAR TENURE AT LUTHER COLLEGE, GATHERING ACCOLADES WORLD-WIDE DURING HIS CAREER.  ARRANGEMENTS FOR WESTON ARE BEING HANDLED BY FJELSTUL FUNERAL HOME IN DECORAH.

12-22-16 KDEC NEWS

FOUR PEOPLE WERE SERIOUSLY INJURED IN A HEAD-ON COLLISION IN CHARLES CITY TUESDAY. THE IOWA STATE PATROL SAYS VEHICLES DRIVEN BY 44-YEAR OLD ANTHONY SCHMITZ OF IONIA AND 52-YEAR OLD HEATHER MEYER OF BASSETT COLLIDED WHEN SCHMITZ DRIFTED OVER THE CENTER LINE ON HIGHWAY 18. 11-YEAR OLD MARY JANE SCHMITZ AND 10-YEAR OLD MILEY SCHMITZ WERE PASSENGERS IN ANTHONY’S VEHICLE. ALL EXCEPT MILEY SCHIMITZ WERE AIRLIFTED TO MAYO IN ROCHESTER, WHERE THEIR CONDITION HAS NOT BEEN REPORTED.  NONE OF THOSE IN THE SCHMITZ VEHICLE WERE WEARING SEAT BELTS. AUTHORITIES SAY MEYER HAD HERS ON, AND IT MAY HAVE SAVED HER LIFE. THE ACCIDENT HAPPENED JUST BEFORE 5 P.M. TUESDAY.

A SPOKESMAN FOR THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF AG, DUSTIN VANDE HOEF(VANDUHHOOF) SAYS A DISEASE THAT KILLS DEER HAS BEEN FOUND IN A BUCHANAN COUNTY DEER FARM:    (AUDIO: VANDE HOEF)  VANDE HOEF SAYS SAMPLES FROM TWO DEER TAKEN DURING HUNTING SEASON IN ALLAMAKEE COUNTY LAST YEAR TESTED POSITIVE FOR C.W.D. IT WAS THE THIRD STRAIGHT YEAR C.W.D. HAD BEEN FOUND IN EASTERN IOWA. FOLLOW-UP TESTING IN ALLAMAKEE COUNTY FAILED TO TURN UP ANY ADDITIONAL DEER INFECTED WITH THE DISEASE.

IT’S BUDGET-SETTING TIME FOR WINNESHIEK COUNTY AND MOST OF MONDAY’S SUPERVISOR’S MEETING RELATED TO THAT. COUNTY AUDITOR BEN STEINES SAYS THE COUNTY’S VALUATION GROWTH THIS YEAR HAS BEEN ABOUT 3%, SO THERE MAY BE NO ADJUSTMENT OF THE LEVY. A YEAR AGO THE LEVY RATE ACTUALLY DROPPED 16 CENTS PER THOUSAND. STEINES ANTICIPATES SOLID NUMBERS BY EARLY FEBRUARY.

THE FAYETTE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE HAS FILED CHARGES ON AN ELGIN MAN FOR FAILING TO REGISTER AS A SEX OFFENDER FOR THE THIRD TIME. 53-YEAR OLD KEITH TAYLOR MOVED TO ELGIN DECEMBER 5TH AND FAILED TO REGISTER WITHIN THE FIVE DAY LIMIT UNDER IOWA LAW.  A DEPUTY ARRESTED TAYLOR LAST NIGHT AT HIS RESIDENCE AND TRANSPORTED HIM TO THE FAYETTE COUNTY JAIL WHERE HE WAS HELD ON A $5,000 BOND.

A RULING ON THE LATEST IOWA LAWSUIT TO FIGHT THE DAKOTA ACCESS OIL PIPELINE MAY NOT COME UNTIL THE NEW YEAR. NINE IOWA FARMERS AND LANDOWNERS WERE IN COURT IN DES MOINES LAST WEEK TO CHALLENGE THE GRANTING OF EMINENT DOMAIN POWERS TO ENERGY TRANSFER PARTNERS…THE PIPELINE’S OWNERS. ED FALLON, STATE DIRECTOR OF BOLD IOWA, SAYS THE CASE HAS NATIONAL IMPLICATIONS:  (AUDIO-FALLON 1)  FALLON SAYS, WHATEVER THE RULING FROM THE DISTRICT JUDGE, BOTH SIDES WILL LIKELY APPEAL IF THE DECISION GOES AGAINST THEM. HE SAYS THE IDEAL RULING WOULD FORCE THE COMPANY TO REMOVE THE PIPELINE AND RESTORE THE LAND ACROSS ALL 18 AFFECTED IOWA COUNTIES.

NOW THAT’S IT’S OFFICIALLY WINTER TIME, THE DECORAH PARKS AND RECREATION DEPARTMENT WILL PROCEED WITH THE OPENING OF THE CITY ICE RINK AND WARMING HOUSE AT 3 P.M. THURSDAY(TODAY). A DECEMBER THAW NOTWITHSTANDING,, DIRECTOR ANDY NIMROD SAYS THEY’LL GO AHEAD WITH THE PLAN. THE ICE RINK IS ALWAYS OPEN FOR SKATING UNLESS POSTED OTHERWISE. THE RINK IS LOCATED ADJACENT TO THE NORTH END OF THE COLLEGE DRIVE BRIDGE.

AFTER ONE OF THE COLDEST IOWA WEEKENDS IN YEARS, AN INDUSTRY EXPERT SAYS THE PRICE FOR ONE PRODUCT MANY IOWANS US TO HEAT THEIR HOMES IS HOLDING STEADY. HAROLD HOMMES(HOME-us), A FUELS ANALYST WITH THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, SAYS THE LATEST FUEL REPORT IS VERY ENCOURAGING. HOMMES SAYS THE PRICE OF PROPAND IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN THE SAME THIS WINTER….A FAR DIFFERENT STORY FROM THE WINTER OF 2013-14 WHEN THE PRICE SAW A DRAMATIC RISE. IT’S ESTIMATED 14% OF IOWANS USE LIQUID PROPANE. 67% USE NATURAL GAS AND 15% USE ELECTRICITY.

THE DECORAH SCHOOL BOARD WILL MEET WITH HOUSE DISTRICT 55 REPRESENTATIVE-ELECT MIKE BERGAN THURSDAY. MIKE BERGAN, WHO WON IN LAST MONTH’S ELECTION, WILL DISCUSS EDUCATIONAL ISSUES WITH THE BOARD BEGINNING AT NOON AT THE CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION OFFICE.

Wednesday 12-21-16 News

THE DECORAH CITY COUNCIL MONDAY NIGHT HEARD FROM ALLIANT ENERGY REPRESENTATIVES WHO GAVE THEIR PERSPECTIVE ON CITIES THAT ATTEMPT TO OWN THEIR ELECTRIC UTILITY….A PROCESS THEY TERM MUNICIPALIZATION. THE ALLIANT POSITION IS THAT IT WOULD BE COSTLY TO ATTEMPT AND OPERATE, AND USUALLY LEADS TO HIGHER RATES THAT WHAT THEY CHARGE. THE CURRENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN DECORAH AND ALLIANT EXPIRES IN 2018.  KEITH SHERMAN FROM ALLIANT STATED THE BENEFITS OF A CONTINUATION OF THE AGREEMENT:    (AUDIO: SHERMAN)  SHERMAN ALSO POINTED TO THE 18 ALLIANT EMPLOYEES WHO LIVE IN THE COMMUNITY, AND ALSO SAID ALLIANT PLANS TO PROVIDE COMMUNITY SOLAR BUY-IN OPTIONS IN 2017.

THE IOWA DEMOCRAT PARTY’S LEADERSHIP IS AUTHORIZING WHAT THEY CALL A “DEEP DIVE” TO FIGURE OUT WHY DEMOCRATS HAD SUCH A DEVASTATING 2016. THERE ARE EIGHT PEOPLE NOW VYING TO BECOME THE IOWA DEMOCRATS NEXT CHAIRPERSON. KURT MEYER OF ST. ANSGAR IS CHAIRMAN OF MITCHELL COUNTY DEMOCRATS. HE’S AMONG THE EIGHT. HE SAYS, AFTER THE LOSSES IN 2014 & 2016, PARTICULARLY IN RURAL AREAS, IT’S TIME FOR IOWA DEMOCRATS TO DEVELOP A NEW AGENDA:  (AUDIO: MEYER)         SANDY DOCKENDORFF OF DANVILLE, ANOTHER CANDIDATE FOR PARTY CHAIR, SAYS UNION WORKERS IN SOUTHEAST IOWA FEEL DISENFRANCHISED BY DEMOCRATS, SAYING DES MOINES COUNTY USED TO BE UNION BLUE, AND NOW IT’S UNION RED.

CONCERNS ABOUT ODORS AND SMOKE COMING FROM THE QUARRY HILL ASPHALT PLANT JUST OUTSIDE DECORAH WERE EXPRESSED AT MONDAY’S WINNESHIEK COUNTY SUPERVISORS SESSION. STEVE CAROLAN, WHO LIVES CLOSE TO THE QUARRY, SPOKE TO THE BOARD ABOUT THE ISSUE.  SUPERVISORS CHAIR JOHN LOGSDON SAYS THE CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT ALLOWING THE PLANT IS BEING EXAMINED, BUT NO ACTION IS BEING TAKEN YET. HE SAYS THE PLANT IS NOW CLOSED UNTIL NEXT APRIL, AND THAT A DECISION REGARDING THE ISSUE WILL BE REACHED BY THEN.

CONGRESS IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN WORK EARLY NEXT YEAR ON THE NEXT FARM BILL. IOWA FARM BUREAU PRESIDENT CRAIG HILL SAYS MAINTAINING A STRONG CROP INSURANCE PROGRAM IS HIS GROUP’S HIGHEST PRIORITY: (AUDIO: HILL 1)   IOWA’S CROP INSURANCE PARTICIPATION RATE EXCEEDS 90%. HILL IS ALSO HOPING THE NEXT FARM BILL WILL HELP FARMERS WITH CONSERVATION EFFORTS: (AUDIO-HILL 2)    CONGRESS PASSED THE CURRENT FARM BILL IN 2014.

A DECORAH MIDDLE SCHOOL EIGHTH GRADER HAS EARNED A SPOT IN THE 8TH GRADE ALL-IOWA HONOR BAND.  PETER WILSON WILL BE PARTICIPATING AT THE IOWA BANDMASTERS ASSOCIATION’S CONFERENCE IN DES MOINES.  A EUPHONIUM PLAYER IN THE BAND AT DECORAH MIDDLE SCHOOL, WILSON ALSO IN INVOLVED IN CHORUS, BASKETBALL AND LEGO LEAGUE.    IOWA HAS SIX DIFFERENT DISTRICTS AND EACH DISTRICT SELECTS THEIR TOP 22 MUSICIANS TO TAKE PART IN THE EVENT. OUT OF THOSE 22, NORTHEAST IOWA WAS ALLOWED TO SELECT ONE EUPHONIUM PLAYER, AND PETER WAS THEIR CHOICE.