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NEWS 6.22.21: Monona Co. Death Investigation, Wind Energy Hearings, Cattle Price Problems, & Drought

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SPM NEWS 6.22.21 - 4:32PM

A man’s body was found in the Missouri River near Onawa, Iowa. The Monona County Sheriff’s office said a fisherman found the body was found near the Ivy Island Wildlife Management Area Sunday afternoon. The sheriff’s office said it appeared that the man had been in the river for some time. Officials are working to identify the man and an autopsy is planned.

Wind energy is a major economic force in northwest Iowa, and the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors is holding the first of three public hearings today on a possible wind energy ordinance.

The wind industry employs between 9,000 and 10,000 people in Iowa, and the industry pays $58 million per year in state and local taxes. The Woodbury County Supervisors are holding three public hearings on a proposed commercial wind energy ordinance. The first is today at 4:40 in the supervisors' meeting room in the courthouse. The next hearings are set for June 29th and July 6th

Woodbury County Director of Rural Economic Development David Gleiser drafted the proposed ordinance. It includes a site plan and an application approval process to build wind energy.  If approved, the turbines could not be built within 600 feet of public conservation areas, cemeteries, occupied residences, public road right-of-ways, and city limits.

The Senate Agriculture Committee will take a look at issues with cattle markets tomorrow Iowa’s senior U.S. senator says cattle producers are facing hard times with markets that don’t have enough competition. 

Four big meatpackers control 80 percent of the slaughter. Republican Chuck Grassley says cattle producers aren’t getting a fair price and are losing money on their cattle.

When there's a high demand for beef at the grocery stores and consumers are paying a high price. But the cattle producers are barely, barely making ends meet.

Grassley says he hopes legislation comes from the hearing. He says the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing next month to address the lack of competition in the cattle industry.

The latest U.S.D.A. crop report shows the drought impact is showing in Iowa’s crops.

Farmers report corn leaves curling and ground cracking in some areas of the state from the heat according to Radio Iowa. The U.S.D.A. report shows the corn condition is rated 56 percent good to excellent, a drop of seven percentage points from last week.

Soybean emergence was 96 percent complete, one week ahead of the five-year average. The soybeans were rated at 57 percent good to excellent, which is a four percent drop from the previous week.

Officials in Dickinson County want residents in Wahpeton to alternate lawn watering days in order to keep up with demand. Resident with even-numbered addresses should water on even days and odd-numbered addresses on off-numbered days with no watering during the 4th of July weekend.

The city council in Storm Lake voted to restrict water usage due to drought. Lawns can’t be watered on Monday and only 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. the rest of the week. Other restrictions are in place as well to try and concern water. Last week’s U.S. Drought Monitor put a large section of northwest Iowa in the severe drought category.

News release from the City of Storm Lake, IA:

At the regular meeting of the Storm Lake City Council on June 21, 2021, council members approved a resolution which designated conservation measures for the City of Storm Lake. The water conservation measures included in this resolution are:

-    No lawn watering on Monday. On other days for both residential and business watering should only occur between 8:00 PM to 8:00 AM. Water shall not be allowed to run onto sidewalks, driveways, and streets.

-    No washing of boats or other vehicles in driveways and no power washing of houses.

-    New seedings and sod may only be planted and watered before May 31st and after September 30th. 

-    Golf course fairways can be watered from 2:00 AM to 6:00 AM. Also, an exception for watering golf course greens as needed.

These water conservation measures are in response to the continuing drought conditions in the state and will remain in place until lifted by the City Council. Further, as drought conditions may continue through October 2021, pursuant to Storm Lake Municipal Code Section 3-5-5, additional action necessary during this time may be taken by the Mayor or City Manager and issued through a Proclamation. For additional information, please visit the City of Storm Lake website at www.stormlake.org.

More tips regarding voluntary water conservations measures and tips for reducing water consumption will follow each Tuesday.  Ensuring wise use of our water resources is in the best interest of the community.

Former University of South Dakota pole vaulter Chris Nilsen is headed to the Olympics in Tokyo in the pole vault. He is a three-time NCAA champion and won the U.S. Trials with a height of 19 feet, four-and-a-quarter inches.

He graduated from USD last year as a seven time All-American and is currently ranked fifth in the world according to the Sioux City Journal.

Another USD pole vaulter KC Lightfoot also make the U.S. Olympic team in the pole vault. Six USD athletes are competing in the U.S. Trials.

The Creighton men’s basketball program has been placed on two years’ probation and docked scholarships each of the next two seasons by the NCAA. The organization investigated allegations that a former assistant coach accepted cash from a management agency. The penalties are the latest in a wide-ranging FBI probe into college basketball corruption that has ensnared numerous coaches and several high-profile schools, including Kansas and North Carolina State. The NCAA says Creighton athletic director Bruce Rasmussen violated ethics rules after he conducted his own investigation without notifying or coordinating with the compliance office.

A man who pleaded guilty to leaving a menacing voicemail for Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has been ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation and have no contact with the Republican governor for five years. Forty-eight-year-old Harvey Hunter Jr. was also fined and granted a one-year term of probation during a sentencing hearing Monday in Des Moines. Hunter pleaded guilty last month to a misdemeanor charge of second-degree harassment, under an agreement with Polk County prosecutors. He admitted to leaving a threatening voicemail Jan. 5 on a governor’s office phone line for input on the state’s partial mask mandate. The message said that Reynolds and other politicians should be hung or shot for treason for imposing restrictions to fight COVID-19.

The number of new COVID-19 cases continued to decrease in Nebraska last week, and the state currently has one of the lowest rate of new cases in the nation. The Omaha World-Herald reports that for the past eight weeks in a row Nebraska has reported fewer virus cases than the week before. Data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the state reported 168 new cases last week, which was down from 234 the week before. At the peak of cases last fall, Nebraska reported 16,740 new cases during the week of Nov. 20.

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and other federal officials are expected to announce steps that the federal government plans to take to reconcile the legacy of boarding school policies on Indigenous families and communities. The recent discovery of children’s remains buried at the site of what was once Canada’s largest Indigenous residential school has rekindled interest in that legacy both in Canada and the United States. The first Native American to serve as a Cabinet secretary, Haaland is scheduled Tuesday to outline a path forward while addressing members of the National Congress of American Indians during the group’s midyear conference.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Wildlife officials have removed 250 alligators from Disney properties in the five years since a 2-year-old boy was killed by one of the reptiles at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. The company has worked with trappers contracted through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to remove the alligators. Agency spokeswoman Tammy Sapp says most of the nuisance gators are euthanized and sold for their hide and meat. Some are also transferred to alligator farms, animal exhibits and zoos. Disney also installed a wall and put up reptile warning signs along waterways throughout its resorts after Lane Thomas Graves was killed in June 2016.

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