Sheldon, Iowa — Hunters and trappers across the state will get a chance later this week to weigh in on possible new regulations for this fall. Willy Suchy, Wildlife Research Supervisor with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says a new process is being used this year as public meetings are taking place before any rule changes are proposed.
(as said) “In the past, we’ve had it after we’ve gotten initial recommendations,” Suchy says. “Now we’re being asked to try to involve stakeholders as much as possible prior to coming up regulation changes.”
The Iowa DNR will host public meetings over the Iowa Communications Network on Thursday (March 7) from 6 to 9 p.m. Suchy expects hunters will have a few concerns.
(as said) “Number one is the number of deer and where we’re at,” Suchy says. “Are we shooting too many? Are we shooting too few?”
Deer numbers in some parts of Iowa are at their lowest point in a decade. DNR staff members will facilitate a discussion at each meeting site and Suchy says the topics covered will be up to those who attend.
(as said) “It’s up to whoever wants to come and talk to us. We’re there to record the comments and then we’ll use that, plus our harvest survey information, to come up with some good recommendations to take to the Natural Resource Commission,” Suchy said.
Any rule changes must be approved by the Natural Resource Commission and then go back to the public for further comment before taking effect next fall. The ICN meetings this Thursday night will be held in Boone, Calmar, Cedar Falls, Chariton, Clinton, Council Bluffs, Creston, Dubuque, Fort Dodge, Johnston, Marshalltown, Mason City, Ottumwa, Sac City, Sergeant Bluff, Sheldon, Spencer, Tiffin and West Burlington.
Northwest Iowa — It’s tax season, and many people are trying to find ways of getting more in their refund, or having to pay less. If you are an active Iowa volunteer fire fighter, EMT, or paramedic, you can take advantage of a new tax credit. But you’re going to have to wait a year. According to Iowa Department of Revenue Officials, the Volunteer Firefighter & Emergency Medical Services Personal Tax Credit takes effect in Tax Year 2013 for returns filed in 2014.
In order to qualify for the credit a volunteer firefighter must be an active member of an organized volunteer fire department in Iowa, and must meet the minimum training standards established by the Fire Service Training Bureau, a division of the Iowa Department of Public Safety.
If you’re a volunteer emergency medical services provider, you have to be trained to provide emergency medical care, you have to be certified as a first responder, and must have been issued a certificate by the Iowa Department of Public Health.
The tax credit equals $50 if the volunteer serves for the entire calendar year 2013. If the volunteer does not serve the entire year, the $50 credit will be prorated based on the number of months that the volunteer served.
You also have to have a written statement from the fire chief or other appropriate supervisor verifying that you were a volunteer for the number of months that are being claimed. These letters do not have to be attached to a filed return, but must be produced by the taxpayer upon request by the Department of Revenue.
Des Moines, Iowa — Gov. Terry Branstad has appointed several northwest Iowans to positions on Iowa’s boards and commissions. Most of the terms begin May 1.
Branstad has appointed Jeffrey Hayes of Cherokee to the Credit Union Review Board. He appointed Thomas Jeneary of LeMars to the Board of Dentistry. Larry Den Herder of Sioux Center was appointed to serve on the Economic Development Authority. Two northwest Iowans have been appointed to the Environmental Protection Commission — Joanne Stockdale of Okoboji and Eugene Ver Steeg of Inwood.
The governor appointed Clay County Sheriff Randy Krukow of Spencer to the Law Enforcement Academy Council. He also appointed Marjorie Pitts of Spencer to the Mental Health Risk Pool Board, and Craig Cretsinger of Spencer to the Prevention of Disabilities Policy Council. Cretsinger’s term began March 1st. The governor also appointed Susan Vance Hjelm of Lake Park to the State Soil Conservation Committee and Mark Murphy of Cherokee to the Vision Iowa Board.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa — The man who brought the Grand Falls Casino to Lyon County and the Riverside Casino to Washington County is now trying to get voters in Cedar Rapids to vote “no” on a casino.
Dan Kehl, president and CEO of Kehl Management has announced that he will build a $30 million indoor water park with bowling center and event space in Cedar Rapids — IF — the voters reject casino gaming in a vote coming up on Tuesday (3/5). The last-minute water park idea came as a surprise to people in Cedar Rapids, however the Riverside Casino, which is only a short 35 minutes from Cedar Rapids, has spent $600,000 trying to defeat the idea of a casino in Cedar Rapids. The campaign is called “Just Say No Casino”.
Kehl says he won’t build the family-friendly water park idea if the casino vote passes because the Riverside Casino stands to lose more than 30 percent of its business if a Cedar Rapids casino is built.
The City of Cedar Rapids owns the land where the water park or casino would be built. The land does sit in the 100-year flood plain. The City is touting the revenues a casino would create as a way to help pay for flood protection.
Just like in Lyon County — if Linn County voters approve gambling, the Iowa Racing And Gaming Commission would still need to grant the group a gaming license.
Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon KIDS Committee (that’s Keep Improving District Schools) has released a Tentative Timeline for the East Elementary Building Project that was approved by over 70 percent of voters on Tuesday, February 5th.
According to a post on the commitee’s Facebook page, in Phase 1, the Parking lot and circle drive will be prepped to provide for a staging area for the construction and a plan will be devised for student drop-off and pick-up during the construction phase. New construction will begin in the late summer or early fall of this year (2013).
The post says that in Phase 2, the Lunchroom, Kindergarten, First and Second Grade areas will have any asbestos removed. Phase 2 is set for construction during the summer of 2014. Areas will be remodeled at the same time.
The committee reports that new construction areas will be complete prior to school starting in the fall of 2014. Classes will move into their new areas.
In Phase 3, the Third and Fourth Grade wing will relocate into the current Kindergarten and First Grade wing for the first semester. The Third and Fourth wing will have asbestos removed and be remodeled during first semester.
They report that the plan is that everyone should be in their new classrooms in January 2015.