Several Iowa school districts have taken on debt the last 17 years, with one district owing as much as $35,448 per student, to handle student enrollment increases but also repairs to aging buildings. The question they face is: how to manage that debt?
Public health researchers disagree on the impact fine silica dust has on the long-term health of residents living near silica sand mining communities like the tiny Mississippi River town of Clayton, which is in the Iowa county by the same name, and in southwest Wisconsin.
Workloads for eight state investigators who determine whether herbicides are applied properly in Iowa have more than doubled the past two years, with no plans in sight for adding staffers. The workload increase — from 110 misuse reports in the 2016 crop year to 249 in the 2018 crop year — coincides with the introduction by agrochemical companies of dicamba-based herbicides to kill weeds in farm fields. In spite of this, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Pesticide Bureau has not added staff investigators and completing cases is taking longer, spilling over into the next crop year. Cases taken on in the 2018 crop year, which ran from Oct. 1, 2017, to Sept.
Many Iowans nearing retirement age are driving an increase in older workers who keep their job to cover high health care costs their life savings cannot cover. Story includes a podcast of an IowaWatch Connection radio report on the problem.
Problems the Iowa State Auditor’s office identified in a 2012 audit and subsequent reports and recommendations for investigating Iowa’s pesticide use violations still linger years later. The Iowa Legislature has not changed state law on some fees the state Department of Agriculture Land Stewardship Pesticide Bureau charges licensed pesticide distributors and applicators, an IowaWatch review of public records shows. In other instances, applicators do not take continuing education classes in the same year they apply. Explanations exist for some of the concerns. For example, applicators take continuing education after harvest and before the next spring’s planting season during what is called the crop year, which runs Oct.
A federal judge has struck down as unconstitutional a 2012 Iowa law that banned undercover recording at agricultural production facilities in the state, saying the law’s primary aim is curbing speech critical of practices at those facilities. IowaWatch was part of a friend of the court filing in this case.
Sometimes you have to take risks in order to accomplish something. We asked four Eastern Iowans who have taken risks to speak at a live storytelling event about turns they took in search of something better and share their stories in this podcast.
Many small Iowa communities no longer can afford to maintain their local dumps when faced with increasing regulation and permitting fees by the EPA and Iowa Department of Natural Resources. That has forced new ways of thinking about waste management.
Urban expansion, at least in the few areas where Iowa cities are growing, is eating up some of the state’s best farmland. The urban growth is part of a national trend in which good farmland is lost to new residential neighborhoods.