Thursday, March 31, 2011

Political Lines Redrawn Around Laurens

Proposed new legislative lines give Laurens two Congressmen, two state representatives and a new state senator. Someone will get forced out! The lines were drawn to reflect the census of 2010. All legislative districts must be the same size.

The new Iowa 10th House District would include Pocahontas, Humboldt, Calhoun and parts of Webster counties. Two Republican members of the current Iowa House--Tom Shaw and David Tjepkes--live in opposite corners of the district.

Our proposed new state senate district will include all the same areas plus most of Webster county. Fort Dodge Democrat Daryl Beall would be our state senator until the next senate election.

Pocahontas county is the virtual heart of the proposed Fourth Congressional District. It reaches from Missouri Valley to Carroll to Ames to New Hampton, including everything to the northwest. Republican incumbents Tom Latham and Steve King both live in this district.

The state legislature must approve or reject this map by the end of April. Current office holders will remain in place until the 2012 elections.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Rolfe Land Brings $6775/Acre

Fifty people gathered at the Rolfe Community Center this morning for the auction of 120 acres of farmland a mile north of town. It was last on the market in 1966 when it was purchased by Jim and Esther Wilson. The high bidder today was a local dairyman, Dean Duitscher, who bid $6775/acre. The runner-up bidder was also an area farmer.

The land has no buildings. It is on Hwy 15. It is rolling and has at least one terrace. The corn suitability rating (CSR) is 69.7 on the 115.3 net acres. The gross price divided by the net acres and the CSR produces a value of $101/CSR point. The current tenant has a lease that extends through this summer.

More details about the property were still available on the auctioneer's website immediately after the sale.

Yesterday the local price of corn was $6.82/bushel. Soybeans were selling for $13.47/bushel.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Joelson Calls Community Pow-Wow

The L-M school superintendent wants to talk. He has invited the community to a meeting two weeks from today. The topic for the 6:30 p.m. session will be "What does it mean to be an educated adult in Lauren-Marathon in the 21st century?"

Superintendent Iner Joelson issued the invitation in the school's current "Update" publication, a blue booklet that arrived in area mailboxes last week. He reports that school board members recently read The Global Achievement Gap (available on Kindle even!) and want to re-invent the public school, not just "reform" it. He says "we need your help" because "while [the board] focused on the urgency of change, we had great difficulty . . .in defining a specific area to address."

Joelson also referred his readers to a new website that was "formed to help Iowan's find a common voice to promote the need for innovation in education."

Last year the L-M school was called a "school in need of assistance" by the federal government. The No Child Left Behind Act(NCLB) is slowly bearing down on all public schools. It expects all students to be on grade level by 2014. Schools that don't appear on track to meet that goal will be penalized. However the NCLB law is due for re-authorization this year.

Meanwhile the Iowa House wants to cut state aid to education.