August 30, 2017

    Apple Awarded $213 Million
    High School Students Encouraged to Apply to be Legislative Pages
    Labor Day Celebration in Iowa
    No More On-Site Checks by Long-Term Care Ombudsmen
    Report Gives a Snapshot of Iowa’s Skill Shortage
    Retirement System Sees Solid Return
    Derelict Building Grants Available for Rehabbing Commercial Buildings
    Dove Season Begins September 1
    Grant will Help with Adult Education and Literacy
    Public Invited to Attend Supreme Court Arguments
    2017 Dialogue on Aging Series

    Apple Awarded $213 Million

    Apple Inc, the most profitable company in the world, was awarded $213 million from Governor Kim Reynolds and local officials to build a new data center in Waukee that will create 50 jobs.

    Under the deal, Apple will receive $19.6 million in tax credits from the Economic Development Authority to create the 50 jobs while local incentives total $194 million.

    Many Iowans have expressed concerns over the deal because the incentives mean Apple will get about $4 million for every permanent job created, while the corporation has a record $256.8 billion in cash on hand.

    The deal comes the same week lawmakers learned the state’s watchdog that protects Iowans in nursing home facilities would end on-site inspections. Some Iowans also expressed concerns that last year’s K-12 education budget in Iowa was the 3rd lowest in 40 years. Lawmakers are also considering a special session this fall to fix the state’s budget shortfall.

    High School Students Encouraged to Apply to be Legislative Pages

    The Iowa Legislature is looking for high school students to learn more about the legislative process by applying to serve as a Legislative Page in the Iowa House of Representatives for the 2018 Legislative Session.

    Legislative Pages provide invaluable assistance to representatives and staff by running errands, delivering messages, and distributing bills and amendments. Pages also “staff” committee meetings and help the chairperson by handing out materials during the meetings. Pages will work with staff and representatives in the Iowa State Capitol building.

    The Iowa House Chief Clerk’s office will be accepting applications until Friday, October 6, 2017.

    Guidelines to the program:

      • Must be 16 years of age
      • Applications are accepted for the Senate, House, or Legislative Services Agency
      • Uniforms are provided
      • Living arrangements are unsupervised and must be found on your own
      • Students are responsible for transportation to and from the State Capitol
      • This is a paid position. Some excused absences may be permitted
      • Student is expected to be able to handle any school responsibilities
      • Parental permission is required to participate in this program

    For more details and how to apply go to http://www.legis.iowa.gov/careers.

    Labor Day Celebration in Iowa

    All Iowans benefit from the labor movements fight for better wages, reasonable hours and safe working conditions, as well as health benefits and compensation for injured workers. These contributions and their economic and societal achievements will be celebrated September 4th.

    Labor Day has its roots in trade union celebrations in the 19th century. Unions began choosing days to celebrate each year, and these celebrations grew until states began recognizing the days as state holidays. These celebrations spread nationwide with many states adopting the holiday. By the time congress passed Labor Day legislation, 23 states had celebrations. More than 80 countries worldwide celebrate Labor Day.

    No More On-Site Checks by Long-Term Care Ombudsmen

    After a round of budget cuts last session made by the Governor and the majority parties in the Iowa House and Senate, Iowa’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman announced it will no longer do on-site visits to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

    Last year, the Ombudsman completed 5,000 visits and nearly 700 were made in response to specific complaints of resident care or violations of residents’ rights. The Office oversees 53,000 Iowans living in 850 facilities across Iowa. The Office will now only communicate with the residents, families, and facilities by telephone.

    The mission of the State Office of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman is to protect the health, safety, welfare and rights of individuals residing in long-term care facilities by investigating complaints, seeking resolutions to problems and providing advocacy with the goal of enhancing quality of life and care.

    In addition to site visits, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman also held over 100 training sessions for volunteer ombudsmen throughout Iowa, whom assist in overseeing care at a facility in their local community.

    Many lawmakers and Iowans have expressed concern that no longer making on-site visits and investigating complaints in facilities who put the health and safety of Iowans at risk.

    Report Gives a Snapshot of Iowa’s Skill Shortage

    A new state report estimates that Iowa will need an additional 127,700 people by the year 2025 with at least a two-year associate’s degree to meet our workforce needs.

    According to the “Metrics that Matter” report prepared for Iowa’s Future Ready Iowa Alliance, 70% of Iowa’s workforce will need to have at least a two-year degree beyond high school. Those with an associate degree earn 40% more than those without a high school education and 20% more than those with a high school education.

    Here are some of the other Iowa national rankings addressed in the report:

      • 42% of Iowa’s population has a degree beyond high school. This ranks Iowa 19th in the country in that category.
      • Iowa’s median house hold income from 2015 is $54,736, ranking Iowa 33rd in the country.

    Here is the link to the report: https://www.futurereadyiowa.gov/sites/fri/files/basic_page_files/Future%20Ready%20Iowa%20Metrics%20that%20Matter_0.pdf.

    Retirement System Sees Solid Return

    While the calls for a review of the retirement system in Iowa persist, IPERS continues to prove that it is well-run. IPERS, the state’s largest retirement system, had an investment return of 11.70% last year, which exceeded its targeted annual return rate of 7%.

    While the return rate of 11.70% is a good sign, officials at IPERS maintain it is important to remember that analyzing the performance of IPERS should be done over the long term. The investment board of the retirement system have implemented a 30 year plan, similar to a home mortgage, to get to 100% funded. Over the last 30 years, the system has had an annualized return rate of 8.5%. Around 70% of benefit payments are paid through investment earnings.

    IPERS currently has approximately 350,000 members, including 114,000 retirees. Members of IPERS include teachers, correctional officers, nurses, and law enforcement officials.

    Derelict Building Grants Available for Rehabbing Commercial Buildings

    Funding through the derelict building grant program is still available to eligible communities to inspect and properly remove asbestos from abandoned commercial buildings. Up to $50,000 is available for each project and applications will be accepted until the funds are expended.

    The program helps small communities and rural counties deal with abandoned commercial structures. The grant can be used to investigate the amount of asbestos, determine the stability of the structure, and abate any asbestos that is found.

    “If a building collapses and the presence of asbestos is unknown, it can increase the economic burden on the community. In addition, a building’s appearance may not reveal the actual condition of the structure. Building assessments can assist communities determine how best to address an abandoned building,” said Scott Flagg of the Department of Natural Resources.

    For additional information or to obtain an application to the program contact Scott Flagg at 515-725-8318 or Scott.Flagg@dnr.iowa.gov.

    Dove Season Begins September 1

    Iowa’s dove season begins on September 1 and goes through November 29. Doves are a migratory bird that prefer bare ground and open landscapes. In 2016, a total of 131,000 doves were harvested, and experts predict the population has remained stable for the 2017 season.

    Here are some reminders provided by the DNR for a safe and successful hunt:

    Practice Safe Hunting

    Hunters will be trying to blend in to the background so it’s important that they know where each other are at all times, stay within their zone of fire and communicate during the hunt.

    Late Summer Weather

    Daytime temperatures can still be in the 80s and mosquitoes and ticks are still around. Remember to pack bug spray, and if hunting during the afternoon, sunscreen, and plenty of water for the hunter and dog. Be prepared to put doves in a cooler.

    Spent Shells

    Toss in a grocery bag or two to pick up any trash including shell casings and leave the area as good as or better than it was found.

    Shooting Hours and Bag Limits

    Legal shooting hours for mourning doves is one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. There is a daily bag limit of 15 doves with a possession limit of 45.

    For more information regarding these seasons, please visit https://www.iowadnr.gov/hunting.

    Grant will Help with Adult Education and Literacy

    According to the Iowa Department of Education (DE), there are 146,000 Iowans of workforce age that do not have a high school degree. A grant may now help provide the services necessary for these Iowans to gain employment skills, and address Iowa’s employment skills gap.

    An AmeriCorps Planning Grant will enable DE to partner with the Iowa Literacy Council to develop strategies targeting those with the greatest barriers to employment through increased volunteerism and additional technical program support. The $57,000 grant will also develop and implement an adult tutoring program to address Iowa’s literacy needs. The Department of Education will have the opportunity to apply for a larger project grant to fund the implementation of the plan, begin to certify tutors and increase the number of volunteers to raise the literacy level of adults across the State of Iowa.

    Public Invited to Attend Supreme Court Arguments

    Each year, Iowa’s Supreme Court schedules oral arguments in a handful of cities around Iowa, as well as the law schools at Drake University and the University of Iowa in an effort to bring the work of the courts to a venue that is more accessible to the public.

    This year, those communities will be Davenport, Cedar Falls, Des Moines, and Knoxville, and the arguments will be held in the evenings, with the exception of the arguments held at the law schools. All of the Court’s oral arguments are livestreamed on the Iowa Courts YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCL6EU7W8kqDKnKPUzMdxr_g.

    Here are the dates, locations and times of those arguments:

      September 15, 2017 – University of Iowa College of Law – 10:30am
      September 19, 2017 – Des Moines Hoover High School – 7:00pm
      October 12, 2017 – Davenport Central High School – 7:00pm
      November 2, 2017 – Cedar Falls High School – 7:00pm
      February 12, 2018 – Judicial Branch Building, Des Moines – 7:00pm
      March 22, 2018 – Drake University Law School – 9:30am
      April 3, 2018 – Knoxville High School – 7:00pm

    2017 Dialogue on Aging Series

    The Department of Aging will be holding two sessions on the topic, “Technology in Aging: Improving the Quality of Life and Care for Older Iowans.” One session will be on September 13 in Bettendorf at the Golden Leaf Banquet & Conference Center. The second session will be on October 25 in Creston at the Supertel Inn & Conference Center. Iowa’s centenarians (persons who will be 100 years old by December 31, 2017) will be recognized at each session.

    Both sessions will cover the same information and run from 9 am to 3:45 pm, lunch will be served, and the cost to attend is $25 per person. To register for either event, please visit https://www.iowaaging.gov/content/2017-dialogue-aging-event-registration?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery.