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Canceled | News, Sports, Jobs



Messenger photo by Bill Shea

Brandishing two flasks, World War II re-enactor John Liszewski, of Maryland, asks Air Force veteran Pete Oppedahl, of Fort Dodge, center, if his shots are up to date. Liszewski greeted the Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., in May 2019.

COVID-19 has grounded the Brushy Creek Area Honor Flights for 2020.

The committee that organizes the flights announced that it has scrapped all plans to fly veterans to Washington, D.C., this year to see the nation’s war memorials.

A flight scheduled for May 9 had previously been postponed until Aug.22. Now that flight and one scheduled for Sept. 21 have been canceled as organizers set their sights on two planned flights next year.

“Cancelling our 2020 Honor Flights has been a difficult decision,” said Ron Newsum, the chairman of the Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight Committee. “However, the safety of our veterans has always been and will continue to be the No. 1 priority of the Honor Flight Network.”

He noted that the veterans who participate are older and “are among the most vulnerable of the population as it relates to serious complications and death from COVID-19.”

-Messenger photo by Elijah Decious

John Brown poses with the Iowa column at the World War II memorial during the Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight in September 2019.

The local group’s action comes in the wake of a directive from the national Honor Flight organization calling for all flights to be canceled for the remainder of 2020.

Brushy Creek Area Honor Flights are scheduled for next year on May 8 and Aug. 28.

Veterans who had been scheduled to go on the May 9, 2020, flight will be invited to go on the May 8, 2021, trip.

The Brushy Creek Area Honor Flights take veterans to Washington for free. The trips are paid for by donations and fundraisers.

The first flight took place on May 1, 2010. Since then there have been two flights a year.

Messenger photo by Elijah Decious

Bob Kearney takes in the names on a wall at the Air Force Memorial while on the Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight in September 2019.

Initially, only World War II veterans could participate. Over the years, the flights were opened to veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars. Last year, eligibility was extended to veterans who served during peacetime in between those three wars.

The flights depart from Fort Dodge Regional Airport before dawn and go to Dulles International Airport in the Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital. In Washington, the veterans take a whirlwind tour of the nation’s war memorials then go to Arlington National Cemetery to witness the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. The veterans return to Fort Dodge late at night to a rousing welcome.

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Slow and steady | News, Sports, Jobs




-Messenger photo by Kriss Nelson

While following a slow-moving vehicle like the combine shown above can test a driver’s patience, it’s important to drive carefully when sharing the road with farm equipment.

Abiding by the Iowa State Patrol’s advice of slow down, put your phone down and buckle up is more important than ever as motorists are beginning to share the road with farm equipment this fall.

“We know harvest season is upon us and the advice we would give to both farmers and the motoring public is to make sure you are visible,” said Paul Gardner, an Iowa State Patrol trooper. “Make sure you are driving defensively. Look down the road to see what is ahead of you.”

Farm equipment operators, Gardner said, need to be sure to be equipped with a slow moving vehicle sign if they are traveling 35 mph or less. While traveling at night they need to ensure they have working lights so motorists can see them as they approach the large equipment as well as meeting them on the road.

Remembering to yield at stop at stop signs is also important.

“When you are coming up to an intersection, make sure you are yielding to traffic,” he said. “Stop signs still apply to those who are operating tractors and other farm implements.”

Be sure to share the road.

“Share the road and watch for other vehicles,” said Gardner. “If a large equipment operator can safely do it, they should get over as much as they can. Give people enough room to pass. We encourage you to don’t try to get traffic backed up behind you as much as possible and try to choose the routes that don’t have as much traffic.”

As for the motoring public, Gardner said they also need to be aware of their surroundings while traveling on rural roadways.

“Just know there are going to be tractors and combines out working the fields this fall,” he said.

When approaching a slow moving vehicle, Gardner said it is imperative to give them plenty of room.

“Don’t crowd them. Don’t follow them too closely because if they have to stop all of a sudden, or if you are out passing them and they make a turn in front of you, that is going to be bad for both vehicles involved,” he said. “Obviously, the bigger the tractor, the worse it is going to be for the car.”

No passing zones, Gardner said still apply when passing farm implements.

“Just because they are going slower, it is still illegal to pass on the double yellow lines,” he said. “You may be coming up on a hill and think you can get around them, but you need to be watching out for oncoming traffic.”

By keeping your phone down and your eyes looking ahead that should help noticing a slow moving vehicle in plenty of time to slow down.

“Don’t be distracted. Make sure you are aware of what is ahead of you. You may not see them right away and you may come across a tractor pretty quickly and it may be too late to slow down or too late to stop,” he said.

Studies have shown speeding in the state of Iowa has increased over this last year.

“Speeds that are 21 miles per hour and greater than the speed limit have increased 50 percent this year compared to last year,” he said.

Speeding can make stopping for a slow moving vehicle even more difficult.

“Sometimes on the back roads, you get somebody who has an open road and they don’t see anybody, they put the hammer down and they may not see a slow moving vehicle pull out and it will be too late to slow down,” he said.

Gardner says to just be patient.

“They are going to move slow because obviously they are meant to go slow,” he said. “As soon as it is safe to pass and you can get around them please do so. Be careful. The farmer may be making a turn into a farm drive or another roadway and they may turn right in front of you.”

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Jobs market still challenging: Frydenberg | Port Macquarie News




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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg concedes Australia’s labour market is still challenging despite a surprise fall in unemployment. The jobless rate unexpectedly fell to 6.8 per cent in August, bucking widespread predictions of a slight rise. “The labour market is still very challenging,” Mr Frydenberg told Sky News on Friday. “There is a lot of uncertainty out there in the economy – not just here in Australia but globally – and that’s a reflection of the nature of the virus.” Roughly 111,000 people gained employment in August, the third month of exceptionally strong results. Over half the massive jobs losses in April and May have been recovered. However such strength masked a 42,400 drop in employment numbers in Victoria, where restrictions remain. Mr Frydenberg, a Victorian MP, said businesses in the state were still hard hit by lockdowns. “I’m hoping and the prime minister is hoping those restrictions can be eased as quickly as it is COVID-safe to do so,” he said. “Once that happens more business will reopen, more people will get back to work and that will be good news for the overall economy.” Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said while the latest job figures were promising, he expected the next six months to be tough as people wean their businesses off JobKeeper wage subsidies. “So we might be in for a rough ride here,” Mr Willox said. “People do have to start trying to find their way back into the workforce, employers need to start to be able to find ways to employ again.” Trade Minister Simon Birmingham admits the economic recovery won’t be plain sailing. “That’s why our plan for the budget handed down next month is all about jobs,” Senator Birmingham told Nine. “Jobs driven by infrastructure, by skills, by taxes, by making sure that all systems of the economy we make as efficient and as effective as possible to create even more of those jobs.” Senator Birmingham, who is tipped to replace Finance Minister Mathias Cormann when he retires at the end of the year, reaffirmed the government was looking at bringing forward legislated tax cuts. Australian Associated Press

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Alberta unveils plans to diversify economy, create jobs, promote investment




Alberta’s minister of jobs, economy and innovation has outlined the province’s plan to drive diversification and grow the economy.

Doug Schweitzer announced Thursday morning the province’s investment and growth strategy to help “jump-start Alberta’s economic recovery.”

The $75 million initative is said to build off the province’s strengths including the energy, tourism and agriculture sectors while embracing emerging sectors including technology. financial services, aviation and aerospace.

“Alberta is coming to play in the tech and innovation space,” said Schweitzer in a statement released during the announcement. “We’re putting the rest of Canada on notice that we are going to beat provinces like Ontario and B.C. to the punch by moving policy at the speed of business.

“The first of many policy steps is to develop the best framework for intellectual property so ideas can be turned into businesses and jobs.”

According to the ministry, the government of Alberta will work alongside other levels of government and industry stakeholders as it attempts to “bring high-impact investment to Alberta and to increase investor engagement,” a goal that prompted the creation of the Invest Alberta Corporation this summer.

The province’s investment and growth strategy is available at Selling Alberta to the World.

Under the NDP government, Alberta introduced a number of diversification efforts including tax credits for the tech sector. The UCP government slashed those initiatives after taking power.

In October 2019, Finance Minister Travis Toews said diversifying revenue streams in Alberta would be a long-term luxury.

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