Big Cat Tracks Found Five Miles North Of Melvin

Could it be another mountain lion or cougar in northwest Iowa?

A Melvin man has emailed our studios pictures of tracks he found in the snow across his frozen farm pond. They definitely appear to be cat-like. But they are bigger than any domestic cat’s feet.

Robert Keller lives 5 miles north of Melvin. He took pictures with his large tom cat and that cat’s tracks — but the tracks he found are bigger than the tom cat’s head.

He says the tracks are from an animal with pads in back and it looks like 4 claws in front.

So far, it’s a mystery.

If anyone has seen an animal that could make tracks like that — let us know by calling 324-2597 or emailing

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director

School Board Meeting

At the Wednesday meeting of the Sheldon Community School Board, Superintendent Robin Spears told the board that the school had received recognition for the new track.

The contractor who installed the new surface had submitted the project to the Asphalt Paving Association of Iowa. Due to the quality of the finished project, the Association sent Sheldon a certificate of recognition as a finalist for it’s Quality In Construction Award.

East Elementary Principal Tanya Langholdt reported to the board that there are some new faces in the elementary building. Four student teachers have either begun, or are set to begin, their student teaching experience at East. They are: Brianna Wright, who will be in Mrs. Haning’s 2nd Grade; Adam Liker, who is currently teaching in Mrs. Thornton’s 1st Grade; Amanda Horstmand, who will be working in Mrs. Whitsell’s 4th Grade classroom; and Jerilyn Stofferan, who will be teaching in Mrs. Zehnder’s Kindergarten classroom.

Activity Director Mike Niece told the board that he has learned there will be a shake-up in district football assignments next year. Due to some area schools moving from one class to another, there will be a district realignment for the 2012-2013 school year. In addition, Niece told the board that each district will be comprised of 7 schools, which will add an additional non-district game to every team’s schedule.

Niece told the board that he had been the administrator sent with the high school dance team to Florida for the Outback Bowl performance. He said he was very pleased by the way in which the kids represented themselves, the school and the community. He said he had been very proud of the kids, and told the board they should be, as well.

In other action, the board approved the contract for Sandra Wolthuizen as a Special Education Transportation Aide, and approved the resignation of Justin Albers as Assistant JV Baseball Coach, effective 2012, subject to the school being able to find a replacement.

The board ended the evening by adjourning into closed session for a strategy meeting on the District’s collective bargaining agreement.

Sioux Center Events Center To Open In May; Accepting Reservations

Sioux Center is building a new events center.

Dubbed the “Terrace View Events Center”, it will be located in the South Ridge Estates Commercial Park in Sioux Center. It’s adjacent to the Sioux Center Ridge Golf Course. The facility will be able to comfortably seat up to 500 guests at round tables and over 700 guests for receptions and seminars.

A new logo has been designed and a web site has been launched at

Reservations are being accepted for events. The target opening date for events is May First, 2012.

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director

Orange City Leader Receives State Honor

An Orange City leader has been selected to receive a state honor.

Marty Guthmiller of Orange City has been selected for the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame for his outstanding contribution of volunteer service to the community. Guthmiller will be recognized by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad at ceremonies in Des Moines on February 21.

The Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame was established in 1989 by the Governor’s Office for Volunteerism to honor extraordinary Iowans who have freely given their precious time and talent in countless ways to benefit others. Coordination of this program shifted to the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service in 2002.

According to the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service, being inducted into the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame is the most prestigious state-level honor volunteers can receive; the people selected are those who have forever changed their community, the state, the nation, or the world with their volunteer service and action.

Guthmiller’s volunteer work has included leadership in planning and overseeing the Phoenix Project, which involves the design and development, fundraising, and construction of the Hawkeye Center and the new Prairie Winds Event Center. In addition, in his role as Vice Chair of the Orange City Development Corporation, Guthmiller has been instrumental in attracting new business, including recruiting Pioneer Seed Corporation to locate and build a research center in Orange City.

Guthmiller has led several campaigns for projects in Orange City. He serves as CEO of the Orange City Health System.

By Lisa Burg

Edited by Scott Van Aartsen
News Director

Five Fire Departments Battle Rural Hawarden Blaze; Outbuilding Destroyed

An outbuilding, a truck, and a tractor on a farm southeast of Hawarden were destroyed in a fire on Thursday night (1/12), and volunteers from five fire departments fought the fire.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office released a report about the fire. They say they were alerted just before 3:30 Thursday afternoon. The fire occurred at 1717 460th Street, two miles southeast of Hawarden.

The report says workers at the farm told authorities that the fire seemed to start under the front of a diesel Ford F800 service truck they use on the farm. They were trying to get a tractor started to pull the burning truck out before it spread to the building but were not able to get anything started.

The fire fully engulfed the outbuilding containing the truck. The building also housed a tractor and other items. It was considered a total loss.

The Hawarden Fire Chief has contacted the State Fire Marshal to help determine the cause of the fire. At this time the Fire Chief doesn’t believe it’s suspicious.

The Hawarden Fire Department, Hawarden Ambulance, Ireton Fire, Akron Fire, Hudson Fire, Alcester Fire, and the Sioux Center Rehab Trailer all responded to the call.

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director

Local Telephone Rates May Increase

A proposal before the Federal Communications Commission could cause substantial rate increases for customers of small, independent telephone companies.

The proposal would do away with the USF, or Universal Service Fund, a revenue source designed to keep rates affordable for customers of those small rural companies. Dave Raak of Hospers Telephone Company explains.

Raak says the USF has allowed companies like Hospers Telephone to maintain rates at affordable levels.

Raak says there are approximately 150 small, independent phone companies in Iowa alone, whose customers would be adversely impacted by the termination of the USF.

By Tom Traughber
News Reporter