Iowa Senate Quarrels Over “Climate Change;” Two NW Iowa Legislators Weigh In

Des Moines, Iowa — Last week a handful of state senators, including two from northwest Iowa got into a partisan squabble over “climate change.” It was Senator Rob Hogg , a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, who got things started by reading a statement from a group of Iowa religious leaders, including his own Catholic bishop.


That prompted Republican Senator David Johnson of Ocheyedan to ridicule the idea that humans are the main cause of climate change.


Hogg suggested ignoring climate change would wreck the U.S. economy.


Johnson responded with a little yelling of his own — saying, “I’m on the side of the scientists I served with in Antartica and Greenland and I’m the only member of this body that has done that,” Johnson said. “And there is no agreement in the scientific community, no consensus that things have really changed because change happens.” Senator Joni Ernst of Red Oak openly admitted to being a Republican who drives a fuel-efficient Prius.


Republican Senator Randy Feenstra of Hull suggested it was time for legislators to quit talking about climate change and move on to more productive tasks.


Key leaders expect the 2012 legislative session to wrap up sometime this week, but big decisions remain on budget issues and an agreement on property tax reform.

In Wake Of Primghar Suicide, Representatives Propose Bullying Hotline

(Des Moines, Iowa)The suicide death of a Primghar boy a week ago has served as a catalyst for two lawmakers to make plans for a bullying hotline in Iowa.

Democrats Representative Mary Mascher of Iowa City and Representative Beth Wessel-Kroeschell of Ames say the tragic death of Kenneth Wieshuhn Jr. of Primghar highlights the importance of setting up the line before the end of the legislative session.

The 14-year-old Wieshuhn took his own life last weekend, and family and friends say it was because he was bullied and teased after he acknowledged he was gay.

The legislators have their work cut out for them as the legislative session could end as early as next week.

The measure could have support from Republican Governor Branstad, as he has been an advocate of programs to combat bullying, especially bullying about sexual preference.

Judy Ann Oldenkamp

Judy Ann Oldenkamp (Mrs. Sam Jr.) age 67, of Sheldon, Iowa, passed away on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at Sanford Medical Center in Sheldon, Iowa.

Funeral Services will be Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 10:30 A.M. at Andringa Funeral Home Sheldon Funeral Service in Sheldon. Rev. Paul Fischer officiating. Burial in East Lawn Cemetery in Sheldon.

Visitation will be Tuesday, April 24, from 2:00 to 8:00 P.M. with the family present from 6:30 to 8:00 P.M. at the Andringa Funeral Home Sheldon Funeral Service in Sheldon.

Judy Ann Oldenkamp was born on September 30, 1944 in Rock Rapids, Iowa. She was the daughter of Ed and Elaine (Klosterboer) Van Briesen. She lived her youth on a farm northwest of George, Iowa and attended a country school.

She was united in marriage to Sam Oldenkamp Jr. of Sheldon, Iowa on October 21, 1972 at Ebenezer Presbyterian Church in George, Iowa. They lived in Sheldon where Sam operated the Oldenkamp Salvage Yard. Sam passed away on July 8, 1985.

Judy worked at Aalfs Manufacturing in Sheldon. She later worked as a custodian for the Sheldon Community School System for many years, until she retired, due to her health.

Judy was a loving wife and mother. She took pride in always being on time.

She was a member of Ebenezer Presbyterian Church in George, Iowa, where she attended when she was able.

Judy passed away on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at Sanford Medical Center in Sheldon, Iowa.

Those left to cherish her memories are her daughter: Peggy Sue Oldenkamp of Sheldon, IA; one brother: Robert and wife Sheila Van Briesen of Thornton, CO.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Sam Oldenkamp Jr., and her parents.

Online Expressions of Sympathy can be sent to


Wendell Rensink

Wendell Rensink, 84, of Boyden, IA died Saturday, April 21, 2012 at the Orange City Health System.

A visitation will be held Friday from 4-8PM, with the family present from 6-8PM at the First Reformed Church of Boyden.

A funeral service will be held Saturday at 10:30AM at First Reformed Church of Boyden with Rev. Matthew Draffen officiating.  Interment will follow the funeral service in Sheridan Township Cemetery of Boyden.

Wendell Harvey Rensink, Sr., son of Iva (Stoehr) and Leonard Rensink, Sr. of Boyden, Iowa was born at home on November 23, 1927. He grew up on the Ash Shade Dairy Farm north of Boyden, Iowa and graduated from Boyden High School. He worked as a dairy farmer and later as a banker.

Wendell met his future wife Caroline Beermann at the Sheldon roller skating rink. They married at the Calumet Lutheran Church on June 18th, 1950. Following marriage they farmed on the Rensink family farm north of Boyden. Later, Wendell went into banking. He worked at Farmer’s Savings Bank in Boyden, then in 1964, he moved to the Dixon office of the First Trust and Savings Bank and later was promoted to the main office in Wheatland, Iowa. In 1975, they moved back to Boyden where the couple acquired ownership of the Farmer’s Savings Bank. Wendell and Caroline established many close friends in each town they lived in.

Wendell was the Chief Executive Officer in the bank and was active in the Boyden Foundation, his church and many civic activities. He enjoyed woodworking, gardening, boating on the river and spending time with family. His greatest legacy and joy was his family and he handcrafted many beautiful pieces of furniture and other wooden items for his children and grandchildren. He and Caroline loved to take people out on their boat, the Caroliner, and enjoyed the beauty of the river.

He is survived by his children: Cynthia and Douglas Webb of Las Vegas, NV, Anita and Garth DeWulf of Wheatland, IA, Melanie and Tom Huibregtse of Fort Collins, CO, Wendell and Donna Rensink of Elbow Lake, MN and Grace Liu of Boyden, IA; 15 grandchildren: Douglas Webb Jr., Matthew and Tania Webb, Betheny and Joe Perez of Las Vegas, Megan and Dan Ross of Boyden, IA, Aaron and Candice DeWulf, Rachael and John Looney, Ariell and Matt Connelly of Wheatland, IA, Rebecca and Adam Wilhelm of Calamus, IA, Heath Rensink of Fargo, ND, Brent and Sarah Rensink of Grand Forks, ND, Lauren and Marie Huibregtse of Fort Collins, CO, Gini, Tina, and Peter Liu of Boyden, IA; 20 great-grandchildren; one brother, Leland Rensink of Brandon SD and one sister, Anona Boone of Claremore, OK.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Caroline; infant son, Eber Brent Rensink; brother, Leonard (Bud) Rensink, Jr. and his parents: Iva and Leonard Rensink, Sr.

Condolences may be sent at

Sanford Sheldon Unveils New Imaging Suite During Ribbon Cutting Friday

Sheldon, Iowa — A ribbon cutting took place on Friday morning for the new imaging suite at Sanford Sheldon.

Sanford Sheldon has installed an MRI and remodeled their Radiology Department, and so there was some celebration on Friday. Scott Wynja, representing the City of Sheldon congratulated Sanford Sheldon CEO Rick Nordahl.


On behalf of the Sheldon Chamber and Development, Mark Klienwolterink said the project shows Sanford’s dedication to the community and told them that it is much appreciated.

On behalf of the Sheldon Ambassadors, Shanelle Matus presented the hospital with a plaque.


Sanford Sheldon CEO Rick Nordahl told those gathered that Sanford Sheldon was glad they could offer these services to the community.


The hospital also had a chance to show off their new MRI machine, which is a state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging unit. The MRI has already started serving patients at Sanford Sheldon.

Dordt College Appoints New President

Sioux Center, Iowa – Dordt College Provost Dr. Erik Hoekstra has been named the fourth president of Dordt College. Dr. Hoekstra’s appointment was announced to the campus community Friday after the Dordt College Board of Trustees endorsed the Presidential Search Committee’s unanimous recommendation.

Dordt College Board of Trustees Chair Lloyd Vander Kwaak says that Dr. Hoekstra is very passionate about the college and has a deep-hearted commitment to what Dordt is all about.

Vander Kwaak says the Presidential Search Committee, made up of Trustees and college faculty and staff, balanced many factors as it examined candidates. He says the Board was keenly interested in ensuring that a new president would help Dordt College sustain its strengths in several areas: maintaining a vibrant mission; providing strong leadership; cultivating excellent, mission-oriented faculty members; and overseeing the college’s ongoing financial stability.


“Under Dr. Carl Zylstra’s leadership, Dordt is in a wonderful place now,” Dr. Hoekstra says. “The core of our educational mission will always be to glorify God as a distinctively Christian, operationally excellent college that attracts quality faculty members, eager students, and enthusiastic supporters.”


While a commitment to Dordt’s historical roots and an understanding of current strengths was important, the board was also looking for innovation. Vander Kwaak noted, “Dr. Hoekstra’s track record of leading organizations with a blend of excellence and creativity—in both education and business—made him a compelling choice.”


The Search Committee, aided by a professional search firm, led listening sessions and surveys of the college’s constituency groups.


In a letter to the Board of Trustees unanimously recommending Dr. Hoekstra for president, Search Committee Chair Randy Kroll wrote, “In the final deliberations, the committee concluded that Dr. Hoekstra’s well-developed and deep passion for the college’s vision and mission, his effective and engaging leadership record at the college in both teaching and academic administration, his knowledge of the college’s positions, strengths, and challenges, and his personal faith and mature understanding of spiritual leadership put him in the best position to lead as the fourth president of Dordt College.”


Dr. Hoekstra is excited to take on a new leadership role, and he says that seeing firsthand the challenges, joys, and responsibilities of serving in such a role has helped prepare him for it.


“It is exciting for me to serve at a Christian college that has an equal passion for programs in Agriculture and English,” Dr. Hoekstra said. “It is good that we encourage some students to consider graduate school and that we prepare them well, but it is equally good that we do not put such a calling ‘above’ others for our graduates. We are called to work toward Christ-centered renewal in every sphere of God’s creation.”

As provost for the past four years, Dr. Hoekstra has overseen the reshaping of the academic structure of the college. In addition, he chaired the Enrollment Management Team and worked closely with the advancement office and president on the recent Beyond Jubilee: Vision 2020 Campaign.


In Dr. Hoekstra’s time as provost, programs in nursing, engineering, and agriculture have grown substantially, and new programs in worship arts, construction management, and actuarial science have begun. Dordt athletic programs have grown in size and quality, as have international programs and international student enrollment. Dr. Hoekstra played a key partnership role with Student Services to design and build Kuyper Apartments, an award-winning student residence hall opened in 2010.


Search Committee member and senior engineering major Mark Van Weelden says Dr. Hoekstra is both intense and approachable as an administrator. “He’s visible on campus, and he’ll say hi when he sees you in the Commons,” he said. “He has a genuine passion for Dordt’s mission – just being around him calls you to action and brings out the best in you. He loves this community, and along with his leadership skills, that gives us confidence.”


Dr. Hoekstra holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history and philosophy from Trinity Christian College, a Master’s Degree in international management from The Rotterdam School of Management of Erasmus University in the Netherlands, and a Ph.D. in organizational learning and human resource development from Iowa State University. He is passionate about bringing joy and meaning to places of work, saying that good leadership is “about creating an environment where those who are being led are being served.”


Comparing his experience as a student and board member at other Christian colleges, Dr. Hoekstra says Dordt is unique. “The size and the climate of the campus in which we can know each other well is a wonderful expression of Christian community,” he says.


Dr. Hoekstra has co-authored several publications on coaching, delegation, servant leadership, and change management, and his professional background includes roles in leadership development, executive coaching, organizational consulting, industrial construction, wholesale distribution and retail management, as well as teaching business courses at Dordt College.


Dr. Hoekstra is married to Dr. Barb Hoekstra, an education professor at Dordt College with a Bachelor’s degree from Trinity, a Master’s from Western Michigan University, and an Ed.D. from the University of South Dakota. Their family is a blend of biological and adopted children and includes Arie, 16; Max, 15; Karl, 15; and Zoe, 12.


Dr. Erik Hoekstra will succeed Dr. Carl E. Zylstra, the third president of Dordt College. Associated with the Christian Reformed Church, Dordt College welcomes all students who are interested in an academically excellent, Christ-centered education. Dordt College is recognized annually for being one of the best colleges in the Midwest by the U.S. News & World Report,, the Princeton Review, and Washington Monthly.