Sheldon School Board Gets Update On East Elementary Project

At their regular monthly meeting Thursday evening, the Sheldon Community Schools Board of Education received an update on the proposed East Elementary Building Project.

As you may recall, increased elementary enrollment, combined with an increasing array of classes and services that the District is required to offer, has caused rather cramped conditions in the elementary building.  Superintendent Robin Spears told the Board that the KIDS (Keep Improving District Schools) Committee has been meeting and has come up with a very preliminary concept as to the direction an elementary school expansion should take.

Some of the things the Committee is looking at include an in-ceiling HVAC system for the entire building, both the old section and the addition, as well as new carpet and casework in the existing part of the school building.  He mentioned that an in-ceiling HVAC system would require asbestos removal, since there is asbestos in the ceiling of the current building.  Spears described the Committee as “moving pretty quick” on the concept and design of the proposed addition, but stressed that at this point there is only a concept on a direction to take, and not a definite plan in place.

In other School Board news, the Board toured the recently updated Middle School Synergistic Technology Lab during their Thursday meeting.  Larie De Groot took the Board members around to each of the lab’s modules, telling them a little something about each one.  Each module is designed to give middle school students hands-on educational experience in subjects ranging from bioengineering, to electronics, to robotics, to sustainable agriculture, and more.  She said one of the the modules, biotechnology, covers such topics as gene splicing and DNA analysis.  The Synergistic Lab got an approximately $100,000 upgrade over the summer, which included updated software and computer hardware for each of the lab’s modules, as well as the addition of nine new subject modules.  The Synergistic Lab’s curriculum is centered on STEM, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

In other action, the Board approved the contracts for two Substitute Bus Drivers, as well as an Instructional Aide at the High School, and approved a Field Experience, Practicum and Intern Agreement with the University of West Alabama for this school year.  Spears told the Board this was due to a local student who is seeking an online degree in Counselling through the University of West Alabama.

The Board also approved a change of date for their regular October meeting.  It will be held the third Wednesday of the month, October 17th, beginning at 6:00 pm in the High School Library.


Sheldon Man Airlifted After Being Injuried In Accident

Sheldon, Iowa — We now have the police report of that motorcycle accident last week.

A Sheldon man was injured in an accident on Wednesday, September 5th in Sheldon. The Sheldon Police Department reports that about 4:50 PM, 29-year-old Dustin Lokhorst was northbound on Old 60, in front of the AT&T cell phone store, on a 2005 Yamaha motorcycle, when he performed a wheelie at a high rate of speed and lost control of the bike.

The motorcycle and Lockhorst slid over 400 feet, according to the report.

Lokhorst was taken to Sanford Sheldon by SCAT, and later airlifted.

Lokhorst had just purchased the motorcycle two days before. It was totaled, with $5000 in damage.

He was charged with Reckless Driving and Failure To Maintain Control.


Orange City Church Finalizes Purchase/Gift Of Former Joyce’s Building For Satellite Church

Sheldon, Iowa — A retail location on Old 60 that has sat empty for several years is in the early stages of becoming a church.

Here is a statement from Jason VanWyk of Living Water Church:

Living Water Community Church in Orange City recently took possession of the former Joyce’s Grocery Store on Second Ave. Their plans, after some renovation, are to use the building as home for a satellite campus.

For the past year, Living Water has been exploring possible solutions to issues of space and crowding at their Orange City location. This April, an ad hoc task force presented several options to the congregation for discussion. One of these was consideration of a possible satellite. While the group decided to pursue a second service in Orange City to address that situation, there was still interest in exploring the possibility of a satellite. There are several families at Living Water from Sheldon or the surrounding areas. Rather than encouraging them to become removed from their communities to be involved in ministry in Orange City, the hope is that a satellite within their own communities enables them to continue building relationships and serving the communities in which they live.

As some of these families began to express interest in this possibility, permission was given to explore what a satellite might look like. That exploration took place this past summer. Several possibilities were considered and presented to leadership at Living Water. As Living Water began to inquire more about renting the former Joyce’s building, it was expressed that the owners would prefer to sell instead of rent.

Out of those early conversations and through the generosity of a group of donors, the building was presented as a gift to Living Water. At its August meeting, the church council approved accepting this gift. The paperwork was completed and the closing date was September 11, 2012. There is no set timetable for when services will begin at the Sheldon Campus. At present, the focus is on the renovations that need to take place. There is a team from Living Water beginning to assess what those renovations will look like. It is likely that it will be several months before the group is able to hold worship services at the new location.

Satellite churches are still somewhat new to this area of the country but are becoming increasingly widespread. There are several differences between a satellite and a church plant. A satellite will share leadership and resources between several campuses, a plant will move toward establishing an independent set of leaders and will draw from its own resources. A satellite will share the mission and vision between the campuses, a plant will develop a unique set of mission and vision statements. This does not mean that a Sheldon satellite will be simply a clone of the Orange City campus. The DNA will be the same, but it may well manifest itself differently in a new community. This will be a reflection of the work already being done in Sheldon by existing churches, the needs of the larger Sheldon community, the giftedness and passions of those connected to the Sheldon satellite, and the makeup of the community of Sheldon.

Living Water Church of Orange City began 5 years ago. It is a part of the Christian Reformed Church denomination. None of those connected with the ministry at its beginning foresaw that they would be in the situation they now find themselves. The focus of Living Water is on Loving God and Loving Others. This is lived out by focusing on people vs. programs, looking externally vs. internally, and prioritizing the kingdom vs. this individual church. These are values Living Water will seek to continue with as they begin to become involved in the Sheldon area.


All Revenue Purpose Statements In NW Iowa School Elections Approved On Tuesday

Lyon and Sioux Counties — Every public measure in each of the school elections in northwest Iowa Tuesday — passed.

Voters in the George/Little Rock School District were voting on a revenue purpose statement for SAVE funds. That stands for Secure an Advanced Vision For Education. Although turnout was fairly low, they approved that measure by a landslide — 96 percent yes, 4 percent no. According to the unofficial totals, 82 people voted yes, and 3 people voted no.

Voters in the West Lyon district were also voting on a revenue purpose statement for SAVE funds. Turnout was low there too, with only 51 people voting, but all 51 — 100 percent — voted for the new revenue purpose statement.

In the Central Lyon district, they were also voting on a new revenue purpose statement for SAVE funds, but they also were voting on continuing the $0.67 per thousand Physical Plant and Equipment Levy, or PPEL. Central Lyon voters approved the revenue purpose statement, 85 percent yes to 15 percent no. The totals were 110 yes votes and 20 no’s. As far as the PPEL, Central Lyon voters approved that by 81 percent. There were 106 yes’s and 25 no’s.

In the Rock Valley School District, they were also voting on a new revenue purpose statement for SAVE funds. Voters in that district approved the measure 65 percent yes to 35 percent no. Totals were 163 yes’s and 86 no’s.


Retired Sioux County Sheriff Schwiesow Mounts Write-In Campaign For Sheriff’s Seat

Orange City, Iowa — Retired sheriff, Jim R. Schwiesow has announced his write-in candidacy for the Office of Sheriff in the General Election of November 6, 2012.

Schwiesow pledges to return the office to its former efficiency and stature and to enhance access by the public to the services that it renders.

Schwiesow retired in 2005 after a forty-six year law enforcement career, which encompassed three years as a military policeman, fifteen years as a municipal police officer, and twenty-eight years as the duly elected Sheriff of Sioux County. In 1979 Schwiesow was honored as Iowa Sheriff of the year. During the final term of his tenure Schwiesow oversaw the construction of a new law enforcement center, which included administrative offices, a 187-bed jail, and a county-wide communications center. Upon completion of the construction of the facility Schwiesow entered into a contract to incarcerate federal inmates at a per diem rate; the proceeds of which have contributed greatly to the pay off of construction costs and to the annual operational costs of the jail.

Schwiesow states as the reason for his candidacy, “To restore the integrity of the office and make it more accessible to the Sioux County constituency, to ensure staff a cohesiveness that has been disrupted by a continuing series of unwarranted firings and dismissals, and to regain the former the rapidly slipping efficiency, stature, and prestige of the office statewide.”

In addition to his law-enforcement experience Schwiesow served by governor’s appointment for eight consecutive years on the Iowa Board of Corrections. Schwiesow would bring his considerable training and experience in both law-enforcement and corrections to the Sheriff’s Office. By his write-in candidacy Schwiesow endeavors to bring a non-partisan law-enforcement representation to Sioux County.


Tense Moments In Rock Rapids, But No Abduction

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Some tense moments Wednesday night in Rock Rapids, especially with the suspicious activity that has been reported lately.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Department has now sorted out what happened, and why the witness called 911.

They determined that a group of teenagers were walking in Rock Rapids when a friend pulled up in his car. The teenagers were yelling as to who got to sit where in the vehicle. From a block away, a witness observed the incident, and due to the screaming and pushing felt that it appeared that a teenage girl did not get in on her own accord.

After a search, the Sheriff’s Department was able to locate the vehicle, the girl, the male driver, and the witness to the incident. The witness confirmed that it was the girl and the vehicle that the witness had seen. After authorities interviewed all parties involved it was determined that there was no abduction.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Department thanks everyone involved for their quick response.