Baker Township Schoolhouse Has New Home In Sheldon

School 1Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon Prairie Arts Council’s plans to bring the Baker Township Schoolhouse to their Sheldon complex became reality Monday.

The moving date was originally set for April 1, but had to be pushed back because the council found out that an “Open Public Hearing” had to be held before they could proceed with moving the building. The Open Meeting was held in late March.

Berghorst and Sons of Hull completed the move of the Baker Township Schoolhouse from its original location southeast of Hospers to the Prairie Arts Council location between Shopko and Casey’s East in Sheldon Monday afternoon.

Even though the building has been moved, some refurbishment is still to come, including new basement windows, painting and roof repairs.

The Baker Township Schoolhouse has joined several other historic structures on the Prairie Arts Council grounds, including:  Sheldon’s First School (1873); the Nelson or Floyd Township Number 8 school (1878); Lynn Township, Sioux County school (1928-1932); the Dan McKay Pioneer Home (1863) used for the first church services in this area; and the Sears and Roebuck Catalog Home of Dick Wansink (about 1863).

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Organizers Say Relay For Life Was A Success

Sheldon, Iowa — According to organizers of the O’Brien County Relay For Life, the event was a success.O'Brien Relay For Life 2014_450

O’Brien County Relay For Life Chair Cindy Runger says $33,455 was raised to fight cancer at the event, which was held at the Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center on the campus of Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon on Friday, June 12th.

There were 565 luminary bags purchased in honor or in memory of loved ones, which were placed around the track in the Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center.

Runger says thanks are in order.

She says that money that was raised throughout the year goes toward research, education, patient services, and advocacy programs through the American Cancer Society.

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Reports Of Bird Flu Decline; Response Continues

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship said there are no new probable cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) today and there was only one new case this past week.

Information from the Iowa Department of Agriculture indicates:

All infected turkey flocks have been depopulated and are currently being composted.  Once composting is completed the facilities will be cleaned and disinfected.  Environmental samplings of all sites will take place to confirm successful cleaning and disinfecting before restocking.

All but one of the commercial laying and pullet facilities have been depopulated.  Euthanasia on the final site is expected to be finished by early next week.  In addition, depopulation on the final backyard flock is expected to be completed by the end of the day.

Disposal of affected birds is ongoing.  Composting, burial, incineration and landfills are all being used.  To-date, 457 bio-secure boxes have been disposed of via incineration or at one of the two currently approved landfills.  Approximately 600 of the bio-secure boxes are still in need of disposal.  U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) contractor Clean Harbors is moving the materials.  All trucks are cleaned and disinfected before the leave an infected site and before leaving a disposal site.

USDA has more than 2100 staff and contractors helping respond to the avian influenza situation in Iowa.  A new USDA Incident Management Team (IMT) will rotate in this weekend and takeover oversight of the USDA’s activities.  The past IMTs have operated out of Worthington, MN.  The new team will move to Ames for their operations.

More than 300 state employees have also participated in the disaster response at some point. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Department of Public Health (in conjunction with local public health officials), Iowa Department of Human Services, Iowa Department of Transportation, and Iowa National Guard have all supported the response effort to this disease.

Updated information about the number cases, when they are confirmed and other relevant information will be posted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Iowa Department of Public Health considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low.  No human infections with the virus have ever been detected and there is no food safety risk for consumers.

Background information

The United States has the strongest Avian Influenza (AI) surveillance program in the world.  As part of the existing USDA avian influenza response plans, Federal and State partners as well as industry are responding quickly and decisively to these outbreaks by following these five basic steps: 1) Quarantine – restricting movement of poultry and poultry-moving equipment into and out of the control area; 2) Eradicate – humanely euthanizing the affected flock(s); 3) Monitor region – testing wild and domestic birds in a broad area around the quarantine area; 4)  Disinfect – kills the virus in the affected flock locations; and 5) Test – confirm that poultry farms in the area are free of the virus.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health are working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure proper precautions are being taken.

These virus strains can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick. People should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.

All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard flock owners, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state/federal officials, either through their state veterinarian at 515-281-5321 or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.

Information will also be posted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at

Ribbon Cutting Celebrates New VNU Homes

Sheldon, Iowa — The ribbon has been cut on Village Northwest Unlimited’s two new residential homes on their campus in Sheldon. J&J Construction of Hull, Iowa built the two homes. The new homes will be licensed by the State of Iowa as Intermediate Care Facility homes for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
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Barry Whitsell, President and CEO of the Village said when the homes were envisioned, that it had became obvious to them that the old homes were less than efficient for the delivery of quality care into the future. The new homes have six bedrooms, and a half bath for each individual living in the home. In addition, the new homes are designed specifically to serve the needs of people with physical disabilities. The doors and the hallways are designed to be wide enough to accommodate people in wheelchairs. Each of the bedrooms, bathrooms and the bathing area are equipped with lift systems so that residents can be safely transferred and staff lifting will be minimized. He says the homes have an open floor plan so residents can move freely around the home. To accommodate the medical needs of the people served, the homes will be staffed with a registered nurse and each home will have a medication administration area. Each home is approximately 5,000 square feet.

At Friday’s ribbon cutting, Whitsell spoke about the facility and those who helped make it happen.

He says the building is also designed to be moved if needed.

Skip Tanner spoke at the ribbon cutting on behalf of the Sheldon Ambassadors.

Sanford Sheldon CEO Rick Nordahl spoke on behalf of the Sheldon Chamber and Development Corporation.

Speaking on behalf of the city of Sheldon was City Councilman Greg Geels.

Village officials say these first two homes are part of a multi-year project to reduce the size of the current homes on campus from serving twelve individuals per home to six individuals per home. Village experts say experience and industry trends have shown that smaller, more intimate homes provide for better outcomes.

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Hoefert Weighs In On Straw Poll Demise

Statewide Iowa — Iowa Republican Party leaders met by phone Friday morning and decided to cancel the Iowa Straw Poll, which had been scheduled for August 8th in Boone. That after deciding unanimously to keep the Straw Poll in January. None of the party’s presidential hopefuls had agreed to attend.

Dr. Cody Hoefert
Dr. Cody Hoefert

We had a chance to talk with Iowa Republican Party Co-Chair, Dr. Cody Hoefert of Rock Rapids about the end of the Straw Poll.

We asked Dr. Hoefert, since the straw poll worked for many years — what had changed?

Some argue the Straw Poll would have narrowed the number of contestants down from more than a dozen, as candidates who’ve done poorly in previous Iowa Straw Polls have ended their campaigns. Anyone who bought a ticket to the August 8th event in Boone will get a refund.

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Sioux And O’Brien Relays For Life Friday Night

Rock Valley, Iowa — This Friday is the date for the American Cancer Society Relays For Life in both O’Brien and Sioux Counties. O’Brien’s will be at the Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center at Northwest Iowa Community college in Sheldon. Sioux County’s will be at the Rock Valley Community School.
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We had a chance to talk to one of the organizers of the Sioux County event, Twila DeKam, and she tells us what’s happening.

She tells us the main festivities start with the opening ceremonies.

DeKam tells us about the food and entertainment available.

With the wet weather we’ve been having, we asked if they had a plan “B” if it wasn’t possible to hold the relay outside. DeKam says in case of inclement weather, the relay will be held in one of the Rock Valley Community School gyms.

DeKam says they’d like to thank all their sponsors, including:

Again, that’s for the Sioux County Relay for Life in Rock Valley on Friday night at the Rock Valley Community School. The O’Brien County Relay For Life is Friday night as well. That’s at the Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center on the campus of Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon.

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