Sheldon, Iowa — It’s time once again for Sheldon’s Golden Egg Hunt. The egg hunt, which is usually a week or so before Easter is your chance to win Sheldon Dollars.
Sheldon Chamber Director Allison Cooke gives us the details.
For further details, feel free to contact the Sheldon Chamber.
Primghar, Iowa — O’Brien County’s Emergency Management Director says preparedness is the name of the game when it comes to severe weather.
Since this week has been severe weather awareness week, we had a chance to sit down and talk with Anne Koontz. She tells us why emergency and weather officials make such a big deal about the weather.
Koontz says several years ago they stopped sounding an “all clear” siren after tornadoes.
The WENS or Wireless Emergency Notification System is a new system that O’Brien and Osceola counties are setting up through the new state “Alert Iowa” system. According to state officials, Lyon County is also going to use the system. You can find out more about Alert Iowa by clicking here.
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Orange City, Iowa — Iowa farmers have under a week remaining to decide which federal farm program is best for them. Jeff Davis, the Farm Service Agency director for Plymouth and Sioux counties, says March 31st is the last day farmers can elect between the three farm bill programs. Davis explains the provisions of the ARC-co which is based on county figures.
[klem24a] :20 “commodity or not” (As above) “So, you use your county yields and prices to create a revenue,” Davis says. “If our county doesn’t reach that, you get paid on whatever base you have in that commodity and you can receive the payment no matter whether you plant the commodity or not.”
Davis says farmers may want to inquire about the ARC-ic program which allows farmers to place all farms under one program.
[klem24b] :18 “with that one” (As above) “That deals with the revenues for the entire farm, which can mean two or three different farm numbers,” Davis says. “It’s everything that’s in that program. That’s a little more difficult to explain. You’d have to just sit and go through the numbers with that one.”
Farmers have another option, too.
[klem24c] :22 “see on that” (As above) “We have the PLC program which is all based on price,” Davis says. “If price goes for corn below $3.70, then there would be a payment, but that would be an average price for the marketing year. At this point, they are projecting a little bit, possibly, of a payment but we’ll have to wait and see on that.”
Davis says whatever farm program a farmer decides upon, they will remain with that program through 2018. He says farmers can also sign up one farm with one program and another farm with a second program, or they can split the programs with different crops. Davis encourages farmers to visit their county FSA office prior to next Tuesday’s deadline in order to have all of the options explained.
Sheldon, Iowa — This is Severe Weather Awareness Week In Iowa. Each day this week, the National Weather Service is focusing on a different severe weather topic.
Today’s topic is tornadoes. Because of that, there was a statewide tornado drill today. Outdoor warning sirens, weather radios, and other devices were activated today in the 10 AM hour. Sioux County Emergency Management Director Nate Huizenga says everyone should participate and practice going to your place of safety to work out any possible problems with your plan.
Huizenga says even individual people and families should practice tornado safety today, as we never know where we might be when a warning is issued. Tornadoes can happen any time of the day. National Weather Service Meteorologist and lead forecaster Chris Jansen with the Sioux Falls office helps dispel some myths people believe about tornado safety.
The weather service says a tornado is a rapidly rotating column of air in contact with the ground. A visible cloud is not needed for a tornado to be in progress. Some tornadoes may not appear to extend to the ground but are causing considerable damage. Tornadoes take on various shapes and sizes, and most produce winds less than 120 mph. However, a few are capable of producing winds over 200 mph. Some tornadoes are very small and last for only a minute or so, while others can be a mile wide or larger and stay on the ground for over an hour.
In addition to the tornado watch which means conditions are right, stay alert — and the tornado warning which means take cover now — the weather service is now issuing a product called a “Tornado Emergency” It is not a new warning, but is used to highlight a confirmed tornado which is expected to be strong and violent. A Tornado Emergency means that significant, widespread damage with a high likelihood of numerous fatalities is expected to continue.
The weather service also reminds you to listen to, or read the entire warning so you know what to expect, as a tornado warning is issued for everything from minor tornadoes all the way up to the largest, multiple vortex tornadoes.
If you are interested in learning more about severe weather and how you can better prepare yourself and family by recognizing some of the signs, you can attend one of the Severe Weather Awareness training sessions being held at Northwest Iowa Community College. They are scheduled for April 13th and 14th. For more information, you can call NCC at 800-352-4907, or in the local Sheldon calling area, you can call 324-5061.
Primghar, Iowa — The O’Brien County Emergency Center in Primghar is making some upgrades to its communication equipment and is also implementing a new system that will alert people of emergencies if they sign up to receive emails or text alerts.
We talked with O’Brien County Emergency Management Director Anne Koontz. She tells us that the communication equipment upgrade means all 911 calls in O’Brien County are being forwarded to Sioux County’s emergency center. Sheriff Mike Anderson says there may be some delay on calls as well as some extra radio chatter during this time. Koontz tells us about the upgrades.
She says they did receive some assistance, so not all of the funds had to come from tax dollars.
Koontz says the upgrades are going to mean a change in this week’s statewide tornado drill in O’Brien County.
But she says in some ways, having the cities set off their sirens manually is a blessing in disguise.
She says that there’s a possibility that in a time of disaster the county wouldn’t be able to set off sirens, depending on how the disaster affects the infrastructure, so it’s a good idea to test manual operation.
In addition to the phone and radio upgrades, Koontz says O’Brien County is also rolling out a new service, called O’Brien Alert, also known as the Wireless Emergency Notification system, or WENS to keep citizens informed in the event of a disaster. She says you’ll be able to get alerts on email and over your cell phone.
Incidentally, IPAWS stands for Integrated Public Alert and Warning Systems.
O’Brien Alert is part of Alert Iowa, which is a statewide mass notification and emergency messaging system. The system can be used by state and local authorities to quickly disseminate emergency information to residents in counties that utilize the system. The system is available, free of charge, to all counties. More than 80 percent of Iowa’s counties have now signed up to use the Alert Iowa system.
Alert Iowa will allow citizens to sign up for the types of alerts they would like to receive. Messages can be issued via land line or wireless phone, text messaging, email, FAX, TDD/TYY, and social media. Messages may contain photo, video and audio attachments to help subscribers better understand the situation at hand, or where to find additional information.
Des Moines, Iowa –The Iowa Fire Marshal Division has partnered with the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to form a new team to ensure structures are safe after being hit by severe weather, and now they’re fine tuning the details.
The Iowa Building Safety Assessment and Failure Evaluation Team or “B-SAFE Team” was formed in 2014 by the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s State Fire Marshal Division, who will also manage the team.
The B-SAFE Team is comprised of state employees, volunteer engineers and architects from various professional organizations, including:
American Institute of Architects – Iowa Chapter
Iowa Engineering Society/ American Council of Engineering Companies
Structural Engineers Association of Iowa
Iowa Association of Building Officials
The team will provide building inspections to ensure structures are safe for occupancy following large-scale disasters, such as tornadoes or floods. The team will also provide any technical resources to local communities regarding building inspections and building safety during times of disaster and also during the recovery and rebuilding processes.
The B-SAFE Team has been designated as a state disaster specialty team, which allows communities to utilize this team as a state resource in times of disaster by contacting their county emergency manager.
Officials say this partnership showcases a unique effort of the private sector aiding the public sector in times of disaster.