Three Northwest Iowa School Districts Among 28 Vying For Monsanto Grants

monsanto america's farmers grow rural education logoSt Louis, Missouri — Two of the Iowa school districts in the running for grants of up to $25,000 are in our part of northwest Iowa, and one is from nearby.

The Monsanto Fund has announced this year’s America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education finalists. Nominated school districts from across the country submitted completed grant applications before April 30.  For the past month, a panel of educators has been reviewing applications.  They sent the strongest submissions for consideration by the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council.  The Advisory Council, comprised of farmer-leaders with a vested interest in both agriculture and education, will select the winning grant applications from this pool of finalists.

The Boyden-Hull and West Lyon Community School Districts are in the running for the grants of up to $25,000, and so is Clay Central Everly.

The other schools include:

  • Alburnett Community School District
  • Baxter Community School District
  • Cal Community School District
  • Cardinal Community School District
  • East Union Community School District
  • Essex Junior-Senior High School
  • Forest City Community School District
  • Glidden-Ralston Community School District
  • Keota Community School District
  • Lamoni Community School District
  • Moulton-Udell Community School District
  • New Hampton
  • New London Community School District
  • Newell-Fonda Community School District
  • North Tama County Community School District
  • Northeast Community School District
  • Pekin Community School District
  • Riceville Community School District
  • Schaller-Crestland Community School District
  • Springville Community School District
  • Storm Lake Community School District
  • Stratford Community School District
  • Washington Community School District
  • West Hancock
  • West Monona Community School District
  • Western Dubuque Community School District

America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education helps farmers strengthen math and science education in local rural school districts. Currently in its second year, this program is part of the Monsanto Fund’s overall effort to support rural education and communities.  America’s Farmers Grow Communities, which gives winning farmers the opportunity to direct a $2,500 donation to a nonprofit organization in their county, is also part of this effort. To date, these programs combined have contributed more than $15 million to rural communities. To learn more about either program, please visit

The Monsanto Fund is the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company.


Initial Autopsy Report: Akron Man Died Of Self-Inflicted Knife Wounds

magnifying glass_sxcLe Mars, Iowa — Autopsy results are back on the body found by Plymouth County authorities on Friday.

The body of 36-year-old Jeremy Lee Clarey of Akron was discovered in a wooded area along the Big Sioux River near Westfield, Iowa. He had been reported missing earlier that day, but had been missing since Thursday (8/15/13).

The body was taken to the State Medical Examiners Office in Ankeny for an autopsy, which was performed on Monday. The preliminary report is that Clarey died of self-inflicted knife wounds. Further tests are being conducted, including, but not limited to toxicology testing.

The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office and Akron Police Department continue their investigation. Interviews and record searches are being conducted. The case remains open and under investigation.

Sheldon City Council to Discuss Agreement With SCDC Regarding Executive Director

community services center 02When the Sheldon City Council meets Wednesday (August 21st) they will discuss a proposed agreement with the Sheldon Chamber and Development Corporation with regard to the Development Director position.

In the past this person was employed by the SCDC and paid by the SCDC .  The SCDC does not have the benefit program offered by the City.  Under the proposed agreement the Development Director would be a Senior Management position with the city.  The SCDC  would reimburse the city of Sheldon for the annual salary costs of the position.  The SCDC Board and structure would remain the same and the director would be expected to continue to communicate as necessary with both organizations.  The agreement must be approved by both the City Council and SCDC  Board.

Sheldon’s Solid waste and recycling collection will also be up for discussion.  Council member Ron Rensink has asked for this to be brought up, stating that he feels the blue containers used for recycling are a ‘joke’.   He also brought up the possibility of more wide-spread use of the new type of garbage containers.

In other business they will discuss “what’s next’ for the Sheldon Crossing and Borrow Pit area.  The pit is now owned by the city and construction is beginning on the new residential area.  The council will discuss the next step in the development of a planned community park in this area.

Wednesday’s City Council meeting will begin at 4:30 pm in the upper level of the Sheldon Community Services center.

Alton Woman Taken To Sioux Falls Hospital After Accident Near Hospers on 60

Hospers AmbulanceHospers, Iowa — An Alton woman was taken to a Sioux Falls hospital after a motorcycle accident on Sunday near Hospers.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 11 AM, 29-year-old Lindsey De Jong of Alton was driving a 1982 Yamaha XS400 motorcycle northbound on Highway 60 about a mile south of Hospers.

The report says De Jong lost control of the motorcycle on a curve. It entered the northwest ditch and she was ejected from the cycle.

De Jong was transported to the Orange City Hospital by the Hospers Ambulance, and later transferred to Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls.

The Yamaha sustained approximately $1,500 in damages.

The sheriff’s office was assisted by the Hospers Fire Department and Hospers Ambulance.

NCC And Other Iowa Community Colleges Receive Grant To “Elevate” Manufacturing Jobs

NCC Sign CropSheldon, Iowa — The “skills gap”. That’s what people are calling the black hole that is developing in the jobs market. It’s really caused by two factors, says Northwest Iowa Community College Recruiter and Trainer Jerry Baas.

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He says another factor is how the public perceives these jobs. Iowa Association of Business and Industry President Mike Ralston says that when you ask the average Iowan about advanced manufacturing, they think of an outdated image – a dirty, unsafe work environment. He says that simply is not the case. Baas says these jobs are not a consolation prize and some of them pay better than many jobs that require a bachelor’s degree.

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The Iowa-Advanced Manufacturing or “I-AM” Consortium and Iowa Association of Business and Industry have launched a new campaign to promote careers and educational pathways in advanced manufacturing. The “Elevate Advanced Manufacturing” campaign will begin by addressing the current public perception of manufacturing and educating Iowans on the opportunities that exist within the industry. Part of the campaign is in the form of a grant to community colleges like NCC to help get the word out.

The two organizations claim that by 2018, there will be a shortage of nearly 7,000 skilled workers in the advanced manufacturing sector. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis in 2011, the average manufacturing worker made over $77,000 annually, including pay and benefits, while the average worker in other industries earned only just over $60,000.

Baas says there are certain programs at NCC that dovetail with this message.

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Baas says he thinks the message is especially important for non-traditional students. People who for whatever reason either didn’t take much if any post-secondary education, or have a degree or diploma in something else and are unable to find employment in their field or need a career change.

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Northwest Iowa Community College featured a video on their Facebook page a while back from TV personality Mike Rowe, of the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” program, who is an advocate for vocational skills training and educating people about the skills gap. Find a link below.

Click here for more from NCC.

Click here to see the Mike Rowe video.

O’Brien County Becoming A Major Player In The Wind Energy Game

wind turbine_sxcPrimghar, Iowa — Tuesday (8/20/13) is a big day in the life of wind energy in O’Brien County.

O’Brien County Economic Development director Kiana Johnson says the Iowa Public Utilities Board and Clean Line Energy are holding the first meeting, and the second is an O’Brien County Board of Supervisors hearing with Invenergy.

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She says Clean Line’s meeting is a routine part of the approval process for their wind resource converter station and transmission line.

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Johnson says the Invenergy meeting is also a routine meeting, but part of a different process — the O’Brien County Wind Ordinance.

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She says Invenergy is partnering with MidAmerican Energy to develop wind turbines.

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Johnson says it’s possible there may be even more wind energy-related projects in the future as more people discover the potential of O’Brien County.

Rock Island Clean Line Map O'Brien 2013