Two New Business Buildings Approved By Sheldon Council

Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon City Council has approved arrangements that will result in the construction of two new business buildings in the City. One of those will be constructed by Poppema Trucking on a half-acre Council Chambersplot near the sale barn. The agreement calls for a minimum assessment value of $235,000, with a five-year tax rebate. Construction is expected to begin next spring. The other project is a building with a value of $130,000 to be built by Farmers Market who will be moving their business to lot 6 in the Runger 4th Addition. The lot will be sold to Farmers Market for one dollar and there will be no tax abatement. Sheldon Development Director Curt Strouth also reported that lot 7 in that addition has been sold to Noteboom RV.

The Council also took action to assess the cost of demolition of the burned down bowling alley to the property taxes on that land. The assessment of $28,350 will be spread out over ten years with five percent interest each year on the unpaid balance.

And also at their Wednesday meeting the council held the second reading of the amended ordinance which deals with the appointment of police officers and oversight of the police department. After waiving the need for a third hearing the council voted to approve the changes. In the past the city manager has appointed the police chief and other officers. Under the ordinance revision, the appointment and/or dismissal of the police chief will be done by the mayor, subject to the approval of the council. The other members of the police department will be hired by the city manager, also subject to the approval of the city council.

Republican State Central Committee Co-Chair From Rock Rapids Weighs In On Straw Poll

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Governor Terry Branstad and others have suggested the Ames Straw Poll should be scrapped. Branstad says it used to be an organizational test and then it became a really big money thing and he says now he thinks it’s become less relevant in light of the last couple of elections. Former Congressman Tom Latham worries that Iowa could lose it’s first-in-the-nation caucus status if the straw poll is continued.
Dr Cody Hoefert
Meanwhile, Congressman Steve King thinks the Straw Poll should be saved. He says, “Some in positions of power want to take away the Straw Poll to suppress the influence of grassroots conservatives.”

We had a chance to talk with Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee Co-Chair Dr. Cody Hoefert of Rock Rapids about it.

He tells us that they’re not sure whether the state’s first-in-the-nation caucus status would be in jeopardy if the Straw Poll continues.

Dr. Hoefert says he likes the straw poll and hopes it can continue.

Again, Hoefert says the decision will probably be made when the Republican Party of Iowa State Central Committee meets on this Saturday, January 10th.

If your browser or device cannot access the audio players above, here are the direct links to the audio sound bytes:
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Funds Over Halfway To $7.3 Million Goal For Proposed Western Christian Expansion

Artist’s rendition of the proposed entry

Hull, Iowa — Funds continue to come in for a nearly $7 million update to Western Christian High School.

The Western Christian High School Board of Directors says that the Western Christian High School constituency approved the campaign last fall for major renovations and improvements amounting to almost $7 million.  The measure passed with a 97% approval vote.

Western Christian Director of Development & Promotions Wes Fopma says they are over halfway to the goal, thanks to the generosity of alumni, parents, friends, and others.

Fopma says they continue to tweak the plans and specifications with their architectural firm in preparation for the construction project.

He tells us what renovations will be done to the facility.

He gives us an idea of the timeline for the project.

He says the faculty, staff, students and others are thankful to God and thankful for the generosity of the donors.

Donations toward the project are being sought. If you’d like to donate, contact Wes Fopma at Western Christian High in Hull.

For more information, you can find the original story on the project by clicking here.

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O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office Investigating Report Of Vandalism At Sanborn Pipeline Terminal

Sanborn, Iowa — The O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the report of an alleged criminal mischief incident at the Mid-America Pipeline Terminal one mile east of Sanborn near the junction of Highways 59 and 18. The incident is believed to have occurred between 2:00 PM and 11:45 PM on December 29, 2014.
crime scene tape over lightbar
The Sheriff’s Office reports that it appears that a vehicle was used to ram the main gate of the security fence that encompasses the property. The gate was heavily damaged in the process of the collision and the suspect’s vehicle also sustained front end damage. But the vehicle had left the scene prior to the officer’s arrival.

The Crime Dusters program is offering a $400 reward to anyone who provides information on this crime that leads to the arrest and conviction of the offender. You can provide information on this crime or any other crimes by calling the O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office at 712-957-3415. When you call, they’ll connect you with a deputy who will take your information. You can also provide information or tips on crimes by using the “Hot Tip” link or “e-mail” button at If you want to remain anonymous but still be eligible for the reward, arrangements can be made for that as well.

John Kooiker Wins Iowa House Seat Formerly Held By The Late Dwayne Alons

Orange City, Iowa — The results are in. It appears that Iowa District 4’s new representative to the state House will be John Kooiker of rural Boyden. The Republican candidate won Tuesday’s election with over 60 percent of the vote.
John Kooiker cropped
Dennis Wright, a write-in candidate for the position, actually came in second, with about 25 percent of the vote. The Democratic candidate, John Buntsma came in third with about thirteen and a half percent. There were also a scattering of write-in votes, which amounted to about a third of a percent.

Find the full results from all precincts here.

Alcester Man Dies In Accident Near Hawarden

Alcester, South Dakota — An Alcester man died Monday in a rollover crash on County Road 13, just west of the state line on the Big Sioux River.
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The South Dakota Highway Patrol reports that 67-year-old Lee Wayne Thormodsgaard of Alcester was driving a 1994 Jeep Cherokee west on County Road 13 in Union County. He traveled off the snow-covered road into the north ditch, and his SUV rolled. Thormodsgaard sustained fatal injuries in the crash. He was wearing a seatbelt.

No further information is immediately available.

The South Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating. Union County Sheriff’s Office and Hawarden Fire and Rescue assisted.