Update from Northwest REC

Orange City, IA — Here is message we received at mid-day Thursday from Lyle Korver, CEO & General Manager of Northwest REC in Orange City:

“We had a good day of service restoration yesterday and had most of our members back in service by 10:00 p.m. last night. This morning, we are experiencing a number of outages again. This is a result of tree branches contacting our line from the heavy, wet snow last night and in the last couple of hours from the ice coming off the lines and causing line burn downs.

A majority of the outages are in the north half of Sioux and O’Brien counties. We do have scattered outages also in southern Sioux county and the northwest corner of Plymouth county.

The North West REC line personnel continue to make good progress on the electric service restoration efforts for our members. Crews from Ida County are assisting the crews on the north part of our service area since there have been no reported outages in the Ida County area.

As of 11:30 a.m. this morning we have approximately 300 members that are out of electric service.

Members are reminded to call the Outage 800 Number which is (800) 766-2099 to report an outage if they are still out of power. Also to stay away from any downed electric lines and to report this to us.

We appreciate the outstanding patience and cooperation we are receiving from our member-owners.”



Ice Storm Tears Down Alliant Energy Power Lines As Well

Alliant IPLNorthwest Iowa — Northwest Iowa has been hit hard by the latest winter storm to move into Iowa. Alliant Energy spokesman, Ryan Stensland, says ice and wind took their toll on power lines Wednesday.

(as he says)”These lines are designed to withstand about three-quarters to an inch of ice and they’re designed to withstand 70 to 90 mile-an-hour sustained winds. But when you put those two together, the lines start to get moving, the ice on those lines creates a lot of weight and it starts to pull on those lines downward and eventually those poles will snap,” Stensland says.

He said late Wednesday crews were out trying to make repairs to snapped poles and lines, but conditions were dangerous with the high winds.

(as he says) “They may have just got done clearing away some tree branches off a power line and a gust of wind will come up and it knocks down another part of the tree into the power line because there’s so much weight on the trees and on the lines right now,” Stensland explains, “So, a pretty dangerous situation.”

He says crews are trying to make some headway, but he says they have to be careful.

(as he says) “Really the first priority is the safety of our crews. They are going to do the best that they can to try and get to where the outages are and get the power restored,” Stensland says. “But we also want their safety to be the first priority. So, they’re being constantly reminded to not try and push the envelope.”

Stensland says unless there is a major change in conditions today (Thursday), not all the power will be back on right away.

(as he says) “Customers will be without power for a day or two, so they should plan accordingly,” Stensland says.

The majority of the problems are in our part of northwest Iowa.

(as he says) “You’re talking about Osceola County, Emmet, those are a couple of the hardest hit areas. We did have some outages down in Dickinson County and then it extends northward up into southern Minnesota,” according to Stensland.  Primarily the towns in Iowa that have been hardest hit are George, Little Rock, the Sibley has been pretty hard hit, and the Matlock area.” He says a lot of rural electric coops and municipal utilities) are having some issues with outages.

Stensland says some 42-hundred Alliant Customers were without power late Wednesday.

Radio Iowa assisted with this story.

Rock Valley Man Taken To Hospital After Accident Near Sioux Center

Sioux Sheriff CarSioux Center, Iowa — A Rock Valley man was taken to a hospital after an accident near Sioux Center on Tuesday.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 5:10 PM, 54-year-old Verlyn Halma of Rock Valley was driving a 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer westbound on 390th Street, two miles west of Sioux Center. Thirty-seven-year-old Tracy Mantel of Doon was driving a 2008 Chevrolet Uplander eastbound on 390th Street.

Halma lost control of his vehicle, crossed into the eastbound lane, entered the north ditch and rolled. Mantel swerved to avoid Halma’s vehicle and entered the south ditch.

Halma was transported to the Sioux Center Hospital by the Sioux Center Police Department.

Halma’s Trailblazer sustained about $8,000 in damages. Mantel’s Uplander sustained about $600 in damages.

Halma was cited for failure to maintain control.

The Sioux Center Police Department and the Iowa State Patrol assisted the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheldon School Board Approves New Teacher Contract

Sheldon-Schools-logoSheldon, IA — At their regular monthly meeting Wednesday night, the Sheldon Community School District Board of Education approved the 2013/14 contract with the Sheldon Education Association, the union representing the District’s teachers.

The contract calls for a total package increase of 3.56% in salary and benefits over the current year’s contract.

They also approved the contract for Eric Maassen as High School Head Boys Basketball Coach, Chris Walker as Boy’s Assistant Basketball Coach, LaDonn Hartzell as School Business Official/Board Secretary, Christopher Stotz as Industrial Arts Teacher, Jerod Reinking as 4th Grade Elementary Teacher, and Maggie Lloyd as 9th Grade Girls Softball Coach.

The Board held a hearing on the 2013-2014 District Budget.  Superintendent Robin Spears told the Board that no written or oral comments had been received from the public on the proposed budget, and no one rose to speak at the Budget Hearing.  The Board approved the budget, which totaled $16,268,203.00.

In other action, the Board spent a significant amount of time on a teleconference with representatives of Cannon-Moss-Brygger, the architectural fir hired by the District for the East Elementary remodel/contruction project.  THe architects told the Board that there have been some contingency cost increases that have come up as the project moves forward. For example, substantially more asbestos was discovered than had originally been thought.  Removal of the asbestos will add a fairly significant amount to the project costs.  The architect assured the School Board, however, that they would do their best to find ways to keep the costs under control, and keep the project on budget.

The Board set Monday May 13th at 5:00 pm as the date and time for their May monthly meeting.  In addition, they set 5:30 pm the same day as the date and time for a Public Hearing on the 2012-2013 Budget Amendment.  Superintendent Robin Spears told the Board that there is a 50/50 chance that a budget amendment will need to be filed, so the hearing will be held if necessary.  The meeting will be held in the high school library.

The Board ended the meeting by adjourning into closed session to discuss strategy matters involving employment conditions of employees not covered under the collective bargaining agreement.

KIWA Radio Has To Back Down Power To Prevent Transmitter Damage Due To Ice On Antenna Bays, Tower

ice on antenna freezing rainSheldon, Iowa — Even radio stations are not immune from the effects of an ice storm. KIWA Radio had to fold back power due to all the ice accumulating on the tower and antenna bays.

KIWA Chief Engineer Wayne Barahona tells us what happens.

He says that means some listeners may experience weaker signals.

Barahona says KIWA hopes to gradually restore full power to both KIWA and KIWA-FM with the help of mother nature. He says in the meantime, you can listen online at kiwaradio.com.

KIWA did fare better than one area radio station. We’re told a radio tower in Worthington completely collapsed, due to the ice.