United Fund Fundraiser About Half Finished, Funds Not Quite At 50% Of Goal

Sheldon, Iowa — The 2012 Sheldon United Fund Drive is underway and will continue through the rest of the year. The goal is $33,000.

The fund is up to $16,217.

The fund-raiser is over half done, at 53% finished. The funds are at about 49% of goal. To finish on goal, the fund should average about $1,941 per week. This past week $1,589 was donated.

The United Fund will be assisting 23 different organizations in Sheldon and the surrounding communities. Contributions may be left at any of the four Sheldon banks, or you can also send them to PO Box 41, Sheldon. Essays explaining each organization are available at the banks. The United Fund thanks you for your contribution.

Multiple-Rail Car Derailment Causes Localized Evacuation Near Lester

Photo Credit: Carol Childress

Rural Lester, Iowa — A 25-car train derailment south of Lester on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad caused authorities to order the evacuation of a small number of people Sunday morning.

According to BNSF spokesperson Amy McBeth, at about 4:15 Sunday morning 25 cars derailed just south of Lester.  Some of the derailed cars were carrying LPG, also called LP gas or propane.   She says initial reports were that one of those cars had been compromised.

As a precaution the Lester Fire Department evacuated 12 residences.  Crews were on site on Sunday determining the best way to clear the cars.

McBeth reports the train was traveling from Sioux City to Willmar, Minnesota.  (Both are switching hubs for the railroad.)  It had 52 loads, 48 empties and two locomotives.  It was carrying freight of all kinds.  The crew was not injured in the incident, according to McBeth.

At last report, investigators were still trying to determine the cause of the derailment.

Community College Enrollment Down, NCC Enrollment Up

Des Moines, Iowa — Fewer students are attending Iowa community colleges as a whole, after enrollment reached record levels not too long ago.

Some community college executives are calling that a good sign, meaning that fewer out-of-work people needed to seek re-training for new jobs when their old ones evaporated with the recession.

Iowa’s 15 community colleges showed a statewide drop of 5 percent from last year, The Des Moines Register reported Thursday.

However, enrollment at northwest Iowa community college has increased in the last year, according to President of NCC, Dr. Aletha Stubbe.

She says that’s due in-part to the fact that unemployment has remained relatively low in northwest Iowa.

She says they have a lot to offer.

She says students can succeed at NCC, and that’s NCC’s goal.

Fishing Regulations Significantly Relaxed This Winter At Lake Pahoja: Lake Renovation Planned

Inwood, Iowa — Fishing regulations have been relaxed at Lake Pahoja to allow licensed anglers to harvest fish through the winter until a planned lake renovation in March.

Anglers with a valid fishing license may take fish by any means except dynamite, poison, electroshocking devices, or any stupefying substances. In addition, daily bag and minimum length restrictions are lifted. Taking fish for commercial purposes is not allowed.

Lake Pahoja, in Lyon County, experienced a significant die off of sport fish in September, leaving primarily common carp and grass carp in the 70-acre lake.

With the creeks and wetlands feeding the lake dry from the drought, it seemed like a perfect time to renovate Lake Pahoja.

Craig Van Otterloo, director of the Lyon County Conservation Board says that they knew they were coming to this in five or six years but he says the drought afforded them an opportunity to move up the renovation, and get some work done on fish habitat and fishing access at the same time. He says when they had the fish kill in September and could see a couple hundred carp swimming and all the dead sport fish — That made up their minds.

While the lake level is low, Van Otterloo said they will install bluegill spawning beds, cedar tree piles, add a fishing jetty and pour a new boat ramp.

Once the carp are gone, Van Otterloo says they are hoping to see vegetation return that would remove some of the nitrogen and help with the algae blooms.

Fish will be restocked in late spring. Bluegills will go in first, followed by largemouth bass and channel catfish in year two. Crappies may also be added in the second year. Van Otterloo said he hopes to find some larger fish to stock to help get a jump on the recovery.

Van Otterloo says he thinks that five years down the road, they will have a better lake.

“Coats For Kids” Offering Free Coats To Kids And Adults On Saturday

Sheldon, Iowa — The annual “Coats For Kids” program in Sheldon is about to give away their coats for kids (as well as adults).

Jeri Postma from “bubbles and Bee Kleen” does a lot of the work for the program, accepting, cleaning, and sorting the coats.

The coats and winter wear will be distributed on Saturday (11/3) from 9 AM to 1 PM, in the basement of the Community Services Center, across the street from KIWA. Anyone who needs a coat or hats and mittens is welcome to come and get one.

Postma wants to thank everyone for their generosity.

Again the coats are being distributed this Saturday from 9 to 1 at the Community Services Center.

Time To “Fall Back” On Saturday Night

Washington, DC — It’s time to gain an hour of sleep again. Daylight Saving Time expires again on Saturday night.

It’s been five years since the Daylight Saving Time rules changed in the United States. In 2007, Congress decided to keep the country on Daylight Saving Time a bit longer, citing energy savings. Whether it actually saves energy or not is somewhat controversial. But at any rate, instead of being adjusted on the the first Sunday in April, clocks are now adjusted for Daylight Saving Time on the second Sunday of March. And for the return to standard time, clocks are now adjusted on the first Sunday in November instead of the last Sunday of October.

Some newer clocks adjust for the time change automatically — in fact some are set to the atomic clock in Boulder, Colorado via a small radio receiver. However, if you bought one of these new-fangled clocks before the rules changed in 2007, it changes automatically — on the wrong date. These sometimes have to be manually set.

Older and more manual clocks also have to be set manually. Although the change actually happens at 2 AM, most people will set their clocks back one hour before they go to bed on Saturday night.

Again, don’t forget to “fall back” one hour on Saturday night.