“Contents” Opens In Old Rockman Clothing Location, Celebrates With Ribbon Cutting

rockman clothingSheldon, Iowa — Another new Sheldon business celebrated with a ribbon cutting on Friday (3/29).

Blake and Sara Beahler bought Rockman Clothing a while back, and have now merged their Prairie Moon Books store into the former Rockman location at the corner of Ninth Street and Fourth Avenue in Downtown Sheldon.

Blake Beahler tells us about the new store.

Sheldon businesspeople, dignitaries, and the public met on Friday morning to welcome the new business. City Council Member Greg Geels welcomed the new business on behalf of the City of Sheldon.

Sheldon Chamber and Development Executive Director Mark Gaul spoke on behalf of the SCDC.

KIWA’s Tom Traughber spoke on behalf of the Sheldon Ambassadors, and presented the Beahlers with a plaque.

Beahler says they’re excited to open with the new name in the Rockman location.

He says they have something for everyone.

Again, the new store — “Contents” is located at Ninth Street and Fourth Avenue in Downtown Sheldon.

Iowa Farmers Expected To Plant About The Same Number Of Acres With Corn, And More To Soybeans

young soybean plants in fieldNorthwest Iowa — The USDA spring planting survey shows farmers across the country intend to plant more corn acres and fewer soybean acres in the upcoming growing season. Iowa goes slightly against that trend. The state was the top corn producer in the nation last year and estimates show farmers will plant the same number of acres with corn this year — 14-point-two-million acres. Iowa soybean acres are expected to increase by one-percent to nine-point-four-million acres.

Greg Thessen, director of the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Office Iowa Field Office, says the information comes from the annual survey of over 2,000 Iowa farmers conducted during the first two weeks of March.

For the complete report, including national information, as well as information for other states and crops, go to www.nass.usda.gov.

Two Taken To Hospital After Thursday Night Accident North Of Rock Rapids

Lyon County Ambulance 60-A3 smRock Rapids, Iowa — Two people were taken to the hospital after an accident near Rock Rapids last night (3/28).

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 10:35 PM, 19-year-old Rykker Harr of Rock Rapids was driving a 2013 Volkswagon Beetle north bound on Harding Boulevard, north of Rock Rapids, when he swerved to miss a deer.

The Volkswagon went into the east ditch and then ramped the ditch of Hark Boulevard. The vehicle then landed in the north ditch, went into some bushes, ramped up and hit a couple of trees and rolled. It came to a rest in the east ditch of Harding Avenue.

The Lyon County Ambulance took both occupants to Sanford Rock Rapids Hospital.

Harr’s grandfather, Rickie Niessink is the owner of the Volkswagon Bug which received $12,000 in damage.

The Iowa State Patrol and Rock Rapids Fire and Rescue assisted the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office at the scene.

Sheldon Police Charge Arrest One, Cite Another In Separate Incidents

Sheldon PD carSheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon Police report a pair of recent apprehensions.

The police report that they arrested 44-year-old Kathleen Daniels of Hartley at Casey’s north location in Sheldon on Tuesday (3/26). She was arrested on an O’Brien County Warrant for an original charge of Fifth Degree Theft. She was taken into custody and transported to jail.

They also report that they cited 53-year-old Vicki Kincer on Tuesday (3/26) for Dog At Large. She was not arrested, but was cited and released.

Sheldon’s Golden Easter Egg Has Been Found

126_0095Sheldon, Iowa — Sheldon’s Golden Easter Egg has been found!

Shortly after 1:00 Thursday afternoon Kathi Stellinga of Sheldon brought the egg to the SCDC Office for verification, and to claim her prize.   It was found on the gravel road of Wyman St and 5th Avenue. The egg was a flat wooden egg, painted gold with “Golden Egg 2013” written on it.

Here are all the clues that were given:

Areas of old will be very cold

To find the egg and win, you must think thin

Take a peek, it’s the other side you seek

A least traveled road will bring you gold

Multiple arrows which way to go, pick the right one and stay low.

For finding the golden egg, Stellinga wins 550 Sheldon Dollars.

Congratulations Kathi!

Plan To Expand Highway 75 Through Sioux Center Scrapped

no5_75Sioux Center, Iowa — Sioux Center citizens spoke out in a united voice, and their city council responded.  But in another way, their voice was silenced.

About 400 citizens packed the room at a public hearing Wednesday night (3/27) in Sioux Center. The meeting was called to present the city’s plans to expand US 75 to 5 lanes, but instead, the council announced it was tabling the project “for the foreseeable future” in light of community opposition. There was resounding applause. The applause was the only opportunity for citizen feedback, because the council did not take comments or questions at the meeting.

Rachel Hoogeveen, chair of the public interest group Citizens for Responsible Growth says that even though citizens weren’t able to speak, the voice of Sioux Center was heard in this decision.  She says she thinks there were lessons learned on both sides: First, the public does have a voice, and if we stand together, we have a right to say what happens in our town and with our tax dollars. She says QUOTE, “In a nutshell, we can beat City Hall!” Secondly, she says that the city council must and should listen to public opinion and be more available to hear public input.

Sioux Center City Council member David Krahling tells us about the plan that was on the table.

He tells us why they decided to table the issue.

While opponents had many reasons for objecting to the project, safety became a key concern in recent weeks. They claim that studies show that 3-lane roadways are safer than 5-lane roadways, with 18-20% fewer crashes, and they say a national safety expert has spoken out against the project.

The meeting took place after weeks of growing opposition to the proposed expansion, which would go through the middle of downtown Sioux Center. Along with taking land from many yards and businesses, as well as cutting down 75-80 mature trees along the city’s Main Street, the costly project would require almost $3 million in local funds. The group claims the traffic on Highway 75 has been decreasing annually in recent years, hovering between 11,000 and 12,000, which is several thousand vehicles per day below where a road expansion might normally be considered.

In the week leading up to the meeting, the citizens’ group launched a website with facts and studies demonstrating why the expansion was unnecessary based on declining, sub-capacity traffic numbers. The group followed up by blanketing about 2,000 homes with fliers on Saturday and direct mailing thousands of voters on Monday.

Sioux Center Mayor Denny Walstra said at the meeting, QUOTE “This has been the most challenging time ever for us.  It’s time to take a step back from the expansion.”

Krahling says the council has learned a lot of important lessons over the past week, and could have done things better.  He says that fact unfortunately left many Sioux Center citizens with little choice but to speak out against the project.

The citizens’ group says they anticipate this project will come up again and also looks forward to taking an active role in formulating a plan that is best for the community.

More from the citizen’s group:

“We put together facts and data and made a huge effort to get that out to the public, and they responded,” said the CRG’s Brenda Fritsch. “This is how a community grows and stays healthy: dialogue and working together.”

Still, the council portrayed community opposition to the project as “emotional and irrational grandstanding,” saying the disagreement was unhealthy. CRG disagrees and asked former Iowa DOT director Welch for his assessment. He had nothing but praise for the group’s work to get out the facts: “I have worked on controversial projects for over 40 years. I have told others that the people of both Pella and Sioux Center were the most mature and respectful folks I have ever dealt with on major highway projects,” Welch said. “Your group is doing it the right way: You’re educating people.”

The group also provided a handout at the meeting with important questions they thought needed to be answered. But those questions still remain, because the council tabled the issue and closed discussion. Many left the meeting happy with the result but very disappointed that the city’s call for open discussion and dialogue did not lead to actual dialogue at the meeting.