Iowa State University Extension Experts Inform, Educate

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach helps carry Iowa State’s land-grant mission beyond campus, to be the university that best serves the citizens of Iowa. With Iowa State University, Extension embraces the land-grant philosophy of:

  • access to high-quality education
  • research applied to the needs of Iowa, the nation, and world
  • extending knowledge to strengthen Iowa’s economy and citizens’ quality of life

Iowa State University Extension does that by offering practical, how-to education based on powerful university research. It’s available to any resident of Iowa and is tailored to meet the needs of Iowans, needs we know firsthand.  Extension educators, specialists, and volunteers live and work in all 99 Iowa counties.

We have talked to four different Extension specialists in October, and here are those programs.

First of all we talked to Jan Burk, who talked to us about a financial workshop for women.

Jan Burk also took the second slot, and we talked about a class called, “Your Money, Your Future”.

Next, it was Margaret Murphy’s turn.  We talked about the Master Gardener Program.

Finally, we spoke with Extension Crop Field Specialist, Joel De Jong.  He gave us a harvest wrap-up; we talked about sub-soil moisture, and we touched on a couple of other topics.

River Valley Players Giving Dinner Theatre Performance of Homecomings

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Dinner Theatre season continues in northwest Iowa. Off, Off Broadway is doing Pump Boys and Dinettes on the 31st through November 4th. Next week at Otter Valley, it’ll be Virgil’s Christmas Catch. And, starting on Halloween and going through Saturday night, the River Valley Players in Rock Rapids present, Homecomings, by Frank V. Priore.

We had a chance to talk to Marilee Schleusner from Rock Rapids, who’s directing the show. She says it’s a funny show.

Schleusner says those familiar with area shows will recognize many of the names in the cast.

The dinner theatre will be at the Rock Rapids Forster Community Center, downtown.

Tony’s Catering of Brandon, SD will be doing the buffet-style meal.

The buffet will feature Bacon-wrapped Chicken Breast; Roast Beef and/or Pork Loin, carved for you right there, as you wait; Baby Red Potatoes; Glazed Carrots; Green Beans; and your choice of dessert including Cheesecake and German Chocolate Cake.

Tickets are $25 and include the cost of the meal and the show. Reservations can be made by calling the Rock Rapids Chamber at 712-472-3456.

Iowa Utilities Board, Department Of Human Services Reminds Iowans Of Heating Assistance Program

Des Moines, Iowa — The return of cold weather to the state is reminder that you won’t be able to keep your heater turned off all winter. Iowa Utilities Board spokesman, Rob Hillesland, says the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is available to those who may struggle to pay that heating bill.

(as he says) “It can provide them with some limited financial assistance, I believe it’s a one-time payment amount that helps cover a portion of their winter heating costs,” Hillesland explains. “And also, there’s an associated weatherization program that can provide them some longer-term relief by improving their energy efficiency and educating them on ways that they can also help to reduce their energy use.”

Another benefit of being eligible for LIHEAP, is you are then protected on the utility shut off moratorium.

(as he says) “That runs from November first through April first, and during that winter moratorium period, those customers who are certified as eligible cannot be disconnected from their utility services,” Hillesland says.

He says you should check as soon as possible to see if you might be eligible for the program.

(as he says) Hillesland says the best thing to do is to contact your local community action agency, and if you don’t know how to reach that agency, you can get information from the Iowa Department of Human Rights.

In our area, the local community action agency serving Osceola and O’Brien Counties (and several others) is Upper Des Moines Opportunity. You can reach them toll-free at (800) 245-6151 or at Mid-Sioux is the community action agency serving Lyon and Sioux County (and several others). They can be reached toll-free at (800) 859-2025 or at

O’Brien County Auditor Says It’s Time To Get Your Absentee Ballots Back In

Primghar, Iowa — Absentee voting has become very popular this year. County Auditors are noticing a large uptick in the number of ballots going out. However, many of those are STILL out. O’Brien County Auditor Barb Rohwer reminds people that it’s time to get those ballots back to your County Auditor’s Office.

She also says, interestingly enough — if you want to vote at home — even if you go to the auditor’s office to apply for your absentee ballot — they CANNOT just give you one — it has to come in the mail. However, if you are done with it, you MAY return it to the auditor’s office in person OR through the mail.

Sheldon Police Reports Arrests, Property Damage Accident

Sheldon, Iowa — In the latest from the Sheldon Police Department:

On Wednesday (10/24), the police arrested 49-year-old Ralph Kincer of Sheldon on a charge of Aggravated Assault. He was taken into custody and transported to jail in Primghar.

On Sunday (10/28), the police arrested 41-year-old Daryl Van Oort of Ashton on a charge of serious Domestic Abuse Assault.

The police also arrested 48-year-old Brenda Van Oort of Ashton for Second Offense Public Intoxication on Sunday. They were both taken into custody and transported to jail in Primghar.

An Ashton man’s car and a Sheldon woman’s car were damaged in an accident on Friday (10/26) in Sheldon.

The Sheldon Police Department reports that about 2:55 PM, 67-year-old David Strouth of Ashton was eastbound on Highway 18 in the inside lane, near Washington Avenue in a 2000 Volkswagon, and was slowing for traffic. Seventy-eight-year-old Dorothy Petersen of Sheldon was also eastbound on 18 in a 2006 Buick.

Peterson rear-ended the Strouth vehicle.

Strouth’s Volkswagon received $500 damage. Petersen’s Buick received $3000 damage.

There were no injuries reported.

DNR Investigating Fish Kill In West Branch Floyd River Near Sioux Center

Sioux Center, Iowa — The DNR is investigating a fish kill in the West Branch of the Floyd River, about two and a half miles south of Sioux Center.

A resident reported the stream was very murky and the fish looked stressed when he saw them this weekend.

The Department of Natural Resources reports their staff found elevated ammonia levels and several dead fish north of the Highway 75 bridge. The DNR specialists are working their way upstream to see if they can find the source of the fish kill.

High ammonia content generally indicates the source is a nutrient, often fertilizer, manure or wastewater.

DNR officials remind Iowa residents and visitors that it’s important to call the DNR’s 24-hour spill line as soon as possible after seeing a fish kill. The greater the delay between the event and the reporting, the less likely it is that the source of the pollution can be traced.

That spill line, for future reference is 515-281-8694.