Des Moines, Iowa — The latest U-S-D-A report shows the 2012 harvest season is nearly over in Iowa.
The corn harvest is a full month ahead of schedule. Last year at this time, only 40 percent of the corn had been combined. As of last Friday, 87 percent of the state’s corn crop had been harvested. Ninety-three-percent of the state’s soybeans were in the bin by the end of last week. That’s three weeks ahead of normal. The report noted “substantial rain finally arrived over much of Iowa over the weekend” with “over an inch” falling in many areas. Topsoil moisture levels improved, with 21 percent of the farm ground in Iowa considered to have “adequate” moisture in the top layer of the soil. However, 95 percent of the state’s subsoil is considered to be “short” or “very short” of moisture.
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says that some farmers received welcome moisture this past weekend, as many wrap-up harvest and see soils that are very dry and will need significant rainfall to replenish both topsoil and subsoil moisture levels. He says now that many farmers have completed harvest, it is important that they wait for soil temperatures to be below 50 degrees and falling before doing anhydrous ammonia applications.
Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon Police Department was kept busy with a number of incidents and arrests over the weekend.
A 1996 Chevy K-1500 pickup was stolen from a residence on North 9th Ave sometime between 5 PM Saturday evening and Sunday morning. The pickup was later recovered in Osceola County. No word yet on charges but the investigation is continuing.
29-year-old Dustin Lokhorst of Sheldon was arrested on the charge of Reckless Driving Saturday afternoon. Lokhorst was taken in to custody and held at the O’Brien County Jail where he posted bond and was released.
A Hull man was arrested Friday afternoon on an arrest warrant for Serious Assault earlier this year. 27-year-old Esquirel Avila was taken in to custody and held at the O’Brien County Jail.
Granville, Iowa — Officials at Spalding Catholic High School in Granville are considering a merger or sharing agreement with Gehlen Catholic High School in Le Mars, due to lower enrollment. We had a chance to speak with school president, Father Terry Roder, who also serves as parish priest in the three parishes that support Spalding Catholic. Father Roder gives us some background.
He says Spalding has been looking at their numbers, programs, prices, and demographics, and enrollment is getting lower.
He says it’s a common problem in rural America with smaller and fewer families. Plus, he says the cost of providing a great Catholic education continues to go up as well. He tells us at this time they plan on maintaining their own pre-K through eighth grade system and busing high school students to Le Mars Gehlen.
He says they’re looking at the possibilities, busing, combining programs, and what they value. They’re also considering the tradition of service programs, and what both schools offer each other.
He says they’re gathering information from surveys from meetings that have taken place, and are recruiting people from the meetings to address areas of concern. Spalding School Board President Jeanne Jungers tells us about those.
She says some of those include academics, finances, Catholic identity, extra and co-curricular, and transportation.
Donations are strong, Father Roder says, but they have to consider how long they can continue to support the high level of education the students deserve. While Gehlen Catholic is probably in a better position financially, Jungers says both schools have something to bring to the table.
She says they feel like sending Spalding high school students to Gehlen would be a benefit to both schools.
Funds to run the schools come from donations, fundraisers, and tuition. But they say disadvantaged families are also assisted by the parishes in paying tuition.
Father Roder gives us the timeline for the decision.
He says they would like recommendations from the subcommittees sometime in November or December so that they have an opportunity to present the results to the public, and so the boards can make the decision as to if this is something they can go ahead or not. The final decision should be made in January or February so that they can plan for the next school year.
Jungers says the main goal is to insure that there will be a strong, viable option for Catholic education for all of northwest Iowa.
Hospers, Iowa — A Ruthven man was arrested early Sunday morning for O.W.I. after he swerved to miss a deer and his vehicle started on fire.
The Hospers Fire Department and Sioux County Sheriff’s office were paged to a vehicle fire in the east ditch of Highway 60, one mile south of Hospers at approximately 2:37 AM Sunday morning. Upon arrival, deputies discovered that 29-year-old Austin Simmelink, of Ruthven was driving a 1988 GMC pickup northbound on Highway 60 when he allegedly swerved to miss a deer, lost control of the vehicle and entered the east ditch. While attempting to get back to the roadway, the truck overheated and started on fire.
No injuries were reported.
The truck sustained approximately $3,000 in damages and is considered a total loss. During the investigation, Simmelink was arrested for 2nd offense operating while intoxicated, an aggravated misdemeanor and failure to maintain control, a simple misdemeanor.
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 $12,893.
Giving has been slow in the last week, but due to stronger giving last week, the total is still on track for the goal. The fund-raiser is about 35% finished. The funds are actually already at about 39% of goal. To finish on goal, the fund should average about $1,941 per week. This past week $535 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.