Have We EVER Had A Winter Like This?

A KIWA listener posed a very good question to us — they asked how long it’s been since we’ve had a winter like this.

KIWA’s own Frank Luepke — the official National Weather Service Observer for Sheldon did some research and came up with this response.

He says it’s a very complicated question….there are at least three factors at play here.

First of all, it was an extremely dry September through December period. Certainly, he says it was one of the driest. Our 1.60 inches was even dryer than the dustbowl 1930’s. Luepke says that during the 30’s we had lots of dry, hot summers, but there always seemed to be one big rain in the fall each year. 1939 did have only 1.85 inches. Luepke says he didn’t add up this four-month period for all of the last 100 years, but it looks like our 1.60 could very well be the record.

Secondly — we’ve had a significant lack of snow. Sheldon has only recorded 4.2 inches so far this winter. Normally we have about 12. If not a record, it’s pretty close, says Luepke.

Finally, It’s also been a very warm January. Lots of days in January have seen 50 degree temperatures over the years. He says the hottest was 69 degrees on January 9, 2002. It was 66 degrees on January 24, 1981, 65 on January 25, 1944, and 66 degrees January 27, 2002, for example. But this many days in a row of warm temperatures could be unprecedented.

The question remains for you to answer — have we ever had a winter like this before?

With highs around the 50’s on Monday and predicted highs in the low 50’s in northwest Iowa tomorrow, the heat wave continues.

But — it sounds like this may be the end of the VERY mild temperatures for a while. National Weather Service Meteorologist Billy Williams at the Sioux Falls office says we should expect a change.

Williams lets us know what to expect.

He says Thursday will have the coldest temps. Then, we return to a little more normal temps for the weekend with highs in the 30’s. But even those highs are quite warm for January.

We asked him when our best chance would be to get some snow, but he said there are really no significant chances on the horizon, and didn’t want to predict more than a week or so out at this time. The official 6 to 10 day weather outlook does call for normal temperatures and normal precipitation in northwest Iowa.

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director

KIWA Makes Final Presentation Of Cookbook Money To Relay For Life; Totaling $13,000

As part of KIWA Radio’s 50th Anniversary year in 2011, the station solicited recipes from our listeners, and compiled them into a cookbook, with profits designated for The American Cancer Society Relays For Life in O’Brien, Osceola, Lyon and Sioux Counties.

The final chapter of that fund-raising promotion came to a close Monday, with the presentation of four $750 checks to each of the four counties’ chapters totaling an additional $3,000 from the cookbook sales.

KIWA’s “Chunk & Punk” presented the checks on behalf of the station, with Wayne “Punk” Barahona presenting a check to Cindy Runger, chairperson of O’Brien County’s Relay For Life Committee. Runger thanked the KIWA staff and listeners for their efforts in making the cookbook promotion a success.

Tom “Chunk” Traughber presented the checks for Lyon and Sioux Counties to Caryline Lowe of the American Cancer Society. Lowe also talked about the amazing support the cookbook promotion provided to Relay For Life.

Barahona also presented the check to Osceola County Relay For Life Chair Jackie Kannegieter, who told us that the primary use for the monies raised, not only from the cookbook promotion, but from Relay For Life in general, is for research into finding a cure for cancer as quickly as possible.

The ladies said that in addition to research, funds are used for such things as lodging expenses for cancer patients and their caregivers when seeking treatment at out-of-town facilities.

The 2012 Relays For life will be held June 15th in Sioux County, June 22nd in O’Brien County, June 29th in Lyon County, and August 3rd in Osceola County.

With the presentation of these final checks, the total donated to Relay For Life in the four far northwest counties of Iowa comes to a total of $13,000. KIWA Radio, and the Relay For Life Representatives, want to thank you, our listeners, for making this project a huge success.

By Tom Traughber
News Reporter

Photo Caption: Bobbi and Jackie accept the check for Osceola County from Wayne.

Public Comments Invited on New Sheldon Park

Sheldon area residents who are interested in the creation of a new community park at the borrow pit south of the Sheldon Crossing area will have another opportunity to offer their input Monday evening January 9th.

At that time, Mike Bell of RDG planning will present what he calls a preliminary master plan for the park. The plan will incorporate many of the amenities suggested by those who attended earlier meetings.

Those amenities include a lodge, shelters, fishing areas, a trail network, open green space, camping and habitat restoration to name a few. The earlier discussions also included an area for housing development and the need for two entrances into the area.

The meeting which is open to everyone will be held Monday at 6 p.m. in the upper level of the Sheldon Community Services Center.

URGENT – Stolen Sheldon Snowmobile Found – Police Need Your Help


The snowmobile stolen in Sheldon has been found but now Sheldon Police seek the public’s help in helping to identify the thieves. According to police there was an attempt to alter the snowmobile’s appearance (see picture). The Monster logo was one of the decals added. Even after the attempted deception an alert Sheldon resident recognized the snowmobile sitting on a second stolen trailer in Spirit Lake. The individual called Spirit Lake Police who were then in contact with Sheldon Police.
Anyone with any information on this snowmobile is asked to call the Sheldon Police at 712 324 2525.

Previous Story:
The snowmobile trailer that had been reported stolen on December 22, 2011, has been recovered a couple miles north of Sanborn. The Polaris
snowmobile is still missing. If the public has any information about this snowmobile, please contact the Sheldon Police Department at 712-324-2525.

Previous story:
The police say that a resident living on Fifth Street in Sheldon reported the theft of a blue 2010 Polaris 800 RMK snowmobile and its trailer from a storage unit. It was reported that the theft happened sometime between October 31st and December 22nd of this year. A door was forced open to gain access to the unit at J & L Storage.

The snowmobile was valued at $8500, and the trailer was valued at $700.

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director

Sibley-Ocheyedan Ag Department Again Hosting Farmers’ Night School

The Sibley-Ocheyedan School Agriculture department is holding their Farmers’ Night School again this year. Ag teacher Mike Earll tells us about it.

Earll says they started this past Thursday with a Conversation With The Osceola County Supervisors. He says they’ll continue to meet on Thursday nights for the duration of the night school this year.

He says they will talk about wildlife habitat at the next class.

Then on January 26th, they’ll talk about local ag products.

Click here for the full schedule of sessions.

Mr. Earll says the program has a very long history. He’s pretty sure it started as a program for soldiers coming home from the service. He says the school lets him do the program, and the cost is minimal. The speakers don’t charge anything, and the coffee and rolls are donated.

If you’re interested in attending one of the sessions, you can just show up the night of the program. They hold the sessions in the high school ag room. He says the best way to come in would be on the north side of school where the baseball diamonds are — next to the large shop doors on the north side of the building. If you need more information, just call the Sibley High School and ask for Mr. Earll in the Ag Department.

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director

Minneapolis Man Arrested In Connection With Brewster Bank Robbery

A Minneapolis man has been arrested in connection with that bank robbery in southwest Minnesota. The Rolling Hills Bank in Brewster was robbed on Tuesday (1/3).

Forty-nine-year-old Mark Wetsch was charged on Thursday (1/5) in Nobles County with Aggravated Robbery, Terroristic Threats and Theft, all Felonies.

Authorities report the gun he used in the robbery was a fake one.

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director