Remsen St. Mary’s Students Stranded in DC

Remsen St Mary'sRemsen, Iowa — A school group from northwest Iowa that was stranded in the nation’s capitol by the weekend snowstorm hopes to return home today.  The group was in Washington, DC to participate in the “March For Life”.

Remsen St. Mary’s High School Principal Pete Haefs says that about 24 students, or about a third of the student population, along with their chaperons have been at the National 4-H Center in Chevy Chase Maryland, waiting for their chance to come home.

The annual “March for Life” on Friday marked the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. Haefs says the 4-H Center has been a good place for the students to wait.

Nearly every store has been closed because of the snow storm, and trucks have been unable to travel on the streets and highways, but he says his group still was able to get food.

Haefs says the students’ attitudes have been great throughout the experience, and he anticipates the group will be returning to Iowa sometime today.

Rapture Ruckus, David Dunn, & Jonathan Thulin Concert This Sunday in Sheldon

IRS “Free File” Program Is Online

1040 income tax formNorthwest Iowa — Many northwest Iowans can now take advantage of the Internal Revenue Service’s recently launched “Free File” service for the 2016 tax season.

Christopher Miller, the I-R-S spokesman for Iowa, says there are a few changes to the program this year.

Also new this year, Miller says several software providers are offering the easy importation of Form W-2 information, which can help reduce errors.

In addition to being more accurate, Miller says filing taxes electronically increases the speed at which refunds are processed, if you’re due money back.

Free File is available at The federal tax filing season began last week, when the IRS began accepting returns.

National School Choice Week Is This Week

Hull, Iowa — National School Choice Week is January 24-30, 2016.
Western Christian
Organizers say it will be America’s largest-ever celebration of opportunity in education, featuring more than 16,000 independently organized events across all 50 states.

We talked with Western Christian High School principal Dan Barkel, who tells us the Hull school supports school choice initiatives.

Barkel says that contrary to popular belief, Western is not “run” by the Christian Reformed Church. He explains.

We asked him if he’d support a school voucher system.

Principal Barkel also says that another myth is that it costs a lot to go to a Christian school.

He says if you are interested in having your children attend Christian schools, but worry if you can afford it, you are invited to contact the school for more information.

Organizers say that National School Choice Week is a nonpartisan, nonpolitical public awareness effort, and that it shines a positive spotlight on effective education options for students, families, and communities around the country – from traditional public schools to public charter schools, magnet schools, online learning, private schools, and homeschooling, several of which are available in northwest Iowa.

Two Injured In Semi vs Car Accident

Sibley, Iowa — A Spencer teen and her passenger were taken to a hospital with what were called “serious injuries” after an accident on Friday near Sibley.
Osceola County Sibley Ambulance
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 6:35 PM 17-year-old Elizabeth Stallcup of Spencer was driving a 1998 Buick Park Avenue registered to Eugene and Merilyce VerSteeg of Sibley, northbound on L40 north of Sibley near Highway 9. L40 is the county road that goes past the hospital, due north out of Sibley.

They say 24-year-old Jacob Steven Stamp of Linn, Missouri was driving a 2002 International Semi westbound on Highway 9. The report says Stallcup failed to stop at the intersection causing the semi to strike the Buick in the passenger side.

Both Stallcup and a passenger in her vehicle, Jacob VerSteeg were taken to the Osceola Community Hospital.

Both vehicles were a total loss.

The sheriff’s office says that the Sibley Ambulance crew, Sibley Fire Department, and Iowa State Patrol assisted at the scene.

Seasons Center Camp In O’Brien County One Step Closer

Primghar, Iowa — Last month we told you about the desire by Seasons Center in Spencer to acquire a 159 acre O’Brien County farm, including a 30-acre man-made lake, to use as a therapeutic camp for children.  This past Tuesday, that desire came one step closer to reality.

Aerial view of site for proposed Seasons Center camp for children
Aerial view of site for proposed Seasons Center camp for children

The O’Brien County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution at their weekly meeting which authorizes an application for a Community Development Block Grant, or CDBG, to help fund the project.  O’Brien County’s participation is necessary because a governmental entity must apply for a CDBG, according to Season’s Center’s Christina Eggink-Postma.

The Board of Supervisors Resolution states that O’Brien County supports Seasons Center’s efforts to purchase the property, and provide expanded health and behavior services on the property, which is located at 4233 Yew Avenue near Sutherland, for children and their families in O’Brien County and northwest Iowa.  O’Brien County also agreed to have Northwest Iowa Planning and Development Commission help Seasons Center prepare and submit the CDBG application, and perform the CDBG administration, should the grant be awarded.  The resolution states that there is need for such a camp, since there is only other camp in Iowa that serves special needs children that provides therapeutic services to high need children, and application to that camp is limited to specific schools in eastern Iowa.  The Supervisors authorization was passed unanimously.

Eggink-Postma says the purchase of the land is planned in phases, and this CDBG would help Seasons Center move forward with the first phase.  She says that, without this Community Development Block Grant funding,  Seasons Center would need to revisit other funding options in order to keep moving forward with plans for the camp.