New Business Opens In Sheldon

Blossom and Bride BoutiqueSheldon, Iowa — A new business has opened up in downtown Sheldon.  Carolyn Marshall of Sheldon has opened Blossom and Bride Boutique at 209 9th Street, downtown.

Marshall tells us a little about the store.

She says that, in addition to flowers and home decor, Blossom and Bride Boutique also offers wedding planner services.

Marshall brings a great deal of experience with her into this new business venture.

She says now that her kids are grown and gone, it was time to follow her dream and open her own business.

Marshall encourages people to call her if you have any questions.

Blossom and Bride Boutique is open Mondays from 10 am to 8 pm, Tuesday through Friday 10 am to 5:30 pm, and Saturday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Bill Under Consideration Includes Mandatory Teen Meningitis Vaccinations

shotsNorthwest Iowa — Northwest Iowa parents would be required to have their children vaccinated against meningitis under a measure that is included in a budget bill awaiting Governor Terry Branstad’s review.

Bacterial meningitis is serious and can be deadly. It causes tissue surrounding the brain and the spinal cord to swell. Representative Rob Taylor of West Des Moines is all too familiar with it.

Iowa is one of 11 states that do not require teenagers to be vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends kids get the meningitis vaccine by the age of 12 and then get a booster shot when they’re 16.

If Governor Branstad signs off on the proposal, 7th graders and 12th graders will have to show they’ve gotten the meningitis vaccine, or they won’t be able to enroll in school. Meningitis is highly contagious, according to Taylor. “And very devastating to the community that gets it because if there’s one that has, it can spread rapidly,” Taylor says. About four-thousand cases of meningitis are reported in the U.S. each year. At the end of March a student at St. Ambrose University was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. Nearly 80 percent of American teenagers get a first dose of the meningitis vaccine. In Iowa, only 64 percent get it. That’s 11-and-a-half percent lower than Minnesota and about 13 percent lower than Illinois. South Dakota’s governor just signed a bill requiring 7th and 12th graders to show they’ve been vaccinated before they may enroll in school.

Northwest Iowa Counties Among Most Generous

Statewide Iowa — As the old Meridith Wilson song goes, Iowans will “give you our shirt and a back to go with it.” Apparently it’s true. According to the web site, not only do Iowans give more money to charity than people in Illinois, Wisconsin, or Minnesota on average, people in northwest Iowa are among the most philanthropic.

merry money 2According to data compiled by, residents of Sioux, O’Brien and Lyon counties are among the 10 counties in Iowa giving the highest percentage of their income to charity. They define “giving ratio” as the percentage of adjusted gross income that residents give to charity according to charitable contributions listed on income tax forms. These numbers are based on data from 2012, the most recent year for which information is available.

Topping the list is Sioux County, where they say people give, on average — 6.54% of their income to charity. The median annual contribution is $6,007.

Residents of O’Brien County made a median contribution of $4,720 per household in 2012, which was good for sixth place. The giving ratio was 4.62%

Coming in at number ten was Lyon County, where the data reports a giving ratio of 4.09%.

Osceola County was a little further down the list with a giving ratio of 3.5%.

While Iowa does beat some of its surrounding states, residents of South Dakota, Nebraska, and Missouri give more on average. As a whole, South Dakotans give 3.45% of their income. Nebraskans give 3.67%, and Missourians give 3.38%. Iowans on average give 3.03% of their income to charity.

For more information including a clickable map of the data, click here.

DAR Awards $4,295 For Baker Township School Renovation

Sheldon, Iowa — The Prairie Arts Council has received a grant toward the Baker Township School renovation project.
Baker Twp School
The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) has announced that the organization will be donating $4,295 toward the project. Funding for this project was made possible through the sponsorship of the Ladies of the Lake Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution in Spirit Lake, which serves the northwest Iowa area including Sheldon.

Harold Tuttle, President of the Park Board says that they are very pleased to be receiving such a wonderful donation from DAR. He says they realize that their grant is just one of many that they made throughout the year to preserve our nation’s history. He says they feel fortunate that the DAR has chosen to provide the cement floor and finish for their basement and provide a 1936 light for the bathroom. Tuttle says as he understands it, this is the only grant in Iowa this year.

The DAR grants program was started in 2010. Funding is awarded to support projects in local communities which promote the organization’s mission of historic preservation, education and patriotism.

The award will be presented on August 23rd.

Incidentally, Baker Township is in O’Brien County, south of Sheldon. The township does not have any towns in it, but it’s just east of Hospers, and northeast of Granville.

Funny Money Showing Up In Area

money cash bills dollarsSioux County, Iowa — Merchants in a couple of Sioux County communities have been receiving some counterfeit $20 bills in recent weeks.

According to an alert from the Sioux Center Chamber of Commerce, the funny money has recently shown up in the communities of Sioux Center and Orange City.  Merchants are advised to be on the lookout and contact their local police if they suspect that someone is using counterfeit money.

Apparently, the problem has been confined to Sioux County over the past few weeks.  We checked with the Sheriff’s Offices in Lyon, Osceola and O’Brien counties to see if any funny money has surfaced in their areas recently.  O’Brien, Lyon and Osceola counties report not seeing any of the bogus bills lately, although Lyon County Sheriff Stewart Vander Stoep says his county has seen an uptick in the number of bad checks being passed in that county.

Experts say there are a couple of ways you might be able to spot these counterfeit $20 bills.  The first is to hold the bill up to the light, and examine it to make sure there is a security strip embedded in the paper to the left of Andrew Jackson’s picture.  Newer $20’s also have a watermark.

They also say that there are counterfeit detector pens that are available at office supply stores.  These pens are designed to chemically react with the wood-based paper normally used by unsophisticated counterfeiters.  These are the criminals who use a color copier or color printer to make copies of a genuine bill that are just good enough to go undetected by a cursory glance, and are most often printed onto standard computer paper.  When a mark is made on the bill with a counterfeit detector pen, it leaves a black stain.  When mark is made on a genuine bill, no change takes place.

Anybody who has suspicions about whether or not the currency being passed is legitimate, should contact their local law enforcement.

Kooiker Votes No On Bill Designed To Show Support For Israel

John Kooiker croppedDes Moines, Iowa — Governor Terry Branstad held a statehouse ceremony Tuesday morning to praise the legislature’s action on a pro-Israeli bill.

The legislature passed a bill that will ban any direct state investment in companies that boycott Israel.

There are currently no U.S. companies boycotting Israel, but there’s a global movement seeking to put economic pressure on Israel through boycotts. The goals of the movement are to get Israel to exit territory it has occupied for decades and secure new rights for Palestinians. Representative Quentin Stanerson, a Republican from Center Point, says the bill also forbids state agencies from signing contracts with any foreign company that is part of the boycott.

Representative John Kooiker, a Republican from Hull, voted no on the measure.

Iowa is the ninth state to pass this sort of legislation. Some critics argued it will cost too much for state officials to figure out which foreign companies the state is doing business with might be boycotting Israel. Supporters say it will cost just “a couple thousand dollars” to search all the state’s contracts and investments and cancel any deals that involve companies that are participating in the international boycott against Israel. This kind of review was done recently when the state banned investments in companies doing business with Iran and Sudan. In the 1980s, the State of Iowa joined many other states in demanding “divestment” from companies in South Africa — to try to force an end to racial segregation in the country.