Christmas Toy Drive Collects Over 350 Toys

Sanborn, Iowa — Over 350 toys made Christmas a little brighter for northwest Iowa kids, thanks to a toy drive.
Sanborn Ambulance toys 2015
The Sanborn Ambulance Crew held their annual Toys-For-Tots toy drive this year, with the idea to fill up an ambulance with toys for northwest Iowa kids. Sanborn Ambulance Director Paul Schuler tells us the drive went well.

Schuler says that with such a big turn out of support this year the Sanborn Ambulance crew are going be back at it again during Christmas season, 2016.

Schuler says they may even expand into other communities next time, collecting Toys for Tots to make Christmas brighter for northwest Iowa kids.

Electronic Voter Registration Now Available In Iowa, 24/7

Des Moines and Primghar, Iowa — There are now seven ways to register to vote in Iowa.vote_here

That’s Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate. “Electronic registration” went live on January 1st and, so far, about 200 people have used this new online method. It’s located on the Iowa D-O-T’s website and the Iowa Secretary of State’s website has a link to it as well.

Some of the people who’re planning to participate in the February 1st Iowa Caucuses may choose this quick, online tool to either register to vote for the first time — or to update other information.

For years, Iowans have been able to register to vote when they renew their drivers license and the D-O-T has been cross-checking government lists to ensure the person is a legal voter. Mark Lowe of the Iowa D-O-T says after his agency launched its online drivers license renewal process, it developed this new online voter registration system.

It appears no other state has this kind of 24/7 website that immediately confirms a voter has successfully completed the registration process.

O’Brien County Auditor Barb Rowher says Iowans can now register to vote online, but unlike the old way to register, you will need some form of ID.

She says the site also requires some security information to which only the voter would have access.

She says they haven’t had anyone from O’Brien County use the new service yet, but they expect that to happen soon.

Iowans can still register to vote at a government office or through the mail. Iowa law also allows people to register on Election Day or at their precinct on Caucus Night.

Rural Melvin Machine Shed Damged In Fire

Melvin, Iowa — A machine shed and shop was damaged in a fire on Tuesday, January 5, 2016 near Melvin.
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According to Melvin Fire Chief John McDougall, about 5:25 PM, the Melvin Fire Department was called to the report of shop on fire at Gary Vander Lee’s place at 2673 Taft Avenue, two miles east, and one and three quarter mile south of Melvin.

The chief says the fire department fought the fire by pulling tin off of the structure and spraying it with water. He says the fire had gone up the walls and into the attic of the building. Chief McDougall says they ventilated the building and doused the fire in the attic.

McDougall says no injuries were reported.

The Sanborn and May City fire departments were paged for mutual aid. He says they asked them to bring water. According to the chief, they used Sanborn’s water but didn’t need May City’s when all was said and done. He says in all they used about 10,000 gallons of water to fight the fire.

He says the cause of the fire is undetermined at this time.

Chief McDougall reports that there was moderate damage to the building and contents, which did include vehicles.

He says firefighters were on scene for two and a half hours.

People Without Health Insurance Face Stiff Tax Penalties

1040 income tax formNorthwest Iowa — If you pay estimated quarterly taxes, you’ll  face your first deadline of the new year next week, as fourth quarter taxes are due January 15th.

Bob Burger is a CPA, and he says there are new rules every filing season. The year’s biggest issue is thanks to new requirements under the federal Affordable Care Act, as the penalty is rising for anyone who doesn’t have health care coverage.

As you begin to organize all of your tax paperwork, Berger says don’t forget about contributions to non-profit groups you made during the past year.

The Internal Revenue Service requires you have proof of such donations, with a cancelled check, a bank or credit card statement, or a letter or receipt from the organization. Donors also need written acknowledgement from the charity for all gifts worth $250 or more.

Grassley Weighs In On Gun Control Executive Order

grassley-photo-officialNorthwest Iowa — President Obama issued an executive order yesterday which he says is designed to tighten restrictions on buying guns, including more mandatory background checks for some private sales. Iowa’s senior Senator, Chuck Grassley, says the order comes under the jurisdiction of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs. Grassley says America’s response to recent tragedies involving guns “should include a thoughtful review of not only how, but also why they happened.”

Grassley, a Republican, says “the devil will be in the details of the regulations that he’s proposing,” and the parameters of the executive order will be carefully analyzed.

Grassley says Maryland, Illinois, California, and even Washington, D.C., have some of the nation’s strictest gun laws, yet they have some of the worst records for firearm deaths. He says Congress has debated and continues to debate appropriate changes to America’s gun laws that respect Second Amendment rights.

Grassley says he’s working with Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, on a bill to prevent all non-citizens who aren’t legal permanent residents from buying guns. He’s also put forward a number of bills to improve our response to mental health issues, which he notes, are often at the root of these tragedies.

ISP Trooper Kurtz Unveils New VLOG

ISP patrol car zoom on logosSheldon, Iowa — There is a new safe driving vlog, or video blog, called Windshield Time, which is available from the Iowa State Patrol on Trooper Vince Kurtz’ youtube channel.  Trooper Kurtz appeared on Tuesday’s Morning Show with Wayne and Aaron, and talked about the new vlog.

Kurtz says that once students finish Driver’s Education, there really is no continuing ed.

Trooper Kurtz says that traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people between 14 and 35, and he wanted to come up with something to target that demographic.

He says that 21 area schools have signed up for the Windshield Time feed so they can share it with their students.

Kurtz says the first episode is out, and deals with winter driving.

Trooper Kurtz says that the first episode has already been viewed more than 15,000 times on Facebook.

The first edition of Windshield Time can be viewed below.