Council Approves Events Center Construction Bid

Events Center 9Sheldon, Iowa — At their meeting Wednesday, the Sheldon City Council approved the appointment of a new SCAT team director and assistant director, and accepted a contractors bid for the new events center.

After hearing no comments during a public hearing on the Events Center, the Council proceeded to vote on the plans and specifications for the project, approving them with a vote of three to one with Randy Fonkert casting the dissenting vote.  Council member Greg Geels abstained from voting because of a possible sub-contractor situation.  The discussion then moved on to awarding the bid for the project to Hoogendoorn Construction of Canton, South Dakota.  Out of the five bidders, Hoogendoorns  bid of $4,866,000, was only $15,800 above the project cost estimate, and three hundred eighty thousand dollars below the highest bidder.  The vote to accept the Hoogendoorn bid passed on a three to one vote with Geels abstaining and Fonkert voting ‘no’.  Fonkert also voted against approval of the CAT Grant contract for the project.

City Manager Scott Wynja then brought the Council up to date on the funding for the project.  A total of $963,000 has already been received in donations.  The CAT Grant assists the project with $840,000, the City will borrow $3.4-million and there is other funding of $28,000.  Wynja said the City would now review the details of the specifications with the contractor to see if there were areas where they could save some money without losing the value of the building.  He also noted that there will be further efforts to raise additional funds.

In other business the Council approved the appointment of Tracy Gorter as the new SCAT Director and Ardys Bonestroo as Assistant Director.  These appointments fill the vacancies created when Cindy Freeman resigned those positions.

The Council also approved the sale of three lots in the Trilogy Addition to Mark Falkena of PM Builders, LLC of Hospers for $66,330.  The plans are to build condominiums on these lots, which are located on East 5th Street.

SCDC Seeks Nominations For Parade Grand Marshal

SheldonSheldon, Iowa — Sheldon Celebration Days may be more than four months away, but the SCDC is seeking nominations now for a deserving person to be named as Celebration Days 2016 Parade Grand Marshal.

The Parade Grand Marshal is something that was added to Celebration Days about three years ago, according to Chamber Director Allison Cooke.

Cooke says this is a way to honor a member of the community.

This will be the fourth year that the Celebration Days Parade will have a Grand Marshal designated.  It all started in 2013, when the Village Northwest Unlimited Panther Softball Team was selected as Grand Marshal.  In 2014, the surviving World War II veterans in the community received the honor, and last year’s Grand Marshal was Parker Lloyd, The young son of Tyler and Maggie Lloyd, who was battling cancer.  Up until now, the Grand Marshals have been selected by SCDC staff, but this year Cooke says they decided to change things up a bit.

If you’d like to nominate a deserving person to be this year’s Celebration Days Parade Grand Marshal, Cooke tells you how to go about it.

The nomination forms are available from the SCDC, and can also be downloaded by clicking here.  Nomination forms need to be returned to the SCDC by May 27th.

Iowa House Votes To Cut AEA Budgets By $5-Million

NW AEANorthwest Iowa — Area Education Agencies in northwest Iowa, and across the state, would be affected by a plan currently in the Iowa House.  Republicans in the House have voted to make a five-MILLION dollar reduction in state support of Iowa’s AEAs.

Representative Ken Rizer, a Republican from Cedar Rapids, explained the plan during House debate.

The Area Education Agencies help educate students with disabilities who require “special education” classes.

That’s Representative Chris Hall, a Democrat from Sioux City who opposes the G-O-P budget plan. School districts forward local property taxes to the Area Education Agencies based on a “per pupil” formula and the state provides additional taxpayer support. Representative Patti Ruff, a Democrat from McGregor, suggests there will be staff layoffs soon as well as temporary closures at the Area Education Agencies this fall, due to the timing of when A-E-As get property tax payments.

In addition to “special education” services, A-E-As provide technology assistance, like paying the licensing fees on computer software that is used by all schools in the area. A-E-As also offer professional development for teachers. Rizer says the state has “sometimes” provided more and “sometimes” provided less to the A-E-As.

Rizer says legislators have limited resources and most of the “new” tax revenue coming into the state will be spent on the state’s K-through-12 schools.

Area Company Helps Environment By Making Eco-Friendly Fuel

poet logoAshton, Iowa — Earth Day is an annual day set aside to motivate people to take action regarding environmental issues.  Earth Day observations began in 1970, and have grown since then.  This year’s Earth Day is scheduled for this Friday, April 22nd.

One local business creates a product that cleans the environment every single day.  Danny Clayton is the Manager of POET Biorefining’s Ashton facility, and he tells us that the product POET produces is tremendously environmentally friendly.

Clayton says one of the easiest ways you can help protect the environment is by selecting the right nozzle at the gas pump.

He says the Ashton plant produces large amounts of a fuel that is the very definition of environmentally friendly.

Clayton says ethanol not only reduces greenhouse gas emissions, but has other advantages, as well.

He says POET employees are very proud of what they do to support the environment, as well as area farmers.

Clayton says that using ethanol blended fuel can cut greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 34%, and replaces toxic chemicals that have been proven to cause smog.  He says the POET plant at Ashton, along with the other plants producing ethanol, are providing a positive impact for the environment, as well as drivers around the world.

Johnson Disappointed Water Quality Funding Measure Defeated

David Johnson 2015Northwest Iowa — A plan to cut Iowa income taxes AND raise the state sales tax to finance water quality projects has failed to clear a procedural hurdle in the state senate. Senator David Johnson, a Republican from Ocheyedan, unsuccessfully tried to attach the proposal to a budget bill.

Senator Brad Zaun, a Republican from Urbandale, says given the current political environment, it shouldn’t happen.

Senator Dick Dearden, a Democrat from Des Moines, wants to increase the state sales tax by three-eighths of a percent, to raise money for projects that improve water and soil quality.

In January, Republican Governor Terry Branstad proposed diverting some sales tax money levied for school infrastructure projects to water quality initiatives. House Republicans devised their own plan, using water usage fees and gambling taxes for water quality projects.

Kurtz Has Planting Season Traffic Information

ISP patrol car zoom on logosNorthwest Iowa — With planting season upon us, Iowa State Patrol Trooper Vince Kurtz shared some information about implements on the roadway when he visited the KIWA Morning Show recently.

Trooper Kurtz says that, while farm implements need not be registered, there is some safety equipment that is required to operate these implements on the roadway.

In addition to registration not being required to operate implements on the road, he says a valid drivers license isn’t necessary, either.

The Trooper did urge people to use common sense in letting their children drive their farm implements.

Kurtz says that, in our immediate area, you may encounter an implement on any road.  He says the only roads where implements are not allowed are what he calls, “controlled access roads”.

Kurtz says the most important thing for motorists to remember is to slow down, allow yourself plenty of reaction time if you encounter one of these large implements, maintain your patience, and drive with care.