Poverty Simulation Being Presented At Sheldon High

Sheldon, Iowa — An organization in Sheldon is helping people to understand what poverty is like.
Walk A While
Love In the Name of Christ is facilitating a poverty simulation called “Walk a While in These Shoes.” Love INC’s Kristi Robinson says they’ve done the simulation for their volunteers and are now doing it for Sheldon High School seniors. She tells us what it’s all about.

She says one of the main points of the simulation is that there are different types of poverty. She says we normally think of financial poverty, in which people don’t have enough money to pay for basic needs. She says while that’s a big part of it, it’s not the whole picture.

In addition, she says they will also simulate “relational poverty.”

Robinson says initially the simulation was only for their volunteers, but they had such a good response that they’re opening it up to other groups, organizations, businesses and churches. She says this week, they are presenting the simulation at Sheldon High School.

Robinson says they will be presenting the simulation quarterly in the area, but if your organization would be interested, they would like to hear from you. You can call them at 712-324-9707. The simulation has been scheduled for August 1st in Sheldon and November 7th in Primghar.

IDP Fails To Put Up Bond; Council Weighing Options

Sibley, Iowa — The deadline for Iowa Drying and Processing to deposit money in an escrow account has passed — and no money has been deposited, according to Sibley City Attorney Harold Dawson.
Iowa Drying and Processing IDP
After holding a public hearing about the odor coming from the Iowa Drying and Processing (or IDP) plant, the City of Sibley ordered IDP, and their parent company, ChemSol to deposit $50,000 into an escrow account held by the City of Sibley, which was to be used to hire and pay an engineer of the City’s choosing, to study IDP’s operations and make recommendations, and be reasonably used to abate any future nuisances.  The measure required IDP and ChemSol to deposit the required funds on or before Monday, April, 11, 2016.

Dawson says that date has come and gone, but no money was deposited into the escrow account. He says at this time the Sibley City Council is weighing their options.

When we asked Dawson if the council would consider forcing IDP to move out of town, he said that in the City’s Notice of Abatement and Nuisance, stated that their objective was to abate the nuisance, not force the plant out of town. He says the decision says that they want to find a mechanism to make sure that any future nuisances are abated.

Dawson says no one from IDP has given the City an official reason why they did not post the $50,000. Dawson says he would expect that a special meeting of the Sibley City Council will be called to discuss the issue, but it is up to the council.

Four Fire Departments Fight Machine Shed Fire

Ireton, Iowa — A machine shed, bales, and equipment were all destroyed in an overnight fire on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 near Ireton.
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According to Ireton Fire Chief Richard Steckelberg, about 3:10 AM, the Ireton Fire Department was called to the report of structure fire at 4292 Dogwood Avenue, about two miles west and three miles north of the Ireton corner. He says the place is owned by Jeff Vonk, but no one was living there.

The chief says the fire department saw the machine shed was fully engulfed as they approached the scene. He says they tore the building apart and doused the fire with water to put it out.

The fire department was assisted by the Hawarden, Sioux Center, and Maurice Fire Departments.

No injuries were reported.

He says the cause of the fire is undetermined.

Chief Steckelberg reports that the building and all its contents including bales, a combine, a disk, and other equipment were all destroyed in the fire.

He says crews were on scene until about 6:30 AM.

Iowa Senate Considers Water Quality Options

Des Moines, Iowa — It appears there may be an attempt in the Iowa Senate to try to raise the state sales tax by a fraction, to provide a “steady stream” of money for water quality initiatives.
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Democratic Senator Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City says Iowa faces an “economic disaster” if the state’s “original infrastructure” of soil and water isn’t protected.

Senator David Johnson, a Republican from Ocheyedan, agrees. Johnson sees an opportunity to raise the state sales tax by three-eights of a percent — IF that is coupled with some sort of income tax cut to answer those opposed to raising taxes.

Johnson says he wants to follow through after Iowa voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2010 that set up a state water quality fund, to be filled when the state’s sales tax gets hiked. Johnson says that despite the constitutional amendment, the legislature has not done what Iowans said they wanted them to do.

Johnson says even though the amendment was approved, the legislature still needed to approve the tax increase and fund the trust — something they haven’t done. He says other plans such as the use of gambling funds or diversion of school infrastructure tax revenues are not sustainable or constitutionally-protected.

Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix of Shell Rock says few, if any, other Senate Republicans are joining Johnson’s stand.

On Monday night, Republicans in the HOUSE voted for a plan that takes existing taxes on water usage and the state’s casinos and diverts some of that money to water quality projects in cities and on farms. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says every approach under consideration “will create some political problems and solve others.”

The other complication is lawmakers hope to conclude the 2016 legislative session next week. Extended debate over water quality could derail that plan.

Names Released: Three Transported To Hospitals

Alton, Iowa — Names of the victims have been released after a Monday accident near Alton. A Schuyler, Nebraska man and two passengers in the car he was driving were taken to area hospitals, one of them by helicopter.
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The Iowa State Patrol reports that about 7:05 PM on Monday, April 11, 2016, 31-year-old Abdihakim Mohamed of Schuyler, Nebraska was driving a 2006 Mitsubishi southbound on Highway 60, just south of Alton.

The report says that Mohamed told the officer that he was looking at his GPS app on his cell phone and was distracted. The report says the car entered the median, crossed the north bound lane of Highway 60, and entered the east ditch. It then struck the ditch embankment and went airborne. The car continued east, drove thru a fence, and across the Union Pacific railroad tracks. It came to a stop on the east side of the railroad tracks, says the report.

The Mercy Air Care helicopter took a passenger, 25-year-old Abdikasim Moge Ali of Portland, Oregon to Mercy Hospital in Sioux City.

The Orange City Ambulance took Mohamed and a second passenger, 24-year-old Amina Jibril to the Orange City Health System hospital.

Mohamed’s Mitsubishi sustained $6000 in damages, which was enough to total the vehicle, according to the report.

Mohamed was charged with failure to maintain control.

School Officials Concerned About House Bill

Sioux Center, Iowa — School officials in Sioux Center are a little concerned about the extra attention they are receiving.
Iowa Capitol Dome
Sioux Center School Board President Tim Gesink says that Jake Highfill, a State Representative from District 39 in Polk County, has sponsored House Bill #2284, which would ultimately create a “voucher” system for education. The bill calls them “education savings grants.” The Sioux Center Community School District, and the Waterloo School District, are named in the bill to be “pilot” districts. The bill calls for up to 70 vouchers to be issued to qualifying students in the Sioux Center district. But Highfill says that at least during the proposed pilot program, the school would not lose any funding as the state would “double pay” for these students. That is to say that along with the voucher money going to the private school, the public school would still receive the student’s per-pupil funding.

Local legislators, Representative John Kooiker and Senator Randy Feenstra say there is little chance the bill will pass; however it did pass out of a subcommittee and will move on to the full committee.

Sioux Center School Board President Gesink says the public school district board is concerned about having fewer students if the bill passes, and that private schools don’t want to be legislated by the state to follow the same rules and regulations as public schools. He says if they take public funds, in all fairness, they may be required to follow the same rules as public schools.

But while these things are true, he and Sioux Center Christian School Board President Jeff Nibbelink issued a statement saying that they value the strong partnership that exists between the two schools. They say their priority is to continue to strengthen that partnership, one that they feel is second to none in the State of Iowa and across the country.

Sioux Center school board members say they are concerned that this issue could drive a wedge between the public and Christian schools and could undo decades of hard work and cooperation. But they say they’re not going to let that happen.

The joint statement says the public and Christian schools will continue to work together for the benefit of all children in Sioux Center. It says they believe their community’s families and students are best served when there is a variety of high quality educational options. It says they will each continue to advocate for issues that pertain to the specific schools, and do so in a spirit of respect for each other.

The statement also says that the two schools need each other and encourage each other to meet the high standards that are expected in the community. They say they encourage all residents of the Sioux Center community to first educate themselves regarding this issue and others that may arise and then advocate for their position in a respectful manner.

Click here to view the full text of the Iowa House bill.