12-Year-Old Charged After Bomb Threat

Hawarden, Iowa — A 12 year-old West Sioux student has been charged with First Degree Harassment after a bomb threat was made at the West Sioux School in Hawarden on Thursday, April 7th.
The Hawarden Police Department reports that the threat was found on a restroom stall at the High School/Middle School building and made reference to an alleged bomb going off at 2:45 PM Thursday.

As a precaution, Hawarden Police officers report that all of the students were evacuated from the school to nearby facilities. After the school was evacuated and precautions were made to insure everybody was out, the school was locked down. Students were not allowed to go back inside the school and the school was dismissed at normal time from the nearby facilities. All school related functions were cancelled for the day.

The Hawarden Police Department continues to investigate.

On Friday, April 8, 2016 Hawarden Police Department charged a 12 year-old West Sioux Student in connection with the threat. The student was charged with Harassment in the 1st degree and released to his parents.

The police say the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office assisted them with the incident.

Council Accepts Ambulance Director Resignation

SCAT 1 Sheldon Ambulance backSheldon, Iowa — At their regular meeting Wednesday, the Sheldon City Council accepted the resignation of Sheldon Community Ambulance Team Director, Cindy Freeman and announced the procedure for selecting a new SCAT Director.  The Council decided that SCAT Members will select the officers for the team, with the Director and Assistant Director positions to be approved by the City Council. Those recommendations will likely come before the Council at their next meeting.

The Council also reminds residents of the annual clean-up days coming soon. Pickup west of Washington Avenue begins May 16th. Pickup east of Washington Avenue begins May 23rd. To participate, residents must pay a fee of fifteen dollars at the City Office. The City says complete details and rules of the pickup were sent out with the water bills, and are also available at the City Office.

In other business Wednesday, the Council approved the plans and specifications for construction of a Hangar at the Sheldon Regional Airport and voted to award the construction contract to Schaus-Vorhies Contracting of Fairfield, at a cost of nearly $423-thousand.  This hangar will replace the one destroyed by wind this past June.  The Council says the awarding of this contract is contingent on approval by the  insurance company who covered the loss of the hangar.  The Council was told that it appears the insurance company will approve, but the City is awaiting final approval.

Gas Tax Hike To Be Used To Fix County Roads

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A year after the statewide 10-cent per gallon increase in the state gas tax went into effect, the extra money you pay at the pumps has helped a large number of road projects, including both repair and construction.
construction road work pylon
The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) says they have also noticed no change in Iowans’ driving habits. They say that’s probably due to the lower gas prices that seem to have accompanied the gas tax hike.

According to Lyon County Secondary Road Engineer Laura Sievers, Iowa legislators have asked County Engineers to let the taxpayers know where the 10-cent gas increase has gone.

She says in Lyon County, the road department will be spending the 10-cent gas increase funds for 2016 on 1.65 miles of A-22 south of Rock Rapids. Locals call the road the two-mile bridge road, south of Rock Rapids. Sievers says this road is in desperate need of a reconstruction project and so it follows the general assembly’s exclusive use for critical road construction.

She says that the fiscal year 2016 State Road Funding increase due to the 10-cent gas increase was predicted to be $586,130 for Lyon County Secondary Roads. She says the project south of Rock Rapids was contracted at $568,254.04 with Flynn Company, Inc of Dubuque, Iowa. Flynn bid this project along with another 1.0 mile section of A-22 and 8.08 miles of L-26 south of Little Rock for a total contract of just under $3.6 million.

The road sections will be milled and then overlayed with at least five inches of Portland cement-based concrete.

The Rock Rapids area road is closed, and a detour has been posted for the Little Rock area road. They hope to have the projects finished by June.

The DOT says the tax hike has enabled the state and local governments to add new road repair and construction projects, and move others up in line. Of the roughly $213 million in new gas tax revenue generated in Iowa, they report that $101 million will go to state projects, $70 million to county projects and $42 million to city projects.

High School Shooting Club Is Busting Birds

Pump ShotgunSheldon, Iowa — There’s a new sports team in Sheldon for high school age students.  The Orab Bird Busters is a trap shooting team that involves teens in the shooting sports.

Dean Van Marel is one of the team’s coaches, and he says that, while the team is named the Orab Bird Busters, it is in no way affiliated with the Sheldon Community Schools.

We asked Van Marel how the group came to be.

He says the Orab Bird Busters are affiliated with a nationwide skeet shooting organization.

Van Marel says the group has four certified coaches to help the kids improve their skills, and to make sure that they stay safe.

He says the group started with 17 kids, and has now grown to 21, which has caused them to outgrow the shooting facility they had been using, which was the O’Brien County Sportsmen’s Club Range, located northeast of Sheldon.  As a result, the group had been scheduled to ask the Sheldon City Council, at Wednesday’s meeting, for use of the City’s Tree Dump on north Washington Avenue as a practice facility.  However, that item was removed from the Council’s agenda when Den Hartog Firearms stepped forward and offered the use of their facility near Ritter as a practice range for the Orab Bird Busters, according to Van Marel.

Van Marel says the organizers of the team are excited about the opportunity it provides for kids to enjoy themselves and learn about the shooting sports.

Not Much Field Work In Iowa Yet

Statewide Iowa — The first weekly Iowa Crops and Weather report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service for the 2016 growing season has been released. During the off season, crop reports drop back to being issued monthly, but starting in the first week of April, they are issued weekly.
soybean stubble
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says that some farmers have been able to get a start on spring field work, but it is quite limited due to the wet conditions. He says the state is probably still a week or two away from widespread planting and he says we will need some warm, dry weather before farmers are able to get started statewide. He says, “It is an exciting time on the farm as farmers are looking forward to the new growing season.”

 The report summary follows here:


Cool temperatures and rain hampered field work during the week ending April 3, 2016, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Statewide there were 2.3 days suitable for fieldwork. However the northern one-third of Iowa, as well as the southeast corner, had less than 2.0 days suitable for fieldwork. Producers continued to apply dry fertilizer, manure, and anhydrous when able.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 81 percent adequate and 18 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 0 percent very short, 1 percent short, 86 percent adequate and 13 percent surplus. Northwest Iowa reported the highest surplus subsoil moisture level at 26 percent, with standing water in some low areas.

Thirteen percent of oats have been planted, equal to last year’s progress, but 3 days behind the 5-year average.

Pasture condition rated 1 percent very poor, 6 percent poor, 38 percent fair, 49 percent good and 6 percent excellent. Pastures were starting to green but reporters haven’t seen much growth yet. Livestock conditions were described as normal for the week. Calving and lambing activities were on-going.


By Harry Hillaker, State Climatologist, Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship

Iowa experienced a fairly typical early spring week with widely fluctuating temperatures, frequent windy conditions and occasional showers and thunderstorms. The reporting week began with temperatures in the twenties and low thirties on Monday (28th) morning with lowest readings down to 20 degrees at Audubon, Chariton and Grinnell. Tuesday (29th) was warmer with showers and thunderstorms moving into northwest Iowa during the afternoon. Rain and cloud cover kept northern Iowa cool and damp on Wednesday (30th) while temperatures climbed into the seventies over the south where thunderstorm activity was more scattered. Some large hail was reported from a few areas of west central and central Iowa on Wednesday evening as colder air moved into the area. Thursday (31st) was seasonably cool with light to moderate rain statewide. Mostly cloudy skies, with some light rain, kept highs only in the forties over most Iowa on Friday (1st).Saturday (2nd) was sunny, cold and very windy. High temperatures Saturday were only in the upper thirties over northern areas while winds gusted to over 50 mph across the state with a top wind gust of 60 mph recorded at the Ottumwa Airport.Sunday (3rd) began cold with temperatures as low as 21 degrees at Britt. However, strong southerly winds gusting over 40 mph brought much warmer air into the state during the day on Sunday with temperatures soaring forty to fifty degrees above the morning lows by the afternoon. Little Sioux reported the state’s highest temperature at 85 degrees with all of Iowa reaching at least the mid-seventies. Much colder air began filtering into the state later Sunday with a few isolated thunderstorms during the evening with a wind gust to 70 mph at the Iowa City Airport. Temperatures for the week as a whole averaged 3.3 degrees above normal (slightly cooler in the east and warmer in the west). Weekly precipitation totals varied from only 0.02 inches near New Market in Taylor County to 1.66 inches near Badger in Webster County. The statewide average precipitation was 0.68 inches, or just slightly greater than the weekly normal of 0.62 inches. Soil temperatures at the four inch depth were averaging in the low forties northeast to upper forties southwest as of Sunday (3rd).

The weekly report is also available on the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at www.IowaAgriculture.gov or on USDA’s site at www.nass.usda.gov/ia.

SCORE To Hold Website & Social Media Workshop

score_logoSheldon, Iowa — Western Iowa SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives, and Northwest Iowa Community College are joining to offer a free workshop to benefit those who want to learn about the use of social media and a website in their business.

Guest speaker for the event will be Stacey Jorgensen, who will share her insight on the importance of websites and social media for business.  Jorgensen is a recognized expert in marketing, having been a marketing leader for a variety of organizations, including Harker’s Distributing, Dawn Foods, Farley’s & Sathers, and Village Northwest Unlimited.  She is currently working as an Account Executive for an advertising agency.

Jorgensen has been on a variety of committees and boards, and continues to work with other marketing experts to hone her skills in marketing.  She has been Board President for both Rise Ministries and the Ladies Board President for Sioux Golf & Country Club.

The workshop is scheduled for Thursday, April 21st at Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon.  If you plan on attending, please call Leesa Stofferan at NCC, at 712-324-5061, extension 195 to reserve a seat.