Iowa K-12 Public Schools Get 2.25% Funding Increase For 2016-17

schoolDes Moines, Iowa — A deal has been struck at the statehouse to boost general state aid for public schools by two-and-a-quarter percent. That is 0.20% less than Governor Terry Branstad had initially recommended. Sheldon School Superintendent Robin Spears says that 0.20% comes out to about $14,000 for the Sheldon Community School District.

Senator Tod Bowman, a Democrat from Maquoketa, says getting an agreement between Republicans and Democrats was difficult.

Representative Ron Jorgensen, a Republican from Sioux City who is a former school board member, says it’s all the state can afford.

Senator Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames, is a reluctant supporter of the compromise.

Representative Cindy Winckler, a Democrat from Davenport who is a former teacher, says she understands this deal is the final product of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans, but she doesn’t support it.

The compromise now has cleared its first step and will next be voted upon by the full House and Senate. Education groups are “relieved” to finally know the number, because school district budgets for next year must be completed by April 15th. Tom Narak is with the School Administrators of Iowa.

That’s because the two-and-a-quarter percent increase is in per pupil spending, so the 112 Iowa school districts with declining enrollment won’t get more money from the state.  One senator is predicting more districts will be forced to merge because of the financial pressure.

NOAA: Be Prepared; Tornado Drill Today

Sheldon, Iowa — This is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa. Each day this week, the National Weather Service is focusing on a different severe weather topic.

Today’s topic is family preparedness.

Disasters of all kinds disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives every year. FEMA and the National Weather Service say that each disaster has lasting effects, both to people and property. If a disaster occurs in your community, local government and disaster-relief organizations will try to help you, but you need to be ready as well. Local responders may not be able to reach you immediately, or they may need to focus their efforts elsewhere. Being prepared for a disaster can reduce fear, anxiety, and losses that accompany disasters.

According to FEMA, There are five key elements to a disaster plan:

  1. Learn about possible dangers in your area and become familiar with your community’s disaster response plan. Common disasters in Iowa include flooding, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.
  2. Talk to your family about what to do in the event of an emergency. Pick two locations where you will meet: one close to your home and another removed from your neighborhood to be used if you are unable to return to your residence.
  3. Develop a crisis communications plan to insure that your family will be able to stay in contact if you are separated during a disaster.
  4. Create emergency preparedness kits for your home, office and car.
  5. Practice your plan.

Todd Heitkamp with the National Weather Service says it’s important to communicate your severe weather and disaster plans with your family.

For more information about what to keep in a disaster kit and a first aid kit, developing your family evacuation plan, preparing your home and just generally being prepared for disasters, click here for the National Weather Service’s Family Preparedness Pamphlet.

Speaking of being prepared, this is also the day for the statewide tornado drill. Sirens were to have sounded yesterday, but due to the potential for actual severe weather in the state, it was postponed to today.

While these times are not strictly followed — the test tornado watch is scheduled to be issued at 10 AM. The test tornado warning is scheduled for 10:15, and it’s scheduled to end by 10:30 AM. Outdoor warning sirens, weather radios, cell phones, fire pagers, and the like will sound in many communities. The label of the warning will actually say “tornado warning”, but the body of the warning will indicate that it’s a test for drill purposes.


Missionary To Romania Connects With Home Church Via KIWA Website

Mandi RodgerBucharest, Romania — A Sheldon woman who is serving as a missionary in Romania has found a way to remain connected with the services at her home church in Sheldon, Iowa.

Mandi Rodger says she listens to the online stream of the Sunday morning service from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Sheldon via the KIWA website.

She says it’s the little things she hears in those services that serve as something of a lifeline to home.

Mandi says the focus of her mission work is on Romania’s abandoned children.

We asked her how she came to choose Romania for her mission work.

Mandi is living and working in Bucharest, the capital city of Romania, and says that, at least for now, a lot of her time is spent learning the language.

Mandi is a graduate of Sheldon High School, and is the daughter of Doug and Juanita Rodger of Sheldon.  We talked with Mandi, online, via Skype Wednesday afternoon.

Schuknecht To Seek Sheriff’s Position

Schuknecht-1O’Brien County, Iowa — Another longtime area lawman has thrown his hat into the ring for the Republican nomination for O’Brien County Sheriff.

Current O’Brien County Chief Deputy Allen Schuknecht talked to us about his reasons for seeking the Sheriff’s job.

Schuknecht says he’s been in law enforcement in O’Brien County since he was 19.

We asked Schuknecht what voters should know about him prior to casting their ballot.

Schuknecht will be on the June 7th Republican Primary ballot for Sheriff of O’Brien County.  He’s seeking the office that will be vacated by the retirement of current O’Brien County Sheriff Michael Anderson, who has announced his decision to not seek re-election.

Golden Easter Egg Has Been Found!!

golden winner 2016Sheldon, Iowa — The 2016 SCDC Golden Easter egg hunt came to an end Wednesday when the egg was found.

According to Sheldon Chamber Director Allison Cooke, Brett Ogle of Sheldon found the Golden Easter Egg in it’s hiding place west of Living Water Community Church in Sheldon, in the alley near the railroad tracks.  For his effort, Ogle received $600 in Sheldon Dollars.

Seven Fire Departments Put Out Large Bale Fire

Orange City, Iowa – Seven fire departments helped put out a cornstalk bale fire in which three thousand large square bales were destroyed on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 near Orange City.
Orange City Fire1
According to Orange City Fire Chief Denny Vander Wel, about 2:30 PM, the Orange City Fire Department was called to the report of a grinder on fire at Robert Wassenaar’s dairy farm at 4280 Jackson Avenue, just north of the Orange City city limits on K64.

The chief says that when they got there, the fire department saw a hay and corn stalk grinder on fire and the silage that was being made on fire as well. That fire spread into the large square bales, he says. According to the chief, they used side dumps and manure spreaders to haul the burning bales out into a field, spread them apart, and doused them with water.

Vander Wel reports that a cow was reportedly lost in the fire, but no injuries to people or pets were reported.

Fire departments from Alton, Hospers, Granville, Boyden, Sioux Center, and Le Mars assisted the Orange City Fire Department. The Orange City and Sioux Center ambulance crews, the Sioux Center Ambulance Rehab trailer, and personnel from the Orange City Utilities, Orange City Police Department, and the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office assisted as well.

He says the cause of the fire appeared to be an issue with the grinder, but it’s not known if it was a malfunction or what happened exactly.

Chief Vander Wel reports that all 3000 bales were lost, but the grinder was salvageable.

He says they used 500,000 to 600,000 gallons of water to fight the fire, and crews were on scene over eight hours — until 10:45 PM.