Iowa #2 In Payments For Wind Turbines

wind turbines_sxcO’Brien County, Iowa — O’Brien County has the largest number of wind turbines of any county in the state of Iowa, and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has released information showing Iowa ranks second in the nation for the amount of money paid to landowners for the placement of wind turbines.

AWEA’s Manager of Industry Data and Analysis , John Hensley, helped work up the numbers.

Iowa is one of six states with more than 10 million dollars in payment, with Texas ranked number one, followed by Iowa, California, Oklahoma, Illinois, and Kansas. AWEA figures show Iowa produced 31 percent of its electricity from wind last year. Hensley says the payments are kept confidential, but they have a good estimate of how much is being paid.

He says the revenue is important as about 70 percent of rural wind farms in the U-S are located in low-income counties.

Hensley says the payments are vital to many land owners.

AWEA will release more information on the impact of wind farms in its upcoming annual report — including job numbers, state-by-state comparisons, and the overall picture of the wind industry.

State Prepares For Potential Return Of Bird Flu

chickensNorthwest Iowa — With spring’s arrival, poultry producers in northwest Iowa, and across the state, are on alert for a possible return of avian influenza, which decimated flocks last year. State officials are taking steps to more efficiently euthanize birds if the disease strikes again.

Joyce Flinn, head of the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, says the necessary equipment is being stored in safe places around the state.

State Emergency Management helped coordinate the response last year, which included hauling water to affected areas to mix with foam to kill birds, and coordinating haz-mat teams for cleanup. If there’s another outbreak, Flinn says they’re ready.

Spring migration could re-create last year’s conditions that lead to a widespread outbreak. Some 34-million birds on 77 Iowa farms had to be destroyed after contracting the virus.

Sheldon Firefighters Battle Trailer Home Blaze

UPDATE:  Sheldon, Iowa — A Sheldon trailer house is no longer in livable condition after a fire on Tuesday, March 22nd.
329 N 6th Ave Fire 2
According to Sheldon Fire Company Chief Jerry Meyer, firefighters were called about 9:20 AM to a trailer house fire at 329 North Sixth Avenue.

When they got there, smoke and flames were seen coming from windows and out of the garage, he says.

Using about 1200 gallons of water with firefighting foam, firefighters had the fire knocked down in about 10 minutes, says Meyer, and then they continued to overhaul the trailer for a few hours to ensure the fire was out.

He says the inside of the trailer home was extensively damaged and is unlivable.

The cause of the fire was an unattended scented candle on the kitchen counter, which ignited combustible materials.  The chief says the occupant had stepped out to run some errands and returned home to see his home on fire. A neighbor had called in the fire.

Meyer says no injuries were reported.

No damage estimate is available.

The Sheldon Fire Company was assisted by the Sheldon Police Department and Sheldon Community Ambulance Team.


Original story:

Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon Fire Company was called to battle a blaze at a trailer home in Sheldon this (Tuesday) morning.

The fire call came in about 9:20 Tuesday morning to a trailer fire at 329 North 6th Avenue.  No other details are available at this time.

Tornado Drill Postponed Until Thursday

Sheldon, Iowa — This is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa. Today’s theme is tornadoes. Normally on the Wednesday of Severe Weather Awareness Week, a statewide tornado drill is scheduled.

However, due to impending weather, and especially the threat of actual severe weather in southeast Iowa, the tornado drill has been postponed a day, and will be tomorrow instead. You can expect outdoor warning sirens to sound in several communities in the 10 AM hour tomorrow.

National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Todd Heitkamp from the Sioux Falls office says that for better or worse, tornadoes seem to be the most “popular” severe weather topic.

The weather service says a tornado is a rapidly rotating column of air in contact with the ground. A visible cloud is not needed for a tornado to be in progress. Some tornadoes may not appear to extend to the ground but are causing considerable damage. Tornadoes take on various shapes and sizes, and most produce winds less than 120 mph. However, a few are capable of producing winds over 200 mph. Some tornadoes are very small and last for only a minute or so, while others can be a mile wide or larger and stay on the ground for over an hour.

In addition to the tornado watch which means conditions are right, stay alert — and the tornado warning which means take cover now — the weather service is now issuing a product called a “Tornado Emergency” It is not a new warning, but is used to highlight a confirmed tornado which is expected to be strong and violent.  A Tornado Emergency means that significant, widespread damage with a high likelihood of numerous fatalities is expected to continue.

Weather Service experts advise that when you are taking cover from a tornado, to remember the acronym “DUCK”: D for “Down to the lowest level like a basement or interior room on the first floor; U for Get Under something sturdy; C for Cover your head; and K for Keep in your shelter until the storm has passed. However, emergency management experts also remind us that an “all clear” siren is not normally sounded anymore.

For more information, click here for the National Weather Service’s Tornado Safety Brochure.

Senator Grassley To Visit Area

Washington, DC -– Senator Chuck Grassley will hold three town meetings in Northwest Iowa on March 28 and 29 as part of his annual 99-county meetings.
With these meetings, Grassley will continue his 36th year holding meetings in every one of Iowa’s 99 counties. Grassley has held a meeting in every county, every year since he was first elected to serve in the U.S. Senate.

March 28 and 29 Grassley will be in Ocheyedan, Rock Rapids and Orange City.

Grassley says, QUOTE: “Representative government is a two-way street. I’m one half of the process and the people of Iowa are the other half. You can’t have representative government without dialogue between elected officials and the people we represent,” Grassley said.

He says he appreciates the opportunity to hold town meetings, answer questions and take comments.

These town meetings are open to the public.

Grassley’s town meeting schedule for March 28 and March 29 is as follows:

Monday, March 28
Osceola County
2:15-3:15 p.m.
Ocheyedan Senior Center
845 Main St.

Lyon County
4:15-5:15 p.m.
Rock Rapids Public Library
102 South Greene St.
Rock Rapids

Tuesday, March 29
Sioux County
8:45-9:45 a.m.
Northwestern College
Vogel Community Room
DeWitt Learning Commons
101 7th St. Southwest
Orange City

Lyon Joins AlertIowa To Alert Residents

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Three of the four northwestern-most counties in Iowa are now live with the new statewide system that sends out emergency alerts, called “AlertIowa.”
lyon emergency management ema
Alert Iowa is a statewide mass notification and emergency messaging system. The system can be used by state and local authorities to quickly disseminate emergency information to residents in counties that utilize the system. The system is available, free of charge, to all counties. All but 11 of Iowa’s 99 counties have now signed up to use the Alert Iowa system.

Lyon County has now gone live with the service, according to Lyon County Emergency Management Agency Director Arden Kopischke.

He says it’s not just for cell phones.

AlertIowa officials say that messages may contain photo, video and audio attachments to help subscribers better understand the situation at hand, or where to find additional information.

Kopischke says if you have a new-enough phone, it will alert you to high-level alerts like tornado warnings even if you never signed up. That’s called the Wireless Emergency Alert.

He says most of the alerts come through the National Weather Service, but the county does have the option to alert people locally as well. In fact, they don’t have to notify the whole county. He says they can localize it just to a small area too.

He says he encourages everyone to sign up for it at He says that not only is it free to subscribe, it is also free to the county. He says the state government picks up the bill.

Osceola and O’Brien Counties are also part of the system, and you can sign up for their alerts too at

Sioux County uses an older system called “Nixle” and it is free to the user as well. You can sign up for that at