Flags At Half Staff In Respect Of Paris Victims

Washington, DC — Flags around northwest Iowa and across the nation are at half staff today as a mark of respect for the victims of the terrorism attack in Paris, France on Friday.
half staff NCC
President Obama’s statement says, “The American people stand with the people of France. Friday’s terror attacks were not just an attack on Paris; they were an attack on all humanity and the universal values we share, including the bonds of liberte, egalite, and fraternite. These values will endure far beyond any terrorists or their hateful vision. The United States and our allies do not give in to fear, nor will we be divided, nor will anyone change our way of life. We will do whatever it takes, working with nations and peoples around the world, to bring the perpetrators of these attacks to justice, and to go after terrorists who threaten our people.”

The President says that as a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on November 13, 2015, in Paris, France, he ordered that the flag of the United States should be flown at half-staff until sunset on Thursday, November 19, 2015. The proclamation is for government buildings, ships and so forth, but others are asked to fly the flag at half-staff as a sign of respect.

ACA & Medicare Open Enrollment Periods Underway

medical health caduceus_sxcSheldon, Iowa — This is the time of year when a person’s thoughts turn to health insurance.  Open enrollment periods for health insurance, as well as Medicare Part D are now underway.

Joel Gesink of the Gesink & VanderWilt Agency in Sheldon tells us about the Open Enrollment Period under the Affordable Care Act.

He says that, in addition to being able to make changes to your current healthcare plan, the Open Enrollment Period is also the time when people who don’t already have health insurance can get signed up.

Gesink says that, if you need your new coverage to go into effect January 1st, you’ll need to enroll by December 15th.

In addition to Open Enrollment under the ACA, Gesink says we’re currently in an Open Enrollment window for those on Medicare to make changes to their Part D prescription drug coverage.

Remember, Open Enrollment for those under 65 runs until January 31st, while Open Enrollment for those insured under Medicare only runs through December 7th.  If you have questions, Gesink advises you to contact your health insurance agent.

King Endorses A Presidential Candidate

steve king forster centerNorthwest Iowa — Iowa 4th District United States Congressman Steve King has placed his endorsement on a Republican presidential candidate.

King has endorsed Texas Senator Ted Cruz, saying Cruz can restore the soul of America.

King praises “outsider” candidates Ben Carson and Donald Trump, but King says neither as familiar with the “organism” of Washington, D.C. as Cruz is.

Cruz is a lawyer from Texas who gained national attention soon after he was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012. In 2013, Cruz led a group of conservatives seeking a showdown with President Obama over the Affordable Care Act, prompting a brief government shutdown.

King says Cruz can get the crucial support of Christian conservatives, but King admits Cruz has to work on mending relationships with the G-O-P’s establishment in order to unite the party and be its nominee.

King has been traveling overseas and made his decision to back Cruz on Friday. King is one of the staunchest critics of what he calls “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants. King says his public endorsement is timed, in part, to respond to recent questions of Cruz’s stand on the issue.

King says during debate of comprehensive immigration reform a few years ago, Cruz offered “strategic” amendments designed to “pry out” the real motives of bill backers, but King says he’s confident Cruz is on the same page with him when it comes to “amnesty.” King also says as the dean of the Iowa congressional delegation, he didn’t want to “squander” his opportunity to influence the presidential race and that’s why he’s endorsing now. King held a news conference this morning to make his announcement.  He made a similar move in late 2007, publicly throwing his support behind Fred Thompson in the lead up to the 2008 Iowa Caucuses. Congressman King did NOT endorse a G-O-P candidate in 2012.

Families, Organizations Share Christmas With Needy

Primghar, Iowa — It’s the holiday season. Many people are making Christmas plans this time of year, but for some people they just hope to be able to survive as a family from day-to-day.
Upper Des Moines Opportunity sponsors and runs a program every year in Osceola County called “Sharing Christmas”. We talked to UDMO’s Amber Jederberg. She says it’s a program that lets community members and groups or organizations provide holiday gifts for low-income families.

You can find the list at osceolacountydailynews.com. Jederberg says they will continue to update the list with new families and will indicate on the list when a certain family number has been adopted.

She says that they hope to have all the gifts taken care of by the middle of December.

She says the turnout last year was great and they’re hoping this year turns out the same.

Again, the list of families can be found here. Pick your family and then call Upper Des Moines to adopt them. If your family or one you know of is needy and would like to apply to be “adopted,” contact Upper Des Moines in Sibley at (712) 754-2573.

A similar program called “Adopt-A-Family” is run through the O’Brien County Upper Des Moines Office. Contact their office in Primghar for further information.

Three Sheldon School Board Members, Supt To Attend IASB Convention

IASB LogoDes Moines, Iowa — Three Sheldon School Board members, along with Superintendent Robin Spears, will be among about 12-hundred school board members and superintendents from across Iowa who will be attending the Iowa Association of School Boards state convention later this week.  In addition to Superintendent Robin Spears, Board Members Kecia Hickman and Mark Brown will be attending the entire convention, with Susan Rensink joining them for Wednesday’s early-bird session.

Luann Gvist is organizing the 70th annual meeting at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. Gvist says the three-day conference will feature several great keynote speakers.

Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds will be speaking at the convention on Thursday about the state of education in Iowa. A workshop on school finances will be very helpful, Gvist says, especially since the elections were just held a few weeks ago.

The convention runs Wednesday through Friday, November 18th through 20th. Learn more at the Iowa Association of School Boards website: www.ia-sb.org

Expect Higher Turkey Prices This Thanksgiving

turkey thanksgivingNorthwest Iowa — Thanksgiving is ten days away and northwest Iowans will likely be paying a little more for the centerpiece of the feast, according to poultry science expert Ron Kean

Prices will be even higher, he says, for fresh turkeys or organic turkeys.

The bird flu wiped out about 10% of nation’s turkey production this spring. Iowa had more than 70 outbreaks of bird flu in 18 counties, including here in northwest Iowa, which led to some 32-million turkeys and chickens being euthanized. There is concern migrating wild birds — ducks and geese — will bring another round of avian flu as they make their way south this fall but, so far, so good.