Sioux Center Police Give A.L.I.C.E. Training

Sioux Center, Iowa — It’s a sign of the times. In the wake of the Columbine school shootings in 1999 and events such as what recently happened in Paris, school districts are installing secure entrances and training their staff what to do if an armed intruder did happen to get in their school.
Sioux Center PD Charger Door Logo Only -- brighter
Staff at Sioux Center Christian School recently received an overview of the A.L.I.C.E. program of handling active shooter situations. Sioux Center Police Officer and A.L.I.C.E. trainer Josh Koedam says A.L.I.C.E. stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. Developers of A.L.I.C.E. describe it as “taking the lessons learned in the aftermath of Columbine”, and empowering those who find themselves involved in an active shooter situation with options that they can use to save their lives, says Koedam.

Koedam says the training at Sioux Center Christian School is only the latest of several sessions they’ve put on for businesses, schools, and other institutions, both in Sioux Center and elsewhere. He gives us some examples of locations where they’ve trained people in the A.L.I.C.E. methods.

Without going into too many details about A.L.I.C.E. that a potential intruder might use against staff members, Koedam gives us a glimpse into what they teach.

Koedam says taking the A.L.I.C.E. training also helps people to feel a sense of preparedness if they should find themselves in an intruder situation rather than feeling “like a sitting duck.”

If your organization is interested in A.L.I.C.E. training, you can call your local law enforcement agency and they will point you in the right direction.

POET Leader Retakes CEO Reins

Sioux Falls, SD — The company that runs the Ashton ethanol plant has a new CEO — but it’s someone that’s quite familiar with the job.
Jeff Broin
Jeff Broin, founder of POET, has resumed his role as the company’s CEO after stepping into the Executive Chairman role for the last three and one-half years.

Broin says that a few years ago, he wanted to slow down a bit, be less involved in the affairs of POET and have time to do other things and spend more time with his family. He says that in the last few years he has been able to work on broader industry and ag issues, get their new foundation – Seeds of Change – up and running and support several third-world causes.

However, Broin says he also found himself continuing to work regularly on company issues. Broin says his passion and love for the company, the industry, agriculture and the people he works with is “just too great.” He says he thinks he can be of most value moving forward by serving as CEO.

Jeff Lautt has been CEO and will continue to manage the day-to-day operations of POET as President and Chief Operating Officer. Broin stressed the success of POET under Lautt’s leadership.

The 28-year-old company has a production capacity in excess of 1.7 billion gallons of ethanol and 9 billion pounds of high-protein animal feed annually from its network of 27 production facilities, including POET Biorefining of Ashton. POET, through its joint venture with DSM, also operates a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa.

More information from POET:

Broin says, “Jeff [Lautt] has done an outstanding job as CEO of POET. He’s been an effective and gracious leader for our team members and investors. In fact, 2014 was a record year at POET, and our cellulosic venture – Project LIBERTY – is advancing toward full operations. I could not have asked for a better person to take on this role, and POET will continue to benefit from his direction as President.”

“No one is more passionate about this company and industry than Jeff Broin. This business is in his blood,” Lautt said. “He built a world leader, and it’s no surprise that he would want to continue that work. I’m honored to have been entrusted as CEO of POET over the last few years, and I look forward to continuing my leadership as President and COO.”

After early small-scale ethanol production on the Broin family farm, POET got its start in 1987 with the purchase of a 1 million gallon-per-year ethanol plant in Scotland, S.D. From there, the company has grown to be one of the largest ethanol producers in the world, with 1.7 billion gallons of production today from 28 plants in seven states.

With a focus on research and market development, POET has pioneered new efficiencies in biofuels production as well as development and improvement of co-products to make ethanol the most competitive, renewable, domestic fuel in the market today. POET, along with the Dutch life sciences company DSM, is working to license cellulosic ethanol technology to further grow the world’s supply of sustainable transportation fuel.

For more information, visit

Vander Plaats Travels To Europe

Bob Vander Plaats 2015Sheldon, Iowa — Sheldon native and The Family Leader President Bob Vander Plaats, along with his wife Darla, recently returned from a trip to Europe where they were among thirty multidenominational leaders invited to visit the Vatican.

Vander Plaats tells us about the trip.

He says that after visiting Rome, he and Darla traveled to England.

Vander Plaats organization, the Family Leader, is hosting a Presidential Family Forum this coming Friday, November 20th in Des Moines.  He tells us about the event.

Vander Plaats is a native of Sheldon, and is a former Principal of Sheldon Community High School.

Sheldon Firefighters Called To Three Alarms On Friday

Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon Fire Company was called to three fire calls on Friday morning, November 13th, 2015. But Sheldon Fire Chief Jerry Meyer says they were all false alarms.
Sheldon Fire New Engine 1
The Fire Company was called out first at 8:01 AM for a fire alarm at St. Patrick’s School. Then, about 9:25 AM, firefighters were called to two different fire calls, one at East Elementary in Sheldon and one at Childrens’ World in Sheldon.

Chief Meyer says all three calls were for fire alarms. He reports that all three calls were malfunctions in the alarm equipment. Meyer says no link has been identified to connect the three alarm malfunctions, and it’s not known what caused the malfunctions.

Food Pantries Need Donations For Holidays

Primghar and Sheldon, Iowa — Soon it will be the holiday season. For those of us with enough, it’s usually a happy time. But some folks could use your help, not only during this season but throughout the year.
food pantry cans canned
Upper Des Moines Opportunity’s Amber Jedderberg says that this time of year, especially, their food pantries could use some donations.

We talked to Allison Cooke, the Sheldon Chamber Coordinator. She says that they’re trying to help out Upper Des Moines.

Cooke reminds us to shop locally throughout the year but especially on Small Business Saturday, which is the Saturday after Thanksgiving every year.

Sibley Hotel Receives Symbolic “First Dollar”

Sibley, Iowa — A new Sibley hotel held an open house and First Dollar Celebration Thursday.

The AmericInn at Sibley opened it’s doors to the public two weeks ago, and held the ceremony Thursday afternoon.

Photo Courtesy of Sibley Chamber of Commerce
Photo Courtesy of Sibley Chamber of Commerce

Hotel investors Harris Kruse and Wade Ellerbroek credited a group of thirty five local investors, along with the three Sibley area banks, for making the project a reality.

Sibley Chamber of Commerce Director Sheryl Peters presented the hotel’s Manager, Marshall Doeden, with the hotel’s symbolic first dollar.  Peters says the new hotel offers visitors to the area a new place to stay that will draw attention to Sibley.

The 36-room hotel boasts a hot tub suite, as well as a meeting room, business center, heated pool and jacuzzi.