Groundbreaking Held For New NCC Building

Sheldon, Iowa — A new Applied Technology Building is being built at Northwest Iowa Community College, and Sheldon and NCC dignitaries turned over the symbolic first few shovels of dirt at a groundbreaking ceremony on Friday, April 24th.
ncc groundbreaking
The foundation for the building, using GeoPiers has already been constructed.

Several people spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony. Among them was Sheldon Economic Development Director Curt Strouth, who tells us about the building that they’re constructing.

Sheldon Mayor Katricia Meendering says the college’s continued growth since its founding in 1961 is remarkable.

Meendering went on to tell a story about a friend from New Jersey who was looking to get into heavy equipment years ago, when the college was named Northwest Iowa Technical College. She says he checked into NITC and schools in Florida and Texas, but decided to come to Sheldon. Meendering says he’s lived in Sheldon ever since.

NCC President, Dr. Aletha Stubbe says that partnerships are what made the building project possible.

It is hoped that the building will be completed by spring, 2016.

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Three Hull Boys Cited After Vandalism Investigation

Hull, Iowa — Charges have now been filed in connection with a vandalism report that occurred at Kids Kingdom park in Hull.
Sheriff car rear generic
The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office investigated that report on Monday, April 13th.

The Sheriff’s Office now reports that on Wednesday they charged three boys from Hull with criminal mischief. They were cited and released their parents.

Sheriff officials believe the boys are the ones who used black and grey marker to write obscene drawings and graffiti on extensive areas of the park’s property.

Woman Taken To Hospital After Crash

Hawarden, Iowa — A Hawarden woman was transported to a hospital after an accident near Hawarden on Thursday.
CC Ambulance1
The Sioux County Sheriff Office reports about 11:40 AM, 49-year-old Heidi Bintz of Hawarden was driving a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado pickup northbound on Coolidge Avenue, eight miles northeast of Hawarden when she experienced a medical condition and lost control of the vehicle, which entered the west ditch and struck a field driveway.

Bintz was transported to the Hawarden hospital.

The Chevrolet sustained about $7,000 dollars in damages.

The Hawarden Police Department, Hawarden Fire Department, and Hawarden Ambulance crew assisted the Sheriff’s Office.

The accident remains under investigation.

State’s Best, Worst Unemployment In NW Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa — Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped again last month, and twelve of northwest Iowa’s sixteen counties had rates at or below the statewide rate.
The statewide rate fell to 4.0 percent in March from 4.1 percent in February. The state’s jobless rate was 4.4 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 5.5 percent in March.

Nonfarm employment increased for the sixth-consecutive month in March, adding 3,300 jobs, according to Iowa Workforce Development officials. They say that the state’s nonfarm employment expanded to an all-time high, and the unemployment rate dropped to 4.0 percent, making it the lowest rate since May 2008.

In our area, Lyon County again had the lowest unemployment in the state at just 2.2 percent. That’s down from last year’s 3.3 percent. Osceola and O’Brien County were tied at 3.4 percent. That’s down from a year ago, when Osceola County had 3.7 percent, and O’Brien County had 3.9 percent. Sioux County unemployment was down from 3.8 percent a year ago to 3.1 percent this year.

In Cherokee County, where they’re still recovering from the loss of 450 jobs when the Tyson plant closed in September, their unemployment was up from 5.8 percent in March of 2014 to 6.6 percent this March. Cherokee County was the only county in the state to post an increase in unemployment from March of 2014. Their 6.6 percent unemployment was the highest in the state.

More information from Iowa Workforce Development:

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 67,800 in March from 70,300 in February. The current estimate is 6,200 lower than the year ago level of 74,000.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,647,100 in March. This figure is 600 higher than February and 25,500 higher than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment
Iowa’s nonfarm employment posted another gain this month, adding 3,300 jobs. Following last month’s revision upward, total nonfarm employment has now increased in six consecutive months. Job growth was fueled primarily by service sectors, with private services gaining a combined 3,100 jobs. Public sectors added 500 jobs at the local level and remain up 3,600 jobs compared to one year ago. The state itself has added 26,900 jobs since last March (+1.7 percent).

The education and health services sector added the most jobs this month (+2,300) due to expansion in both private education and health care. Trade and transportation also posted a strong showing this month (+2,100) following a slight drop in February. This month’s gain was primarily bolstered by hiring in retail (+1,800) in preparation for increased summer traffic. Other monthly increases were small and included professional and business services, mining, and construction. Losses were slight this month and included a drop in leisure and hospitality (-1,100). A majority of this decline was in accommodations and food services (-900). Manufacturing pared jobs for the first time since October, with small losses occurring in both durable and nondurable goods factories. Financial activities pared 400 following an unexpectedly large increase in February.

Since last March, nonfarm employment has steadily advanced with growth occurring in most segments of the Iowa economy. Trade and transportation now leads all super sectors with 6,700 jobs added, followed by construction (+6,200) then professional and business services (+4,300). The only sector to trail last year’s level is the information sector (-1,000) as media becomes less labor-intensive and more technology-based. Iowa’s indicator sectors, manufacturing and financial services, are up 600 jobs combined.

True Cost Of Speeding Tickets Estimated

Statewide, Iowa — A new study has been released on the true cost of speeding in cities across Iowa. And northwest Iowa is not immune from the high cost.
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The study, released by the firm “NerdWallet” considered the cost of a speeding ticket and insurance premium increases over a 3-year period. Some cities in northwest Iowa are among the places where they say the true cost is among the highest.

John Kuo of NerdWallet tells us why they did the study.

He says that while drivers in Iowa pay all pay $168 in fines, fees and court costs for a speeding ticket of 11 to 15 mph over the legal limit, the other, more “hidden” costs are not the same.

He tells us why the “hidden” costs differ.

In the 80 communities mentioned in the results, the top three were Council Bluffs, Bettendorf, and Sioux City, where the true cost of a speeding ticket ranged from $550 to nearly $561. The true cost of that kind of speeding ticket in Orange City they figured was $495.75, which was 18th place. In Le Mars, the figure was $489.99. In Sioux Center it was $486.48. Sheldon was down the list a little at 50th place, with an estimated true cost of $473.49. In Spencer they figured it was $472.74.
Click here for the full list and more information from NerdWallet.

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Dordt Considering Two-Year Programs

Sioux Center, Iowa — Dordt College is considering offering two-year programs for people looking for technical skills taught in a Christian College environment.
Dordt Clock Tower
Dordt’s Chief Administrative Officer, Howard Wilson tells us that such a program has been suggested to the college’s faculty and administration.

Wilson says that to the best of his knowledge a technical program of this sort at a Christian college could be a first.

He gives us an idea of where they are in the process. He tells us that Dr. Eric Hoekstra, Dordt’s President, asked him to be co-leader of a task group that would look at the opportunity.

He says they’re also initiating a research phase.

He says if they go ahead, they’d want to start two programs, one in agriculture and one in manufacturing technology. He says the response from the community has been great.

Wilson says they don’t see the programs as being in direct competition with community and technical colleges, but rather a way to fill a niche and serve the community while keeping the focus on Christ.

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