MidAmerican To Add “Green” Trucks

MidAm-Green-TruckDes Moines, Iowa — MidAmerican Energy company is moving to battery power in some of its trucks that are used to fix power lines. MidAmerican energy is adding some new trucks that use battery power to raise and lower workers in the boom to work on overhead power lines. Fleet manager, Brian Knights, says current trucks have to keep their engines running and burn fuel to power the hydraulic booms

Knights says the on-board batteries take over when the truck’s engine is shut off.

He says saving fuel is one of the benefits of the electric system, as it also cuts down on vehicle emissions, reduces noise from the running motor, and cuts down on maintenance costs as the trucks engine is running fewer hours. Knights says the new green trucks offer flexibility depending on the conditions they are used in.

Knights says the batteries are charged while the truck is moving between job sites or it can be plugged in overnight. Knights says the new trucks cost more in the beginning.

He says most trucks run for 10 to 12 years before they are replaced. Knights says they will put eight of the trucks into service before the end of this year, and they eventually plan to replace all 100 of these types of trucks with the green models. He says the cost of the trucks is proprietary information they can’t release.

Flu Circulating in Iowa, Vaccination Is The Best Protection

flu shotDes Moines, Iowa — The flu season appears to be off to an early start in Iowa, as the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced testing by the State Hygienic Laboratory (SHL) has identified cases influenza circulating the state. While influenza activity remains at a low level, the identification of the virus in Iowa should serve as motivation for those who have not yet received their yearly influenza vaccination to do so now.

IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, says the most effective way to prevent influenza illness and death is the yearly flu vaccine.  She say that, based on CDC estimates, an average of 300,000 Iowans gets the flu every year and together, flu and its complication of pneumonia cause an average of 1,000 deaths yearly in the Hawkeye state.

IDPH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend annual influenza vaccinations for everyone 6 months of age and older. It’s especially important to be vaccinated if you have regular contact with people more vulnerable to the complications of flu, including babies, children with asthma, and the elderly. IDPH also recommends pregnant women be vaccinated to protect themselves, and to pass on some immunity to their baby.

The flu is a serious respiratory illness caused by viruses. The flu comes on suddenly and symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and body aches. Illness typically lasts two to seven days, and often puts healthy people in bed for days. Influenza may cause severe illness or even death in people such as the very young or very old, or those who have underlying health conditions.

Influenza is not a ‘reportable disease’ in Iowa, which means doctors are not required to notify IDPH each time a patient tests positive for influenza; however, IDPH conducts year-round influenza surveillance through the Iowa Influenza Surveillance Network. This surveillance indicates what types of influenza viruses are circulating and how widespread influenza illness is. For more information about where and what kind of influenza is in Iowa, go to https://idph.iowa.gov/influenza/reports.

Contact your health care provider or local health department to find out where the vaccine is available in your community or use the Flu Vaccine Finder at www.flu.gov/.

Overnight Parking Bans Go Into Effect

parking banNorthwest Iowa — With winter, and the snow that it brings, looming on the horizon, we need to remind you of some parking restrictions that go into effect each year at this time.

The Sheldon Police Department reminds motorists that beginning at 2 am Sunday, November 1st, the Overnight Parking Ban on Sheldon streets will be in effect. Motorists are not allowed to park their vehicles on any street in Sheldon between the hours of 2 and 6 AM, from November 1st until April 1st. Motorists are also reminded that the fine amount for these violations is $10.00. Residents are encouraged to inform all overnight guests of this ordinance, as well.

In the city of Sibley, the winter parking ordinance bans parking vehicles on the city streets between 2 and 6 AM from November 1st to April 15th. The City of Sibley also reminds you that it is illegal to park between the curb and sidewalk as well.

Snow regulations for George are as follows:

PARKING DURING SNOW PLOWING AND REMOVAL OPERATIONS. It shall be unlawful to park, abandon or leave unattended any vehicle, trailer or similar apparatus, on any public street, alley or city owned off-street parking areas during snow plowing and removal operations between the hours of 2:00 A.M. and 6: A.M. from November 1st to April 1st when weather conditions consist of snow, drifting snow, sleet, ice and/or freezing rain.

PARKING REGULATIONS DURING SNOW REMOVAL. To aid snow removal it shall be unlawful to park vehicles, trailers or similar apparatus on City streets when snow accumulation exceeds two (2) or more inches. After cessation of snow fall and snow has been cleared from the curb to curb for the entire length of the street, vehicles may be parked on the street again.

In Orange City, their seasonal parking ordinance states that it is illegal to park on the streets of Orange City between 2 and 6 AM from October 15th through April 1st.

Rock Rapids has a seasonal parking ordinance too, but it’s a little different. It is illegal to park on Rock Rapids city streets between 2 and 6 AM from November 1st to April 1st — but ONLY DURING SNOW REMOVAL OPERATIONS. So, in Rock Rapids you have to be aware if there’s snow or ice on the streets or in the forecast. Rock Rapids does issue advisories through the “Snowcap” system when they are going to be doing snow removal. You can sign up for alerts through snowcaponline.net.

These are just a few of the cities in the KIWA listening area.  If we haven’t listed your town, you may want to check with your City Office to keep from running afoul of an overnight parking ban.

Fines for violations of these overnight parking bans vary from city to city, as do procedures for what will happen to your vehicle if you violate your city’s overnight parking ordinance.

You’re are also reminded to keep fire hydrants free from snow and accessible to fire fighters should the need arise. Most communities also have ordinances that stipulate that snow has to be removed from sidewalks in a timely manner and cannot be placed in the street. For more information, contact your city office.

Trick Or Treat! Area Towns Plan For Halloween

Northwest Iowa — The corn is nearly harvested. The trees are in beautiful color, but more and more of their leaves are falling every day. And pumpkins and other fall decorations are everywhere. It could only mean one thing. Soon little ghosts and goblins will be ringing your doorbell and shouting, “Trick or treat!”
halloween pumpkin trick or treat jack-o-lantern
We had a chance to talk to Sheldon Chamber Coordinator Allison Cooke, and she tells us about Halloween in Sheldon this year.

Another event that is the next day — the actual day of Halloween — Saturday the 31st is the Prairie Arts Council Halloween Carnival, which will be from 1 to 3 PM at the Prairie Arts Schoolhouse Complex on Highway 18. Karin Vanden Berg is one of the organizers of that event. She tells us what they have planned.

So again, in Sheldon, on Friday the 30th kids can participate in the following:

  • Downtown trick-or-treating will be held from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.
  • Sanford Senior Care from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

On Saturday the 31st:

  • Prairie Arts Council Carnival will be from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Citywide trick-or-treating will be from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

In Sibley, Chamber Director Sheryl Peters says they’ll be doing downtown trick or treating on Friday the 30th, starting at 4 PM; with house-to-house trick-or-treating that same night. She says they will have a Halloween party at the 4-H building at the fairgrounds on Saturday evening, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club. There will be games, food and prizes, plus a haunted maze. You’re invited to wear your costume. This will take place from 6 to 9 PM .

In Rock Rapids, Chamber Director Angie Jager says their “Halloween Parade,” which is basically downtown trick-or-treating in a continuous line of trick-or-treaters will start at 4 PM at the Sunshine Foods parking lot. Not only will the parade go by all the downtown businesses, but people from businesses from other parts of town will be along the parade route too, providing treats for trick-or-treaters. Jager says that Rock Rapids doesn’t tell people when to do trick-or-treating but some families will probably leave their costumes on and go Friday night, but others will actually go on Halloween on Saturday evening.

In Orange City, their merchants plan to have their annual “Business Trick-or-Treat” on the Friday before Halloween (Oct 30) from 12 o’clock noon until businesses close. Orange City Residential Trick-or-Treat is Saturday, October 31st, from 4:30-7:30 PM.

Western Receives $25,000 STEM Grant

Hull, Iowa — Western Christian High School has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.
Western Christian’s administration says that the grant will be used to redesign one of Western’s classrooms to facilitate meaningful and regular, real-time communication between Western’s students and teachers and local industry and higher-education partners, using technology to maximize STEM learning opportunities. These communications will be greatly facilitated by a recent grant from Premier Communications.

In the redesigned classroom specific technology choices such as webcams and large monitor displays on each table will be incorporated. This classroom will allow Western to build on already strong industry and higher education partnerships, by increasing the frequency, depth and quality of interactions between Western students and teachers and these partners.

Dan Barkel, Principal at Western Christian said, “In particular, real-time communication using the technology in this classroom eliminates the need for blocking out large parts of the day for partners to travel to the school or students to visit the partner-site. Instead, we can emphasize the ability for shorter, but more frequent, communication opportunities that fit within a typical class period—communications which otherwise might not justify the time and expense of a face-to-face visit. Importantly, this redesigned classroom will serve as a catalyst for a variety of additional innovations in STEM education at Western, as well as serving as a model classroom regionally and nationally.”

Barkel says that Western students will be highly-prepared for post-secondary study and the 21st century workforce and will be familiar with and excited by STEM career opportunities in NW Iowa. Teachers will have the resources and knowledge they need to integrate STEM content and skills across many disciplines. Western will develop strong, mutually-edifying ties with a diverse set of regional businesses, Dordt College, and other community organizations that will give Western students a competitive advantage in a number of different career paths.

Northwest Iowa Has High Pheasant Population

pheasantNorthwest Iowa — With the start of the fall pheasant hunting season this weekend, Todd Bogenshutz of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says an August Roadside Survey shows that the state’s pheasant population has increased by 37% over last year, with northwest Iowa having among the highest pheasant densities in the state.

Bogenschutz says around 50,000 hunters participated in Iowa’s pheasant hunting season last year — up from 40,000 the previous year.

A good number of pheasants can be found statewide, according to Bogenschutz, but there are areas with thicker populations.

He says lower pheasant counts were recorded in southwest, south central and northeast Iowa. Iowa’s pheasant hunting season this year starts this Saturday, October 31st and continues through Sunday, January 10th.