Wastewater Discharged Into Rock River At Rock Rapids

water valve main_sxcRock Rapids, Iowa — About 56,000 gallons of wastewater discharged into the Rock River at Rock Rapids Tuesday, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

DNR officials say that the Rock Rapids City Operator noticed there was no inflow to the Rock Rapids Wastewater Treatment Plant about 4 p.m. Tuesday, indicating a broken pipe or other problem.

By 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, the city had rerouted wastewater to a holding basin used during high rainfalls.

According to the DNR, Wednesday, the city and DNR traced the leak to a break in an 8-inch force main underneath the Rock River. The city estimates 56,000 gallons of wastewater discharged into the Rock River, moving rapidly downstream.

The Iowa DNR will continue to monitor cleanup and repairs. They say there was no evidence of a fish kill; however, downstream livestock producers who have cattle along the river may want to provide an alternate water source for 24 hours.

There is no estimate on how long it will take to replace the original 1950s-era force main.

City Manager Talks About Proposed Events Center

Scott WynjaSheldon, Iowa — The City of Sheldon is considering the construction of a new event center on the city’s east side.

The Sheldon City Council has had an operation study done to find out more about a number of issues including whether the area has the market support such a facility, according to Sheldon City Manager Scott Wynja.

He says a big part of the analysis was cost of operation.

He says the study tried to come up with ways the facility could be used. Wynja says sometimes it’s hard to imagine just what the facility could be used for besides the obvious, wedding receptions, and so forth.

Wynja tells us about the cost of building the proposed facility.

He tells us about some of the ways it could be funded.

Wynja says one of the main reasons TIF is being discussed is to keep from raising taxes for the proposed facility. He says they see the proposed facility as a development tool, and the facility itself doesn’t generate taxes or create a tax base, but . . .

Wynja says the town also stands to benefit through folks coming to town and staying in Sheldon’s hotels, eating at the restaurants, buying gas and other items in the convenience stores, and so forth.

Wynja says the estimates they received were basically a worst-case scenario, but those indicated that the facility would probably lose $100,000 per year. Experts say that facilities such as this are not meant to turn a profit, but to bring people to town. Nevertheless, expenses need to be covered. Wynja says the council has not talked about this angle very much yet, but he tells us a few ways this could be covered.

He says the city has also been trying for a $1.325 million Community Attraction and Tourism or “CAT” grant for the construction of the proposed facility, and they have been invited to the next step in the process to decide whether they get the grant.

Iowa DHS Reminds Iowans Of Heating Assistance Program

Remsen, Iowa — The return of cold weather to the state is reminder that you won’t be able to keep your heater turned off all winter. Julie Colling, the Energy Services Director with Mid Sioux Opportunity, says the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is available to those who may struggle to pay that heating bill.

She says there’s an associated weatherization program that can provide low-income Iowans some longer-term relief by improving their energy efficiency and educating them on ways that they can also help to reduce their energy use. Those who are the highest energy users are chosen first for the weatherization program.

She says eligibility for LIHEAP is based on income.

She says another benefit of being eligible for LIHEAP, is you are then protected on the utility shut-off moratorium.

She says you should check as soon as possible to see if you might be eligible for the program, as some years they do run out of funds. If you are on a budget plan with your utilities, it’s even more important to apply soon so that the utility has the LIHEAP funds when they figure out any changes to your monthly payment and you’re not stuck paying a higher amount for several months.

Colling tells us what you will need when you apply for LIHEAP.

She says it doesn’t matter if you own or rent, and it doesn’t matter where you get your fuel for heat. She says they help people who use natural gas, propane, fuel oil, and more.

Mid-Sioux is the community action agency serving Lyon and Sioux County (and several others). They can be reached toll-free for more information about LIHEAP at (800) 859-2025 or at midsioux.org The local community action agency serving Osceola and O’Brien Counties (and several others) is Upper Des Moines Opportunity. You can reach them toll-free for more information about LIHEAP at (800) 245-6151 or at udmo.com.

If you live in another area of Iowa and don’t know who to contact, you can get information from the Iowa Department of Human Rights at humanrights.iowa.gov.

Those who are age 60 and over and/or those who are disabled can apply now. All other households can apply starting November 1st.

Income Maximums for LIHEAP 2015-2016

 Household Size Three Month Gross Income Annual Gross Income
1 $5,149  $20,598
2 $6,969  $27,878
3 $8,789  $35,158
4 $10,609  $42,438
5 $12,429  $49,718
6 $14,249  $56,998

LIHEAP officials say that for households with more than six members, add $1,820 per three months or $7,280 annually for each additional member.

Four GOP Presidential Candidates To Take Part In NW Iowa Pheasant Hunt

pheasantAkron, Iowa — Four Republican Presidential candidates will be in northwest Iowa this weekend, but not to hold campaign rallies.

Senator Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former Senator Rick Santorum and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal will be in the area to take part in 4th District Iowa Congressman Steve King’s annual opening weekend pheasant hunt at the Hole N’ the Wall Lodge near Akron.

Known officially as the Col. Bud Day Pheasant Hunt, this year’s event will bring together candidates for office and other sportsmen. Col. Day, a Sioux City native, was the nation’s most decorated war hero at the time of his death in 2013. A Medal of Honor recipient, he also received some 70 military decorations. Col. Day served in World War II, Vietnam , and Korean Wars. Captured during the Vietnam War, Col. Day was a prisoner for over 5.5 years and survived unimaginable treatment at the hands of his captors.

The Col. Bud Day Pheasant Hunt celebrates the legacy of one of America’s greatest military heroes. Col. Day himself participated in the hunt during its early years, taking part in an activity he greatly enjoyed near his northwest Iowa hometown.

Other special guests on hand for the hunt will be South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan, and former Congressmen Gil Gutknecht and Tom Tancredo.

Sheldon Backpack Program Needs Your Help

food pantry cans cannedSheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon Community Schools Backpack Program needs your help!

Sheldon Middle School Guidance Counselor Kari Kopperud tells us about the origins of the Backpack Program.

Kopperud says participation in the program has grown rapidly.

She says that, while the cost per child is very reasonable, the total cost really adds up.

Kopperud says the Backpack Program is funded entirely through donations, and the increase in program participation means they need more donations.

She says monetary donations are the most helpful, but for those who would like, they can take part in the Pop Can Drive that will be held during conferences on November 5th and 10th.

In addition to the weekend backpacks, the Sheldon Backpack Program also provides some more substantial bags of food during holiday breaks.

School Board To Evaluate Superintendent

Sheldon-Schools-logoSheldon, Iowa — The Board of Education of the Sheldon Community School District will meet in closed session this afternoon at 5:00 pm.  The lone agenda item for this meeting is a Superintendent Evaluation Conference.

This afternoon’s Closed Meeting of the Sheldon School Board will be held in the District Board Room at the high school.