Sheldon Council Disposes Of Several Agenda Items

city councilSheldon, Iowa — Development in Sheldon’s Runger Addition continues, with the sale of two more lots announced at the Sheldon City Council meeting Tuesday.  Sheldon Development Director Curt Strouth reported that Southwest Wholesale is purchasing lots ten and eleven, located just North of their existing property in the Runger Addition. Southwest Wholesale will pay $25,369.50 for the lots with a ten year minimum assessment of sixty thousand dollars. They also plan to erect a 2400 square foot spec building on one of the lots. This property will generate $1,836.00 annually in property taxes.

In other action, the Council approved the Preliminary Official Statement with regard to the $3.4-million General Obligation Capital Loan Notes that will be used to help fund the new events center.  City Manager Scott Wynja explained that this is just one more step in the loan process.  He said the City has been notified that it has an A-Plus bond rating, which is a good sign of where the city stands financially.  The rates and terms of the bond will come later, and it is expected that they will close on the bonds in the first part of July.

The Council also affirmed the appointment of Erin Brown to the Library Board and agreed to increase the payment to Wolff, Whorley, Dehoogh and Schreurs to $200 per hour for their legal services. There has been no fee increase since it was set at $185 per hour in 2013.

Several safety related concerns were heard during the Council Comments period.  Councilman Brad Hindt brought up concerns from citizens who would like to see some kind of signage along West 7th Street, warning motorists about ‘Children At Play’.  Council members said they’ll survey the situation to see if they feel it requires action.

Councilman Pete Hamill called everyone’s attention to a bike ride that will take place May 21st.  The ride will follow the recreational trails, but will also include Country Club Road and 16th Street.  Hamill reported that Sioux County has now placed ‘Share the Road’ signs on certain roadways and wondered if O’Brien County would be willing to do something similar.

It was also reported that the Sheldon Police Department is aware of speeding vehicles on East 6th Street from Washington Avenue to Country Club Road. The public should be aware that officers will act to enforce the speed limit on 6th Street as a public safety measure.

The City Council went into closed session to discuss the purchase of property, and took no action following that closed session.

Bandmasters Performance Nearing For Orab Band

Sheldon, Iowa — Several weeks ago we told you that the Sheldon High School Band had been selected to perform at this year’s Iowa Bandmaster’s Association Convention in Des Moines, a week from this Friday.  Sheldon High School Band Director Cliff St. Clair says that, while the band members are excited about that opportunity, they are more focused on their Tuesday (May 3rd) evening Spring Concert, and Large Group Contest this Saturday (May 7th).

Sheldon High School Band Director Cliff St. Clair
Sheldon High School Band Director Cliff St. Clair

St. Clair says the band has been putting in extra-length practices, since their performance for the Iowa Bandmasters will run 45 minutes, nearly twice as long as their normal concerts.

He says the band is preparing to face the single toughest audience for whom they will perform all year.

The Orab Band is the only Class 2A band appearing at the Bandmasters Association Convention this year.  In fact, there were no bands in Class 3A that were accepted to play for the 2016 convention.  The Sheldon band is also the lone band from this part of the state, in any class, that earned the right to perform.

St Clair says the Sheldon High School Band will perform for the Iowa Bandmasters Association Convention at 1:00 pm, Friday, May 13th, at the Downtown Marriott in Des Moines.

Other bands chosen to perform at this years Iowa Bandmasters Association Convention include:
4A – Ames High School  – Chris Ewan, director
3A – None selected
2A – Sheldon High School – Cliff St. Clair, director
1A – Springville High School – Jennifer Adams, director
Middle School 4A/3A – Northwest Junior H.S. – Jane Triplett and Kevin Brown, directors
Middle School 2A/1A – Clarinda Community School – Marty Aldrich, director
Elementary – Excelsior Middle School – Steve King, director
Jazz – Johnston High School – Jeff Robilliard, director
Jazz – Southeast Junior H.S. – Bill Pringle, director
Cedar Rapids Jazz Big Band – Al Naylor, director
Eastern Iowa Brass Band – Alex Beamer, director
Graceland University – Erin Bodnar, director

Teacher Who Showed Up Drunk At Prom Resigns

Milford, Iowa — During a special meeting of the Okoboji Community Schools Board of Education Tuesday noon, Okoboji High School business teacher and Cross Country Coach Royce Van Roekel, of Milford, resigned his teaching and coaching positions.

Royce Van Roekel
Royce Van Roekel

This past Saturday, Van Roekel was arrested at the Okoboji High School Prom, after a complaint of an intoxicated person from Boji Bay Fun House and Event Center, the site of the prom.  Milford Police reportedly responded and contacted Van Roekel, who reportedly failed a field sobriety test, then placed him under arrest on a charge of Public Intoxication.  Authorities say that a breathalyzer test found Van Roekel’s blood alcohol content to be more than twice the legal limit.Online court records indicate Van Roekel plead guilty to the Public Intoxication charge on Monday (May 2nd).

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Okoboji School Board accepted Van Roekel’s resignation, effective June 1st, and placed him on suspension for the remainder of the current school year.  The Board’s motion also states that Van Roekel will be responsible for paying the costs of hiring a substitute teacher for the remainder of the current school year.

KUOO Radio contributed to this report

Egg Prices May Soon Drop

fried eggNorthwest Iowa — We may soon be paying less for eggs at the grocery store, as egg production operations in northwest Iowa and elsewhere are recovering from last year’s outbreak of bird flu. That outbreak sent egg prices skyward, but the number of laying hens nationally is now approaching pre-flu levels. As a result, U-S-D-A economist Annemarie Kuhns says retail egg prices are dropping.

She says the U-S-D-A expects retail egg prices to fall nine-to-ten-percent this year compared to the average 2015 price. Some 34-million birds on 77 Iowa farms had to be destroyed after contracting the virus last year.

Thursday Is National Day Of Prayer

Northwest Iowa — This Thursday, May 5th, is the 65th annual National Day of Prayer.
National Day Of Prayer 2016
Organizers say it will have profound significance for our country. They say it is an unprecedented opportunity to see the Lord’s healing and renewing power made manifest as they call on citizens to humbly come before His throne.

The theme for the 2016 National Day Of Prayer is “Wake Up America,” emphasizing the need for individuals, corporately and individually, to return to the God of our Fathers in reverence for His Holy Name. To further highlight the theme, organizers have chosen Isaiah 58:1a as the Scripture for the year: “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet.”

For the May 5th observances, Dr. Tony Evans, the 2016 Honorary Chairman, wrote a special prayer to be simultaneously read throughout the nation at noon, eastern time.

Sheldon’s 19th Annual National Day of Prayer observance will be at Living Water Community Church. The speaker will be Justin Jenness. The service will begin at 6:30 PM. The community event is sponsored by the Sheldon Area Ministerial Association and the local National Day of Prayer Task Force.

Elsewhere in northwest Iowa, Orange City will have a National Day of Prayer observance on Thursday from noon to 1 PM at the Orange City Town Hall lower level Community Room. You can come and go as your schedule permits.

In Sioux Center, an all-day prayer vigil is scheduled at the House of Missions and Equipping or “HOME” building, which is behind Culvers in southern Sioux Center. It’s from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Again it’s a come and go observance. Stations will be set up with various prayer topics, plus from 8:00 until 11:00 AM, there will be a prayer simulcast from Washington, DC.

The Rock Rapids Council of Churches doesn’t have any specific observance planned, but the women of the community will be getting together for prayer at a May Breakfast this Saturday, May 7th.

The Hospers and Newkirk communities will observe National Day of Prayer at 7:30am at the Hospers community building on Thursday, May 5th. Coffee and rolls will be served.

In George, the George Ministerial Association is encouraging each church to observe the National Day of Prayer on their own.

If you’d like to add your community to our list, send us an email at

Primghar To Decide Gas Issue; Hartley To Replace Council Member

O’Brien County, Iowa — The cities of Primghar and Hartley will hold special elections tomorrow, Tuesday, May 3rd.

(file photo)
(file photo)

In Primghar the issue at hand is whether the city should take control of the natural gas system. The system is now owned by Black Hills Energy, based in Rapid City, South Dakota. The Primghar City Council voted to cancel its franchise agreement with Black Hills Energy. The Council now proposes to take over the natural gas system and create a City-owned municipal utility.

Black Hills Energy has been running a campaign against the move, saying prices could go up, since while the gas company’s prices are regulated by the Iowa Utilities Board, a municipal system would set its own rates, unchecked by a state board.

Proponents for City ownership say money from the sale of gas could be funneled into other city projects, such as a new swimming pool. They also emphasize that their opinion is that local control is better than control in Des Moines or Rapid City.

Black Hills says the system is not for sale. If the vote goes through, the City would start a legal process in an attempt to force Black Hills Energy to sell its system to the City. The purchase price would be determined in court.

In Hartley, the election will decide on the replacement of a city council member. The lone name on the ballot is Valerie Moermond, and unless a write-in candidate would get more votes, Moermond would be the winner. The winner will fill the vacancy created when Brad Meendering unexpectedly resigned in February.

Polling places are the O’Brien County Courthouse Community Room for Primghar voters and the Hartley Public Library for Hartley voters. Polling hours are noon until 8 PM in both communities.

Click here for sample ballots.