Branstad Delivers Home Base Iowa Designations

Sheldon, Iowa — The assembled crowd at the Sheldon Veterans Memorial braved falling rain Tuesday afternoon to see O’Brien County receive their Home Base Iowa Designation from Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.

Governor Branstad Speaks at O'Brien County Home Base Iowa Event
Governor Branstad Speaks at O’Brien County Home Base Iowa Event

Home Base Iowa is an initiative implemented by the Governor to attract veterans completing their military service to live and work in the Hawkeye State.  The Home Base Iowa initiative offers State incentives to these veterans, and communities wanting to receive a Home Base Iowa designation have incentives that they must put in place, as well.

Framed by the Sheldon Avenue of Flags, Governor Branstad told the crowd about some of the local O’Brien County incentives.

He also talked about some of the Home Base Iowa incentives being offered by the State of Iowa.

Branstad also recognized Northwest Iowa Community College for being designated a CHAMP Institution as part of the Home Base Iowa incentive.

Following the Designation Event in Sheldon, Branstad was off to Rock Rapids to present a Home Base Iowa Designation to Lyon County.  At the Lyon County event, held at Glynlyon, Inc., a curriculum publisher and online academy, Governor Branstad echoed his comments in Sheldon.

The governor said that he sits on the governors’ council that advises the Pentagon. He says he has first-hand knowledge of the downsizing of the military. He says meanwhile, he is told by Iowa employers that they need people with skills. He says the Home Base Iowa initiative gives veterans many benefits including income tax incentives, home buyer incentives and tuition incentives. It also lets Iowa employers promote their job openings on military bases.

Branstad says that soon, a quarter of the counties in Iowa will be Home Base Iowa counties.

Also speaking at the Lyon County event were County Supervisor Randy Bosch; Tami Murray from Glynlyon, representing 60 Lyon County businesses who are Home Base Iowa businesses and want to hire vets; Jared Ageson, the new Lyon County Veterans Affairs Director Jared Ageson, and Northwest Iowa Community College president Aletha Stubbe who told about the CHAMP designation. For more on the CHAMP designation, click here.

On Wednesday morning the Governor will be presenting a Home Base Iowa Designation to Sioux County, before wrapping up his visit to northwest Iowa.


Wind Farm TIF Urban Renewal Plan Passed To 3rd Reading

Sibley, Iowa — There were no surprises at the Osceola County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday morning, October 27th.
Wind Turbines SVA
One of the items on the agenda was the second reading of an ordinance proposing the establishment of an Urban Renewal Plan that would provide Tax Increment Financing funds to the City of Harris to pay for upgrades to their sanitary waste system, as well as improvements to a section of White Avenue.

As expected, the supervisors passed on to the third reading the plan, which would use TIF funds from a wind farm project in northeastern Osceola County to finance the improvements and upgrades needed by the City of Harris. Again like the vote on the first reading, the second reading also passed 4-1, with Supervisor LeRoy DeBoer casting the lone dissenting vote. The third and final reading is likely to take place at the supervisor’s next meeting.

A public hearing on the issue was held October 20th, with several people speaking against the plan. A group of concerned citizens has promised to file a lawsuit against the county if the plan is approved.


Quartet Of Presidential Candidates Coming To Orange City Fundraiser

iowa republicanOrange City, Iowa—Four Republican Presidential hopefuls will appear at a GOP fundraiser Friday night in Orange City.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina are all scheduled to be at the event, which is a fundraiser sponsored by the Republican Parties of Sioux, O’Brien, Lyon, Osceola, Plymouth, and Cherokee Counties.

In addition to keynote remarks from Iowa caucus contenders, guests will also hear from Congressman Steve King, who represents Iowa’s Fourth Congressional District.

Organizers say that a similar event in 2014, held at the LLRC at Northwest Iowa Community College, drew more than 400 people, and an estimated crowd of 600 turned out for the 2015 Spring Dinner. Organizers expect a crowd of up to 1,000 Northwest Iowa GOP activists for Friday’s rally.

Friday’s rally will be held at the Bultman Center on the campus of Northwestern College in Orange City.  Doors open at 6:15, with the program to begin at 7:00 pm.

Tickets for the event are available online at https://nwiarally.eventbrite.com


Sheldon Power Outage

Sheldon, Iowa — Power was off in parts of Sheldon for a time this morning.
electric power pole
According to MidAmerican Energy spokesperson Ruth Comer, the outage started at about 8:47 AM. She says it affected 687 customers.

They report the boundaries were the 2900 block of McKinley avenue, the 1100 block of 4th Avenue in Sheldon, the 100 block of North 7th Avenue in Sheldon, and the 4500 block of 300th Street in Sioux County.  That’s about two miles west of Western Avenue in Sheldon.

We’re told the outage lasted until about 9:06 AM.

Comer says the cause was a fault in an underground feed.


Northwest Iowa Tourism Video Receives Statewide Honor

Fairfield, Iowa — Northwest Iowa Development has received an award from the Iowa Tourism Office and the Travel Federation of Iowa for a video that they had put together promoting northwest Iowa, called “Beyond Expectations”.
nw iowa vid cap
Shawna Lode, manager of the Iowa Tourism Office says that Iowa is fortunate to have passionate people working hard every day to advance the tourism industry and grow the state’s economy. She says that the Iowa Tourism Awards are a way to showcase those efforts and celebrate the successes of the past year.

We spoke with O’Brien County Economic Development Director Kiana Johnson, representing Northwest Iowa Development. She says awards to both metro and rural areas were made in 13 award categories.


She tells us about the video.


She tells us why they had the video put together.


Northwest Iowa Development received the Outstanding Social Media Execution award for the video.


Hawarden Native Working To Correct Wrongful Convictions

logoDes Moines, Iowa — Hawarden native and former Republican candidate for Iowa Attorney General, Adam Gregg, the State Public Defender, has now established a new “Wrongful Conviction Division” in his office.

Gregg talks about the reason for the new division.

He says when the wrong person is convicted, that means the real criminal isn’t held accountable. The first batch of cases to be reviewed by this new division date back to the 1980s and early ’90s. Gregg says about 100 convictions from that time period involve what is now considered the “junk science” of hair analysis. It was used before D-N-A testing was standard practice. Investigators will try to find the hair evidence in those cases and conduct D-N-A tests to determine if the D-N-A of the person convicted matches the crime scene evidence.

Gregg has hired an attorney who worked for the California Innocence Project to lead Iowa’s new Wrongful Conviction Division. Audrey McGinn will work with students from Drake University’s Law School and other volunteers from the Iowa Innocence Project and the Midwest Innocence Project to cull through what evidence they can find.

Iowa law requires court officials to keep evidence in criminal cases for just three years, but officials rarely dispose of evidence in first degree murder convictions. McGinn says finding conclusive evidence in these cases will be the most difficult part.

Governor Terry Branstad announced the creation of this new Wrongful Conviction Division Monday morning at his weekly news conference.

So-called “Innocence Project” efforts nationwide have so far yielded 330 cases in which D-N-A evidence proves the person convicted didn’t commit the crime, but none of those cases have been in Iowa. If someone IS found to be wrongfully convicted in Iowa, state law automatically makes them eligible for 50-dollars for each day they were in prison.