Fire Prevention Week: Chief Talks Electrical Safety

Northwest Iowa — National Fire Prevention week is wrapping up in northwest Iowa with fire safety presentations in schools and fire truck rides for northwest Iowa kids. But fire officials are emphasizing fire safety and prevention for adults as well.
firefighter's fire helmet
The push this week has been on having smoke alarms installed not only on every floor of your home but in every bedroom as well. Fire officials say you should check smoke alarm batteries, and make sure the alarms are less than ten years old. They also say you should have a home fire escape plan in addition to those at work and school. Plus, if you have a fire, they want you to call 911 AFTER everyone is out of the home — on a cell phone or a neighbor’s phone.

We talked to Orange City Fire Chief Denny VanderWel this week about how to prevent fires.

He says another thing to keep in mind is don’t overload outlets. He says many power strips have their own circuit breakers, but we shouldn’t let that give us a false sense of security.

According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, nearly half of electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets and outdated appliances, light bulbs that exceed the recommended fixture wattage, damaged or misused extension cords, dirty or poorly positioned space heaters, and outdated wiring.

To learn more about fire prevention, visit and

Orabs Host Regional Marching Band Contest

2015 Sheldon Orab Band PhotoSheldon, Iowa — Seventeen high school marching bands will converge on Orab Field Saturday for the Iowa High School Music Association State Marching Band Contest.  Bands will be judged, and given ratings of Division I, II, III, IV or V, based upon their performance.  The event is open to the public, with admission set at $6 for adults and $3 for students.

Sheldon High School Band Director Cliff St. Clair tells us about the contest.

St. Clair says that concessions, including lunch, will be available on-site during the contest.

He says that, after the contest in Sheldon, the Marching Orabs, along with most of the other bands that will appear at Orab Field, will climb aboard buses and head south on Highway 60 to compete in a marching band competition in Orange City.

St. Clair says the forecast for Saturday promises great weather to come out and watch the contests.

The Iowa High School Music Association Northwest District Marching Band Contest begins at 9:30 Saturday morning at Orab Field.

Riverboat Foundation Gives First Out-Of-County Grant

Larchwood, Iowa — The Lyon County Riverboat Foundation has given its first competitive grant to an out-of-county entity.
LCRF Winners Fall 2015
At a ceremony Thursday night, October 9th, 2015, chairman of the board of the foundation, Jeff Gallagher told those in attendance that earlier this year, they received direction from the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission that asked all Iowa casino non-profit license holders to consider giving grants to out-of-county entities. Gallagher said gaming commissioners said it only makes sense to give grants to entities that are in counties in which the casino’s customers live. They say that it helps promote the casino and what they are doing.

At the ceremony, the foundation announced 21 grants totaling $447,442 in awards. The foundation’s board of directors made the decision on grant awards at their September 24th Board meeting.

The grants ranged from a $300,000 multi-cycle grant for the City of Rock Rapids for flood mitigation to a grant of $1000 to the Doon Federated Women’s Club for community center improvements.

The first-out-of-county grant went to Inspiration Hills in the amount of $10,065 toward a new emergency warning system.

Some of the other bigger grants went to the West Lyon School District in the amount of $100,000 toward a football stadium, nearly $73,000 went to the City of George for campground expansion, and nearly $30,000 went to the City of Larchwood to upgrade their softball complex.

Board chairman Jeff Gallagher also told the audience that matching funds are one of the only indicators they have of how important a project is. And therefore projects with greater amounts of matching funds are approved more easily by the board.

He also reminded recipients of this past summer’s $2000 mini grants that their paperwork needs to be turned in by October 31st. He says there is no grace period. If the paperwork is not in by October 31st, the funds go back to the foundation.

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Ernst Introduces Veteran’s Telemedicine Legislation

Senator Joni ErnstNorthwest Iowa — Area veterans may have an easier time accessing telemedicine providers thanks to a bill cosponsored by Iowa’s junior U.S. Senator, Joni Ernst.

Ernst says the legislation would be very helpful to disabled veterans, or veterans who live in rural areas.

She says the VETS Act would allow qualified health professionals to operate across state lines and conduct tele-heatlh services, including mental health care treatment for veterans.

Ernst says it’s particularly important for veterans in rural areas.

While Iowa is a rural state, Ernst says she isn’t sure how many veterans might need the service here.

The Veterans Administration health system has had a variety of issues and Ernst says there’s is still a lot to be done to solve them.

Ernst says she hopes this bill will pass and help with some of the issues veterans have with getting the proper care in a timely manner.

Ernst says the bill has bipartisan support along with lead co-sponsor, Democrat Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. Ernst says tele-health reduced the number of days in a hospital for care by 54 percent and saves veterans on average two-thosuand dollars each year.

Car Destroyed In Fire Near Ritter

Ritter, Iowa — A car was destroyed in a fire on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 near Ritter.
According to Sheldon Fire Chief Jerry Meyer, about 5:20 PM, the Sheldon Fire Company was called to the report of car fire on Northwest Boulevard, or old Highway 60, about a half mile south of Ritter, or about three and a half miles north of Sheldon.

The chief says the car was fully engulfed as they approached the scene. He says they used water and foam to fight the fire.

Meyer reports that there were no injuries.

He says the cause of the fire is unknown at this time, and that the car was probably totaled.

Chief Meyer says they used about 500 gallons of water to fight the fire, and crews were on scene for about 45 minutes.

Pork Producers Committed To Safe, Ethical Pork

Northwest Iowa — October is Pork Month in the United States.
pork chop
David Struthers, president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association says that if you eat, you have a connection to a farmer every day. He says that October — Pork Month — is an opportunity to refresh the connection consumers have with farmers. He says the mission of farmers is to produce safe, nutritious food in a responsible manner for families across the United States and around the world.

We caught up with Lyon County Pork Producers President, Mike Ver Steeg in his combine, and he tells us that pork is a good choice.

October is a busy month with most farmers being in the thick of harvest. Ver Steeg says October became known as Pork Month because it marked the time of year when hogs were traditionally marketed.

He says that today, it serves as a celebration to thank pig farmers and share their stories with consumers. Ver Steeg says pork is very versatile.

That web site again is Ver Steeg says that pork producers are committed to the ethical raising of pigs.

More information from the Iowa Pork Producers Association:

In 2008, pork producers adopted six We CareSM ethical principles at the National Pork Industry Forum. The pork industry follows the six guiding ethical principles of the We Care initiative to maintain a safe, high-quality pork supply. Pig farmers are committed to:

  • Producing safe food
  • Safeguarding natural resources in all industry practices
  • Providing a work environment that is safe and consistent with the industry’s other ethical principles
  • Contributing to a better quality of life in communities
  • Protecting and promoting animal well-being
  • Ensuring practices to protect public health

“The ethical principles define our values and who we are,” said Struthers. “Consumers can be confident that the pork they eat was raised using these ethical principles.”