UPDATE: Sheldon Gets $840k Grant For Proposed Events Center

Events Center 8Sheldon, Iowa — The Events Center that is proposed to be built in the Sheldon Crossing Addition in the eastern part of the city is $840-thousand dollars closer to being financed after the announcement yesterday of a grant from Vision Iowa.

The City had applied for the grant several weeks ago, and the Vision Iowa Committee met Tuesday and Wednesday of this week to discuss the various grant applications received, and award grants based upon those grant applications.  City Manager Scott Wynja attended the Vision Iowa meetings Tuesday and Wednesday to lobby on behalf of Sheldon’s grant application.  The $840-thousand dollar grant approved at Wednesday’s meeting was $58-thousand less than the $898-thousand the City had requested, but City Manager Scott Wynja says the City is pleased with the grant amount.

Wynja describes the proposed facility.

Wynja says they anticipate the facility would open next year.

The proposed Events Center is estimated to cost approximately $5.3-million dollars to construct and furnish.  The City has already received pledges and donations of nearly $1-million to be used for construction of such a facility.

A public hearing on the proposed Events Center will be held later this spring by the Sheldon City Council, with bid letting on the project expected later this spring, as well.  Construction could begin as early as this fall.

Area Schools Scramble To Make Up Snow Days

calendar_1Northwest Iowa — As we told you earlier, due to Mother Nature’s snowy disruption of classes earlier this winter, Sheldon Community School students will be in class a week longer than originally planned.

We were curious about how other school districts in the broadcast area were handling the missed school days caused by this winter’s weather, so we contacted a few area school administrators to ask, and here’s what we learned.

Administrator Dan Barkel at Western Christian in Hull tells us that he built plenty of extra hours into the school calendar before the 2015/16 school year began.  In addition to the days missed due to weather, Western Christian has missed some school days when various athletic teams were making appearances in state tournament competition.  Western has already made up two of the missed days, and will remain in class through June 3rd to complete their required 1080 hours of instructional time this school year.

Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn Superintendent Bill Thompson says that his district has been forced to add three days to the end of the current school year, moving the final day for classes from May 24th back to May 27th.

South O’Brien Community Schools administrators tell us that no decision has been made yet about make-up days.  They say their situation is complicated by the fact that, as of Thursday morning, they don’t know how many school days will be missed due to the State Basketball Tournament.  They say the days off for tournaments will have to be made up, as well.

At MOC-Floyd Valley, they’re making up all the full days that were missed due to the weather.  The Dutch were originally scheduled to have their last day of classes for the year on May 25th, but that date has now been pushed back to June 2nd.

Wayne Dykstra at Unity Christian High School in Orange City says his students missed 5-1/2 to 6 days of school due to the weather, as well as three days to the Girls State Basketball Tournament last week.  He says that, as a result, Unity is 8 to 9 days behind.  Their original last day for classes of May 27th has been pushed back to June 2nd.

At Central Lyon, administrators tell us that they have had five snow days this school year, along with missing one day for the State Volleyball Tournament.  As a result, the original last day of classes that was scheduled for May 25th will now be moved back to June 2nd.

All of the school administrators with whom we talked stressed that the dates they have listed for their last day of classes is subject to change, since Mother Nature has been known to give us snow and ice storms as late as April here in northwest Iowa.

Change Clocks: Change Smoke Alarm Batteries

Northwest Iowa — It’s almost time to “spring ahead” again. Daylight Saving Time in most of the United States returns early Sunday morning, and you’ll need to set all your manual clocks ahead one hour.smoke alarm

Fire safety experts remind us that as long as you’re going around your house changing clocks, you might as well take some batteries with you on your journey around the house and change out your smoke alarm batteries as well.

Fire safety experts say that not only should you have smoke alarms installed on every floor of your home but in every bedroom as well. The U.S. Fire Administration says that you should change the batteries at least every year, unless the alarms are over ten years old. If that’s the case, the whole alarm should be replaced.

At least once a month, the U.S. Fire Administration says you should press the test button on each smoke alarm to make sure it sounds. It helps to do this the same time that you do other monthly tasks like changing furnace filters. Experts also say you should periodically clean smoke alarms using a vacuum attachment. This removes particles that could interfere with the alarm’s proper operation.

Incidentally, although “smoke alarms” are also called “smoke detectors,” officials with smoke alarm company, Kidde, say that actual “smoke detectors” are technically part of a larger alarm system, while “smoke alarms” are the stand-alone units that detect smoke and then alarm — like the ones most of us have in our homes.

School Year Will Last An Additional Week

Sheldon-Schools-logoSheldon, Iowa — Mother Nature has forced the Sheldon Community School District to continue classes for an extra week in the month of June this year.

At Wednesday’s school board meeting Superintendent Robin Spears told the School Board that the District has missed a total of five days of classes this school year due to snow days.  It was decided that these days, which have to be made up, will extend the 2015-16 school year, with the last day of classes for students scheduled for June 8th, with June 9th scheduled as an in-service day for teachers and staff.  The calendar had originally called for June 1st to be the last day of classes, with the in-service scheduled for June 2nd.  Commencement is still scheduled for June 5th.

In other action, the Board accepted the resignations of Jennifer Groote as Assistant Cross Country Coach, Nicole Lehner as Middle School Softball Coach, and Jerod Reinking as 9th Grade Boys Basketball Coach.  They also approved employment contracts for the 2016-17 school year for Paul Meyer as Assistant Golf Coach, Nicole Dibbet to teach 5th and 6th grade math, Erica Vande Hoef as Middle School Special Education SCI, Kim Sneiderman in PK Special Education, Kaitlyn Huisman who will teach 2nd grade, Alexa Harris to teach high school social studies, Emily Jansen as a 1st Grade Teacher and Dance Team Sponsor, Brittany Peters to teach 1st grade, Kylee Cooper will be teaching high school Family & Consumer Science, Joe Zeutenhorst as High School Special Education SCI and Assistant Football Coach, and Jason Uhl for high school art, Art Club and High School Yearbook.

The Board also approved several Open Enrollment Applications at Wednesday’s meeting.  One from the Sheldon District to Boyden-Hull, one from the Sheldon District to South O’Brien, one from George-Little Rock into the Sheldon District, One from Boyden-Hull into the Sheldon District, one from Sheldon to Sibley-Ocheyedan and one from Sibley-Ocheyedan into Sheldon.

The Board set the date and time for the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Hearing and Certification.  That will be held Wednesday, April 13th at 6:30 pm, during the Board’s regular monthly meeting.

Superintendent Spears told the Board that the District has reached a Tentative Agreement with the Sheldon Education Association regarding the contract for 2016-17.  Sheldon Education Association is the union representing the District’s teachers.  Spears said there are a couple of minor details that need to be finalized, and those were not completed in time for Wednesday’s Board meeting.  As a result, the School Board will meet in special session Monday, March 14th at 6:00 pm to approve that contract.

Wednesday’s meeting was held in the library at Sheldon High School.

Parks Bureau Chief Says They Want Public Input

Rock Rapids, Iowa — We recently told you about a workshop and an open house dealing with creating a new state park on the western border of the state in Lyon County — a park that would be a joint state park with South Dakota.
We had a chance to talk to Iowa Department of Natural Resources Parks Bureau Chief Todd Coffelt. He says while the name “Blood Run State Park” has been tossed around as a possible name for the park, they don’t have that set in stone yet.

He says the “Good Earth” name that South Dakota has chosen is an English translation of what the native people are thought to have called the area. He says they continue to work with not only the current residents of the area, but also the Native American representatives of the tribes that are thought to have used the area hundreds of years ago.

Coffelt gives us an idea of the progress that has been made toward the master plan for the proposed State Park.

He says they’ve also got another plan.

Coffelt says there will be a final meeting — basically a presentation of the plan — in July. He says at this point, they are only in the “idea stage”. He says the State Park designation would only come after the July meeting.

Coffelt says they will have maps available at Thursday’s meeting with all the identified landmarks and resources. He says they really want input from the local public, because they know the area the best.

Sioux County Sportsmen’s Banquet Is Saturday

Sioux Center, Iowa — A great opportunity for sportsmen is coming up — the 19th annual Sioux County Sportsmen’s Banquet is going to be in Sioux Center on Saturday.
Sterler Deer
We had a chance to talk to Dan Harskamp, president of the Sioux County Sportsmen and he tells us about the banquet.

He says if you go you won’t go away hungry.

Harskamp says they’ll have auctions, raffles, and kids’ games, and he estimates between 850 and 1000 people normally come to the banquet.

He says their emphasis is on wildlife habitat and youth education.

He says they’d also like to thank their sponsors and everyone that donates.

Again, the banquet is this Saturday, March 12th at the Dordt Rec Center in Sioux Center. Doors open at 5, and the meal is from 5:30 to 7 PM. Everyone is welcome. Tickets are available at siouxcountysportsmensclub.org