Relax, Poinsettias Are Not Poisonous

PoinsettiaNorthwest Iowa — Some people may be paranoid about having poinsettias in the house as they’ve heard those red-and-green flowers traditionally associated with Christmas can be deadly poisonous if eaten.

Tammy Noble, a registered nurse and the education coordinator for the Iowa Poison Control Center, says that myth is busted.

One study finds a child would have to eat as many as 500 poinsettia leaves to become poisoned, but aside from that, the leaves taste terrible so no one would likely ever eat a lethal dose of them. Still, Noble says you may want to use caution around the plant.

Other plants that may appear in your house during the year-end holidays could pose a more significant threat, according to Noble, and you need to take care with them.

The Sioux City-based Iowa Poison Control Center is available around-the-clock at 800-222-1222. The poinsettia is native to Mexico and dates back centuries to when the Aztecs cultivated them to be more like trees that grew to be ten feet high. Seventeenth-century Franciscan priests in Mexico used poinsettias in nativity processions, the first recorded use for a Christmas celebration, though they weren’t called poinsettias then. That didn’t come until Joel Robert Poinsette introduced the plant to the U.S. in 1825 while he was the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. The plants were later named to honor him.

Seasons Center Seeks Funding For Therapeutic Camp In O’Brien County

Seasons Center LogoO’Brien County, Iowa — A 159 acre O’Brien County farm, which includes a 30-acre man-made lake, will become a therapeutic camp for children if Seasons Center in Spencer is able to realize their vision.

Seasons Center Director of Program Coordination and Compliance, Christina Eggink-Postma says the organization is currently trying to raise funds to buy the property.

She says the property would go a long way to addressing needs they uncovered during the planning process for Autumn’s Center, the children’s center named for slain Orange City toddler Autumn Elgersma.

Eggink-Postma says there are multiple areas that would lend themselves to different types of care needs.

She says Seasons Center is currently working with the O’Brien County Board of Supervisors to try and get a Community Development Block Grant to pay for the first phase of the project.

She says getting the CDBG funding would allow Seasons Center to move forward with the project.

Eggink-Postma says that, without this Community Development Block Grant funding, Seasons Center will need to revisit other funding options in order to keep moving forward with plans for the camp.

If you’d like more information on the services provided by Season’s Center, visit their website at

UPDATE: Spencer Wrestler Collapses and Dies Following Match on Saturday

wrestling gear

Spencer, Iowa — Classes are open and on-schedule today at Spencer High School after the weekend death of 18-year old Spencer Tiger wrestler Austin Roberts, who collapsed during a tournament at Spencer Saturday.

Spencer School Superintendent Terry Hemann says grief counselors are at the school today for students who may need help coping with their classmate’s death.

Hemann says his staff is going to monitor what students need, whether that means a regular class or just closing the books, closing the computers and talking about the situation.  He said it’s really going to depend on what the kids need.

Meanwhile, Clay County Medical Examiner, Dr. David Robison, has released the following statement:  “Due to the recent tragic death of Austin Roberts, Clay County medical examiner Dr. David Robison has turned the case over to the state medical examiner’s office.”

Dr. Robison says his preliminary investigation points to a natural cause of death, but an autopsy and laboratory analysis will be performed to determine the official cause of death. Once determined, he says, results of the investigation will be released to the family. Roberts died Saturday evening at the Spencer Municipal Hospital.


Spencer Iowa — A Spencer High School wrestler has died after collapsing at a tournament Saturday hosted by Spencer. Austin Roberts died Saturday night after being taken to the Spencer Hospital.

Roberts, who was 18 years old wrestled at 220-pounds for the Tigers and was ranked sixth individually in the state in Class 3A. He was a state qualifier who placed eighth in the state tournament last year.

A 6-4 senior, Roberts also was a two-way lineman on the Spencer football team this fall.

School officials are offering grief counseling at the Spencer High School.

Sheriff Seeks Information In Burglary Case

O'Brien Sheriff 71-6O’Brien County, Iowa — The O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in solving a burglary that happened last week in southwestern O’Brien County.

O’Brien County Sheriff Mike Anderson says the the burglary occurred late Monday December 14th or early Tuesday December 15th.   He says the suspect or suspects entered a hog confinement facility and stole a large amount of tools.

Anderson says if you think you might have information about this crime, please contact your local law enforcement agency.

The Sheriff says the O’Brien County Crime Dusters program is offering a $500 reward to anyone who provides information on this crime that leads to the arrest and conviction of the offenders.

You may provide information on this crime or any other crimes by calling the O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office at 712-957-3415. When you call you will be put in contact with a deputy sheriff who will take your information.  You can also provide information or tips on crimes by using the “Hot Tip” link or “e-mail” button at  Arrangements can be made to assist the people who want to remain anonymous but still be eligible for the reward.

American Legion To Hold Ceremony Honoring Veterans

Sheldon American Legion 145Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon American Legion Post 145 will be holding a special Christmas ceremony Wednesday afternoon at the Veteran’s Memorial at the Sheldon City Park.

American Legion member Jeremy Beenken tells us what the ceremony will include.

Beenken says the American Legion is holding this brief ceremony to honor those who can’t be home for Christmas.

The ceremony will be held Wednesday afternoon at 5pm at the Veteran’s Memorial, on the south side of the Sheldon City Park.

United Fund Still Needs Help To Finish On Goal.

Sheldon, Iowa — According to Sheldon United Fund spokesperson Cindy Runger, more than $2,200 was given to the Sheldon United Fund in the last week, but the fund still needs a big boost to finish on goal.

The drive continues until the end of the month. The goal this year is $31,000.United Fund 2015 The funds are now at $23,454, which is $2,266 more than last week’s total.

More than $7,500 needs to be raised to achieve the fundraising goal. Since the goal is a ways away yet, and since the drive’s deadline is looming, donations of $686 must be raised each day until the end of the year for the drive to meet it’s goal.

Contributions may be left at any of the four Sheldon banks, or you can also send them to PO Box 41, Sheldon, IA 51201. Essays explaining each organization are available at the banks.