Latest Star Wars Movie Opens To Big Crowds In Area

Main Street 3 TheaterNorthwest Iowa — Near capacity crowds turned out to take part in the opening night excitement of the premiere of the latest movie in the Star Wars franchise.

Star Wars, The Force Awakens premiered Thursday night around the United States, and according to Bill Barstow of Main Street Theatres, all of his company’s theatres that were screening the film were at or near capacity for the prime-time showings.

Barstow said that people were showing up early at each of their locations, in anticipation of the latest chapter in this extremely popular movie series.  He said that many were seeking the same type of communal experience they felt in 1977 when the first Star Wars was released.

Barstow said that, unlike many movies that  receive the kind of substantial pre-release hype that this movie has enjoyed, Star Wars, The Force Awakens actually succeeded in meeting audience expectations.

Main Street Theatres has locations in Sheldon, Orange City, LeMars, Sioux City, and Shenedoah, here in Iowa, as well as Fremont, Omaha, and Nebraska City in Nebraska.

Santa And “Sleigh Rides” In Sheldon Saturday

Sheldon, Iowa — The Christmas festivities continue in Sheldon throughout the Christmas season.
happy christmas
Sheldon Chamber Coordinator Allison Cooke says this Saturday, December 19th, will be a chance for your child to have cookies and milk with Santa and a ride in a sleigh.

Again those sleigh rides are only from 10:30 to noon, so don’t miss them. Cooke says it doesn’t matter if there isn’t any snow.

She also says don’t forget to shop local by patronizing Sheldon businesses. Plus she says don’t forget Merry Money has to be spent by December 24th and businesses must have it deposited by December 31st.

Your last chance to visit with Santa in Sheldon is coming up on Monday evening. The Sheldon High School Carolers will sing downtown Monday night too.

Iowa Education Department Unveils School Report Card

report cardNorthwest, Iowa — If you’d like to see how your child’s public school rates in several important categories, the Iowa Department of Education now has an easy way for you to do that.  The Department has introduced a new on-line system to evaluate and rate each public school in the state.

Department of Education director, Ryan Wise, talks about the Iowa School Report Card in an introduction on the website.

The report card is based on the performance of each school for a set of measures.

Wise says the report card should be helpful across education.

While the Iowa School Report Card provides a measurement of schools, Wise says it is not the only thing that should be used to judge the schools.

The scores and ratings are based on data reported by school districts for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. There are no consequences or rewards tied to the school ratings.

The ratings are based on each school’s performance over a two-year span on the following educational measures:

·Proficiency: The percentage of students scoring proficient or better on state reading and mathematics assessments.

·College and Career-Ready Growth: The percentage of students who are making the year-to-year growth necessary to be ready for college and career training by the end of high school.

·Annual Expected Growth: The percentage of students making a year of academic growth in a year’s time on state reading and mathematics assessments.

·Closing Achievement Gap: A measure that reflects a statewide goal of narrowing the gap in achievement for students with disabilities, students who are eligible for free and reduced-price meals, and English Language Learners.

·College and Career Readiness: The percentage of students who score at or above a level of performance on reading and mathematics assessments that predicts a higher probability of postsecondary success. (Middle/high schools only.)

·Graduation Rate: The percentage of ninth-grade students who finished high school within five years. (High schools only.)

·Attendance: The average daily attendance of students, which is the total number of days students were enrolled and present divided by the total number of possible attendance days.

·Staff Retention: The percentage of teachers, school administrators and other licensed staff members who remained employed in a school over consecutive school years.

Schools in the KIWA listening area, for the most part, fell into the top half of the rating categories, being listed as “Exceptional”, “High-Performing”, or “Commendable”.  Only four of the area school districts that we checked had schools that were rated “Acceptable”, or “Needs Improvement”, with no area schools receiving a “Priority” rating from the Iowa DOE.

The Iowa School Report Card is available on the Education Department’s website at:

Area Graduates Higher Than Average Percentage Of High School Seniors.

cap and diploma_sxcNorthwest Iowa — America’s students are graduating from high school at a higher rate than ever before, according to United States Department of Education statistics.

For the graduating classes of 2014, 82.3% of high school seniors successfully graduated from high school.  Iowa seniors, on the other hand, graduated at a rate of 90.5%, or 8.2% above the national average for the same time period.

Here in northwest Iowa, most schools are beating the statewide average, and all that we looked at are above the national average.  According to the Iowa Department of Education’s Bureau of Information and Analysis, Sheldon and MOC-Floyd Valley districts led the region in 2014, graduating 97% of their seniors.  Central Lyon, West Lyon, Sibley-Ocheyedan, and George-Little Rock all graduated slightly more than 96% of their senior class, while South O’Brien had an 89.66% graduation rate, and Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn had an 88.89% graduation rate.

The numbers released by the Iowa Department of Education are for public schools in Iowa, and were for students who were seniors in the 2013-2014 school year.

Chances Are Not Good For A White Christmas

Northwest Iowa — Christmas is a week away, and for many northwest Iowans, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without a blanket of white covering everything outside. Meteorologist Matthew Dux, at the National Weather Service, says if you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, you might be disappointed. He says the snow we already have most likely will be gone by Christmas.
Snow Covered Christmas Tree

And he says, the prospects for more snow before Christmas don’t look good either.

We asked Dux to give us a probability for a white Christmas in northwest Iowa. He defined a “white Christmas” as having at least an inch of snow on the ground; and he gave only a 25% chance of there being that much snow on the ground on Christmas.

Many northwest Iowans have travel plans for next week’s holidays and Dux says the good news is the lack of precipitation should at least mean good road conditions.

But Dux says you’ll want to keep an eye on the weather and road conditions after Christmas, as there is a possibility of some winter weather after the holiday.

KIWA Christmas Tree Contest Winners Announced

Christmas Tree Contest PromoWE HAVE OUR WINNERS! 

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who participated and sent in photos of your tree! Each of the three winners will receive 2 passes for Risefest 2016, as well as a meet & greet pass for Chris Tomlin and Newsboys.

Winners were notified via email yesterday afternoon and can pick up a voucher for their prize any time here at KIWA.

The contest was such a big success we hope to do it again next year. We had well over 60 submissions, and it was difficult to narrow it down. We discussed it, and thought it would be fun to have different categories if we do it next year.

Now, here are the winners of the contest:

Most Unique – Richard Ludeke

Best Themed – Kody Hansen

Most Colorful – Rae Lynn Schnider


Most Unique - Richard Ludeke
Most Unique – Richard Ludeke

Richard says of his unusual tree “This is a saguaro cactus skeleton from our property in Yuma Arizona. A saguaro must be 200 years old to grow an arm. So this Christmas tree is probably as old as the United States. This has 3 arms, died, then took many, many years in the sun to dry to see the saguaro skeleton. Amazing that it has survived intact! Each year we decorate it with chili pepper lights and a western theme. This Christmas saguaro brings back many happy memories to our family.”


Kody Hansen - Best Theme
Kody Hansen – Best Theme

Kody told KIWA that his Jeff Gordon tree is an evolution of ornaments that he either collected or was gifted over the years. He felt he finally had enough to warrant a tree dedicated solely to the Nascar driver and entered this tree on a whim. He says that he’s very glad that he did!




Most Colorful - Rae Lynn Schnider
Most Colorful – Rae Lynn Schnider

When we spoke to Rae Lynn she told us that her tree contained ornaments that she has received from friends and relatives over the years.





Contest sponsored by Vogel Paint & Glass, wishing you the blessings of Christmas.