Coyote Hunter May Have Bagged Wolf By Mistake

Wolf 1Osceola County, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is trying to figure out if an animal shot by a coyote hunter in Osceola County Sunday is a wolf or dog, or a mixture of some sort.

D-N-R spokesman Kevin Baskins says the hunter quickly determined it was NOT a coyote and called a conservation officer.

Baskins says they’ll look at the animal’s D-N-A and do some other standard testing.

D-N-R wildlife biologists say the genetic lineage between dogs and wolves is about 95 percent the same or more, and Baskins says that makes it difficult to tell what an animal is just by looking at it.

Baskins says wolf sightings in Iowa are not common, but do occur. An animal shot in Buchanan County in February 2014 was confirmed to be a wolf.

Minnesota and Wisconsin are home to several hundred packs of Great Lakes wolves and if this animal is found to be a wolf, it could have come from those packs.

New Loan Program May Help Retail Businesses Expand

SCDC sheldon chamber door signSheldon, Iowa — For years the Sheldon Chamber and Development Corporation has had a program in effect by which businesses can secure funds to help with the costs of refurbishing and repairing their building’s facades.  This program is most often referred to as the Storefront Loan program.  Recently, however, the SCDC has added a program to assist with interior retail expansions.

The new Retail Interior Renovation Loan Program can help cover the cost of adding retail space, relocating to a larger location, as well as new retail expansion.

SCDC Executive Director Curt Strouth tells us about the program.

Strouth says qualifying businesses can apply for a zero-percent loan under this program.

He says anyone with questions about the program, or any business owner who wants to see if their business qualifies, can contact the SCDC Office in Sheldon.

City Sets & Reviews Goals

New-Sheldon-SignSheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon City Council held a work session Tuesday to review the goals set two years ago, and set goals for the future.  In addition to the Council and Mayor, City Manager Scott Wynja, Councilman elect Pete Hamill, City Clerk Angela Beckman, Public Works Director Todd Uhl and Police Chief Lyle Bolkema joined in the discussion.

The session was led by Jeff Schott of the University of Iowa Institute of Public Affairs.  The first order of business was to review the goals set two years ago.  Many of these projects such as infrastructure improvement, economic development and airport maintenance are on-going.  However City Code enforcement on problems such as nuisances have not been resolved and need attention.  The problem of an alternate water source still exists because of the slow progress of the Lewis and Clark Water project.  City Manager Scott Wynja said the outlook for Lewis and Clark water is a little brighter than it has been, but at present if an industry that uses a lot of water would want to locate in Sheldon the City would be hard-pressed to serve their needs.

Another goal set two years ago was to put a building code in place for the City. This has not been fulfilled because of public opposition to the idea.   However, the Council would still like to see such a code put in place for rental property.

Major accomplishments over the past two years include the Runger addition development, the downtown project, the large number of housing starts and the condos near Fieldcrest.  It was also mentioned that the City has paid off the Aquatic Center loan, and continued a strong partnership with the SCDC, the schools and the County.  Several times during the session Schott commented on the good working relationship between these entities.  He said that he has seen many situations where the city and development department are constantly at odds and therefore get nowhere.

At the end of the session four major items were listed as new goals for the future.  One was continued work on the Events Center and Community Park. The number two item was listed as developing a plan for the Sheldon Community Ambulance Team’s future.  Third was charging franchise fees.  At the present time the only franchise fee collected by the city is through HTC Communications for their Cable and Telephone system.  The other possibility is a franchise fee on Mid-American Energy, but at the present time Mid-American is operating in Sheldon without a franchise.  The City will look into the possibility of working with Mid-American on this issue.  The state allows cities to collect a fee of up to five percent which the utilities would pass on to their customers.  The Fourth new goal is to identify a location for an affordable housing development.

Register For Love, INC Classes By December 21

love incSheldon, Iowa — Love INC, or Love In The Name of Christ, of Greater Sheldon is accepting registration for their winter series of classes offered through their Loving Help Program through December 21st.  This program is a Bible-based, weekly program, designed to help people with a wide range of personal growth opportunities.

Kristi Robinson of Love INC says the classes are offered four times each year.

Robinson says the next new classes start in early January.

Classes are available for anyone living in O’Brien County. Classes are free and will be held Thursday evenings from 6:30-7:30. Free childcare is provided.

Again, the classes being offered in Sheldon include Financial Toolkit Course, Positive Parenting, Cooking Class (limited availability), and Bible Study. The classes being offered in Primghar include Tools for Life, which is a new course covering life skills, and Bible Study, which will be studying “When Christians Get It Wrong”. Reserve your spot in one of these courses, before Monday, December 21, 2015, by calling (712) 324-9707.

The Loving Help Program consists of volunteers from many churches working together to transform lives.

Trooper Talks About Reducing Number Of Fatal Crashes

Northwest Iowa — “Zero. It’s a goal we can all live with.” That’s the slogan of the Iowa DOT’s Zero Fatalities campaign.
Kurtz, Vincent 495
As we near the end of the calendar year, many people start thinking about statistics for the year, and the campaign to have zero fatal car crashes is no exception. But Iowa State Patrol Trooper Vince Kurtz says it’s about more than just statistics.

Kurtz says that as far as the four northwest Iowa counties are concerned, more improvement is needed.

With such a small sample size, it’s difficult to draw conclusions. Plus, the small sample could be skewed by things as unpredictable as the weather. So we asked Kurtz to give us an idea of statewide stats.

Kurtz says we have to remember that the year is not yet over.

He also says that when looking at fatality statistics, it’s helpful to get a wide picture — similar to the term that you would consider when evaluating an investment. He says we need to look at 20, 30, or even 40 years ago compared to now to get a general trend — which he says is positive.

We asked Kurtz what can be done to reduce the number of fatal crashes. Of course, he cited some of the things you would expect like slowing down, not driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, not driving distracted, staying alert, and wearing your seat belt. But he also says police presence helps make a difference.

Click here for the daily statewide stats.
Numbers of Fatal Car Crashes In Northwest Iowa

COUNTY 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015* GRAND TOTAL
LYON 2 2 4 1 0 9
OBRIEN 0 2 2 0 4 8
OSCEOLA 3 1 0 3 1 8
SIOUX 2 3 2 1 3 11
GRAND TOTAL 7 8 8 5 8 36
* Partial year

ISU Extension To Hold Free Obamacare Shopping Courses

ISU WordmarkNorthwest, Iowa – If you’re enrolled in a 2015 Marketplace health insurance plan, you can renew or change plans for 2016, however, the window closes Dec. 15th.  If you haven’t applied for insurance on before, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach says there are some things you’ll need to know about the Health Insurance Marketplace (sometimes known as the health insurance “exchange” or “Obamacare exchange”).

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is offering two free workshops to help area residents understand how to make smart choices for purchasing health care coverage. The Smart Choice Health Insurance workshops build health insurance literacy so you can make informed decisions and choose a health insurance policy that meets your needs.

Workshops are Wednesday, Jan. 13 from 10-11 a.m. at the Sioux Center Community Hospital and Health Center in Conference Room 1, located at 1101 9th Street SE, and from 5 – 6 p.m. at the Osceola Community Hospital in Sibley, in the Hospital Education Room. Snow dates for workshops are Wednesday, Jan. 20.

Through the Smart Choice Health Insurance workshop, attendees will:
♦  Understand how to calculate the cost of health insurance plans
♦  Learn how to understand which health care providers participate in various plans
♦  Find out whether they may qualify for tax credits or cost sharing assistance to pay for coverage
♦  Use a guide and a tool for identifying their own health insurance needs and priorities
♦  Be able to compare different plans available through the Health Insurance Marketplace
♦  Learn how to purchase coverage at

This workshop will help people choose coverage that best fits their family’s budget and health care needs and use that plan efficiently once enrolled, according to Jan Monahan, a human sciences family finance specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. Consumer assistants from Sioux Center Community Hospital and Health Center, Osceola Community Hospital, and a navigator from Sioux City will be assisting with applications and questions after the presentation.

The Smart Choice Health Insurance Program is made possible by funding from ISU Extension and Outreach in Sioux and Osceola Counties.
For information about the Health Insurance Marketplace workshops, contact your local Extension and Outreach office or Jan Monahan at Find this and other local programming at Click on “Locate a county office”.