Industrial Building, Tractor Damaged In Fires

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A production building was damaged in a fire on Thursday, April 2, 2015 in Rock Rapids.
Rock Rapids FD Fire Department logo emblem 300
According to Rock Rapids Fire Chief Ed Reck, about 6:00 AM, the Rock Rapids Fire Department was called to the report of building fire at the Maintainer Custom Bodies building at 909 South East Street, on the city’s southeast side in the industrial park on K52.

The chief says the fire department saw flames under the eaves on the building’s north side, running halfway down the building as they approached the scene. He says they used water to fight the fire.

Reck reports that there were no injuries to people, pets, or livestock.

He says they needed to do extensive overhaul. Crews had to remove tin sheets to make sure the fire was out.

He says the cause of the fire appeared to be construction activity the day before causing the wall to get hot, and it smoldered overnight and sparked to flame in the morning just before employees were coming to the scene to report for work.

Chief Reck reports that there was moderate to severe damage to the building.

He says they used less than 500 gallons water to fight the fire, and crews were on scene until about 8:00 AM, or about two hours. A burning ban remains in effect in not only Lyon but also in Sioux and Osceola Counties.

Reck says they did have another fire call the night before. That call was for a tractor on fire at the Lyon One livestock facility in the 2000 mile of Ibex Avenue. That’s about nine miles south of Rock Rapids and four east. The tractor had been pumping the manure lagoon and had burst into flames, he says. The tractor was a total loss.

Ag Partners Announces 7.2 Million Dollar Expansion in Sheldon

Ag PartnersSheldon, Iowa – Ag Partners has announced a major expansion in Sheldon at their North feed mill location. This expansion will substantially increase the facility’s ability to make a pelleted feed product.

Phase 1 is a $7.2 million expansion that will include the addition of a 140-foot pellet mill tower, one 60-ton per hour pellet line, and a six-ton mixer. This will increase total capacity to 600,000 tons of meal feed annually and 300,000 tons of pellets. This expansion will meet the increased demands in the marketplace as the demands for a premium pelleted product have grown.

The structure is designed with the ability to complete Phase 2 at a minimal cost. The structure will include sufficient space to install a second 60-ton per hour pellet line, increasing total pellet capacity to 600,000 tons. This second phase will be considered at a future date as business growth warrants.

This project will not impact Ag Partners’ ability to service their feed customers during construction as both locations will remain fully operational during the expansion.

“We are excited to make this announcement,” said Scott Lovin, Vice-President of Feed. “ Ag Partners is always looking ahead to ensure we can meet the needs of our customers today and in the future, and this project will provide additional capacity for the customers we serve out of our Sheldon location. We anticipate moving to Phase II quickly based on the demand we are seeing in our market area, which will very likely create the need for additional employees.”

Construction on this project will begin immediately, and is slated to be in operation by January 2016.

New Sheldon Community Park Taking Shape

city councilSheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon City Council has approved the scope of a preliminary design for the new community park. RDG Planning and Design will develop preliminary plans for the proposed Event Center as well as the Park Portal and access drive, a parking lot and bus drop-off area. The proposed hard surface parking area would accommodate sixty to eighty cars with additional overflow parking for 150 stalls. There would also be a drop-off area for cars and a minimum of two school buses. RDG will also develop landscaping plans that include sidewalks, decks, lighting, earthwork and planting concepts.

An RDG representative will meet with the Park Board at noon and the City Council at 4:30, both on April 15th. The public is always welcome to attend these meetings, but there will also be a meeting on the evening of April 15th when the public will have an opportunity to ask questions and provide input. After that RDG would proceed with the details of the Preliminary Design which is expected to be completed in time for a meeting of the Park Board at noon on July 17th and the City Council at 4:30 that same day. This will include the proposed budget and construction budget, along with a presentation from a third party estimator.

Funding for the Events Center will probably come from Tax Increment Financing. Council Member Ron Rensink commented that everyone he has talked to has positive comments about the new park area. However, there have been comments that this project is not eligible for TIF financing. Rensink said he is offended by those comments because the City has always acted in the best interest of Sheldon’s citizens, and that includes the proper use of these funds.

In other business, the Council addressed the amended and restated Urban Renewal Plan. City Manager Scott Wynja explained that this review is dictated by legislative changes to be sure that all legal parameters are followed in the way the City uses TIF. He said that the City works with attorneys who specialize in these matters. The Iowa Statutes require that the City Council must consult with all affected taxing entities concerning the urban renewal plan and also hold a public hearing. The City has set the consultation meeting for April 8th and will hold the public hearing May 5th at 4:30 p.m.

The Council also approved paying off the note which helped finance the Aquatic Center. By paying off the loan six years early the City is saving $210,000.

The Council also changed the date of the first meeting in May. Because of conflicts on the regular meeting date of May 6th, that meeting will be held on May 5th at 4:30 pm.

Four Buildings, One Tractor Damaged In Fires

Orange City, Iowa — Four farm buildings were damaged in a fire on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 near Orange City.
Orange City Fire OCFD Engine 60
According to Orange City Fire Chief Denny Vander Wel, about 12:10 PM, the Orange City Fire Department was called to the report of a hog confinement on fire at 3282 450th Street, three and a half miles west of Orange City on Highway 10.

The chief says the fire department saw heavy fire as they approached the scene. They were able to put out the fire.

Vander Wel reports that there were no injuries to people, pets, or livestock.

He says the most probable cause of the fire appears to have been an electric short on a power pole.

Chief Vander Wel reports that there was 75,000 damage.

The chief says fire departments from Maurice, Sioux Center, and Alton provided mutual aid assistance at the scene, and because the large fire left no firefighters or equipment in Orange City, fire crews from Alton and Granville covered the Orange City Fire Station, and Le Mars fire crews stayed on standby at their station in Le Mars, especially with their aerial truck, should they be needed in Orange City.

He says crews were on scene until 1:40, or about an hour and a half.

In addition, Vander Wel says the Orange City Fire Department also responded to a tractor fire shortly after 10 AM earlier that day. It was at 3532 460th Street. The chief says the tractor was a total loss. The fire appears to have been caused by leaves and debris around the hot exhaust pipe. That call kept firefighters busy for about 50 minutes.

Chief Vander Wel says the little shot of rain we received has helped very little. It is still very dry and fires can start and spread quickly. A burning ban remains in effect in not only Sioux but also in Lyon and Osceola Counties.

Newkirk Native Televangelist Dies

Artesia, California — According to his family, Newkirk native and mega church founder Robert H. Schuller has died, at the age of 88.
Robert Schuller
Schuller’s daughter-in-law, Donna Schuller says he died at a care facility in Artesia, California on Thursday, April 2, 2015.

She says he had been diagnosed with terminal esophageal cancer, but had stopped chemotherapy and radiation treatments in February, 2014, after the death of his wife, Arvella, after whom the organ at Northwestern College’s Christ Chapel is named.

Robert Schuller started his ministry in Garden Grove, California in 1955. The ministry would eventually blossom into a television ministry called the “Hour of Power”. He also spearheaded the building of the Crystal Cathedral, which was dedicated in 1980. His message of Jesus and the books that Shuller wrote included his philosophy of “Positive Thinking.”

After some difficulties a few years ago that included a bankruptcy filing, the church was sold to the Orange County Catholic Dioceses, and Schuller’s Son Bobby Schuller now pastors a nearby church, known as Shepherd’s Grove, according to the ministry’s web site.

No word has been received in regard to funeral arrangements.

Here is an interview with Schuller recorded several years ago with the Archive of American Television. In the beginning, Schuller talks about his upbringing.

Community Center Receives Grant

Sutherland, Iowa — Work on the new one and a half million dollar Legion Community Center in Sutherland continues.
money cash bills dollars
The project was recently given a shot in the arm by a Vision Iowa “CAT” grant. “CAT” in this case stands for Community Attraction and Tourism. The grant is for nearly three hundred thousand dollars toward the total.

According to chairman of the R.L. Johannsen Community Center board, Steve Koch, it’s hoped the building will be a nice place to have a number of community functions. He says it is planned to include a meeting room, kitchen, restrooms and a storage area for the Legion’s medical equipment that they loan out. It is also to have some space that can be leased to the city for use as the city offices.

If you want more information, you can email or call 712-446-3834. Koch says they are a 501(c)(3) organization, so all donations to the new community center are tax-deductible.