Kraai To Be Presented With A Piece Of 9/11 Steel

Dan KraaiOrange City, Iowa — An Orange City businessman will be receiving a special presentation Wednesday morning in honor of his support of a program that builds hi-tech smart homes for service members with catastrophic injuries who are returning from war.

At 10 am Wednesday, representatives from the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, an organization begun in memory of a fallen 9/11 firefighter, will pay a special visit Dan Kraai of Kraai Furniture in Orange City, to personally thank him for Kraai’s generous support of the Foundation’s Building for America’s Bravest (BFAB) program.

Members of the FDNY, or Fire Department of New York City, acting on their own initiative, as ambassadors of the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, will present a specially-designed shadowbox containing hallowed 9/11 steel from Ground Zero to Dan Kraai, during a ceremony at Kraai Furniture.

Education Director Asks For $15-Million More For Reading Programs

books 1Northwest Iowa — The reading skills of students in northwest Iowa could benefit if the State of Iowa approves additional funding that’s being requested by the Iowa Department of Education.

Education Department leaders are asking the governor and legislators for more money to improve the reading skills of students in the early grades. Iowa Department of Education director Ryan Wise is asking for nine-million dollars to help finance summer school programs focused on reading proficiency.

Wise envisions using another five-and-a-half million dollars to develop “high quality training materials” and hold regional training sessions for teachers as well as Area Education Agency staff.

In addition, Wise says his agency hopes to get Iowa colleges and universities to “shore up” courses for future educators who’ll be teaching kids how to read.

Wise outlined a series of budget requests during a public hearing on Monday. The state has already been spending more than three million dollars a year on what Wise calls an “early warning” system.

Another eight-million dollar annual appropriation supports school districts “early literacy” programs. A national test this fall found fourth- and eighth-grade students in Iowa made no gains in the past two years in reading profiency, but Iowa students, in general, are better readers than the average U.S. student.

Leaders React To EPA Decision On Renewable Fuel Standard

Washington, DC — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced its final targets for using renewable fuels in the next two years under what’s called the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
cleaner air for iowa with ethanol
The final numbers for biodiesel and ethanol are below the original numbers called for in the law. The ethanol numbers do not please Iowa Renewable Fuels Association executive director Monte Shaw.

The E-P-A is calling for use of just more than 14 billion gallons of ethanol for 2015 and 14-point-five billion gallons for 2016. Shaw says the E-P-A used the mythical “blend wall” or maximum amount of ethanol that can be used in the place of gasoline to justify its lowering of the R-F-S levels.

Shaw says the ruling goes against everything that was intended in setting the levels for renewable fuels.

He expects everyone in the renewable fuels industry to read the final ruling and then to take action.

He says it’s unfortunate things have to move that way.

Iowa is the nation’s leader in renewable fuels production. Iowa has 43 ethanol refineries capable of producing three-point-nine billion gallons of ethanol annually. Iowa also has 12 biodiesel facilities with the capacity to produce nearly 315 million gallons annually.

The National Biodiesel Board, however applauded the ruling because it raised biodiesel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says, QUOTE “I am extremely disappointed that the EPA’s final decision failed to follow the renewable volume levels set by Congress,” said Branstad. “Unfortunately, today’s decision shows the lack of interest in providing consumers choice at the pump, creating jobs and increasing incomes in Rural America, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.”

Senator Joni Ernst has said, QUOTE “The Obama Administration is once again using the EPA to impose their agenda on hardworking Iowans by instituting biofuel volume requirements that are lower than originally mandated and in direct contradiction of the law.”

Senator Chuck Grassley says, QUOTE “This rule is a slight improvement but it still sells biofuels short. The EPA just doesn’t appreciate that farmers and biofuels producers can generate enough renewable fuels to meet the goals set by Congress.”

Congressman Steve King says the industry has taken another hit. He says that the EPA is sending a message that it does not want the renewable fuels industry to expand.

Dash In The Snow To Combine Running, Goodies

Sheldon, Iowa — As fun runs go, it’s a frigid one, but a fun one.
Christmas cookies
One of the Christmas activities going on in Sheldon this year is a “Dash in the Snow”. It’s coming up a week from Saturday. It’s scheduled for Saturday, December 12th at 10 AM.

Sheldon Chamber Coordinator Allison Cooke tells us about it.

She says you are invited to dust off your Santa, elf, or holiday outfit and come join in the free fun run.

Cooke says they hope even more people will join them for the event this year. They tried to do a “Dash in the Snow” event in 2013 too, but it was really cold on the day of the run that year, so it had to be canceled. As always with winter activities, keep it tuned to KIWA or go to the Closures and Delays page at to see if the weather is going to allow them to happen as scheduled.

Cooke tells us how to participate in “Dash in the Snow”

Also on that Saturday, December 12th, is the Festival of Trees. Michelle Honkomp at the chamber says they still need trees for the Festival of Trees. If your business, church, club, or organization is interested, give her a call at the Sheldon chamber at 324-2813.

Also, don’t forget, the Chamber’s Tour of Lights is THIS Thursday night, December 3rd. To participate, just have your outdoor lights and decorations up and lit by Thursday night. Call the Chamber for more information.

Iowa Sister States Offers Year-Long Scholarship To Study In Japan

ISS LogoNorthwest Iowa — Northwest Iowa college students who speak Japanese, and who long to experience what it would be like to live on the island nation are being offered an opportunity to spend a full year there. Kassi Wheeler, international program manager for Iowa Sister States, says they’re now taking applications for a scholarship to study in Iowa’s sister state of Yamanashi, Japan, for the 2016-2017 academic year.

The scholarship winner will be attending classes at the public university in the city of Kofu while working on the research project.

Yamanashi is Iowa’s oldest sister state, with a relationship dating back 60 years. The Yamanashi Prefecture Research Scholarship was established 20 years ago between Iowa Sister States and Yamanashi Prefectural University. Wheeler says the person who wins this scholarship will first need to demonstrate they will be a positive ambassador for Iowa.

The applicant needs to be a current college student or a recent college graduate from Iowa. The scholarship covers tuition, entrance fees and accommodations in Yamanashi. The recipient will be responsible for their own travel and living expenses, though I-S-S does provide a $1,200 grant to offset those costs. The deadline to apply is December 15th. The application is available on the Iowa Sister States website:

#Giving Tuesday Is Tomorrow

MoneySheldon, Iowa — Thanksgiving is a day for giving thanks.  Black Friday and Cyber Monday are for getting deals.  Now there’s a global day dedicated to giving back.  #Giving Tuesday is tomorrow, Tuesday December 1st, a time when charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose:  to celebrate generosity and to give.

In Sheldon, Northwest Iowa Community College is joining in on #Giving Tuesday to raise funds to put toward helping current NCC students in need of emergency funds to complete their program of study.

Northwest Iowa Community College officials say many of the college’s students work anywhere from 21 to 40 hours each week, in addition to their course of study at the college, and emergency situations do arise for them.  Emergencies such as one-time car repairs, tires and medical expenses for themselves or their children.

As a result, NCC has set a goal of $2,000 to raise for #Giving Tuesday, and any size donation is appreciated.  NCC says there is also a matching grant opportunity of up to $2000 that is available, which can effectively double your #Giving Tuesday donation.

You can make a donation by credit card from 12:00 midnight Tuesday morning until 11:59 Tuesday night by texting NCC to 41444.