NCC Bucks Declining Enrollment Trend Among Iowa’s Community Colleges

NCC logo and taglineSheldon, Iowa — The number of students taking courses at Iowa’s community colleges this fall is down.  According to the Department of Education’s Community College administrator Jerry Varner, enrollment at Iowa’s 15 community colleges this fall has slipped about 0.6%, to just over 93,000 students statewide.

An exception to the trend of enrollment decline is Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon.  NCC President Dr. Alethea Stubbe says NCC is bucking the trend, with an enrollment increase this fall.

She talks about how the percentage translates to actual numbers of students.

Dr. Stubbe listed a few of the reasons why she believes NCC has been able to increase student numbers while other community colleges in Iowa have seen declining enrollments.

Stubbe says the increasing minority demographic in northwest Iowa has also translated into an increase in minority student enrollment at NCC, further helping the school continue to grow.

According to the Department of Education, the biggest drop in community college enrollment was at Iowa Valley Community College, which saw a decline of 6.6 percent.  The largest increase was Indian Hills Community College, which saw enrollment increase by 8.2 percent over last year.

Man Jailed After Shooting Incident

revolver gun_sxcEverly, Iowa — An Everly man was jailed Sunday night after an incident in Everly.

Clay County Sheriff’s officials say that shortly before 5:30 Sunday afternoon, their Communications Center received multiple 911 calls reporting that a subject had been shot at in Everly.

Deputies say that once they arrived on the scene they determined that, during the course of an argument outside an Everly residence, one of the parties to the argument retrieved a firearm from his residence and shot into the ground in the vicinity of a male subject outside.  Deputies reportedly recovered a .38 caliber handgun at the scene.

Authorities say that 57-year old Michael Shorey, of Everly, was taken into custody and transported to the Clay County Jail in Spencer, charged with Intimidation With A Dangerous Weapon, a Class C Felony, and Reckless Use Of A Firearm, a Simple Misdemeanor.  Clay County Sheriff Randy Krukow says the incident remains under investigation, and further charges are pending.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Iowa State Patrol and the Spencer Police Department.

RFS Decision Deadline Is Today

ethanol gas nozzleNorthwest Iowa — Today is the Obama Administration deadline for setting three years’ worth of renewable fuels quotas, and the ethanol industry is trying to influence the decision.

Tom Buis is the co-chair of Growth Energy, the lobbying arm for the ethanol industry. Buis says a new ethanol industry TV ad currently running in Iowa and three other corn-producing states is designed to counter an ad being run by anti-ethanol groups.

Buis says he knows the opposition is out there saying anything and doing anything in every possible way to keep the administration from rolling out an implementation of the volumetric standards for 2014, 2015 and ’16 that he says are beneficial to this great nation.

The Renewable Fuels Standard requires the federal government to set yearly production levels for ethanol and other biofuels.

He says all eyes are on the administration, and he hopes they do the right thing. He says he hopes they listen to all the experts out there who are not just blowing hot air and rhetoric for their own vested interests, but actually understand the programs and understand how they work and understand the RFS originally and going forward.

In May, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed ethanol production targets that would fall short of levels mandated in the law that created the Renewable Fuels Standard in 2005. Nearly all the ethanol used in vehicles in the U.S. is blended into gasoline. Representatives of the oil industry have argued there is a “blend wall” and ethanol quotas should not be raised because there aren’t enough pumps to dispense gasoline that contains more than 10 percent ethanol.

Sioux Center Residents Experience Another Power Outage

Sioux Center, Iowa — According to Utility personnel with the City of Sioux Center, there has been another power outage in that community.

They report that on Saturday night, November 28th, 2015 about 9 PM, a portion of Sioux Center experienced a power outage that lasted several hours. They report that power was restored to nearly all of the affected area by 12:30 AM Sunday morning, and power was fully restored by 3:30 AM.

file photo
file photo

Sioux Center city personnel report that the cause of the outage was a fault caused by a connection in a transformer on the distribution system. They say that due to the nonstandard operating conditions under which the system is currently operating, a much larger area was affected by this outage than would normally have been the case.

Sioux Center’s west substation sustained major damage in a failure during a storm a week ago on Saturday, November 21st. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad issued a proclamation of disaster emergency on Monday, November 23rd for Sioux County due to the utility failures in Sioux Center.

Surgeon’s “Love Takes Root” Charity Financing Expansion Of Haitian Orphanage

Wilkerson-300x300Spencer, Iowa — A Spencer orthopedic surgeon’s medical mission trip four-and-a-half years ago has led to an expansion of his family and the rebuilding of an orphanage in Haiti.

That’s Dr. Rick Wilkerson.  Dr. Wilkerson says he formed a “strong bond” with the boy. Wilkerson and his wife, Barb, ultimately adopted Junior, but it took two years. The Wilkersons created a non-profit group called “LOVE Takes Root” to raise money to rebuild the orphanage school where Junior lived until the adoption was final.

When Wilkerson was on his medical misssion in Haiti after the earthquake, he found a 70-year-old woman trying to care for 50 orphaned children in a tent. Many were suffering from scabies, a highly-contagious skin disease. Wilkerson says that’s when the idea for “LOVE Takes Root” was born. Next summer, the organization hopes to open a secondary school in Haiti, next door to the elementary school for orphans it has already built.

Wilkerson and his wife are the parents of nine children, five of whom are adopted. That includes the boy Wilkerson met in Haiti, who is now an 8th grader in Spencer. Wilkerson aims for the “LOVE Takes Root” charity to expand its reach beyond Haiti, to help needy children in other countries.

If you’d like more information about “LOVE Takes Root”, you can visit their website at

Hospers Farmland Sells For $17,300 An Acre

snow field_sxcHospers, Iowa —  Despite low agricultural commodity prices, northwest Iowa farmland still seems to be in high demand — with buyers willing to pay near-record prices.

At a Sioux County land auction held recently near Hospers, a tract of 154 acres sold for more than 17-thousand dollars an acre. Jim Klein of Remsen was the auctioneer for that sale.

Klein says “local people” were bidding for the ground and it was sold to a neighbor who owns land across the road. In addition to row crops, Sioux County has a number of livestock and poultry operations and Klein believes one reason for the high demand for land in the area is so farmers have somewhere to spread their manure.

You may recall that a parcel of Sioux County land near Boyden sold for nearly 22-thousand dollars an acre about two years ago, the all time record price for Iowa farm ground.