School Board Votes To Stay With KeBecca Services…For Now

Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon Community Schools Board of Education met in special session Wednesday night with only two items on the agenda.  Both issues had been tabled from the regular monthly meeting last week.

Sheldon-Schools-logoThe Board voted to continue the District’s contract with KeBecca Services.  KeBecca is a Special Education program that operates at East Elementary, and includes two students from the Sheldon District, as well as four students from other school districts.  The Sheldon District has utilized the KeBecca services for the past three years.  Prior to that time, these students were transported to Sioux Falls each day to Children’s Home Services.  The Board voted unanimously to continue the KeBecca program for another year, continuing to evaluate the students’ progress during that time.

In other action, the Board selected a health insurance provider for the 2015-16 school year.  Superintendent Robin Spears told the Board that the District’s teachers had heard presentations introducing health insurance from Coventry as an alternative to Wellmark, which is the District’s current carrier.  Following the presentation, Spears says 81% of the teachers voted in favor of the Wellmark plan with Iowa Star Schools.  Since the District’s Board Policy says that health insurance benefits may not be changed without negotiation with the Sheldon Education Association, the Board voted to apply for Wellmark coverage through Iowa Star Schools.

Council Approves Utility Bill Payment

city councilSheldon Residents will soon have the option of paying their City Utility bills with their credit card. At their Wednesday meeting the City Council voted to sign a contract with Government Payment services that will make this possible. City Manager Scott Wynja told the council that many communities are using the services of this company with good results. There will be no charge to the city for accepting credit card payments but there will be an extra charged added to the cardholders bill. For example, a utility bill of fifty dollars will be charged a $1.50 service fee. City Clerk Angela Beckman says it will probably be about a month before this service is available. The public will be notified when they are ready to accept credit cards for utility bill payments. Cardholders will be able to use their card in person at the City Office, use a link on the City’s website, or pay via the telephone. Residents will still have the option to pay by check, cash or direct bank withdrawal.

In other business, the council voted to replace many of the city’s street lights with LED bulbs. Mid-American Energy is replacing 53 metal poles because of their deteriorating condition and with the City’s approval will fit them with LED lights at no extra cost. There are 80 other poles that are not being replaced, but will be changed to LED at a cost to the city of one hundred dollars per light. This cost will be recouped in about two years because the city will save about $4,300 per year in their electricity bill. There was some concern among council members that the LED lights are brighter than those currently in use, but cover a smaller area. But, the idea of saving money brought the council to a unanimous decision to replace them all with LED bulbs.

The council also heard an update on the Sheldon Crossing Community Park Master Plan with much of the discussion centered on the proposed Lodge. The twelve to fourteen thousand square foot Lodge would accommodate from three to four hundred people for special events. The South side of the Lodge would overlook the water area. The council voted to have RDG Planning and Design move forward with refining their plan including projected costs. It is thought this could be in the 3.5 to four million dollar range. Tax Increment Financing funds could be used for this, but the city will also apply for grants and do other fund raising.

The council also approved Ashley Elgersma as a new SCAT member and Evan Grell as a new member of the fire department. And, they set April 15th at 4:30 as the time and place for a Public Hearing on a street improvement project.

Worthington Woman Arrested On ID Theft Charges

Hospers, Iowa — A Worthington, MN woman has been arrested on identity theft charges in Sioux County.
REAL ID Driver's License DL
The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that on Tuesday afternoon, March 17, their deputies arrested 22-year-old Dionicia Lopez-Tema of Worthington, MN.

Lopez- Tema was charged with Forgery and Identity Theft.

The investigation was initiated after the Sheriff’s Office received a complaint from a person in Puerto Rico reporting that someone was using her identity at Premium Iowa Pork, in Hospers. After an investigation, deputies believe that Lopez-Tema was working under that person’s identity.

Details Unveiled About 2015 Tulip Festival

Orange City, Iowa — The annual Orange City Tulip Festival Extravaganza was held on Wednesday, March 18. The event featured a luncheon and program during which the costumes for the 2015 Tulip Queen and Court were revealed, the 2015 Parade Marshal was introduced, and the commissioned artwork for the 75th annual festival was unveiled.
Orange City Tulip Court 2015
Members of the 2015 Tulip Court are Queen Cara Venema, daughter of Dan and Tonya Venema; Jennifer Droog, daughter of Rick and Sue Droog; Sydney Huizenga, daughter of Darren and Dawn Huizenga; Micah Vande Vegte, daughter of Gary and Amy Vande Vegte; and Emily Wielenga, daughter of Kevin and Dixie Wielenga.

Queen Cara and her Court will wear the authentic dress from mid- to late 19th century Friesland. This is the first time the Friesland costume from the era has been introduced at Tulip Festival.

The costumes include voluminous, ankle-length skirts and fitted jackets that feature a v-shaped overlay, fitting over the apron. The Court members’ skirts and jackets are made from a cotton calico fabric, and Queen Cara’s are made of an eggplant-colored satin. The white aprons and shawls worn by the royal Court are lace-edged and feature hand-embroidered, authentic Dutch motifs. Queen Cara’s apron is made of a fine black lace and her shawl is fine white lace edged in lace trim.

The hats worn by the 2015 festival royalty are made of fine white lace that was pleated, starched and sewn to a crown of similar lace. Two gold filigree decorations adorn the Court members’ hats from the year 1900, while Queen Cara’s hat from the year 1860 is embellished with two gold hatpins and four gold filigree decorations.

The Friesland dress is accessorized with gold teardrop earrings, necklaces, bracelets and velvet purses that feature hand-beaded work.

An additional highlight to the Extravaganza was the introduction of this year’s parade marshal. The Tulip Festival Steering Committee was pleased to honor Harley Kleinwolterink as the parade marshal for the 75th annual Tulip Festival.

As a trained carpenter, Kleinwolterink has served the festival for over 20 years through the construction and refurbishing of several parade entries and floats.

Kleinwolterink’s first Tulip Festival project was the construction of the scissors-sharpening cart in the mid-1980s. The cart continues to be pushed in each parade during the Dutch Heritage Walk.

Utilizing his innate craftsmanship, Kleinwolterink has led and assisted with the construction and refurbishing of several floats seen in Tulip Festival parades, belonging to both the festival and First Reformed Church. His work continues in 2015 as he is assisting with the construction of a float celebrating the 75th year of Tulip Festival.

“Harley’s commitment to creating unique and prestigious floats has greatly enhanced the parades and experience offered to community members and visitors,” says Arlyn Schaap, co-chairman of the Steering Committee. “We are so grateful for his dedication to our celebration.”

A third piece of the Extravaganza program was the unveiling of the commissioned art piece by local artist John E. Vander Stelt.

The oil painting, entitled “A Faithful Walk,” features a father and son in the foreground, both of whom are wearing clothing from the province of Volendam. The father is carrying buckets of water with the assistance of a traditional yoke, while his son takes a curious peek inside a bucket.

“I wanted to paint a scene that would take a glimpse into the heritage of the community and of the festival,” says Vander Stelt.

The painting also features a Dutch windmill in the distance, highlighted by a recent sunset, and a long path on which the father and son are standing.

“The winding path connects and leads from the present where the father and son stand, to the past with roots in the Netherlands,” Vander Stelt describes.

Two options of prints of the work are available for purchase at the Tulip Festival office. The first option is a traditional print on sterling paper, 75 of which are signed and numbered by Vander Stelt. The paper is sized at 22”x22” and the print at 18”x18.” Print number 1/75 will be framed and auctioned off at the grand opening of Stadscentrum later this spring.

A canvas print of the work, sized at either 24”x24” or 30”x30,” can also be ordered through April 30.

The original art piece, sized at 30”x30,” will be on display at Stadscentrum during Tulip Festival.

Tulip Festival news, event information and volunteer opportunities can be found on the festival website at, and on the festival’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Students Selected To Attend All-State Speech

Sibley, Iowa — Several area high school students, including six from Sheldon have been selected to attend the Iowa High School Speech Association’s All-State Festival for individual events.
ihssa speech
The speech students received the honor at a state contest that was held in Sibley on Saturday. Students are rated by three judges and at least two out of the three have to nominate the student for the All-State honor.

The six from Sheldon are Rosa Gude in Solo Musical Theatre, Shane Madsen in Radio News Announcing, Jessica Karolczak in Expository Address, Addison Grant in Reviewing, Jacob Sandholm in Literary Program, and Ross Van Kley in Acting.

The All-State Festival will be at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls on Monday, March 30th.

Complete listing of area students selected to attend:


Madeline VanVoorst, Literary Program
Matthew Hansmann, Public Address
Elizabeth Rankin, Prose
Kayla DeWeerd, Poetry

Gehlen Catholic
Michaela Bretey, Public Address
Megan Kellen, Acting

George-Little Rock
Jacob Dickmann, Acting

Harris-Lake Park
Morgan Eggers, Radio News

Joel Campbell, Solo Musical Theatre

MOC-Floyd Valley
Daphne Heimensen, Original Oratory
Aricson Knoblock, Acting
Aaron Rohrer, Improvisational Acting
Daina Howrey, Radio News
Cara Venema, Spontaneous Speaking

Rock Valley
Meghan Teunissen, Literary Program

Lora Lindberg, Prose
Marissa Pham, Original Oratory

Sioux Center
Courtney Woelber, Public Address

South O’Brien
Tristan Verdoorn, Improvisational Acting
Randa Karli, After Dinner Speaking

West Lyon
Micayla Ter Wee, Public Address

West Sioux
Shania Marienau, Solo Musical Theatre

Western Christian
Anna Christians, Acting
Aaron DeBoer, Radio News

For times and specific locations of performances, as well as winners from other areas of the state, visit the IHSSA website.

AUDIO: Feenstra Suggests Boycott Of Des Moines

Des Moines, Iowa — A northwest Iowa State Senator is voicing his opinion about a lawsuit being filed by the Des Moines Water Works.
Randy Feenstra 2
Senator Randy Feenstra from Hull is calling for a boycott of Des Moines in his blog, “The New Generation Republican.”

The lawsuit is against the northwest Iowa counties of Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac. The lawsuit will contend that the counties and farming operations have not done enough to reduce nitrate levels in the Raccoon River, thereby affecting the City of Des Moines water supply.

Feenstra writes, QUOTE:

“I firmly believe that the power of our agricultural community needs to stand up against Des Moines. I would advocate that rural Iowa boycotts Des Moines. This could be done by shopping in other communities, vacationing in other areas of the State, and holding our many organizational meetings in Ames or Cedar Rapids. Iowa has plenty of great locations; we don’t need Des Moines and this arrogant mentality against rural Iowa. It’s time rural Iowa sends Des Moines a clear message!!!”

We had a chance to talk with Feenstra about the situation.

He tells us about the boycott.

Senator Feenstra says he’s receiving an incredible amount of support from the governor’s office and other areas of the state. He says it sets a bad precedent when one taxing entity is going after another and going after the rural farming community. He says that should never happen.

Feenstra’s blog can be found at

If your browser or device cannot access the audio players above, here are the direct links to the audio sound bytes:
Cut 1
Cut 2