More Details Released On Power/Water Outage

Sioux Center, Iowa — Power has now been restored to all parts of Sioux Center after an electrical substation blew up early Saturday morning, leaving half the town of 75-hundred without electricity. As if the power outage wasn’t enough, the community also suffered a major water main break at the same time, leaving hundreds of homes and businesses without power or water. Sioux Center City Manager Paul Clousing says utility crews worked non-stop through the weekend to help restore power.
Sioux Center Logo

He says the outage lasted several hours.

Clousing says some electrical transformer boxes within close proximity of the substation were blown off their foundations when the substation short-circuited.The Sioux Center city manager doesn’t know which came first — the water main break or electrical outage.

The American Red Cross was called in to offer assistance to the community, and the Sioux Center High School gymnasium served as an emergency shelter. Clousing says the town will continue to use the portable substation that was brought in to help restore power. He predicts it may be months before the permanent electrical substation will be fully repaired and working.

There was also a subsequent fire at the city’s waste water treatment plant.

Sioux Center Police Chief Paul Adkins says although there has been a string of suspicious fires in Sioux Center in recent months, he has no reason to believe that any of the damage to the water main, the substation, or the waste water plant was suspicious or criminal in nature.

sTEP Program Set For Thanksgiving Weekend

Iowa State Patrol CarSheldon, Iowa — This Thanksgiving weekend law enforcement from around the state of Iowa will be holding another sTEP enforcement period.  sTEP stands for Spacial Traffic Enforcement Period.

Vince Kurtz is a trooper with the Iowa State Patrol tells us what the Thanksgiving sTEP is all about.

Kurtz says the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is traditionally one of the most deadly on Iowa’s roadways.

He says this sTEP period will begin Wednesday.

Kurtz says alcohol is a major contributing factor in many traffic crashes.

Remember to buckle up, slow down, and drive sober this holiday weekend.

Wind Energy Transmission Line Application On Hold

Des Moines, Iowa — The review of a wind energy transmission line that is supposed to start in O’Brien County has been put on hold. The line is supposed to cost two billion dollars and it would run 500 miles from O’Brien County to Scott County, Iowa.
Wind Turbines SVA
Officials representing the proposed line, known as the Rock Island Clean Line have requested that the Iowa Utilities Board — or IUB — staff stop actively reviewing the franchise petitions for the proposed electric transmission line. No hearing date has been established.

The project suffered a setback when the IUB decided in February that they would hold one hearing instead of two to decide if the project could proceed, and whether the company could use eminent domain. The company said that meant they could end up buying millions of dollars of property, only to have the project rejected by the IUB.

If the project takes place, it is supposed to include a 250-million dollar station near Sanborn, where it would convert electricity from alternating to high-voltage direct current and send it down the line.

O’Brien County Economic Development Director Kiana Johnson has been working with project officials. She says they have basically put their application on hold. She says Rock Island Clean Line is essentially letting the Energy Transfer Partners crude oil pipline project application move before them for review with the IUB.

Johnson says it’s her opinion that this is a smart move for Rock Island to observe the process and the IUB ruling on the pipeline project. A decision on the crude oil pipeline is expected by the IUB by January.

Rock Island Clean Line Map O'Brien 2013

One Transported Via Ambulance After Accident

Little Rock, Iowa — One person was taken to a hospital after an accident near Little Rock on Friday.
Little Rock Ambulance
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 5:30 PM on Friday, November 20th, 16-year-old Robert Sheridan of Estherville, Iowa was driving a 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan eastbound on Highway 9 when he lost control due to poor road and weather conditions. The report says 49-year-old Greg Nelson of Sioux Falls, SD was driving a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado westbound on Highway 9 when a trailer he was pulling was struck by Sheridan.

Minor injuries were reported by Sheridan and one of his passengers, and one of them was transported to a hospital via ambulance.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports the Little Rock Fire Department, the Little Rock EMS and a wrecker from Jeddeloh Ford assisted them.

The Family Leader Hosts Presidential Round Table

Family Leader LogoDes Moines, Iowa — Seven Republican presidential candidates gathered around a table in Des Moines Friday night — in front of hundreds of Christian conservatives — for a discussion that focused on the “coarsening” of America and how to spark a revival. The event was put on by the Family Leader, a Christian conservative group headed by Sheldon native Bob Vander Plaats.  Protesters disrupted the event twice.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee responded.

Huckabee later said he wasn’t bothered by the protesters, because they won’t be thrown in prison or shot like they would in other countries where there are no free speech rights. Texas Senator Ted Cruz told the crowd the greatest moral threat facing the county is an assault on Christian values by Washington, by Hollywood and by the media.

Retired surgeon Ben Carson criticized political correctness, especially on college campuses.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio says the country’s threatened by an erosion of values and it starts at the top.

In the second hour, moderator Frank Luntz asked the candidates to define what they would consider to be a “just” war. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum says it’s time for acknowledge Islamic terrorists believe they are in a holy war.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul called not only for broader background checks on refugees from more than 30 countries where Islamic terrorists cells are forming, plus Paul says there should be broader restrictions on all travel into the United States.

At the end of the event, the moderator asked questions designed to the get the candidates to talk about their faith and how it had been challenged. Former Hewlett-Packard C-E-O Carly Fiorina discussed her battle with cancer, her daughter’s death and how faith had sustained her during it all.

The forum was organized by The Family Leader and Bob Vander Plaats, the group’s president, urged the crowd to consider what was said by the candidates, pray about what they heard and choose one to support.

Vander Plaats and The Family Leader’s board of directors will meet to consider endorsing one of the candidates.

Cattlemen Thank Carcass Challenge Donors

Ames, Iowa — The 5th annual Iowa Cattlemen’s Association (ICA) Carcass Challenge is off to a good start. A total of 55 steers, donated by cattlemen and friends of the industry across the state, have been delivered to Amana Farms. Several of those donors are from our part of northwest Iowa.
Challenge Steers
The steers were vaccinated with booster vaccines, retagged and weighed. The carcass challenge steers will be allowed a two week warm-up to help remove the shrink factor from the haul to the feedyard and allow the steers time to acclimate to the new feed ration and environment. Official on-test weights and carcass ultrasounds will be taken on Wednesday, November 25, 2015.

All steers will be ranked in two categories: efficiency and carcass quality. Steers will be ranked on the “Retail Value per Days on Feed” category which scores the steers on their profitability in the feedyard based on carcass characteristics and feed conversion. The “Carcass Merit” category ranks steers solely on grid price per pound, with discount allowances for small ribeye areas, low average daily gain, and excessive trimming. The top five in each category receives an award and recognition during the awards banquet.

In addition, individual awards will be given to the steers with the highest Average Daily Gain, largest Rib Eye Area, the top marbling score, and the chef award, which is for a 12-14” ribeye with the highest marbling score.

The Iowa Cattlemen’s Association says the proceeds from the generous donations help drive educational and leadership opportunities for ICA members, such as the Young Cattlemen’s Leadership Program and ICA feedlot and cow-calf forums.

To view photos of this year’s steers please the ICA Facebook page.

Northwest Iowa donors include 360 Cattle & Evan Vermeer of Sioux Center, Brad Kooima of Rock Valley, the Clay County Cattlemen, Kent and Sylvia Pruisman & Steve and Trent Rehder of Hawarden, Northwest Bank of Sioux Center, the Sioux & Lyon County Cattlemen, Sioux Center Veterinary Clinic, and Van Zee Feeder Cattle of Sioux Center. There were 47 donors from other parts of the state.