Sheldon School Board To Meet

Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon Community Schools Board of Education will meet in both Special and Regular Sheldon High SchoolSessions this Wednesday evening.

Wednesday night’s meeting will begin with a Special Session at 5:30 pm.  The sole item on the agenda for this meeting calls for the Board to receive the Initial Bargaining Proposal from the Sheldon Education Association, the union that represents the District’s teachers.

At 6:00 pm, the Board will embark upon their Regular January Monthly Meeting.  During that meeting, there will be a representative from the Iowa State Auditor’s Office who will go over the District’s Audit Report for FY 2013-14.

The Board will also hear an update from Superintendent Robin Spears on the East Elementary Construction-Renovation Project, as well as a report on the progress of developing the District’s new website.  Spears will also talk with the Board about health insurance premiums, and the Board will consider the purchase of a new school bus, among other agenda items.

The meeting is scheduled to wrap up with a closed session for discussing the District’s negotiation strategy with the teacher’s union.

Wednesday’s meetings will be held in the High School Library.


Rock Valley Man Airlifted From Scene After Alvord Area Accident

Alvord, Iowa — A Rock Valley man was airlifted to a Sioux Falls hospital after an accident near Alvord on Monday, January 12, 2015.
avera mckennan careflight new helicopter
The Iowa State Patrol reports that about 4:20 PM, 52-year-old Robert Hepp of Hartford, South Dakota was westbound on 210th Street, about two and a half miles east of Alvord in a 2004 Peterbilt semi. Thirty-eight-year old Aaron Westra of Rock Valley was southbound on Fir Avenue in a 1996 Buick.

Westa failed to stop for a stop sign according to the report, and drove into the passenger side of the truck.

Westra was trapped and was freed mechanically. The Avera Care Flight helicopter landed at the scene and transported Westa to Avera Medical Center in Sioux Falls.

The investigation continues.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office and rescue crews from Inwood, Rock Rapids, and Alvord assisted Iowa State Patrol troopers on the scene.

Hawarden Woman Who Pocketed Customers’ Cell Phone Payments Sentenced

Orange City, Iowa — A Hawarden woman has been sentenced to a suspended ten-year prison term after she was found to have pocketed cash payments from customers.
Sioux County Courthouse_sva
Sioux County Attorney Thomas Kunstle says that 27-year-old Brenda Faviola Montes of Hawarden was sentenced on Monday, January 12, 2015, in Sioux County District Court for the crime of First Degree Theft, a Class C Felony.

Court records indicate that on July 30, 2014, the Hawarden Police Department received a complaint from Cellular Services reporting that a customer was late on a payment and was facing disconnection. The owner of the store contacted the customer who stated they brought in cash and gave it to employee Brenda Montes. The owner and a US Cellular district representative confronted Montes, who admitted taking cash payments from customers and deleting the payments from their accounts over an 18-month period.

Montes was sentenced to ten years in prison. The ten-year prison term was suspended and she will serve three years probation. She was also ordered to pay restitution to Cellular Services, pay a $125 Law Enforcement Initiative Surcharge, successfully complete a victim empathy course, and submit a DNA sample.

State Auditor’s Office Releases Audit Report Of Sheldon Schools

Des Moines, Iowa — Auditor of State Mary Mosiman has released an audit report on Sheldon Community School District in Sheldon.

stock photo
stock photo

Mosiman reports that the district’s revenues totaled nearly $13.5 for the year ended June 30, 2014, a 7.5% increase over the prior year. Revenues included nearly $4.5 million in local tax; charges for service of nearly $1.2 million; operating grants, contributions and restricted interest of slightly over $2 million; instructional support surtax of about $550,000; statewide sales, services and use tax of about $844,000; unrestricted state grants of about $4.3 million; unrestricted investment earnings of about $30,000 and other general revenues of nearly $30,000.

Expenses for district operations for the year ended June 30, 2014 totaled about $12.7 million, an increase of 4.4% over the prior year. Expenses included about $7.8 million for instruction; about $3.3 million for support services; nearly $66,000 for non-instructional programs (excluding food service operations); about $914,000 for other expenditures and about $581,000 for food service operations.

A copy of the audit report is available for review in the district secretary’s office, in the office of Auditor of State and on the Auditor of State’s web site at

UPDATED: Community Health Center in Sioux Center Awarded $31,210 In Federal Grant Funding

Sioux Center, Iowa — Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center has been awarded $31,210 in federal funding that recognizes quality achievements and invests in ongoing improvements.
Promise Community Health Center Sign
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced $36.3 million in Quality Improvement Awards grants to 1,113 health centers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and seven U.S. territories. The health centers receiving the awards are proven leaders in areas such as chronic disease management, preventive care and use of Electronic Health Records to report quality data.

Nancy Dykstra, executive director of Promise Community Health Center tells us what they do and how they do it.

Dykstra tells us how they can operate with reduced fees.

But, Dykstra says this funding is different. It’s more of a reward that reflects the tremendous team effort the staff gives to make Promise a quality performer, she says.

She says they expect to serve even more people in the future. In fact they’re trying to get the word out about their services.

She says unlike other federal programs, there is not much paperwork and you don’t have to prove citizenship. All they need to know is how much you make so that they can decide how much or how little to charge.

More about Promise Community Health Center and the award they have received:

Promise was recognized among the top 30 percent of Federally Qualified Health Centers nationwide for achieving best overall clinical outcomes by receiving $16,210 in funding in the Health Center Quality Leaders category. Nationwide, 361 health centers received $11.2 million in the category. Promise also received $15,000 in funding in the Electronic Health Records Reporters category for using EHRs to report clinical quality measure data on all of its patients. Nationwide, 332 health centers received about $4.9 million in funding in the category.

“These funds reward and support those health centers that have taken steps to achieve the highest levels of clinical quality performance and improvement,” said Health and Resources Administration administrator Mary Wakefield.

For a list of Quality Improvement Awards recipients for fiscal year 2014-15, visit Promise Community Health Center, headquartered in Sioux Center, is the only Federally Qualified Health Center in the far northwest corner of Iowa. To learn more, visit

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
Cut 3
Cut 4
Cut 5

Iowans At High Risk For Radon In Homes; Governor Signs Proclamation

(Undated) Iowa — Iowa is believed to have the largest percentage of homes in the U.S. with radon levels above what the Environmental Protection Agency calls “acceptable.” Mindy Uhle, with the Iowa Department of Public Health, says at least half of the homes in the state have an elevated radon level.
Branstad signs radon action month

(as said) “Iowa’s designated as a ‘zone one,’ which means that we have a high risk for radon in a lot of homes in the state,” Uhle says.

In fact, in a map designating radon action levels, not only is every county in the entire state in “zone one,” but so are many counties in many of the states surrounding Iowa. That’s why experts are especially encouraging Iowans to test their homes.

Radon is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that causes no immediate health symptoms, but long-term exposures may cause lung cancer. It comes from the breakdown of uranium in soil. Uhle encourages all homeowners to purchase a radon test kit, which typically costs less than $20.

(as said) “We would recommend doing that test every couple of years,” Uhle says. “Some people also like to do it after they’ve done major renovations or any kind of work in the home that might affect how air moves through the home.”

Radon gas typically seeps into a house under the home — through cracks in the foundation, floor or walls, and openings around floor drains, pipes and sump pumps. Uhle suggests having a second test done if a first test shows high levels of radon in your home. It’s not difficult to fix the problem, but she says you will probably want to double check before having any work done.

(as said) “It’s basically a vent pipe and fan system within the home to move the air around,” Uhle says. “It draws from underneath the foundation and then it vents it to outside of the building. That can cost anywhere from $800 up to $2,500, it really just depends how the air is moving under your home and where they’re able to pull from.”

Last week, Governor Branstad signed a proclamation, formally declaring January as “Radon Action Month” in Iowa.

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
Cut 3

For more information, you can click here for a link to the Iowa Department of Public Health’s radon page.