Some Northwest Iowa Schools Without Internet Service

cat 5 rj45 ethernet internet cableNorthwest Iowa — Schools in the northwestern quarter of the state of Iowa that get their internet service through the Iowa Communications Network via Prairie Lakes AEA lost internet service shortly after 11 o’clock this morning.

Steve Meyer of Prairie Lakes AEA says he has been in contact with ICN officials, who tell him that the outage is due to a cut fiber optic cable in the Fort Dodge area.  Meyer says that any school districts that have a backup internet service provider in addition to their service through the AEA are still able to access the internet.  He says the area involved is west of Interstate 35, and north of Highway 20.

Calls to schools in the KIWA listening area indicate that the Sheldon and West Lyon Districts appear to be the only ones who are completely without internet service.

In addition to not having internet service, the affected schools are also without email service, and will not see any emails received after 11:08 this morning, until service is restored.

Street Resurfacing Project Nears Completion

constructionSheldon, Iowa — Motorists driving on the core streets in downtown Sheldon are noticing a much easier and smoother ride than they’ve experienced the past month or so.

A resurfacing project that was begun about a month ago is nearing completion, with just a few finishing touches that still need to be completed.  The streets are open, and according to Sheldon City Manager Scott Wynja, there is still some manual rehab that needs to be completed, as well as the lines painted in the new street surfaces, along with some other minor touch-up issues.

The old surface removal began about a month ago on portions of 8th and 10th Streets, along with portions of 3rd and 4th Avenue around the downtown Sheldon core.  Paving of these streets was completed earlier this week, and the streets are now open to traffic.

Northwest Iowa Bishop To Meet Pope Francis Next Weekend

Sioux City, Iowa — The four Catholic bishops in Iowa — including the bishop for our area — are preparing to travel east to see the pope next week. Pope Francis will make his first trip to America since becoming the leader of the Catholic Church. Bishop R. Walker Nickless of the Sioux City

Bishop R. Walker Nickless Picture from Diocese Of Sioux City
Bishop R. Walker Nickless Picture from Diocese Of Sioux City

Catholic Diocese will have an audience with the pope during the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.

Nickless has never met Pope Francis before. Pope Francis has drawn criticism from conservatives who’ve objected to his comments about climate change and his warnings about “unfettered” capitalism. Bishop Walker says the basic doctrines and teachings of the church are not going to change.

The pope has said Catholics should be compassionate toward gays and lesbians, but Bishop Nickless says the church still considers sexual activity between two people of the same gender a sin.

This summer Pope Francis said Catholics who’ve had an abortion and seek forgiveness during the upcoming “Holy Year of Mercy” should be allowed to take communion. That sacrament is now denied to women who’ve had an abortion. Bishop Nickless says abortion is still a “grave sin.”

Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive in the U.S. on Tuesday afternoon. Next Wednesday, the pope will meet in Washington, D.C. with U.S. Catholic bishops. On Thursday of next week Pope Francis will deliver a speech to a joint session of the U.S. House and Senate. He’ll visit New York the following day and conduct an evening mass in Madison Square Garden. The pope will spend that weekend in Philadelphia for events surrounding the World Meeting of Families.

Falling Gasoline Prices Should Continue

oil well_sxcNorthwest Iowa — Have you noticed that your wallet is a little less empty after filling your vehicle’s gas tank lately?  Gas prices have been falling in recent weeks, and further price declines are predicted.

The Federal Energy Information Administration predicts that gas prices will drop a total of twenty three percent throughout the year 2015.

Here in northwest Iowa, within just the last month or so, prices for unleaded ethanol have dropped approximately 30 to 35 cents per gallon, ranging from a 35-cent per gallon decline in Sibley to 30-cent per gallon declines in Sheldon, Sanborn, Rock Rapids and Orange City.  Current prices range from a low of $2.09 in Rock Rapids to $2.26 in Sibley to $2.29 in Sheldon, Sanborn, and Orange City.

Government forecasters say the reasons for the decline include increased supply of domestic oil production, along with new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.  They say that the increased U.S. oil supply, along with an expected drop in world oil consumption, will most likely continue to push prices lower.  In addition, toward the end of last year, OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting countries, decided not to manipulate prices by restricting oil production.

Meanwhile, here in northwest Iowa, we’ll fill our vehicles, and smile all the way to the bank with the money left over.

Methodist Women Establish Adopt-A-College-Student Program

united methodist 89Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon United Methodist Church Women have revived a program that the church had operated several years ago.  The Adopt-A-College-Student Program matches church members with youth of their church who have gone away to college.

Linda Heiliger is the President of the Sheldon United Methodist Women, and she says that the reasons for reviving the program are threefold.

She says that adults in the church who volunteer to take part in this program are not committing to something that consumes a lot of their time.

Heiliger says that all of the students who take part are members of Sheldon United Methodist Church, and all apply to take part.

She says that when this week began they had two more students who had applied than they had church members to adopt them.  However, as of this time they have secured enough volunteers to fill the demand.

Renowned Economist Speaks In Sheldon

Sheldon, Iowa — Northwest Iowa Developent held its fifth annual partner meeting on Tuesday night, September 15th in Sheldon.

Ernie Goss speaks to NWID Partner Meeting attendees
Ernie Goss speaks to NWID Partner Meeting attendees

The meeting, at the Northwest Iowa Community College Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center featured economist Ernie Goss. Goss’s work focuses primarily on economic forecasting and on the statistical analysis of business and economic data.

Goss’s speech drew conclusions about several economic indicators. He said that the US debt of $19 trillion is an engineered issue and is causing a decline in economic growth. He says the issues are over-regulation and too few incentives being provided by the government for business growth.

He said that it is important to keep students local, and that community colleges are just as important as universities.

Goss said the rising value of the dollar, while it sounds like a good thing — means our products cost more elsewhere in the world. He says when the dollar goes up, grain prices come down, for the most part. Goss went on to say that when grain prices come down, that hurts the local economy. He says restricted trade equals restricted growth.

He says that we are seeing price bubbles not only in ag land value, but across the economy, due to the Federal Reserve’s low interest rates. But he says even that creates opportunity. For instance, he says it’s a great time to borrow money.

Goss criticized the idea that college should be free. He says if you pay nothing for your education, you tend to not value that education.

He also noted that while ag land values are coming down, they’re deflating slowly instead of all at once, and that makes a big difference.

Goss gave his top five economic indicators to watch right now:

  • The Consumer Price Index
  • The Purchasing Management Index
  • Job Data
  • Wage Growth
  • Yield on 10-year US Treasury Bonds

In the awards part of the presentation, three awards were given to four entities.

The Global Iowa Excellence in Exporting award went to Diversified Technologies of George.

The Kirk Grau Business or Organization Innovation Award went to both DK Plastics of Archer and Quatro Composites of Orange City.

And the Beyond Expectations Economic Development Support Award went to the Hartley Economic Development Corporation.