Sioux And O’Brien Relays For Life Friday Night

Rock Valley, Iowa — This Friday is the date for the American Cancer Society Relays For Life in both O’Brien and Sioux Counties. O’Brien’s will be at the Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center at Northwest Iowa Community college in Sheldon. Sioux County’s will be at the Rock Valley Community School.
Relay for life RFL luminaria bags
We had a chance to talk to one of the organizers of the Sioux County event, Twila DeKam, and she tells us what’s happening.

She tells us the main festivities start with the opening ceremonies.

DeKam tells us about the food and entertainment available.

With the wet weather we’ve been having, we asked if they had a plan “B” if it wasn’t possible to hold the relay outside. DeKam says in case of inclement weather, the relay will be held in one of the Rock Valley Community School gyms.

DeKam says they’d like to thank all their sponsors, including:

Again, that’s for the Sioux County Relay for Life in Rock Valley on Friday night at the Rock Valley Community School. The O’Brien County Relay For Life is Friday night as well. That’s at the Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center on the campus of Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon.

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

Trooper: Please Don’t Disable Your Amber Alerts

Statewide Iowa — Hundreds of thousands of smartphone users in Iowa were jolted awake around 2 o’clock Wednesday morning by an AMBER Alert. It’s the second time in two weeks the emergency warning system has gone off in the wee hours and it’s left some Iowans wanting to disable the feature. Sergeant Nate Ludwig, of the Iowa State Patrol, says those cell phone alerts are vital and he hopes people will reconsider.
smart phone amber alert sxc

(As above) “I would advise them not to disable them,” Ludwig says. “If this was one of their kids or someone they knew or someone they might have clues about, they’re not going to be notified by this wireless alert.”

The incident involved a father abducting his young son in Urbandale, both of whom are presumed to have died in a vehicle fire Tuesday night in northern Missouri. While the outcome in this case was tragic, Ludwig says he’s confident in how the AMBER Alert system is working.

(As above) “The two previous AMBER Alerts we had before that, the one up in Clay County and the one in Jefferson, as soon as the AMBER Alert goes out, they reach as many people as possible and the end result was, these kids were returned safely and they were returned quickly, within an hour after the AMBER Alert went out,” Ludwig says.

The alerts are also going out in several other venues, like on Iowa Lottery ticket machines, the Iowa D-O-T’s roadside message boards and over weather radios. Still, people’s frustrations with the notifications in the early hours were compounded by word the father and son were killed in the fire several hours before Iowans were even alerted to the abduction.

(As above) “In this case, people are jumping to conclusions,” Ludwig says. “They hear the child was missing since 11 o’clock yesterday and then the AMBER Alert goes out at 1:45, but they don’t hear the whole story. Like with anything, you’ve gotta’ hear the whole story before you realize what happened.”

In this case, the father wasn’t expected to return the child until 8 P-M and it wasn’t until later that the mother reported the possible abduction. He says all procedures were followed and the alert was issued as quickly as possible. Ludwig notes, since the AMBER Alert program was initiated in 1996, a total of 767 children who were subject of the alerts have been safely returned to their homes.

Story from Radio 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

School Board Approves Teacher Contract

Sheldon, Iowa — The Board of Education for the Sheldon Community School District approved the negotiated 2015-16 contract with the Sheldon Sheldon-Schools-logoEducation Association, the union representing the District’s teachers, during their regular monthly meeting held Wednesday evening.  Some of the changes from the previous contract include a $500 increase in base salary, and a decrease in the direct contribution toward health insurance that will change the annual rate from more than $7875.00 to just over $6,245.00.  Other changes include an incremental increase, an increase in the co-curricular calculator, and some minor contract language changes.  The final contract agreement can be viewed here.

The Board also approved hourly pay increases for the District’s Classified Staff, including the secretarial, clerical, Food Service, custodial, and bus driver staffs.  Those increases ranged from 45 to 70 cents per hour.  The Board also took up the subject of salary adjustments for Administrative personnel, but tabled that item, saying they needed more time before acting on the recommendation.

The Board approved 2015-16 contracts for Elementary Special Education Teachers Kim Rice and Samantha Fox, Middle School Language Arts Teacher and Assistant High School Volleyball Coach Heather Keizer, High School Guidance Counselor Shelby McGraw, and Assistant Football Coaches Jason Groendyke and Justin Albers, as well as approving Wally Wolthuizen as a Volunteer High School Softball Coach.

The Board also accepted bid proposals for bread and milk products for the upcoming school year.  Milk products will be purchased from Dean Foods, the low bidder, with bread products coming from the lowest bidder, Pan-O-Gold Baking Company.

In other action, the Board voted to purchase six new Xerox copiers from A & B Solutions at a total cost of just under $36,000.  The Board also voted to replace the carpet in the office complex at the high school, as well as the Media Center at a total cost of almost $22,300.  Technology upgrades were also approved at Wednesday’s meeting, with the Board accepting the low bid of $57,851 for server and firewall replacement.  And, they approved a Commercial Maintenance Agreement with C.W. Suter Services for the HVAC systems in the District’s various buildings, at a cost of $19,850 for the year.

Due to a schedule conflict for the normal July meeting date, the Board’s July meeting will be held Wednesday, July 15th at 6:00 pm in the high school library.


Group Leader Weighs In On Eminent Domain

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Utilities Board has issued a schedule of deadlines for the controversial Bakken oil pipeline which would criss-cross the state from northwest to southeast. The schedule indicates the board will decide in December or January whether the project may proceed. Lawmakers adjourned the 2015 legislative session without passing a bill that would have made it harder for pipeline developers to forcibly acquire land by eminent domain. A group called the Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance had lobbied for the bill and the group’s president, Carolyn Sheridan, says they’re hoping the legislature revisits the issue in 2016.
city council

(as said) “We thought we gained a lot of momentum,” Sheridan says. “We have a good deal of legislative support from legislators across the state.”

The utilities board has set an August 10th deadline for the company to complete its filings to seize property through eminent domain. A public hearing on the oil pipeline project will be held in late November or early December, at a location that will be determined later. Sheridan’s group is also opposed to the Rock Island Clean Line, a project that would carry wind power out of Iowa to more urban areas to the east.

(as said) “We, of course, will look to next session, but right now we need to get busy and do what we were doing anyway and that’s to inform people and to maintain with the Iowa Utilities Board that eminent domain should not be used at this level.”

Critics say state officials should not grant the projects eminent domain authority, since these are for-profit endeavors that will not yield a direct public benefit to Iowans. Supporters of the projects say thousands of good-paying temporary jobs will be created and both projects aim to increase U.S. energy production, reducing dependence on foreign sources.

In anticipation of a go-ahead from the Utilities Board, three Iowa counties have hired engineers to oversee installation of the oil pipeline and a contractor has begun delivering pipe to Jasper County.

Story From Radio 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

ROME LTD Announces New President

Rome - PresidentSheldon, IA — ROME LTD has elected Katie Evenson as their newest President and the first female President to lead The Industry Leader in Manufacturing of Meat Grinders into the future. Katie has worked for the 3rd generation family owned company for almost 20 years. Evenson started with ROME LTD in 1997 in the Purchasing department. Through the years, she has transferred roles to gain knowledge of the business including Accounting, Scheduling, Account Management and Sales Manager. In her new role, Katie will be responsible for driving brand strategy and continue ROME LTD’s growth plans.

Katie’s most recent process improvements to ROME LTD have been the successful implementation a 8,000 sq ft new welding room including the industry’s only robotic welder. This latest addition to the Sheldon, IA manufacturing plant will help to further quick turn-around times for new and rebuilt parts.  Partnering with long time business partners, Metcalf Designs & CMO; Evenson has opened ROME Canada and to develop the Empress Series; the new standard in cutting parts. The Empress Series has been a vision of Evenson’s for the last 5 years as increased growth overall for ROME LTD has steady risen creating a demand to manufacture and inventory a ROME LTD brand of cutting parts.

Evenson’s promotion comes as Mike Weaver, 2nd generation owner and industry expert for more than 30 years, announces his retirement. “It is with great joy and excitement to announce Katie as the new leader of ROME LTD.” says Weaver. “This has been a move that has been coming for many years as she has helped to grow the company to what it is today. I look forward to see her ideas and plans for future growth become implemented to continue a dominate name in the grinding industry.”

Dates Set In Crude Oil Pipeline Debate

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Utilities Board has decided on a timeline for decision-making on the Dakota Access Pipeline Project, and a final decision is scheduled for this winter.
Welder Welding Pipes
The proposed $3.78 billion pipeline is to start in the Bakken/Three Forks oil fields in North Dakota, cut through South Dakota, enter northwest Iowa, starting near Inwood and heading southeast through Lyon, Sioux, and O’Brien Counties, on its way to to a terminus in Illinois, with various potential points of destination along the pipeline.

The first deadline is July 27, 2015. That’s the date by which those seeking to comment in the permitting process need to have filed their comments. By August 21, the board will issue a report identifying any matters Dakota Access needs to address in its testimony.

In the matter of the use of eminent domain, Dakota Access has until August 10th to file its initial exhibit. The report from the Utilities Board telling Dakota Access what matters it needs to address in its testimony needs to be complete by September 14th. Testimony for the use of eminent domain needs to be prepared by September 23rd.

Those for the pipeline need to submit their testimony by September 8. Those against, by October 12. By October 26th, those for the pipeline need to file any rebuttals.

The hearing, in front of the Iowa Utilities board — while it may not take that long — is set for November 12th through December 2nd.

The IUB hopes to make their decision in late December or early January, which is about the same time as the Illinois Commerce Commission and the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission make their decisions.