April 18, 2019 - 3:23 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Since it’s spring, and we can once again dig in the ground, April is National Safe Digging Month – a time to remember to always call 811 before excavating or digging.

Every six minutes in the U.S., an underground utility line is damaged because someone started digging without first calling 811. MidAmerican Energy is the electric and gas company serving Sheldon and a number of other northwest Iowa communities. MidAmerican spokesperson Geoff Greenwood tells us it’s very important.

He says it’s very easy to ask for lines and pipes to be located.

Greenwood tells us that the person or entity doing the digging is the one who should call 811. If a contractor is doing digging on your property, you should make sure they have called 811 first. He says it’s a nationwide number, so it should work anywhere in the United States. It’s a free service.

Statewide Iowa — The 2019 Iowa legislature may be poised to increase the number of working Iowans who can claim a tax credit for child care expenses.

Parents with an annual income above $45-thousand are NOT currently eligible. A bill that’s cleared a senate subcommittee would make Iowa parents who earn up to $57-thousand a year eligible for child care tax credits. Hull Republican Senator Randy Feenstra has been working on the proposal.

Senator Pam Jochum, a Democrat from Dubuque, says it’s a significant move.

The bill also would set up indexing for these child care tax credits. It means there would be annual, incremental increases in the income level at which a parent is eligible to receive a tax credit for child care expenses.

Northwest Iowa — It’s been said that Iowa has two seasons: “snow removal” and “road construction.” Hopefully we’re done with snow removal until late fall. That means it’s time for road construction.

We talked with Iowa DOT Transportation Planner Dakin Schultz recently, and he told us about construction projects planned on state and federal highways in northwest Iowa this year.

He says that the project will probably start in May. He tells us they do have just a little work on Highway 18 between Sanborn and Hartley to finish.

According to Schultz, that project will involve both lanes of Highway 60.

As we reported recently, there is also a patching project on Highway 71 through the heart of the Okoboji area, but if all goes well, it should be done before Memorial Day.

We also talked to the county highway engineers in our area and we’ll tell you what projects will happen on the county roads in future stories.

April 18, 2019 - 12:29 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — Law enforcement officers across the state will be out in force the next couple of days in a “4/20” specialized enforcement campaign. 4/20 is the unofficial national “holiday” for those who smoke marijuana.

The project is called Drive High, Get an OWI, as Iowa State Patrol Trooper Nick Erdmann explains.

Normally when we think of impaired driving we think of alcohol, but Erdmann says drugs are often more of an issue than alcohol.

He says even prescription drugs can cause problems.

Trooper Erdmann says driving impaired, whether due to alcohol or drugs, can put a big pinch on your pocketbook.

He says those costs pale, however, in comparison to the consequences of being involved in an accident in which somebody is hurt or killed.

Law enforcement officers at the state, county and city level will be out and about Friday and Saturday for the 4/20 enforcement project. And to those drivers who are NOT impaired by drugs or alcohol, Trooper Erdmann says his best advise is to watch out for impaired drivers, and drive defensively.

April 18, 2019 - 11:23 am - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon is suspending one of their long-offered courses of study.

John Hartog is vice-president for student and academic services at NCC, and he says the suspension of the carpentry and construction trades program is not a decision that was made lightly.

Hartog says the college’s board of trustees approved the suspension earlier this week.

He says one of the great things about community colleges is that they’re structured to respond to the needs of the community.

Hartog says this decision affects the college, the community and the program’s instructor. He spoke in glowing terms about that instructor, Ryan Cannoy.

Hartog says he has reached out to all the students who had committed to attending NCC for their Carpentry and Construction Technology program, and informed them the program will no longer be offered at the Sheldon institution.

April 17, 2019 - 3:10 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — Northwest Iowa Community College has fielded their first intercollegiate athletic team, but it might not be what one normally thinks of when thinking college sports.

This is the first year for NCC to field a Sport Shooting team. The teams’coach, Brian Lauck tells us about the NCC Sport Shooting Team.

Lauck says safety comes first with the sport.

He says shooters must have their guns unloaded with the action open unless they’re on the line, ready to call for the bird.

Lauck says Sport Shooting is the fastest growing sport in the country.

Like all extra-curricular activities, Lauck says academics come first.

He says they hold formal team practices Tuesday and Wednesday each week, weather permitting. All of the NCC team members provide their own shotguns for the sport, which are stored in a secure off-campus facility, since the NCC campus is a gun-free zone.

Lauck not only coaches the NCC team, but also coaches the Cherokee High School Sport Shooting Team.

April 17, 2019 - 1:58 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — Two people were transported to the hospital in the aftermath of a two-truck collision early Tuesday afternoon one-half mile south of Sheldon on Highway 60.

According to Sioux County authorities, a 1973 International straight truck, driven by 74-year-old Alvin Kats of Sheldon was northbound on Highway 60. Deputies say a 2006 Freightliner semi-tractor pulling a grain trailer, and driven by 47-year-old Joshua Howrey of Rockwell City was also northbound on Highway 60 behind Kats’ truck, and struck the rear of Kats vehicle. According to authorities, both drivers lost control of their vehicles and entered the east ditch, with Kats’ truck coming to rest on its side.

Kats and Howry were both transported by SCAT to the Sheldon Sheldon Medical Center for treatment of their injuries.

Deputies estimate damage to Kats’ International at approximately $10-thousand. The Freightliner sustained approximately $30-thousand in damage, according to authorities.

Howry was reportedly cited for following too close.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Sheldon Police Department, Sheldon Fire Department, Sheldon Community Ambulance Team, Sheldon Emergency Management Agency and Iowa Department of Transportation‐Motor Vehicle Enforcement.

April 17, 2019 - 10:30 am - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office continues its investigation into the discovery of a dead body that was found near the Floyd River, west of Sheldon. According to authorities, the body has been identified as Cory Allen Wright of Sheldon.

The Sheriff’s Office is now specifically seeking information from anyone who may have had communication with Wright on or after October 10, 2018 either in‐person, by phone, text, or social media.

If you have any information about Wright, or this case, you are asked to contact the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office. If you wish to remain anonymous, you may use their Text‐A‐Tip program by texting 274637 and entering “SCSO” in the message body followed by your tip. To contact the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office by telephone, call 712-737-2280.

April 16, 2019 - 3:17 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — The Iowa Lottery is planning on giving away the one-million-dollar Powerball prize that went unclaimed when the ticket expired last week.

The ticket had been purchased in Nevada, and Iowa Lottery CEO Matt Strawn says they did all they could to find the winner, and now will move ahead.

He says they wanted to stick with the origin of the prize to try again to give it away.

He explains how it will work.

He says you can enter by buying a Powerball play during a three-week period.

The prize period to enter is May 29th through June 18th, with the drawing for the one-million-dollar winner on June 19th. The original ticket was purchased at a Casey’s in Nevada and Strawn says they believe it is the first time ever that a one-million-dollar prize went unclaimed. The Casey’s store received a one-thousand-dollar bonus from the lottery for selling the original ticket, even though it went unclaimed.

Hawarden, Iowa — Two more northwest Iowa schools have been recognized by the Iowa Department of Education for their performance in a behavioral program.

Officials in the West Sioux School District report that the department has awarded two schools in their district its top award for creating safe, positive educational environments. Both Ireton Elementary School and Hawarden Elementary School received the Department of Ed’s “Paramount Award” for their top-notch Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports — or PBIS — programs.

Linda Haan, West Sioux’s PBIS coach, tells us what PBIS is.

She tells us what it means that they received the “Paramount Award.”

Only six other Iowa schools received the PBIS Paramount Award.

West Sioux Schools plan to mark this significant award with a celebration this Thursday, April 18th at 10 a.m. The community is welcome and encouraged to attend the event in the West Sioux High School Gym in Hawarden.

Photo caption: Linda Haan, PBIS Coach and Travis Popken, Elementary Principal