Sheldon, Iowa — A Rock Valley woman was taken to the hospital after her car was rear-ended by another in Sheldon.

According to the Sheldon Police Department, the mishap occurred shortly before noon Wednesday (December 1st), when a 2014 Toyota Corolla, driven by 40-year-old Amanda De Groot of Rock Valley, was southbound on 2nd Avenue (Business 60) and stopped to attempt a left turn into a private driveway. A 2010 Toyota Prius, driven by 51-year-old Troy Sands of Merrill, was also southbound on 2nd Avenue, behind the De Groot car and didn’t stop in time to avoid rear-ending De Groot’s Corolla.

De Groot was transported to the Sanford Sheldon Medical Center by the Sheldon Community Ambulance Team, complaining of head and neck pain, according to the accident report. Sands was not injured.

Damage to the De Groot Toyota Corolla was estimated at $2,000, with an estimated $10 damage listed for Sands’ Prius.

Hospers, Iowa — An area manufacturer is dealing with the after-effects of a cyber attack.

In a letter sent to the Iowa Attorney General’s Office recently, legal counsel for Den Hartog Industries states that On August 30, 2021, they discovered that some of their systems were encrypted. They say they immediately launched an investigation to determine what happened and what information may have been accessed by an unauthorized person during the incident.

The letter says that the investigation revealed that some of the files accessed contained personal information of Den Hartog’s employees. It says that while at this time Den Hartog has no evidence that any information has been misused, out of an abundance of caution, they are providing credit and identity theft protection to their employee community. The potentially-affected information included Social Security numbers, says the letter.

It goes on to say they sent notification letters to 5315 Iowa residents.

The letter says Den Hartog has taken steps to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. Those steps have included working with leading cybersecurity experts to enhance the security of its network and increasing its password complexity requirements. Den Hartog
is also offering the potentially affected individuals credit and identity monitoring at no cost through IDX, to ensure their information is protected.

Des Moines, Iowa — The regional housing trust fund that helps people in our area has received a portion of nine million dollars in grants awarded to such funds statewide.

The Iowa Finance Authority Board of Directors has announced the award of a total of more than $9 million in grants to 27 Local Housing Trust Funds to support local housing initiatives. The grant awards are made available through the Local Housing Trust Fund program and are expected to assist more than 2,100 families.

The Northwest Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund serves Buena Vista, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola, and Sioux Counties. They received about $390,000 from the finance authority.

Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Debi Durham tells us the 2022 Local Housing Trust Fund awards represent the largest amount allocated through the program for local housing initiatives since the program’s inception. She says that the legislature recognized the Local Housing Trust Fund program as a highly successful funding mechanism for advancing housing opportunities for Iowans last session by increasing the amount of eligible funding for the program. She says, “This funding increase will soon make a very real impact on Iowans and our communities.”

The grant funds will be used for initiatives such as preserving aging housing stock, subsidizing local rental and down payment assistance programs, providing low-interest loans or grants to assist Iowans with home rehabilitation, financing construction of new single-family housing for low-income Iowans and supporting housing for persons with disabilities and homeless assistance programs.

Sioux Falls, SD — One of the healthcare systems serving northwest Iowa has released some numbers about their financial impact to the region, and the news is good.

Sanford Health officials tell us the system boosted the economies of South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa by a total of $11.9 billion in 2020, according to a new study conducted by an external firm.

Bill Gassen, president and CEO of Sanford Health says that making their communities stronger and healthier is at the core of everything they do at Sanford Health. He says their economic activity supports families, neighborhoods, and communities for generations to come, and their growing workforce re-invests in the many areas they proudly call home.

Sanford Health officials tell us the system is the largest employer in South Dakota and one of the largest employers in North Dakota. In 2020, the study found that more than 73,000 jobs generating $4.7 billion in wages and earnings were directly and indirectly attributed to Sanford Health.

They say that in every community with a Sanford clinic, employee salaries are contributing significantly to the local economy. Households supported by Sanford Health spent $6.3 billion on goods and services in 2020.

Sanford Health contributed $4.5 billion to economic activity in South Dakota and $4.3 billion in North Dakota in 2020. Minnesota saw a $2.6 billion economic impact from Sanford Health, while Iowa benefited from $361.9 million in economic activity from Sanford.

The study was conducted by an external firm utilizing IMPLAN, a nationally recognized economic impact modeling system based on 2019 data to calculate the 2020 impact from Sanford operations in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa. The methodology estimates economic relationships among industries, households, and government. This analysis includes both the Sanford Health Enterprise and Good Samaritan Society operations in these four states.

To view at the full impact report, visit sanfordhealth.org/communityimpact.

December 2, 2021 - 3:30 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — Believe it or not, December is here, Christmas is just over three weeks away, and 2021 is almost over. Each year, according to Iowa State Patrol Trooper Kevin Krull, December is set aside for the prevention of a major cause of traffic Deaths.

Trooper Krull says there are two major party dates in December that combine to make it the deadliest month of the year on Iowa’s roadways for impaired driving fatalities.

Krull says that every year, nationwide, nearly 11,000 people lose their lives in impaired driver collisions. That’s almost twice the total population of Sheldon EVERY SINGLE YEAR.

He says those celebrating the holidays with adult beverages should pace themselves.

And for those hosting holiday parties, Trooper Krull offers some ideas to help your guests stay sober.

Krull urges you to enjoy the holiday festivities in a responsible way.

 

Northwest Iowa — Iowa Republican State Representative Skyler Wheeler of Orange City has announced his plans for the 2022 election cycle.

With redistricting caused by population shifts in last year’s Census, Wheeler, who currently represents District 4 in the Iowa House, says he’ll be running for re-election in the newly redrawn House District 3.

After redistricting, Wheeler and Republican Representative Dr. Tom Jeneary of Le Mars were both thrown into the same new District 3. Wheeler says he and Jeneary were in close contact while each man assessed his options going forward.

Wheeler was recently named Baseball Coach for Unity Christian High School in Orange City, which he called a deciding factor in his decision to remain in Orange City.

He tells us about the geographical area that is included in the new Iowa House District 3.

While he has represented Sioux County since first being elected in 2016, he says he’ll now take the contacts he has made in Plymouth County and build on those contacts, meeting the people of that county and building relationships there.

As for Wheeler’s friend, incumbent Representative Dr. Tom Jeneary, he has three options. He can challenge Wheeler for the District 3 nomination in a primary next summer, which is thought to be highly unlikely to occur. He can move south and seek re-election in that news District, or he can choose to retire from the Iowa Legislature. Wheeler says, to the best of his knowledge, Jeneary has yet to announce his intentions.

 

Sioux Center, Iowa — A communications company serving many communities in northwest Iowa has announced the retirement of their CEO and his replacement.

With headquarters in Sioux Center and offices in Rock Rapids, Hospers, and Le Mars, Premier Communications provides 29 communities with local and long-distance voice services, high-speed Internet, and cable television programming.

The Board of Directors of Premier Communications tells us that Ryan Boone has been named the Chief Executive Officer of the company beginning January 1st, 2022. Transitioning from CEO, Doug Boone will continue to serve Premier as the Executive Vice President – Strategic Initiatives.

Premier leadership tells us that Ryan Boone has been a part of Premier’s leadership team for eleven years, the last five as Chief Operating Officer. Beginning in 2022, Ryan Boone, as CEO, will assume the executive leadership responsibilities of Premier, including the development of Premier’s vision for the future and execution of long-term business strategies.

Boone says Premier has a rich history of providing state-of-the-art communications services with superior customer service. He says that as a company, they have been able to maintain those two tenants while experiencing significant growth and he says, “It has been a pleasure being a part of the team that contributed to that success under Doug’s leadership. As CEO, I hope to continue our trajectory of growth and I have confidence in the team we have in place to execute on the opportunities presented to us.”

Information from Premier indicates that as CEO, Doug Boone led Premier to achieve “substantial increases in revenue, profitability, and number of customers served.” As the transition approaches, Doug Boone says, “It has been an honor to serve as the CEO of Premier Communications. I am grateful to have played such a central role in Premier’s advancement and I am proud of the accomplishments that the company has made together. As we move into the new year, I look forward to serving Premier in a new position and I am confident that Ryan will be an excellent leader in his new role.”

December 1, 2021 - 1:22 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — The IRS has dubbed this “National Tax Security Awareness Week” in an effort to remind you to keep your personal information safe.

IRS spokesman, Christopher Miller, says the end of the year is a problem time.

He says there are two new scam buzzwords in particular that should send you a warning.

Miller says those types of fraud cost Iowans one-point-eight million dollars.

He says scammers will try to send you files and links to open up that will infect your computer or try to get you to give up personal information. He says there is one thing you can know for certain.

Miller says you can get more information on what to look for and what to avoid at their website: IRS.gov.

November 30, 2021 - 4:37 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Two fires were reported in northwest Iowa on Monday.

The first one was a farm equipment fire in which a farm windrower caught fire and was destroyed. Fire Chief Mark Shriver says coincidentally it was his own windrower that caught fire. He says he was five miles north and a mile east of Sutherland near M12 and 410th Street when he noticed a fire in the engine compartment of the unit. He says by the time he got his stuff together and escaped the burning unit, it was engulfed in flames.

Luckily, says Shriver the ground he was on had been picked for silage, leaving only very short stubble and not much to catch fire. Also, he says it was only about 30 yards from some CRP grassland, so it could have been worse. He says firefighters were there for about an hour, tops.

The other fire call was to a basement on fire north of Hull. Hull Fire Chief Ron Hoksbergen says when they arrived, firefighters found flames coming from the basement and a house full of smoke. He says firefighters donned air packs and made quick work of extinguishing the fire. He tells us that there was some light damage to clothes and paperwork and they had to knock out some windows for ventilation, but besides that, the damage was minimal.

Rock Valley and Doon firefighters also responded. Hoksbergen says the cause of the fire is undetermined. He says they were on-scene for about an hour.

Northwest Iowa — Gas companies across northwest Iowa and the country are preparing their customers for high heating bills this winter. While the National Weather Service says there are equal chances for a colder winter, a warmer winter, and a normal winter, the base price of natural gas is already at a multi-year high, according to experts.

MidAmerican Energy serves the Sheldon community and many others in Iowa with natural gas. MidAmerican spokesperson Geoff Greenwood says they saw this coming.

He says one of the reasons the market is high is record exports from the United States to other parts of the world.

Greenwood says if it turns out to be a cold winter, demand will increase, sending prices even higher. If it’s a more mild winter, demand will be down, so prices might not rise as high.

He suggests winterizing your home, a programmable thermostat, and other energy-saving ideas to use less natural gas in an attempt to moderate the effects of high gas prices on your bill. If your income is in the moderate or low range, he says you might consider LIHEAP — the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program — a program that you can sign up for through Upper Des Moines or Mid-Sioux Opportunity or the community action agency serving your area. He says too, that if you’re having trouble paying your gas bill, you can call MidAmerican or your natural gas provider as well. Many of them have help available, and at the very least can help you by letting you pay your bill over a longer time.