November 30, 2011 - 1:40 pm - Posted in News

Construction on the new Prairie Winds Event Center is expected to finish by May 31. 

The 17,000-square-foot space is being built on State Highway 10 East.  Read The Full Story…

The results of a city-wide naming contest for the new event center in Orange City were presented to the City Council by the Event Center Advisory Board on November 7. More than 50 names were submitted in response to the naming contest, and each were reviewed by the board. The Council endorsed the advisory board’s recommendation of “Prairie Winds Event Center.” The individual who submitted the name—who wishes to remain anonymous—wrote, “The style and interior architecture of the facility reflects our location on the prairie and plains. The exterior reflects our Dutch heritage. The Dutch harnessed the power of nature in their windmills, and we live in a place where wind is a regular part of the landscape. Wind moves the prairie grasses like waves in the sea. Wind spins our windmills. Wind is movement.”


With the completion date on schedule and the opening in mind, the event center manager has begun taking reservations for events starting in mid July, 2012. The proposed rental fee structure and policies were approved at the Orange City Council meeting on November 7. For more information on reservations and rates visit


As you drive through the south side of Orange City, it’s hard to miss the towering structure taking shape on Highway 10. The peaked roofline, brickwork, and arched windows of the new event center are indicative signs that the construction is making significant progress. “We are on schedule, and confident of the May 31, 2012, completion date as originally planned,” reported Marty Guthmiller, chair of the Event Center Advisory Board. “The roof is nearly complete, and the brick work has begun.” According to the construction update, the facility will be completely enclosed by winter, which will allow interior work to continue regardless of weather conditions.


A web site for Prairie Winds Event Center will be launched soon. In the meantime, information is available at Inquiries can be forwarded to Maria Plueger, Event/Brand Manager, at or 712-707-4885.

November 30, 2011 - 10:04 am - Posted in News

First Reformed Church in Orange City is hosting a Soup and Pie Supper Wednesday December 7th from 5-7 PM. This free will supper will raise funds for our youth group’s summer mission trip to Chicago. The menu will include chili, tavern, cream chicken, chicken soup, pea soup, pie, and ice cream. Childcare is provided.

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Sheldon, Sibley, Sioux Center and Orange City have all jumped the first hurdle to being named a “Blue Zone Community” in Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative. Community members were to voice their support for their community to become a “Blue Zone Community”. Now, these northwest Iowa towns are among 58 Iowa communities chosen from the initial 84 to advance to the next level — submitting a full application.

We talked to Greta Giese, coordinator of the NCC Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center in Sheldon and asked her what being a “Blue Zone Community” is all about.

She says from the book, they developed a program.


She says they’re called the “power 9” principles.


She says the idea is to change the whole community, including recreation programming, restaurants, businesses, and many facets of our lives. The Blue Zones Community model coordinates strong existing programs, brings in experts to inspire, train and provide innovative best practices, and ultimately organizes programs to provide greater options for physical, emotional, and social health.

The Sheldon Blue Zone Committee will meet Tuesday, December 6 to go over the application, delegate responsibilities and discuss their next steps. The deadline to submit the application is January 4. From there, finalist communities will be announced in February and in February and March 2012, a team will visit the communities selected to assess the community’s ability and desire to become a Blue Zones Community. The winning Blue Zones Communities will be selected and notified in May.

For more information, you can go to

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director

November 29, 2011 - 2:48 pm - Posted in News
Good Morning Orange City
The upcoming launch of a new power breakfast series, Good Morning Orange City, will showcase the progress underway in Orange City and Sioux County. Whether it is city and county government, public and private education, or community Read The Full Story…
November 29, 2011 - 12:12 pm - Posted in News

 Dr. Kim Jongerius, professor of mathematics atNorthwesternCollege, is among 10 members of the Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences who contributed to a new book, “Mathematics Through the Eyes of Faith.”

Published by HarperOne and co-sponsored by the Council for ChristianCollegesand Universities, the book invites readers to consider the rich intersection of mathematics and Christian belief. The authors examine both secular scholarship and theology as they explore issues such as the relationship between chance and divine providence and whether or not mathematical concepts point to a higher reality. Recognizing that the study of numbers can raise spiritual questions, “Mathematics Through the Eyes of Faith” demonstrates that math contributes to a Christian understanding of an ordered world.

Jongerius, who is currently serving as president of the Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences, co-authored three of the chapters: “Infinity,” “Dimension” and “Proof and Truth.”

Mathematics Through the Eyes of Faith” was edited by Dr. James Bradley, professor emeritus of mathematics atCalvinCollege, and Dr. Russell Howell, professor of mathematics atWestmontCollege.

Jongerius joined Northwestern’s faculty in 1993 and received the Northwestern Teaching Excellence Award in 2005. She earned doctoral and master’s degrees in mathematics atColoradoStateUniversityand received a bachelor’s degree in English and math atNorthernArizonaUniversity.

November 29, 2011 - 11:18 am - Posted in News
A community action agency serving part of our area is holding a fundraiser.
Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Inc. is hosting their 3rd Annual mitten fundraiser by partnering with local businesses in five counties to provide assistance to needy families.  You can help by purchasing a mitten at any of the participating businesses for $1.00.  All proceeds go towards meeting the needs of families in Lyon, Sioux, Plymouth, Cherokee and Ida counties.  All of the funds raised will be used for direct services to families.  Assistance may be in the form of clothing items, food, rental assistance or utility assistance. You may purchase a mitten at any of the following businesses:
              In Le Mars:                  Mr. Movies
              In Remsen:                   Mrs. B’s Convenience Store
              In Cherokee:                Fareway, Hy-Vee, Cherokee County Store, Valley Bank
              In Ida Grove:               Pronto, Cenex or Food Pride
              In Rock Rapids:           Sunshine Foods, P-N-P
              In Sioux Center:           Sioux-Per Center
              In Granville:                Granville Short-Stop
Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Inc. is a Community Action Agency that fights poverty on the local level serving Cherokee, Ida, Lyon, Plymouth and Sioux counties in Northwest Iowa.  The mission of Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Inc. is to meet individual and community needs through educational, health, financial and outreach services.
November 29, 2011 - 11:12 am - Posted in News

Unemployment numbers for northwest Iowa continue to be quite low compared to other areas of the state, and Lyon County again has the lowest unemployment rate in the state.

The October 2011 numbers are just out, and compared with last year at that time, O’Brien County has no change, with 4.0 percent. Osceola County unemployment is down four tenths of a percent from 5.0 to 4.6. In Sioux County it’s up slightly from 2.9 to 3.1. Lyon County’s unemployment is down slightly from last year from 3.0 to 2.7 percent.

Interestingly enough, the northwest quarter of the state also has the highest unemployment. That’s Hamilton County with 9.0 percent. They also had the highest jump, from 7.2 percent last year. The county was dealt a blow when the Webster City Electrolux plant closed last March.

Meanwhile, the statewide unemployment rate held steady at six-percent in October despite an increase in jobs. Iowa Workforce Development spokesperson, Kerry Koonce, says the number of unemployed dropped below 100-thousand for the first time since November of 2009. The problem is that jobs are like a Black Friday bargain — a lot of people are lined up for them — but the supply is limited.

Koonce says there were new jobs created.


Koonce says job losses were the highest in the leisure and hospitality industries.

Iowa had an unemployment rate of six-point-two percent at this time last year, so Koonce says holding in place is a positive.


The U-S unemployment rate dropped to nine (9%)percent in October from nine-point-one (9.1%) percent in September.

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director

November 28, 2011 - 10:23 am - Posted in Obituaries

Sara VanDe Brake, 39, of Sioux Center, IA died unexpectedly Friday, November 25, 2011 at her parent’s home near Matlock, IA.

A visitation will be held Tuesday from 4-8PM, with the family present from 5-7PM at the Memorial Funeral Home of Sioux Center.

A graveside committal service will be held Wednesday at 9:30AM at the Greenwood Cemetery at Matlock, IA.

A memorial service will be held Wednesday at 11AM at the First Christian Reformed Church of Sioux Center with Rev. Mark Verbruggen officiating.

In lieu of gifts or flowers, the VanDe Brake family prefer memorial donations to Hope Haven, Inc. of Rock Valley, IA.

Sara Marie VanDe Brake was born in Sheldon, Iowa on November 30, 1971 to Lynn and Cindy (Vellema) VanDe Brake. Sara attended grade school at Sheldon Christian and Sheldon Public grade schools. She graduated from Western Christian High School in Hull in 1990. While in high school Sara earned the Bulldog Award from the Marine Corp. This honor is awarded to persons who exhibit great courage and perseverance in the face of adversity.

Jesus was the Lord of Sara’s life and she trusted His plan for her. She was a professing member of First Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Center, Iowa and loved her church family. Her Thursday night friendship group and Sunday school class brought her great joy.

For 20 years, Sara was employed in the deli at the Sioux Center Hy-Vee. The camaraderie and support she received from her co-workers and customers was priceless. She also valued her time volunteering at Royale Meadows Health Center. Sara was happiest on the days she was kept busy helping others. Sara never met a person she didn’t call a friend and always made time for a smile and a big hug for her friends whether she was working at the deli or getting lunch at Taco John’s.

In spite of the tremendous physical challenges Sara faced, she loved her life. She enjoyed bowling and placed first in the regional Iowa Special Olympics this year. She treasured time with her friends and family, looking forward to “Let’s Go” activities with her friends and visiting her parents’ home in Sheldon, especially when all of her sisters, brothers-in-law and nephews and nieces were there. Sara loved family gatherings with her aunts, uncles and cousins.
Left to cherish her memories are her parents, Lynn and Cindy VanDe Brake of Sheldon; sisters and brothers-in-law: Abby and Jason McCoid of Sioux City and their sons Taylor and Gabe; Cristy and Mike Mosey of Kuna, Idaho and their daughter Cyndi; Laura and Mark Cassada of Liverpool, New York and their daughters Sunnie and Piper. Sara was surrounded by the love of many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends also left to remember her.

It gives those of us who loved her such comfort to know that Sara was greeted in heaven by Jesus as well as her paternal grandparents, Gerald and Ruth VanDe Brake, maternal grandparents, Henry and Bertha Vellema, her uncle Kenny Vellema and many other friends who have passed.

November 22, 2011 - 1:41 pm - Posted in News

A new women’s shop is coming to Orange City.  The details have not been revealed as yet.  Stay tuned for further info.