Sheldon, Iowa — After only inching forward the past couple of weeks, this past week, significant progress has been made toward the United Fund goal.Sheldon United Fund 2014

Last week, The fund was at $19,933. This week we are told it’s up to $24,684, an increase of over $4700. While that’s great news, the fund does need to average over $3600 per week until the end of the month to finish on goal. Since it seems many people give to the United Fund as a Christmas gift or end of the year tax write off, reaching the $33,000 goal seems doable.
The fund drive is now 87% finished. However, the funds are still only at about 75% of goal. Over $8,000 has yet to be raised.

Contributions may be left at any of the four Sheldon banks, or you can also send them to PO Box 41, Sheldon. Essays explaining each organization are available at the banks.

Each week we’re mentioning a few of the organizations that benefit from your donations. This time the list includes:

  • Lutheran Social Services of Iowa
  • Meals on Wheels
  • Noah’s Ark Preschool
  • Northwest Life Awareness Council
  • Prairie Arts Council

The United Fund will be assisting 25 different organizations in Sheldon and the surrounding communities this year, and they thank you for your contribution.

Ames, Iowa — State officials are drafting plans for digital driver’s licenses, so you could show your photo I-D by pulling out your smart phone. Iowa Department of Transportation director Paul Trombino showed a mock-up to the governor and his aides on Monday.

Artist's interpretation of digital driver's license (not actual app)

Artist’s interpretation of digital driver’s license (not actual app)


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(as said) “This is a digitally-encoded drivers license. It’s on your cellphone, so you can carry it around with you,” Trombino said. “It has as much, if not more, digital encoding than the one in your wallet.”

Trombino says it could be used at a traffic stop, at the airport or anywhere else you’re asked to show identification.

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(as said) “It really opens up the doorway, I think, for a lot of different types of transactions,” Trombino says.

Trombino expects the digital license would be available to motorists in addition to that small, plastic version for your wallet, at no additional charge. Some motorists are already showing proof of insurance with an app on their smart phones.

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Tea, South Dakota — The Lewis & Clark water system may get some more funding to help it inch toward the goal of connecting the rest of the cities and rural water systems on its proposed route.lewis & clark water tower

On Thursday, the House of Representatives approved the fiscal year 2015 Budget that includes an additional $31 million for the Bureau of Reclamation’s Rural Water Program. The Senate approved the budget on Saturday night. Once finalized, Bureau officials will decide how to divide the $31 million among six rural water projects. In addition to Lewis & Clark, there are two projects in Montana, two in New Mexico and one in North Dakota.

The President proposed a total of $16.3 million for rural water construction in his fiscal year 2015 Budget. Of that amount, he proposed $2.4 million for Lewis & Clark. Whatever portion of the $31 million Lewis & Clark receives would be on top of the $2.4 million. With the additional funding, the total construction funding for the Rural Water Program would be $47.3 million. This is close to the $49 million in the FY14 Budget and the $51 million in the FY13 Budget (combined remaining federal cost share for the six projects is currently $1.4 billion). Last time Lewis & Clark received a total of $8.35 million.

Lewis & Clark Executive Director Troy Larson says that the tri-state Congressional delegation in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa fought long and hard this year to secure additional funding and Lewis & Clark cannot thank them enough for their strong bi-partisan support and leadership. While everyone hoped the final number may even be higher, he says this is certainly a situation where we need to view the glass as being “half full.” Larson says that hopefully the Bureau of Reclamation will agree with the many good arguments being made why a significant portion of the $31 million should be allocated to Lewis & Clark.

Started in 1990 (this January will be the 25th anniversary of incorporation), Lewis & Clark is currently 65 percent complete and is delivering water to 11 of its 20 members. Two more members – Rock County Rural Water District and Luverne – are expected to begin receiving water in 2015. Lewis & Clark officials say that when it’s completed, the project will benefit an estimated 300,000 people in southeast South Dakota, northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota in a service area the size of Connecticut.

young soybean plants in fieldNorthwest Iowa — More meetings are scheduled across northwest Iowa to help farmers decide whether to chose the Price Loss Coverage or Agriculture Risk Coverage option of the farm bill. There’s still one more meeting put on by Iowa State University Extension, and there are meetings put on by the Iowa Farm Bureau coming up.

Over 2700 farm producers, land owners and ag professionals have attended 13 meetings put on by Iowa State University Extension in northwest Iowa since November 17; and the final meeting in 2014 is set for next Tuesday, December 16 in Sibley.

Meeting leader Melissa O’Rourke says that producers and landowners can learn about the new programs authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (commonly called the Farm Bill) at the meeting in Sibley.

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The meeting will be held at 1:00 PM on Tuesday, December 16 in Sibley. The location is the First Presbyterian Church.

There is no registration fee. However, participants should pre-register to assure adequate seating, copies of materials and refreshments by calling the Osceola County Extension office at 754-3648.

In addition, the Iowa Farm Bureau is offering free informational meetings to help farmers navigate their options as well. These meetings will be led by Ed Kordick, Commodity Services Manager for the Iowa Farm Bureau.

The Farm Bureau reminds farmers that Farm Bill enrollment decisions will be binding for the duration of the five-year farm bill, so it’s critical that they have a clear understanding of the options available and what best fits their farming operation.

The meetings put on by the Farm Bureau are also free of charge and open to both Farm Bureau members and non-members but again, you are asked to pre-register.

A meeting will be held on Monday, December 22 in Le Mars at the Plymouth County Convention Center at 1:00 PM. Another is scheduled for later that same day — on Monday, December 22 in Sheldon at Northwest Iowa Community College, Building A room 116-119 at 6:30 PM.

You can contact Phyllis Postma at the O’Brien County Farm Bureau Office (712-957-2535) in Primghar to register.

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Spirit Lake, Iowa — The identity of the man who died in the apartment building fire in Spirit Lake has been released.fatal ambulance II

The Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office identifies the man as 48-year-old Edwin Dowd of Spirit Lake.

The fire destroyed an apartment building Sunday afternoon in the downtown area.

There were 32 apartment units in the building, but not all of them were occupied at the time of the fire. The official cause of the fire is listed as undetermined, due to the extensive damage. However, investigators earlier said they believed it started in a kitchen.

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Finance Authority Board of Directors has approved a total of more than $7.3 million in grants to 27 Local Housing Trust Funds to support local affordable housing initiatives, which will assist 2,336 Iowa families. And a northwest Iowa fund is receiving over $300,000.IFA Logo

The funding is provided from the State Housing Trust Fund’s Local Housing Trust Fund program.

Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Dave Jamison says that the Iowa Legislature created the Local Housing Trust Fund program to allow certified Local Housing Trust Funds the ability to efficiently fulfill unique local affordable housing needs throughout the state and these awards will do just that. He says that the grants are leveraging an additional $4.1 million in local contributions, which he says is a testament to the shared dedication of meeting these vital needs.

The grant funds will be used for initiatives such as preserving aging housing stock, subsidizing local down payment assistance programs, providing low-interest loans or grants to assist Iowans in home rehabilitation, financing construction of new single-family housing for low-income Iowans and supporting housing for persons with disabilities and homeless assistance programs. The State Housing Trust Fund was created by the Iowa Legislature in 2003. Since its inception, the program has provided over $49 million in affordable housing assistance that has benefited more than 15,000 Iowa families.

Jamison says that the Northwest Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund, Incorporated will receive $339,392. The fund serves Buena Vista, Emmet, Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola and Sioux Counties.

Washington, DC — Republican Congressman Steve King tried, but failed to get House approval of his attempt to “cut off funding now” so President Obama’s executive order on immigration cannot be implemented. King asked the Republican-led House Rules Committee for permission to put his plan forward for a House vote, but he was rebuffed.
steve king forster center

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(as said) “It’s time that we stood up and fight now rather than fund now and fight later,” King said in a video statement posted on YouTube.

A vote to prevent Obama’s action on immigration will come in January, G-O-P leaders say, after the new Congress is sworn in and Republicans have control of both the House and the Senate.

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(as said) “We’re sitting here with a majority in the House and soon a majority in the Senate, but waiting for the Senate is waiting too long because if we wait, we are then compelled to fund now and fight later, if we fight at all,” King said. “I say, instead, cut the funding now. Start the fight now.”

King’s alternative plan would have funded federal government operations through January 31st.

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(as said) “That seats the new Republican majority in the Senate, it seats the expanded (Republican) majority in the House and it makes us stronger in fighting this president,” King said. “We will have to put him in a political straight-jacket or there won’t be anything left of the Constitution by the time we elect another president.”

The spending plan Congress has been considering only funds the Department of Homeland Security through February. That’s the agency that oversees most immigration policy.

Story from Radio Iowa

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Spirit Lake, Iowa — First State House District Representative-Elect John Wills has been selected as vice chairman of a house committee.

House Speaker Kraig Paulsen recently announced that Representative-Elect John Wills (R-Spirit Lake) will serve as the Vice Chairman of the House Environmental Protection committee.
Wills
Paulsen says that Wills brings a unique perspective and tremendous real world experience to the Environmental Protection committee. He says that Wills will be a valued asset to the committee.

Wills was also appointed to the Natural Resources, Human Resources, State Government and Agriculture and Natural Resources budget subcommittees.

Wills will represent District 1, which includes all of Lyon and Osceola Counties, and the northern two-thirds of Dickinson County.

Sheldon, Iowa — The Sioux County Sportsmen’s Club, in cooperation with the Sioux Prairie Chapter of Pheasants Forever, is currently selling 2015 calendars as a fundraiser.  And folks who purchase these calendars are Sioux County Sportsmen's Clubautomatically entered into a drawing for 52 handguns or long guns to be given away, one each week throughout 2015.

Dennis Hoksbergen is a Board Member of the Sioux County Sportsmen’s Club, and he tells us about how the funds raised by the calendar sales are used.

Hoksbergen says the club will give away a gun each Wednesday, throughout 2015, to people who purchase these calendars.

Hoksbergen says that every calendar you buy gets you an additional entry in the gun drawings.

The 2015 Sioux County Sportsmen’s Club Gun Calendars sell for $30 each, and are available at the front desk at KIWA Radio.  You can see the list of gun winners each week by visiting the Sioux County Sportsmen’s Club website at www.siouxcsc.org.

Hoksbergen also said he wanted to thank all of the sponsors, who are listed on the calendars, for their contribution to this project.