Jordan Oct 2014Parsippany, NJ — A Sheldon graduate is about to compete in the Miss New Jersey USA pageant again.

Jordan Rector competed last year and finished in the top 16 out of 132. She tells us about herself.

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She tells us that she hopes to make New Jersey proud, but she hopes to make Sheldon proud as well. Jordan tells us how she feels about having the chance to compete, and says she feels good about her chances.

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She says she attributes her pageant success to her upbringing and lessons she learned during her time in Sheldon.

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Rector tells us about the schedule for the pageant, which starts this Friday, October 17th. She says all of the contestants will have a short interview with judges on Friday.

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Rector says you can keep up with the pageant on twitter with #MissNJUSA.

The winner of the Miss New Jersey USA pageant will travel her state, promoting causes like breast and ovarian cancer awareness and will serve as a role model for women everywhere. Miss New Jersey USA will also represent her state at the nationally-televised Miss USA pageant, live on national television next spring. The winner of Miss USA will represent the United States at the Miss Universe pageant, which is televised to over a billion people.

If the audio players don’t appear, you can click on the links below (in order) for the audio.

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Dubuque, Iowa — A pilot who died in a plane crash near Dubuque late last night was the Libertarian candidate for Iowa’s U.S. Senate seat.

Dr. Doug Butzier

Dr. Doug Butzier

The family of Douglas Butzier has confirmed Butzier was piloting the plane that crashed near the Dubuque Regional Airport at about 11 PM Monday. No one else was in the plane. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the single-engine plane took off from the Ankeny Regional Airport at about 10 p.m. and crashed at 11 p.m. about a mile north of the runway in Dubuque.

Butzier, who was an E-R doctor, was born in Mount Pleasant and grew up in Cedar Falls. Butzier, who was 59 years old, has been working at Dubuque Mercy Hospital for the past 17 years.

Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst has issued the following statement:

“I am deeply saddened to learn the tragic news about Dr. Doug Butzier. I appreciated Doug’s willingness to contribute to this important election. In addition to representing Libertarians in this campaign, Doug served his community as an ER doctor and medical leader. Gail and I will keep Doug’s family in our thoughts and prayers as they mourn their untimely loss.”

Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley has issued the following statement:

“I’m shocked and saddened to hear of the sudden and tragic death of Doug Butzier. I have enormous respect for anyone who puts their name forward as a candidate for public office. Carolyn and I send our thoughts and prayers to Dr. Butzier’s wife and family during this difficult time.”

Independent Senate candidate Rick Stewart has issued the following statement:

“Over the last few months Doug and I collaborated closely in our attempts to have our voices heard by Iowa voters. My deepest sympathy goes out to his wife, family, friends and patients. Doug was a strong voice in Iowa for liberty and freedom and he will be greatly missed.”

Story from Radio Iowa; statements from candidates’ committees.

Larchwood, Iowa — Over $250,000 was given to Lyon County non-profits on Thursday night at the Grand Falls Casino.Grand Falls Casino sign at night

The Lyon County Riverboat Foundation reports that fourteen grant applications were awarded at their semi-annual awards ceremony. This is the seventh semi-annual awarding of Competitive Grants.

The foundation also made payments to previously awarded and committed multi-cycle grant recipients totaling $202,607.

Board President Jeff Gallagher announced the award winners at the semi-annual competitive awards night held at Grand falls Casino and Golf Resort on Thursday October 9th. Fourteen applications received funding. Receiving grants of over $30,000 were the City of Inwood, which received $71,035 to update Foote Park; the Larchwood Baseball Club, which received nearly $38,600 for work on the dugouts and fence; Central Lyon Community School District, which received $35,000 towards a security system, and the Granite Threshermen’s Association, which received $32,840 for a sawmill enclosure. Receiving grants of between $10,000 and $30,000 were the Lyon County Ambulance Service, which received over $22,000 for a power load system; the City of Alvord, which received over $19,000 for park improvement, and the City of Doon, which received over $19,000 for a warning siren. Seven more projects received less than $10,000. Those can be viewed in the chart below.

Earlier this year, in July the Riverboat Foundation made a grant to Justice For All for the amount of $30,000 to help with Lyon County disaster relief.

Payments to multi-cycle grant recipients included: The Inwood Aquatic Center, which received the sixth payment of twenty of $37,500; the City of Lester, which received the fourth payment of five of $36,500 for their Community Center; The Lester Fire Department, which received the sixth and final payment of $16,666.66 for their fire truck; the Larchwood-Sioux Fire District, which received the fourth payment of eleven of $33,200 toward their new station; Fellowship Village, which received the third payment of ten of $25,000 toward their new addition; the City of Little Rock, which received the third of 10 payments of $16,250 toward their community center; and Kids Club of Rock Rapids, which received the fourth payment of twenty of $37,500 toward their new facility.

Since inception in July 2011, the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation has handed out 143 competitive grants totaling over $3 million.

By state law, all casino licenses in Iowa are held by nonprofit license holders, which distribute a percentage of gaming revenues to municipalities and other groups. Grand Falls Casino gives four and a half to five percent to the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation for distribution. The percentage increases depending on revenues. The foundation gives half of the money to county government, and the eight municipalities and three public schools in the county; and the other half is given in competitive grants.

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UPDATE: The cause of the fire has been ruled as accidental by Le Mars Fire Chief David Schipper. He says that the most probable cause of the fire was an unattended candle in the bedroom that ignited nearby combustibles.

Original Story:
Le Mars, Iowa — Eleven people are without a home after a fire in Le Mars overnight.FD fire lightbar

Le Mars Fire Chief David Schipper reports that the fire was at 301 Central Avenue. Crews were paged about 11:45 PM. The fire was in a two-story home containing two apartments. When firefighters arrived, flames were seen coming from the windows.

Three adults and eight children were evacuated. Two people, a 40-year-old man and an eleven-year-old boy, were transported to the Floyd Valley hospital. Chief Schipper says the fire was so hot, that he was concerned about the possibility of neighboring houses catching on fire.

A garage also caught fire and a car was damaged in the garage.

The Orange City Fire Department was called to help; and the Red Cross offered assistance to the victims.

Rock Valley, Iowa — Rock Valley Police think they may have found evidence of a meth lab in their city.rock valley police badge

According to a statement released on Monday:  On Saturday October 11, 2014, an investigation by the Rock Valley Police Department led to the discovery of a container consistent with the manufacturing of methamphetamine. It was found under a tree at a home in the 2000 block of 14th Street. Officers followed protocol and evacuated adjacent homes. The scene was made safe by clandestine lab cleanup officers certified in the disposal of hazardous chemicals.

No arrests have yet been made but the investigation continues and criminal charges are expected.

The Rock Valley Police Department was assisted by the Sioux County Sheriff’s Department, the Iowa State Patrol, the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, the Rock Valley Fire Department, and the Rock Valley Ambulance.

The Rock Valley Police Department urges the public to remain vigilant and to report to authorities any suspicious containers located on their properties. The Rock Valley Police Department also encourages parents to educate their children of the dangers of methamphetamine manufacturing.

Northwest Iowa – Energy suppliers say this time there’s plenty of propane available for Iowans to heat their homes in the winter ahead. Deb Grooms, executive director of the Iowa Propane Gas Association, says a series of events last year led to a record spike in prices, but they also will mean a better plan this time around.

Audio MP3

Click or tap the play button above or this link to listen.

(As above) “Everybody was harvesting at the same time throughout the Midwest and then it got cold right away, so we didn’t have the build of propane up the terminals like we had,” Grooms says. “Few people expected they were going to have to dry corn because it had been a dry summer and it surprised them when they got into the fields and found out they were going to have to do a lot of drying.”

Farmers need to dry the grain before it’s stored so it doesn’t spoil. Grooms says that extra pressure on L-P supplies last October caused a shortage for residential customers. Grooms says those residential customers were told to top off their tanks this summer. She says farmers got the same advice from Ag Secretary Bill Northey.

Audio MP3

Click or tap the play button above or this link to listen.

(As above) Grooms says, “He actually sent out a letter to the farm organizations back in July and was suggesting to them to make sure their propane supplies for grain drying and livestock facilities were full going into the fall season.”

Governor Branstad declared an energy disaster last fall when farmers throughout the Midwest used a record amount of the fuel to dry their corn so it could be properly stored. She says that depleted supplies for home owners who were forced to pay record high prices topping five-dollars a gallon.

Sheldon, Iowa — A resident of Sheldon’s Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) was arrested at the RTF Friday accident wordevening (10/10/14).

Sheldon Police say 67-year old Stephen Craig Leonard was taken into custody shortly before 8 o’clock Friday evening on an RTF Hold Order.

No injuries were reported in a 2-vehicle accident Wednesday, October 8th on Highway 18 near the Sheldon Hy-Vee store.

Police say the crash happened when a 1999 Buick, driven by 16-year old Katlyne Strouth of Ashton pulled from the Hy-Vee driveway into the path of a 2000 Chevy truck, driven by 36-year old Israel Bautista-Gabriel of Marcus.  Police estimate the damage to Bautista-Gabriel’s truck at $2500, with an estimated $1500 damage to Strouth’s Buick.  Strouth was cited for Failure To Yield From A Stop Sign.

Artist’s rendition of the proposed entry

Hull, Iowa — A nearly $7 million update to Western Christian High School is planned.  Some of the money had already been committed before the announcement of the project.

The Western Christian High School Board of Directors says that the Western Christian High School constituency approved the campaign for major renovations and improvements amounting to almost $7 million.  The measure passed with a 97% approval vote.  A Kickoff Banquet to publicly announce what’s being called the “Second Century of Service Campaign” is scheduled for Thursday, October 16 at 6 pm at Western Christian High School in Hull.

We talked to Western Christian Principal Dan Barkel, and he says students, faculty, parents and donors are happy about the announcement.

Audio MP3

Click or tap the play button above or this link to listen.

Voters voted to approve three main improvements and renovations to the school. The number one priority in the Second Century of Service Campaign is a three-stage improvement in the academic facilities. Included in this portion of the campaign is a complete remodel of the science wing. New classrooms and state-of-the-art labs for the offerings in science and agriculture will enable students to be better-prepared to either enter the workforce or further their education.


Artist’s rendition of the proposed stage

“Renovating the science wing at WCHS would benefit the students by providing better lab-to-lecture transition, room to work on projects and/or lab work outside of class time without interrupting ongoing class periods, and ease of study in a new one-to-one educational technology setting. Teachers would also be provided with classrooms that function as labs that are separate, yet visible, from their more formal teaching area, aiding in more fluid set-up, transition, and on-going lab work, among many other things,” says Alysia Haveman, science teacher at Western Christian High School.

In addition to the science wing remodel, the health, family and consumer science programs will be moved from the first floor of the school to the second floor where there is available classroom space. This will allow for the area that previously housed those programs to be completely renovated into a Vocational Ag classroom which will introduce students to various areas of industrial manufacturing that is prevalent in Western’s supporting area.

“This is an exciting time at Western Christian High School,” says Principal Barkel. “We have an energetic and dynamic faculty at Western that constantly challenge our students to reach their full potential and prepare them to either enter the workforce or further their education.”  “The economy in northwest Iowa is based on agriculture and manufacturing and we are called to provide [students] with the best Christian education possible and prepare them to take up roles in either the workforce or higher education. We’ve talked to many employers in this area and most of them are looking for hard-working, skilled young people to fill the many well paying positions that are available. We see our new agriculture and vocational programs introducing students and possibly sparking an interest in them in the many opportunities available to them.”

In addition to the academic improvements, approval has been given to renovate the current auxiliary gymnasium/auditorium into an event center. Barkel says this will be a state-of-the-art facility that will greatly enhance the fine arts program at Western Christian High School, yet be versatile enough to host banquets, athletic practices, and various other events. According to administrators at Western, this area will be a model for other schools in utilizing current square footage on school campuses. They say these improvements include completely remodeling the band/orchestra room and choral rehearsal room, updating music offices, practice rooms, and storage areas.

Western Christian administrators say that the proposed event center would provide an enhanced experience for both audience members and performers in theatrical productions and concert performances.  Enhanced acoustics, a larger stage, increased and comfortable seating contribute to these performance opportunities, but the administrators say that the event center and its accommodations will also  provide a meaningful setting for their weekly chapel services.  This event center would contribute to Western’s continual commitment to provide the best  facilities in our lifetime pursuit of “Learning to Serve the King,” says Darren Van’t Hul, choral instructor at Western Christian High School.

“In regards to the new Western Event Center, this space will provide a venue that will greatly enhance the performing arts program at Western and provide a comfortable, well-lit, and acoustically designed facility that is state-of-the-art,” says Barkel. “We are thinking outside the box for this facility because it will have many other uses in addition to the performing arts. We see this as a model for other schools to use.”

Finally, we are told that a new and identifiable entrance to the school will be constructed which will better lend itself to visitor hospitality, community building within the student body, and enhanced security. Outdated corridors will be renovated and a complete overhaul of the HVAC system will be included in the renovations of the school.

“This new entrance will be easily identifiable and more welcoming to visitors who come to Western for events in the event center or for those visitors who are considering Western for their son or daughter,” says Barkel.”We see it as a place we can build a closer community within our student body. It will also lend itself to better security of building during the school day. The only way into the school will be through the office during the school day.”

“The Board of Directors are truly excited to see the results of our Strategic Planning Process bear fruit with this initiative.  We believe these facility and curriculum improvements meet a broad spectrum of needs in the sciences (including agriculture), the fine arts (drama and music), technology, school security, and infrastructure, while at the same time being good stewards with our current space and maintaining the financial integrity of the school.  We are confident these improvements will aide us in our mission of developing well-rounded students and disciples for Christ, while also strategically positioning Western Christian to thrive as we move into the next century of providing high quality Christian education.  Ultimately, we believe these steps reinforce the institutional goal of Learning to Serve the King!” says Kevin Gesink, President of Board of Directors.

Currently, half of the necessary funds for the project have been committed through outright gifts, pledges, and expectancies, according to Western’s Director of Development & Promotions, Wes Fopma. He says that Cannon Moss from Sioux City will be the architect on the project while Poppema Construction from Sheldon, Iowa will be the general contractors. Construction is projected to begin in late spring of 2015.

“God has blessed Western Christian with an energetic and dynamic faculty, a supportive alumni and constituent base, and students who want to find their place in God’s creation, whether that be in the workforce or in furthering their education. As we look forward to celebrating our 100th anniversary as a school we see this project as catapulting us into our next century of service,” says Principal Barkel.

We had a chance to visit with Barkel and we talked about the history of the school and how it was decided to proceed with this project.

Click or tap the play button below or this link to listen to the full interview.

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Sheldon, Iowa — The 2014 Sheldon United Fund Drive is underway and will continue through the rest of the year. The goal this year, like recent years is $33,000.Sheldon United Fund 2014

The fund is up to $11,689.

The fund drive is now 34% finished.  The funds are at about 35% of goal. To finish on goal, the fund should average about $1888 per week for the rest of the drive.  This past week, $1695 was donated.

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:

  • American Red Cross
  • Boy Scouts
  • Children’s World
  • Compass Pointe (Alcohol & Drug Treatment)
  • Family Crisis Center of Northwest Iowa

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