Inwood, Iowa — Two West Lyon students have been charged after they apparently took part in the social media trend, “Devious Licks.”

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office recently notified people about the nationwide TikTok trend called “Devious Licks,” which is aimed at middle and high school students encouraging them to vandalize and steal items from their school bathrooms.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office has now charged two juveniles after two soap dispensers went missing from the West Lyon Community School. They tell us one juvenile was charged with theft in the fifth degree and one juvenile was charged with criminal mischief in the fifth degree.

A statement from the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reads, “Parents and students please be aware that this social media trend of taking items from school is a crime. Please be aware of your actions and their consequences.”

September 24, 2021 - 1:36 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — The Iowa Economic Development Board recently approved the rules for a new fund designed to help small meat processors.

Iowa Economic Development Authority spokesperson, Kannan Kappleman, says the agency is charged with handing out the 750-thousand dollars.

She says those rules lay out the requirements to receive the grants.

Kappleman says the shutdown of the large-scale meatpackers during the pandemic shined the light on the smaller operations.

The grants can be used to modernize and improve the operations. The Iowa Legislature passed and Governor Kim Reynolds signed what officially called “The Butchery Innovation and Revitalization Fund” into law in June of this year.

Statewide Iowa — Even for Iowans who never came down with COVID-19, a health care professional says the prolonged pandemic is taking a heavy toll on our mental and physical health.

Ruth Kern-Scott, regional director of a chain of physical therapy centers, says they’re continuing to see more and more clients who are feeling the negative impacts of a more sedentary lifestyle.

Many Iowans are seeing a decline in their overall health, she says, with the rise of weight gain and blood sugar troubles — which can likely be traced back to the shift toward leaving the workplace due to the pandemic.

Kern-Scott works for FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers, which has more than 400 facilities in 45 states, including Iowa.

One potential place to begin is our computers, which can be set to give us reminders to stand up and stretch every 20 or 30 minutes. She says we need to embrace fitness technology and put it to work for us.

 

She says “motion is lotion” and we all need to lubricate our joints and move our bodies in order to be healthy.

Sheldon, Iowa — Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon has been ranked 5th in the nation for two-year colleges with the best three-year graduation rates by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The rankings were released in the August 20, 2021 edition of their annual The Chronicle of Higher Education’s 2020-21 Almanac report and NCC was the 5th best two-year public college in the nation for graduation rates of first-time, full-time, degree or certificate seeking students who entered in the fall of 2016 and completed an associate degree or earned a certificate at the same institution within 150 percent of the normal time to completion for that program. Students pursuing two-year degrees for example, counted as graduating if they had completed the program in three years (by August 31, 2019).

NCC was listed as 5th in the nation with 240 students in the cohort. Of those 240 students, 150 completed their programs within 150 percent of expected time and there was an overall completion rate of 68.85%. Nearly 27% completed less than two-year programs and 42.1% completed two-year programs. Finally, 9.6% transferred to another institution before completion and 1.7% were still enrolled at the College.

The other colleges listed in the top 10 with best graduation rates were: State Technical College of Missouri; Mitchell Technical Institute, South Dakota; Lake Area Technical Institute, South Dakota; De Anza College, California; Samson Community College, North Carolina; Olney Central College, Illinois; North Central Kansas Technical College; and Frontier Community College, Illinois.

Sheldon, Iowa — Sanford Sheldon has announced a substantial contribution toward the turf facility upgrade at Orab Field.

Sanford Sheldon officials have donated $150,000 toward the project to replace the current grass football field with artificial turf.

The turf upgrade will be located on the current Sheldon Community Schools football field, and is a collaborative project between the school district, Northwest Iowa Community College and the City of Sheldon. The new playing surface will be used for the Orab football team, soccer program and the marching band. Additionally, Northwest Iowa Community College will be utilizing the grounds when they begin their intercollegiate soccer program, which is slated to begin in either Fall 2023 or Fall 2024.

Sanford Sheldon CEO Rick Nordahl, says he feels the project is very relevant to the growth of the region “Improving our sporting fields and expanding sports in general with the schools and NCC is a great opportunity for us to showcase to our potential employees the commitment we have as an organization to our community, economic development and educational opportunities.  Thank you for letting us be a partner in improving our community….”

Groundbreaking for the project is slated to begin in Spring 2022, with use by the Sheldon schools in the Fall of 2022.

The cost of the project is estimated to be $1.5 million dollars, which includes the turf project and an enhanced scoreboard. Currently, around $900,000 has been solidified between the school district, NCC and various donors.

For more information on the project or to donate, contact Eric Maassen at the Sheldon High School at 712- 324-2504 or Kristi Landis at NCC at 800-352-4907 ext. 164.

September 23, 2021 - 11:13 am - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — Moody’s, a national company that issues credit ratings on bonds, has given bonds from the State of Iowa its highest rating.

It’s sort of like credit ratings for individuals, as investors check bond ratings to determine whether state-issued bonds are a safe bet. Moody’s Triple A rating means the bonds are considered the highest quality and the lowest credit risk.

State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald says retention of the top rating from Moody’s is “a testament to the State of Iowa’s financial wellness.” According to Fitzgerald, Moody’s cited the state’s cash reserves and its low debt and pension liabilities in issuing the Triple A rating.

In 2020, Iowa was one of only a dozen states that had Triple A bond ratings from Moody’s, as well as two other national credit rating agencies.

Washington, D.C. — Statements from Iowa’s congressional delegation about Tuesday night’s House vote on a bill that would avert a government shutdown October 1st illustrate the partisan stalemate in Washington.

The bill includes funding to keep the government running through early December and raises the limit on federal borrowing through the end of 2022.Republican Congressman Randy Feenstra of Hull says if Democrats want to unilaterally jam through a separate infrastructure package with massive spending levels, they can take sole responsibility for raising the debt ceiling. Feenstra says the Democrats’ infrastructure package will load debt onto future generations.

Republican Congresswoman Ashley Hinson announced last Friday she would not vote to raise the debt ceiling. In a statement after Tuesday night’s vote, Hinson said raising the federal government’s borrowing limit is reckless and irresponsible.

Congresswoman Cindy Axne, a Democrat from West Des Moines, says raising the debt ceiling ensures the U.S. does not default on already existing obligations. Axne says failing to raise the borrowing limit puts the economy and the savings of millions of Americans at risk for choices made by lawmakers of the past.

The bill that cleared the House also includes federal aid for disasters, like the derecho that hit Iowa last year. Congresswoman Axne says that funding for derecho damage is long overdue.

Des Moines, Iowa — State officials have announced the state medical director is leaving, sometime in late October.

Dr. Caitlin Pedati was the medical epidemiologist in Nebraska before she was hired in June of 2018 as state medical director and epidemiologist for the State of Iowa. A news release from the Iowa Department of Public Health says Pedati “plans to pursue new career opportunities.”

Governor Reynolds, in a written statement, thanked Pedati for her outstanding service throughout the pandemic. Reynolds gave Pedati a significant pay boost last year, for an annual salary of 265-thousand dollars. Kelly Garcia, the interim director of the Iowa Department of Public Health, says the work of the last 18 months has been difficult at best and Pedati’s personal sacrifice is to be commended.

Pedati was in the public spotlight at the beginning of the pandemic and spoke at many of the governor’s news conferences. However, it was Pedati’s boss who spoke for the agency during the governor’s most recent pandemic-related news conference.

Pedati took the position when Dr. Patricia Quinlisk retired.

Sheldon, Iowa — It’s been ten years since Northwest Iowa Community College officials cut the ribbon and offered both the college community and the community as a whole — the Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center — commonly known as the “LLRC.”

An event celebrating the milestone is this Thursday morning at the LLRC. New Northwest Iowa Community College President, Dr. John Hartog tells us about it.

The building has many opportunities for students and community members, including wellness facilities, equipment, group fitness classes, and more. It can also be reserved for meetings and events.

Another reason for the chamber coffee is to welcome Dr. Hartog into his new position. Hartog tells us about that.

Dr. Hartog says that so far, it feels like it’s been a good transition into his new position. He tells us about one of the challenges.

He says another challenge is putting together the college’s new strategic plan. He tells us he’s also looking forward to the new opportunities they will have to offer after construction on the healthcare addition, as well as the opportunities they are offering through the partnership with local school districts.

Northwest Iowa — This is Farm Safety Week as harvest season gets rolling, and while recent rains have erased or lessened the risk in some parts of northwest Iowa, all farmers and farmhands are being warned to stay especially vigilant for field fires.

Iowa State University Extension ag engineer Kris Kohl says after a series of rural fires in 2012, a study was conducted that focused on variables like temperature, humidity and wind.

Kohl suggests farmers use a leaf blower to blast the dust and debris off their hot machinery, especially when the weather is perfect for a wildfire.

Kohl recommends producers have a disc attached to a large tractor rather than trying to use water to battle any potential fire out in the fields.

The latest drought monitor report puts the southeast half of O’Brien County in three different categories, with more drought as you go further southeast. It starts abnormally dry, but graduates to moderate drought and then to severe drought in the southeast corner. Parts of Osceola and Sioux counties are abnormally dry, and all of Lyon County is normal at this time.