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.

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.

 

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 - 3:29 pm - Posted in News

Worthington, Minnesota — After 65 years, a northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota implement and more dealership is joining a larger company.

Jaycox Implement has locations in Lake Park, Iowa, and Luverne and Worthington, Minnesota.

Chad Jaycox says the company, founded by his father, Raymond Jaycox started in Lake Park with 4 employees. He says they now have three locations with 87 employees.

According to Jaycox, “One thing that has remained the same is our focus on customer support and building lifelong relationships. Many of these relationships have been multi-generational.”

He says that in today’s world, in order to remain competitive in the market, Jaycox either needs to continue to grow or join a company that can provide them with the capital and resources to stay competitive and support their customers. He says that with this in mind, Jaycox Implement’s board of directors has made the decision to join forces with Titan Machinery.

Jaycox says that they expect the final closing to happen on December 1, 2021. All Jaycox employees will be offered continued employment.

He says he will also remain on as the General Manager of the Worthington location. Mark Ommen will be the General Manager of the Luverne location, and Trent Morphew will be General Manager of the Lake Park location.

Jaycox tells us that they value the relationships that they have built with their customers over the past 65 years and feel that under the guidance of Titan Machinery they can continue to foster these relationships going forward.

Jaycox says, “There may be a new sign on the front of each store, but inside each building will be the familiar faces you have done business with for many years. I humbly thank each of you for allowing us to support the hardest working industry in the world and look forward to what the future holds.”

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.

December 1, 2021 - 11:26 am - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — This past Saturday night, while Sheldon was holding their 2nd Annual Christmas Parade of Lights to kick off the Christmas season, our friends in Sibley also held their annual Christmas Parade.

Sibley’s Dave Herbert says last year’s Sibley Christmas Parade was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which made this year’s Sibley parade even more special than normal.

Herbert put together a video of this year’s Sibley Christmas Parade, which you can view below…..

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.

Tea, South Dakota — Pending the final allocation decision by the Bureau of Reclamation, the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System will have nearly enough funding to not only finish the entire project but also pay back the states that assisted them with federal funding advances when the federal funding wasn’t keeping pace.

The Lewis & Clark system has been trying since the late 1980s to move Missouri River aquifer water to communities in the tri-state area where it can be used to help spur economic development.

According to Lewis & Clark Executive Director Troy Larson, the system will likely secure more than $130 million from the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Act to accelerate construction and put the project on the cusp of being able to deliver 45 million gallons a day to its 20 member cities and rural water systems.

Communities not yet connected include Hull, Sheldon, Sibley, and Sioux Center, as well as Madison, SD.

Chairman Murray Hulstein of Sioux Center says that having everyone connected will have a positive impact on water rates for all 20 members. He says the infrastructure bill is a huge boost for construction efforts and will, “have an immense impact on improving the quality of life and expanding economic development opportunities in northwest Iowa and the rest of the tri-state region.”

Washington, D.C. — With gasoline prices in Iowa averaging more than a dollar a gallon higher than a year ago, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is calling on President Joe Biden to challenge OPEC in international court.

Grassley, a Republican, says the president’s energy policies discourage domestic production, while Biden “resorted to pleading” with OPEC to ramp up production, only to be turned down.

Grassley is calling on the president to support his bipartisan No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels, or NOPEC, Act, which he’s reintroduced. Grassley says Biden backed the original bill some 21 years ago when he was still a senator.

Grassley is urging the administration to support the bill to hold the cartel accountable for its anticompetitive behavior that elevates global oil prices. He says NOPEC would provide the Department of Justice with an effective tool to ensure American consumers are “no longer beholden to artificially inflated gas prices.”

According to Triple-A, gas prices in Iowa are averaging three-13 a gallon, compared to a dollar-97 a year ago. An official with the motor club in Iowa notes, prices a year ago were exceptionally low due to drastically-reduced travel levels caused by the pandemic — and lower demand brought lower prices.

Statewide Iowa — A federal judge in Missouri has temporarily blocked a federal agency’s COVID vaccine mandate for most health care workers in Iowa and nine other states.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued the requirement that U.S. healthcare facilities ensure staff are fully vaccinated by January 4th. Hospitals, clinics and nursing homes that failed to do so were at risk of losing the federal funding that pays the bills for Medicare and Medicaid patients.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds joined the lawsuit challenging the requirement earlier this month. Reynolds says the vaccination mandate would make workforce shortages worse and was an attack on individual liberties. The judge says the vaccination rule has vast economic and political significance and should have been approved by congress.