Sheldon, Iowa — Northwest Iowa Community College is one of three Iowa community colleges, and one of 150 community colleges across the nation to receive notification that they’re eligible to compete for a one million dollar prize.

NCC President Dr. John Hartog talks about the Aspen Institute Prize for Community College Excellence.

Dr. Hartog says this is not the first time NCC has qualified to compete for the Aspen Institute Prize.

He says there various criteria that are used for judging the qualifying schools.

In addition to qualifying to compete for the Aspen Institute Prize, NCC is recognized on a fairly regular basis for the quality of the programs they provide. Dr. Hartog says they find the recognition very humbling.

The next Aspen Institute Prize for Community College Excellence will be awarded in early 2023.



November 30, 2021 - 11:40 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — The Iowa Utilities Board is holding several public hearings on a proposed carbon pipeline that would run through 36 Iowa counties.

Navigator CO2 Ventures proposes what it calls the Heartland Greenway System pipeline — which would cross Iowa and four other states — transporting carbon to be stored in Illinois. At a hearing in Rock Rapids Monday, landowner Dan Rentschler, said he believes the project risks outweigh its good.

Landowners will receive compensation for the land being used and for any crop damage within the first three years of its construction. Landowner Bill Van Gerpen is another landowner who would be impacted by the project. He says he doesn’t trust that his northwest Iowa land will be safe.

There was also a hearing in Le Mars Monday. Plymouth County Board of Supervisors chairman, Don Kass of rural Remsen asked members of the Utilities Board about how the company would use eminent domain to get the land it needs.

IUB chair Geri Huser said the Iowa statute lays out a process where the company can come in and say they can’t work out an arrangement with landowners. She says the process also includes allowing landowners to offer an alternative route. Navigator vice president Elizabeth Burns-Thompson said they don’t want to have to use eminent domain.

Company representatives also said they would collaborate with landowners to ensure fair compensation and safety. It is estimated that the pipeline would capture 15 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.

November 30, 2021 - 10:36 am - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission recently voted to appoint administrator Brian Ohorilko to another four-year term. Ohorilko took over in 2012 to fill out two years of the term of Jack Ketterer, who retired.

The IRGC eventually opened up the license again and then settled on the plan to retire the riverboat and move the casino to land. The company that had held the license then sued and lost the case.

Ohorilko got started in the gambling industry in 2001 and was the director of gaming in Iowa when he was elevated to the administrator position.

Ohorilko will still have to be confirmed by the Iowa Senate to serve in his second four-year term.

November 29, 2021 - 3:36 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — On average, Iowa registered nurses are near the bottom of the national pay scale, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

According to that federal agency, the average registered nurse in Iowa is paid $62,570 annually, with Iowa ranking #47 on the list. That compares to California RNs who make, on average, $121,000 a year, and are the highest paid nurses in the nation.

The lowest paid registered nurses in America are those in Alabama, where the average annual salary is $60,230.

Salaries in the states surrounding Iowa include: South Dakota, which ranks 49th at $60,960 per year. Kansas ranks #44, with an average salary of $64,200. Missouri is #41, with an average annual salary of $65,900. Nebraska ranks #35 in RN salaries, with an average of $69,480. North Dakota comes in at #33, with the average registered nurse there earning $69,630 per year. Illinois is at #20, with an annual salary of $74,560. Wisconsin ranks #19, with the average RN earning $74,760. Meanwhile, Minnesota ranks highest of the state’s surrounding Iowa, at #13, with an average registererd nurse in the Gopher State earning $80,960.



November 27, 2021 - 8:33 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Private pesticide applicator continuing education meetings have been scheduled for December through early-April. These trainings will be held live and in-person.

Individuals who choose to renew their private pesticide certification through annual continuing education should plan to attend one of these sessions.

In Iowa, private pesticide applicators can receive their initial three-year certification by passing a test offered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Once certified through testing, renewal can occur in two ways. Applicators can re-test every three years to renew or attend a training session every year during that three-year time period.

The 2021-22 Private Pesticide Applicator Training schedule for Northwest Iowa is as follows:

· Dec. 9, 9:30 a.m. – Paullina Legion Hall, Paullina; Preregister to 712-957-5045.

· Dec. 14, 9:30 a.m. – ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County Office, Lower-Level Meeting Room, Orange City; Preregister to 712-737-4230.

· Dec. 15, 9:30 a.m. – Le Mars Convention Center, Le Mars; Preregister to 712-546-7835.

· Dec. 16, 1:30 p.m. – St. John’s United Methodist Church, Mapleton; Preregister to 712-423-2175.

· Dec. 16, 7 p.m. – Cobblestone Inn & Suites Conference Center, Holstein; Preregister to 712-364-3003.

· Dec. 21, 1:30 p.m. – Presbyterian Church, Sibley; Preregister to 712-754-3648.

· Dec. 22, 9:30 a.m. – Forster Community Center, Rock Rapids; Preregister to 712-472-2576.

· Jan. 4, 10 a.m. – Crop Advantage Series, Northwest Iowa Community College, Sheldon. Preregister online at You must attend all day to qualify.

· Jan. 12, 1:30 p.m. – Westwood School Auditorium, Sloan; Preregister to 712-276-2157.

· Jan. 13, 7 p.m. – West Monona High School Auditorium, Onawa; Preregister to 712-423-2175.

· Jan. 19, 7 p.m. – ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County Office, Lower-Level Meeting Room, Orange City; Preregister to 712-737-4230.

· Jan. 20, 7 p.m. – Moville Community Center, Moville; Preregister to 712-276-2157.

· Jan. 26, 10 a.m. – Crop Advantage Series, Le Mars Convention Center, Le Mars. Preregister online at You must attend all day to qualify.

· Jan. 31, 1:30 p.m. – Forster Community Center, Rock Rapids; Preregister to 712-472-2576.

· Feb. 1, 1:30 p.m. – Ida Grove Skate Palace, Ida Grove; Preregister to 712-364-3003.

· Feb. 2, 9:30 a.m. – Le Mars Convention Center, Le Mars; Preregister to 712-546-7835.

· Feb. 3, 9:30 a.m. – Cherokee Community Center, Cherokee; Preregister to 712-225-6196.

· Feb. 24, 9:30 a.m. – ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County Office, Lower-Level Meeting Room, Orange City; Preregister to 712-737-4230.

· March 1, 1:30 p.m. – Primghar Community Center, Primghar; Preregister to 712-957-5045.

· March 1, 7 p.m. – Aurelia Community Center, Aurelia; Preregister to 712-225-6196.

· March 7, 7 p.m. – Le Mars Convention Center, Le Mars; Preregister to 712-546-7835.

· March 10, 7 p.m. – Inwood Community Center, Inwood; Preregister to 712-472-2576.

· March 14, 7 p.m. – Presbyterian Church, Sibley; Preregister to 712-754-3648.

· April 7, 7 p.m. – Northwest Iowa Community College, Building C, Room 328, Sheldon; Preregister to 712-957-5045.

For additional information, contact your local ISU Extension and Outreach county office or Field Agronomist Joel DeJong at 712-546-7835.

November 27, 2021 - 8:21 pm - Posted in News


Statewide Iowa — More than 180 insurance companies are now headquartered in Iowa — and Iowa Economic Development Authority director Debi  Durham says no other state gets a higher percentage of its Gross Domestic Product from the insurance and finance industry.

According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the insurance industry accounts for at least 16 percent of the jobs in metro Des Moines. Durham says manufacturing remains the dominant industry in the entire state of Iowa, however.

Sixty-four percent of Iowa’s exports come from Iowa manufacturing plants and 15 percent of Iowa’s entire workforce is employed by a manufacturer.

According to the Iowa Economic Development Authority, manufacturing jobs in Iowa pay 25 percent more than the average wage for a private sector job.

November 26, 2021 - 3:27 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — A liquified carbon dioxide pipeline is planned to cut across our area, and there are meetings coming up at which people can learn more and comment on the proposal.

Navigator Heartland Greenway LLC wants to build a 1,300-mile pipeline in five states — Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota, en route to a sequestration site in Illinois. The majority of the pipeline is hoped to be built in Iowa and, like the Dakota Access Pipeline for petroleum, the carbon dioxide line would cross Iowa from the northwest to the southeast. There would be branches into South Dakota and Nebraska, with a small branch just into Minnesota, according to a map of the proposed pipeline. There would also be branch lines to other parts of Iowa.

According to a map of the proposed project, the pipeline is planned to enter Iowa near the tri-state marker northwest of Larchwood, travel southeast through Lyon County, and cross into O’Brien County near the four-county point, northwest of Sheldon. It then appears to travel east-southeast toward Hartley, where a roughly perpendicular branch joins the main line from both directions from points in Iowa, Minnesota, and Nebraska. The mainline is forecast to leave O’Brien County near Highway 18 and the Clay County line. The other lines are planned to enter the county near Moneta, and near the four-county point of O’Brien, Cherokee, Plymouth, and Sioux counties.

Under Iowa Code, the pipeline company is required to hold informational meetings in each county in which real property or property rights would be affected. In our area, the meetings will be

  • Lyon County: November 29, noon – Forster Community Center, 404 First Ave., Rock Rapids
  • O’Brien County: December 1, noon – Crossroads Pavilion Event Center (Great Hall), 301 34th Ave., Sheldon
  • Osceola County: December 1, 6 p.m. – 9th Street Center, 418 Ninth St., Sibley

Other meetings in the wider area include

  • Plymouth County: November 29, 6 p.m. – Le Mars Convention Center (lower level), 275 12th St. S.E., Le Mars
  • Cherokee County: November 30, noon – Aurelia Community Center, 235 Main St., Aurelia
  • Woodbury County: November 30, 6 p.m. – Sioux City Convention Center (Rooms A & B), 801 Fourth St., Sioux City
  • Dickinson County: December 2, noon – Dickinson County Community Center, 1602 15th St., Spirit Lake
  • Clay County: December 13, noon – Clay County Regional Events Center, 800 W. 18th St., Spencer
  • Buena Vista County: December 13, 6 p.m. – Alta Community Center, 28 N. Lake St., Alta

There are other meetings scheduled further away too, plus there is a virtual meeting scheduled as well, on January 19, 2022. For the full list of meetings and registration information for the virtual meeting, you can visit the Iowa Utilities Board’s hearing and meeting calendar.

The company says that by Iowa law, it is not allowed to talk to property owners about the route or easement compensation until after the public informational meetings.

Statewide Iowa — A coalition of agencies and organizations is preparing to help as many as 13-hundred Afghans resettle in central Iowa by the middle of next year.

Mak Suceska is head of the Iowa Bureau of Refugee Services, the state agency that’s providing technical assistance to organizations sponsoring Afghans evacuated from their home country this summer.

Iowa officials working on the resettlement process get a couple of weeks notice that a group of Afghans will be flying into the Des Moines Airport.

Kerri True-Funk is the director of the U.S. Committee for Refugee and Immigrants in Des Moines. She says the Afghans who were evacuated in August were fleeing persecution and violence, often because of their work with or support of the U.S. military over the past 20 years.

The tens of thousands of Afghans flown to airports overseas underwent initial screenings there to determine if they were eligible for resettlement, then once they arrived at eight different military installations in the United States, there were more extensive medical checks.

Once the Afghans arrive in Iowa, they’ll get financial support and assistance from government agencies and private organizations for three months.

A federal program to help Afghans enter the U.S. workforce lasts for eight months. Most of the Afghans who were flown out of their country in August were living in cities like Kabul, which has a population of more than four million and Kandahar, which is about the same size as Des Moines. True-Funk says there are no restriction on where the Afghan evacuees may live here and many are likely to choose to stay close to urban areas, but some may relocate to rural America.

A handful of Afghans had resettled in Cedar Rapids by the end of October. In mid-November, an agency leading the resettlement process in Cedar Rapids indicated about 115 more are likely to arrive by next fall.


Statewide Iowa — After disruption in the meat supply at the start of the pandemic, the federal government will spend half a billion dollars to expand meat and poultry processing and another 150 million specifically for small meat lockers.

In Iowa, officials are reviewing 72 applications for grants from a 750-thousand dollar state fund for expanding meat lockers. Iowa State University economist Chad Hart grew up in southwest Missouri where his parents ran a small meat locker for several decades and he says running a meat locker is hard work.

Finding people capable of doing the work in a meat locker will be difficult, according to Hart.

A side of beef is usually between four-hundred and five-hundred pounds. A whole pig routinely weighs between 150 and two-hundred pounds. The other conundrum for meat lockers is building a customer base willing to pay more for locally raised and processed meat — since meat from the four large corporate processors will cost less per pound.

Hart says securing repeat customers is key for meat lockers.

Hart made his comments during a recent appearance on Iowa Press on Iowa PBS.

Worthington, Minnesota — An area police department is looking for an area man, and could use your help.

Officers from the Worthington Police Department tell us they are asking for your help in locating Jhonathan Najarro Quijano.

They tell us Quijano has numerous arrest warrants for failure to appear on charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, first-degree drugs, and first-degree burglary.

If you have information on the whereabouts of Quijano, Worthington Police officers ask you to please call the Worthington Police Department at (507) 295-5400.

Quijano has also faced felony drug charges in Osceola County.