Monday News, November 23
Sioux Center Able To Restore Power After Substation Blew Up
(Sioux Center) -- Power has now been restored to all parts of Sioux Center after an electrical substation blew up early Saturday morning, leaving half the town of 7,500 without electricity. If the power outage wasn't enough problems for city officials to concern themselves, the northwest Iowa community also suffered a major water main break at the same time, leaving hundreds of homes and businesses without power and water. Sioux Center City Manager Paul Clousing says utility crews worked non-stop through the weekend to help restore power.
Clousing says crews are currently pulling new wire and re-balancing the electrical load. The Sioux Center city manager isn't sure if the water main break caused the electrical outage.
Clousing says some electrical transformer boxes within close proximity of the substation were blown off their foundations when the substation short-circuited. The American Red Cross was called in to offer assistance to the community, and the Sioux Center High School gymnasium served as an emergency shelter. Clousing says the town will continue to use the portable substation that was brought in to help restore power. He predicts it may be months before the permanent electrical substation will be fully repaired and working.
School Board To Hear Report On New Assessments
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School Board is scheduled to meet this evening. The school board has a light agenda. The school board will hear a report from middle school and high school staff as they present a report on how the new STAR assessment is being utilized in each building. The school board will also take some time to discuss last week's state school board meeting. The school board will review the "Administration" series of the board policy manual and consider recommendations made by school superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt.
AGP To Expand Biodiesel Facilities At Sergeant Bluff
(Sergeant Bluff) -- A soybean processing cooperative is wanting to expand its biodiesel operations. Ag Processing Incorporated has announced it will move forward on a major expansion of the company's biodiesel production facility near Sergeant Bluff. AGP currently operates a 30 million gallon biodiesel production facility at that location. Keith Spackler, Chief Executive Officer, for AGP says "biodiesel is an important component of our integrated soybean processing platform". Spackler says, "this expansion reflects our commitment to the biodiesel industry and soybean farmers as we continue to invest in this important value-added market". The expansion of biodiesel production capacity is complementary to plans announced earlier in the year to build soybean oil refining capacity at the site. Cal Meyer, Chief Operating Officer with the cooperative says, "Biodiesel is a premium advanced biofuel and has led directly to higher soybean prices and jobs in rural communities. Our announced project at Sergeant Bluff will do the same for the Siouxland region and beyond". Company officials noted that final construction decisions are contingent on completion of agreements with state and local officials.
Iowa City Man Qualifies For Rhodes Scholarship
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa man who is interested in economics and international relations is one of 32 American Rhodes Scholars who will have the opportunity to attend prestigious Oxford University in England.
Iowa City native Jeffrey Ding was one of the winners announced Sunday out of 869 applicants. In addition to economics, Ding is also studying political science and Chinese at the University of Iowa.
Ding has already had internships in Hong Kong and with the U.S. State Department, and now he will be able to pursue a graduate degree at Oxford.
Ding says much of his studies have focused on finding ways to build sustainable relationships between the United States and China.
The Rhodes scholarships are worth about $50,000 per year for up to three years.
Swisher Mayor Says He Welcomes Syrian Refugees
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The mayor of the small eastern Iowa city of Swisher announced recently he would defy state orders to halt the acceptance of Syrian refugees. The public statement gained plenty of attention, and some local residents say they're still unsure what to think about the sudden spotlight on their community.
Mayor Christopher Taylor says a proclamation he released Wednesday was a symbolic move to show that orders by Governor Terry Branstad are not a reflection of all Iowans.
At least one City Council member says she disagreed with Taylor's move. Another local says residents were surprised by the news about the city near Cedar Rapids.
Taylor says the response to the proclamation has been mostly positive, though he expects some of Swisher's roughly 900 residents disagreed with it.