Thursday, February 12, 2015

Courier News

Courtesy of the 2-11-15 edition of Ida County Courier (

Odebolt Fire Department Officers elected
 Click the photo to enlarge it.

Ministers sponsor Soup on Sunday
The Odebolt-Arthur-Kiron Ministerial Association is sponsoring Soup on Sunday (SOS) events at Kiron and Odebolt in February and March. This is a free meal, and all are welcome.

February SOS gatherings are Feb. 15 from 4:30 to 6 p. m. at Bethel Lutheran Church in Kiron and Feb. 22 from 4:30 to 6 p. m. at St. Martin Catholic Church in Odebolt.

BC-IG, O-A to work on reorganization plan

The Battle Creek-Ida Grove and Odebolt-Arthur School Boards decided unanimously to move forward with a reorganization strategic plan and possibly take it to the voters of all four communities as early as September during a joint meeting Monday in Ida Grove.

About 20 guests, mostly from O-A, were present for the meeting.

“The administration’s recommendation is to move forward with solidifying the relationship between O-A and BC-IG,” Superintendent Nick Ouellette wrote in the board packette. “In addition, I believe we need to look at a long-term strategic plan for the districts that will set the framework for the next five to 10 years for both academics and facility use. I would also recommend moving back to joint meetings monthly, with special meetings as needed for projects.”

The two districts are on their sixth year of whole grade sharing.

Jill Godbersen led the discussion, noting the boards need a vision for the future.

Joey Hoefling said the boards “need to refocus on why we are where we are and put personal agendas aside.” He said he felt board members are not communicating and listening to each other. He said he also felt there was “a lot of manipulation” at the board table and a lot happens “outside the board room.”

Jeff Rasmussen said he was not interested in talking about whole-grade sharing anymore, just reorganization. He said he did not have an agenda, personally growing up in O-A with friends there. He added that BC-IG initially wanted a junior-senior high school in Ida Grove, but that idea was off the table now.

Godbersen said the boards need to evaluate the facilities and how to make improvements and keep grade configurations the same. She said making major improvements at the high school are contingent on reorganization.

“The public will support high school improvements when we are consolidated,” Godbersen said. “We need a strategic plan to improve the high school and middle school and look at reorganization.”

Tony Bennett concurred that the boards need to enhance the high school and middle school and reorganizing would make that easier. “The community is holding back on high school improvements until they know what we are going to do,” he said. He added that the middle school needs a new track with bleachers and new math classrooms.

Paul Neumann said it will be better if everyone is involved with all the projects. Neumann said he favored reorganization and it should have happened three or four years ago. “Think of how far we’d be by now . . . .” he commented. He said the boards need to lay out what a new reorganized district would look like and what the financial and academic advantages would be.

Ouellette said “together we are stronger financially” and “we need to make it permanent.” He noted that a 1,000-student district is strong in western Iowa. A solid district moving in the right direction will be attractive to the surrounding area. He added that the board needs to get rid of the things that are causing issues, such as the Trojan mascot painted on the O-A gym floor and order the purple robes the students want.

Godbersen again emphasized that the boards need a joint strategic plan in place before taking it to the voters. She asked for comments from each board member on reorganization. All board members commented in favor of organization.

Pat Hoefling was the least enthusiastic, stating the boards will have to “sell it to the public.” He said it will be a “tough sell.”

Bennett said it is time to go out and “get the pulse of the public.”

Stephanie Konradi said the districts are in a “holding pattern” and “it is in the best interest of both districts so we can make these improvements.” She added that the boards need a way to reach the majority of the patrons and get feedback.

“We can’t sell people on reorganization without a plan,” Ouellette said. He noted 12 board members now want this to happen. He also asked for both boards to return to joint meetings on the second Monday of the month, which was agreed on.

Ouellette was also directed to lay out an initial strategic plan, ideas for a committee and a timeline for the March meeting. A representative of AEA will also be invited to the March or April meeting to offer assistance.

The boards also voted to approve the $28,684 purchase of new choir robes the Music Boosters have been raising money for the past couple years. The new robes will be purple with black and silver stoles. Rasmussen and Konradi voted nay.

The BC-IG board voted down the purchase at the last meeting because of the color choice.

Students have voted twice on a robe color, both times overwhelmingly for purple. Choir teacher Linda Johnson noted that students are required to wear black pants and black shoes with the robes.

In other business

Also Monday, BC-IG approved a contract for Andrea Nielsen for high school assistant track.

BC-IG approved an overnight trip for six members and the instructor of the robotics team to attend the state robotics competition March 6-7 in Coralville.

O-A approved an organization letter of an agreement with Monsanto in order to receive a $2,500 grant from American Farmers Grow.

The boards were given the current sharing agreements for review. If there are any changes, the new documents will be created for board approval at the March meeting.

The board heard legislative updates from the superintendent and received written administrative reports.

Principals Doug Mogensen, Alan Henderson and Pat Miller provided detailed information about class sizes and sections needed for next year. Any adjustments and terminations needed will be handled through master contracts and seniority.

After the joint meeting was adjourned, the BC-IG board met to review its elementary school plan to add a new gym and classrooms. A project including four classrooms is estimated at about $3.8 million, while six classrooms would be around $4.2 million.

Ouellette said all indications show the elementary should be adequate with four more classrooms added to the project. The board discussed how six new classrooms could be used. After reviewing class sizes and other details, the board decided to bid the project with four classrooms with a bid alternate for six classrooms. An alternate bid can also be added to make the gym EF3 tornado safe.

Board members had mixed opinions on how many classrooms should be included. Windows and geothermal work at the elementary are also being discussed.

The BC-IG board will hold a special meeting on Monday, Feb. 16, 6:30 p. m., at the central of ice for a public hearing on the stadium light project.

The March OA BCIG Joint Board Meeting will be held Monday, March 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the elementary media center in Odebolt. 

Courtesy of the 2-4-15 edition of Ida County Courier 

Prairie Pedlar at Galva April 6
Jane Hogue, owner of the Prairie Pedlar in Odebolt, will be at The Meeting Place in Galva on Monday, April 6, at 7 p. m. to get gardeners ready for spring. The public is invited to join other plant lovers for a one-hour, educational program as Hogue presents “Planting for Perennial Perfection.”

Each spring, gardeners are confronted with more perennial varieties than they possibly have room for in their lowerbeds. The program highlights the Prairie Pedlar’s 10-most-wanted list, discusses plant selections for continuous blooming succession and mixes in plant lore that will personalize some of the best plants available for Iowa.

Participants will enjoy a sneak peek of many of the new perennial and annual lowers that will be offered at the Prairie Pedlar this spring. Bring your list of plant questions to this interactive class.

The Prairie Pedlar Gardens have been featured in numerous books, magazines and newspapers, including the Iowan in 1988 and the premier issue of Country Living Gardener in 1993. For six years, the magazine included Hogue’s column, “Kindergarden,” which linked children with garden activities. As a member of the Garden Writers’ Association of America and previous association with the International Herb Association, Hogue has lectured extensively across the United States and in Canada.

Cost is $10 at the door Seating is limited, so RSVP by April 1 to 282-4426. In the event of inclement weather the program will be moved to April 8 at 7 p. m.

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