Serving O'Brien & Clay Counties

09/23/21: Area Happenings & Accomplishments

Fall enrollment at NCC increases 3 percent

Enrollments at Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon are up slightly for the fall of 2021 at 1,716. This represents about a 3 percent increase from a year ago when the headcount was 1,666.

“When you look at the numbers historically, this year’s fall class is the third-largest incoming class to NCC,” said Kristin Kollbaum, Director of Marketing and Communications, in a news release. “It also represents an 11 percent increase in enrollments over the last 10 years.”

According to Kollbaum, there were 1,544 students enrolled at NCC in the fall of 2011. The student count in 2001 was 1,017.

Derecho damaged or destroyed 7M Iowa trees

Iowans lost an estimated $20 million in annual benefits from its urban tree canopy that was damaged by the derecho in August 2020, according to the results of a recently-completed survey conducted by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The findings that estimated that Iowa communities had nearly 4.5 million trees damaged or destroyed by the storm. The survey also looked at the damage to trees on rural lands and estimated that nearly 2.7 million trees were damaged or destroyed by the storm.

The derecho impacted 27 counties along the U.S. Hwy. 30 corridor, primarily in central and east central Iowa, damaging or destroying an estimated 7 million rural and urban trees along the way.

Volunteers needed to deliver meals

Community Memorial Health Center is looking for volunteers to help deliver Meals on Wheels to local residents. If interested, call Linda at (712) 728-2428.

NWI fishing report

Offshore fishing for bass has been very good lately. The panfish/perch bite has been excellent. Area lake levels are low, making launching and loading boats more difficult. The forecast calls for highs in the 70s and 80s, but lows in the 50s at night. Lake temperatures have been slowly cooling down and are below 70 degrees at night.

East Okoboji Lake: The water temperature was 69 degrees. Many anglers have had success with slip bobbers/spoons and vertical jigging and drop shot fishing. A great bluegill/crappie/yellow bass bite can be found trolling weed lines. Many anglers have observed high catch rates with a lot of sorting.

Black crappie, fair. Crappie are hard to target specifically, but can be caught mixed with other panfish. The bite has improved in and around docks and hoists. Bluegill, good. Bluegill are biting like crazy. Leeches or worms and a simple bobber setup work well. Pumpkinseed, good: Fun and easier to catch from most docks. Use a small hook, bobber and piece of worm.

Lost Island Lake: Anglers report they have started to catch yellow bass in shallow water amongst the vegetation. Black crappie, fair. Bluegill, fair. Walleye, fair. Yellow bass, fair. Yellow perch, fair.

Minnewashta Lake: Panfishing has been good for anglers trolling weed lines. Vertical jigging is improving. Black crappie, fair. A nice crappie bite can be found with a little movement around the lake. Bluegill, fair. Pumpkinseed good.

Silver Lake (Dickinson): Walleye, fair. Try using slip bobbers and finding weed lines.

Spirit Lake: The water temperature was 69 degrees last Thursday. The yellow perch bite has been slower, but the walleye bite has picked up. Use lead core and tadpole baits. Walleye, good. Bite is hit or miss at dusk, but the day bite is improving. Many anglers have started to fish in shallower water with slip bobbers along weed edges. Yellow perch, fair. Best bite is morning till 11 a.m. and mid-afternoon. Depths vary depending on the time of day. Move often to find fish – schools are smaller and sporadic.

West Okoboji Lake: The water temperature was 68 degrees last Thursday. Many anglers have been most successful with trolling, but jigging and casting have also been very good. Use lead core and tadpole baits. Offshore fishing for bass has been great.

Black crappie, good. Crappie have been very picky lately, but can be easily caught if you aren’t afraid to switch things up. Can also be caught frequently while picking through other panfish or have been found around weed edges. Bluegill, good. Bluegill are biting like crazy with fish up to 10 inches seen. Jigging, casting and slip bobbers work well. Try leeches or worms and a simple bobber setup. Walleye, fair. Walleye have been hard to target, but many anglers have been catching them while fishing for other species.

Spencer named National Blue Ribbon School

Five Iowa schools are being recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2021. The award honors schools for overall academic performance or for progress in closing achievement gaps among subgroups of students.

Spencer Middle School was one of the five Iowa schools named as National Blue Ribbon Schools.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools award affirms the hard work of educators, families and communities in creating safe and welcoming schools where students master challenging and engaging content. Now in its 39th year, the program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,000 schools.

The award recognizes schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates: Exemplary High-Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests; Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students.