BREAKING NEWS: Firefighters battle Taft Street blaze

Humboldt firefighters battled heavy smoke in an electrical fire at 610 Taft St. S. Thursday evening. The were called at about 8:20 p.m. and were on the scene for 1 hour and 40 minutes. There were no injuries. One resident was removed by police before firefighters arrived. Humboldt Independent photo by Kent Thompson.

By Kent Thompson
The Humboldt Fire Department, Humboldt Police and EMS emergency personnel were paged to 610 Taft St. S. Thursday night around 8:20 p.m. for a report of smoke and what was determined to be an electrical fire.
There was one unidentified elderly gentleman in the home in a wheelchair. He was quickly removed from the building by police and was checked by medical personnel at the scene, but he refused to be transported to the hospital, it was reported.
Duane Zeller, owner of Hoag’s Plumbing and Heating, said he received a call at 8:01 p.m. reporting a smoking fuse box. Zeller said he pulled the electrical meter and saw a small fire in the basement and dumped the contents of a fire extinguisher on it, then called police.


Plans unveiled for high school addition

Humboldt School Superintendent Greg Darling has unveiled plans for a 2,446 square foot addition east of the R. Wesley Carlson Auditorium on the Humboldt High School campus. the new area would allow for additional space for music and drama departments, additional storage and updated restroom facilities. Humboldt's marching band is one of its many instrumental and vocal group offerings at the school. Independent file photo by Phil Monson.

By Phil Monson
Plans for a new addition at Humboldt High School were unveiled at Monday’s regular monthly meeting of the Humboldt School Board.
School superintendent Greg Darling distributed an architectural drawing of a 2,446 square foot addition to be built east of R. Wesley Carlson Auditorium and west of the sidewalk leading into the north entrance of the building.
The addition would provide much-needed space for the music and drama department storage, as well as an overdue upgrade of restroom facilities at the high school.
“We have no room for band and drama. When we have plays, carts are taking space in the hallways. Backdrops are mounted up on areas where nothing should be. Storage is a big problem for these departments,” Darling said.


Supervisors to appeal DNR ruling on hog finisher permit

Kiersten Beilke (front), 4-H Youth Coordinator in Humboldt County, scans the eye of a beef entry for identification purposes during the beef weigh-in at the fairgrounds last Saturday, Jan. 6. Beilke was assisted by Amy Craven (top) and Holly Frerk (hidden). Temperatures were eight-below zero at the time. It should be much warmer when the entries return for the fair in late-July. The forecast is for another deep freeze this weekend. Independent photo by Phil Monson.

In November, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors denied a building permit application by Iowa Select Farms of Iowa Falls for a two-unit (5,000 head) swine finisher barn on 240th Street, just west of Texas Avenue, less than two miles from the town of Thor.
At Monday’s meeting it was reported that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) had approved the application, overruling the action by the local Board of Supervisors.
In a letter to the Board and Board secretary Peggy Rice, the IDNR states that it has found criteria to be met under the master matrix grading system to allow the applicant (Iowa Select Farms) to construct a confinement feeding operation at the site.
Supervisor Erik Underberg said the county should fight the DNR’s ruling and both he and Supervisor Bruce Reimers said the county should have all facts in hand and be prepared to present its case to the Environmental Protection Commission.


Winter snow emergency issued for Humboldt

Barry Ramaeker of Lawn Ranger Yard Service scoops snow off the front of a sidewalk in front of a business along Sumner Avenue in downtown Humboldt recently. Humboldt County is under a Winter Storm Warning with 4-7 inches of snow or a large amount of ice expected. The city of Humboldt has issued a Snow Emergency effective from 7 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 11-7 a.m. Friday, Jan. 12. No vehicles should be parked on residential city streets during this time. Humboldt Independent photo by Phil Monson.

A winter storm warning was been issued for Humboldt County. 4-7 inches or more of snow or a large accumulation of ice is forecast.
As a result, the city of Humboldt has issued a snow emergency effective from 7 a.m. Thursday until 7 a.m. Friday. No vehicles should be parked on residential snow routes in the city during this time.
Any person with questions should contact Humboldt City Hall at (515) 332-3435. Check this website, for any further developments.


Bonde is part of ISU solar car team

Humboldt’s Andrew Bonde (standing in back, fifth from left) is pictured here with his ISU solar car teammates and their entry in a global challenge in Australia last October. Photo courtesy ISU.

By Phil Monson
Humboldt native and Iowa State University student Andrew Bonde has gotten a lot of mileage out of his membership on the school’s solar car team.
Bonde, a senior at ISU majoring in Mechanical Engineering, was part of 15 team members on PrISUm, to travel to Australia last October and spend five weeks, which included racing in the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge.
The 1,877-mile, biennial race began on Oct. 8 in northern Australia, in Darwin, and finished Oct. 15 in southern Australia, in Adelaide.
“It was a really awesome experience. It was my first time leaving the United States and we went quite a ways away for that matter,” Bonde said. “Australia itself is a really neat environment. They kind of have that ‘Midwest-level’ of friendliness over there. The people were nice.”


BrEAKING NEWS: New Year's Day fire call to HMS

Humboldt Fire Department Lieutenant Tom DeWinter checks pipes and the sprinkler system in the Humboldt Middle School vestibule Monday afternoon after the fire alarms went off. A sprinkler system head froze, causing sprinklers to discharge and causing a small amount of water to pool in the Humboldt Middle School cafeteria. Firefighters were called around 4 p.m. and were on the scene for about 45 minutes. Humboldt Independent photo by Kent Thompson.

By Kent Thompson
The Humboldt Fire Department was dispatched to a New Year’s Day fire call at the Humboldt Middle School shortly after 4 p.m. on Monday.
The issue was a frozen sprinkler system head in the vestibule area between the Humboldt Middle School and the Humboldt High School.
According to Humboldt Fire Chief Jim Gronbach, “the sprinkler head broke, dispersing water on the floor, and activating the sprinkler system in the middle school cafeteria. There also was some seepage into the west hallway from the vestibule, leading into the high school.
While the vestibule is heated, there is no secondary heat source and the extremely cold weather caused the sprinkler head to break. Actual temperatures in Humboldt Monday afternoon were -5, with wind chills making the air feel about 25 to 30 degrees colder.
A water line feeding the sprinkler system runs directly from the high school to the middle school.


Humboldt has a ‘Vision’

Pictured are members of the Humboldt Community Visioning design team along with some members of the local steering committee. Pictured seated from left: Design architect Dylan Jones with Bolton & Menk of DesMoines, Field Coordinator Patty Reisinger with Trees Forever, Humboldt Mayor and steering committee member Dan Scholl. Pictured standing from left: Steering committee members Travis Goedken, Todd Lee and Clayton Vorland. Other steering committee members not pictured: Bret Davis, Travis Fuller, Clifton Kalafatich, TC Loving, Jenna Mulford, Alissa O’Connor, Jess Poutre, Kent Thompson and Kirk Whittlesey.

The city of Humboldt is one of 10 communities that was selected to participate in the 2017 Iowa’s Living Roadways Community Visioning Program.
The program selects communities through a competitive application process, provides professional planning and design assistance along transportation corridors to small Iowa communities (those with populations of fewer than 10,000 people).
Goals for the Visioning Program include the following:
• Developing a conceptual plan and implementation strategies with local communities.
• Enhance the natural, cultural, and visual resources of communities.
• Assist local communities in using external funds as leverage for transportation corridor enhancement.
Each visioning community works through a planning process consisting of four phases of concept development: (1) Program initiation; (2) Needs assessment and goal setting; (3) Development of a concept plan; and (4) Implementation and sustained action.


Humboldt high in proficiency, state report card says

Humboldt Middle School held Back the Blue Days last week. This year, each Prime Time created a gift for each officer for Christmas. Officers were invited to have lunch with students on Wednesday. Sheriff Dean Kruger is shown having lunch with a group of sixth grade students. Humboldt Independent photo.

The state report card provided by the Iowa Department of Education gives the Humboldt Community School District a high score overall.
Humboldt School Superintendent Greg Darling gave a report at Monday night’s regular monthly meeting.
Humboldt High School and Taft Elementary School both earned “commendable” ratings while Humboldt Middle School received an “acceptable” rating.
The rankings are based on student proficiency in math, reading, student academic growth, narrowing achievement gaps, college and career readiness, student attendance, graduation rates and staff retention.
Based on each school’s performance over a two-year period, the report card assigns one of six ratings: exceptional, high performing, commendable, acceptable, needs improvement and priority.


City of Humboldt acts on Community Catalyst grant

Development was the main topic at Monday night's Humboldt City Council meeting. One of the biggest current developments in the city is the new Humboldt Recreation Center on Wildcat Road. Workers from Sande Construction install some of the final pieces of structural steel on the main part of the new Humboldt Recreation Center. The 70,000 square foot facility is being built by the Nielsen family and will be donated to the city of Humboldt upon completion. Donations are being accepted to help purchase needed equipment for the Recreation Center. Humboldt Independent photo.

Development was on the minds of the Humboldt City Council during its final meeting of 2017.
The Council, by a 4-0 vote, approved giving Humboldt City Administrator Travis Goedken and Humboldt County Development Director Alissa O’Connor the go-ahead to proceed with a 2018 Community Catalyst Building Remediation Program.
Goedken explained the remediation program as an underused grant program offered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
The program is intended for a single building identified by the city, that if remediated, would stimulate additional economic growth or reinvestment in the community.
Both Goedken and O’Connor thought the program sounded perfect for an effort to rehab the old city post office building at 30 Taft St. N.


100th anniversary of the passing of legendary Frank Gotch


Saturday, Dec. 16, marked the 100th anniversary of the death of Humboldt’s own, World Wrestling Champion Frank Alvin Gotch.
Gotch passed away of kidney failure in the upstairs bedroom of his home (now 110 6th Street North) in Humboldt, on Sunday, Dec. 16, 1917, in the afternoon.
Many men of prominence came to Humboldt to attend the funeral. Governor Harding, “Farmer Burns”, Emil Klank and many others prominent in professional athletics attended. Burns was his old wrestling tutor and Klank was a friend and manager. Many special writers from large publications across the United States were present to cover the event.
Gotch was world champion for eight years from 1908 to 1916. A statue of Gotch stands proudly in Bicknell Park in Humboldt, located at the west end of Humboldt’s downtown. The park, known back then as Riverside Park, was the historic training site for Gotch.

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