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Sioux County Index-Reporter
Hull, Iowa
March 28, 2012     Sioux County Index-Reporter
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March 28, 2012

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2 Commentary Storm Center Oostra a deserving dairy princess Hull native works with calves at several area farms B randi Oostra of Hull has served capably as the Sioux County Dairy Board princess in 2012. Brandi was one of two girls running for the honor this year. Megan Griffioen of Sioux Center also aspired to be the princess. Both girls endured a long interview process and then Oostra was named as the dairy princess last June. The banquet took place at the All Seasons Center in Sioux Center. "My platform was on how the dairy industry has made a difference in my life and in the life of the county," Oostra said. Agriculture is certainly a lifeblood for the Oostra family; they live on First Street here in the city. Brandi's father, Nelson, works as a repair technician at Prairieland Ag Supply, Inc., over in Rock Valley. Brandi's brother, Veto, calves and is currently enrolled in the agri- culture program at Dordt College in Sioux Center. Brandi is proud of her accomplishments working in the dairy industry. "I've worked on a dairy since I've been in the sixth grade," remarked Oostra, a senior at Trinity Christian High School here in Hull. "I've learned a lot of life lessons and I've come to realize a lot about myself. I've had siblings work in the business, too." The Oostra family is large, to put it mild- ly. There are seven girls including Brandi and two boys including Vern. There's Heidi, Katie, Keri, Kindra, Mariah, Kalaya and Brandon. Keri is the oldest. Brandon is currently a fourth-grader at Hull Protestant Reformed Christian School. Oostra has devoted part of her time this year as a teacher's assistant at HPRCS. "Brandi's just a great girl," HPRCS prin- cipal Pete Brummel said. "She's doing a great job for us. She's very cheery and helpful. She's interested in going into edu- cation." Oostra said she plans on enrolling at Dordt, just like Vern. Brandi said she will major in education with a possible second major or minor in psychology. "I hope to teach in a Protestant grade school," she said. Brandi has worked at Boogerd Dairy seven miles north of Hull. "I'm in charge of the calves," Brandi said. "I have to give the calves shots. I'm also tubing and feeding them." The calves drink milk and then begin a diet of grain at roughly six weeks old. Tubing involves giving calves electrolytes when they are ill. Oostra administers shots, which are basically vaccinations and help with respiratory concerns. Oostra cleans troughs and she's also helped deliver calves. Her life is like read- ing James Herriot's "All Creatures Great and Small." Brandi said watching the birth of a calf is her favorite part of working at a dairy. "It's a little stressful," Oostra said. "But, it's cool, too. It's a neat opportunity. I get to feel the calf, whether it's alive or not. I grab the legs and pull it out and the calf takes its first breath. I clean its mouth and then the calf is standing already." There are roughly 400 cows at Boogerd Dairy. Brandi works before and after school on the farm. But wait, there's more. Oostra also works at Evan Bleyenberg's farm near Sioux Center on weekends and she also assists on Chris Cleveringa's farm Sioux County Dairy Board princess Brandi Oostra. in rural Rock Valley. Yes, she works all over the place. Bleyenberg is Brandi's uncle. Cleveringa's operation deals solely with calves, more than 200 of them. One of Brandi's tasks at Cleveringa's farm involves power washing. So, why does Brandi enjoy working with calves? "They represent the future of a dairy," she said. "I get to raise them and watch them grow. When they're calves, they're fragile. They're really dependent on you." The calving process takes about 18 months. On average, the gestation process for a cow is 285 days long, which is a little bit longer than the same period for a human woman. The actual length of gestation is depen- dent on the breed. Here are some interesting rules of thumb. Heifers that are pregnant for the first time will most likely have a longer gestation period than older, mature cows. Smaller cows have shorter gestation periods. Cows with poor fertility will endure longer gesta- tion. There are other factors including weight and the traits of an individual bovine. Interestingly enough the only question Brandi got wrong during her interview process was how long the gestation process was. That's because -- admittedly -- she didn't know the word "gestation." "I studied all six breeds and every fact I could find," Oostra said. Brandi was asked why she wanted to run and she had to give a speech in the Hull Cooperative Association, Inc., basement. Brandi said working with calves has become a passion, not a chore. "I make sure they are healthy," she said. "After the calf is born, it follows you around. It knows when you have a bottle and they come right up to you. It's like they get to know you and they know you are there to take care of them." At Trinity Christian, Oostra was setter on the volleyball team. She sings soprano in the school choir and performs percussion in the band. Being involved in the dairy business has' taught Oostra time management. Brandi awakens at 4 a.m. to go to Boogerd Dairy. She said all of the dairies work well with her schedule and all parties cooperate. "It's a long day," Brandi said. "I start at 4 a.m. and sometimes I work to 3 p.m. I've learned patience, independence, caring and compassion. It is like dealing with kids. It teaches you responsibility. It made me grow up a lot." The Sioux County Index-Reporter con- gratulates Brandi Oostra, the Sioux County Dairy Board dairy princess. The editor is sure calves from around the county would whole-heartedly agree. Letter to the Editor Sheriff asks Dear Editor, Several citizens in the Hull area have expressed concerns about their safe- ty in reference to the most recent break-ins and bur- glades in Hull. I want to assure you that our investigators and depu- ties are devoting their time and attention to not only solve these crimes, but also to protect the commtmity of Hull and surrounding areas. Hull residents to remain vigilant I would again ask that you made to 712-737-3307. report anything that looks If you want to remain suspicious or pass along any anonymous you may use information you may have our Text-A-Tip program, about the recent crimes, which can be found on our Also, please take basic website at www.siouxcoun- security precautions: always lock your vehicles, garages and homes. Do not keep Signed, valuables where others can observe them. If your information needs to be reported immediately, use 911. Dan Altena All other calls should be Sioux County Sheriff TRINITY CHRISTIAN STRKES UP A TUNE Trinity Christian High School stu- dents Courtney Andringa, left, and Joni Van Den Top prac- tice clarinet dur- ing band class at the school this past Thursday. -- Photo by Eric Viccaro, Sioux County Index- Reporter Capitol Comments -- Rep. Dwayne Alons Traffic Camera Measure Survives ES MOINES -- This week, House File 2214 passed the House Appropriations committee. The bill provides for a state- wide ban on the use of traffic cameras. It passed the House Transportation com- mittee earlier this session with a vote of 15-6. The bill states that the Department of Transportation and any .local authority shall not use cam- eras for the enforcement of any provision of chapter 321 or any local ordinance or to prove a violation of either. The bill clarifies that the prohibition does not apply to a device that is operated in the presence of a police officer -- cameras on the patrol cars that record stops -- or in the presence of a school bus driver. Those cameras are used as evidence against drivers who ignore the stop-arm. House File 2214 requires that all cameras be discontinued on or before the bill's effec- tive date and that all equipment be removed on or before July 1, 2012. It provides that any local ordinances authorizing the use of these cameras are void. However, any tickets mailed or issued before the effective date are still valid. There are currently seven cities in this state that use traffc cameras. They are: Cedar Rapids, Clive, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Muscatine, and Sioux City. Windsor Heights and Iowa City are currently taking steps to begin a traffic camera enforcement system. These cities contract with out-of-state vendors to install, maintain and own the cameras. Revenues from the cameras are placed in the cities' general funds after nearly half of the fine is sent to the out-of- state company. Supporters of the bill believe traffic cam- eras encroach on the civil rights of Iowans, move Iowa toward a surveillance society where "big brother" is watching and the right of "innocent until proven guilty" is lost. More Tax Relief House File 635 -- An act relating to the construction and installation of geothermal heat pumps, providing income tax credits tbr such construction and installation, unan- imously passed out of Ways and Means. The bill allows a tax credit, equal to 20 percent of the federal residential energy efficient property tax credit allowed for geothermal heat pumps. The tax credit is refimdable, but may be credited to future tax liability for ten years or until depleted, whichever is earlier. The second part of the bill grants a geo- thermal heating and cooling exemption to residential properties for any new or refitted construction or installation of these units on or after July 1 of this year. The exemption stays with the property for 10 consecutive years. A person claiming an exemption under this subsection shall obtain the appropriate forms from the tax assessor. The director of revenue prescribes the forms. The claim must be filed by Feb. 1 of the first assessment year the exemption is requested and shall contain information pertaining to all costs and other information associated with construction and installation of the system. The estimated fiscal impact at this time is $1.4 million dollars. House File 2164 - An act providing a sales tax exemption for the sale of tangible personal property or services to substance abuse treatment or prevention programs that receive block grant funding from the I0wa Department of Public Health passed Ways and Means without any "nays." Currently, mental health providers receive this exemption, but they also provide sub- stance abuse services to the same patients. This exemption hasn't applied and this bill corrects that. Substance abuse treatment or prevention programs that receive block grant funding from the Iowa department of public health are eligible for this exemption. The estimated fiscal impact is $80,000. At The Capitol -- Senator Randy Feenstra Passing a budget has been problematic ES MOINES  This past week, the l legislature tried to agree on a budget. This has become difficult as all par- ties involved have different spending amounts. The House and Senate Republican budget is the most conservative -- only increasing expendi- tures by a modest 1 percent over last year. Gov. Terry Branstad's budget increases spending by 4 percent and the Senate Democrats, when all funding is con- sidered, increase spending by almost 5.5 percent. The House and Senate Republican budget spends approximately $300 million less than the Senate Democrats budget and almost $200 million less than the governor's budget. The state revenues seem to be coming in ahead of estimates. And while the unemployment rate has decreased, we still need to be cautious and budget wisely. Below are a few points to note (planning for all these things require sound fiscal plan- ning and constraint): First, historical revenue growth is 4 per- cent. In a given year, growth in Medicaid, school aid and state government workers salaries can consume this entire growth in revenues. Secondly, changes in eligibility require- ments for Medicaid under Obamacare will add 150,000 enrollees to the program, which would add even more to the unsustainable cost of Medicaid. Third, our budget relies heavily on fed- eral funds. $6 billion or 50% of state fund- ing comes from the federal government. Reductions at the federal level could have major impacts on our ability to fund pro- grams. Fourth, former President George H.V. bush's Tax cuts are set to expire. When they do -- due to federal deductibil- ity -- we will lose $376 million in revenue over four years starting in fiscal year 2013. This is the year we are budgeting for. And last, the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS) is only funded at 80 percent due to poor market perfor- mance and less than adequate employee con- tributions. There are $5 billion in unfunded liabilities that will need to be addressed someday. Marriage Vote There were hundreds of people in red shirts at the Capitol this week advocating for a vote on marriage between one man and one woman. It was great to see this passion. It showed that Iowans are still concerned and want a vote on this issue. Sen. Michael Gronstal, of Council Bluffs, who is the Majority Leader of the Senate, has blocked taking up this issue for the past two years. The Majority Leader controls the agenda and what gets voted on in the Senate. All rules to break this gridlock have been tried but to no avail. However, there is hope. If the Republicans take control of the Senate next year, we will get our vote on defining marriage. I will make sure this happens. Legislative Forums I have several forums coming up if you would like to hear more on any of these topics. They will take place this coming Saturday in Le Mars at 8:30 a.m., Westfield at 10 a.m., Akron at 11 a.m., Hawarden at 12:30 p.m. and Orange City at 2 p.m. SIOUX COUNTY INDEX, R (USPS 497-320) Established as the Pattersonville Press by D.A.W. Perkins in February, 1879. Published as the Index since 1897. Published weekly at 1013 1st Street, P.O. Box 420, Hull, Iwa' 51239. Phone (712) 439-1075 or (712) 472-2525. Fax (712) 439-2001. e-mail Periodicals postage paid at Hull. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Sioux County Index-Reporter, P.O. Box 420, Hull, Iowa 51239-0420. Jim Hensley .............................. Chief Operating Officer Lisa Miller ............................................ General Manager PUBLISHED BY Eric Viccaro ........................................................... Editor New Century Press Lois Kuehl ............................ Advertising Representative Member Iowa Tammy Mufioz ........................................ Office Manager Newspaper Association Shaun Kats ................................................. Graphic Artist Melissa deBoer ........................................... Graphic Artist NEW OFFICE HOURS: Monday Noon-3 p.m.; Tuesday through Friday, Noon-4:30 p.m. I