September 20, 2016 - 6:22 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — Blood is always in demand. But due to some unforeseen circumstances, the blood drive this Wednesday, September 21st in Sibley is especially important.
Community Blood Bank Blood Mobile
Ken Ver Steeg with the Community Blood Bank tells us why they are in such need of blood donations at this time.

Ver Steeg says all blood types are needed right now.

He gives us some reminders, especially for people that don’t regularly give blood.

Ver Steeg reminds us that most local hospitals including the Osceola Community Hospital in Sibley get all their blood from the Community Blood Bank. The blood drive will be this Wednesday, September 21 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and again from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Osceola Community Hospital in Sibley. If you need more information, you can call the Community Blood Bank at (877) 877-3070 or Osceola Community Hospital at (712) 754-2574.

September 20, 2016 - 6:21 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Employment news has been mixed recently. While our area of northwest Iowa continues to have some of the lowest unemployment in the state, for the third consecutive month, Iowa’s unemployment rate as a whole has increased.
unemployment
Nearly 73-thousand Iowans were unemployed in August. Officials calculate four-point-two percent of the Iowa workforce was OUT of work last month. Courtney Greene, a spokeswoman for Iowa Workforce Development, says Iowa’s August jobless rate was a tenth-of-a-percent higher than it was in July.

About six-hundred Iowans who work in professional and business services were laid off in August.

There were five-thousand fewer manufacturing jobs in Iowa THIS August compared to August of 2015. Construction, meanwhile, is a booming sector. Last month, more than 91-thousand people were working on construction sites in Iowa. That’s 14-thousand more than in August of last year.

Greene says there been a slight increase in the number of working Iowans.

More than 1,642,000 Iowans were in the workforce in August. Iowa’s unemployment rate remains BELOW the national rate. However, Iowa’s unemployment rate is now eight-tenths of a percent HIGHER than it was a year ago.

In northwest Iowa in August, Lyon and Sioux Counties had the first and second lowest unemployment in the state at 2.3 and 2.4 percent, respectively. That’s up a tenth of a percent in Lyon County from 2.2 percent in July and down two tenths in Sioux County from 2.6 percent in July. O’Brien County’s August unemployment is unchanged from July at 3.0 percent, and Osceola County is up a tenth of a percent from July at 3.1 percent.

When compared with August of last year, unemployment is up in every county in our area. Lyon County is up six tenths from 1.7 percent in August of 2015. Sioux County is up three tenths from a year ago when it was 2.1 percent. Unemployment in both O’Brien and Osceola counties was up a half a percent. O’Brien’s was 2.5 in 2015, and Osceola’s was 2.6.

Find more information at https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/local-area-unemployment-statistics.

September 16, 2016 - 2:59 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — Two of the defendants in the case of four people charged with robbery in Osceola County have pled not guilty to First Degree Robbery.
Osceola_County_Courthouse_(Iowa)
Court records indicate the four are accused of the armed robbery of an occupied home on Third Avenue in Sibley.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reported that on August 21, 2016, their deputies arrested 35-year-old Jose Manuel Maldonado Castillo of Sibley on charges of Robbery in the 1st Degree, a class B Felony; two counts of Assault while Participating in a Felony; Going Armed with Intent; Interference with Official Acts with a Dangerous Weapon; and Unauthorized Possession of a Dangerous Weapon, all class D Felonies. They said they also arrested 25-year-old Peter Nazario Alvira of Sibley, as well as 55-year-old Pedro Juan Figueroa Rios and 38-year-old Nicomedes Montanez Cruz, both of Sioux City — and charged them all with Robbery in the 1st Degree, a class B Felony.

According to court records, both Rios and Alvira have filed “not guilty” pleas. Rios faces arraignment and a pre-trial conference on Friday, September 30th.

The arraignment for the other two individuals, Cruz and Castillo, has been continued to that same day, Friday, September 30th, all in Osceola County District Court in Sibley.

September 15, 2016 - 1:53 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — A judge has issued a summary judgement for the defendants in the case of a group of Osceola County taxpayers against Osceola County and the City of Harris.
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The group of taxpayers alleged that — an agreement to use Tax Increment Financing from a group of wind turbines in Osceola County for a waste water project and lagoon in Harris and for improvements to White Avenue — was illegal.

There were two issues — an Osceola County resolution creating the Urban Area Renewal Area (the places that needed help, i.e. the Harris wastewater plant, White Avenue) and an Osceola County ordinance establishing the TIF district (the wind turbines) and saying where the funds from their rise in value would go.

Judge David Lester found in favor of the defendants (the city and county), but basically on a technicality. The ruling says that the taxpayer group filed their claim before the actual ordinance was passed. That meant that it did not fit in the 30-day window of when such claims can be made, so the court could not act on it. Judge Lester said that there was no precedent for challenging the anticipated passage of an ordinance, so the claim was filed in an untimely manner.

However, Judge Lester says the taxpayer group did file the papers objecting to the resolution creating Urban Renewal Area 7 in time, but because there was not enough evidence to suggest that the mere creation of the area would mean higher taxes, it wasn’t enough to find in favor of the taxpayers.

The taxpayer group is appealing the decision to the Iowa Supreme Court.

For background information on this story, click here.

Sibley, Iowa– A garage and its valuable contents were destroyed in a fire on Sunday, September 11, 2016 in Sibley.
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According to Sibley Fire Chief Ken Huls, about 3:34 PM, the Sibley Fire Department was called to the report of garage fire at the home of Dave and Ilea Herbert at 944 Fifth Place.

The chief says the fire department saw the garage was fully engulfed in flame as they approached the scene and the house was on fire too.

You may remember we at KIWA have featured Dave Herbert on a couple of occasions. He is the US distributor for the Freego brand of Segway-like scooters, which are made in Hong Kong. He also was a model airplane and drone hobbyist, and we talked with him about drones in July of this year. Those stories are available by clicking on these links.

Freego Scooters
Flying Drones

Chief Huls reports that Dave Herbert was burned when he opened the garage door from the outside. His hair and shirt caught on fire. A neighbor who had run across the street to alert the Herberts to the fire patted out the fire on Herbert, says Huls. He says Herbert’s wife Ilea was taken to Osceola Community Hospital for smoke inhalation, but Dave declined treatment. Huls says one firefighter was also taken in after a small fall.

Huls says a minivan and a boat on a trailer were outside the garage, and they were destroyed along with the contents of the garage, which included but was not limited to another minivan, an antique Ford Model A car, four Freego scooters, between 40 and 70 model airplanes, and Herbert’s former military ID. The garage was destroyed and the west side of the house sustained severe damage, but may be repairable according to Huls. He says firefighters did save two cats.

The fire department was assisted by the Ashton and Little Rock Fire Departments and the Sibley Ambulance crew.

Huls says the cause of the fire is undetermined but he says it started in the main area of the garage floor. Chief Huls reports that the garage and contents were destroyed, and the house was heavily damaged. He says the estimate of damage at this point is between $275,000 and $300,000.

He says they used 60,000 gallons of water, some of it with foam concentrate to fight the fire.

Picture courtesy Sibley Fire Department/Ken Huls

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Earlier story:

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Photo courtesy Mark Frank

Sibley, Iowa — According to initial on-scene reports, three fire departments fought a house and garage fire on Sunday afternoon, September 11, 2016 in Sibley.

The reports indicate that the fire was south of the Sibley/Ocheyedan High School track in Sibley. We are told that firefighters from Sibley, Ashton, and Little Rock were on scene for most of the afternoon. They say the initial fire call went out in the 3 PM hour.

September 9, 2016 - 1:52 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — The Iowa Drying and Processing or IDP plant in Sibley is up for sale, but the odor issues continue.
Iowa Drying and Processing IDP
The City of Sibley has been in an ongoing battle to try to get the odor problem fixed so IDP can continue providing jobs for Sibley residents. But it doesn’t seem to be working.

According to commercial real estate broker William Stazzoni with World Group Commercial Real Estate, the plant and property in Sibley has been listed for sale. On the firm’s web site at worldgroupllc.com, the 160,000 square foot plant is listed at $5.5 million. As of last report, no offers had been received.

A hearing on the matter which was to have taken place in August has been pushed back to November 1st and 2nd, due to a scheduling conflict on the part of the judge, according to Sibley City Attorney Harold Dawson. He says legal actions continue from the city against Iowa Drying and Processing and ChemSol. He says they are trying to enforce their city council decision.

He says a counter suit has been filed by Iowa Drying and Processing against the City of Sibley, requesting that the court not allow Sibley to continue what they’ve been doing.

Dawson says the city continues to cite IDP for violations of their nuisance ordinance. But Dawson says the goal of the city continues to be to get rid of the smell. He says they didn’t want to force IDP out of business, as city officials say they are good for the economy of the town and are a valued employer. He says it was only about the odor issue, and that’s why they wanted to get an engineer into the plant to come up with a solution. Dawson says IDP has been resisting that idea, and that’s the point around which the litigation revolves. Dawson says from a legal standpoint things are basically “on hold” until November.

September 9, 2016 - 9:37 am - Posted in News

Law Enforcement Lightbar redSibley, Iowa — A truck driver was taken to the hospital following an accident north of Sibley early Tuesday morning.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office says the accident happened about 5:30 Tuesday morning, when a 2005 Peterbilt tractor-trailer rig, driven by 26-year old Blake Joseph Reis of Hartley, was westbound on Highway 9, north of Sibley.  According to authorities, Reis observed a cow standing in the roadway.  Reis told deputies he swerved to avoid the animal, causing his semi to tip onto its side, and come to rest on the driver’s side, partially in the north ditch and partially on the roadway.

Deputies say the purebred, registered cow, owned by Ernest Gradert of Sibley, was killed for an estimated loss of $20-thousand.  Reis was hauling a livestock trailer filled with pigs that were also killed, for an estimated loss of $30-thousand.  Deputies estimated the tractor and trailer to be a total loss, with an estimated value of $145-thousand.

Reis was taken the the Osceola Community Hospital in Sibley by the Sibley Ambulance.

Also assisting at the scene was the Sibley Fire Department and Marks Towing of Worthington, MN.

September 8, 2016 - 9:04 am - Posted in News

Osceola Sheriff Car 72-2Ashton, Iowa — A Rock Valley teen’s vehicle was damaged after swerving to miss wildlife on Monday, September 5th near Ashton.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that at about 9:02 pm on Labor Day, 18-year-old Bryanna Van’t Hul was driving a 2005 Suzuki Aerio southbound on Olive Avenue, east of Ashton. According to the report, Van’t Hul began slowing to turn onto 230th Street when two raccoons entered the roadway.  Van’t Hul swerved to avoid the animals and lost control entering the north ditch and striking a culvert.

The Suzuki received $2,500 damage.

No injuries were reported

September 6, 2016 - 7:54 pm - Posted in News

Osceola_County_Courthouse_(Iowa)Sibley, Iowa — An arraignment date has been scheduled in the case of four people charged with robbery in Osceola County.

Court records indicate the four are accused of the armed robbery of an occupied home on Third Avenue in Sibley.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reported that on August 21, 2016, their deputies arrested 35-year-old Jose Manuel Maldonado Castillo of Sibley on charges of Robbery in the 1st Degree, a class B Felony; two counts of Assault while Participating in a Felony; Going Armed with Intent; Interference with Official Acts with a Dangerous Weapon; and Unauthorized Possession of a Dangerous Weapon, all class D Felonies. They said they also arrested 25-year-old Peter Nazario Alvira of Sibley, as well as 55-year-old Pedro Juan Figueroa Rios and 38-year-old Nicomedes Montanez Cruz, both of Sioux City — and charged them all with Robbery in the 1st Degree, a class B Felony.

The arraignment date for all four defendants has been scheduled for Friday, September 16th in Osceola County District Court in Sibley.

September 6, 2016 - 1:56 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — A judge has ruled on some motions filed in June in the case of a group of Osceola County taxpayers versus Osceola County and the City of Harris — three by the taxpayers group and one by the County and City.
Wind Turbines SVA

The group of taxpayers alleges that — an agreement to use Tax Increment Financing from a group of wind turbines in Osceola County for a waste water project and lagoon in Harris and for improvements to White Avenue — was illegal.

The plaintiffs (that is, the taxpayer group) asked that the “expert witness” designation to be removed from the defendants’ witness, John Danos. They say Danos’ expert opinion is “based largely on inadmissible opinions on the legal meaning of Iowa Code Chapter 403—the ultimate issue in the case.” Judge David Lester says that the taxpayers did not cite, nor has the court found, any authority for the entry of such an order, so it was overruled.

The group of taxpayers also filed a motion asking the court for permission to amend the date of their filing to include challenging the October 27, 2015, consideration of Ordinance 47 and the November 10, 2015, consideration of that ordinance and to have the objection filed after the November 10, 2015, reading and adoption. Judge Lester ruled that the motion should be sustained to allow the taxpayer group to include claims challenging the Defendant’s consideration of Ordinance 47 on October 27, 2015, and November 10, 2015. But he also ruled that they failed to cite and the court has been unable to find any authority supporting the request that it be amended to state it was filed on November 10th.

Osceola County and the City of Harris, the defendants in the case filed a motion that states that they would like to assert an additional affirmative defense based on the grounds that the “Plaintiffs have no standing to assert any claim for relief in this matter.” Judge Lester accepted the motion and ruled that their answer shall be deemed filed and served in the form attached to its motion.

At this point a trial is scheduled on the case on Tuesday, September 20th, 2016.

For background information on this story, click here.