March 27, 2015 - 3:35 pm - Posted in News

Rock Valley, Iowa — Three agriculture coops in northwest Iowa are considering unification.
grain elevator silos
United Farmers Co-op based in George, Farmers Elevator Coop, based in Rock Valley, and Coop Elevator Association, based in Ocheyedan are looking at the move. We talked with Farmers Elevator Coop General Manager Mark Finck, who explains the difference between the term “unification” and the term “merger.”

He tells us why they’re looking at unification.

He says the move just makes sense to him.

Finck says eleven meetings are being held throughout the areas of the three companies, and the findings of the different committees are being reviewed.

He says the meetings wrap up on Wednesday, April 1st, and then the vote will be taken.

He says on April 20th, the companies’ auditors will count the votes. And, says Finck, it’s important that everyone make an informed decision and vote. He tells us why.

Finck shares with us the proposed new company name and leadership structure.

He says while they will not be closing any locations, the head office would be in Rock Valley. Each of the three companies were formed over 100 years ago, with the oldest — Farmers Elevator Coop in Rock Valley — being formed in 1899. He says that’s one of the reasons Rock Valley was selected as the location for the head office.

Finck says no employees would be cut in the move, and everyone’s job is safe.

The new company would have over 20 locations, including two in Minnesota and one in South Dakota. For more information, including meeting times and locations, you can contact any of the local locations, or visit the companies’ websites.

www.farmerselevatorcoop.com
www.ceacoop.com
www.unitedfarmerscoop.com

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March 27, 2015 - 1:33 pm - Posted in News

Primghar, Iowa – A Paullina man has been arrested on several felony charges. He is accused of committing several burglaries in the four northwest Iowa counties.
Hand Cuffs sxc
The O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office reports that they arrested 29-year-old Seth William Johnson of Paullina and he has been charged with six counts of Second Degree Theft, a class D felony; seven counts of Third Degree Burglary, a class D felony; and seven misdemeanor counts of Third Degree Burglary.

The Sheriff’s Office says that numerous northwest Iowa law enforcement agencies including the O’Brien, Osceola, Lyon and Sioux County Sheriff’s Offices and the Sheldon, Sutherland and Paullina Police Departments have worked jointly on a series of burglary and theft investigations. They say the investigations involved burglaries to businesses, homes, and vehicles between May and October, 2014 and involved items including guns, cash, jewelry, a motorcycle, tools and fishing equipment.

The charges which are a class D felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $7,500. The charges that are aggravated misdemeanors are punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $6250. Johnson has been booked into the O’Brien County Jail on the charges and will make appearances in District Court in the respective counties at a later date.

The public is reminded that a criminal charge is merely an accusation. All persons are innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected as a part of this investigation.

March 26, 2015 - 9:49 am - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — A George man has been arrested on several charges after a pursuit in Osceola and Lyon Counties.
Police lightbar chase
According to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, the incident started on Tuesday afternoon, March 24th. About 4:15 PM, witnesses reported seeing a white car pulling a trailer recklessly on 160th Street west of Sibley. When an Osceola County deputy went to investigate, the white Chevy Monte Carlo, who they would later learn was driven by 27-year-old Joseph Lee Daggett of George, failed to pull over.

The pursuit entered Lyon County north of Little Rock, and Lyon County Deputies joined. The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that the pursuit went through Little Rock and westbound on Highway 9.

Shortly before 4:50 PM, they report that a vehicle that was eastbound on Highway 9 was forced to take the south ditch after the suspect’s vehicle swerved at their vehicle. The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the driver of this vehicle to call them at 712-472-8300.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office says the pursuit then went south on County Road L-14 and entered the City of George. They say the suspect fled the vehicle on foot within the city limits of George.

Osceola County authorities charged Daggett with one count of theft in the 4th Degree, a serious misdemeanor, one count of Possession of Prescription Drugs, a serious misdemeanor, Eluding, an aggravated misdemeanor, two stop sign violations and reckless driving which are simple misdemeanors. At last report, he was being held in the Osceola County Jail on a $5000 bond, according to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.

Lyon County officials report that charges are pending in their county while the investigation continues.

Deputies were assisted by the Iowa State Patrol.

March 23, 2015 - 7:27 pm - Posted in News

UPDATE: The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office has released some more information about victims in Monday morning’s accident on Highway 60.
CC Ambulance1
They say that 64-year-old Alan VanBeek of Orange City, who was the driver of the Orkin pickup was treated, and was then transferred to Sioux Falls with life-threatening injuries.

They report that there were five victims in the 2006 Volkswagen.

One victim from the VW was treated, and then was transferred to Sioux Falls for a fractured arm and remains under their care. Another victim from the VW was treated, transferred to Sioux Falls, and was released there.

Three victims from the VW were treated and released locally.
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Original Story:

Sibley, Iowa — Multiple people were injured in an accident near Sibley on Monday morning.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that 64-year-old Alan VanBeek of Orange City was driving a 2011 Ford Ranger, owned by Orkin LLC, eastbound on 210th Street, four miles south of Sibley. Witnesses advised that the Ford Ranger failed to stop at the stop sign at Highway 60. The Sheriff’s Office reports that 32-year-old Erick H Chavez Gallegos, of Worthington, MN, was driving a 2006 Volkswagen, owned by Dylan Malvin.

The Volkswagen hit the Ford Ranger broadside on Highway 60.

There were multiple people injured. The Sheriff’s Office says the severity of injuries is unknown.

The Ford Ranger sustained $5000 damage and the Volkswagen had $8000 damage.

The Sibley Ambulance, Sibley Fire & Rescue crews, Ashton Ambulance crew, Ashton Fire & Rescue personnel, Little Rock Ambulance crew, and George EMS assisted at the scene.

Des Moines, Iowa — All 50 state senators are pushing for more legislative oversight of a shift that will turn over management of nearly all of the state’s more than four-billion dollar Medicaid program to private “managed care” companies. Senator Amanda Ragan, a Democrat from Mason City, says there’s “great uncertainty” about how this transition will impact the 560-thousand low income, elderly and disabled Iowans who get health care coverage through Medicaid.

(as said) “It’s critical that we will have a voice in this because many of the people that we are representing don’t have a voice,” Ragan says.

A bill on the subject has passed the senate on unanimous vote. Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, says private companies stand to gain big if they get the contract.

(as said) “If you look at the fine print…those managed care companies will extract about $800 million a year that’s currently being spent on services to our constituents for the pleasure of operating the program,” Bolkcom says.

And Bolkcom argues it’s likely health care services to poor and disabled Iowans will be cut by 800-million to cover the cost of the contracts. Republican Senator David Johnson of Ocheyedan told Democrats their tone was not helpful.

(as said) “Let’s just settle down here a little bit,” Johnson said. “I’m going to support this bill, but I’m not here to knock the administration about this.”

Johnson says while he supports the idea of having the legislature more involved in the decision making, nearly 40 other states are moving to sign managed care contracts for Medicaid programs. Governor Branstad’s administration expects to hire up to four managed care companies to run most of Iowa’s Medicaid program. When announcing the initiative last month, officials said their aim was to implement the change starting July 1st. Iowans on Medicaid who’re being treated for mental illnesses are already part of a managed care plan, but the plan is to have most Medicaid-financed services in Iowa under a managed care contract. That includes nursing home care for elderly Iowans who are on Medicaid.

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Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon Community Schools Board of Education met in special session Wednesday night with only two items on the agenda.  Both issues had been tabled from the regular monthly meeting last week.

Sheldon-Schools-logoThe Board voted to continue the District’s contract with KeBecca Services.  KeBecca is a Special Education program that operates at East Elementary, and includes two students from the Sheldon District, as well as four students from other school districts.  The Sheldon District has utilized the KeBecca services for the past three years.  Prior to that time, these students were transported to Sioux Falls each day to Children’s Home Services.  The Board voted unanimously to continue the KeBecca program for another year, continuing to evaluate the students’ progress during that time.

In other action, the Board selected a health insurance provider for the 2015-16 school year.  Superintendent Robin Spears told the Board that the District’s teachers had heard presentations introducing health insurance from Coventry as an alternative to Wellmark, which is the District’s current carrier.  Following the presentation, Spears says 81% of the teachers voted in favor of the Wellmark plan with Iowa Star Schools.  Since the District’s Board Policy says that health insurance benefits may not be changed without negotiation with the Sheldon Education Association, the Board voted to apply for Wellmark coverage through Iowa Star Schools.

March 17, 2015 - 9:35 am - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — An arrest has been made in the ongoing case of reports of package thefts in Sheldon.
parcel with packing peanuts
The Sheldon Police Department has filed multiple criminal charges against a Sibley woman for her alleged involvement in the thefts.

Officers charged 43-year-old Becky Lynn Vander Plaats with Theft in the 3rd Degree, an aggravated misdemeanor. Authorities believe that she was involved with at least nine of these thefts. She was also charged with nine counts of Simple Misdemeanor Trespassing.

The Sheldon Police Department received twenty-six separate reports from residents who had packages stolen from the front entry areas of their homes between December of 2013 and February of 2015. The packages had been delivered to the homes by several different shipping and postal delivery services. The packages contained a variety of items including clothing, electronics, craft items, shoes, tools, and numerous other miscellaneous items.

Officers executed a search warrant at Vander Plaats’ home at 526 Ninth Avenue in Sibley, and seized numerous items of an evidentiary value from the home.

Vander Plaats will be required to appear in court on a future date to answer to the charges.

Assisting the Sheldon Police Department were deputies from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department and the O’Brien County Sheriff’s Department.

March 14, 2015 - 8:24 am - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Sibley man has been sentenced on a bad check charge.
bank check fraud
The Lyon County Attorney’s Office reports that Jose Armando Ayala Lopez of Sibley has been convicted of Theft in the Third Degree, an Aggravated Misdemeanor.

The charge stems from a criminal complaint stating that in September, 2014, Ayala Lopez made and delivered a check to GCC Ready Mix in Little Rock. The check was returned due to insufficient funds.

Ayala Lopez was sentenced to 365 days in the Lyon County Jail with all but five days suspended, and probation to the Third Judicial District for one year.

Ayala Lopez was also ordered to pay restitution immediately to GCC Ready Mix and to pay fines and court costs.

March 12, 2015 - 11:06 am - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon Community Schools Board of Education accepted letters of resignation from seven people during Wednesday night’s regular monthly meeting.

Those resigning include:  High School Principal and Head Football Coach Matt Meendering who has accepted a position as High School Principal at Dowling Catholic High School in Des Moines; Beth Bunkers and Kay Youngs who are both taking early retirement from the District; Adam Orban who is leaving to accept a Vocal Music Teacher position with the Glenwood Community Schools; Jen VanWyk, who has accepted a teaching job in another district, Dave Gross, who is leaving his position at East Elementary; and Dance Team Head Coach Daphne Feekes.  The Board accepted all seven resignations.

In other District employee-related news, the Board voted to issue teacher contracts for the 2015/16 school year.  The complete list of teacher salaries for the 2015/16 school year can be found by clicking here.  The Board also issued coaching contracts for the upcoming school year.  That list can be viewed by clicking here.

The Board had a discussion about the KeBecca special education services contract.  Superintendent Robin Spears told the Board that the program has a maximum capacity of seven students, but the District has never had more than six students in the program at any time.  He says that currently there are only two Sheldon students in the program and four students from other school districts.  Spears says he’s “leaning toward a recommendation that the District discontinue the KeBecca Program and send it’s two students back to Children’s Home Services in Sioux Falls.”  No action was taken at Wednesday’s meeting, but the Board scheduled a Special Meeting next Wednesday, March 18th, at 6:30 pm to discuss this issue, along with the District’s employee health insurance.

The Board also set the date and time for their FY-2016 Budget Hearing and Certification.  It will be held during the April Regular Monthly Meeting, Wednesday April 8th.  The meeting will be called to order at 6:00 pm, with the Budget Hearing and Certification scheduled for 6:30.

March 11, 2015 - 5:36 pm - Posted in News

Sibley and Rock Rapids, Iowa — It’s Farm and Home Show season in northwest Iowa and two of them are going on this week.
Sibley Chamber 2015_SVA
We talked to Sheryl Peters, the Sibley Chamber Director. She tells us that the show is going to be in a different location this year.

She says the festivities start at 8 AM with a fundraiser breakfast.

The breakfast is also being served at the elementary building. After that, the real Farm and Home Show starts at 9.

Peters says Osceola Community Hospital will be showcasing the Mega Heart Exhibit, where you can learn how your heart works, says Peters.

Again, the Sibley Farm and Home Show is Saturday from 9 to 2 with an FFA Breakfast at 8, all at the Sibley-Ocheyedan Elementary School.

Meanwhile, the Rock Rapids Farm and Home Show is this Thursday, March 12th. Rock Rapids Chamber Director Angie Jager tells us about it.
ForsterCenter

She says new this year are some chamber gift certificate drawings. The American Legion and VFW are also teaming up in the evening for a pancake supper. That’s the Rock Rapids Farm and Home Show, on Thursday, March 12th, at the Forster Community Center from 2 to 8 PM.

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