June 23, 2016 - 1:58 pm - Posted in News

crimeOsceola County, Iowa — The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help in solving a crime that took place sometime Tuesday morning, June 21st.

Osceola County Sheriff Doug Weber says the residential burglary happened sometime between 6:15 and 10:20 Tuesday morning at a rural residence in Osceola County.  Weber says 23 miscellaneous firearms were taken in the burglary, as well as a black 2001 Dodge pickup truck.  Sheriff Weber says the truck was discovered abandoned at the intersection of 170th Street and Jefferson Avenue (Ellsworth blacktop) in Lyon County on Wednesday, June 22nd.

Authorities have offered a $250 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person, or persons, responsible for this crime.  You may submit information to Text-A-Tip at www.sheriffosceolacounty.org or by calling 712-754-2556.

June 22, 2016 - 2:57 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — A fundraising supper is coming up on Friday night in Sibley to raise funds to renovate the swimming pool.
sibley pool dinner
Kim Van Der Sloot with the Sibley Outdoor Aquatic Center- Fill It Up Committee tells us that the original plan was to replace the pool with a new aquatic center, but she says plans have changed a little.

Click for audio
She tells us about the Dinner and Auction planned for Friday night.

Click for audio
She says tickets for the supper are $25 and are available at The Porch on Main or by calling Van Der Sloot. But you don’t need a ticket to come to the auction portion of the evening.

Click for audio
Again the dinner and auction is this Friday night at Mulligan’s in Sibley.

June 21, 2016 - 3:58 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — More motions have been filed 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 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.

The taxpayer group says that the court’s order denying summary judgement talks about a material fact question regarding Ordinance 47, but they say it makes no mention of Resolution 10-15/16, and they say they are not the same thing. They say the proposed ordinance 47 deals with division of revenue in the TIF district. Meanwhile, the resolution established the Urban Renewal Area (7). They say resolutions don’t need three readings as they become effective upon the first vote, which in this case happened on October 20th, 2015, and their objection was filed within the time allowed, on November 3rd. They want the court to include Resolution 10-15/16 in the decision for summary judgement.

They 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.

The plaintiffs also are asking 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.”

Osceola County and the City of Harris, the defendants in the case filed a motion that states that the parties have been “undergoing discovery in this matter,” and basically asks to have the full time to do their due diligence.

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

For background information on this story, click here.

Northwest Iowa — Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is making tracks across the state, and will be in northwest Iowa soon.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad
The governor’s public schedule says he will be in northwest Iowa on Wednesday (June 22, 2016) and Thursday of this week.

It says he’ll be in Merrill on Wednesday at 2:30 PM to tour Plymouth Energy’s Ethanol Production facility. Then it’s on to Maurice, where the governor will make an appearance at the Western Iowa Dairy Alliance’s June Dairy Month Open House at the Maassen Dairy on Hickory Avenue at 4 PM. At 5 PM, Branstad will visit the new Rock Rapids daycare facility, Kids Club at 304 South Lincoln Street.

The governor’s Thursday schedule has him starting out at the new Osceola Electric Coop Solar Farm near Hawkeye Point on Highway 60 north of Sibley. The governor will tour Sterler Community Solar Park at the corner of Highway 60 and 130th Street at 8 AM. Then it’s on to Sheldon, where Governor Branstad will tour White Wolf Web’s offset and digital printing center at 9:30 AM. At 12:05 PM, he’ll tour The Blooming House in Cherokee; and at 1:30 PM, Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds will speak at the Governor’s Volunteer Award recognition ceremony at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake.

June 12, 2016 - 12:03 pm - Posted in News

Sibley,Wind Turbines SVA Iowa — A motion for summary judgement in the case of a group of Osceola County taxpayers versus Osceola County and the City of Harris has been denied.

Court records indicate the plaintiffs’ moved for summary judgement, which is basically a way that one side in a case can win without having to go to trial — if the judge agrees that the facts of the case are not disputable.

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.

In their motion for summary judgement, they allege that Osceola County and the City of Harris did not enter into a joint agreement before Osceola County established an urban renewal area within the city of Harris’s area of operation. They say that means Osceola County acted without the necessary jurisdiction, or illegally.

The documents say the Harris City Council passed a backdated agreement memorializing a verbal agreement agreed upon in August 2015. The plaintiffs said that’s not allowed.

The plaintiffs alleged that Osceola County’s established Urban Renewal Area 7 is not an “area” and that the inclusion of wind energy conversion property violates the spirit of the Tax Increment Financing law.

They say that the wind energy conversion property was not on the tax rolls at its full assessed value at the time Osceola County established Urban Renewal Area 7. The plaintiffs say that means that the County captured money in the tax increment that has nothing to do with the urban development taking place within the urban renewal area.

They also allege that the wind energy conversion property will receive no economic benefit from projects done in the city of Harris. The plaintiffs say both of these realities violate the entire purpose of TIF.

In a ruling handed down this past Thursday, Judge David Lester said that the law states that the objection to the board’s action “must be filed within 30 days from the time the . . . board . . .exceeded its jurisdiction or otherwise acted illegally.” He says that because it is unclear in the Osceola County Board minutes whether the ordinance in question was ever actually adopted, QUOTE, “[T]he court now concludes that a material factual dispute exists as to when and if the Board ever finally approved and adopted Ordinance 47, which would then start the running of the 30-day deadline for [the] Plaintiffs to file their petition… Therefore, the court is unable to determine based on the record before it whether or not Plaintiffs’ petition was timely filed, and, accordingly, the court concludes that Plaintiffs’ motion [for summary judgement] must be overruled.”

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

For background information on this story, click here.

June 10, 2016 - 5:18 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — A tractor was destroyed in a fire on Thursday, June 9, 2016 near Sibley.
Sibley fire logo door
According to Sibley Assistant Fire Chief Dan Bechler, about 1:21 PM, the Sibley Fire Department was called to the report of tractor fire north of 210th Street and Polk Avenue, about a mile east and almost four south of Sibley.

The assistant chief says the fire department saw the tractor fully involved in flame and three or four acres of grass hay on fire as they approached the scene. He says three trucks responded to the call. They used water to fight the tractor fire and water and other tactics to put out the grass fire.

Bechler says there were no injuries reported.

He says the cause of the fire may have been chaff under the hood. He said the driver smelled smoke coming in from behind the dash.

Assistant Chief Bechler says the tractor was a total loss.

He says they used 1,300 gallons of water to fight the fire, and crews were on scene “for a good hour.”

June 10, 2016 - 1:35 pm - Posted in News

George, Iowa — A 911 call turned into an arrest of a man near George on Wednesday evening, June 8th.
Lyon County Sheriff Car Door 60-8
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 9:30 PM, they received a 911 call in reference to a man who was possibly suicidal.

They say that 55-year-old Jerome Sechser was believed to be armed with weapons in an outbuilding in the 1900 mile of Jay Avenue, which is about two miles north and two west of George.

They say Sechser discharged a weapon and demanded law enforcement leave the property.

At that point, Sheriff Stewart Vander Stoep says the SRT, or Special Response Team was called in. He says that’s a special team from other counties. But Vander Stoep says soon after that, and a few minutes after 10 PM, Sechser put down the weapon and surrendered to deputies on the scene. The Sheriff says Sechser was then taken into custody and was transported to Sanford Rock Rapids Hospital for evaluation.

Sechser was later taken to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office and was charged with intimidation with a dangerous weapon and reckless use of a firearm.

Sheriff Vander Stoep says deputies obtained a search warrant and were able to find only one shotgun in the building.

June 7, 2016 - 2:49 pm - Posted in News

Ocheyedan, Iowa — A pickup was destroyed in a fire on Sunday, June 5, 2016 near Ocheyedan.
Fire Lightbar
According to Ocheyedan Fire Chief Dan Hartwig, about 6:08 PM, the Ocheyedan Fire Department was called to the report of vehicle fire at the Thompson Pits, five miles south of Ocheyedan.

The chief says the fire department saw the pickup was fully engulfed as they approached the scene. He says they used mostly foam to fight the fire, but it was a total loss.

Hartwig says no injuries were reported.

He says the cause of the fire appeared to be electrical in nature but he said the damage was so bad it would be hard to tell for sure.

He says that they used 200 gallons of water to fight the fire, plus foam concentrate. and that firefighters were on scene for about forty minutes.

June 2, 2016 - 1:57 pm - Posted in News

Tom SnyderPrimghar, Iowa — O’Brien County Engineer Tom Snyder is used to sharing his services with other counties.

He tells us that due to the resignation of Osceola County Engineer Charlie Bechtold, he is about to enter into another temporary sharing agreement.

Click here for audio
Bechtold had been the engineer in Osceola County since early 2013, when he took over the position from Snyder, when Snyder took the O’Brien County position. Find out more about how the four northwest Iowa counties’ engineers offices shared personnel in this 2012 story on kiwardio.com.

Snyder says temporary sharing of county engineer services is fairly common in Iowa.

Click here for audio
He says it will involve some extra drive time, but he doesn’t anticipate any issues.

The Boards of Supervisors for Osceola and O’Brien Counties hammered out a 28E agreement for the sharing of engineering services this week.

Snyder says the agreement is in effect until Osceola County can find a new engineer. The agreement expires on November 1st, 2016.
Photo caption: Tom Snyder

Northwest Iowa — Memorial Day will be observed in the United States on Monday, May 30th.Sheldon Avenue Of Flags

Originally called “Decoration Day”, and celebrated on May 30th, the day was created to honor Civil War dead. It has since been expanded to honor all veterans who have died in service to the United States; and Memorial Day is now observed on the last Monday of May — which this year happens to BE on May 30th.

In addition to national observances, many local communities will hold Memorial Day services in Northwest Iowa.

In Sheldon, flags will be displayed at Sheldon City Park, weather permitting. Volunteers are needed to help put the flags out at 7:00 AM and take them back down at 5:30 PM. Twenty-five to thirty volunteers are needed. If you are able to help, you are asked to meet at the City Park.

Sheldon American Legion McGlothlen-Cowie Post #145 will be holding Memorial Day Services at the Sheldon High School at 10:00 AM in the auditorium. The public is invited to come out and attend the free service honoring our veterans.

In Sioux Center, the Memorial Day Parade starts at 9:15 AM at the Sioux Center Public Library on Highway 75, and will process toward Memory Gardens Cemetary. Veterans will be honored. The HS band will play. The color guard, firing squad, scouts, youth groups, and the saddle club will take part, as will bicyclists and bikes in the bike decorating contest. Pastor Ryan Govig from New Life Church will give the invocation. Bob Hoogeveen of Sheldon will speak. Plus a mens quartet will perform. There will be a flag raising ceremony, and the roll of honor for dead will be read. You are asked to bring lawn chairs.

In Sibley, the Memorial Day ceremony will begin at 11 AM at the Holman Township Cemetery. American Legion Post 324 and VFW Post 7373 are in charge of services. The speaker will be retired Air Force Colnel Patrick Hatting. The Sibley/Ocheyedan High School band will play. You are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. In case of rain the ceremony will be moved to the American Legion building in Sibley.
Half Staff Osceola Courthouse
The American Legion Post 470 in Melvin invites everyone to observe Memorial Day services at Baker cemetery, two miles east and two miles north of Melvin beginning at 10:30 AM on Monday, May 30th. Those attending are urged to bring lawn chairs for their comfort. In case of inclement weather, the ceremonies will be held in the American Legion Community Center in Melvin.

At Rock Rapids, the new Veterans Memorial will be dedicated during the Memorial Day ceremony at Riverview Cemetery. It will start at 10 AM. Rock Rapids VFW Post 6960 and American Legion Rex Strait Post 103 and their auxiliaries will participate, as will Boy Scout Troop 190. The Central Lyon High School Band will perform. Representative and veteran John Wills will be the speaker. You are asked to bring lawn chairs. In the event of rain, the ceremony will be moved to the Forster Community Center.

The George American Legion, Jack Souter Post 404 will put up the Avenue of Flags at the Evergreen Lawn Cemetary in George at 7 AM on Memorial Day. They will take them down at 4 PM. Listen to KIWA in the event of rain for any updates.  The Memorial Day service will start at 10 AM at the George/Little Rock High School, and will proceed to the cemetery for the laying of the wreath and honoring all veterans with a special honor this year for four vets who served their country. Doug Hilbrands is the speaker. The George-Little Rock High School band will play, under the direction of Mark Swartz.

As always, the United States Flag will be flown at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day, and it should then be raised to full height from noon until sundown.

The US Flag Code says that the flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then slowly lowered to the half-staff position.