May 4, 2016 - 2:53 am - Posted in News

Mattoon, Illinois — The name of the main telecommunications provider in a number of northwest Iowa communities is changing yet again. But this time it’s due to the sale of the exchanges to a local company instead of a name change or sale at the corporate level.
premier communications
Mankato, Minnesota-based Hickory Tech had purchased the northwest Iowa exchanges from US West in 1997, and for a number of years used “Heartland Telecommunications” as its Iowa brand. US West was a “baby bell” and a successor of Northwestern Bell. After a short change to “Crystal,” Hickory Tech used its own name on the exchanges for several years. In October, 2013, they changed their name to “Enventis,” a name they only held for 20 months before a June, 2015 sale to Illinois-based Consolidated Communications.

Now Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc. says they have entered into a definitive agreement with Mutual Telephone Company of Sioux Center (also known as Premier Communications) and Winnebago Cooperative Telecom Association to divest its Heartland Telecommunications Company of Iowa territory in order for the Company to focus on its core regions.

Premier will acquire the Iowa exchanges of: Akron, Boyden, Doon, Hawarden, Hull, Ireton, Rock Rapids, Rock Valley and Sibley. Winnebago will acquire the Iowa exchanges of Bancroft and Lakota.

Doug Boone, chief executive officer of Premier says that his company has been, and always will be, committed to offering exceptional voice, video and data services to their customers. He says that the addition of these nine exchanges is a natural fit to their existing service territory and they pledge to serve these new customers with, “the same cutting-edge technology and great customer service that Premier is known for.”

Consolidated’s Heartland operation contributed approximately $7.0 million of revenue in fiscal 2015. The agreement is an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $22.5 million, subject to certain contractual adjustments. The closing is subject to customary regulatory approvals, which are expected to be completed in the second half of 2016.

Sibley, Iowa — What started as a complaint about an abandoned duffel bag, culminated with the arrest of a Sibley man.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office says they received a complaint from a Sibley resident that someone had left a duffel bag by her house.  Deputies responded to the complaint, and upon further investigation, discovered the bag belonged to 36-year old Daniel Ralph Riley of Sibley.  Deputies say that after interviewing Riley, he was placed under arrest on charges of Unlawful Possession of Prescription Drugs, which is a Serious Misdemeanor, and 5th Degree Theft, a Simple Misdemeanor.

Authorities say he was booked into the Osceola County jail in lieu of $1300 bond.

April 29, 2016 - 5:22 pm - Posted in News

Hartley, Iowa — An Ashton man has died as the result of an accident near Hartley.fatal ambulance II

The O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 12:15 PM on Monday, April 25, 2016, 54-year-old Dale Vahl of Ashton was driving a Peterbilt semi tractor and trailer northbound on Tyler Avenue, two miles west of Hartley and a mile and a half north.

The Sheriff’s Office reports that Vahl experienced a medical condition which caused his semi to leave the roadway. It traveled through the ditch and into a field.

The Primghar Ambulance took Vahl to Spencer Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Vahl’s semi was not damaged.

April 29, 2016 - 2:05 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — Two area John Deere dealerships have announced a merger.

The merger, which will take effect July 31st, will combine Noteboom Implement’s locations in Sibley, Spencer, and Lake Park in Iowa, along with Chamberlain, Corsica, and Parkston in South Dakota, with the dealerships of Hultgren Implement, which has dealerships in Storm Lake and Ida Grove, Iowa.  The dealerships will all merge under the Noteboom Implement name.

According to a press release from Noteboom Implement, the Noteboom family and Hultgren owners bring 122 years of combined John Deere ownership. They desire to provide superior customer service while maintaining small town values in the farming communities they serve. This merger will allow for improved capabilities to better serve their valued customers.

The Noteboom family and Hultgren owners bring 122 years of combined John Deere ownership. They desire to provide superior customer service while maintaining small town values in the farming communities they serve. This merger will allow for improved capabilities to better serve their valued customers.

April 29, 2016 - 1:11 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — A Minnesota man has been arrested on a number of charges after his vehicle was stopped near Sibley.
Osceola Sheriff Car 72-2
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that on Friday, April 29th, 2016, an Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputy arrested 24-year-old Jared David Pomerenke of Lakefield, Minnesota on charges of operating while intoxicated 2nd offense, an aggravated misdemeanor; possession of controlled substance, a serious misdemeanor; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a simple misdemeanor.

Pomerenke was also cited on a charge of open container.

Pomerenke was booked into the Osceola County Jail and held on a $3,300 bond. The arrest stemmed from a traffic stop south of Sibley.

Northwest Iowa — A plan to cut Iowa income taxes AND raise the state sales tax to finance water quality projects has failed to clear a procedural hurdle in the state senate. Senator David Johnson, a Republican from Ocheyedan, unsuccessfully tried to attach the proposal to a budget bill.
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Senator Brad Zaun, a Republican from Urbandale, says given the current political environment, it shouldn’t happen.

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Senator Dick Dearden, a Democrat from Des Moines, wants to increase the state sales tax by three-eighths of a percent, to raise money for projects that improve water and soil quality.

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In January, Republican Governor Terry Branstad proposed diverting some sales tax money levied for school infrastructure projects to water quality initiatives. House Republicans devised their own plan, using water usage fees and gambling taxes for water quality projects.
April 19, 2016 - 10:17 am - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — The Sibley City Council met in closed session Monday afternoon at 5 pm to plan their next move in their effort to force Iowa Drying and Processing to abate the offensive odor that emanates from their Sibley plant.

Nuisance citations were issued to IDP earlier, and on Monday, March 21st a trial on those charges was held, however when Iowa Drying and Processing and their legal counsel failed to appear at that trial, the magistrate listened to the city’s argument, which alleged ten counts of the city’s offensive smells ordinance, and found in favor of the city, ordering IDP to pay nearly $9000 in fines for the smell emanating from their plant..

On March 28th of this year the City Council held a public hearing on the matter, at which time representatives of IDP, as well as the Sibley community, appeared to plead their cases.  On March 31st the Council met in closed session to review the evidence presented at the public hearing, and render a judgement.  Following that meeting, the Council said they found from the evidence presented at th hearing that the emissions from the IDP property constitute a nuisance under the Sibley City Code, and the Iowa Code, and that those emissions are injurious to health, indecent, or unreasonably offensive to the senses.

The Council’s decision said that they found from the evidence that IDP knew it’s facilities create an unreasonably offensive odor, and that it is a nuisance under the Sibley Code and Iowa law.

As a result, the City of Sibley ordered IDP, and their parent company, ChemSol to deposit $50,000 into an escrow account held by the City of Sibley, which will be used to hire and pay an engineer of the City’s choosing, to study IDP’s operations and make recommendations, and be reasonably used to abate any future nuisances.  IDP and ChemSol will be required to deposit the required funds on or before April, 11, 2016.

The April 11th deadline has now come and gone, with no action by IDP.  As a result, at Monday’s City Council meeting, the Council authorized City Attorney Harold Dawson to file a petition in District Court seeking an injunction to force IDP to abide by the earlier court order.  Dawson told KIWA he expects the petition to be filed as early as Tuesday (April 19th).

April 18, 2016 - 12:30 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Drug dogs from northwest Iowa have participated in a drug dog competition recently.
Deputies Ver Meer Munneke Athos and Rizzo
The Sheriff’s Offices in Osceola, Lyon, and Sioux Counties tell us that their dogs took part in the annual United States Police Canine Association Region 21 Detector Dog Trials last week.

About fifty dogs participated in the event that was held in Manchester, Iowa. Officials say each year canine units from around Iowa are required to certify their dogs on four different odors; Marijuana, Methamphetamine, Cocaine and Heroin. Testing consists of searching three rooms to locate two drug hides and searching five cars to locate another two drug hides. The tests are designed to make sure the dog recognizes the odor of the narcotics and can indicate their presence. Participants were scored individually by ten judges and then also participated in four and five-person teams.
Deputy Bos and Hunter
Osceola County Deputy Tyler Bos and his Drug Detection Dog, Hunter brought home two trophies at the trials. Bos and Hunter won first place in Individual Overall Drug Detection and first place in Team Drug Detection.

Lyon County Deputy Rob Ver Meer and K9 Athos teamed up with Lyon County Deputy Kyle Munneke and K9 Rizzo along with three other K9s from the area. As a team they placed first overall in the event. Deputy Ver Meer and K9 Athos also scored second place on individual scoring in the car searches.

Sioux County Deputy Justin De Bruin and his canine partner, Sonny and Deputy Tony Reitsma and his canine partner, Neiko both passed the certification. Deputy Reitsma and Neiko placed third overall in the room search with a score of 99.33 out of a possible 100 points.

Top picture: Deputy Munneke and Rizzo; and Deputy Ver Meer and Athos
Bottom picture: Deputy Bos and Hunter

April 15, 2016 - 3:19 pm - Posted in News

welcome_to_sibleySibley, Iowa — The Sibley City Council will meet in special session Monday (April 18th) at 5:00 pm in Council Chambers at City Hall in Sibley.

The meeting is scheduled to go into closed session, pursuant to Iowa Code 21.5c.  Chapter 21.5c allows closed session to allow the Council, quoting the Iowa Code, “To discuss strategy with counsel in matters that are presently in litigation or where litigation is imminent where its disclosure would be likely to prejudice or disadvantage the position of the governmental body in that litigation.”

April 13, 2016 - 4:45 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — The deadline for Iowa Drying and Processing to deposit money in an escrow account has passed — and no money has been deposited, according to Sibley City Attorney Harold Dawson.
Iowa Drying and Processing IDP

After holding a public hearing about the odor coming from the Iowa Drying and Processing (or IDP) plant, the City of Sibley ordered IDP, and their parent company, ChemSol to deposit $50,000 into an escrow account held by the City of Sibley, which was to be used to hire and pay an engineer of the City’s choosing, to study IDP’s operations and make recommendations, and be reasonably used to abate any future nuisances.  The measure required IDP and ChemSol to deposit the required funds on or before Monday, April, 11, 2016.

Dawson says that date has come and gone, but no money was deposited into the escrow account. He says at this time the Sibley City Council is weighing their options.

When we asked Dawson if the council would consider forcing IDP to move out of town, he said that in the City’s Notice of Abatement and Nuisance, stated that their objective was to abate the nuisance, not force the plant out of town. He says the decision says that they want to find a mechanism to make sure that any future nuisances are abated.

Dawson says no one from IDP has given the City an official reason why they did not post the $50,000. Dawson says he would expect that a special meeting of the Sibley City Council will be called to discuss the issue, but it is up to the council.