August 22, 2017 - 12:16 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — A “Safety Camp” was held Monday at the Osceola County Fairgrounds in Sibley.  One of the booths the kids flocked to was the one from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.

Osceola County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Seth Hoffman, and Deputy Lee Vellema manned the Sheriff’s Office booth. Vellema says they took the opportunity of the Safety Camp to talk to kids about “Stranger Danger.”

Deputy Vellema says he and Hoffman handed out fingerprint kits to the kids.

Vellema says they also gave the kids the opportunity to explore one of the department’s patrol vehicles, which was on display.

He says the patrol car’s siren was very popular with the kids in attendance.

Vellema says everyone who attended Monday’s “Safety Camp” seemed to enjoy themselves.

Monday’s “Safety Camp” was held from 9:00 until 2:00 at the Osceola County Fairgrounds, and was organized by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach of Osceola County, and sponsored by Pioneer Seed.

Above Photo:  Lt. Seth Hoffman (l), and Deputy Lee Vellema (r), talk with kids at Monday’s “Safety Camp”

Both photos courtesy Osceola County Sheriff’s Office

Photo Below:  Lt. Seth Hoffman (l), and Deputy Lee Vellema (r), pose with youngsters attending the “Safety Camp”

August 21, 2017 - 2:28 pm - Posted in News

Melvin, Iowa — Some farmers in northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota are tallying their losses after four tornadoes touched down in the region Friday night.

Todd Heitkamp, is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Sioux Falls, and he says the biggest twister hit near Melvin around 8:30 Friday evening.

Many buildings on those two farms were destroyed, but Heitkamp said the homes on the farms were NOT badly damaged. The tornado had a maximum width of 250 yards and left a path of destruction that covered six miles.

The three other tornadoes, all EF1s, were in Minnesota. In addition to toppling farm buildings, Heitkamp said the four twisters flattened crops and ripped apart trees.

One of the tornadoes that passed through Rushmore, Minnesota took down a hog confinement barn, killing dozens of animals.


Above Photo Courtesy National Weather Service

Photos Below: Tornado four miles west of Bigelow on the state line, taken by Jill Heidebrink of Sibley. Two anonymous pictures sent in by listeners — hail near Melvin and storm damage a mile west of Highway 59 on A34.

Ames, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Transportation has unveiled which of the three license plate designs was chosen to replcae Iowa’s current county standard vehicle plates.

According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, the public chose the City and Country Reboot design for the new license plates.

Governor Kim Reynolds, Lt. Givernor Adam Gregg and Iowa DOT Director Mark Lowe revealed the three potential plate designs at this year’s Iowa State Fair.  The public voted for their favorite design through an online poll, and and at the DOT’s boot at the state fair.  DOT officials say the City and Country Reboot design won the public vote with 113,299 of the poll’s 291,095 total votes.

DOT officials say there was a big late push Sunday (August 20th), that brought the “Flying Our Colors” design to a close second, garnering 110,352 votes,  In third place was “The Great Wide Open” design, with tallied 67,444 votes, according to the DOT.

Officials say the new plate design will be available sometime next year. Plates with the new designs will be issued to vehicle owners whenever they add or change vehicles and obtain new county standard plates, or whenever they replace lost, stolen, or damaged county standard plates.

To avoid unnecessary cost, Iowans who currently have county standard plates will receive replacement plates with the new design when their current plate reaches the end of its 10-year replacement cycle. Vehicle owners who want a new plate sooner may purchase a set from their local county treasurer’s office for $5.

Second UPDATE on Sunday morning, August 20th:
Melvin, Iowa — According to the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, the tornado that struck near Melvin on Friday, August 18th, was rated an EF-2 on the Fujita scale and had winds of 125 miles per hour.

According to the preliminary damage survey results, from the National Weather Service, the tornado was one of several that evening associated with that storm complex. The Melvin tornado was on the ground for six miles, according to the National Weather Service, and at its maximum, it was 250 yards wide. The weather service says that particular tornado touched down at 8:07 p.m. and lifted at 8:27 p.m. for a total of 20 minutes on the ground. The weather service says it damaged several homesteads. It caused large tree damage and significant crop damage.

The storm that gave birth to the tornado was part of a line of thunderstorms that formed across portions of western Minnesota and eastern South Dakota during the late afternoon hours of Friday. The weather service says these thunderstorms initially were capable of very large hail and damaging winds, with 67 mph winds measured in Minneota, MN.

They say that while strong storms continued to move through the Lake Shetek area, a strong cyclic supercell that formed on the tail end of this line, which became the main weather story. This supercell produced large hail and strong winds, but also became a prolific tornado producer with multiple tornadoes moving across far southern Minnesota and into Northwest Iowa during the evening hours, according to the National Weather Service.

The weather service says that damage from these tornadoes was reported near Rushmore, just west of Bigelow, with the strongest tornado taking place further south near Melvin. Three other tornadoes were part of this storm, says the weather service. Click here for more information about the weather event including several pictures from the public and weather service damage surveys.

UPDATE: From The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday morning, August 19th:
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office is requesting assistance. Due to last night’s storm there are approximately 80 head of black angus cattle roaming between A34 & A50 and Hwy 59 & L40 (Pierce Ave). If you do not need to be in that area please stay out as we do not want anyone to hit any cattle with their vehicles. We have people searching and trying to collect the cattle but need anyone not helping to stay out of the area PLEASE. if someone does see some of these cattle please call the Sheriff’s Office at 712-754-2556.

Original Story posted at 9:30 p.m., Friday, August 18th:
Northwest Iowa — Severe weather has been rumbling through northwest Iowa this Friday night.
Read The Full Story…

August 18, 2017 - 5:08 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — If you are a caregiver of an adult, or a child or children with special health and behavioral needs, there is a workshop coming up in Sibley that you may like to attend.

Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach says that caregivers need to remember to take care of themselves. They’re hosting a free “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” course at the Osceola Community Hospital every Tuesday night, Sept. 12 through Oct. 17, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The program is free to participate in, but interested individuals are encouraged to pre-register soon to guarantee a spot in the class. To register or for more information, stop by the ISU Extension and Outreach office at 110 Cedar Lane in Sibley or contact Sandy at 712-754-3648 or email

Over 43.5 million family caregivers in America provide a vast array of emotional, financial, nursing, social, homemaking and other services to older adults or adults with chronic conditions. “Powerful Tools for Caregivers” is an educational series designed to provide caregivers – family members, hospital staff, nursing home staff, volunteers and anyone else – with the tools they need to take care of themselves.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Human Sciences Program Coordinator Mackenzie DeJong tells us about the program.

She says that by funding this program, the Osceola County Extension Council wishes to thank caregivers in Northwest Iowa by providing them with resources and knowledge to empower them personally and help them be successful professionally. It is hoped that employers and other family members will encourage caregivers to participate in this free course.

Extension experts tell us that classes will consist of six 90-minute sessions held once a week. Two trained, experienced facilitators will lead the class in interactive lessons, discussions and the sharing of helpful tools and resources.

Sibley, Iowa — A local funeral home is partnering with a company providing a service that aims to help out during a medical emergency.

Andringa Funeral homes of Sibley, Sheldon, and Ocheyedan is owned by Larry Andringa, and he says he recognized a way to assist local first responders and medical personnel that could help save lives. He says it is called the Vitalboard initiative.

Basically, on one side, it’s a typical whiteboard for wet-erase markers. It has a Monday through Sunday planner, shopping list, note area and important phone numbers section. A wet-erase marker with mounting clip will accompany the board, which they want you to place on the front of your refrigerator door.

But on the BACK side, is an area for the resident to write critical health information. Vitalboard representatives say that this vital information includes questions taken from surveyed EMS / Fire / Police and ER staff and represents a portion of the required documentation needed in the event of a medical emergency. They say that this “need to know” information could help save a life if the resident is unable to speak or is otherwise incapacitated.

Homeowners are instructed to fill out this information as accurately and legibly as possible. A small weatherproof sticker is also included, which they want you to affix on or near your front door so that first responders know to look for the Vitalboard.

They say the EMT’s can then take the Vitalboard with them to the hospital. The Vitalboards are available at the Andringa locations in Sibley, Sheldon, and Ocheyedan.

Andringa also says you can download the Vital ICE App from your app store for your smartphone and enter in their code: #2230. He says Andringa Funeral Homes are making this potentially life-saving app available for free to download in the community as a way of showing their gratitude for allowing them to serve you.

August 17, 2017 - 2:29 pm - Posted in News

Osceola County, Iowa — A telephone hearing is scheduled for this Friday, August 18th, in the case of the Osceola County Board of Supervisors establishment of a TIF District to provide funds to be used to help finance infrastructure in the City of Harris.

In March 2015, Harris was under an administrative order from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to update its lagoon, but the city lacked the debt capacity to take on the improvements. As a result, on March 10, 2015, the city sent a letter to the Osceola County Board of Supervisors “asking for help with possibly doing a TIF on the windmills [wind turbines] for infrastructure within the City.” Within a couple of weeks, at a meeting of the board, the Harris mayor “asked that the supervisors consider establishing an urban renewal area including the turbines and city of Harris to help fund needed projects.”

In October 2015, the Board of Supervisors held a Public Hearing on a resolution to establish an urban renewal area, and approve the urban renewal plan and project for the area.  The newly-created TIF area was set to include the city of Harris, as well as an area of land upon which a wind farm had been constructed.

The plaintiffs in the case are resident taxpayers of Osceola County and of the Harris-Lake Park School District. They filed a petition for writ of certiorari and declaratory judgment challenging the resolution and the ordinance passed by or involving Osceola County and the City of Harris. In conjunction, the resolution and ordinance established an urban renewal area and an urban renewal plan and divided the tax revenue levied on that area as tax increment financing to fund the plan. The plaintiffs challenged the Supervisors’ actions, claiming they would be harmed as taxpayers.

Osceola County and the City of Harris filed a motion for summary judgment, and the district court granted it, finding the taxpayers lacked standing to challenge the resolution and their claims involving the ordinance were untimely. The taxpayers’ petition was dismissed. On appeal, the taxpayers challenged the district court’s ruling and maintained the merits of their motion for summary judgment should have been granted instead.

In their review of the case, while the Iowa Court of Appeals upheld the District Court ruling that the taxpayers’ claims were, in fact, untimely, since they were filed prior to the enactment of the ordinance they challenged; the Appeals Court did reverse the lower court’s ruling, saying that the taxpayers DID, in fact, have standing to pursue the case.

The Court of Appeals remanded the case back to District Court for further proceedings.

A telephonic hearing is scheduled for this Friday, in which the plaintiffs’ and defendants’ legal counsel and a judge will discuss the case. The hearing is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. The taxpayer group has renewed their motion for summary judgment.

The complete ruling from the Iowa Court of Appeals can be seen by CLICKING HERE.

August 17, 2017 - 10:50 am - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — Scammers seem to be working overtime this summer, attempting to separate area residents from their hard-earned money, one phone call at a time.

The latest scam we’ve heard about is from a caller who identifies themself as a representative of the Publisher’s Clearinghouse, and, according to Osceola County Chief Deputy Kevin Wollmuth, tells the intended victim that they have won the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Jackpot.

Wollmuth says the scammers try to convince the intended victim that they have won $1,000,000, and a new pickup truck.  Wollmuth says the victims are told that all they have to do to collect their prize, is pay a $12,000 fee.

Deputy Wollmuth says the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office has received a couple of calls about this particular scam in recent days.  But fortunately, he says, it doesn’t appear anyone has actually fallen for the scam.

Once again, we’ll remind you of the words of wisdom our parents passed down, “If something appears to good to be true, it probably is.”

August 16, 2017 - 10:35 am - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — They’ve held smaller events for the past few months to celebrate their centennial, but the main celebration is this Thursday evening, August 17th.

The celebration itself is not exactly at the Sibley Public Library. Library Director Mary Earll explains.

Earll says they are excited that they will also be welcoming some special guests.

She says tours will also be available.

Again, the ceremony gets underway on Thursday afternoon, August 17th, at 5:30 p.m. at the Ninth Street Center in Sibley.

August 15, 2017 - 2:12 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — Recreational trails continue to be constructed in Osceola County. Quite a bit of trail work has been completed recently.

We talked to Doris Hoffman with the Osceola Recreational Trails Association, and she says they recently poured a large amount of trail.

Hoffman gives us a little history of the trails in Osceola County.

She says that the process was sped up quite a bit, thanks to their friends from a community to the west.

She says they now have over 12,000 feet or 2.3 miles of trails of trails.

According to Hoffman, the Ed Winkel Memorial Trail is former railroad right-of-way, once owned by the Rock Island Line, and later by Chicago Northwestern Railroad. She says the trail is paved to Pierce Avenue and is grass and gravel from there, but she says the right-of-way has the potential to go all the way past the Iowa Great Lakes area to Superior, Iowa.