February 16, 2018 - 2:44 pm - Posted in News

Ocheyedan, Iowa — Thirty-one Osceola County projects received a share of over $94,000 in grant money last night (Thursday, February 15th) at the annual Community Foundation of Osceola County grant ceremony.

The ceremony was held at the Ocheyedan Town Hall. The foundation, which was established in 2006, has given out over $983,000 since then. Funding was secured from the Iowa Legislature to encourage improvement projects in communities that do not have a gaming facility located in their county. As a result, the foundation is now are able to finance worthy projects that might have otherwise gone unfunded.

Foundation spokesperson Mike Earll says they also accept charitable donations to help the grant endowment grow.

Receiving grants of $3500 were:
• Osceola County Pheasants Forever
Purchase prescribed fire burn skids & personal protective gear & clothing to maintain CRP & natural areas in Osceola County.
• Ocheyedan Senior Activity Center
New countertops & 3-bowl sink for Ocheyedan Sr. Citizen Activity Center kitchen.
• Osceola Community Health Services
Lifeline equipment upgrade. Year 2 of a 3-year plan to replace 90 Lifeline units in the county.
• Sibley Public Library
Furnishings updates including a sensory learning wall and furniture in youth area of the library.
• McCallum Museum/Brunson Heritage House
Purchase and install a new high efficiency furnace/air conditioning units for Museum.
• Melvin American Legion
Roof repair on Melvin Legion / Community Bldg.
• Sibley Parks Department
Replace two water fountains in Sibley’s Central Park.
• Osceola County Conservation Board
Purchase & install two interpretive signs, a flagpole & new sign at Ocheyedan Mound.
• Hawkeye Point Foundation
Install water & both 30 & 50 amp electrical service to campsites at Hawkeye Pt. Campground.
• Sibley VFW
Purchase & install a high efficiency furnace for Sibley VFW building.
• Osceola Communities Express
Funds to expand Osceola Communities Express service to other parts of Osceola County.
• Osceola County Livestock Show
Phase III of a 3-year project to refurbish the schoolhouse on the fairgrounds. Replace windows.
• Tracy House Museum
Pour a concrete sidewalk to the house and ag building; window replacement; replace glass in display case.
• Ocheyedan Indians 4-H Club
Purchase & install historic banners for Ocheyedan’s Main Street.
• Ashton Fire Department
Update water entry design & install a water meter for Ashton Fire Dept.
• Osceola Co. Freedom Rock
Have the Osceola Co. Freedom Rock painted by Bubba Sorensen.
• Ashton American Legion Auxiliary
Provide landscaping materials for Osceola Co. Freedom Rock in Ashton.
• S-O FFA Chapter
Purchase and erect a 24’ x 40’ greenhouse to assist with classes and student instruction.
• Ashton Ambulance Crew
Update light fixtures in ambulance garage & replace outdoor light with LED lighting.
• Osceola County Sheriff’s Office
Purchase 2-Watch Guard integrated body/dash camera systems for officer’s use.
• Ocheyedan Economic Development
Remodeling & moving restrooms to one location & making them handicap accessible in Ocheyedan City Hall

These projects received less than $3500:
• Ocheyedan Catfish Club
Purchase a defibrillator for Ocheyedan ballfield and town hall. $3,390.00
• S-O Band Boosters
Purchase a portable wireless sound system for the S-O Marching Generals. $3,000.00
• Melvin Public Library
Purchase a movie screen/runner mat/window shades/outdoor sign. $2,920.16
• Melvin Area Econ. Development Corp.
Purchase 6-pole mounted snowflake Christmas lights for Melvin Main Street. $2,300.00
• Sibley Betterment Association
Purchase first aid station, refrigerator & dryer for swimming pool bathhouse. $2,156.00
• Sibley Recreation Department
Purchase a LED Community Event Sign in cooperation with S-O Athletic Boosters. $1,750.00
• S-O Athletic Booster Club
Community event digital sign computer/software/electricity/installation. $1,750.00
• Bright Beginnings of Osceola Co.
Purchase telephones/shade canopy for play area/art supplies/raised garden bed/plants/seeds/
& fertilizer for Bright Beginnings students. $1,702.84
• Sibley Municipal Swimming Pool
Purchase & install a PA speaker system for the swimming pool. $1,344.00
• Sibley Chamber of Commerce
Connecting Osceola Co. & area businesses with “user friendly” web presence. $ 1,107.23

February 16, 2018 - 2:25 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — Third grade students at Ben Franklin Elementary School in Sibley have undertaken a very special project to help the family of Riley Meyer, who perished in a fire that destroyed her family’s George home earlier this month.

Jenna Helmers teaches third grade at Ben Franklin Elementary, and she says the project began in conjunction with Random Acts of Kindness Week.

Helmers says Ben Franklin’s Guidance Counselor had traveled to the Central Lyon Schools, where Riley Meyer had been a student, to assist students of that school in coping with the loss of their classmate.

Even though none of the Ben Franklin students, nor their teachers, had any connection with Riley or her family, Helmers says they wanted to help, even going so far as to start bringing in food items before she was able to send a note home to their parents.

She says her class had a large discussion about what it means to lose everything you own in a fire.

Helmers says it warms her heart to see the generosity of her students, many of whom don’t have much at home themselves, give so generously to help a family they’ve never met.

The students worked together in groups, organizing the donated food. They even went so far as to create labels for the box with pictures and descriptions of what each box contained. Below are a few of the pictures of the class’s efforts.



February 15, 2018 - 5:24 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 89 of Iowa’s 99 counties have notified the DNR that they plan to evaluate construction permit applications and proposed locations for animal confinements by using the master matrix. But again, one county in our area and one nearby have opted out.

With 10 exceptions, all counties will use the matrix during the next 12 months. Osceola and Plymouth counties, as well as Davis, Des Moines, Keokuk, Lee, Mahaska, Wapello, Warren, and Washington counties will not use the matrix in 2017.

DNR officials say that state law requires large operations with 1000 animal units or more (2500 finishing pigs or 1000 beef cattle) under totally-roofed conditions to get a construction permit before they can build. There are set standards for the construction permit. In addition, there are some counties that would like to have a say in whether or not these facilities can be built in their counties, and for that, a master matrix was created.

Officials say the matrix is a “laundry list” of production practices that producers can select, and get a passing score of 440 points, so when they apply for that construction permit with the DNR, they also send this master matrix to the county. The county goes through it and sees whether or not they agree with the practices the producer has selected and the point total, to see if they can support the DNR issuing the construction permit for the facility.

DNR officials say that some counties’ boards of supervisors who opt out of the master matrix plan feel it’s not needed in their area, or they trust that their producers are going to do the right thing and don’t feel they need to put them under additional scrutiny. He says others want to make the final decision at the local level.

The DNR says some counties want local control as to whether these facilities can be built in their county. Other entities are saying that they want one set standard for the whole state so that everybody knows what the standard is. They say the situation that we have now is a hybrid system, in which there is a minimum standard, and counties get to use the master matrix. They don’t really get to say “yes” or “no,” but they get a lot more input than if there was not a master matrix system.

Participating counties score each master matrix submitted in their county and can recommend to approve or deny the construction permit. They can also join in DNR visits to a proposed confinement site.

Tea, South Dakota — Earlier this week, President Donald Trump issued his long-awaited infrastructure plan. And the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System could benefit from it.

The plan was opposed by Democrats who said it didn’t go far enough. But the Trump administration says the plan’s $200 billion will leverage $1.5 trillion in local and private investment.

Trump had asked each governor for a list their top five infrastructure projects. One of the projects listed by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds was the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System, which is partially-completed. While cities and systems are slowly being connected, the system has yet to reach Sioux Center, Hull, Sheldon, and Sibley in Iowa; Worthington, Minnesota; and Madison, South Dakota.

Troy Larson, executive director of the system says they’ve been working with the Trump administration for the last year to get Lewis & Clark included in the plan.

He tells us why he says that.

Larson says the President’s preliminary 2019 budget was released this week too. He says that no matter what party is in the white house, they have never treated Lewis & Clark well, and this time was no exception with only $100,000 in the proposed budget. He tells us what Lewis & Clark leaders plan to do about that.

Larson says they also continue to depend on federal funding advances from the three state governments since the federal funding is so slow to come in.

February 14, 2018 - 12:36 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa (courtesy KDLT-TV) — A Sibley great-great grandmother is celebrating her 104th birthday.

Zita Thiele was born in 1914, and reportedly hasn’t slowed down since. She didn’t retire until she was 82-years old, and drove until she was 100.

At 104, Zita lives on her own and is plenty busy. She plays cards with her friends every day, knits, bakes, reads, and loves a good crossword.

As she grows another year older, her family is expanding. She has 48 great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren, with two more on the way.

She says there is a price to pay for living such a long life, she has outlived three of her seven children.

Zita reccommends having a big family to surround yourself with. She credits her good health to keeping her mind sharp and not eating after 4:30 each afternoon.

Zita’s family says they’re already planning her 105th birthday celebration for next year.

To see the complete story, visit KDLT-TV’s website by CLICKING HERE.

February 13, 2018 - 5:31 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — Everyone should be thinking about retirement, but when it gets a little closer, it’s time to plan exactly how it’s going to work. That’s according to Jan Monahan from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, who’ll be leading a workshop about retirement later this month.

She says if you’re five to ten years from retirement, it would be a good idea to attend this training.

Of course, there are many entities that want to help you with your retirement. But most of them are trying to make a profit. She says that’s where extension differs.

Monahan points out that even those who work with a trusted financial professional must ultimately make the decision themselves. A financial professional can suggest or recommend strategies or products, but it is the consumer who decides and then lives with the result.

The workshop is on Tuesdays, February 20th and 27th from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Osceola Community Hospital, and it’s called “Writing Your Retirement Paycheck.”

She says that for many of us, our paychecks have been determined by someone else all our lives, but in retirement, many of us are responsible to write our own paychecks. And we’ll have to answer the question, “How big it should be?”

Monahan, who will lead the workshop, says topics include health costs, Social Security, inflation, required minimum distributions, annuities, and more.

Two light meals, two sessions, and materials for Writing Your Retirement Paycheck normally cost $25, but thanks to the generosity of the Osceola County Extension Council, Monahan says it is being offered here for $10/person or $15/couple. You can register online at http://bit.ly/2m73zWc, but you need to do it soon. Registration ends on Thursday, February 15th.

Participants are asked to note that if either date gets postponed, the snow date will be Tuesday, March 6.

If you have questions you can call the Osceola County Extension Office at 712-754-3648 or email xosceola@iastate.edu.

February 13, 2018 - 5:20 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — A pork loin benefit is planned in Sibley to raise funds for a family that lost their husband and father in an accident.

Forty-four-year-old Brian Daiker died at Sanford Sheldon Medical Center on December 5th. Brad Willemssen with the WeCare organization says they are putting on the fundraiser with three other organizations.

He tells us about WeCare.

Daiker’s family consists of his wife Jamiey (Gaalswyk) Daiker and two children, ages 11 and 5. Jaimey Daiker is employed by the Sibley-Ocheyedan School District.

Willemssen tells us about the meal.

The meal will be served from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 25th at the Sibley-Ocheyedan High School Commons at 120 11th Avenue NE in Sibley.

He says if you have any questions you can contact Kris at 712-202-4446 or vipondkris@hotmail.com.

February 12, 2018 - 5:05 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — The Community Foundation of Osceola County is set to give out almost $95,000 in grants this week.

Grants will be given in a ceremony on Thursday evening (February 15th, 2018) at the Ocheyedan Town Hall at 5:30 p.m. Everyone is invited.

Money for the grants comes through the Endow Iowa program.

We had a chance to talk to Osceola County Economic Development Director Mike Earll, who is one of the people in charge of the foundation. He tells us about the Community Foundation of Osceola County.

He says they don’t give all the money away.

Projects in several categories will receive funds on Thursday, including arts/culture/humanities, education, human services, environment/animals and public/society benefit.

Sibley, Iowa — Two of the co-defendants in the civil case brought against the Sibley-Ocheyedan School District on behalf of a boy who was allegedly sexually abused by a former teacher — asked the court last fall to dismiss the petitions against them. The court has now rendered a ruling and will not be dismissing the petitions.

The plaintiff in the civil case is a minor, identified only as “C.A.” and C.A.’s mother, “J.A.” The plaintiff alleges that he was sexually abused by former Sibley-Ocheyedan teacher and coach Kyle Ewinger. A criminal case charging Ewinger with Second Degree Sexual Abuse continues in the court system, with a trial scheduled at this point for April.

Last summer, the plaintiffs added to the CIVIL suit, two other school districts where Ewinger had previously been employed. They listed alleged questionable acts in those districts, and said that they too were negligent in not alerting future employers of this conduct, which could have prevented the eventual alleged sexual assault of the victim. The other schools named are the Mediapolis Community School District and the Sioux City Community School District.

Court records indicate that the question of whether or not the other school districts failed to prevent the minor child from being sexually assaulted by one of their former employees may proceed to a jury as can the question of whether those districts failed to notify future employers of Ewinger regarding his alleged prior inappropriate behavior with students at their schools.

Judge Carl Petersen ruled that contrary to the plaintiffs’ claim, the other districts didn’t have a duty to investigate because no Iowa case law exists that stands for creating that duty by law. Petersen wrote that if the Iowa Supreme Court wants to create that duty they can, but he can’t just create it himself.

Petersen also ruled, contrary to the plaintiffs’ claim, that the other school districts do not have a responsibility to protect ALL students from harm — that is, all students, everywhere.

The civil trial is scheduled at this point for October 23rd, 2018 at the Osceola County Courthouse in Sibley.

February 9, 2018 - 5:09 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — While it isn’t a Presidential election year, county parties across Iowa did hold caucus meetings this past week.

Caucus attendees at both parties’ caucuses voted for members of the Central Committee and voted on delegates and alternates to the County Convention. They also proposed County Platform Planks.

In O’Brien County, attendance at the Republican caucus was low. Party leaders say they expected low attendance with people gone and having other commitments, but the weather also played a role. For example, Sheldon precinct 1 had 5 attendees, precinct 4 had 3 attendees, and precincts 5 and six had just one attendee per precinct.

The Sioux County Republicans had about 70 folks there, according to party leaders.

Attendance at the Osceola County Republican caucus was also a little low. Party leaders say they did have a good caucus though and accomplished party business so they said it was a successful evening. They listed the top planks discussed:

1. Strong Support of the 2nd Amendment, Right to Carry legislation, and ability to defend yourself and your family, no matter where you are.
2. Right to Life: Life begins at Conception, Opposing abortion, And it was said that attendees want a Personhood rights bill.
3. Education: Elimination of the Federal Department of Education was mentioned as well as the belief that control of education should be left to parents, local school boards, and teachers. Thus, they said that they reject the Common Core Standards plan.
4. They noted their support for the display of the American flag, voluntary prayer in schools, and a daily Pledge of Allegiance.

We checked with the Lyon County Republicans, but couldn’t make contact to bring you a report on how their caucus went.

On the Democratic side, in Lyon County, we are told that the caucus went well, from all corners of the county. County party leaders tell us that healthcare was the issue they discussed the most.

The Sioux County Democrats proposed platform planks including voting rights for felons that have served their time, opposing immigration restrictions based on race or religion, Iowa becoming carbon-neutral by 2050, and working against criminal justice practices that result in a disproportionate number of African Americans in prison.

The O’Brien County Democratic party leaders tell us that they had twelve people attend, which was more than they were expecting for a non-presidential-year caucus. They say that all but two of the nine county precincts were represented. We are told that no one submitted a platform plank, but several people took home resolution forms and planned to submit resolutions to the platform committee. The committee will meet in a few weeks to prepare resolutions for the county platform, which they will approve at the county convention on March 24th. While no planks were proposed, we are told that the caucus attendees were concerned about the health of the state finances and, in particular, funding for education and healthcare. They say that those in attendance were very interested in the governor’s race, although most people haven’t yet selected a favored candidate.

The Osceola County Democratic leaders tell us they had an average turnout for a nonpresidential year. Some of the planks that attendees were most interested in were increased funding for public education, the restoration of collective bargaining rights, and ending the privatization of the Medicaid program.