March 14, 2017 - 5:41 pm - Posted in News

crime scene tape over lightbarSibley, Iowa — A few days ago we told you about the arrests of three people in Gaza during a burglary investigation. One of those arrested was 21-year-old Mason Vanden Brink of Sanborn.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office now tells us that while THEIR deputies were searching for Vanden Brink, they made another arrest, on three felony counts.

They report they arrested 28-year-old Marc Daniel Gibbons of Sanborn on charges of Possession of Controlled Substance – Methamphetamine 3rd or Subsequent Offense, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, and Theft – 2nd Degree, all Class D Felonies. Gibbons was also charged with Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Simple Misdemeanor.

The arrest stemmed from a report of a suspicious person in Sibley. The suspicious person was later identified as Vanden Brink, who was apprehended in O’Brien County with a stolen vehicle from Sibley. While searching for Vanden Brink, Osceola County deputies located Gibbons at a home in rural Osceola County.

Osceola County Sheriff’s officials say they believe Gibbons was in possession of a firearm that had allegedly been stolen from Lyon County.

Gibbons was transported to the Osceola County Jail where, at last report, he was being held on a $5,000 bond and a No Bond warrant from the Iowa Department of Corrections for Violation of Release.

March 11, 2017 - 8:34 am - Posted in News

Sheriff car rear genericO’Brien County, Iowa — Three people have been arrested and face several charges after a burglary investigation and search in Gaza.

According to the O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office, their office became involved in a burglary investigation on Thursday, March 9th, that began in Lyon County, which involved numerous stolen firearms. Deputies obtained a search warrant for the property at 6116 433rd St, Primghar, which is in the village of Gaza.

That afternoon, about 5:15 p.m., the sheriff’s office says an officer with the Sanborn Police Department located a suspect vehicle that was involved in the Sheriff’s Office burglary investigation. They say the Sanborn officer stopped the vehicle and obtained the driver’s license of James Skoglund from the driver when Skoglund fled the area and officers pursued. Officers say the pursuit ended when they apprehended Skoglund in a field south of the Hartley ethanol plant. Also in the suspect vehicle was Maggie Marie Johnson also of Gaza.

The sheriff’s office says:
Skoglund was arrested and was charged with:

  • Eluding, an aggravated misdemeanor.
  • Speeding, a simple misdemeanor.
  • Stop Sign Violation, a simple misdemeanor.
  • Possession of Controlled Substance 2nd Offense (Methamphetamine), an aggravated misdemeanor.
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a simple misdemeanor.

Arrest warrants were later issued for Johnson on charges of:

  • Possession of Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine)
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Later that night, about 9:15 p.m. the report says the O’Brien County and Lyon County Sheriff’s Offices executed a search warrant at the James Skoglund residence in Gaza. They say several stolen firearms from the Lyon County burglaries were recovered from the home along with ammunition. Evidence of illegal controlled substances was observed at the home, and a second search warrant was obtained for the drugs. The sheriff’s office says methamphetamine, marijuana, illegal prescription drugs, LSD, and drug paraphernalia were all seized.

The O’Brien County Deputies say they were near completion of the search when a suspect in the burglary investigation walked through the home. An O’Brien County Deputy approached him and attempted to get identification from him when he fled on foot. They say the suspect resisted arrest and a physical confrontation ensued. The suspect was eventually taken into custody and was transported to the O’Brien County Jail.

Deputies say they then found a vehicle with Alabama plates on it that had been parked about a block from the Skogland home in Gaza. The deputies continued the investigation and found the vehicle had been stolen in Sibley.

The suspect was identified as Mason Alan Vandenbrink. Vandenbrink was arrested on three outstanding arrest warrants:

  • Probation violation, a Lyon county warrant.
  • Two counts of Criminal Mischief 2nd Degree, a Lyon county warrant
  • Operation of a motor vehicle without owner’s consent, an Osceola county warrant.

Vandenbrink was also charged with numerous “new” charges by the O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office:

  • Interference with Official Acts- (Causing Bodily Injury)
  • Operation of a motor vehicle without owner’s consent
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Possession of Controlled Substance, LSD
  • Drug Tax Stamp Violations

The O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office reports that the next day, Maggie Johnson came to their facility about property that had been seized from the pursuit the day before. Johnson was arrested on the two arrest warrants.

In addition, they say Johnson was being processed at the O’Brien County Jail when another half an ounce of methamphetamine was allegedly discovered in her purse. Johnson was then charged with a second possession of methamphetamine charge.

The investigation continues says the sheriff’s office, and they say further arrests are pending.

March 9, 2017 - 4:38 pm - Posted in News

Blue Ambulance_SVABlue Earth, Minnesota — A Minneapolis man and an Ocheyedan man were taken to the hospital after an accident near Blue Earth, MN.

The Minnesota State Patrol reports that about 8:35 AM on Thursday, March 9, 2017, 46-year-old Abdelwahed Haidar of Minneapolis was driving a 2004 Volvo semi-tractor, which was parked on the right shoulder of the westbound lane of I-90, 12 miles east of Blue Earth. Forty-nine-year-old Clint Sixta of Ocheyedan was westbound on 90 in a 1998 Peterbilt.

The report says that Sixta’s semi collided with Haidar’s semi.

Both Haidar and Sixta were taken to United Hospital in Blue Earth with what were described as non-life-threatening injuries.

The Minnesota State Patrol reports that the Faribault County Sheriff’s Office, Frost Ambulance, and Bricelyn Fire and Ambulance assisted at the scene.

AccidentGeneric 2Sibley, Iowa — A Melvin man has bow been charged in connection with a personal injury collision that happened earlier this week in Sibley.

According to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, 23-year old Daniel Santiz Perez of Melvin has been identified as the driver of a 2005 Pontiac G6 that was eastbound on 5th Street in Sibley in the early morning hours of Sunday, March 5th.  Deputies say the car Santiz Perez was driving rear-ended a 2017 Ford Fusion, driven by 26-year old Nicole Wesselink of Hartley, who was stopped for the stop sign at 11th Avenue, and also headed east.

According to Osceola County authorities, Santiz Perez and a passenger in his vehicle fled the scene of the crash on foot, with the passenger returning to the scene, in need of an ambulance.  Deputies say the unidentified passenger was transported to the Osceola Community Hospital by the Sibley Ambulance.  Wesselink escaped injury in the crash.

As a result of their investigation, deputies say they were eventually able to identify Santiz Perez as the driver of the car, and charged him with Leaving The Scene Of A Personal Injury Accident, No Insurance, Failure To Have A Valid Driver’s License, Open Container, and Following Too Closely.

According to authorities, Wesselink’s Ford and Santiz Perez’s Pontiac each sustained an estimated $10-thousand damage in the crash.

March 7, 2017 - 3:23 pm - Posted in News

USDA NASSNorthwest Iowa — The numbers for the 2016 crop year are in, and according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service Crop Values Summary, Iowa’s field and miscellaneous crop production was valued at $14.9-billion for the year.  That’s a 5-percent increase from 2015.

According to the report, the value of corn for grain production totaled $9.18-billion, up 4-percent from the previous year, and production was up 9-percent.  Iowa’s average corn price was $3.35 per bushel, a decrease of 17-cents from the previous marketing year.

The report lists the value of soybean production at $5.34-billion, which is a 9-percent increase over 2015, despite the fact that production was up only 3-percent.  Average prices increased 49-cents per bushel from the  previous year to $9.40 per bushel.

Value of production decreased in 2016 from the previous year for oats, alfalfa hay, other hay, and all forage.  Value of production increased for the previous year for winter wheat.

For a look at the complete USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Crop Values Summary, click here.

March 7, 2017 - 2:32 pm - Posted in News

poker chipsNorthwest Iowa — Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed a proclamation last week designating March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month in Iowa.  Branstad called it an opportunity for Iowans to start the conversation with friends or family who may show signs of a problem with gambling, or to have an honest conversation with themselves.

Cheryl Buntsma is a Certified Prevention Specialist with Compass Pointe Behavioral Health, who tells KIWA that the latesst report shows a slight drop in the number of Iowans who are gambling.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, that 3-percent of the adult population who experienced a problem translates to 294-thousand Iowans.

Buntsma says that 84-percent of Iowa 6th, 8th, and 11th graders haven’t gambled for money or possessions, but 1-percent of those that DO have bet and lost more than $100.

As for adults who gamble as a recreational activity, Buntsma had this advice.

She says help is available for individuals or families affected by problem gambling.

In case you missed those numbers, you can call 1-800-BETS OFF (1-800-238-7633), or visit  You can also call Compass Behavioral Health at 712-262-2952.

Fire DangerNorthwest Iowa — The strong winds in northwest Iowa Monday and Tuesday have prompted an Extreme Fire Danger advisory from the National Weather Service.

The Iowa Grassland Fire Danger Index rates most of the state, west of Interstate 35, in the “Extreme” danger category.  The most notable exception would be the northwest Iowa counties of Osceola, O’Brien, Dickinson, Clay, Cherokee, and Ida, all of which are at a “Very High” fire danger through Tuesday.  Lyon, Sioux, and Plymouth counties are all rated in the “Extreme” category.

The strong winds and dead or dormant plant life at this time of year, combine to cause the higher danger categories, according to Mike Gillispie of the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls.

We asked Gillispie for his best advice for those planning a controlled burn this week.

In addition to holding off on planned burns, please remember to dispose of smoking materials properly.  A lit cigarette thrown from a car window can start a blaze that will be very difficult to extinguish in the high winds.

March 3, 2017 - 1:20 pm - Posted in News

chickensHarris, Iowa — An egg-laying facility near Harris has been fined several thousand dollars for some environmental violations.

Sunrise Farms, a unit of Sonstegard Foods, based in Sioux Falls, S.D. has been ordered to pay a civil penalty of $46,000 after a fish kill in 2015.

On September 28, 2015, a fish kill was reported by someone near Everly. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources investigated and traced the dead fish back up Stony Creek and a tributary to Sunshine Farms’ facility near Harris. The fish kill, which the DNR said included minnows and chubs as well as a few larger fish, extended 18.2 miles and killed a total of about 163,000 fish valued at over $25,800, according to DNR officials. Environmental specialists from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources were able to detect high ammonia levels along several sampling points on the stream during the investigation.

According to court records, Sunshine Farms does have a permit for the discharge of wastewater from their egg breaking operation, but it stipulates that it’s supposed to be stored in a five-cell lagoon system until it can be disposed of by land application on adjacent land, which is to be accomplished via center-pivot irrigation. The investigation showed that it had been at least a year since the irrigation system was used, so they ruled that out as a cause of the fish kill.

The investigation found that around September 2015, Sunrise Farms bypassed its wastewater lagoons and directly dumped in a field at least twelve truckloads of egg wash wastewater from the egg facility, each with a capacity of 1,500 gallons.

The IDNR’s fish kill investigation costs totaled about $900. On November 23, 2015, Sunrise Farms made a payment to the IDNR, totaling $26,709.56, in restitution for the fish killed and the IDNR’s investigation costs.

The DNR then turned the case over to the Iowa Attorney General’s office, requesting civil penalties and injunctive relief against Sunrise Farms. In addition to the wastewater violation, the DNR also said Sunrise constructed two buildings at the Sunrise Farms P5 facility without first obtaining the proper construction permits.

This past week, Judge Carl Peterson approved the consent decree and ordered Sunrise to pay the civil penalty of $46,000 within ten days.

February 28, 2017 - 9:24 am - Posted in News

chickensNorthwest Iowa — Northwest Iowa poultry producers are again on-guard for avian influenza after a wild duck in Montana was recently diagnosed with the illness. Iowa had more losses than any other state after a bird flu outbreak in 2015, with many of those losses coming here in our area.

USDA Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Jack Shere, says producers need to be watchful for any problems in their flocks.

Shere says ramping up biosecurity is one answer but that’s hard to do after an outbreak is already underway.

A large bird flu outbreak was reported recently in South Korea and 30-million birds were destroyed, boosting demand for the export of eggs from Iowa producers. It’s believed the disease is spread by migrating wild waterfowl like geese and ducks. Given the latest case in Montana, Shere says the USDA is continuing to monitor for the virus.

During the 2015 bird flu outbreak, cases were confirmed at 77 Iowa poultry operations in 18 counties. It resulted in the destruction of more than 31-million birds and an economic loss to the state of one-point-two billion dollars.

February 27, 2017 - 3:49 pm - Posted in News

Minnesota State Patrol MnSPWorthington, Minnesota — A Sibley woman was taken to the hospital after an accident just outside of Worthington.

The Minnesota State Patrol reports that about 12:45 PM on Sunday, February 26, 2017, 85-year-old Jeanette Vantassel of Sibley was driving a 2016 Chevy northeast-bound on Highway 60, about four and a half miles southwest of I-90. They say that 41-year-old Salomon Fajardo of Sibley was southwest-bound on 60 in a 2002 Oldsmobile.

The report says that Vantassel attempted to make a left turn onto Nobles County Road 10, when her car struck the Fajardo Olds.

Vantassel was taken to Sanford Worthington Hospital.

The trooper says the Nobles County Sheriff’s Office, Worthington Police Department, Worthington Ambulance, and the Worthington Fire Department and Rescue Squad assisted at the scene.