September 24, 2014 - 2:56 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines — A new judge will be serving our area.gavel_sxc

Governor Terry Branstad has appointed Patrick H. Tott as a District Court Judge in the Third Judicial District (3B).

Tott, of Sioux City, earned his law degree from Creighton University School of Law and is currently working in private practice and as a judicial magistrate.

District 3 includes Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Crawford, Dickinson, Emmet, Ida, Lyon, Kossuth, Monona, O’Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Sioux, and Woodbury counties.

Tott fills the vacancy left by Judge D. Scott.

http://www.iowacourts.gov/About_the_Courts/District_Courts/District_Three/index.asp

September 24, 2014 - 8:10 am - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Governor’s Office has released some data regarding property tax relief.moneybag

The data from the Iowa Department of Revenue shows that Iowa counties are receiving over $78.3 million in state backfill funding and taxpayers are receiving over $49 million in credits, for a total of roughly $127.3 million, in the 2013 assessment year, as part of the historic property tax reduction bill advocated for by Governor Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Reynolds.

The plan includes many benefits. Part of the plan is permanent property tax relief protected by a standing appropriation, that represents the largest tax reduction in Iowa history – $4.4 billion over 10 years. Another part is property tax reduction for all classes of property: agricultural, residential, commercial and industrial, without shift of the tax burden to other classes of property. Changes the school finance formula so that “allowable growth” is replaced by 100% state aid. Finally, commercial and industrial property are being taxed at 95% of assessed value this year, eventually moving to 90% of assessed value next year.

The historic tax reform passage of 2013 received strong bipartisan support. It passed the Iowa Senate 43-6, and the Iowa House 84-13 in May.

State funds, called “backfill” were paid to counties to ensure they did not see a loss in revenue from the property tax reduction. This is permanent relief protected by a standing appropriation.

State Senator Randy Feenstra of Hull says that the state has seen an uptick in the economy since 2008 and 2009. He says that the governor and legislature have used this increased revenue and “plowed it back into commercial tax relief.” Feenstra says that it is actually a tax shift when you backfill using other tax money.

The money to pay the backfill comes from the ending balance. It’s unspent money left over at the end of the state fiscal year.

Critics of the deal say this spending is crowding out other priorities for state government and they say with the escalating commitment, the governor may have set the stage for future tax increases; all of which Branstad rejects.

In our area, O’Brien County, state backfill amounted to $230,325.56. State tax credit to taxpayers amounted to $383,546.68, and total tax relief funding to the county was $613,872.24. Sioux County’s backfill was $651,173.77. And credit to taxpayers was $765,007.94, for a total of $1,416,181.71. In Osceola County, the backfill amounted to $148,531.07; individual relief was $158,800.32; for a total of $307,331.39. And in Lyon County, the backfill was $175,878.11; individual relief amounted to $216,668.63; and the total tax relief funding to the county was $392,546.74.

Click here for a pdf file of the figures for the rest of the state.

Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson assisted with this story.

New Ulm, Minnesota — A Sibley man has been arrested on a felony Osceola County warrant in Minnesota.Hand Cuffs sxc

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that 32-year-old Craig Ammerman of Sibley was arrested in New Ulm, MN on an outstanding Osceola County Warrant.

They report that Ammerman is charged with Willful Injury Causing Serious Injury, a Class C Felony, as well as Assault Causing Serious Injury, a Class D Felony.

The charges stem from an incident on August 13, 2014. The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office investigated a hit and run accident in Sibley on that date. The investigation led to Ammerman’s home where deputies found evidence that an assault had taken place.

Ammerman is being held in the Osceola County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

Sioux Center, Iowa — It’s a different kind of fundraiser, but it promises to be a lot of fun.FGSCP Harlem Ambassadors

The Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion program is bringing in the Harlem Ambassadors basketball team to take on a team of local celebrities. It’ll be at the Sioux Center High School gym on Tuesday, September 23rd at 6:30 PM.

The Harlem Ambassadors perform fundraising/entertainment comedy basketball games for non-profit organizations, service clubs, and the U.S. military. The Ambassadors have helped non-profits raise approximately $9 million for their communities since 1998. They also perform “Stay in School, Stay off Drugs” assembly programs for youth at elementary and middle schools.

We talked to Cathy Bonestroo with the Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion program. She says this is their main fundraiser for the year, and tells us how they came up with the idea.


Click or tap the play button above or this link to listen.

Bonestroo tells us what the Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs do.


Click or tap the play button above or this link to listen.

According to the Harlem Ambassadors, you can find more information about them at www.harlemambassadors.com.  They tell us that families laugh together at the Harlem Ambassadors’ hijinks and are amazed at their high-flying slam dunks.  They say kids can look up to the Ambassadors as great role models who are college-educated and drug-free.

But — who are the Ambassadors playing? A team of local celebrities including Senator Randy Feenstra, Deputy Waylon Pollema, several teachers and administrators from several area schools, radio announcers including KIWA’s own Larry Ahrens, Pastor Kevin Gingerich from Sheldon United Methodist Church and representing each of the programs, Nancy Burley, a volunteer from the Foster Grandparent program, and Ray Bohlke, a volunteer from the Senior Companion program.

Bonestroo says it should be a lot of fun. You can get your tickets by calling 476-2628 or 224-2610. Advanced tickets are $4, $6, and $8 and at the door they will be $5, $8, and $10.

She also says if you’d like to volunteer for one of their programs or if you think their services could help you or a loved one, give them a call at 476-2628.

September 12, 2014 - 2:52 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office has just released the information about an accident in which a Sibley man was taken to the hospital.Ambulance Front Generic

According to the report, about 8 AM on Tuesday, September 9th, 32-year-old Stefan Lingle of Ashton was driving northbound on Highway 59 Hwy 59 about five miles east of Sibley. He was driving a 2015 International straight truck belonging to Hogan Truck Leasing, Incorporated, of Columbus, Ohio. About that time, 57-year-old Genaro Casas Sanchez of Sibley was eastbound on 180th Street in a 1990 Isuzu pickup, and due to fog he failed to see the stop sign. Casas Sanchez went through the stop sign and struck the truck broadside.

The Osceola County Ambulance service took Casas Sanchez to Osceola Community Hospital. Lingle was not injured.

The pickup had $2000 damage. The International truck sustained $15,000 damage.

Casas Sanchez was charged with Failure to Obey a Stop Sign and no insurance.

September 6, 2014 - 7:29 am - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — Texas Governor Rick Perry is coming to northwest Iowa again.

The Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola and Sioux County Republican parties are holding another fundraiser for Republican candidates in this area and statewide, and this time it’s hosted by the O’Brien county Republican party, and will be at the Northwest Iowa Community College Lifelong Learning & Recreational Center in Sheldon. The event is scheduled for Friday, October 3, 2014, starting at 5:45 PM.

Rick Perry (Photo Courtesy Gage Skidmore)

Rick Perry (Photo Courtesy Gage Skidmore)

The group looks to build on the event they held last year with over 350 people in attendance and several national, state and local media present.

Governor Rick Perry will give the night’s keynote speech.  Perry took office in Texas in 2000, and is mulling another bid for the Presidency in 2016.

Among the others who plan to speak at the event are Iowa Fourth District Congressman Steve King, Iowa US Senate Candidate Joni Ernst, Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Iowa Auditor Mary Mosiman, Iowa Attorney General Candidate Adam Gregg, Iowa Treasurer Candidate Sam Clovis, Iowa Secretary of State Candidate Paul Pate, two members of the Iowa Republican National Committee and Iowa Republican Party Co-Chairman Dr. Cody Hoefert from Rock Rapids.

Tickets are available through eventbrite.com.  For more information, you can contact Republican Party chairs in any of the four northwest Iowa counties — O’Brien, Osceola, Sioux, or Lyon.

September 5, 2014 - 5:02 pm - Posted in News

golf clubSibley, Iowa — The 25th annual Sibley Kiwanis Golf Tournament is this Saturday, September 5th. It’s a fundraiser that will start at noon.


The Sibley Kiwanis is raising the money through corporate sponsorships and tickets for the event. We talked to Sibley Chamber Director Sheryl Peters and she tells us more about the event at the Sibley Golf and Country Club.



Click or tap the play button above or this link to listen.

There are also door prizes to be given away, she says. The $125 per couple covers all four hole-in-one chances, pin prizes, t-shirts, 18 holes of golfing fun and a steak dinner at the end of the day.

Sibley, Iowa — Northwest Iowa has a brand new John Deere sales and service facility, and the Governor of Iowa came to cut the ribbon.

Noteboom Implement in Sibley has just opened a nearly $2.5 million dealership and service facility on the edge of Sibley, on Highway 60. The project was almost a year in the making.

Governor Terry Branstad was on hand to cut the ribbon along with a number of local and state dignitaries.Branstad Noteboom Cut Ribbon He says it’s a good thing for Sibley and northwest Iowa.

Noteboom Implement has five other locations including three in South Dakota, one in Lake Park, and one in Spencer. We had a chance to talk to Noteboom CEO Dan Noteboom and we’ll hear from him in future stories on osceolacountydailynews.com.

Des Moines, Iowa — Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is coming to northwest Iowa this week, and by the looks of his schedule, he will be quite busy.branstad

He will make several stops in our area on Thursday, August 21st, and one on Saturday, August 23rd.

Starting the day on Thursday will be an appearance at 8 AM, when Governor Branstad attends Great Lakes Communication Corporation Data Center’s grand opening in Lake Park. From there, Branstad will tour Foundation Analytical Laboratory in Cherokee. That’s a 10 AM start there.

After that, the governor will travel to Orange City for a noon appearance at Quatro Composites. There, Quatro Composites and the State of Iowa will perform a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new 45,000 square foot expansion at the company’s corporate headquarters located at 403 14th Street Southeast in Orange City. Branstad will be the featured speaker. State Senator Randy Feenstra, State Representative Dwayne Alons, and Bill Anderson (representing Congressman Steve King) will also be attending.

At 2 PM, Governor Branstad will present the 2014 Governor’s Award for Quality Care in a Health Care Facility at Prairie View in Sanborn. The facility is at 610 Eastern Street.

From there, it’s on to Noteboom Implement’s new facility in Sibley for their grand opening. The new Noteboom Implement facility is at 1712 Deere Drive in Sibley. Branstad will be there at 3:30 PM. The new Noteboom Implement is a 28,000 square foot facility located along Highway 60 at exit 51. The grand opening will run from 2-7 PM. Noteboom Implement CEO Dan Noteboom says that everyone is invited. He says they are appreciative of the Governor’s presence. He says several John Deere executives and local dignitaries will also be there. Store Manager Bob Schlesser says that it is an expansion and upgrade for their Sibley location. Activities will include a Kids Zone and inflatables, music by Iowa’s own musical family “The Browns”, an old fashioned barbeque, tours and John Deere Technology and skid steer demos as well as Brandt, Brent and Unverferth displays and demonstrations.

After the John Deere festivities in Sibley, the governor heads to the Ashton area for an appearance at Zylstra Feedlot at 5123 210th Street near Ashton. He’ll tour the feedlot.

Governor Branstad will be back in our area on Saturday, August 23, 2014, when he’ll head to the Okoboji area for a 4 PM appearance. He will hold a bill signing re-enactment ceremony for Senate File 2349 at the Dickinson County Nature Center at 2279 170th Street near Okoboji. Senate File 2349 allocated money to state departments and agencies from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund. Gambling revenues make up the largest share of that fund.

Des Moines, Iowa — Unemployment statewide is fairly steady, and Lyon and Sioux Counties continue to have some of the lowest unemployment numbers in the state.unemployment

Iowa Workforce Development Communications Director Kerry Koonce gives us the numbers.

Click or tap the play button above or this link to listen.

In our area, Lyon County continues to be have the lowest unemployment in the state, with a July unemployment rate of 2.2 percent. Even that is down two points from June’s figure of 2.4 percent. Sioux County isn’t too far behind, tied for fifth place with 3.1 percent, down a tenth of a percent from June. Plymouth County is at 3.2 percent. The next area county is Osceola County, tied for 19th place on the list with 3.7 percent unemployment, unchanged from June. O’Brien County is in a 4-way tie for 23rd with 3.8 percent, up from June’s 3.5 percent.

Other counties in our region had higher unemployment in July. Dickinson was at 4.3, Cherokee was at 4.6, Buena Vista was at 5.0 and Clay County was at 5.4 percent.

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased slightly to 4.5 percent in July from 4.4 percent in June. The state’s jobless rate stood at 4.8 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate was little changed at 6.2 percent in July compared to 6.1 percent in June.

The state’s labor force continued to expand in July, causing a slight increase in the monthly unemployment rate,” said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Iowa’s labor force has grown steadily this year, and surpassed 1.7 million in July.

The number of unemployed Iowans increased to 76,900 in July from 74,300 in June. The current estimate is 3,700 lower than the year ago level of 80,600.

The total number of working Iowans decreased to 1,623,800 in July from 1,624,700 in June. This figure was 900 lower than June, and 30,300 higher than one year ago.

Iowa nonfarm employment totaled 1,550,200 jobs in July and remained unchanged since June. Job gains in the private sector were exactly offset by declines in government. This month’s stagnation halts three consecutive months of gains in nonfarm employment, and leaves the state up 16,500 jobs versus one year ago (+1.1 percent).

Education and health services added the most jobs this month (+2,800) due to gains in both private education services and health care services. In the case of educational services, job gains were partially due to a shift in seasonality; health care industries continue to steadily advance upward due to increasing demand. Professional and business services was buoyed by growth in professional, scientific, and technical services this month and gained 1,000 jobs. Construction also fared well this month (+1,000), marking the fourth consecutive month for job gains. Smaller increases this month included financial activities (+800), other services (+500), and information (+200). Alternatively, leisure and hospitality experienced an unexpectedly large drop this month (-2,300) with losses being nearly even in accommodations and food services and arts and entertainment. Trade and transportation also shed 2,300 jobs due mostly to losses in transportation and retail. The only other loss this month occurred in manufacturing (-300) which has now pared jobs in six of the last seven months, yet remains up 1,200 jobs since last July.

With this month’s unexpected gain, education and health services has now added the most jobs annually (+4,000). Health care jobs have advanced steadily (+2,900) and are responsible for the majority of the growth in this super sector.

Construction has also shown considerable promise since last year (+3,900) due to renewed demand for commercial and residence projects. Professional and business rebounded this month, and now rests up 2,300 jobs since last July. The majority of these gains are found in administrative and support services.