February 8, 2017 - 12:47 am - Posted in News

music-notesSpirit Lake, Iowa — Seven of the ten northwest Iowa high schools that participated in a jazz choir festival were from our listening area, and of those, four received the top rating.

The Iowa High School Music Association State Jazz Choir Festival was held on Monday, February 6th, at the Sami Bedell Center for the Performing Arts in Spirit Lake.

From the four-county listening area, the jazz choirs of Central Lyon, South O’Brien, West Lyon, and Sheldon all received Division One or “Superior” ratings. The jazz choir from Sibley-Ocheyedan received a Divison Two or “Excellent” rating. Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn’s jazz choir received a Division Three or “Good” rating. Harris-Lake Park’s jazz choir elected to receive comments only.

Other results included Akron-Westfield’s choir number two and Spirit Lake’s jazz choir, who both received Division Ones, and Akron-Westfield’s choir number one and Okoboji’s jazz choir, who both received Division Two ratings.

The jazz choirs were evaluated by three adjudicators on vocal jazz ensemble characteristics of tone quality, blend, rhythmic feel, interpretation, precision, musicianship, solo improvisation, and balance. Following the judged performance, each choir had a 20-minute clinic with the judges where they received additional suggestions to improve their vocal jazz and the groups were praised for their fine performances and display of excellent leadership. Each choir is rated according to Iowa High School Music Association guidelines receiving a rating of Division One-Superior Rating, Division Two-Excellent, Division Three-Good, or the group can choose to receive comments only.

February 6, 2017 - 11:32 pm - Posted in News

David Johnson 2015Des Moines, Iowa — Independent District 1 State Senator David Johnson says the Senate has got its work cut out for it this week. He says right now, one big issue is collective bargaining, and how employee unions interact with the state.

Last month, Johnson blasted Republicans, including Governor Terry Branstad, for proposing changes in the state’s collective bargaining law. Johnson says that’s not what Republican candidates campaigned on in 2016.

Johnson says another big thing they’re working on is the “stand your ground bill.” Johnson says the way it is currently written, the bill basically would give a person the right to use a gun to defend his or her own life, and the lives of his or her family and defend their property. Proponents of the change in law say the law currently lets Iowans use lethal force when under threat, but it doesn’t shield the law-abiding citizen when he or she has to pull the trigger. Johnson says he’s always been a strong proponent of the second amendment and would support these changes.

Johnson says there’s another bill in committee right now that would defend hunting and fishing in the state.

Johnson says since it would be a constitutional amendment, it would have to be passed in two two-year sessions of the legislature, and then would have to be put to the voters in an election year. So he says if it would pass this year, it would have to pass again in 2019 or 2020, and then the next general election would be in 2022, so that’s the quickest it could be put to the voters.

February 6, 2017 - 4:35 pm - Posted in News

Osceola Sheriff Car 72-2Sibley, Iowa — A few weeks ago we told you about the volume of calls answered by O’Brien County deputies, Sheldon Police officers, and Sheldon Community Ambulance Team members.  Now the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office has released information that shows their deputies were kept hopping last year, as well.

According to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, their Dispatch Center received 1330 calls to 911, as well as an additional 114 hang-up calls to 911.  Osceola County Chief Deputy Kevin Wollmuth tells KIWA that each of those 114 calls is investigated to make sure they weren’t actual emergencies.

In addition, Osceola County deputies made a total of 1207 trraffic stops, investigated 133 accidents, and were dispatched to 43 domestic fights in 2016.  Osceola County authorities responded to 53 bad driving complaints, served 623 civil papers, and made 223 arrests.

778 Incident Reports were filed with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office in 2016, and deputies wrote a total of 804 citations, answered 4368 calls for service, and booked 260 people into the Osceola County Jail, 52 of whom were arressted for OWI, and 41 for Possession of Drugs.  In addition 115 people were on probation to the Sheriff’s Office in 2016.

Along with performing what they are required to do by law the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office also provide public services such as: unlocking car doors, public and school talks, funeral traffic, Sheriff’s Office tours, business and vacation checks and fingerprinting.

February 3, 2017 - 5:04 pm - Posted in News

firefighter's fire helmetNorthwest Iowa — Fire chiefs from around northwest Iowa are concerned about the impact in the wake of charges against the former state fire training manager for allegedly issuing improper certifications to thousands of firefighters, but none of the chiefs that we talked to are concerned about the safety of their communities.

Former State Fire Services Training Bureau certification manager John McPhee was arrested last week on charges of misconduct in office and tampering with records.

Sheldon Fire Company Secretary and City Council member Brad Hindt told the council at this week’s meeting that all of their members certifications were in line.

Sioux Center Fire Chief David Van Holland says they will have some members that will need to re-take certification tests. He says the whole situation is discouraging.

Orange City Fire Chief Denny Vander Wel says he’s pretty sure there will be one or two of their firefighters who will have to re-take as well. He says this covers all certifications from Firefighter 1 to Fire Officer 1, to hazmat certification, and many more. He says Iowa used to be number one in firefighter certification, and this is certainly a black eye on the fire service. Vander Wel says they do plenty of local training, so he, like other area fire chiefs, is not concerned for the safety of the community. He says they do hands-on training and evaluation locally and all their firefighters passed. He also says that state certification is a plus for a firefighter, but it is not a requirement to be an Orange City Firefighter. Vander Wel says this situation has been going on for over a year, but things are just now coming to a head because of the charges that were filed against McPhee.

Sibley Fire Chief Kenny Huls agrees that it is a black eye on the fire service. He says the problem is also compounded because some of the certifications have prerequisites of other certifications. For instance, you can’t take Firefighter 2 until you have passed Firefighter 1. He says if your Firefighter 1 certification was improper, that calls into question whether you are certified for Firefighter 2 as well.

Rock Rapids Fire Chief Ed Reck says the Rock Rapids department will probably have a couple of firefighters affected by the situation. But like the other chiefs, Reck says the certification alone is the issue. Like most departments, they require firefighter recruits to take the course. He says the actual certification is nice, but they don’t require it to be a firefighter, and the community is not at risk.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety revealed that the state bureau issued nearly 23-hundred improper certifications to one-thousand-706 firefighters and emergency personnel between 2012 and 2016.

February 1, 2017 - 1:42 pm - Posted in News

iowa state capitol svaOcheyedan, Iowa — Iowa State Senators and Representatives are planning legislative forums around the state.

As usual, Senator David Johnson and Representative John Wills have some forums planned for our area.

“Eggs and Issues” is planned for Saturday, February 4th at 8:00 a.m. at the Forster Community Center in Rock Rapids. Coffee and rolls will be served and a freewill donation is welcome to cover those costs.

A town hall meeting will be held the same morning at the Senior Activity Center at 845 Main Street in Ocheyedan at 10:30 a.m.

The meetings are your chance to hear the legislators give updates and discuss issues they are working on this session. They will also be available to answer any questions people may have.

There will also be two forums on Saturday, February 25th with Johnson and Wills. They’ll be at the Forster Center in Rock Rapids at 8 a.m. and at the Sibley Public Library at 10:30 a.m.

January 31, 2017 - 8:00 am - Posted in News

Osceola County Sibley AmbulanceMelvin, Iowa — A Sanborn woman was taken to a hospital after an accident near Melvin last week.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that 27-year-old Chelsey Jo Zearing of Sanborn was driving a 2013 Nissan Pathfinder southbound on Highway 59 near 230th Street, two miles west and two miles north of Melvin. According to the report, due to the icy road conditions she lost control and struck a guardrail belonging to the Iowa DOT.

The Sibley Ambulance took Zearing to the Osceola Community Hospital in Sibley.

The report says the Pathfinder received about $15,000 in damage, and the guardrail received about $4,000 in damage.

The Melvin Ambulance crew also assisted at the scene.

Osceola Sheriff Car 72-2Sibley, Iowa — An incident involving a Sibley man escalated from a Simple Misdemeanor charge to a Felony charge earlier this week.

According to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, they received a complaint Sunday of a Sibley man who was allegedly violating a No Contact/Protective Order.  Deputies say they responded to that complaint and made contact with 49-year old Scott Alan Harms of Sibley.  Harms was reportedly arrested and taken to the Osceola County Jail on the Violation of the No Contact/Protective Order charge, which is a simple misdemeanor.

According to authorities, in the process of booking Harms into the jail, they discovered that he was allegedly in possession of contraband.  That discovery led deputies to charge Harms with Introducing Intoxicants or Drugs Into An Institution, a Class “D” Felony, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Simple Misdemeanor.

Osceola County authorities say Harms was jailed in lieu of a $5-thousand bond.

January 26, 2017 - 4:22 pm - Posted in News

johnson, davidDes Moines, Iowa — A northwest Iowa legislator is trying again to fund expanded conservation efforts.

Independent District 1 State Senator David Johnson of Ocheyedan is again introducing a bill that would increase the state sales tax .375 of a percent. Johnson says his idea is to use the extra revenue for soil and water conservation.

The .375 percent hike would make the state sales tax 6.375 percent, and would raise an estimated $150 million a year, according to Johnson. He says he feels strongly about this issue.

The Senator says he believes Iowans want quality of life and clean water.

Senator Johnson lives in Ocheyedan and serves Clay, Dickinson, Lyon, Osceola and Palo Alto counties.

musicSpirit Lake, Iowa — Two KIWA listening area high school jazz bands were among eight bands competing in the Iowa High School Music Association Jazz Festival in Spirit Lake Monday, and both came away from the contest with a Division One, Superior, rating.

The jazz bands from Sibley-Ocheyedan and South O’Brien High Schools each received the Division One rating from the contest’s three-judge panel.  The jazz bands were evaluated on jazz band ensemble characteristics of tone quality, blend, rhythmic feel, interpretation, precision, musicianship, solo improvisation and balance.  Following the judged performance, each band had a clinic with the judges where they received additional suggestions to improve their playing.  Each band is rated according to Iowa High School Music Association guidelines receiving a rating of Division One-Superior, Division Two-Excellent, Division Three-Good, Division Four-Fair, or Division Five-Poor.

Other than Sibley-Ocheyedan and South O’Brien, schools with jazz bands at the festival include; Harris-Lake Park High School, which earned a Division Three rating; Emmetsburg High School, who received a Division Two rating; Okoboji High School, who took home a Division One rating; Estherville-Lincoln Central High School, who earned a Division One rating; Spencer High School, who received a Division One rating, and the host school Spirit Lake High School, who garnered a Division One rating.

KIWA extends a hearty congratulations to Peter Carlson and his Sibley-Ocheyedan High School Jazz Band, along with Brian Cole and his South O’Brien High School Jazz Band, on earning their Division One, Superior ratings.

January 21, 2017 - 5:11 pm - Posted in News

gavel_sxc_3Sibley, Iowa — The last of four defendants in a Sibley robbery case has been sentenced to prison.

On August 21st, 2016, Osceola County Deputies report that they arrested 35-year-old Jose Manuel Maldonado Castillo and 25-year-old Peter Nazario Alvira, both of Sibley, as well as 55-year-old Pedro Juan Figueroa Rios and 38-year-old Nicomedes Montanez Cruz, both of Sioux City. They say they participated in the home-invasion robbery of a Sibley home while the occupants were home.

Montanez Cruz accepted a plea bargain on Thursday, November 10th, and was sentenced to two years in prison for his role in the crime.

Court records say Maldonado Castillo pled guilty early this month in a plea bargain. He was sentenced to a total of 15 years in prison.

According to court records, Nazario Alvira also pled guilty early this month in a plea bargain. He was sentenced to a total of 10 years in prison.

Figueroa Rios had argued his rights were violated by a police lineup in the field without control subjects, the lack of alternative choices for witnesses, and other factors. Early this month, he withdrew his request to suppress evidence and entered a plea of guilty in a plea bargain.

Court records indicate that on Friday, Judge Carl Peterson sentenced Figueroa Rios to five years in prison, with time served. He must pay restitution and submit a DNA sample. He was sentenced on a third-degree burglary charge, which had been reduced from first-degree burglary. Two other counts of first-degree burglary were dismissed, as were counts of first-degree robbery, going armed with intent, and assault while participating in a felony.