May 24, 2016 - 10:01 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Parts of northwest Iowa experienced severe weather on Monday night.
lightning sxc
According to the National Weather Service, the storms entered our area from the south, with the first report being a tornado that was spotted by law enforcement two miles north of Granville at 4:41 PM.

Tornado sirens were sounded in Hospers at about 4:44 PM.

Hail estimated at an inch in diameter was reported by a spotter three miles south-southeast of Matlock at 5:42 PM. That spotter also reported winds estimated at 45 miles per hour.

At 5:58 PM, hail that was estimated at an inch in diameter was reported by a spotter five miles west of Ashton, into Lyon County. That report was followed by another report of inch-sized hail in the same area about seven minutes later. That report came from five miles west-northwest of Ashton. Just a few minutes later, another spotter report came in of inch-sized hail five miles south of Little Rock. About 6:20 PM, that same size of hail was repoted six miles north-northeast of Sibley. The report notes that most of the hail in that area was pea to dime sized, with a few quarter size.

About 6:55 PM, the Weather Service received a spotter report of hail estimated at 0.88 inches in diameter from five miles south-southwest of Paullina.

Along with the severe weather came the threat of flooding in some communities. Sioux County Emergency Management Director Nate Huizenga says Orange City received two inches of rain on top of 0.8″ received earlier in the day.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Philip Schumacher reported that stations in Sheldon and Ocheyedan also reported receiving upwards of two inches of rain. A flash flood warning was issued for Sioux, O’Brien and Plymouth counties until 9:30 PM. The rain was quite spotty, however, as Rock Rapids, while they received 0.4″ overnight Sunday into Monday received no rain on Monday evening.

May 18, 2016 - 4:20 pm - Posted in News

Harris, Iowa — The City of Harris is one of nearly 60 communities in Iowa receiving awards from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
sewer lid
The Authority awarded the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to support 59 community investment projects. The federally-funded grants were awarded for community facilities, infrastructure improvements, downtown revitalization and single family owner-occupied housing rehabilitation.

Harris’s grant is for $170,000 toward Wastewater Collection System Improvements to reduce infiltration & inflow; to reduce the amount of wastewater effluents needing to be treated; and to assist in efforts to reduce the size and magnitude of improvements needed to the treatment system.

Harris City Clerk Holly Wilson says that the project is in two phases. The project is in phase one right now, and these CDBG funds will go toward this phase, which she says was estimated to cost about $1.5 million dollars. She says they will also be applying for a second CDB grant in the next grant cycle for the second phase, which includes construction. She also says that the City of Harris will still need the funds from the wind turbine Tax Increment Financing agreement with Osceola County.

IEDA received 124 applications for these funds, totaling $36.3 million in funding requests. The grants are awarded based on benefit to low-and moderate-income persons, slum and blight elimination, financial need, project impact and readiness, and commitment of local resources to the project.

May 17, 2016 - 4:02 pm - Posted in News

Ashton, Iowa — A Sioux Falls man was taken to a hospital after an accident on Tuesday, May 17, 2016.
Osceola County Sibley Ambulance
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 8:45 AM, 59-year-old Mark Trevett of Sioux Falls, SD, was driving a 2012 Ford Econoline van southbound on Highway 60 just south of Ashton.

He reported that glare from the sunshine on the windshield blinded him for a few seconds. The report says he failed to see a 2012 Kenworth driven by 68-year-old Glen Gerritson of Ireton. Gerritson had also been southbound directly in front of the van. The van rear-ended the semi.

The Osceola County Ambulance took Trevett to the Osceola Community Hospital in Sibley.

The van, which was owned by Wheelchair Express of Sioux Falls, sustained about $15,000 in damage. The semi trailer, owned by Huebner Trucking of Hawarden received about $5000 damage, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Trevett was cited on a charge of Following Too Closely.

The Ashton Fire Department and the Iowa State Patrol assisted on the scene.

Sibley, Iowa — There will soon be a new face at the Osceola County office of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
Ashley Peters
Ashley Peters has been selected as the new County Youth Coordinator. She starts on Monday, May 23.

Peters follows Mike Compton whose final day will be May 24. Compton served as the Osceola County Youth Coordinator for five years.

Cheryl Heronemus, Regional Extension Education Director says that Compton did a great deal for Osceola County’s youth programs throughout the past few years and he will definitely be missed. She says they are very happy to bring Peters aboard and they are excited to see her continue building and strengthening the 4-H youth programs in Osceola County.

Peters is a 2009 graduate of Southwest Minnesota State University, where she studied Biology and Environmental Science. She has previously worked for Merck Animal Health, Covance Laboratories and as an emergency medical technician.

Peters will be housed in the ISU Extension and Outreach office located at 110 Cedar Lane in Sibley.

May 12, 2016 - 10:42 am - Posted in News

Osceola Sheriff Car 72-2Two area driver’s vehicles were damaged in an accident in Osceola County on Wednesday, May 11th.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that at about 6:35 am on Wednesday, 32-year-old Derek Earl Byers of Sloan was driving a 2007 GMC Sierra, registered to Plains Mechanical Services Inc of Sioux City, eastbound on Highway 9. Nineteen-year-old Ryan Alan Gembler of Lake Park was driving a 2002 Chevy Silverado westbound on Highway 9. According to the report, Gembler lost control of the vehicle and crossed the center line and side swiped the Byers vehicle.

The Sierra received $2500 damage; the Silverado received $4000 damage.

No injuries were reported

May 10, 2016 - 3:28 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — As the old Meridith Wilson song goes, Iowans will “give you our shirt and a back to go with it.” Apparently it’s true. According to the web site, not only do Iowans give more money to charity than people in Illinois, Wisconsin, or Minnesota on average, people in northwest Iowa are among the most philanthropic.
money cash bills dollars
According to data compiled by, residents of Sioux, O’Brien and Lyon counties are among the 10 counties in Iowa giving the highest percentage of their income to charity. They define “giving ratio” as the percentage of adjusted gross income that residents give to charity according to charitable contributions listed on income tax forms. These numbers are based on data from 2012, the most recent year for which information is available.

Topping the list is Sioux County, where they say people give, on average — 6.54% of their income to charity. The median annual contribution is $6,007.

Residents of O’Brien County made a median contribution of $4,720 per household in 2012, which was good for sixth place. The giving ratio was 4.62%

Coming in at number ten was Lyon County, where the data reports a giving ratio of 4.09%.

Osceola County was a little further down the list with a giving ratio of 3.5%.

While Iowa does beat some of its surrounding states, residents of South Dakota, Nebraska, and Missouri give more on average. As a whole, South Dakotans give 3.45% of their income. Nebraskans give 3.67%, and Missourians give 3.38%. Iowans on average give 3.03% of their income to charity.

For more information including a clickable map of the data, click here.

May 7, 2016 - 9:22 am - Posted in News

Ashton, Iowa — A George teen and a Sheldon man were taken to hospitals after an accident near Ashton on Friday, May 6th, 2016.
Osceola County Sibley Ambulance
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 2:10 PM, 19-year-old Nathan DeKam of George was driving a pickup westbound on 230th Street. That’s the county road on the north side of Ashton, near where the Cedar Cabin used to be. As he was attempting to cross the Highway 60 expressway, a semi, driven by 65-year-old Erwin Wynia of Sheldon, was northbound on 60. The semi and pickup collided at the intersection causing both drivers to lose control and the vehicles overturned in the median, according to the report.

The Osceola County Ambulance took DeKam to the Osceola Community Hospital in Sibley. Wynia was transported to Sanford Sheldon hospital. Both men have been released, according to the sheriff’s office.

They report that damage to the pickup was estimated at $17,000 and damage to the semi was estimated at $100,000.

May 4, 2016 - 2:53 am - Posted in News

Mattoon, Illinois — The name of the main telecommunications provider in a number of northwest Iowa communities is changing yet again. But this time it’s due to the sale of the exchanges to a local company instead of a name change or sale at the corporate level.
premier communications
Mankato, Minnesota-based Hickory Tech had purchased the northwest Iowa exchanges from US West in 1997, and for a number of years used “Heartland Telecommunications” as its Iowa brand. US West was a “baby bell” and a successor of Northwestern Bell. After a short change to “Crystal,” Hickory Tech used its own name on the exchanges for several years. In October, 2013, they changed their name to “Enventis,” a name they only held for 20 months before a June, 2015 sale to Illinois-based Consolidated Communications.

Now Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc. says they have entered into a definitive agreement with Mutual Telephone Company of Sioux Center (also known as Premier Communications) and Winnebago Cooperative Telecom Association to divest its Heartland Telecommunications Company of Iowa territory in order for the Company to focus on its core regions.

Premier will acquire the Iowa exchanges of: Akron, Boyden, Doon, Hawarden, Hull, Ireton, Rock Rapids, Rock Valley and Sibley. Winnebago will acquire the Iowa exchanges of Bancroft and Lakota.

Doug Boone, chief executive officer of Premier says that his company has been, and always will be, committed to offering exceptional voice, video and data services to their customers. He says that the addition of these nine exchanges is a natural fit to their existing service territory and they pledge to serve these new customers with, “the same cutting-edge technology and great customer service that Premier is known for.”

Consolidated’s Heartland operation contributed approximately $7.0 million of revenue in fiscal 2015. The agreement is an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $22.5 million, subject to certain contractual adjustments. The closing is subject to customary regulatory approvals, which are expected to be completed in the second half of 2016.

Sibley, Iowa — What started as a complaint about an abandoned duffel bag, culminated with the arrest of a Sibley man.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office says they received a complaint from a Sibley resident that someone had left a duffel bag by her house.  Deputies responded to the complaint, and upon further investigation, discovered the bag belonged to 36-year old Daniel Ralph Riley of Sibley.  Deputies say that after interviewing Riley, he was placed under arrest on charges of Unlawful Possession of Prescription Drugs, which is a Serious Misdemeanor, and 5th Degree Theft, a Simple Misdemeanor.

Authorities say he was booked into the Osceola County jail in lieu of $1300 bond.

April 29, 2016 - 5:22 pm - Posted in News

Hartley, Iowa — An Ashton man has died as the result of an accident near Hartley.fatal ambulance II

The O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 12:15 PM on Monday, April 25, 2016, 54-year-old Dale Vahl of Ashton was driving a Peterbilt semi tractor and trailer northbound on Tyler Avenue, two miles west of Hartley and a mile and a half north.

The Sheriff’s Office reports that Vahl experienced a medical condition which caused his semi to leave the roadway. It traveled through the ditch and into a field.

The Primghar Ambulance took Vahl to Spencer Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Vahl’s semi was not damaged.