June 12, 2017 - 10:29 am - Posted in News

UPDATE: Sibley, Iowa — A Spirit Lake man and a five-year-old boy are dead after an accident near Sibley on Saturday morning, June 10, 2017.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 10:50 a.m., 48-year-old Travis Mier of Spirit Lake was driving a 2001 Toyota westbound on Highway 9, near Nettle Avenue. That’s about three and a quarter miles northwest of Sibley or three and a half miles east of Little Rock.
They report that 48-year-old Ann Marie Vanderpool of Milford was eastbound on 9 in a 2012 Chevy.

The report says that the vehicles collided head-on.

Mier and a passenger in his vehicle, 5-year-old Elliot Mier were taken to the Osceola Community Hospital in Sibley, where Travis Mier was later pronounced dead. A helicopter later took Elliot Mier to Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD, where he was pronounced dead.

Vanderpool was taken to Sanford Rock Rapids Hospital. Her injuries were termed “serious,” but “non-life threatening.”

Both vehicles were totaled, sustaining an estimated $40,000 in damages.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that their officers and the Iowa State Patrol investigated the accident at the scene with the assistance of the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office. They report that the Osceola County Ambulance Service, the Little Rock Ambulance Service, the Sibley Fire Department, and the Little Rock Fire Department assisted them with the response to the accident, which they say remains under investigation.

Original story posted 9:16 a.m., Sunday, June 11, 2017:
Sibley, Iowa — Full details are not available at this time, but a two-vehicle injury accident occurred on Saturday morning about 10:50 a.m. near Sibley.
Read The Full Story…

June 8, 2017 - 2:13 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — A former Sibley-Ocheyedan teacher and coach, who is charged with felony sex abuse in an incident that took place in October, 2015, has entered a plea to the charge against him.

According to online court records, an attorney for 38-year old Kyle Ewinger entered a written arraignment and plea of Not Guilty Wednesday, in Osceola County District Court in Sibley.

Ewinger is charged with 2nd Degree Sexual Abuse, which is a Class B Felony, in connection with an incident that happened in 2015 at Sibley-Ocheyedan Middle School, where Ewinger was a middle school Social Studies Teacher. Ewinger was reportedly found, by Sibley-Ocheyedan Superintedent Bill Boer, asleep in his classroom with a male student, on Saturday, October 3rd, 2015. At the time, the boy had reportedly denied that anything improper had taken place. Earlier this year, the child reportedly admitted that something of a sexual nature had transpired between himself and Ewinger. An investigation into the incident, by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, led to charges being filed in April of this year.

Ewinger was fired from his teaching and coaching positions with the Sibley-Ocheyedan Community School District on October 15th, 2015.

Ewinger had been scheduled to appear for Arraignment and to enter a plea to the charge this Friday, June 9th, but Wednesday’s Not Guilty Plea effectively cancels that scheduled appearance. According to online court records, Ewinger’s next scheduled court appearance will be for a Pretrial Conference at 9:30 am, September 1st, with Ewinger’s jury trial set for 9:30 am October 17th.

Ewinger remains free on bond.

June 7, 2017 - 3:18 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Northwest Iowa kids can find out more about gardening, nutrition, and food prep in a program that’s being put on in each of the northwest Iowa counties by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
a, three “Rising Star Interns” will teach kids in Kindergarten through the 5th grade all about food. The three interns are Leah Brooke, Ruby Hotchkiss, and Madison Latke.

Hotchkiss says they are doing three different types of programs in northwest Iowa: GROW, KNOW, and WHOA.

Latke tells us how they came up with the idea for GROW, KNOW, AND WHOA.

Brooke says that the interns come from different backgrounds.

They tell us that no preregistration is required for the kids’ programs. If your child is interested, they can just show up the day of the event and take part in the demonstration and activities.

In the four northwest Iowa counties in our primary coverage area, the first event is this Thursday, June 8th at the Sioux Center Library. The “GROW” event is from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. The next event is after the interns walk in the Sibley Good Ole Summertime Parade on Saturday (June 10th). The “KNOW” event will be at Central Park in Sibley from noon until 1 p.m.

You can learn more by clicking on “Rising Stars Blog” at flavorsofnorthwestiowa.org.

Photo caption: The Rising Star Interns visit Stensland Dairy near Larchwood

Click here for a poster with all the info for all the events.

Date Town Location G, K, or W Time
6/8/2017 Sioux Center Public Library GROW 2-3 pm
6/10/2017 Sibley Central Park KNOW 12-1 pm
6/12/2017 Sibley Public Library GROW 10:30-11:30 am
6/20/2017 Rock Rapids Public Library GROW 2-3 pm
6/26/2017 Sanborn Public Library GROW 3:30-4:30 pm
6/27/2017 Alton Public Library GROW 1-2 pm
7/10/2017 Sheldon Farmers Market KNOW 4:45 – 5:45 pm
7/12/2017 Sibley Osceola County Fair WHOA 4-5 pm
7/13/2017 Sioux Center Sioux County Fair WHOA 2-3 pm
7/17/2017 Rock Rapids Farmers Market KNOW 5-6 pm
7/19/2017 Rock Rapids Lyon County Fair WHOA 6-7 pm
7/20/2017 Hawarden Farmers Market KNOW 5:30-6:30 pm
7/25/2017 Primghar O’Brien County Fair WHOA 12:30-1:30pm
June 7, 2017 - 11:01 am - Posted in News

Osceola County, Iowa — The Iowa Court of Appeals entered judgement Thursday morning in the case of the Osceola County Board of Supervisors establishment of a TIF District to provide funds to be used to help finance infrastructure in the City of Harris.

In March 2015, Harris was under an administrative order from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to update its lagoon, but the city lacked the debt capacity to take on the improvements. As a result, on March 10, 2015, the city sent a letter to the Osceola County Board of Supervisors “asking for help with possibly doing a TIF on the windmills for infrastructure within the City.” Within a couple of weeks, at a meeting of the board, the Harris mayor “asked that the supervisor consider establishing an urban renewal area including the turbines and city of Harris to help fund needed projects.”

In October, 2015, the Board of Supervisors held a Public Hearing on a resolution to establish an urban renewal area, and approve theurban renewal plan and project for the area. The newly-created TIF area was set to include the city of Harris, as well as an area of land upon which a wind farm had been constructed.

The plaintiffs in the case are resident taxpayers of Osceola County and of the Harris-Lake Park School District. They filed a petition for writ of certiorari and declaratory judgment challenging the resolution and the ordinance passed by or involving Osceola County and the City of Harris. In conjunction, the resolution and ordinance established an urban renewal area and an urban renewal plan and divided the tax revenue levied on that area as tax increment financing to fund the plan. The plaintiffs challenged the Supervisors’s actions, claiming they would be harmed as taxpayers.

Osceola County and the City of Harris filed a motion for summary judgment, and the district court granted it, finding the plaintiff’s lacked standing to challenge the resolution and their claims involving the ordinance were untimely. The plaintiffs’ petition was dismissed. On appeal, the plaintiffs challenged the district court’s ruling and maintain the merits of their motion for summary judgment should have been granted instead.

In their review of the case, the Iowa Court of Appeals upheld the District Court ruling that the plaintiff’s claims were, in fact, untimely, since they were filed prior to the enactment of the ordinance they challenged. The Appeals Court reversed the lower court’s ruling, saying that the plaintiffs DID, in fact, have standing to pursue the case.

The Court of Appeals remanded the case back to District Court for further proceedings.

The complete ruling from the Iowa Court of Appeals can be seen by CLICKING HERE.

June 7, 2017 - 3:23 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — If you are a low-income homeowner who needs to make repairs to your house, there may be some funding available to help you do that.

Northwest Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund Grant Administrator Carol Keizer tells us about it.

She says they provide help in Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola, and Sioux counties, as well as Buena Vista, Dickinson, and Emmet counties. Keizer says they have recently increased their income limits, making it easier for more people to qualify.

She tells us what kinds of repairs are eligible.

She says there is one exception to the “no upgrades” policy, and that is energy efficiency upgrades, which are normally allowed.

She says some of their counties have a waiting list, while others do not. To apply, or for more information, she says you should contact Kristin Larsen at the Northwest Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund Office in Spencer at 712-262-7225 Ext. 139, or by email at kristin.larsen@nwipdc.org

Here are the new income guidelines that were recently announced:

30% AMI (1-2 Persons) 30% AMI (3-6 Persons) 80% AMI (1-2 Persons) 80% AMI (3-6 Persons)
Buena Vista County $20,970 $24,115 $55,920 $64,308
Dickinson County $21,150 $24,322 $56,400 $64,860
Emmet County $20,970 $24,115 $55,920 $64,308
Lyon County $20,970 $24,115 $55,920 $64,308
O’Brien County $20,970 $24,115 $55,920 $64,308
Osceola County $20,970 $24,115 $55,920 $64,308
Sioux County $21,210 $24,391 $56,560 $65,044
June 5, 2017 - 10:15 am - Posted in News

Ocheyedan, Iowa — Ocheyedan Firefighters were dispatched to the report of a windmill on fire near Ocheyedan in the early hours today (Monday, June 5th).

According to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, the report came in at 4:38 this morning, and firefighters from Ocheyedan were dispatched to the scene.

The Sheriff’s Office tells KIWA that it was determined that the fire, which is at the top of the windmill, in the generator portion of the structure, would have to “just burn itself out.”

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office says there were no injuries reported.

June 4, 2017 - 12:09 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — According to a post on her campaign Facebook page, Kim Weaver of Sheldon is dropping out of the Fourth District Congressional Race. She had announced her 2018 candidacy on March 27th of this year.

Weaver, who ran an unsuccessful campaign to unseat Congressman Steve King in 2016 claims that one of the reasons she is halting her campaign is that people have threatened her life.

The statement says:

“Over the last several weeks, I have been evaluating personal circumstances along with the political climate regarding this campaign. After much deliberation, I have determined that the best decision for me is to withdraw my candidacy for the US House race in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District.”

Weaver’s statement goes on to say:

“One consideration has been raised again by recent events at my home. Beginning during my 2016 campaign, I have received very alarming acts of intimidation, including death threats. While some may say enduring threats are just a part of running for office, my personal safety has increasingly become a concern.”

Weaver also cites her health as a reason she’s dropping out, and says that the most importantly, her mother who lives in Des Moines is experiencing health issues and she says that she wants to be more available to support her mother.

The statement says that she remains committed to the defeat of Steve King and says, “In this effort, the funds we raised will be distributed within the district to continue to oppose Steve King.”

Weaver went on to thank all the people and organizations who have helped her and her campaign.

June 4, 2017 - 1:52 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Some storms blew through northwest Iowa on Saturday night, producing some strong winds, hail, and some storm damage.

According to the National Weather Service, their Sioux Falls office received a report from The Granville Fire Department and Rescue Squad that about 6:20 p.m., a thunderstorm with winds estimated at 50 to 60 miles per hour hit Granville. Along with the strong winds, dime-sized hail was reported. Fire and Rescue officials also reported several trees down throughout the town.

In addition to the wind and hail, two and a quarter inches of rain was reported in a 20 to 30-minute period in Granville, which they said produced some brief street flooding.

A little later in the evening, about 8:05 p.m., a trained spotter reported storm damage five miles southeast of Sibley in Osceola County. The spotter said that a 3-inch diameter tree branch was down in that area.

Northwest Iowa — With the new fireworks law having been signed by (now former) Governor Terry Branstad, fireworks and what is allowed has been a topic of discussion by the public and by local government leaders.

A couple of weeks ago, we told you that some northwest Iowa towns are considering stricter restrictions on fireworks than the new state law, and at least one is choosing to ban them altogether.

We recently spoke with county officials in our area to ask them if they plan any stricter rules on fireworks than the state law. To date, none of the four northwest Iowa counties have enacted any more rules on fireworks, but of course, that’s subject to change.

In O’Brien County, Auditor Barb Rohwer says the Board of Supervisors has talked about the issue and have decided not to pursue tighter restrictions at this time. She says if it becomes an issue, they have said they will re-address it at that time. Rohwer reminds people that the county does have a permit process in place for larger displays such as town or large-group celebrations.

In Sioux County, officials report that the county board has not discussed the issue, but note that it could come up in the future.

Lyon County Auditor Jen Smit says the Lyon County Board has not discussed the issue either, but it could come up for discussion at their next meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, June 12th.

In Osceola County, auditor Barb Echter says the issue was on their agenda at their last meeting, but they tabled it until their next meeting, which is on Tuesday, June 13th. She says so far they have done nothing with it.

Law officers are noting more fireworks calls. They remind people that even under the new law, fireworks are not allowed during most of the year and are only legal to use during two windows: for about five weeks between June 1st through July 8th, and for about three weeks between December 10th through January 3rd.

May 25, 2017 - 4:57 pm - Posted in News

seasons-logo[1]Spencer, Iowa — Soon, when a mental health or substance abuse crisis happens in northwest Iowa, there will be another option.

Seasons Center in Spencer reports that they have received funding from Northwest Iowa Care Connections to provide mobile crisis services in six counties in northwest Iowa beginning January 1, 2018. The mobile crisis services will cover Clay, Dickinson, O’Brien, Osceola, Lyon and Palo Alto counties.

Christina Eggink-Postma, Vice President of Program Coordination and Compliance at Seasons says they are really excited to be able to start offering this service next year.

She says that the purpose of the proposed project is to provide a call center, on-site screening, consultation, treatment engagement, brief treatment, and referral for residents of Northwest Iowa Care Connections who are in need of crisis services regardless of funding.

She says before, it was a mixed bag of responses, and sometimes they were actually able to send someone out. And she says their home health team deals with crises too when they’re on-site, but this will take it to a new level.

She says that Seasons will begin recruiting and training staff and providing education on the mobile crisis prior to implementing services beginning January 1.

Kim Scorza, President/CEO, for Seasons says Seasons staff are excited and grateful to be chosen as a recipient of these grant funds. She says the funding will allow them to better meet the needs of their clients and patients in a community-based setting. She says they also greatly appreciate Kim Wilson, Chief Executive Officer at Northwest Iowa Care Connections, for her leadership and the board for making the money available to those in crisis.

For more information on services provided by Seasons, Autumn’s Center, and Camp Autumn, you can visit: www.seasonscenter.org or call 1-800-242-5101.