July 10, 2017 - 2:07 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — The 2017 Osceola County Fair begins its four-day run this Wednesday, July 12th, at the fairgrounds in Sibley.

Wednesday will be Open Class entry and judging, along with the 4-H barbecue and Share the Fun and Fashion Review.  Wednesday evening, the 2017 Osceola County Fair Queen, along with Little Miss Osceola will be crowned in front of the grandstand.

Thursday, the Commercial Building will be open for vendor set-up from 9 to 1, with the doors opening to the public from 1 to 9 Thursday.  Old Fashioned Fun & Games are also on the agenda at the Osceola County Fair, each day, Thursday through Saturday.

Fair Board Member Brad Dreessen tells us about some of the evening activities, beginning Thursday night at the 2017 Osceola County Fair.

Thursday night’s Figure 8 Races and Demolition Derby will be followed by a fireworks display.

Friday will be Veteran’s Day at the Fair, with a program remembering those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Saturday will feature a Barbecue Cookoff, along with the National Guard Rock Climbing Wall, Arm Wrestling Tournament, Kids Pedal Tractor Pull, the 4-H Ribbon Auction, and free watermelon.

The 2017 Osceola County Fair runs this week Wednesday July 12th through Saturday July 15th at the fairgrounds in Sibley.

July 6, 2017 - 4:09 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — The process of selecting a new Osceola County Attorney continues.

In May, we told you that current Osceola County Attorney Bob Hansen is retiring from his post after 21 years, and plans to move to Colorado.

The Osceola County Board of Supervisors accepted applications for an attorney to replace Hansen until June 30th. The board now must decide from among the candidates and will appoint a new county attorney.

Hansen’s last day as county attorney will be Friday, July 21st. While the county board is doing interviews of candidates for the position this Friday, July 7th, the new county attorney that they appoint may not be able to start that soon. The O’Brien County Auditor’s office says that the board is also looking into doing a 28E agreement with another county to possibly share a county attorney until the new Osceola County Attorney is in office.

July 6, 2017 - 2:50 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — If you’re sending a kid to college this fall, now’s the time to be thinking ahead about how you’re going to pay for it.

Iowa Student Loan C-E-O Steve McCullough says it’s especially important for parents who might use the Federal PLUS Loan program, as the rates increased on July 1st.

McCullough says there are other options available.

He says the loans administered by his organization do have lower interest rates.

These are loans that are taken out by the parents with the idea that the college students will eventually pay them off. McCullough says it is important for parents to fully understand that they are on the hook for the loans if the students don’t pay.

He says parents and students should do as much research as they can right now to find out all the options available so they don’t have to scramble in the fall.

Iowa Student Loan is the non-profit entity in the state that administers students loans. McCullough says they have a variety of information on their website about student loans and borrowing.  You can visit their website by CLICKING HERE.

June 30, 2017 - 10:23 am - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — A 24-yar old Sibley man faces felony Identity Theft charges following an investigation that began last August.

Osceola County authorities say Reynalso Esteban Martinez Niz was arrested Thursday on an Osceola County warrant for Identity Theft, which is a Class “D” Felony.

Authorities say the investigation leading to the arrest warrant stems from the execution of a search warrant at a Sibley residence this past August, in which Martinez Niz was allegedly found to be in possession of several forged Social Security Cards.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office say Martinez Niz was boooked into the Osceola County Jail, then released after posting a $5-thousand bond.

Sibley, Iowa — A Minnesota man was not injured after his semi-tractor hit a guard rail and barricades near Sibley on Thursday, June 29th.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that at 3:30 am on Thursday, 73-year-old Cullins Lee Roberts of Albert Lea, Minnesota was driving a 2013 Volvo Tractor Trailer registered to McFarland Truck Lines, Inc of Austin, MN southbound in the 2000 mile of Hwy 60 in a construction zone, south of Sibley. According to the report, the left lane was closed with cones, barrels and concrete barricades. Roberts got too far to the right and collided with the guardrail, bounced to the left and collided with the concrete barricades and then entered the ditch colliding with the embankment before reaching the railroad tracks.

The Volvo received $10,000 in damage and the guardrail received $1,000 in damage.

Roberts was issued a citation for Failure to Maintain Control.

No injuries were reported.

June 29, 2017 - 2:08 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Many northwest Iowans are celebrating this Independence Day holiday by shooting off fireworks, the first time that’s been legal in Iowa in more than 80 years.  With the use of these devices, however, comes the potential of injury or fire, if they’re not used properly.

Within the past week at least one fire in the northwest Iowa area has been blamed on the use of fireworks.  Sibley Fire Chief Ken Huls says these explosive devices must be used responsibly to avoid causing a fire.

In addition to the fire risk, Chief Huls says there is a danger of injury, as well, when fireworks are used in an irresponsible manner.

Once in a while, a lit firework will fail to go off.  Huls tells us what to do, and NOT to do, if such a situation arises.

He says what you wear is also important in avoiding fireworks-related injuries.

Huls reminds you to keep fireworks away from flammable liquids, structures, and very dry vegetation, and to have a bucket of water handy just in case.

And, of course, he says if your celebration includes alcohol, leave the fireworks to somebody else.

June 29, 2017 - 1:34 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — With the Fourth of July coming up, and with the new Iowa fireworks law having just gone into effect, now is the time to familiarize yourself with the law and how it applies to your Independence Day celebrations.

The state law, as it applies to the discharge of fireworks states that consumer fireworks may only be used between June 1st and July 8th and December 10th through January 3rd. It also limits the hours of use to 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., except that the hours are extended to 11:00 p.m on July 4th, and the Saturdays and Sundays immediately preceding and following July 4th; to 12:30 p.m. on January 1st and 11:00 p.m. on the Saturdays and Sundays immediately preceding and following December 31st. The law also says that you may use fireworks only on your own property or the property of someone who has consented to fireworks being used on their property. There are also several stipulations on the sale of fireworks. Click here for the text of the state law.

Some cities have enacted stricter rules, however. Those that have, generally also mention that no one under the age of 18 may light fireworks unsupervised, fireworks may not be altered, they may not be used by people appearing to be intoxicated or under the influence of a drug or narcotic, and they may not be used in a reckless manner.

In Sheldon, the dates and times of use are both stricter than the state law. Fireworks may be used from June 20th through July 5th and December 17th through January 2nd, between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., except for extended hours until 11:00 p.m. on July 4 and on New Year’s Eve until 12:30 a.m. (January 1st). If you’d like to read the Sheldon Fireworks Ordinance in its entirety, you can do so by CLICKING HERE.

In Orange City, the dates of use are the same as the state law, but the dates with extended times do not include the weekends before and after the holiday, and only include the holiday itself. Orange City’s ordinance also talks about open-flame sky lanterns and that they are prohibited unless the lantern has a tether and is under control. Find a copy of the Orange City Ordinance here.

Use of fireworks is allowed in Sioux Center from June 13 through July 8. The city will follow the state law regarding the times of day during which fireworks are allowed. Information about the Sioux Center ordinance can be found here.

In Sanborn, the fireworks ordinance states that fireworks may be discharged from June 15th through July 8th, and from December 10th through January 3rd. The times of day are the same as the state law, but the dates with extended times do not include the weekends before and after the holiday and only include the holiday itself. Click here for the full Sanborn Ordinance.

In Hartley, city officials say that the city council feels they have not had enough time to review the law and come up with any new policy. We are told that the old fireworks ordinance, which prohibits fireworks in the city limits still technically applies in Hartley.

The situation is similar in Sibley. Jerolyn Huisenga with the City of Sibley says that the Sibley City Council also has not passed any new fireworks ordinance, so the old ordinance remains in effect in Sibley — meaning fireworks will not be allowed in the city limits.

In George, city officials state that their city council also has not passed any new fireworks ordinance. But they stated that the new state law will apply in George, so it is legal to use fireworks in George as long as people follow the state law.

The Rock Rapids City Council has enacted a new fireworks ordinance. Fireworks may be discharged from June 15th through July 8th and December 10th through January 3rd with the same times of day as the state law, except no extended hours are included on the weekends before or after the holidays.  Information about the Rock Rapids ordinance can be found here.

The community pointed to when people ask why fireworks have been banned in Iowa for almost 80 years — is Spencer. And in Spencer, people are still not going to be able to use fireworks. Spencer City Manager Bob Fagen says, “we know what [fireworks] can do for your community.” He says the rules on the use of fireworks will be the same in Spencer as before — only sparklers and snakes will be allowed. Fireworks were prohibited in Iowa a few years after a devastating fire caused by a sparkler being dropped into a fireworks display in Spencer in 1931.

June 29, 2017 - 12:47 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — You may remember that the City of Sibley had been dealing with an odor problem coming from the Iowa Drying and Processing Plant, and that they filed suit against that firm. The firm also filed a counter suit. Well now both suits have been dismissed.

Both civil cases had been scheduled to go to trial on July 18th, 2017.

The original suit was the City of Sibley versus Iowa Drying and Processing regarding what should be done about the smells that many found offensive coming from the plant. A counter suit was also filed by Iowa Drying and Processing against the City of Sibley, requesting that the court not allow Sibley to continue to cite IDP for nuisance violations.

The City of Sibley had been in an ongoing battle to try to get the odor problem fixed so IDP could continue providing jobs for Sibley residents.

IDP received $150,000 in state economic development funds in October 2012 to start their operations.

Available court records do not indicate the reason that the lawsuits were dismissed. Sibley City Administrator Glenn Anderson, Sibley City Attorny Harold Dawson, and IDP officials were unavailable for comment on Thursday afternoon.

However, attorney Daniel DeKoter, who works with Dawson and was involved in the litigation in this case, says that both parties have decided to “let [the matter] sit for now.” He says the plant is still up for sale. DeKoter says the parties felt that it wasn’t worth spending more money to settle an issue that is “pretty much-taken care of.”

June 28, 2017 - 9:25 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — If the trial happens as scheduled, it will be 16 months before we hear a verdict in the civil case brought against the Sibley-Ocheyedan School District on behalf of a boy who was allegedly sexually abused by a former teacher at the Sibley-Ocheyedan Middle School.

According to court records, the jury trial has been scheduled for September 11th, 2018 at the Osceola County Courthouse in Sibley. It also says that any trial in the case would be expected to last 10 days.

The civil suit alleges that the Sibley-Ocheyedan Community School District was negligent in hiring Kyle Ewinger, the former teacher and coach who is accused of having sexual contact with a student, and that they knew or should have known that Ewinger posed a safety risk to the children entrusted to him.

Judge Carl Petersen notes that a pretrial conference for the civil case has not been scheduled, nor has a settlement conference, but records say that either or both will be held upon the request of the parties or by order of the Court.

Ewinger has also been charged in a criminal case with Second Degree Sexual Abuse in connection with the alleged incident in October, 2015, when Ewinger is alleged to have spent the night in his middle school classroom with a student, and is accused of engaging in sexual activity with the boy. Ewinger has pled not guilty and a pretrial conference is set for September 1st, 2017, with the trial at this point scheduled for October 17th.

June 26, 2017 - 12:00 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — The Sibley Fire Department was called on Saturday, June 24, 2017 after a passerby reported a fire near Sibley.

According to Sibley Fire Chief Ken Huls, about 4:15 PM, the Sibley Fire Department was called to the report of a grass fire on property owned by Jim Janssen, two miles south of Sibley on L40.

The chief says the fire department saw lots of smoke across L40 as they approached the scene. Hulls says the fire was in a pasture lane adjacent to L40. According to Huls, about 200 yards of grass were on fire, and were put out by firefighters. Chief Huls says they were able to keep the fire from reaching a bridge further south.

Huls says no injuries were reported.

He says the cause of the fire is undetermined but may have been caused by a lit cigarette or something of that nature.

Chief Huls reports that damage was limited to the pasture grass and vegetation.

He says they used about 750 gallons of water to fight the fire, and crews were on scene for about a half hour.