October 24, 2014 - 5:02 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — If you need to register to vote for the November 4th General Election, or absentee vote in person at your local county auditor’s office, you have a couple of Saturday opportunities coming up.voting optical reader machine

In Osceola, O’Brien, Sioux, and Lyon Counties, the Auditors’ Offices are going to be open from 8 AM to 5 PM this Saturday for early voting and voter registration.

Voter registration ends this Saturday, October 25th. However, if you are registered, their offices are going to be open next Saturday, November 1st too for early voting. Osceola, Sioux, and Lyon County Auditors’ Offices will be open from 9 to 5 next Saturday, November 1st, and O’Brien County will be open from 8 to 5 that day.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail is November 1st too, but election officials stress that there would be a time crunch if you wait that long to request a mailed ballot because returned ballots need to be postmarked no later than election day, Tuesday, November 4th.

Iowa does have election day registration, but the auditors strongly encourage you to be registered by this Saturday, October 25th.

soup and pieBoyden, Iowa — A soup and pie supper is planned to benefit an Ashton man who suffered a stroke this past summer. The supper is at the St. John Lutheran Church of Boyden. We talked to St. John pastor Daniel Hart, and he tells us about Eric Johnson.

Johnson and his wife Kim have one child at home near Ashton.

Pastor Hart says the church has a soup supper every year.

The supper is this Saturday, October 25th at St. John Lutheran Church of rural Boyden. That’s at 3941 280th Street, four miles north of Boyden on Kennedy Avenue, and a little west. They’ll have homemade soups and pies, and they’ll be serving from 5:00 to 7:30 PM. Thrivent Sioux County will provide supplementing funds.

If your browser or device cannot access the audio players above, here are the direct links to the cuts.
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October 21, 2014 - 4:01 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) continues to work closely with local public health and health care professionals, state entities and the CDC in response and preparation to the West African Ebola situation. Despite what you might read on social Iowa Department of Public Health IDPHmedia or hear around the water cooler, there are and have been NO cases of Ebola in Iowa.

Last week, screening of travelers coming from Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia began at international airports at the time of arrival in the U.S. They are asked about things like current symptoms and possible exposures to patients with Ebola while in West Africa. If needed, appropriate action is taken at that time; for example, travelers with symptoms consistent with Ebola are not being allowed to continue until they are medically assessed. If they are well, they are given information about what to do once they arrive at their final destination – such as Iowa. Meanwhile, in Iowa, public health officials are notified of the arrival of the traveler. Iowa officials then re-interview the traveler to confirm their health status and their risk of exposure to Ebola. Appropriate action is then taken in Iowa, such as the traveler staying at home and away from others for 21 days, or taking their temperature and reporting this to public health for 21 days.

This will lower the risk of Ebola spreading in Iowa, and should reassure the public that extraordinary action is being taken by the U.S. Public Health system to protect them.

Other actions taken by IDPH over the past several weeks include several webinars for local public health agencies, emergency responders, hospitals, health care providers, and state agencies regarding transmission of the Ebola virus and how to prepare for any suspected cases.

Iowans should remember that Ebola is not transmitted through water, air, food or casual contact. Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of a sick person, or exposure to objects such as needles that have been contaminated. In addition:

  • People are not contagious after exposure unless they develop symptoms.
  • Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days.

For more information about Ebola, visit the CDC’s web site at www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html or the IDPH web site at http://bit.ly/1wmnEWa.

Sibley, Iowa — A Sibley man is behind bars after he allegedly drove into a pickup — owned by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.Osceola Sheriff Car 72-2

The sheriff’s office reports that they filed a charge of Criminal Mischief in the First Degree, a Class “C” Felony against 26-year-old Ricky Robert Jeppesen of Sibley.

They report that on Monday, October 13, 2014 about 8 PM, Jeppesen allegedly intentionally drove his 1997 Lincoln into a parked and unattended 2014 Ford Pickup belonging to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office. Jeppesen allegedly drove into the pickup twice causing the 2014 Ford to strike another parked and unattended 2007 Ford belonging to an on-duty dispatcher. The incident occurred in front of the sheriff’s office in the parking/driveway area.

Jeppesen was immediately taken into custody by an Osceola County Deputy. All three vehicles involved received extensive damage.

Jeppesen is being held in the Osceola County Jail on a $10,000 bond. The Iowa State Patrol assisted with the investigation.

Little Rock, Iowa — A house was damaged in a fire on Saturday, October 4, 2014 near Little Rock. Little Rock Fire Truck FD

According to Lyon County Emergency Manager and Little Rock firefighter Arden Kopishke, about 12:40 PM, the Little Rock Fire Department was called to the report of house fire at 1047 Marsh Avenue, three and a half miles north of Little Rock

He says the fire department saw flames coming out of a door as they approached the scene.

Kopishke reports that there were no injuries to people, pets, or livestock.

The fire department was assisted by Sibley Fire Department, as both departments were initially paged to the fire.

He says the fire was behind the fireplace and got up into the attic. He says firefighters got the smoldering pieces out and doused the fire. He says they were able to contain the fire to the fireplace and the storage room behind it.

He says the cause of the fire was undetermined.

Kopishke reports that there was moderate damage to the house.

He says they used 500 gallons of water to fight the fire, and crews were on scene for two hours.

October 6, 2014 - 5:24 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — Citizens of Sibley are invited to a meeting tonight to talk about some possible new projects — specifically tonight, a new pool.sibley pool

Sibley City Administrator Glenn Anderson says that the city’s pool and golf clubhouse need to be replaced, and there may be more projects that could be undertaken to improve the community. Anderson says significant work lies ahead of the community if the current pool and clubhouse are to be replaced. He says that a group of willing participants will need to look at completing the process of fund raising.

Anderson gives us a preview of tonight’s meeting.

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

He says some of the work of planning a new pool has already been completed.

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

The administrator tells us the current status of the Sibley pool.

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

Anderson tells us what he expects people at the meeting will do tonight.

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

He says of the possible upcoming projects, the pool seemed to be the most urgent. Another possible idea, according to Anderson is an events center. But he says they think the best plan is to do one project at a time.

The meeting is tonight, October 6th at 6:00 PM.

Sibley, Iowa — If you’ve always wanted to see what they do out at the bag plant in Sibley, now’s your chance.

Founded in 1972 and operated under several names in the past including Chase Bag and Exopack, officials at the Coveris bag plant in Sibley are opening up their facility to the public for an open house and tours this Thursday, October 2nd.

Plant manager Bill Helms tells us about it.

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

Helms tells us why they’ve decided to have this open house and offer tours.

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

The open house is Thursday, Oct. 2 from 4:30-6:00 PM at their plant at 1400 Chase Boulevard in Sibley. Food will be provided. If you plan on taking the plant tour, in order to meet food safety requirements, they ask that you do not wear sandals, sleeveless shirts or jewelry.

Plant officials say that the bulk of their business is bags for seed corn, popcorn, and charcoal.

More information from Coveris:

As a leading international manufacturing company, Coveris is dedicated to providing solutions that enhance the safety, quality and convenience of products we use every day. In partnership with the most respected brands in the world, Coveris develops vital products that protect everything from the food we eat, to medical supplies, to the touch screen device in our pockets, contributing to the lives of millions every day.

With over 60 manufacturing locations and more than 9,000 dedicated employees, Coveris is a global leader in the manufacturing of packaging and engineered coatings for a variety of consumer and industrial end-use markets

Sibley, Iowa — A $7 million urban renewal plan that was to involve wind turbines and economic development projects at a farm, a trucking company, and the old Ocheyedan school has been shelved in Osceola County.money cash bills dollars

According to the plan, the idea was to develop and stimulate economic development through the Endeavor Wind Farm consisting of 60 wind turbines, along with economic development projects at Sunrise Farms and D & K Transportation, and the urban renewal and rehabilitation of the old Ocheyedan School building.

The county intended to use the new tax revenue generated from improvements within the urban renewal area to provide for tax incentives to assist with public improvements and to provide Osceola County with a valuable financing tool in encouraging private development. The plan was to create a Tax Increment Financing district, or TIF.

The plan says that Sunrise Farms is proposing a major expansion of their egg production facility that will cost an estimated $8 million dollars. It says D & K Transportation is proposing a project to add new buildings to the Ocheyedan location. The old Ocheyedan School building is determined to be blighted due to its many structural and aesthetic condition issues, and the money would have gone toward that project as well. Plus, Osceola County had planned to use some of the money to do some road infrastructure work that would have helped both Sunrise Farms and D & K Transportation.

However, critics of the plan said that other taxing entities stood to lose money on the deal. Harris-Lake Park Schools say they would have stood to lose $230,000 per year in taxes redirected due to the TIF. Critics also say that TIF is supposed to be for new projects. They also say that they think the projects would have happened with or without the TIF money.

We talked to Osceola County Board Chair Jayson Vande Hoef and he read from a prepared statement.

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

The public hearing was to have been on Tuesday.

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.


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.