September 15, 2017 - 6:43 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — The unofficial results from Tuesday’s election are now official.

The county boards of supervisors of the four northwest Iowa counties met on Friday, some for a slightly-rescheduled regular meeting and some for the special purpose of canvassing the results of this past Tuesday’s school election.

The O’Brien County Board of Supervisors met at 9 a.m. on Friday. County Auditor Barb Rohwer reports that other than a few changes to write-ins, everything stayed the same, and those who appeared to have received the most votes have been officially declared the winners.

The Sioux County Board of Supervisors met at 1:00 p.m. Friday afternoon. Sioux County Election Clerk Lisa Rowenhorst says the situation was similar in Sioux County. After the canvass, Gary Witt was the confirmed write-in winner for West Sioux District 2. He is the incumbent but did not file papers, and won anyway.

The Lyon County Board of Supervisors met at 9 a.m. on Friday. Lyon County Election Clerk Carrie Johnson says there were no changes to the Lyon County results, and those who appeared to have the most votes were officially declared the winners there as well.

The Osceola County Board of Supervisors met at 8:45 a.m. on Friday and there were no changes there either according to their auditor’s office. The Osceola County Auditor’s office only handles the Sibley-Ocheyedan district. There are portions of other districts within the county’s borders, but they are administered by surrounding counties. For instance, the Harris-Lake Park results are canvassed by the Dickinson County Board of Supervisors, and according to the Dickinson County Auditor’s Office, there were no changes there either from the numbers reported on Tuesday night.

September 15, 2017 - 6:40 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — This Monday is shaping up to be a busy day in northwest Iowa courtrooms.

If all the events happen as scheduled, there will be events in six cases that we’ve been covering.

In Lyon County, Cassandra Joy VanBerkum of Rock Rapids is accused of theft of medication. According to court documents, Van Berkum has filed a written arraignment and plea of “not guilty” to the charges. Her pretrial conference is this Monday. The trial is scheduled for Tuesday, October 3rd in Lyon County District Court in Rock Rapids.

Julian Barrientos of Doon is charged with felony eluding among several other offenses after a chase in Lyon County in April. Barrientos filed a plea of “not guilty” on May 30th. His court dates have been postponed several times. His pretrial conference is also this Monday. No trial date has been set.

Trysten Robinson, formerly known as Trysten Ramsey of Rock Rapids is accused of sexual contact with a girl who was 14 years old at the time of the alleged incident in December, 2016. Dates have been pushed back in his case as well. A hearing on the case is scheduled for this Monday. A suppression hearing is scheduled for October 2nd. No further dates have been set.

In Osceola County, David Lee Buss of Ashton is accused of a felony Controlled Substance Violation. He faces an initial appearance on his charges this Monday.

In Sioux County, Nina Spaans of Hawarden is charged with three counts of Child Endangerment Causing Bodily Injury, a class D felony in connection with alleged child abuse. She has pled “not guilty.” The pretrial conference has been pushed back several times. It is now scheduled for this Monday morning. No trial date has been set.

Gretchen Scott (also known as Gretchen Gardner) of Hudson, SD is accused of writing over $1000 in bad checks to two Sioux Center businesses. She is scheduled for arraignment this Monday in Sioux County District Court.

September 15, 2017 - 6:38 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — If you haven’t paid them yet, you have about two weeks left to pay the fall installment of property taxes in Iowa without having to pay a penalty.

If you own real estate you’re required to pay half-a-year’s taxes on that real estate each six months. Or you can elect to pay the full year’s taxes in one payment. Taxes were actually due on September 1st, but may be paid without penalty by October 2nd. Normally the deadline is the last day of the month, but this time September 30th falls on a Saturday, so you get until Monday, October 2nd to pay this year.

The County Treasurers in northwest Iowa remind you that there are three different ways to pay your taxes. you can choose to pay your taxes online, at www.iowatreasurers.org. You can go to your County Treasurer’s Office and pay them in person, or you can mail your check to your County Treasurer’s Office. If you go to your Treasurer’s Office, or if you mail your tax payment, be the proper stub accompanies your payment. And remember, if you mail your payment, it MUST BE postmarked on or before October 2nd to avoid a penalty.

The County Treasurer’s Offices in the four-county area are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

September 13, 2017 - 8:00 am - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — Yesterday was school election day in Iowa.

In the Sibley-Ocheyedan School District, Tasha Bos appears to have retained her District 1 chair. District 3 director Tim Helmers and District 4 director Tracy Van Diepen did not file papers. Jamie Arend ran unopposed for Helmers’ seat and Greg Atherton ran unopposed for Van Diepen’s seat. Bos had 112 votes. Arend received 115, and Atherton had 117.

In the Harris-Lake Park School District, Chad Hibma has been elected to Mike Bosma’s District 2 position with 28 votes. Bosma didn’t file papers. Tim Harmon was re-elected to his District 4 position with 27 votes. He also ran unopposed.

Sheldon School Board At-Large member Randy Merley did not file papers. Lori Richards ran unopposed for that chair, and received 67 votes. District 1 member Susan Rensink also ran unopposed and was re-elected with 63 votes.

September 12, 2017 - 6:08 pm - Posted in News

Spencer, Iowa — A new law passed earlier this year is going to affect public employee employment in Iowa. One of the things that the new law does is require re-certification elections for public employee unions and professional organizations.

Mike Cormack is the chair of the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board. He says that the board is not on the side of labor or management — that they are basically the “referees” when it comes to these type of issues. In simple terms, Cormack says if you work for the city, county, school district, or state, you will get to choose whether to keep your union or not.


Because of that, Cormack says the Public Employment Relations Board is holding a number of meetings across the state to inform public employees.


He says one in twenty-nine Iowans is a member of a public employee union. He says if they are in a one-year contract, they will be voting this fall. If they’re in a three-year contract, they vote in year two of the contract when they’re a year away from the contract’s expiration. But if the local bargaining unit votes a union out, then no union may represent them for at least two years.

Cormack also stresses that in order to retain their current union, a unit has to have the majority of potential members vote to retain the union — NOT the majority of voters in the election.

The informational meeting in our area is this Wednesday, September 13th at the Spencer Public Library at 21 East Third Street in Spencer. Presentations will be from 4:30 to 5:30, and again from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. For more information on the law or the meeting, you can visit iowaperb.iowa.gov

Northwest Iowa — Autumn is right around the corner, and with it comes harvest season in northwest Iowa.

Iowa State Patrol Trooper Vince Kurtz says NOW is the time for farmers to make sure their equipment is properly marked.

Kurtz says marking your equipment begins with that triangular emblem.

In addition to the SMV emblem being displayed on every piece of equipment, he says there are lighting requirements as well.

Trooper Kurtz stresses that now is the time to make sure your implements are marked properly.

In addition to farmers properly marking their implements, motorists also need to be aware of harvest season, and expect slow moving farm machinery to appear in the road ahead of you.

September 12, 2017 - 4:51 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — If you have a large collection of antiques,  you’ll be excited to hear that Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, the American Pickers, will be picking in Iowa next month!

American Pickers is a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique ‘picking’ on History. The hit show follows Mike and Frank, two of the most skilled pickers in the business, as they hunt for America’s most valuable antiques. They are always excited to find sizeable, unique collections and learn the interesting stories behind them.

Wolfe and Fritz say they’ve seen a lot of rusty gold over the years, and they’re always looking to discover something they’ve never seen before. The pair say they’re ready to fins extraordinary items and hear fascinating tales about them.

American Pickers is looking for leads and would love to explore your hidden treasure.  If you, or someone you know, has a large, PRIVATE collection or accumulation of antiques that Fritz and Wolfe can spend the better part of the day looking through, they want to hear from you!!  Send your name, phone number, location and description of your collection, with photos, to americanpickers@cineflex.com, or call 1-855-OLD RUST.  That number again is 1-855-653-7878.

Who knows, the boys from Antique Archaeology in LeClaire, Iowa may be coming to pick your collection next month.

September 12, 2017 - 12:20 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — This Tuesday, September 12th is the day for school board elections. There are board members at each area school whose terms will be expiring this fall. For example:

Two members of Sheldon School Board have terms that will expire this fall. They are At-Large member Randy Merley, and District 1 member Susan Rensink. Rensink is running, but Merley did not file papers for his chair. Running unopposed for that position is Lori Richards.

In the Sibley-Ocheyedan School District, the District 1 chair held by Tasha Bos is up for election, as is the District 3 chair held by Tim Helmers and the District 4 chair, held by Tracy Van Diepen. Bos filed papers for re-election, but Jamie Arend is running unopposed for Helmers’ seat and Greg Atherton is running unopposed for Van Diepen’s seat.

In the Harris-Lake Park School District, Mike Bosma’s District 2 position is up for election, as is Tim Harmon’s district 4 position. Bosma did not file papers to run. Chad Hibma is running unopposed for his seat. Harmon did file papers and is also running unopposed.

September 10, 2017 - 9:07 am - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — An Ashton man has been arrested on a warrant for a felony drug charge.

According to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, early on Sunday, September 10th, 2017 an Osceola County Deputy arrested 46-year-old David Lee Buss of Ashton on a warrant for Controlled Substance Violation, a class D Felony; Possession of Controlled Substance 2nd Offense, an Aggravated Misdemeanor; and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Simple Misdemeanor.

Buss was transported and booked into the Osceola County Jail and at last report was being held on a $1300 bond.

September 7, 2017 - 4:31 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — Additional parties have been added to 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.

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.

Now, the plaintiffs in the case have also named two other school districts where Ewinger was employed, listing alleged questionable acts in those districts, and saying that they too were negligent in not alerting future employers of this conduct, which could have prevented the eventual alleged sexual assault of the victim. The other schools named are the Mediapolis Community School District and the Sioux City Community School District.

According to court records, Ewinger also faces a First Degree Felony Sexual Assault on a Child charge in Douglas County, Nebraska.

The jury trial in the civil case against Sibley-Ocheyedan and the other schools has been scheduled for October 23rd, 2018 at the Osceola County Courthouse in Sibley.

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 scheduled for October 27th, 2017, with a criminal trial scheduled at this point for December 12th.