March 31, 2016 - 8:53 am - Posted in News

Osceola Sheriff Car 72-2An Ocheyedan woman struck a deer on Wednesday, March 30th.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that at about 8:05 pm on Wednesday, 57-year-old Roxann Mielke Leckband of Ocheyedan was driving a 2006 Ford Explorer southbound on Tanager Avenue. According to the report, Leckband struck a deer in the roadway.

The Ford received $2500 damage.

No injuries were reported

March 28, 2016 - 10:18 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — One of the legislature’s leading gun rights advocates is taking aim at a group called “Iowa Gun Owners”, which is headed by Ocheyedan native Aaron Dorr.

The Iowa Legislature has voted this session to legalize firearm suppressors, as well as let landowners carry loaded guns when they drive ATVs and snowmobiles on their property. But both bills were scaled back to win passage. A fundraising email from the Iowa Gun Owners group accuses the “naive…establishment gun lobby” of getting hoodwinked by the “gun grabbers” in the legislature. Representative Matt Windschitl of Missouri Valley — a trained gunsmith — says he wants to set the record straight.
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Windschitl praises the Iowa Firearms Coalition and the National Rife Association for their work on the bills.
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Windschitl works in his family’s gun store in Missouri Valley. Iowa Gun Owners touts itself as the only “no compromise” gun group in Iowa and it vows to defeat “anti-gun” legislators this fall.

March 25, 2016 - 11:53 am - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — If Iowa Drying and Processing (IDP) doesn’t fix their odor problem in Sibley, the City of Sibley says in a notice that it will close down the plant. A public hearing is scheduled for Monday evening regarding the smell being produced, and what can be done.
Iowa Drying and Processing IDP
City Attorney Harold Dawson says that the hearing in front of the city council is part of the due process procedure in regard to a notice of abatement of nuisance that the City issued to IDP due to their violation of the City’s offensive smells ordinance. He says IDP representatives will be asked to present their case and proposals for how to eliminate the problem, and some members of the public have been contacted as witnesses prior to the hearing, and will also be asked to speak. He says speaking will be limited to those individuals, but it is an open meeting and anyone is welcome to attend.

In the notice delivered to IDP, the acts necessary to abate the nuisance are laid out. Basically it gives IDP two options: the closing of the Iowa Drying and Processing facility in Sibley, or the installation of necessary equipment and procedures to eliminate the problem. It says the procedures must be verifiable and approved by an independent engineer to be selected by the City of Sibley and paid for by Iowa Drying and Processing and/or ChemSol. It goes on to say that the procedures need to provide the City of Sibley with full assurance that the nuisance will not continue upon the further operation of the facility.

It goes on to say that if the nuisance is not abated, the City of Sibley will “abate the described nuisance by taking any and all action necessary to close the facility. Any costs incurred by the City of Sibley in abating the described nuisance shall be assessed against Iowa Drying and Processing and ChemSol.”

The public hearing will be at 5 PM on Monday, March 28th, at the Sibley Senior Center.

March 22, 2016 - 8:30 am - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — Osceola County appears to be big into alternative or “green” energy. Several wind turbines have dotted the Osceola County countryside for several years. Now the environment is going to create electrical power in another way.

A “solar park” is going to built north of Sibley near Hawkeye Point — financed partially through the member-owners of Osceola Electric Cooperative.

Osceola County Economic Development Director Mike Earll tells us more.

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Earll says location was important to the REC.

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The Sterler Solar Park cost is estimated at $480,000, and construction is slated to begin in April.

March 21, 2016 - 2:06 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — According to the Osceola County Clerk of Court’s office, a magistrate is ruling that the Iowa Drying and Processing plant in Sibley will have to pay nearly $9000 in fines for a smell emanating from the plant.
Osceola County Courthouse Closeup_SVA
The case was heard on Monday, March 21st. Since Iowa Drying and Processing and their legal counsel failed to appear at the non-jury trial, the magistrate listened to the city’s argument, which alleged ten counts of the city’s offensive smells ordinance, and found in favor of the city.

In 2013, Iowa Drying and Processing purchased the former AMPI (that’s Associated Milk Producers, Inc.) building near Sibley’s downtown. Among their products, Iowa Drying and Processing makes a a high-protein agricultural blood product called plasma that goes into pet foods, according to company officials, and they admit that sometimes the process releases an odor.

The company said they’d install a deodorizing apparatus that would pump out a wintergreen smell, but Sibley City Administrator Glenn Anderson says it’s not working. And that’s a problem because Andrson says when it’s bad, people don’t want to go out to eat in Sibley’s restaurants or shop in Sibley’s stores.

A more expensive “wet scrubber” solution to the odor problem is being considered. The Sibley City Council wants it installed by April 1st.

Iowa Drying and Processing has been fined by the City of Sibley numerous times. According to court records, the first fine was for $50. After that fine, the Sibley City Council decided to change the odor ordinance. The old ordinance called for fines of $50 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense, and $200 for each subsequent offense. The new ordinance calls for a first offense fine of $750 and subsequent fines of $1000.

After the ordinance changed, the plant continued to receive fines — first a $750 fine, and now eight more $1000 fines for a total of $8800 in fines. Fees and court costs will also likely be tacked on, and 2.54% interest will be charged. The clerk’s office says the deadline for Iowa Drying and Processing to pay is May 2nd.

March 16, 2016 - 4:39 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — About 60 people braved the gusty winds north of Sibley on Wednesday to see Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds pKim Reynolds at CapArmsresent the Home Base Iowa designation to Osceola County at the Capital Armament or Cap Arms production facility. Home Base Iowa is an initiative designed to provide a welcoming atmosphere to military veterans who are leaving the service, to provide them encouragement to live and work in the Home Base Iowa communities.

Reynolds says she was happy to present the designation to the county.

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Cap Arms was presented as a Home Base Iowa success story. Clint Gerner, their CEO says that they encountered a very welcoming and supportive community when they moved to Sibley. The company was founded by three veterans in St. Paul Minnesota. He says they continue to “pay it forward” by using a veteran-centric hiring policy. He says they try to hire at least 50 percent veterans.

Lt. Governor Reynolds says the Home Base Iowa designation is a great marketing tool for Osceola County. She says Osceola County offers several incentives to veterans as part of the Home Base Iowa designation, from discounts to loan incentives at county banks. At the statewide level, veterans are offered an income tax exemption, says Reynolds.

She says Iowa is now seen as a national leader with veterans’ organizations. The Lieutenant Governor says the over 2000 veterans have been hired since the program started in 2014. According to her, it works so well because it’s a public-private partnership.

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Home Base Iowa Director Jason Kemp also spoke at the meeting, telling people about the Home Base Iowa web site at homebaseiowa.gov. He says it’s a great place for employers and veterans to connect. He says one of the benefits of the site is that it helps veterans translate their military experience into skills that employers are looking for.

Also speaking at the meeting were Osceola County Supervisor chairman Mike Schulte, Supervisor Phil Bootsma, and Osceola County Economic Development Director Mike Earll.

March 15, 2016 - 6:08 pm - Posted in News

Luverne, Minnesota — The thirteenth member system to be connected to the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System has begun receiving water, with seven more to go.
Lewis & Clark Luverne ribbon cutting
Luverne, Minnesota now has access to 821,000 gallons a day from the system with the opportunity to secure more capacity in the future.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Monday, March 14th in Luverne. State legislators, city officials and representatives from some of the other member cities and rural water systems attended. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton was to be there, but Monday’s fog prevented his plane from flying.

Red Arndt of Luverne, Chairman of the Lewis & Clark board of directors, is the only remaining board member from the project’s incorporation in 1990. He was presented with a bottle containing the first potable water to come through the faucet of the system’s meter house in Luverne. Arndt took a big swig and said “Tastes great! I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time – for the last 26 years – and here it is.”

Still waiting to receive their first water are the water systems of Hull, Sioux Center, Sheldon, Sibley, Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water, Worthington, and Madison. The system has been waiting for the federal government to fund their share of the project for several years, which has made for several years of slow to no construction on the system.

Ribbon Cutting Photo (left to right): L&C Vice-Chairman Murray Hulstein of Sioux Center, Luverne City Administrator John Call, Luverne Councilwoman Caroline Thorson, State Rep. Joe Schomacker, Luverne Councilwoman Esther Spease Frakes, Banner Associate’s Dave Odens, L&C Chairman Red Arndt, Luverne Councilman Kevin Aaker, Luverne Mayor Pat Baustian, Worthington Public Utilities Manager and L&C director Scott Hain, Luverne Councilman Eugene Marshall, State Senator Bill Weber, Banner Associate’s Tim Conner, Luverne Water/Wastewater Supervisor Al Lais and L&C Executive Director Troy Larson.

March 14, 2016 - 5:20 pm - Posted in News

Ashton, Iowa — A George man is dead following an apparent fall at an Ashton elevator.

According to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, 20-year old Ethan Dean Christians of George was found unresponsive shortly after 1 am Monday, March 14th at the Cooperative Farmer’s Elevator in Ashton.  Authorities say he was pronounced dead at the scene by the Osceola County Medical Examiner.  Authorities say his injuries appear to be from a fall.

Osceola County authorities say the investigation into Christians’ death is continuing.

Harris, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has requested the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission to refer the case of a Harris egg-laying operation to the Iowa Attorney General’s Office for action.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says that, back in October, a tank that contained egg washing liquid at Sunrise Farms south of Harris in Osceola County was dumped into a corn field and flowed into Stony Creek, where it proceeded downstream, killing fish in an area 18-miles long.  DNR officials say the waste spill killed more than 163-thousand fish, including seven hundred sport fish.

The Iowa Environmental Protection Commission will take up the DNR request Tuesday, March 15th.  If they refer the case to the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, the AG can seek higher penalties than the state environmental agency.

The state will reportedly seek restitution for the fish killed by the waste spill.  The DNR sets the value of those fish at $25,806.

March 14, 2016 - 1:35 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds will be visiting northwest Iowa this week.Lt Governor Kim Reynolds

She’ll attend the Osceola County Home Base Iowa Designation ceremony, which will begin at 1 PM Wednesday, March 16th, at the Capital Armament Company Manufacturing facility north of Sibley. Osceola County Economic Development Director Mike Earll says Home Base Iowa is an initiative designed to provide a welcoming atmosphere to military veterans who are leaving the service, encouraging them to live and work in the Home Base Iowa communities.

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He says they’re glad to receive the designation.

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Earll says they have done a number of things working toward the designation, and he gives us a small sampling.

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He says it’s a county-wide designation, and a county-wide honor.

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Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Reynolds will also be in Hawarden and Rock Rapids this week. She’ll be in Hawarden to attend the Hawarden Regional Healthcare Foundation Annual Banquet this Tuesday night.

Reynolds will also meet with Lyon County women who are business owners at Simply Said in Rock Rapids on Wednesday afternoon at 4 PM. She’ll have a round-table discussion talking about the challenges women face running a business, what the state government can do to better assist small businesses, and what can be done to assist other women to start their own businesses. Lyon County Economic development director Steve Simons says these conversations help Reynolds to create an action plan for the state to increase the number of businesses led by women.

The Lieutenant Governor is also making stops in Cherokee, Estherville, Emmetsburg, Spencer, and Storm Lake this week.