September 6, 2016 - 1:56 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — A judge has ruled on some motions filed in June in the case of a group of Osceola County taxpayers versus Osceola County and the City of Harris — three by the taxpayers group and one by the County and City.
Wind Turbines SVA

The group of taxpayers alleges that — an agreement to use Tax Increment Financing from a group of wind turbines in Osceola County for a waste water project and lagoon in Harris and for improvements to White Avenue — was illegal.

The plaintiffs (that is, the taxpayer group) asked that the “expert witness” designation to be removed from the defendants’ witness, John Danos. They say Danos’ expert opinion is “based largely on inadmissible opinions on the legal meaning of Iowa Code Chapter 403—the ultimate issue in the case.” Judge David Lester says that the taxpayers did not cite, nor has the court found, any authority for the entry of such an order, so it was overruled.

The group of taxpayers also filed a motion asking the court for permission to amend the date of their filing to include challenging the October 27, 2015, consideration of Ordinance 47 and the November 10, 2015, consideration of that ordinance and to have the objection filed after the November 10, 2015, reading and adoption. Judge Lester ruled that the motion should be sustained to allow the taxpayer group to include claims challenging the Defendant’s consideration of Ordinance 47 on October 27, 2015, and November 10, 2015. But he also ruled that they failed to cite and the court has been unable to find any authority supporting the request that it be amended to state it was filed on November 10th.

Osceola County and the City of Harris, the defendants in the case filed a motion that states that they would like to assert an additional affirmative defense based on the grounds that the “Plaintiffs have no standing to assert any claim for relief in this matter.” Judge Lester accepted the motion and ruled that their answer shall be deemed filed and served in the form attached to its motion.

At this point a trial is scheduled on the case on Tuesday, September 20th, 2016.

For background information on this story, click here.

September 2, 2016 - 5:29 pm - Posted in News

Mattoon, Illinois — The sale of nine northwest Iowa telephone exchanges in our area is final. That according to the company selling the exchanges — Consolidated Communications Holdings, Incorporated.

Officials there announced on Thursday, September 1st, that they have completed the sale of the Heartland Telecommunications Company of Iowa subsidiary to Mutual Telephone Company of Sioux Center, also known as Premier Communications; and Winnebago Cooperative Telecom Association of Winnebago, Iowa.

Consolidated says they intend to focus on their core regions. They say both Premier and Winnebago are “uniquely positioned to provide exceptional service to customers in the rural areas of northwest Iowa.”

Premier acquired the Iowa exchanges of: Akron, Boyden, Doon, Hawarden, Hull, Ireton, Rock Rapids, Rock Valley and Sibley. Winnebago acquired the Iowa exchanges of Bancroft and Lakota.

The Heartland operation contributed approximately $7.0 million of revenue in fiscal 2015, according to Consolidated. The sale was an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $20.9 million.

President of Premier Communications in Sioux Center, Doug Boone said last month that they have been providing competing service with Consolidated in all of the communities except for two — Sibley and Hawarden. He says in addition to upgrading the service in the exchange areas, they will also now be able to provide service to rural customers in those areas — something they could not do before.

Boone says they plan to offer positions to all of the former Consolidated employees in the area, and for now at least will keep a former Consolidated office in Rock Rapids.

September 2, 2016 - 10:04 am - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — An 81-year old man who was reported missing in Sioux Falls Thursday afternoon has been located in Sibley.

Sioux Falls Police say Donald Miller was reported missing after leaving his home in Sioux Falls Thursday afternoon.  Relatives reportedly became concerned when he didn’t return, and called police.  Miller reportedly suffers from Alzheimer’s.

Early Friday morning Miller was located in Sibley.  Osceola County deputies say that Miller’s car broke down at JackRabbit Junction, the Sibley truck stop located adjacent to Highway 60.  Truck stop employees reportedly recognized Miller from televised reports, and called the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.

As of 10 am Friday morning, Miller remained in Sibley, waiting for his granddaughter to arrive to take him back home.

August 25, 2016 - 9:22 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — You may remember that earlier this week we told you that four people were arrested on felony robbery charges in Sibley.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reported that on Sunday (August 21, 2016), their deputies arrested 35-year-old Jose Manuel Maldonado Castillo of Sibley on charges of Robbery in the 1st Degree, a class B Felony; two counts of Assault while Participating in a Felony; Going Armed with Intent; Interference with Official Acts with a Dangerous Weapon; and Unauthorized Possession of a Dangerous Weapon, all class D Felonies.

They said they also arrested 25-year-old Peter Nazario Alvira of Sibley, as well as 55-year-old Pedro Juan Figueroa Rios and 38-year-old Nicomedes Montanez Cruz, both of Sioux City — and charged them all with Robbery in the 1st Degree, a class B Felony.

Court records now available give us a few more details into the crime.

They indicate that about 8:30 PM on Sunday, August 21st, a robbery was allegedly committed at a home in the 900 block of Third Avenue in Sibley. Court records indicate that witnesses say all four men participated in the robbery. They allege that Maldonado Castillo brought a 9mm handgun into an occupied home and aimed the loaded gun at two individuals while “demanding materialistic goods.” These alleged acts are connected with Maldonado Castillo’s charges of Going Armed With Intent, two counts of assault while participating in a felony, and unauthorized possession of offensive weapons. His other charge of interference with official acts with a firearm is connected to his alleged fleeing on foot from a motor vehicle during a traffic stop. Officers say he did so while carrying a firearm, and he allegedly tossed it away while running. It was found near where he was apprehended, according to court documents.

The court documents say Montanez Cruz and Figuera Rios were allegedly inside the dwelling while the robbery took place, and officers say the two were aiding and abetting.

Nazario Alvira was identified by three witnesses as being involved in the robbery, according to court records. They say the victims stated that he searched through the home for items and throughout the robbery approximately $170 was taken from the victims.

August 25, 2016 - 10:33 am - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — A Sibley resident faces felony charges for identity theft, after an investigation by the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.

According to authorities, the charges against 22-year old Elmer Antonio Martinez Niz stem from an investigation into a report that he had  allegedly used someone else’s identity to gain employment at a business in Sibley.

Deputies say Martinez Niz was arrested Wednesday (August 24th), and was taken to the Osceola County Jail in Sibley, where he remains in lieu of a $5-thousand bond.

Identity Theft is a Class D Felony, punishable upon conviction by a prison term of up to 5 years.

August 25, 2016 - 10:30 am - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — A Sibley man has been sentenced to prison for Felony OWI during a court appearance earlier this week.

According to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, 46-year old Edward Gonshoroski, Jr. of Sibley was charged with 3rd Or Subsequent Offense OWI as the result of a routine traffic stop on July 26th of last year.

According to the news release, on Tuesday, the judge in the case sentenced Gonshoroski to be placed in the custody of the Director of the Iowa Department of Corrections for a term not to exceed 5-years.  In addition, Gonshoroski is ordered to pay fines and surcharges of $4,228.75, as well as restitution of all court-appointed attorney’s fees.

August 24, 2016 - 10:12 am - Posted in News

Lyon County Sheriff Car Door 60-8Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Sibley man has been arrested on felony drug charges in Lyon County.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports they arrested 45-year-old Gary D. McConnell of Sibley on Saturday (August 20th). The arrest was made after the vehicle McConnell was riding in was stopped for a seatbelt violation.

The sheriff’s office says McConnell was allegedly found to be in possession of methamphetamine and that there was also a child present in the vehicle when the drugs were located.

McConnell was transported to the Lyon County Jail and booked.

The Sheriff’s office reports he was charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance; methamphetamine, a class C felony; possession of methamphetamine 3rd or subsequent violation, a class D felony; and child endangerment, an aggravated misdemeanor.

August 23, 2016 - 3:23 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — Iowa’s Fourth District Congressman Steve King will make a stop in Osceola County, Wednesday, August 24, 2016.
King Answers Questions at Sheldon Town Hall
Congressman King will tour Motorvation Engineering at 941 Fourth Avenue in Sibley beginning at 12:30 p.m.. The public is invited to attend.

According to Osceola County Economic Development Director Mike Earll, Motorvation Engineering began operations in Sibley in 1994. The company is owned by Mary Sontag. He says the company specializes in manufacturing of customized motorcycle sidecars and trailers.

Following the tour, the Congressman will field questions from those attending before departing for Dickinson County later in the afternoon.

August 23, 2016 - 3:02 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — Details are still sketchy, but four people were arrested on felony robbery charges this weekend in Sibley.
Osceola Sheriff Car 72-2
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that on Sunday (August 21, 2016), their deputies arrested 35-year-old Jose Manuel Maldonado Castillo of Sibley on charges of Robbery in the 1st Degree, a class B Felony; two counts of alleged Assault while Participating in a Felony; Going Armed with Intent; Interference with Official Acts with a Dangerous Weapon; and Unauthorized Possession of a Dangerous Weapon, all class D Felonies.

Osceola County Deputies also arrested 25-year-old Peter Nazario Alvira of Sibley, and 55-year-old Pedro Juan Figueroa Rios and 38-year-old Nicomedes Montanez Cruz, both of Sioux City, and charged them all with Robbery in the 1st Degree, a class B Felony.

The arrests stemmed from an investigation in Sibley. No further details were made available.

August 20, 2016 - 5:37 am - Posted in News

accidentMelvin, Iowa — A Melvin woman was transported to the hospital in the aftermath of a two-vehicle accident in Melvin Wednesday afternoon.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office says the accident happened shortly before 1 pm Wednesday at the intersection of 2nd Avenue and North Street in Melvin.  Deputies say a 2006 Ford F-150 pickup, registered to Timothy Lee Helmers of Sanborn, and driven by 68-year old Jonel Steinmetz of Melvin, was southbound on 2nd Avenue.  According to the report, Steinmetz hit the gas instead of the brake, and collided with a 1999 Ford F-350 truck registered to Raveling, Inc. of Melvin, and driven by 19-year old Levi Jacob Verdoorn of Sanborn, which was eastbound on North Street.  Deputies say that Verdoorn’s truck then spun around and collided with a legally parked 2001 Chevrolet Silverado pickup, owned by Rexferd Michelson of Melvin.

Deputies estimate damage to Steinmetz pickup at $15-thousand.  Damage to Helmers’ truck was estimated at $10-thousand, with about $2-thousand damage to the parked pickup.

Steinmetz was transported to the Sanford Sheldon Medical Center by Sibley Ambulance with possible injuries.  Verdoorn escaped without injury.

Steinmetz was reportedly ticketed for Failure To Yield to Vehicle on Right.

Osceola County deputies were assisted at the scene by the Melvin Ambulance.