George, Iowa — Four underage people were charged with alcohol offenses after a party near George on Saturday February 7, 2015.
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The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 11:30 PM that night, they received an anonymous tip regarding a party with possible underage drinking in the 2100 mile of Log Avenue near George.

When officers arrived at the scene, they say there were about four people standing near the front door of the house. When they saw the officers, three of the four allegedly ran into the home. While officers were speaking with the owner of the home they say they heard the sound of breaking glass from the rear of the house.

Upon further investigation, deputies believe that there were four people attending the party under the age of twenty-one. Two seventeen-year-olds from Sibley were cited into juvenile court. Also cited were 20-year-old Trenton John Enger of Rock Rapids and a 20-year-old woman from Texas.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Department was assisted by the Iowa State Patrol.

February 7, 2015 - 4:00 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — A Sibley man has pled guilty in a plea agreement in the case of several stolen items being found on a farm place in rural Osceola County.Block, Michael

According to court records, 52-year-old Michael Lawrence Block of Sibley pled guilty Friday, February 6th in Osceola County District Court to seven counts of first-degree theft, as well as a serious misdemeanor charge. Block is alleged to have been in possession of several pieces of stolen agriculture and construction equipment.

Before the agreement, Block, a former Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputy, was charged with 17 felony counts.

Block is alleged to have been in possession of stolen property from Osceola, O’Brien, Sioux, and Lyon Counties.

On March 21, 2014 an Osceola County Deputy was investigating the theft of some hay bales from O’Brien County which led to the application and execution of five search warrants at Block’s acreage on Highway 59 and his home in Sibley. Investigating officers seized a New Holland baler, wagons, construction equipment, trailers, four motor vehicles, and other items.

Block’s sentencing is set for February 20th.

February 7, 2015 - 3:55 pm - Posted in News

Fort Dodge, Iowa — The area agency that helps senior citizens is going to hold a public hearing next month in regard to their future plan for funding.
Elderbridge
Elderbridge Executive Director, Mick Tagesen gives us an idea of how the agency helps seniors.


Tagesen says you may know them as the people who administer the Dinner Date Program in northwest Iowa, but they do much more than that.

He tells us about the public hearing.


He says that while the public hearing is in Fort Dodge, you don’t necessarily have to drive to Fort Dodge to have an impact.


The public hearing will be at 1:00 PM on March 4, 2015 at the Fort Dodge office of Elderbridge Agency on Aging located at 308 Central Avenue, Fort Dodge, Iowa. You can find out more about Elderbridge at www.elderbridge.org.

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February 6, 2015 - 8:15 am - Posted in News

Tea, South Dakota — The Bureau of Reclamation (BoR) notified the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System on Friday, February 6th, that the project will be receiving a total of $9 million in funding for FY15.
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This is an increase of just under $6.6 million from the just over $2.4 million proposed by the Administration in its FY15 Budget. The increased funding was the result of efforts by the tri-state congressional delegation to increase funding for BoR’s Rural Water Program by an additional $31 million. BoR officials then made the final decision on how to allocate the $31 million among six rural water projects.

Executive Director Troy Larson says that it’s really good news. He says they cannot thank the tri-state congressional leaders enough for their hard work and leadership to secure the additional funding. He says the lawmakers really “went to bat” for Lewis & Clark. He says he also appreciates the Bureau of Reclamation for their support. Larson notes that while the $9 million alone will not result in water being delivered to another member, it will be used to make important progress toward connecting the remaining members.

The system announced in September, 2014 that due to a State of Minnesota advance on missing federal funds, they would be able to run enough pipe this year to hook up the city of Luverne.

In addition to the Minnesota and South Dakota water systems that are part of Lewis & Clark, connections are also planned to Sheldon, Hull, Sioux Center, and Sibley. Rock Rapids Municipal Utilities is already connected, as is the Lyon/Sioux Rural Water System, through their partnership with Rock Rapids. Luverne will be the first Minnesota system connected, and the city of Madison, South Dakota is the only South Dakota town still not connected.

Background Information:

The Administration proposed $16.3 million for rural water construction in its FY15 Budget, with $2.4 million of that for L&C. With the additional $31 million the total FY15 construction funding for the Rural Water Program is $47.3 million. This is close to the $49 million in the FY14 Budget and the $51 million in the FY13 Budget.

The combined remaining federal cost share for the six rural water projects is currently $1.4 billion. According to a 2014 BoR report, if $50 million is appropriated for the rural water construction each year, and assuming four percent annual inflation, the remaining federal cost share for the rural water projects would increase to $1.8 billion by 2065.

On February 2 the Administration released its FY16 Budget, which proposes $18.5 million for rural water construction, with $2.774 million being designated for L&C.

Incorporated in January 1990, L&C is celebrating its 25th 65 percent complete and is delivering water to 11 of its 20 members. When completed L&C will benefit an estimated 300,000 people in southeast South Dakota, northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota in a service area the size of Connecticut.

Sibley, Iowa — What started as an ice skating day a few years ago in Sibley has turned into February Follies — a wintertime festival of sorts happening a week from Saturday, on Valentine’s Day.
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We had a chance to talk with the Sibley Chamber’s Sheryl Peters.  She says among the activities are hockey lessons.


There’s also a fundraiser for the pool, says Peters.

Here’s a list of the activities at this year’s February Follies in Sibley:

  • Ice Skating at central park
  • Broom ball will start at Central Park 8 AM.
  • The American Legion will open at 9 AM for a bake sale and also come to have your pictures taken with Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and friends from the movie, Frozen. All proceeds from both the bake sale and pictures will go toward the new Sibley pool.
  • There will be a Bible Bowl with Bible Trivia.
    • Get a team of 2-5 players and come to Jurgens home improvement building for a game of trivia with the Bible.
  • Chili cook off will be at the American Legion starting at 11 AM until 2 PM.
    • Come taste chili and vote for your favorite. $5 will buy you a cup to taste as much as you would like.
  • At 1 PM there will be a “500” card tournament at the Senior citizens center. Cash prizes.
  • Chess Tournament will take place at the Pizza Ranch starting at noon.
  • The Porch on Main will have a wine tasting and a chocolate tasting.
  • Osceola County Rotary Club Annual Sweetheart Turkey Dinner 11 AM to 1 PM. Tickets available from any Rotary member.
  • Triple A Entertainment will be playing at 11 AM-until 2 PM.
  • Turkey bowling will start at 2 PM and go until 4
  • Hockey lessons will be 2-3 PM.

If you have any questions, you can call the Sibley Chamber at 712-754-3212.

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January 30, 2015 - 9:38 am - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office has made a couple of recent arrests.
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A Sibley man was arrested this week on a warrant for harassment and trespassing charges.

The Oscoela County Sheriff’s Office reports that on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 they arrested 59-year-old Joel Michael Kruger of Sibley on an outstanding warrant on charges of Harassment and Trespassing, both Simple Misdemeanors. The Sheriff’s Office says Kruger allegedly entered a residence in Sibley and began yelling at the victim.  He was booked into the Osceola County Jail and released after posting $300 bond.

A Sibley woman was arrested this week on charges related to a domestic situation.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that on Sunday, January 25, 2015, they arrested 61-year-old Marita Elsa Buckalew of Sibley on a charge of Domestic Abuse, a Simple Misdemeanor.  The Sheriff’s Office says Buckalew allegedly assaulted a male at a residence in Sibley.  She was booked into the jail and released after posting a $300 bond.

January 29, 2015 - 2:02 am - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa unemployment rate is down, and while unemployment is up just a little in Lyon County, it’s still the county with the lowest unemployment in the state.
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The state unemployment rate dropped down in December, and a spokesperson for Iowa Workforce Development says the state is getting close to “full employment.” I-W-D spokesperson, Kerry Koonce, says the December unemployment rate hit four-point-one percent, compared to four-point-three percent in November.

(as she says)”Four-point-one percent is actually the lowest rate we’ve had since June of 2008. The national rate is still standing at five-point-six percent for December,” Koonce says.

She says the national experts believe Iowa is getting close to what’s called full employment, or the percentage of the labor market that is able to find a job if they want a job.

(as she says)”It’s between three-and-half and four percent for Iowa, closer to the four percent,” Koonce says. “It used be closer to the three, three-and-a-half, but as the economy has changed over the years, they say the full employment for Iowa falls in that three-and-a-half to four percent range.”

It is the third straight month that the unemployment rate has dropped.

(as she says)”What we’ve seen is we’ve seen a decrease in the number of people who are unemployed, plus a continued increase in the size of our labor force couple with adding 21-hundred jobs to the economy in the month of December, that’s what allows us to bring that rate down continually,” Koonce explains.

She takes about the areas where the state gained jobs.

(as she says)”A large portion of the jobs were in manufacturing — that was 16-hundred of them — another 500 still in construction, plus we saw 15-hundred in business and professional services, and 600 of those were also in what we call other services, which is kind of a combined category,” Koonce says.

The state lost one thousand jobs in the trade and transportation area, which Koonce says included the retail sector.

(as she says)”You saw a lot of people leave at the end of the holiday season, plus the retail trade is just seeing a lot more people move to on-line shopping, so that just decreases the numbers they need in the actual stores,” she says.

Local and state government saw the loss of 900 jobs in the month, but she says but many of these losses were seasonal transitions and should be recovered in January. Iowa’s largest manufacturing employer, Deere and Company, announced the layoff of 900 workers last week. Koonce says that won’t have an immediate impact on next month’s unemployment numbers.

(as she says)”We’ll see it in the job numbers, but it may be kind of a slow progression. And that’s because the layoffs are spread out over three to four months with John Deere,” Koonce explains. “So they won’t be completed until the end of April, so it would be our May report which is for April numbers, when all of that would have taken effect. But if it’s spread out over several months it will be a small decline, you are not going to see a sudden drop of 900 all at once.”

Koonce says Iowa Workforce Development already is responding to help the Deere workers as they face the layoffs. I-W-D says the total number of working Iowans reached a current-year peak of one-million-642-thousand-900 in December. This figure is 31-hundred higher than November and 38-thousand-100 higher than one year ago.

Lyon County is the county with the lowest unemployment rate in the state for December at 2.1 percent. That is up a little from November when it was 1.9. Sioux County is number eight on the list with 2.9 percent, also up slightly since November, when it was 2.3. Plymouth County is 13th, with 3.1 percent. O’Brien is 23rd, with 3.6 percent unemployment in December, up from 2.9 in November. Clay is 25th with 3.7 percent. Osceola is 46th with 4.0 percent unemployment, up from 3.1 percent in November.

We should mention that the state figures are seasonally-adjusted, while the county figures are not adjusted for seasonal layoffs.

Find the full list by clicking here.

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Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Farmers Union is asking the Iowa Department of Agriculture to require 48-hour advance notice to neighboring farms before pesticides are applied to row crops.
sprayer pesticide application
In addition the group wants enhanced penalties for pesticide applicators who are identified more than once as the source of pesticide drift. Iowa Farmers Union president Jana Linderman of Cedar Rapids says pesticide drift can destroy organic fruits and vegetables and bee hives, plus it’s a danger to farmers who’ve planted crops like food-grade soybeans.

Linderman cites research by the Practical Farmers of Iowa which found that between 2008 and 2012, less than 20 percent of pesticide applicators were fined after state investigators confirmed cases of pesticide drift had affected specialty crops. The average fine was seven-hundred-16 dollars ($716).

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey says over-spray does happen, but it’s not common.

He says there are roughly 400,000 fields in Iowa and most of them get sprayed multiple times in a growing season. He says the Department of Agriculture only gets a handful of complaints every year — most of them accidents — where conditions change or applicators are in too much of a hurry. Northey says issues do occur, and that’s why commercial and private pesticide applicator training courses are required.

The Iowa Farmers Union filed a petition with the Iowa Department of Agriculture in December, asking that the agency adopt new rules for pesticide applicators. The agency has 60 days to respond. In addition to its request of the Iowa Department of Agriculture, the Iowa Farmers Union is asking legislators to pass a bill requiring commercial pesticide applicators to obtain more liability insurance.

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January 21, 2015 - 8:25 am - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — A Minnesota company that makes gun accessories and ammunition is relocating to northwest Iowa. Capital Armament Company is moving from Mendota Heights, a suburb on the southern side of the Twin Cities, to Sibley. Mike Earll, the director of the Osceola County Economic Development Commission, says the company started moving its operations into a rented facility in Sibley on January 5th.
Sibley Water Tower

(as said) “They’re taking some time to get things set up and ready to go and then their hope is to actually be back in production the first part of February or even, if things go well, then end of January here yet,” Earll says.

This fall, the company will move from the temporary space and into a new, eight-thousand-square-foot facility in the Osceola County Industrial Park. Capital Armament makes “specialized ammunition” with “smokeless gunpowder,” according to Earll.


(as said) “What they do is they provide this high-quality ammunition for professional shooting contests as well as for law enforcement personnel and that type of thing,” Earll says.

Six people, including the company’s three owners, will work at the rental facility when it gets up and running within the next few weeks. Within three years, the firm’s owners hope to employ about three dozen people at the facility in Sibley.

Story from Radio Iowa

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Sibley, Iowa — Two Sibley residents have been arrested on drug charges — one of them a felony — after a search by Osceola County Deputies.
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The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that they arrested 67-year-old Thomas Ray Stewart, and 58-year-old Debra Kay Stewart, both of Sibley on Monday, January 19th, 2015.

Osceola County deputies carried out a search warrant on Second Street Northeast in Sibley on Monday. During the search of the home, deputies found several items of drug paraphernalia, concentrated marijuana wax and marijuana plant material.

Thomas Stewart was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, a serious misdemeanor; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a simple misdemeanor; Prohibited Acts, an aggravated misdemeanor; and Failure to Affix a Drug Tax Stamp, a class “D” felony. Debra Stewart was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Prohibited Acts.

Both were booked into the Osceola County Jail, and at last report were being held there, Thomas Stewart on a $5000 bond and Debra Stewart on a $2000 bond.

In other news from the Osceola County Sheriff’s office, one of their deputies arrested 57-year-old Randall Dean Bruns of Ashton on Monday, January 19th, 2015. Bruns was allegedly on private property without the owner’s permission. He was charged with trespassing and at last report was being held on a $300 bond.