Sibley, Iowa — Two Sibley area residents were apprehended last week with the help of the Sheldon Police Department’s K9, after they lead Osceola County authorities on a high-speed chase.

According to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, while on routine patrol in Sibley, an Osceola County deputy reports that they saw a 1998 GMC Yukon being driven by 20-year-old Brandon Martin Collins of Sibley. The deputy says they knew that there was a valid arrest warrant for Collins on a domestic abuse assault charge, so they attempted to stop Collins. They tell us Collins refused to stop, and a high-speed pursuit ensued.

The sheriff’s office tells us the vehicle pursuit ended at 190th Street and Tanager Avenue near Ocheyedan, but Collins and his passenger, 19-year-old Jaiden Mae Gramlow of Sibley exited the vehicle and fled on foot into corn and bean fields.

That’s when the Iowa State Patrol and Sheldon Police got involved. Balin, the Sheldon Police K9 assisted in the search, as did the patrol. The sheriff’s office also deployed its drone for tracking purposes.

They tell us both Collins and Gramlow were apprehended without incident. Gramlow was charged with interference with official acts and violation of a no-contact order, both simple misdemeanors. Collins was charged with eluding, driving while revoked, interference with official acts, violation of a no-contact order, reckless driving, speeding, and failure to obey a stop sign. Collins was booked into the Osceola County Jail and released upon posting 10% of a $5000 bond. Gramlow was booked and released after posting a $300 cash bond.

Statewide, Iowa — The chief of Iowa’s Parks, Forests and Preserves Bureau is asking Iowans to mark Saturday, September 24th on their calendars to lend a hand with sprucing up our state parks. It’s the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ sixth annual Statewide Volunteer Day and Sherry Arntzen is encouraging everyone who loves and uses our park system to sign up.

There are projects planned all across the state at about one in every four of Iowa’s state parks.

Arntzen says Iowa’s state parks are “beloved places for many Iowans,” and the DNR staff greatly appreciates the help volunteers provide.

Some of the projects can be tackled rain or shine, but if the weather looks inclement, volunteers should contact the individual park office in case of changes to the date, time or meeting location. To sign up, log on to: www.iowadnr.gov/volunteer

September 17, 2022 - 8:03 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — The board which governs the three state universities will ask the Iowa Legislature to increase funding for the schools by 32 million dollars next year. University of Northern Iowa President Mark Nook says they want to use the extra money to help with tuition. He says there should be a bigger difference between what students pay at UNI compared to the research schools.

University of Iowa president, Barbra Wilson, says they will target one particular area.

Wilson says they are also looking to bring in more first-generation college students. Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen says the amount of money coming from the state has gone up and down in the last decade, but is currently about the same as it was in 2014.

The request is nearly seven percent more than what was approved last year. The legislature approved a five-and-a-half million dollar increase — which was about one third of what the universities had requested.

Photo shows Board of Regents meeting

Sheldon, Iowa — A Sheldon institution of higher learning again ranks high — this time being called a good return on investment.

According to an organization called the Bipartisan Policy Center, Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon has been ranked among the top Higher Education Institutions across the nation and in Iowa for a student’s return on their financial investment in higher education.

NCC ranked #6 in the nation in the category of “Associate-Granting Public Institutions in the US by Median Lifetime Return on Investment (ROI)” and #9 in “Iowa – 10 Higher Education Institutions in Iowa by Median Lifetime Return on Investment (ROI),” according to a new report called “Which Colleges Are Worth the Cost?.”

NCC officials tell us that both of these reports not only include community colleges from across the nation, but also include public and private 4-year colleges and universities.

Natalie Butler, Project Associate for the Bipartisan Policy Center, says, “We know just how important the ROI on education is to students and their families. We’re excited to share the value of the Northwest Iowa Community College experience…”

NCC President Dr. John Hartog says that NCC’s career and technical students enter the labor force fully prepared to secure good-paying jobs in high-demand fields. He says NCC’s transfer students earn quality credits that are affordable so they can enter four-year universities with advanced standing.

Hartog says, “NCC, like other community colleges throughout our country, is a gateway to the middle class. This high ranking confirms what we already know: NCC yields a great return on tuition investments and makes the American Dream accessible to everyone. The students and staff of NCC are delighted to share this honor with our alumni, industry partners, and communities.”

Click here for the report, including the methodologies used.

September 15, 2022 - 4:08 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — After the November general election, the Osceola County Board of Supervisors will know how the citizens of Osceola County feel about using a new law to help pay for emergency medical services. Read The Full Story…

September 14, 2022 - 3:56 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — Never before have this many students been enrolled in the fall at Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon.

The enrollment this fall is the largest fall class in the school’s history dating back to 1966. The 1,811 enrolled students represent about a 5.54% increase from Fall 2021 when the headcount was 1,716. The previous record was in the fall of 2019 when enrollments were 1,777 students.

NCC has multiple terms and start dates throughout the year, and so officials remind us that the fall enrollment number is just one data point that NCC records. Another enrollment number of interest is the total, unduplicated headcount recorded at the end of the entire academic year. For example, in August 2022, at the end of the 2021-2022 academic year, NCC finished with a total of 2,701 students.

Kristin Kollbaum, Director of Marketing & Communications says that when you look at the numbers historically this year’s fall class is the largest incoming class to NCC. It also represents roughly a 12% increase in enrollments over the last 10 years (in 2012 there were 1,621 students). She says NCC officials are very happy with this progress both this year and over the last 10 years. She says it shows NCC’s strong commitment to making sure programs are high quality, affordable, and accessible. She says, “We want our program offerings to align with the industry and learning needs of Northwest Iowans.”

NCC has been the recipient of several national recognitions over the past several months:

Top 10 Community College in the Nation, Aspen Institute;
2nd in the Nation for Best Overall Community College, WalletHub.com
2nd in the Nation for Career Outcomes, WalletHub.com;
#6 – Top 10 Associate-Granting Public Institutions in the US by Median Lifetime Return on Investment (ROI), Bipartisan Policy Center
#9 – Top 10 Higher Education Institutions in Iowa by Median Lifetime Return on Investment (ROI), Bipartisan Policy Center.

Click here for more information.

September 14, 2022 - 11:00 am - Posted in News

Rock Valley, Iowa — Voters in the Rock Valley School District went to the polls on Tuesday and again defeated a multi-million dollar bond issue.

To be sure, the majority of people favored the bond issue. However, a simple majority is not enough. Since it is a bond issue, it required a 60 percent supermajority to pass. And supporters were not able to muster the votes, according to vote totals from the Sioux County Auditor’s Office.

Unofficial results from the Auditor’s office say voters defeated the $25 million bond issue, which would have gone toward a high school addition to the existing facility by 2.39 percentage points. The silver lining for supporters may be that the margin is getting closer. Last March, the measure failed by 7.32 percentage points.

Raw vote totals were 712 yes votes to 524 no. That’s 57.61 percent yes, to 42.39 percent no.

Meanwhile, at Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn voters decided on their $1.34 per thousand Physical Plant and Equipment Levy or PPEL. Unofficial results from the O’Brien County Auditor’s office indicate the measure passed 116 to 69.

September 13, 2022 - 4:20 pm - Posted in News

May City, Iowa– A piece of farm implement was destroyed in a fire on Tuesday, September 13, 2022, near May City.

According to May City Fire Chief Nick Schaeffer, at about 11:50 a.m., the May City Fire Department was called to the report of a baler on fire at 6610 240th Street, one mile southwest of May City.

The chief says the fire department saw the baler that had been on fire, but the operator had been able to put out most of the flames with a garden hose. He says firefighters made sure the flames were out.

Schaeffer says no injuries were reported.

He says the cause of the fire is undetermined, but the baler was basically totaled in the blaze.

Firefighters from Ocheyedan and Melvin were also paged, but Schaeffer says they were told they could turn around after the May City firefighters arrived.

He says those who responded were on the scene for about a half an hour.

Northwest Iowa — Voters in two northwest Iowa school districts are going to the polls this Tuesday to decide two school issues.

In the Rock Valley School District, the vote is basically a do-over of the election that failed on March 1st of this year. The question again asks voters to approve $25 million to address the schools’ space and capacity needs.

Those in charge say that if it is approved, the bond would have an estimated property tax impact of $4.05 on every $1,000 of taxable property value. When the state rollback and the Homestead Credit are factored in, they tell us this would lead to an increase of $16.63 per month ($199.58 per year) on a home worth $100,000.

If approved, the project will be a new high school attached to the current school. The addition would include 24 new classrooms. It would also include the remodeling of the existing middle/high school for larger classrooms for middle school only. It would also include a new 1800-seat competition gym and a two-lane walking track, among other items.

A majority of people did vote for the plan in March, but it failed to get the 60 percent supermajority required by bond issues.

Meanwhile, in the Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn School District, voters will decide whether to authorize the $1.34 per thousand Physical Plant and Equipment Levy or PPEL.

The revenue raised by the tax can be used for several uses, mostly related to buildings and grounds. Some of the items include asbestos projects, the purchase and improvement of grounds, surfacing and soil treatment of athletic fields, exterior lighting, demolition work, energy conservation, purchase or lease of technology, purchase of transportation equipment for transporting students, and several other uses.

Iowa Code says, however, that PPEL revenues may not be used for employee salaries or travel; supplies; printing costs or media services; or for any other purpose not expressly authorized by Iowa Code.

Full text of question:
Shall the Board of Directors of the Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn Community School District, in the Counties of O’Brien, Clay, Dickinson and Osceola, State of Iowa, for the purpose of purchasing and improving grounds; constructing schoolhouses or buildings and opening roads to schoolhouses or buildings; purchasing of buildings; purchase, lease or lease-purchase of technology and equipment; paying debts contracted for the erection or construction of schoolhouses or buildings, not including interest on bonds; procuring or acquisition of libraries; repairing, remodeling, reconstructing, improving, or expanding the schoolhouses or buildings and additions to existing schoolhouses; expenditures for energy conservation; renting facilities under Iowa Code chapter 28E; purchasing transportation equipment for transporting students; lease purchase option agreements for school buildings or equipment; purchasing equipment authorized by law; or for any purpose or purposes now or hereafter authorized by law, be authorized for a period of ten (10) years to levy and impose a voter-approved physical plant and equipment tax of not exceeding One Dollar Thirty-Four Cents ($1.34) per One Thousand Dollars ($1,000) of assessed valuation of the taxable property within the school district, and be authorized annually, in combination, as determined by the board, to levy a physical plant and equipment property tax upon all the taxable property within the school district commencing with the levy of property taxes for collection in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2024, and to impose a physical plant and equipment income surtax upon the state individual income tax of each individual income taxpayer resident in the school district on December 31 for each calendar year commencing with calendar year 2023, or each year thereafter?

Sibley, Iowa — A northwest Iowa man is looking for a place to put an events center.

Businessman Octavio Mejia tells us that right now, they’re focusing on some property in Sibley.

He says the property in Sibley at the former cement plant south of the Sibley Pool and the campground is only one of the locations that have been considered. He says they attempted to find some property in Ashton, and have even considered the H.C. Lane building and other property in Sheldon.

Mejia tells us the main reason they’re trying to find a place for an events center is to host concerts. But, he says they would also rent the facility to the public.

He says a location in Sibley or Sheldon would be ideal because of the Highway 60 expressway.

Mejia says they’d really like to help the community grow. He tells us they’d also love to host alcohol-free concerts for young people.