Sheldon, Iowa — Northwest Iowa Community College has received yet another high ranking.

This time the personal finance website WalletHub is the one doing the ranking. They tell us that with Americans struggling financially due to high inflation and a year of community college nearly three times less expensive than a year at a public four-year college, they have released their report on 2023’s Best & Worst Community Colleges.

Northwest Iowa Community College was ranked third on the list in the United States, after only State Technical College of Missouri and Manhattan (Kansas) Area Technical College. NCC is the only community college in Iowa in the top 20.

To determine where students can receive the best education at the cheapest rates, WalletHub says they compared more than 650 community colleges across 19 key indicators of cost and quality. The data set ranges from the cost of in-state tuition and fees to student-faculty ratio to graduation rate.

Top 20 Community Colleges
1. State Technical College of Missouri (MO)
2. Manhattan Area Technical College (KS)
3. Northwest Iowa Community College (IA)
4. Mt. Hood Community College (OR)
5. Alexandria Technical & Community College (MN)
6. College of San Mateo (CA)
7. Clackamas Community College (OR)
8. Manchester Community College (CT)
9. Asnuntuck Community College (CT)
10. Montgomery College (MD)
11. Mitchell Technical College (SD)
12. Santa Fe Community College (NM)
13. Central New Mexico Community College (NM)
14. Howard Community College (MD)
15. Pasadena City College (CA)
16. San Juan College (NM)
17. St. Cloud Technical and Community College (MN)
18. Pratt Community College (KS)
19. Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NE)
20. Three Rivers Community College (CT)

To read the full reports, you can visit:
Individual Schools:

School Systems:

Northwest Iowa — With just a couple of exceptions, elementary, middle, and high school students in northwest Iowa will be going back to school next Wednesday, August 23rd.

We checked with online resources and school administrators.

All O’Brien County public schools will start that day, including Sheldon, Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn, and South O’Brien. The one school district based in Osceola County — Sibley-Ocheyedan — will also start that day. However, Harris-Lake Park, which, area-wise, is almost half in Osceola County, will actually start the next day, Thursday, August 24th. All Sioux County public schools will start on the 23rd, including Rock Valley, Boyden-Hull, Sioux Center, West Sioux, and MOC-Floyd Valley. And all Lyon County schools will start that day as well, including West Lyon, Central Lyon, and George Little Rock.

We checked with a number of protestant and Catholic private schools as well, and most of them are also starting on Wednesday, August 23rd, including St. Patrick’s School in Sheldon, Trinity Christian and Western Christian in Hull, and Spalding Catholic in Granville. The one exception we found is Unity Christian in Orange City. Their freshmen ARE going back to school on the 23rd, but the other three grades go back on the 24th.

Several of the schools, but not all, will also have an early out that day.

Sheldon Superintendent Cory Myer says, “We will have open house on Monday, August 21st from 4:00pm – 6:00pm at the elementary, middle school, and high school.”

Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn Superintendent Patrick Carlin says, “Back to School Night is the 22nd. We are excited to get another year going!”

New Sibley-Ocheyedan Superintendent Stan De Zeeuw says, “We are super excited to see all our students back in the buildings. We have a lot of positive energy in our buildings right now and our staff has worked super hard to make preparations for the start of the new school year.”

New Harris-Lake Park Interim Superintendent Gary Richardson says, “We would want to emphasize to the public to be cognizant of students getting to and from school, and activity will be increased around the buildings. This would include a special reminder on bus safety and to understand the law regarding bus ‘stop-arm’ violations and the need to let students cross roads to enter and depart the buses safely. For HLP, there will be a community focus on a November 7th bond election, which, if successful, will make a one campus school district, as an elementary addition will be added to the current middle school/high school facility.”

Sioux Center Superintendent Gary McEldowney says, “We would encourage patience and safety with all the construction we have going on in Sioux Center for our buses, parent transportation, and student drivers. Plan for a little more time in your commutes.”

Central Lyon Superintendent Brent Jorth says, “We’re excited to welcome students back to school in a little over a week. We will hold open house on Wednesday, August 16, from 5:00-7:00. TK-12th grade students and families are invited to stop by school to meet their teacher(s) and drop off their school supplies prior to the first day of school.” He goes on to say, “Elementary teachers and secondary math teachers will be implementing a new math curriculum during the 2023-24 school year. Staff was trained in June and will have another day of training on Monday, August 21, with Illustrative Math while 5th-12th grade math teachers will utilize Envision Math. Elementary students and families will notice a focus on mathematic conversations and deep thinking using IM’s problem-based model of instruction. Secondary students will utilize curriculum materials similar to the science adoption from two years ago. The online tools have really advanced from the last time we adopted math curriculum. Teachers have spent the summer learning the ins & outs of what the curriculum has to offer.”

West Lyon Superintendent Shawn Kreman says, “West Lyon will start on August 23rd, with a 1:30 PM dismissal that day. Our calendar looks a little different this year with full day Friday in-services.”

Des Moines, Iowa — An August 2021 ruling that a man who was injured in a work accident in Sibley could not sue the City, has been overturned by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The lawsuit stemmed from a construction accident in downtown Sibley that happened in 2018. Victor Maldonado, of Worthington, was part of a renovation crew that was working on a building in downtown Sibley, on September 26, 2018. During the project, Maldonado was lowering an aluminum downspout to connect to the building’s gutter, when the downspout came in contact with a City of Sibley electrical line that sent a current through the downspout and Maldonado’s body causing, according to the lawsuit, devastating electrical burn injuries, and causing Maldonado to fall off the building’s roof, about 20 feet to the alley below, causing severe injuries.

Maldonado’s lawsuit accused the City of Sibley of negligence for allegedly failing to keep the electrical line a required minimum distance from the building. As a result, Maldonado asserted the City of Sibley knew, or should have known, that a serious injury would result.

The appeals court decision in January paved the way for the suit to continue. The City of Sibley has agreed to pay Maldonado $2.6 million, but the settlement is not an admission of liability, and will not come out of City coffers, but instead be paid by the Iowa Communities Assurance Pool, of which Sibley is a member.

Sibley, Iowa — A Sibley man has been arrested on a warrant for burglary charges.

According to a criminal complaint filed with the Osceola County Clerk of Court’s Office by the county sheriff’s office, 46-year-old David Case of Sibley is accused of entering buildings in Osceola County on three occasions, (two with a co-defendant), taking property, and selling it for scrap. He was arrested on a warrant on Saturday.

In his statements, the deputy states that Case entered buildings at three properties (two in the Sibley area and one in the Ashton area). On at least two of the occasions, the items that were taken were sold for scrap, according to the deputy.

Case was charged with three counts of third-degree burglary, which is a class D felony. If convicted on all counts and ordered to serve the time consecutively, Case could face up to fifteen years in prison. He was also charged with misdemeanor counts of fifth-degree theft and criminal mischief.

He faces a preliminary hearing on the charges on Wednesday, August 9th.

At last report, Case remained in the Osceola County Jail in Sibley.  Case’s co-defendant, Margaret Jakobson, is charged separately.

Sibley, Iowa — The citizens of Osceola County have decided to keep the way county supervisors are elected the same as it has been.

A petition was circulated in the county and was filed June 1st. That meant that the county had to hold an election to see if people wanted to change the current situation.

The way it has been is that supervisors must reside in their own district and are elected by the citizens in that district. The districts must have as close to equal population as possible. That’s what’s called “Plan 3.” “Plan 1” would abolish the districts and just elect supervisors at large, with no regard to where they lived, so long as it is in the county. “Plan 2” would keep the districts and the requirement that supervisors live in them, but every district’s supervisor would be elected at-large, by all county residents.

Osceola County moved from plan 2 to plan 3 a little over a decade ago. It is said that those who filed the petition favored a switch back to plan 2.

According to unofficial information from the Osceola County Auditor’s office:

997 people voted in the election on Tuesday, August 1st.
20 people, or 2.01% voted for Plan 1.
354 people, or 35.51% voted for Plan 2.
623 people, or 62.49% voted to keep Plan 3.

So, Osceola County will continue to elect supervisors using Plan 3.

August 3, 2023 - 3:37 pm - Posted in News

Windom, Minnesota — A high-speed chase that started in our area has ended in the arrest of a South Sioux City, Nebraska man in Windom, Minnesota.

The pursuit started in Iowa with the Iowa State Patrol attempting to stop a car, which was later found to have been driven by 22-year-old Yonis Ahmed Abdi of South Sioux City on Sunday.

We are told that the Minnesota State Patrol informed the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and then the Windom Police Department of a white vehicle driving at over a hundred miles per hour on Minnesota 60.

At 11:50 a.m. Jackson Sheriff’s Deputies say they told the Minnesota State Patrol that a white Chevy Malibu was traveling quickly north towards Heron Lake. It apparently entered Windom at 94 miles per hour, dodging police and driving recklessly.

Authorities say Abdi finally lost control on Minnesota 60 at 550th Avenue at 12:04 p.m. He allegedly ran into a nearby cornfield on foot and was soon captured.

Abdi is charged in Minnesota with receiving stolen property, theft of a motor vehicle, reckless driving and fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle. At last report he was being held in the Cottonwood County Jail.

Courtesy Community First Broadcasting Station KKOJ in Jackson, MN

Sheldon, Iowa — An Ashton man has been arrested on drug charges after a traffic stop in Sheldon.

According to a criminal complaint filed with the O’Brien County Clerk of Court’s Office by the Sheldon Police Department, 52-year-old David Buss of Ashton is accused of the possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia. He was arrested on Wednesday, August 2nd.

In his statement, the officer states that Buss was stopped for an equipment violation. During the stop the Sheldon Police K9, Balin, indicated to the presence of narcotics in the vehicle. The officer says a used meth pipe and one gram of meth was found in the vehicle.

Buss was charged with possession of a controlled substance. Since this would be a third or subsequent offense if he’s convicted, it is a class D felony. If convicted, Buss could face up to five years in prison on the felony count. He was also charged with a misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

He faces an initial appearance on the charges on Tuesday, August 22nd.

Buss was released early on Thursday after posting a $5300 bond.

Sibley, Iowa — The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office is alerting the public to a scam they have discovered concerning packages delivered to peoples’ addresses, and they want to make sure you don’t become a victim.

Officials with the sheriff’s office tell us the scam works like this:

Fed Ex (or presumably another company) will deliver a small flat package containing a very inexpensive item, like a single screw. They say the package has the appearance of being from Home Depot and instructions say to call the phone number on the package if you have any questions. But they say that once you call the number, the person you are talking to will try and get you to give them your personal information.

The sheriff’s office reminds you to remember to NEVER give out your personal information. They say you can always call their office or your local law enforcement if you have any questions.

Sibley, Iowa — A new museum will open on the Osceola County Fairgrounds next year.

Beth Thole, who’s been working on the project, says the McCallum Museum in Sibley, which holds artifacts from the pioneer and Civil War era, was built in 1957 and has run out of space.

Thole, who is a member of the McCallum Museum Baord, says some changes have already been made to the 99-year-old Commercial Building on the fairgrounds.

The Osceola County Fair wrapped up this past weekend and Thole says they’ll start moving artifacts into the building soon. The goal is to have a grand opening of the museum during the 2024 Osceola County Fair.

Lincoln, Nebraska — All of Iowa is now at least considered “abnormally dry,” according to the US Drought Monitor at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Nearly the entire state was at least abnormally dry last week. Three months ago that percentage stood at 62, while over 90 percent of Iowa was abnormally dry at the start of the year.

Drought numbers statewide are virtually the same as last week, with nearly 87 percent of the state in some level of drought. Almost half of the state is experiencing severe drought.

All of Sioux County remains in moderate drought. Most of Lyon and O’Brien Counties are also listed in moderate drought. But about half of Osceola County and a little part of northeast O’Brien County is only termed “abnormally dry.” At least portions of a few surrounding counties are in severe drought including Plymouth and Cherokee.