March 27, 2020 - 5:07 pm - Posted in News

Rock Valley, Iowa — There is no such thing as a flushable wipe — that from Rock Valley City Foreman Myron Van Ginkel.

He says, that like Sheldon city crews, Rock Valley city crews have also been dealing with the aftermath of people flushing wipes down the toilet. Van Ginkel says the biggest problem they have seen is with disinfecting wipes like Clorox wipes.

(as said:)”We’ve seen a lot of like the Clorox-like disinfecting wipes. I don’t know if people are disinfecting the bathrooms and then flushing them? You get the personal wipes too. I don’t know if it’s due to the shortage of toilet paper and they had these around or what but we’ve just never seen an influx like we have in the past two weeks.”

Van Ginkel says that even if the wipes are marketed as “flushable wipes,” there are really no wipes that are flushable.

(as said:)”The toilet paper is designed to disintegrate a lot easier, you know even coming through the pipes it’s designed to do that. These wipes are designed to stay whole and they do not dissolve in water or you know, break up in water. So what happens is, once you get one stuck in the pump what happens is it gets caught on the impeller and just keeps spinning around. Well, the next one comes and pretty soon you got about 50 of them, all stuck there and the pump can’t pump any water anymore.”

He tells us what the crews need to do when there are wipe issues.

(as said:)”So you have to pull the pump, dig them all out of the pump and you know, hopefully, everything on the pump worked for protection-wise. If it didn’t, it burns the pump up.”

And Van Ginkel says those pumps and the labor to put them in are not cheap.

(as said:)”We had one burn up and it’s about $7,500 to replace a pump.”

Van Ginkel tells us you don’t have to stop using the wipes, but he asks people to get rid of them in their garbage, like in a plastic bag or something, similar to what you would do with a disposable diaper.

He says if people are really totally without toilet paper, our communities are pretty helpful — and if people asked, there would probably be a way of getting them some toilet paper somehow. But at any rate, he asks people, “please don’t flush wipes.”

Photo coursesy City of Rock Valley
Photo caption: Sewer screen clogged with wipes.

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — Iowa’s governor grew emotional Friday when addressing claims that the threat of COVID-19 is being overblown. Governor Kim Reynolds says she’s well aware of those claims.

(As above) “Iowans are scared and they’re nervous and I appreciate that, but we’re going to get through it and if you keep doing what we ask you to do, we will be back to those good days,” Reynolds said, “so hang in there.”

Reynolds was asked Friday afternoon during her daily news conference about critics who say business closures are an over-reaction. Reynolds says she has had to make some hard decisions in the midst of a pandemic.

(As above) “The last thing that I want to do is impact families and individuals and our businesses that are the backbone of our economy,” Reynolds said, “so as the governor of this state I can assure you that the last thing that I want to issue is an order that shuts down a business.”

Reynolds says these orders are a necessity.

(As above) “I have to do what I can to protect the well-being of Iowans and especially our most vulnerable Iowans and that’s again the reason that I’m trying to get very consistent in what I’m doing and basing those decisions on data,” Reynolds says. “And hopefully, by doing that, I can get businesses stood back up and we can get this economy going again.”

Reynolds says she’s hoping the FEDERAL stimulus package that just passed congress, and was signed by President Trump, Friday afternoon will help many Iowans get through these really tough times. Most every American will get a 12-hundred dollar check and unemployment benefits will be expanded.

Northwest, Iowa — The deadline to apply for a scholarship from the Northwest Iowa League of Cities is drawing near.

The Northwest Iowa League of Cities High School Senior Scholarship Program is open to any high school senior residing in a community that is a member of the Northwest Iowa League of Cities, who is pursuing post-secondary education or training in a field that may result in employment by city government (examples:  public administration, urban planning, water/wastewater, recreation, library science, museum management, police, fire and public safety, code enforcement, planner, public engineer, surveyor, city attorney, etc.)

Completed applications are due by April 1st and must be submitted to Northwest Iowa League of Cities Secretary/Treasurer Scott Peterson.  In 2020, the Northwest Iowa League is planning to award up to four scholarships of $1,000 each.  All funds used for the scholarship program are generated through private and commercial fundraising and are not tax supported.

For more information, or to get an application for these scholarships, CLICK HERE. If you have any questions, please contact Sheldon City Manager Sam Kooiker at the Sheldon City Office, 712-324-4651, or email Scott Peterson at

The Northwest Iowa League of Cities is an organization founded by community leaders in a 27-county area.  Members work together to improve the effective and efficient operation of public services.  The organization provides on-going education and networking opportunities – sharing experiences leading to regional success.  More than 70 cities are currently members, including Sheldon, Boyden, Cherokee, Doon, Hartley, Inwood, Le Mars, Marcus, Orange City, Sanborn, Sioux Center and Spencer.

March 27, 2020 - 1:51 pm - Posted in News

Sioux County, Iowa — Sioux County has an additional case of COVID-19. That from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The Sioux County health department (known as Sioux County Community Health Partners) says that the individual is an adult (61-80 years old) who has been out-of-state for more than 15 days. They tell us the case is in isolation and the individual will continue to recover out-of-state.

Sioux County Community Health Partners urges people to take these steps to prevent the spread to yourself and others:

*clean your hands often
*avoid close contact with others
*stay home if you are sick
*cover your coughs and sneezes
*clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces

If you would like more COVID-19 prevention information including case counts in Iowa, they say you can click here.

March 26, 2020 - 3:16 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — State officials Thursday morning revealed nearly 41-thousand Iowans filed unemployment claims last week. Beth Townsend, the director of the Iowa Workforce Development agency warned last week that the number of claims has been “staggering.”

(As above) “We are doing our very best to ensure most people will receive payment within 7-10 days of their initial claim,” Townsend says.

More than 160 Iowa Workforce Development employees who worked on other programs have been retrained and are answering the phones to take claims.

(As above) “We are going to get through this and I know that to be true from watching these inspiring state employees who are constantly asking: ‘What else can I do to help?'” Townsend says.

Last Friday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds acknowledged the unemploymenet numbers are grim.

(As above) “They are significant and everybody knows that,” Reynolds says. “I so appreciate the measures we put in place to not only help Iowans who have been laid off, but also our employers.”

If an Iowan applies for unemployment and indicates they were laid off due to COVID-19, Reynolds says their employer will not be charged. Earlier THIS week, Reynolds announced small businesses with 25 or fewer employees that have been affected by COVID-19 closures may apply for state grants of up to 25-thousand dollars. From Sunday through Saturday of last week, more than 13-thousand Iowans who work in restaurants, bars and hotels filed for unemployment benefits. Nearly five-thousand who work in health care and social assistance programs filed unemployment claims and about 27-hundred who work in education filed for unemployment.

March 26, 2020 - 2:44 pm - Posted in News

Hospers, Iowa — An Alton woman was injured Thursday morning when the car she was driving collided with a pickup truck south of Hospers.

According to Sioux County authorities, the accident happened at the intersection of Highway 60 and Log Avenue shortly after 9:00 Thursday morning (March 26th).

Deputies say 27-year-old Cody Steinkamp of Milford was eastbound on Log Avenue in a 2017 Dodge Ram. Steinkamp reportedly stopped at the stop sign at the Highway 60 intersection, then entered the intersection and collided with a northbound 2008 Chevy Malibu, driven by 34-year-old April Kress of Alton.

Kress was transported by Hospers Ambulance to Sanford Sheldon Medical Center for treatment of her injuries.

Deputies estimate damage to Steinkamp’s Dodge at approximately $9,000 in damage, with Kress’ Chevrolet sustaining an estimated $4,000 in damage.

Steinkamp was reportedly cited for failure to yield from a stop sign.

The sheriff’s office was assisted by the Hospers Fire Department, Hospers Ambulance and Iowa State Patrol.


March 26, 2020 - 1:03 pm - Posted in News

Sioux Center, Iowa — A Doon woman was injured in a two-vehicle collision Wednesday morning in Sioux Center.

Sioux Center Police say the mishap occurred shortly after 7:15 Tuesday morning at the intersection of Highway 75 and 15th Street Northeast in Sioux Center. According to the report, a 2013 Toyota Corolla, driven by 37-year-old Catarina Andres Pablo of Doon was northbound on Highway 75. 16-year-old Juan Rolando Lopez Martin was westbound on 15th Street Northeast in a 2009 GMC Acadia SUV. Police say Martin stopped at the stop sign at the Highway 75 intersection, observed a northbound vehicle in front of Pablo’s Toyota and yielded to it. Martin reportedly told police he didn’t see the Toyota, and pulled into its path, with the two vehicles colliding in the intersection.

Pablo was taken to the Sioux Center Hospital by Sioux Center Ambulance. Martin reported no injuries.

Damage to Pablo’s Toyota was estimated at $7500, with damage to Martin’s SUV estimated at $2500.

Police say they ticketed Martin for Failure to Obey a Stop Sign and Yield Right of Way.

March 26, 2020 - 12:44 pm - Posted in News

Sioux Center, Iowa — The administration at Dordt University in Sioux Center has decided that students will not be coming back to attend classes in-person this school year.

The Dordt leadership team tells us they have made the decision that Dordt will not resume on-campus instruction on Monday, April 13, as previously communicated. Dordt will extend online instruction to the end of the spring semester.

The team says they came to this decision after careful consideration of many factors. For example, over the last week, COVID-19 cases have increased nationwide and in the state of Iowa. They say they also determined that many Dordt students would not be able to readily return to campus, as they would need to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return. According to the team, it is likely that more than one-third of the student body could not return to campus due to distance or expense. They tell us the health and safety of Dordt students and the community is of utmost importance to them.

The team says they believe the student experience through this time will be strong.

They say Dordt University will host commencement at 11 a.m. CDT on Friday, May 8. And they anticipate this will be a virtual experience. Dordt says they will provide additional information in the coming weeks. All other spring semester events are postponed or canceled. Dordt will continue to post updates on

The Dordt team also tells us that they continue to pray for the Dordt student who tested positive for COVID-19 while at her home in Canada. They say they are grateful that she is feeling better and is on the road to recovery.

March 25, 2020 - 3:51 pm - Posted in News

Inwood, Iowa — Five hundred large bales were destroyed in a fire that six area fire departments fought on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, near Inwood.

According to Inwood Fire Chief Troy Van Beek, about 10:15 a.m., the Inwood Fire Department was called to the report of a hay barn on fire at 2663 Buchanan Avenue, two miles west and two and a half south of Inwood.

The chief says the fire department saw a steel Quonset building with large round bales inside on fire as they approached the scene. Most of the bales were cornstalk bales, says Van Beek. He says they used water to keep the building cool, and payloaders to haul the bales outside, where crews spread them out in a field and left them to burn.

Van Beek says no injuries were reported.

The fire department was assisted by the Canton, Fairview, Hudson, Rock Valley, and Larchwood fire departments.

He says the cause of the fire is undetermined.

Chief Van Beek reports that all the bales were totaled and the building was damaged.

He says the 44 firefighters who responded were on the scene for five hours.

March 25, 2020 - 3:38 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Many fire departments and ambulance squads in northwest Iowa are going to participate in a show of solidarity tonight.

Sibley Fire Chief Ken Huls tells us more.

(as said:) “They’ll be opening their doors at seven o’clock this evening for approximately five minutes and we’re going to be operating all of our red and blue lights just as a show of solidarity — letting our communities and the state know that Fire Department, EMS and police are still doing our jobs, and we’re in solidarity to let the communities know that we are still here for them. We’re doing our job. We’re not going to let this COVID-19 pandemic get to us and we’re going to be here for our people and help as much as we can. ”

He tells us that the idea is to show your support.

(as said:) “If you have anything red, white, and blue as in ribbons, I am on your railings up front of your house or around your trees or whatever you wish to show your support for all responders in Northwest, Iowa.”

According to Huls, they’d like to give people a chance to get out and about, while respecting social distancing rules, and show your support for your emergency responders.

(as said:) “And if people do wish to go view this I recommend they do it in their vehicles or they stand giving their — six-foot barrier rules apply. Come out and take some photos and do your appreciation in front of your departments if you want to get out of your house.”

The Facebook post that’s been going around says, “A sign of strength and hope for all. Hope for all who work daily in EMS, Fire, and Law Enforcement to be ready, strength for those working around the clock to provide care, encouragement to those who strive to find the right medicine to help, patience for those in the food/grocery industry to feed us, and will power to those trucking daily to keep us going.”