April 20, 2018 - 4:37 pm - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — A suggestion at the federal level to regulate and report the gaseous emissions of livestock is apparently dead in the water.

In 2014, the Obama-era Environmental Protection Agency vowed to regulate livestock flatulence, belching, and waste off-gassing as part of its climate agenda. The idea was to reduce methane emissions.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Beef Field Specialist Dr. Beth Doran says the law that this was supposed to apply to was created for a much different purpose.


She tells us the EPA is no longer officially considering implementing a livestock emissions policy.


But Doran says it’s still a good idea to be a good neighbor because our air and water belong to all of us.


For more information, you can contact Doran at the Sioux County Extension Office.

April 20, 2018 - 2:42 pm - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — A “color run” is planned on Saturday (April 21) to call attention to child abuse awareness and give kids the opportunity to attend a special O’Brien County camp.

Color Run coordinator, Cindy Cleveringa tells us about the “END IT! for Autumn Color Run/Walk.”


Cleveringa says that if you’re not registered yet, you’re still welcome. They won’t be able to provide you with a tee shirt, but if you show up about 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, you’ll still be welcome to run. She suggests light-colored clothing so you’ll be able to see the non-toxic color powder that will be tossed on the participants, and sunglasses so the powder doesn’t irritate your eyes.

She says the proceeds will help kids attend a special camp.


Camp Autumn is a therapeutic camp for kids in northwest Iowa, created through Autumn’s Center at Seasons Center for Behavioral Health in Spencer.

Seasons Center officials say Autumn’s Center is a regional children’s center serving northwest Iowa children and their families. Autumn’s Center was named in honor and memory of Autumn Elgersma, of Orange City who died on October 31, 2013, after being hospitalized for two days due to the abuse she endured while in the care of her babysitter.

For more information on the Color Run or services provided by Seasons, Autumn’s Center, and Camp Autumn, you can visit www.seasonscenter.org or call 800-242-5101.

April 20, 2018 - 9:08 am - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — One of Sioux County’s finest K9’s has again placed high in a police dog contest.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that Sioux County Deputy Justin De Bruin and his canine partner, Sonny, certified and competed this week in the annual United States Police Canine Association (USPCA) patrol dog narcotic trials in Anamosa, Iowa.

They tell us that participation at this year’s trials involved a total of 47 teams. De Bruin and Sonny placed second with a final score of 198.50 out of a possible 200.

The sheriff’s office says the patrol dog trials consist of searching five cars and three rooms to locate four different hidden drugs: methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.

Capt. Jamison Van Voorst says that the sheriff’s office personnel are very proud of De Bruin’s accomplishments with Sonny. He says that their dedication and training are, “an asset to the Sheriff’s Office and to the public safety of the Sioux County citizens we serve.”

April 19, 2018 - 12:06 pm - Posted in News

Hawarden, Iowa– A car was destroyed in a fire early on Wednesday, April 18, 2018, in Hawarden.

According to Hawarden Fire Chief Duane Schiefen, about 3:40 a.m., the Hawarden Fire Department was called to the report of a car on fire in a garage at 1220 Avenue E in Hawarden.

The chief says the fire department saw the car was fully engulfed as they approached the scene. He says they entered the structure with SCBA’s on and extinguished the fire with water, pulled the car out of the garage, and ventilated the building.

Schiefen says no injuries were reported.

The fire department was assisted by the Ireton Fire Department, who is automatically called to structure-type fires in Hawarden.

He says the cause of the fire is officially undetermined, but it was thought to be electrical in nature.

Chief Schiefen reports that the less-than-10-year-old Chevy Impala was totaled in the fire, but he says there was no structural damage to the garage.

He says the approximately 30 firefighters who responded were on scene for about 45 minutes.

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Orange City, Iowa — It’s the largest single gift in the college’s history. A couple has donated $6 million to Northwestern College in Orange City. The money is for the new science building being built on the Christian college’s campus.

Duane Beeson, Northwestern’s Director of Public Relations, tells us how college officials feel about the gift.


Construction on the $24.5 million building began about a year ago, and Beeson says things are on track for it to be open by the time students come to school in the fall.


He says while Van Persum Hall — the main classroom building at Northwestern — has had a “science wing” for many years, many disciplines held class in that space. He says the new science building will be only for science departments at this time.


In fact, Beeson says some entry-level general education science courses will continue to be taught in Van Persum Hall.

He says that the $6-million gift from Jack and Mary De Witt is one of several from the De Witt family. He says Jack’s father Marv gave the naming gift for the De Witt Music hall, which, along with Christ Chapel was built during the 1980’s during the Iowa Farm Crisis. He says Marv De Witt encouraged others to take a step of faith and donate, even during those tough times. Jack and Mary De Will also gave the lead gift for the De Witt Learning Commons, which was dedicated in 2013 at Northwestern.

April 17, 2018 - 2:25 pm - Posted in News

Rock Valley, Iowa — A Baxter, Minnesota man is dead following a farm accident near Rock Valley late Monday afternoon.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office says the mishap occurred on a farm property four miles west of Rock Valley shortly before 4:30 Monday afternoon.

Deputies say 17-year old Joey Van Ginkel, of Rock Valley, was backing a Volvo payloader on the property. They say 52-year old Bradley Peetsch was walking behind the payloader when it drove over him.

Authorities say Peetsch was transported by Rock Valley Ambulance to Hegg Memorial Hospital in Rock Valley, and then flown to Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls, where he later succumbed to his injuries.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by the Iowa State Patrol and Rock Valley Ambulance.

Authorities say the accident remains under investigation.

April 17, 2018 - 1:16 pm - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — Sioux County has been called by some, a “sanctuary county.” People said that because Sioux County Sheriff Dan Altena, upon the advice of the county attorney in 2014, instituted a policy in which if an inmate whose time was up in the Sioux County Jail was in the United States without paperwork, the Sioux County Jail would not hold them for the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or “ICE.”

Sheriff Altena explains the old policy.


He says that since the county didn’t want to get sued, they felt that their hands were tied and that they had to abide by that policy. However, things are changing in July, says Altena.


Altena emphasizes that the new law will not prevent the county from being sued, but it would give the county a legal reason for holding someone who was in the country illegally. He says people could challenge the state law, but at least it has been made clearer what the county should do.

According to Altena, effective July 1, 2018, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office/Sioux County Jail will begin extending inmates’ detention for up to 48 hours after a valid Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement (“ICE”) detainer request is made to the jail.

Rock Rapids, Iowa — The US Department of Housing and Urban Development or HUD is changing the way the homeless are served. There is now going to be a “coordinated entry system,” which will match the homeless with available housing and services. If your organization provides services to homeless and other vulnerable people, it will need to be included in the system and you are invited to a meeting explaining it in more detail. This particular meeting is aimed at community action agencies, law enforcement, churches, service organizations, veterans organizations, and more in Lyon, Sioux, Plymouth, Ida, and Cherokee counties. The meeting will be on Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 at 10 a.m. at the Forster Community Center in Rock Rapids (across the street from Subway on Highway 9). If you have any questions, call Julie De Ruyter at 712-472-3896.

April 12, 2018 - 7:42 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — This week marks the annual National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. Held every year during the second week of April, it’s a time to recognize telecommunications personnel in the public safety community for their service and commitment to the profession.

Major Jamie Van Voorst of the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office tells us their dispatchers deserve a lot of credit and recognition.


He tells us what their dispatchers do.


He says they don’t just handle law enforcement traffic. They dispatch emergency personnel too.


Van Voorst says that one of the new things they offer at the communication center is texting to 9-1-1. He says if your safety would be compromised by calling 9-1-1 using your voice, text to 9-1-1 is an option. Or, if you are deaf or have a speech impediment, texting to 9-1-1 is great for that as well. But Van Voorst says that for a couple of reasons, in most situations, calling 9-1-1 is better if that’s an option for you.


He says the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office employs seven full‐time and six part‐time Telecommunicators. In 2017, Sioux County Communications Center Telecommunicators handled 15,846 calls for service; a portion of those calls consisted of:

455 motor vehicle accidents
132 domestic disturbance calls
37 disturbance calls
19 assault calls and 85 civil disputes
212 suspicious person or vehicle calls
109 burglary or theft calls
162 anonymous crime tips received
267 ambulance calls
114 fire-related calls

Over 2,500 law enforcement traffic stops in Sioux County; some of which led to arrests for alcohol or drug-impaired driving, illegal drug possession, outstanding arrest warrants and other crimes.

Van Voorst and others at the Sheriff’s Office invite you to take time during this week to “recognize these great people who work around the clock to help others.”

April 9, 2018 - 3:49 pm - Posted in News

Carmel, Iowa– A barn was destroyed in a fire on Saturday, April 7, 2018, near Sioux Center.

According to Sioux Center Fire Chief David Van Holland, about 2:50 p.m., the Sioux Center Fire Department was called to the report of a barn on fire at 3510 Garfield Avenue, three miles north and three miles west of Sioux Center, near Carmel.

The chief says the fire department saw the barn fully-engulfed in flame as they approached the scene. He says they used water to fight the fire.

Van Holland says no injuries were reported. He says the barn was not being used for livestock. He says the barn and its contents — wood, cabinets, and other items, were completely destroyed.

The fire department was assisted by Hull, Rock Valley, Ireton, and Doon Fire Departments, and the Sioux Center Ambulance Squad.

He says the cause of the fire is undetermined.

Chief Van Holland says they used about 15,000 to 20,000 gallons of water to fight the fire, and the 50-60 firefighters who responded from the five fire departments were on scene for about two hours.