Statewide Iowa — (RI) — Iowa Republican Governor Kim Reynolds is planning to call on Iowa lawmakers to pass a series of criminal justice reforms — and a new path for restoring voting rights to an estimated 52-thousand Iowa felons may be among her proposals.

Governor Reynolds says she’s just begun discussing options with her staff.

Iowa, Florida and Kentucky have been the only states to permanently bar felons from voting once their sentences have been completed, unless the governor acts to restore voting rights to an individual applicant. Earlier this month voters in Florida passed a referendum to override that policy, restoring voting rights to about one million felons.

In addition, a legislative advisory board last week recommended that Iowa’s current policy on felon voting rights be abandoned. Reynolds has continued the process set up by her predecessor, Terry Branstad, that requires felons to apply to the governor to have their voting rights restored. In the 18 months Reynolds has been governor, she’s granted that request to 88 felons.

Governor Reynolds says her staff worked to make sure all the applications for voting rights restoration were processed before Election Day. In 2005, Governor Tom Vilsack issued an executive order that automatically restored voting rights to felons who had been released from prison and completed their parole, but in 2011 Governor Terry Branstad rescinded that, reverting to the voting rights restrictions for felons he had in force during his previous 16 years in office.

November 20, 2018 - 11:23 am - Posted in News

Hospers, Iowa — A Sioux Falls woman and a Royal man were taken to a hospital after an accident near Hospers on Monday, November 19th.

The Iowa State Patrol reports that about 8:00 a.m., 24-year-old Stephanie Linares of Sioux Falls was driving a 2006 Jeep southbound on Highway 60, south of Hospers. They say 43-year-old Rodney Glackin of Royal was northbound on 60 in a 2004 Peterbilt semi owned by the Farmers Coop Society of Sioux Center.

The report says that Linares was traveling on the wrong side of the expressway and the vehicles struck head-on.

Linares was taken to Orange City Health System Hospital by ambulance. Glackin was also taken to the Orange City Health System Hospital.

Linares’s Jeep sustained about $5000 in damages, and the Farmers Coop Society’s Peterbilt semi sustained about $25,000 in damages. Both vehicles were totaled.

No charges have been filed in connection with the crash.

November 19, 2018 - 2:26 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up in just a few days, the Iowa State Patrol wants to remind you to buckle up every time you get into your car.

The Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau has released statistics that seat belt use reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat occupants by 45-percent, and risk of moderate to severe injury by 50-percent. Iowa State Patrol Trooper Vince Kurtz says buckling your seat belt is one of the best things you can do to prevent injury in a crash.

Seat belts are especially important in case of a rollover crash, since you’re less likely to be ejected from your vehicle if you’re buckled in. Kurtz says that 81-percent of people thrown from their vehicle in a rollover crash will be killed.

Trooper Kurtz says the number of people who have lost their lives on Iowa’s roads so far in 2018 is lower than last year, but still is way too high.

Statistically, men are more likely to be unbuckled in fatal crashes than women, and 62-percent of teens killed in Iowa crashes weren’t wearing their seat belts.

Kurtz puts the statistics in perspective by pointing out that each of the 271 people killed so far in 2018 represent a family that will have an empty chair at their Thanksgiving dinner table later this week.

November 19, 2018 - 1:42 pm - Posted in News

Hospers, Iowa — Three people were taken to the hospital in the aftermath of a single-vehicle rollover crash four miles north of Hospers on Highway 60 late Friday night.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that shortly before midnight Friday night, a northbound 2001 Ford F-150, driven by 47-year old Manuel Campos, of Omaha, was northbound on Highway 60 when Campos lost control, entered the median and rolled.

Authorities say three passengers in the vehicle were transported to Sanford Sheldon Medical Center by the Sheldon Community Ambulance Team for treatment of injuries.

Deputies estimate the damage to Campos’ pickup at $7-thousand. He was reportedly cited for Operating a Motor Vehicle without a Valid Driver’s License, No Liability Insurance, and Failure to Maintain Control.

Sioux County authorities were assisted at the scene by Sheldon Police, Sheldon Ambulance, and O’Brien County Emergency Management.

November 19, 2018 - 11:16 am - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — Last week we learned that Skillet will be performing at RiseFest 2019 in Sheldon.

Now, RiseFest organizers have announced the second artist for the 2019 RiseFest lineup. Lee Stover, Director of Marketing for Rise Ministries, the parent organization behind RiseFest, announced the new artist.

Stover tells us a little about Zach Williams.

He says they’re trying something new with early ticket sales this year.

Stover says all other tickets will go on sale in just a couple of weeks.

RiseFest will be held June 21st and 22nd at the RiseFest Grounds in eastern Sheldon. For more information on RiseFest 2019, or to get in on the Price Slide Ticket Special, visit

November 16, 2018 - 4:51 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — Three northwest Iowa business projects were given prize money for placing in the annual Dream Big Grow Here entrepreneur contest held on Thursday night in Sheldon. And one of them is from right here in O’Brien County.

Economic development professionals in the area, who organize the contest say that the Dream Big Grow Here contest is an opportunity for entrepreneurs and small business owners to fulfill their dreams of self-employment or expansion of their current business. The contest allows entrepreneurs the chance to submit their dreams to start or expand a business, then encourage friends, family, and customers to vote for them online. The finalists presented their ideas to an audience and judges at Thursday’s pitch-off event at the Crossroads Pavilion in Sheldon for a chance to win thousands in cash prizes.

Entrepreneurs in Cherokee, Lyon, Monona, O’Brien, Osceola, Plymouth, Sioux and Woodbury counties were eligible to submit their business or startup ideas, says Sheldon Development Director Curt Strouth.

He tells us the winners.

Strouth says between 50 and 60 people attended the event. He says if you run a business or you’d like to start one, keep an eye out for the contest next year.

According to Strouth you can call him at the SCDC at 712-324-2813 or an economic development professional in your community for more information.

November 16, 2018 - 4:49 pm - Posted in News

Hull, Iowa — One person from Spencer and one from Hull were taken to a hospital after a three-vehicle crash on Thursday near Hull.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 7:50 a.m., 38-year-old Leanne Gaul of Hull was driving a 2003 Ford Windstar westbound on Highway 18, two miles west of Hull, and was slowing down to attempt a left turn onto a business driveway. They report that 52-year-old Dwaine Henson of Spencer was driving a 2002 Buick LeSabre also westbound, and was stopped behind Gaul. The report says 22-year-old Brianna Even of Hull was driving a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe behind them both, when she struck Henson. The deputy says the impact pushed Henson forward, striking Gaul.

The Hull Ambulance Squad took Henson and Even to the Sioux Center Health Hospital.

The Sheriff’s Office says the Hull Fire Department, Hull Ambulance Squad, and the Iowa State Patrol assisted with the response to the accident, which they say remains under investigation.

Photo caption: Highways 18 & 75, south junction “Perkins Corner”

November 16, 2018 - 4:47 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Thanksgiving is coming up, and many of us are getting ready to roast the bird, make the sides, and sit down to a feast with family and friends. However, sometimes people have nowhere to go for Thanksgiving or have no one to share it with. There are meals planned in the area for just such a situation.

Besides the annual meal served at the First Reformed Church in Sheldon on Thanksgiving, there are others throughout the area.

A Thanksgiving Day CommUNITY Meal will be held Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22, 2018 at Living Water Community Church in Orange City (next to the Dollar General Store). Turkey and all the trimmings will be served from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Everyone is invited, and it’s free. No pre-registration is needed, just show up at the church on Thanksgiving.

This free meal is made possible through donations from community churches, businesses, families, and individuals. They tell us that every year they need people to donate pies, turkeys and turkey bakers, bags of fresh cranberries; roasters, and grocery items. They also need people to serve and clean up. They say they could also use your financial donations. Please call /text Ronda Noteboom @ 712-548-3755 or or Sandie Vant Hof @ 712-230-0537 or if you can help.

Rides, take-out, and delivery are all available. Call Ronda or Sandie or the church at 712-707-5100. Food donations for the community food pantry will also be accepted at the event.

In Rock Rapids, the free community Thanksgiving meal is at the First Reformed Church on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2018 at noon. You can register by leaving a message or talking to someone at the First Reformed Church Office at 712-472-3729 by this Sunday, November 18th. If you need a ride, just provide your address and phone number, so someone can pick you up. Home delivery is also available.

Other communities also have free Thanksgiving meals. Find out more by calling your chamber or a local church.

Statewide Iowa — Iowa’s unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level in nearly 19 years. Iowa Workforce Development spokesman Cory Kelly says the state’s jobless rate in October dipped to 2.4 percent.

Only Hawaii, at 2.3 percent, has a lower unemployment rate than Iowa.

The IWD report shows the construction and manufacturing sectors are responsible for the bulk of Iowa’s job growth since October of 2017.

According to Kelly, construction added 1,600 jobs last month and has now recorded nine consecutive months of job gains. Iowa manufacturers added 1,900 jobs in October.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,647,100 in October. That’s an increase of 21,300 compared to one year ago.

Kelly says there was job growth in several areas.

The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 3.7 percent in October.

The latest NOT seasonally-adjusted county-by-county unemployment figures available are those for the month of September. According to Iowa Workforce Development, that month, Lyon and Sioux counties tied for the lowest unemployment in the state, at 1.2 percent. O’Brien and Plymouth weren’t far behind, tied for fifth place at 1.6 percent with five other counties. Osceola was tied for sixth place with nine other counties at 1.7 percent.

On the other end of the scale were Marshall and Lee counties at 3.7 percent, and Wapello County bringing up the rear with four percent unemployment.

For more information, visit

November 16, 2018 - 3:00 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — Whatever the weather, Iowa’s highways will be humming with heavy traffic next weekend as people head off to be with loved ones and to share a Thanksgiving feast.

Nick Jarmusz, spokesman for Triple-A-Iowa, says they’re forecasting a near-five percent boost in travel for the long holiday weekend, what promises to be the busiest Thanksgiving since 2005.

Gasoline prices have dipped substantially in recent weeks, which is welcome news before Iowans fill up their tanks.

Consumers have plenty for which to be thankful this holiday season, including higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth, Jarmusz says. Plus, those lower prices at the pump.

In most cases, he says the best days to travel will be Thanksgiving Day, Friday or Saturday. Drivers will likely see increased travel times on Sunday, Jarmusz says, as most holiday travelers will be making their way home after the long weekend.