January 30, 2015 - 10:18 am - Posted in News

Fort Madison, Iowa — After some landmark decisions by both the US Supreme Court and the Iowa Supreme Court, a convicted murderer from Alton who has been in prison since the 1970′s is going to be re-sentenced.
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Sioux County Attorney Thomas Kunstle tells us about John Walter Mulder.

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Kunstle says multiple decisions in the courts have caused this situation.

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Kunstle says Branstad’s thought was that this would eliminate the possibility of having to re-sentence all of the convicts to which the ruling applied. But it didn’t work out that way, he says.

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Kuntsle says both sides will suggest appropriate sentences in Mulder’s case, and Judge Steven Andreasen will rule on the sentencing. The hearing is set for February 12th. Kuntsle says Judge Andreasen will probably decide on the sentence at that time.

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Sioux Center, Iowa — A Remsen man faces up to three years in prison after he dumped waste into a tributary of the West Branch Floyd River near Sioux Center.
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According to the United States’ Attorney’s office, 57-year-old Michael J. Wolf of Remsen was employed by the Sioux Preme pork processing plant and oversaw the facility’s wastewater treatment lagoons.

He has pled guilty in federal court in Sioux City to knowingly discharging a pollutant thereby resulting in a fish kill, and was convicted of one count of discharging pollutant in a water of the United States.

At the plea hearing, Wolf admitted in or about August, 2012, Sioux-Preme Packing Corporation contracted with a company to remove and replace debris from their wastewater treatment lagoons, and that beginning on October 23, 2012 and continuing to October 24, 2012, he discharged the contents of the treatment lagoons, including pollutants such as biological material and agricultural waste into a tributary of the West Branch of the Floyd River. Wolf admitted that between October 23 and 24th, 2012, he intentionally and unlawfully discharged approximately 845,000 gallons of untested wastewater and pollutant into the tributary over an 11 and a half hour period.

The DNR says the action caused a fish kill extending over eleven miles downstream.

Wolf’s sentencing date has yet to be set. Among other penalties he faces up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000 per day of violation.

Everly, Iowa — An Orange City woman faces drug and other charges after a traffic stop on Highway 18 near Everly.

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The Clay County Sheriff’s Office reports that on Wednesday night, January 26th, they arrested 21-year-old Sarah Eubank of Orange City in the 1100 mile of Highway 18.

A Clay County Deputy initiated a traffic stop for a traffic violation and at that point saw open bottles of alcoholic beverages in the vehicle. During a search for other open containers, the deputy allegedly discovered a substance thought to be marijuana in the center console. Upon further investigation, it was found Eubank was driving while her license was suspended.

The deputy arrested Eubank, charging her with possession of a controlled substance – marijuana, a serious misdemeanor, and no proof of insurance, speeding and driving under suspension, all simple misdemeanors.

Eubank was held on a $1,000 cash or surety bond in the Clay County Jail in Spencer.

Orange City, Iowa — The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office has made two recent arrests in separate cases.
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A Rock Valley man has been accused of taking money meant for his former employer.

The sheriff’s office says that on Wednesday morning, January 28, they arrested 30-year-old Damon Van Veldhuizen of Rock Valley.

The arrest stemmed from an extensive investigation into an alleged financial crime that had occurred at the Double V Dairy near Rock Valley. Upon further investigation, deputies believe that Van Veldhuizen misappropriated funds meant for his former employer, the Double V Dairy.

Van Veldhuizen was arrested on a charge of Second Degree Theft.

The case remains under investigation.

A Sheldon man has been accused of domestic assault.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that they investigated a report of a domestic disturbance on Tuesday evening, January 27. The alleged assault is reported to have occurred at a home two miles northwest of Sheldon. Upon further investigation, deputies believe that 70-year-old John Wolfswinkel of Sheldon allegedly assaulted a family member.

Wolfswinkel was arrested and charged with domestic assault.

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Hospers, Iowa — A power outage affected the entire town of Hospers on Wednesday evening, January 28th.

MidAmerican Energy confirms that the outage affected 835 customers in the Hospers area.

It started about 5:03 PM, and power was restored by 6:46 PM, according to MidAmerican Vice President for Corporate Communications, Dave Caris.

He reports that equipment failure at a substation in that area caused the outage.

Power was off for a total of an hour and 43 minutes.

January 29, 2015 - 2:17 am - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — A fundraiser for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life — Daffodil Sales — are going on in O’Brien and Sioux Counties.
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One of the first flowers of Spring, the daffodil is the symbol of hope. O’Brien County Daffodil orders will be taken from January 19th through February 12th. To place your order, please call Cindy Runger at 324-4833; Loretta Vander Linden at 324-2273, Hair Headquarters; His and Her Hair, or stop at the Sheldon Library. Daffodils will be available for pickup on Tuesday, March 10th at Cook’s Cafe.

In Sioux County, American Cancer Society Spokesperson Teresa Vande Pol says you can order your daffodils by February 14th at Flowers by Jan in Hawarden, Personal Touch Designs in Hull, Something Special in Rock Valley, Orange City Floral Company in Orange City, and Petals and Perks in Sioux Center. They are $10 a bunch. They must be prepaid with checks payable to “Sioux County Daffodils”. Sioux County daffodils may be picked up March 10-13th.

If you have any questions, you can contact Teresa Vande Pol in Hawarden for the Sioux County Daffodil fundraiser and Cindy Runger in Sheldon for the O’Brien County Daffodil fundraiser.

January 29, 2015 - 2:01 am - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa unemployment rate is down, and while unemployment is up just a little in Lyon County, it’s still the county with the lowest unemployment in the state.
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The state unemployment rate dropped down in December, and a spokesperson for Iowa Workforce Development says the state is getting close to “full employment.” I-W-D spokesperson, Kerry Koonce, says the December unemployment rate hit four-point-one percent, compared to four-point-three percent in November.

(as she says)”Four-point-one percent is actually the lowest rate we’ve had since June of 2008. The national rate is still standing at five-point-six percent for December,” Koonce says.

She says the national experts believe Iowa is getting close to what’s called full employment, or the percentage of the labor market that is able to find a job if they want a job.

(as she says)”It’s between three-and-half and four percent for Iowa, closer to the four percent,” Koonce says. “It used be closer to the three, three-and-a-half, but as the economy has changed over the years, they say the full employment for Iowa falls in that three-and-a-half to four percent range.”

It is the third straight month that the unemployment rate has dropped.

(as she says)”What we’ve seen is we’ve seen a decrease in the number of people who are unemployed, plus a continued increase in the size of our labor force couple with adding 21-hundred jobs to the economy in the month of December, that’s what allows us to bring that rate down continually,” Koonce explains.

She takes about the areas where the state gained jobs.

(as she says)”A large portion of the jobs were in manufacturing — that was 16-hundred of them — another 500 still in construction, plus we saw 15-hundred in business and professional services, and 600 of those were also in what we call other services, which is kind of a combined category,” Koonce says.

The state lost one thousand jobs in the trade and transportation area, which Koonce says included the retail sector.

(as she says)”You saw a lot of people leave at the end of the holiday season, plus the retail trade is just seeing a lot more people move to on-line shopping, so that just decreases the numbers they need in the actual stores,” she says.

Local and state government saw the loss of 900 jobs in the month, but she says but many of these losses were seasonal transitions and should be recovered in January. Iowa’s largest manufacturing employer, Deere and Company, announced the layoff of 900 workers last week. Koonce says that won’t have an immediate impact on next month’s unemployment numbers.

(as she says)”We’ll see it in the job numbers, but it may be kind of a slow progression. And that’s because the layoffs are spread out over three to four months with John Deere,” Koonce explains. “So they won’t be completed until the end of April, so it would be our May report which is for April numbers, when all of that would have taken effect. But if it’s spread out over several months it will be a small decline, you are not going to see a sudden drop of 900 all at once.”

Koonce says Iowa Workforce Development already is responding to help the Deere workers as they face the layoffs. I-W-D says the total number of working Iowans reached a current-year peak of one-million-642-thousand-900 in December. This figure is 31-hundred higher than November and 38-thousand-100 higher than one year ago.

Lyon County is the county with the lowest unemployment rate in the state for December at 2.1 percent. That is up a little from November when it was 1.9. Sioux County is number eight on the list with 2.9 percent, also up slightly since November, when it was 2.3. Plymouth County is 13th, with 3.1 percent. O’Brien is 23rd, with 3.6 percent unemployment in December, up from 2.9 in November. Clay is 25th with 3.7 percent. Osceola is 46th with 4.0 percent unemployment, up from 3.1 percent in November.

We should mention that the state figures are seasonally-adjusted, while the county figures are not adjusted for seasonal layoffs.

Find the full list by clicking here.

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January 27, 2015 - 8:23 am - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — A Rock Valley man will serve time behind bars after he was sentenced on Monday, January 26, 2015 on theft, forgery, and credit card fraud charges.
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Sioux County Attorney, Thomas G. Kunstle, says that 28-year-old Austin Richard Mulder of Rock Valley, was sentenced for the crimes of Theft in the Second Degree and Forgery, both Class D Felonies; and three counts of Credit Card Fraud, an Aggravated Misdemeanor.

On October 2, 2014, according to court records, Rock Valley police pulled Mr. Mulder over in their city. They say he was visibly shaking, upset, and seemed emotional considering the circumstances.

Police learned Mulder’s driver’s license had been suspended so he was placed under arrest. When police began inventorying his pickup truck they found marijuana. Police also found a Dell laptop computer with a service tag. This same computer was reported stolen on August 16, 2014. The owner of the computer identified another computer and other items as stolen when shown the contents of Mulder’s pickup.

Rock Valley police charged Mr. Mulder with Theft by exercising control over stolen property. After the charge, Mulder made admissions during a telephone call while inside the Sioux County Jail.

Police further searched other electronic devices found inside the vehicle that implicated him in a Walmart theft.

Through their investigation, police learned Mulder fraudulently applied for a credit card in another’s name in September 2014. After receiving this fraudulently-received credit card, they say Mulder made purchases or received services, at People’s Bank and Premier Bank in Rock Valley, and at Walmart in Sioux Center.

Mulder was sentenced to five years in prison on the theft and forgery charges and to two years in prison on the credit card fraud charges, with the sentences to run consecutively, for a total indeterminate prison term not to exceed seven years.

January 26, 2015 - 4:24 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — A Sheldon man has been arrested on a sex abuse charge.
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The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that on Friday morning, January 23, one of their deputies arrested 33-year-old Cody Foster of Sheldon.

Authorities say the arrest stemmed from an investigation into a report of sexual abuse that allegedly occurred at a home in Matlock.

Deputies investigated the report and say they believe that Foster committed a sex act against a 16-year-old male in June, 2014.

Sioux County authorities say Foster was arrested and charged with assault with intent to commit sexual abuse.

January 23, 2015 - 10:40 am - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa – Measles. It’s a disease that hasn’t been on the radar for several decades in the developed world, thanks to immunizations. However it appears to be making a comeback in some areas.

The Nebraska Department of Public Health has announced that an individual with measles spent time while contagious in several public locations in Blair and Omaha, Nebraska between January 11 and January 15, 2015. The South Dakota Department of Public Health reports 13 confirmed cases of measles in the Mitchell, South Dakota area. Additionally, more than 50 people from six states are reported to have measles as part of an ongoing outbreak linked to an amusement park in California.

Community Health Partners in Orange City says that there is reasonable potential for measles to spread to Iowa. Nurse practitioner Robin Van Zandbergen suggests everyone check their immunization records.

Individuals who need vaccine can contact their usual health care or vaccine provider. Van Zandbergen says that if you were born after 1957 and had your two doses of MMR vaccine, even if it was decades ago, you should be safe.

Measles is a very serious, highly contagious viral disease transmitted from one person to another by airborne and droplet spread. It is characterized by high fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes – followed by a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. This serious illness causes permanent brain damage or death in 1-3 out of every 1,000 patients.

  • More than 95% of people who receive one dose of MMR will develop immunity.
  • The 2nd dose of MMR boosts immunity to 99% in the majority of people.

She says that somewhat counter-intuitively, if you think you have measles or have reason to believe that you’ve been exposed to the measles virus – they do NOT want you to see your doctor in a doctor’s office or clinic.

If you have questions or need additional information contact your local health department.

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