May 16, 2022 - 4:25 pm - Posted in News

Hawarden, Iowa — A joint investigation between deputies from Sioux County and officers from Plymouth County has resulted in the arrest of a Hawarden man.

Sioux County authorities say the investigation led to the execution of a search warrant at 49-year-old Jamie Ahrens’ address at 1263 505th Street south of Hawarden.

According to Sioux County authorities,  Arens was arrested Sunday morning on charges of: 3rd Degree Burglary, a Class D Felony; 5th Degree Theft, a Simple Misdemeanor; 1st Degree Trespassing, a Simple Misdemeanor; and Operating a Motor Vehicle With a Suspended Driver’s License, a Simple Misdemeanor. According to Sioux County authorities, additional charges are pending in Plymouth County.

Arens was taken to the Sioux County Jail.

May 16, 2022 - 4:13 pm - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — This coming weekend is the weekend that — Dutch or not — many from northwest Iowa and beyond head to Orange City to pay them a visit — or “breng ze een bezoek,” as they say.

Orange City has been putting on the festival basically every year since 1936, with timeouts for World War II and COVID-19.

Organizers of the festival want us to know that along with traditional favorite activities, they have some new things planned as well.

One new thing this year is the Tulip Talk in Windmill Park, where you can learn more about tulips from local flower experts. The history of the tulip will be discussed as well as the reasons why the flower is so important to the world—and to Orange City. The Tulip Talk is located in Windmill Park in the white tent, and will be available daily at the festival at 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 4:00 p.m.

The Dutch Dozen — high school Dutch dancers — will be wearing new, authentic Dutch costumes and their show will feature new props and backdrops this year.

The annex at the Dutch-American Heritage Museum went through a complete remodel recently and will house all-new military exhibits. And it will open for the first time during this year’s Tulip Festival.

The annual Tulip Festival Road Race will feature a new route this year. Organizers say you’ll be sure to finish strong down Central Ave with beautiful tulips guiding your way. Register for the run online.

The Second Tour de Tulips Bicycle Ride will take place this year. It’s a 21-mile (round-trip) ride to the Sioux County Regional Airport for the Fly-in Breakfast. An optional longer 35-mile (round-trip) route to Ireton is also an option this year.

There will be a few new food options at this year’s Straatmarkt.

The Night Show this year is at the town hall, and will be the musical, “MAMMA MIA!”

In addition to buying tickets at the Windmill Information Booth, the Town Hall Information Booth will also sell tickets this year.

There’s also a new Downtown Map, which is available at the Windmill Information Booth or the Town Hall Information Booth.

Of course the twice-daily Volksparade will feature many updated floats, and organizers say they are excited to feature a new float from Sekisui Aerospace. Pella Corporation will also have their float in the parades this year. And if you missed seeing the beautiful First Kiss float last year, you can see it this year.

After a one-year change of venue, Poffertjes are back in the Little White Store east of Windmill Park downtown. They are like miniature puffy pancakes topped with a rum butter sauce and powdered sugar and are a Dutch treat.

The Antique Model Tractor Display is back this year at First Christian Reformed Church by the Antique Tractor Show.

Crowd-favorite events including street scrubbing, horse-drawn trolley tours, Vogel Old Mill tours, ArtBurst, wooden shoe carving demonstrations, and more will also be back this year.

Again, the Tulip Festival is this Thursday, May 19th, through this Saturday, May 21st in Orange City.

For more information, visit

Boyden, Iowa — A barn and a corn crib were both destroyed in a fire on Sunday night, May 15, 2022, near Boyden.

According to Boyden Fire Chief Chris Starkenburg, about 11:28 p.m., the Boyden Fire Department was called to the report of a barn fully engulfed near 320th and Lily Avenue, four miles east of Boyden or three miles west of Sheldon.

The chief says the fire department saw both the barn and the corn crib fully engulfed, with a good portion of the grove on fire as well as they approached the scene. He says the fire was difficult to attack, due to an overgrowth of trees. He says it was an abandoned farm place. According to the chief, they had to close Lily Ave so they had a place to put drop tanks. He says they put the tanks on the road and pumped from there.

Starkenburg says no injuries were reported.

The fire department was assisted by the Matlock, Sheldon, Hospers, and Hull fire departments.

He says the cause of the fire is undetermined.

Chief Starkenburg reports that both buildings were totaled.

He says the firefighters who responded were on the scene for about four hours.

Orange City firefighters also responded to a couple of calls in the past few days. On Thursday, May 12th, at about 3:25 p.m., they responded to a call of a shed on fire about a half-mile west of Ironwood Avenue on 440th Street.

Fire Chief Denny Vander Wel says it was a larger lawn and garden shed, which was basically destroyed by the time they got there. He says embers from a burning pit get the blame for the blaze. He says the wind was strong that day and accelerated the fire. He says they cooled down some hot spots and then due to the high winds that were forecast, they sprayed copious amounts of water on the burning pit. He says they were out about 40 minutes.
Vander Wel says Orange City firefighters were also called out on Saturday, May 14th to put out a fence line full of corn stalks on fire. He says that page, to a place two and a half miles south of Orange City on K64, went out about 12:30 p.m., and they were there for about an hour and a half.

May 16, 2022 - 9:53 am - Posted in News

Rock Valley, Iowa — One person was taken to the hospital as the result of a two-vehicle crash near Rock Valley early Saturday afternoon.

According to the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, the mishap occurred at the intersection of Highway 18 and 290th Street, seven miles west of Rock Valley.

Deputies say 28-year-old Dillon Altena, of Fairview South Dakota, was northbound on Highway 18 in a 2020 Ram 3500, when he attempted to turn left onto 290th Street and collided with a southbound 2017 Chevrolet Suburban, driven by 24-year-old Katherine Crumrine, of Sioux Center.

According to authorities, a passenger in the Suburban was transported by the Rock Valley Ambulance to Hegg Health Center for minor injuries.  

The Ram sustained approximately $5,000 in damage. The Suburban sustained an estimated $7,000 in damage.   

Altena was reportedly cited for failure to yield making a left turn. 

The sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Rock Valley Police Department, Rock Valley Fire Department and Rock Valley Ambulance.

Statewide Iowa — It won’t likely make Iowans feel any better about paying more than four bucks a gallon for gasoline, but those record high prices aren’t really so high, nor are they records, according to one expert.

Herman Quirmbach, a retired economics professor at Iowa State University, says this week’s gasoline prices are indeed more expensive than the previous highest-ever prices dating back to July of 2008, but he says it’s not apples to apples.

Triple-A-Iowa says the statewide average for gas Friday was four-13 a gallon. Earlier this week, the high prices wiped out the previous high price from 2008 of four-02 a gallon. In today’s dollars, Quirmbach says that four-02 would actually be more like five-28 a gallon.

Quirmbach, a state senator from Ames and a Democrat, says multiple factors go into the price of gas, even though it’s often reduced to being a political football.

He agrees with a statement issued by a Triple-A spokesman this week which said, “There are very few things that a president can do to help lower the cost of oil, and this administration tried to do pretty much everything that it can.” In a Radio Iowa interview on Tuesday, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican, placed the blame of high gas prices on the Democrat in the White House, saying: “I think Congress has set a pretty good policy for energy. This president has screwed it up.”

May 14, 2022 - 9:51 pm - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — May is Beef Month and consumers have a variety of choices when purchasing beef at the grocery store.

According to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Beef Specialist Beth Doran, the beef industry offers something for everyone in terms of culinary options.

Beef producers, packers, and retailers consistently try to provide beef products that meet consumer preferences, according to Doran.  She says currently there are products with specific genetics, animal management protocols, carcass characteristics, and ease of preparation, and sometimes, a combination of these.

USDA certifies some beef products according to the genetic makeup of the animal (haircoat color and markings) and carcass characteristics (such as marbling). For instance, some labels might include the name of the breed such as Angus, Hereford, or Wagyu.

There is also a wide variety of beef products relating to how the animals are raised. Common categories include grain-finished, grass-fed, certified organic, and never-ever (no antibiotics or hormones). USDA approves these labels for beef based on specific criteria. Just new to this category is Low Carbon Beef LLC – a USDA process verified provider for beef produced with reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

According to Doran, another popular label is ‘natural,’ which is more difficult to define because this label is defined and regulated by the company owning the brand.

USDA’s definition of “natural” is a food product with minimal processing, no artificial ingredients, and no preservatives. However, the USDA definition does not specify specific management practices during the life of the animal.

USDA does have specific standards for the quality grade of carcasses that are based upon the amount of marbling. Marbling is the small flecks of fat interspersed within the lean muscle and relates to the tenderness, juiciness, and flavor of the beef. Common quality grades at retail include Prime, Choice, and Select.

According to Doran, all quality grades are nutritious but may require different methods of cooking to achieve the same eating satisfaction.

In addition to nutrition, today there are forms of beef that save time in preparation, cooking and cleanup.

Statewide Iowa — With school letting out soon, thousands of Iowa teenagers are starting to apply for their first-ever summer jobs and they may need to be aware of some common scams.

Consumer advocate Michael Domke says one con that’s been making the rounds is to have a new employee cash a check and then pay back some of the money.

Teens of various ages are only allowed to work a certain number of hours per week, so new workers will need to know those rules and make sure they’re not being asked to work too much. Mystery shopping might sound like an ideal job for some Iowa teens, but Domke says you need to do a little research first.

Domke says no legitimate job will require you to pay to sign up or to apply for a position.

May 13, 2022 - 3:21 pm - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — A Hawarden man is behind bars, accused of a pair of felony child sex-related crimes.

Court documents indicate that the charges against 27-year-old Jose Guadalupe, Arce-Topete stem from an investigation into alleged the alleged sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12 from September 2019 to March 2020.

Arce-Topete was arrested earlier this week on charges of: 2nd Degree Sexual Abuse, a Cass B Felony; and Incest, a Class D Felony. As of mid-afternoon Friday, he remained housed in the Sioux County Jail, according to online Jail records.

A Preliminary Hearing in the case will be held at 10:00 am on Tuesday, May 24th, in Sioux County Magistrate Court.

Sheldon, Iowa — MidAmerican Energy customers in parts of Sheldon experienced two electric service interruptions Thursday.

MidAmerican Energy spokesman Geoff Greenfield says the first incident occurred just before 2:45 Thursday afternoon, near 10th Street and Washington Avenue. Greenfield says that incident happened when a higher voltage overhead line dropped onto a lower voltage line below it, leading to an outage that affected 800 customers. Additionally, the incident caused a brief surge that affected three homes, resulting in a fire at one of those homes. He says MidAmerican crews restored about a third of those 800 customers just before 4:00, and all but four customers shortly after 4:30. Crews restored the remaining four customers just after 6:15.

Then around 5:30 Thursday afternoon, as the area was experiencing a weather event, at least four transmission structures toppled west of Sheldon. That incident affected Boyden customers and not customers in Sheldon. Greenfield says MidAmerican crews restored service to those affected customers at around 7:00 Thursday evening.

Then around 8:00 pm, the same Sheldon circuit that sustained the 2:45 pm outage experienced a second outage, unfortunately affecting those same customers. He says crews found a lightning arrester that interrupted the circuit. Greenfield says it’s not clear whether the component sustained a lightning strike or if it was somehow associated with the earlier incident. According to Greenfield, MidAmerican crews made repairs and restored those customers at around 9:45 Thursday evening.

May 13, 2022 - 12:09 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — It looked like a scene out of the 1930’s dust bowl late Thursday afternoon when a dust storm blew through northwest Iowa.

The intense dust storm caused a temporary black out due to the amount of dust in the air. The word to describe this weather phenomenon was first used in the United States in 1972.

That’s National Weather Service Meteorologist Allan Curtis. Fifty years ago, Arizona scientists began using the word to describe the dust storms that swept through the Phoenix area. The National Weather Service uses the term, but Curtis says most Iowans probably haven’t heard it because haboobs are most common in dry, arid regions in the southwest U.S. and western plains.

Here in northwest Iowa, Thursday’s haboob, along with the high winds it produced, caused downed power lines, downed trees and a black cloud of dirt to blow across the countryside.

At the height of the haboob, the National Weather Service says wind gusts were clocked at between 60 and 80 miles per hour, with a 69-mile-per-hour gust reported at the Sheldon airport.

The high winds caused the closure of Highway 75 from A52 in Lyon County south to 290th Street in Sioux County, after a strong gust flipped a semi onto its side on Highway 75. Troopers say the 2006 Freightliner semi sustained $75,000 in damage in the incident, but the say the driver, 38-year-old Dean Van Voorst, of Le Mars, escaped injury.

Here are some photos of the haboob coming into Sheldon from the southwest. (KIWA listener submitted photos)

Photos below show the toppled semi near Hull. (Photos courtesy Sioux County Sheriff’s Office)