October 22, 2021 - 9:18 am - Posted in News

Statewide, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Transportation has been putting up new signs at intersections and interchanges on state highways to try and prevent more people from going the wrong way.

DOT traffic safety engineer, Willey Sorenson, says it started with a study along Highway 30 near Ames around 10 years ago. It then expanded with the gathering of lots of information.

They started with an intersection ranking guide from the University of Auburn that used crashes, volume of traffic, proximity to liquor stores, and the type of interchange. He says they added 9-1-1 wrong-way calls during the day that didn’t involve a crash.

Sorenson also included GPS navigation in his data — as some drivers follow them to the word.

He says around 90 percent of people realize they are going the wrong way and turn around within 500 to one thousand feet of making the mistake.

He says the signs go along with pavement markings that are designed to make it very clear you are going the wrong way.

The intersections on Highway 30 where you cross two lanes to get to the lanes on the other side going the opposite direction were some of the problem areas. Sorenson says these “grade level” crossings on other sections of highway also got new signage.

Sorenson says they will go beyond signs if they find wrong-way drivers are still an issue. In one Highway 30 intersection, they put in an acceleration lane.

Sorenson says they will be around 50 percent complete getting the new wrong way markings and signs in by Thanksgiving.

October 21, 2021 - 2:41 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — The second plan  for reconfiguring Iowa’s congressional and legislative districts has been delivered and, if approved by the legislature next week, it could pit two incumbent members of the U.S. House against one another.

Congresswomen Cindy Axne, a Democrat, lives in West Des Moines. Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks, a Republican, lives in Ottumwa. Both of their homes are in the proposed third congressional district. That sets up a potential incumbent-versus-incumbent race for reelection in 2022 if neither moves. Axne has said she’s also considering a run for governor rather than pursuing a third term in the U.S. House.

Republican Congressman Randy Feenstra of Hull lives in the proposed fourth district and he announced this week he’s running for a second term in the U.S. House. The proposed district includes the cities of Council Bluffs and Sioux City on the west and, on the east, Ames and Marshalltown. Republicans have a significant voter registration edge over Democrats in the current fourth district. In the new district that’s proposed, 61 percent of registered voters are Republicans.

If Plan two for redistricting is approved, none of Iowa’s four members of the U.S. House live in the new first congressional district. Congresswoman Ashley Hinson of Marion lives in the proposed second district, Congressman Randy Feenstra of Hull, a Republican, lives in the proposed fourth congressional district, while both Axne and Miller-Meeks live in the proposed third district.

The 32 Republicans in the Iowa Senate rejected the first plan for redistricting. Under Iowa law, Plan 1 and Plan 2 are drawn by the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency and presented to legislators for an up or down vote.

The Iowa Legislature will convene in special session next Thursday to vote on the second plan for redistricting. This process happens after every Census, to redraw the boundaries for Iowa’s congressional districts as well as the 150 state legislative districts to reflect population changes.

Maurice, Iowa — Sioux County authorities are seeking the public’s assistance in their investigation of a hit-and-run collision that was reported Wednesday night near Maurice.

According to Sioux County authorities, about 8:10 Wednesday evening deputies investigated a hit-and-run collision that occurred at the intersection of Highway 10 and Highway 75, two miles north of Maurice. Upon further investigation, deputies learned that the accident actually happened on Tuesday, October 19th at 5:30 p.m.

According to authorities, 55-year-old Chris Cronin, of Le Mars, was driving a 2021 Freightliner semi-truck southbound on Highway 75. Cronin reported that a black or dark colored passenger car entered the intersection from Highway 10 and the two vehicles collided. The passenger car then reportedly left the scene of the accident without stopping and drove northbound on Highway 75.

Damage to the car will likely be on the driver side, rear quarter panel and bumper areas.

If you have any information of this accident, you are asked to contact the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office at 712-737-2280.

October 21, 2021 - 1:50 pm - Posted in News

Rock Valley, Iowa — A Rock Valley woman was arrested Wednesday evening after a search warrant was executed at a rural Rock Valley residence.

According to authorities, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant around 9:30 Wednesday night at a residence on 340th Street, six miles southwest of Rock Valley.

According to authorities, the search warrant was part of an ongoing drug investigation and search for a wanted person.

As a result, deputies say 57-year-old Shelly Smit, of Rock Valley, was arrested and transported to the Sioux County Jail where she was charged with felony possession of controlled substances and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her arrest also included multiple arrest warrants from Sioux County, the Iowa State Patrol and Lyon County.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office.

Booking photo courtesy of the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office

Statewide Iowa — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says Iowa is scheduled to receive its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines for younger children sometime this week.

The dosage level will be different for kids between the ages of five and 11 than it has been for adults.

In the next couple of weeks, the FDA and CDC are expected to approve giving Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to children who’re five through 11 years of age. Reynolds is making it clear she will oppose vaccine mandates in Iowa elementary schools.

But Reynolds says parents should make the decision about whether their children get a COVID shot.

Reynolds says she opposes employment-related vaccine mandates for adults and may join a lawsuit challenging President Biden’s order, once the rule-making is done, to require vaccinations in the military, in the health care industry and in private companies with more than 99 employees.

That latest information shows two-thirds of Iowa adults are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Among Iowa teenagers, 45 percent of 16 and 17 year olds are vaccinated and 39 percent of Iowa kids between the ages of 12 and 15 are vaccinated.


October 20, 2021 - 4:38 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Perhaps the recent rains will lower the fire danger, but firefighters have been kept busy with field fires in the past few days.

Firefighters from Hospers and Granville were called to 4174 McKinley Avenue for a Field Fire just after 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Fire chief Jason Overmole tells us that it was lucky the farmer called 911 right away, as it may have prevented more significant damage. He says about ten acres of corn stubble burned when a PTO shaft on a tractor broke, sending sparks into the dry stover. He says they put it out with water, and a farmer with a disk made sure it was out. Firefighters were on the scene for about a half an hour according to Overmole.

A recent fire near Calumet also started out as an implement fire. The fire was near 4925 Tyler Avenue, according to chief Korey Dau. He says there was smoke coming from a combine when they got there, but that fire had been put out by the operator with an extinguisher. However, there was corn stubble on fire, and it was near standing corn. He says they put it out with water and with the help of farmers with disks. Dau says it turns out that a bolt had sheared off and the equipment got hot, which started the fire. Sutherland firefighters were also called via auto aid. He says those who responded to the fire were there for about 20 minutes.

October 20, 2021 - 4:24 pm - Posted in News

Tuscon, Arizona — Decisions that will affect many churches in northwest Iowa and elsewhere were made recently in Tuscon, Arizona at the Reformed Church in America (or RCA) General Synod meeting.

Usually an annual meeting, General Synod fell victim to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic and was rescheduled a couple of times. Normally it’s held on a college campus affiliated with the RCA, such as Northwestern in Orange City, Central at Pella, or Hope in Grand Rapids, Michigan. But since college is in session at this point, there was no space at the colleges for the meeting, so it was decided to hold the meeting in Tuscon.

The most-anticipated decisions at the meeting had to do with the Vision 2020 Team’s final report, which was about how the denomination should proceed since there is strong division among its groups of churches.

The most contentious issue is whether to allow gay clergy, according to Pastor Troy Van Beek, currently the transitional pastor at Rock Rapids First Reformed Church. But he says it’s more than that. It’s also about gay marriage, and about differing views in the denomination.

The Vision 2020 Team brought three recommendations:

1. Appoint a restructuring team.
2. Form a new mission agency.
3. Provide for generous separation for churches and ministers that no longer want to be part of the RCA.

It was decided by the delegates to General Synod to proceed with appointing the restructuring team and providing for generous separation, but not to form a new mission agency, which could have been supported by both RCA congregations and other congregations.

Van Beek tells us the delegates didn’t really vote on whether to allow gay clergy or gay marriage. He says both the Bible and earlier resolutions by the General Synod have affirmed that marriage is between one man and one woman. He says what he expects to happen is for churches and even entire classes — (pronounced “CLASS-eez,” the plural of “Classis”), which are geographical groups of churches — to leave the RCA as they see fit. He says they may even form “affinity classes” which may or may not have anything to do with geography and would have more to do with beliefs and practices that the churches have in common.

Click here for the details and more news from the RCA General Synod, just completed in Arizona.

Sheldon, Iowa — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and a time to remember to do what you can to prevent the disease.

Sanford Sheldon Nurse Practitioner Cassie Theovald tells us one of those things you don’t even need to make an appointment for.

The other main way you can prevent breast cancer is through a mammogram.

She says it’s important to get a mammogram at age 40 so that they have a baseline to compare to. Sometimes irregularities are found on that first mammogram too, which of course, they’ll check out.

We talked to Theovald about risk factors for breast cancer.

Theovald tells us that it’s rare, but not impossible for men to develop breast cancer as well. And while they probably don’t need to get routine mammograms, men should even do an occasional self-exam of their chest.

Sanford providers tell us that unlike in some places, where the mammography equipment comes on a truck a few times a month, Sanford Sheldon’s 3D unit that was installed in early 2020 is permanently installed at Sanford Sheldon, and you can call 712-324-6222 to set up your appointment.

Northwest Iowa — In addition to city and school candidates, your November 2nd ballot may include a question or two from your city and/or school district.

In Boyden, there will be a question asking whether the city should switch the use of the one-percent sales tax from property tax relief to capital improvements.

If you live in the Rock Valley Community School District, your ballot will contain two questions from the school. One will deal with a Physical Plant and Equipment or PPEL (pronounced “pepple”), and the other is a revenue purpose statement.

As we’ve told you when we talked to Superintendent Cory Myer, the Sheldon Community School District ballots will also have a revenue purpose statement question. Click here for that story.

The West Lyon ballots will also have a revenue purpose statement question, as will the Central Lyon ballots. In the Central Lyon district, they will also be asking a PPEL question.

Those living in the Sibley-Ocheyedan Community School District will also be asked about a revenue purpose statement.

According to O’Brien County Auditor Barb Rohwer, the revenue purpose statements have been common on ballots. Experts say that in 2019, the Iowa Legislature extended the one-cent sales tax through 2051. They say if Iowa districts want to use these funds for long-term facility planning beyond 2031, the Revenue Purpose Statement must be updated to align with the 2019 legislative changes.

Rohwer says the PPEL statements have an expiration date that is specific to each school district.

Find your sample ballot for the November 2nd election here:

Lyon County Ballots
O’Brien County Ballots
Osceola County Ballots
Sioux County Ballots

Des Moines, Iowa — An Orange City woman has paid refunds to her victims and must pay costs and a penalty after she engaged in price gouging at the beginning of the COVID pandemic in 2020.

Brenda Kay Noteboom of Orange City was accused of selling more than 320 items on eBay at excessive prices for a two-week period in mid to late March 2020. The items included toilet paper, paper towels, disinfecting and sanitizing products, and other items needed by disaster victims. Noteboom realized more than $5,500 from the sales, according to court documents.

The prohibition on charging excessive prices applies to all sellers of merchandise, including social media sites. Sellers who accept excessive prices on online auction sites are not exempt from Iowa’s price-gouging law.

Businesses or individuals found in violation of Iowa’s price-gouging rule could face civil penalties of up to $40,000 under the Iowa Consumer Fraud Act.

Noteboom will have to pay $1000 to the Iowa Attorney General’s Office. Half will go toward the state’s attorneys’ fees, and half is a civil penalty. Court records say she has provided refunds to purchasers.

Noteboom is the sister of Michael Evan Noteboom, who was sued by the state earlier. The lawsuit accused him of charging excessive prices on more than 250 items on eBay. Michael Noteboom denied that he violated the price-gouging law, but reached a similar agreement with the Iowa Attorney General’s Office in January of this year.