March 27, 2015 - 3:35 pm - Posted in News

Rock Valley, Iowa — Three agriculture coops in northwest Iowa are considering unification.
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United Farmers Co-op based in George, Farmers Elevator Coop, based in Rock Valley, and Coop Elevator Association, based in Ocheyedan are looking at the move. We talked with Farmers Elevator Coop General Manager Mark Finck, who explains the difference between the term “unification” and the term “merger.”

He tells us why they’re looking at unification.

He says the move just makes sense to him.

Finck says eleven meetings are being held throughout the areas of the three companies, and the findings of the different committees are being reviewed.

He says the meetings wrap up on Wednesday, April 1st, and then the vote will be taken.

He says on April 20th, the companies’ auditors will count the votes. And, says Finck, it’s important that everyone make an informed decision and vote. He tells us why.

Finck shares with us the proposed new company name and leadership structure.

He says while they will not be closing any locations, the head office would be in Rock Valley. Each of the three companies were formed over 100 years ago, with the oldest — Farmers Elevator Coop in Rock Valley — being formed in 1899. He says that’s one of the reasons Rock Valley was selected as the location for the head office.

Finck says no employees would be cut in the move, and everyone’s job is safe.

The new company would have over 20 locations, including two in Minnesota and one in South Dakota. For more information, including meeting times and locations, you can contact any of the local locations, or visit the companies’ websites.

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March 27, 2015 - 1:33 pm - Posted in News

Primghar, Iowa – A Paullina man has been arrested on several felony charges. He is accused of committing several burglaries in the four northwest Iowa counties.
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The O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office reports that they arrested 29-year-old Seth William Johnson of Paullina and he has been charged with six counts of Second Degree Theft, a class D felony; seven counts of Third Degree Burglary, a class D felony; and seven misdemeanor counts of Third Degree Burglary.

The Sheriff’s Office says that numerous northwest Iowa law enforcement agencies including the O’Brien, Osceola, Lyon and Sioux County Sheriff’s Offices and the Sheldon, Sutherland and Paullina Police Departments have worked jointly on a series of burglary and theft investigations. They say the investigations involved burglaries to businesses, homes, and vehicles between May and October, 2014 and involved items including guns, cash, jewelry, a motorcycle, tools and fishing equipment.

The charges which are a class D felonies are punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $7,500. The charges that are aggravated misdemeanors are punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of up to $6250. Johnson has been booked into the O’Brien County Jail on the charges and will make appearances in District Court in the respective counties at a later date.

The public is reminded that a criminal charge is merely an accusation. All persons are innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law. The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected as a part of this investigation.

March 27, 2015 - 1:15 pm - Posted in News

Maurice, Iowa – A Maurice man was flown to a Sioux City hospital after an incident involving a gun in Maurice on Thursday, March 26.
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At last report, 39-year-old Shawn Hathaway of Maurice remained in serious condition.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office says that about 1:35 PM that day, deputies were called to Maurice Tire & Repair in Maurice.

Sheriff’s deputies report that prior to the incident, 62-year-old Sandra Holtrop, her husband, 64-year-old Daryl Holtrop, and their son, 32-year-old Isaac Holtrop, all of Maurice, were in the shop, which they operate.

Sandra Holtrop stated that her son-in-law, 39-year-old Shawn Hathaway of Maurice, arrived at the business in what was called “a very agitated state”.

The Sheriff’s Office says Hathaway argued with the other three over some family business before he was told to leave. She says Hathaway left the building and went to his vehicle. She says he took out a shotgun from the rear seat and got in his vehicle, where he loaded the gun.

The Sheriff’s Office reports that Daryl and Isaac Holtrop didn’t know what Hathaway’s intentions were, so they immediately rushed to the car to restrain him while Sandra Holtrop called 911.

When they got there, officers found Daryl and Isaac Holtrop restraining Hathaway inside his vehicle. Deputies report that they found Hathaway unconscious. They immediately began rescue efforts.

The Sioux Center Ambulance took Hathaway to the Sioux Center Health Hospital. He was transferred to Mercy Medical in Sioux City by helicopter, where at last report he remained in serious condition.

The case is still under investigation by the Sheriff’s Office.

The Iowa State Patrol, Maurice First Responders and Sioux Center Ambulance crew assisted the Sheriff’s Office on the scene.

March 24, 2015 - 12:27 pm - Posted in News

UPDATE: The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office has released some more information about victims in Monday morning’s accident on Highway 60.
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They say that 64-year-old Alan VanBeek of Orange City, who was the driver of the Orkin pickup was treated, and was then transferred to Sioux Falls with life-threatening injuries.

They report that there were five victims in the 2006 Volkswagen.

One victim from the VW was treated, and then was transferred to Sioux Falls for a fractured arm and remains under their care. Another victim from the VW was treated, transferred to Sioux Falls, and was released there.

Three victims from the VW were treated and released locally.

Original Story:

Sibley, Iowa — Multiple people were injured in an accident near Sibley on Monday morning.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that 64-year-old Alan VanBeek of Orange City was driving a 2011 Ford Ranger, owned by Orkin LLC, eastbound on 210th Street, four miles south of Sibley. Witnesses advised that the Ford Ranger failed to stop at the stop sign at Highway 60. The Sheriff’s Office reports that 32-year-old Erick H Chavez Gallegos, of Worthington, MN, was driving a 2006 Volkswagen, owned by Dylan Malvin.

The Volkswagen hit the Ford Ranger broadside on Highway 60.

There were multiple people injured. The Sheriff’s Office says the severity of injuries is unknown.

The Ford Ranger sustained $5000 damage and the Volkswagen had $8000 damage.

The Sibley Ambulance, Sibley Fire & Rescue crews, Ashton Ambulance crew, Ashton Fire & Rescue personnel, Little Rock Ambulance crew, and George EMS assisted at the scene.

March 23, 2015 - 8:23 am - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — An Orange City home sustained extensive damage in a fire on Saturday night, March 21.
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Orange City Fire Chief Denny Vander Wel says about 10:35 PM, the Orange City Fire Department, Alton Fire Department and Orange City Ambulance crew responded to a report of a structure fire that occurred at 303 Kentucky Avenue Northwest in Orange City.

When emergency responders arrived, he says they found a ranch style house on fire with flames showing on the back of the home burning up to the attic area.

The fire was extinguished and considered under control about 11:40 PM. The home sustained extensive heat and smoke damage. Orange City Fire units remained until about 1:45 AM.

No injuries were reported.

The property sustained an estimated $100,000 in damages.

Vander Wel says that following an investigation by the Orange City Fire Department into the origin and cause of the fire, it has been determined that cause was likely accidental.

He says the investigation revealed that the most probable cause of the fire was likely a result of spontaneous combustion due to unattended linseed oil rags left in a bucket near the rear of the residence. The fire then spread from the rags, igniting the back of the home, up toward the roof area.

The Orange City Fire Department, Alton Fire Department and Orange City Ambulance crew were assisted by the Orange City Utilities Department, Orange City Police Department and the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon Community Schools Board of Education met in special session Wednesday night with only two items on the agenda.  Both issues had been tabled from the regular monthly meeting last week.

Sheldon-Schools-logoThe Board voted to continue the District’s contract with KeBecca Services.  KeBecca is a Special Education program that operates at East Elementary, and includes two students from the Sheldon District, as well as four students from other school districts.  The Sheldon District has utilized the KeBecca services for the past three years.  Prior to that time, these students were transported to Sioux Falls each day to Children’s Home Services.  The Board voted unanimously to continue the KeBecca program for another year, continuing to evaluate the students’ progress during that time.

In other action, the Board selected a health insurance provider for the 2015-16 school year.  Superintendent Robin Spears told the Board that the District’s teachers had heard presentations introducing health insurance from Coventry as an alternative to Wellmark, which is the District’s current carrier.  Following the presentation, Spears says 81% of the teachers voted in favor of the Wellmark plan with Iowa Star Schools.  Since the District’s Board Policy says that health insurance benefits may not be changed without negotiation with the Sheldon Education Association, the Board voted to apply for Wellmark coverage through Iowa Star Schools.

March 19, 2015 - 7:25 am - Posted in News

Hospers, Iowa — A Worthington, MN woman has been arrested on identity theft charges in Sioux County.
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The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that on Tuesday afternoon, March 17, their deputies arrested 22-year-old Dionicia Lopez-Tema of Worthington, MN.

Lopez- Tema was charged with Forgery and Identity Theft.

The investigation was initiated after the Sheriff’s Office received a complaint from a person in Puerto Rico reporting that someone was using her identity at Premium Iowa Pork, in Hospers. After an investigation, deputies believe that Lopez-Tema was working under that person’s identity.

March 19, 2015 - 4:51 am - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — The annual Orange City Tulip Festival Extravaganza was held on Wednesday, March 18. The event featured a luncheon and program during which the costumes for the 2015 Tulip Queen and Court were revealed, the 2015 Parade Marshal was introduced, and the commissioned artwork for the 75th annual festival was unveiled.
Orange City Tulip Court 2015
Members of the 2015 Tulip Court are Queen Cara Venema, daughter of Dan and Tonya Venema; Jennifer Droog, daughter of Rick and Sue Droog; Sydney Huizenga, daughter of Darren and Dawn Huizenga; Micah Vande Vegte, daughter of Gary and Amy Vande Vegte; and Emily Wielenga, daughter of Kevin and Dixie Wielenga.

Queen Cara and her Court will wear the authentic dress from mid- to late 19th century Friesland. This is the first time the Friesland costume from the era has been introduced at Tulip Festival.

The costumes include voluminous, ankle-length skirts and fitted jackets that feature a v-shaped overlay, fitting over the apron. The Court members’ skirts and jackets are made from a cotton calico fabric, and Queen Cara’s are made of an eggplant-colored satin. The white aprons and shawls worn by the royal Court are lace-edged and feature hand-embroidered, authentic Dutch motifs. Queen Cara’s apron is made of a fine black lace and her shawl is fine white lace edged in lace trim.

The hats worn by the 2015 festival royalty are made of fine white lace that was pleated, starched and sewn to a crown of similar lace. Two gold filigree decorations adorn the Court members’ hats from the year 1900, while Queen Cara’s hat from the year 1860 is embellished with two gold hatpins and four gold filigree decorations.

The Friesland dress is accessorized with gold teardrop earrings, necklaces, bracelets and velvet purses that feature hand-beaded work.

An additional highlight to the Extravaganza was the introduction of this year’s parade marshal. The Tulip Festival Steering Committee was pleased to honor Harley Kleinwolterink as the parade marshal for the 75th annual Tulip Festival.

As a trained carpenter, Kleinwolterink has served the festival for over 20 years through the construction and refurbishing of several parade entries and floats.

Kleinwolterink’s first Tulip Festival project was the construction of the scissors-sharpening cart in the mid-1980s. The cart continues to be pushed in each parade during the Dutch Heritage Walk.

Utilizing his innate craftsmanship, Kleinwolterink has led and assisted with the construction and refurbishing of several floats seen in Tulip Festival parades, belonging to both the festival and First Reformed Church. His work continues in 2015 as he is assisting with the construction of a float celebrating the 75th year of Tulip Festival.

“Harley’s commitment to creating unique and prestigious floats has greatly enhanced the parades and experience offered to community members and visitors,” says Arlyn Schaap, co-chairman of the Steering Committee. “We are so grateful for his dedication to our celebration.”

A third piece of the Extravaganza program was the unveiling of the commissioned art piece by local artist John E. Vander Stelt.

The oil painting, entitled “A Faithful Walk,” features a father and son in the foreground, both of whom are wearing clothing from the province of Volendam. The father is carrying buckets of water with the assistance of a traditional yoke, while his son takes a curious peek inside a bucket.

“I wanted to paint a scene that would take a glimpse into the heritage of the community and of the festival,” says Vander Stelt.

The painting also features a Dutch windmill in the distance, highlighted by a recent sunset, and a long path on which the father and son are standing.

“The winding path connects and leads from the present where the father and son stand, to the past with roots in the Netherlands,” Vander Stelt describes.

Two options of prints of the work are available for purchase at the Tulip Festival office. The first option is a traditional print on sterling paper, 75 of which are signed and numbered by Vander Stelt. The paper is sized at 22”x22” and the print at 18”x18.” Print number 1/75 will be framed and auctioned off at the grand opening of Stadscentrum later this spring.

A canvas print of the work, sized at either 24”x24” or 30”x30,” can also be ordered through April 30.

The original art piece, sized at 30”x30,” will be on display at Stadscentrum during Tulip Festival.

Tulip Festival news, event information and volunteer opportunities can be found on the festival website at, and on the festival’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

March 18, 2015 - 10:18 am - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — A northwest Iowa State Senator is voicing his opinion about a lawsuit being filed by the Des Moines Water Works.
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Senator Randy Feenstra from Hull is calling for a boycott of Des Moines in his blog, “The New Generation Republican.”

The lawsuit is against the northwest Iowa counties of Buena Vista, Calhoun and Sac. The lawsuit will contend that the counties and farming operations have not done enough to reduce nitrate levels in the Raccoon River, thereby affecting the City of Des Moines water supply.

Feenstra writes, QUOTE:

“I firmly believe that the power of our agricultural community needs to stand up against Des Moines. I would advocate that rural Iowa boycotts Des Moines. This could be done by shopping in other communities, vacationing in other areas of the State, and holding our many organizational meetings in Ames or Cedar Rapids. Iowa has plenty of great locations; we don’t need Des Moines and this arrogant mentality against rural Iowa. It’s time rural Iowa sends Des Moines a clear message!!!”

Feenstra’s blog can be found at

March 17, 2015 - 4:46 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — The Board of Education of the Sheldon Community School District will meet in Special Session Wednesday evening, March 18th with an extremely short agenda.

The only two items on the agenda are consideration of a service contract with KeBecca Services for the 2015-16 school year, and the selection of the District’s health insurance provider for the next school year.

Both topics were brought up during last Wednesday’s Regular Monthly Meeting, but were tabled until this week’s Special Session.

Wednesday’s Special Board Meeting begins at 6:30 pm in the Board Room at the Sheldon Community High School.