Sioux County, Iowa — Two northwest Iowa colleges are among the best Midwest regional colleges in U.S. News & World Report‘s newest rankings.

The magazine’s annual ranking of the best post-secondary institutions has recently been released. Coming in at number eight on the list of Best Regional Colleges in the Midwest was Dordt College in Sioux Center. Just a few miles down the road, Northwestern College of Orange City was rated number ten on that list. Other colleges in our area on the list included Augustana University in Sioux Falls at number three, Hastings College in Hastings, Nebraska at number 17, Buena Vista University in Storm Lake at number 24, Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, South Dakota at number 30, Briar Cliff University in Sioux City at number 31, and Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska at number 54.

The magazine says the rankings focus on best academic value for the money and consider such factors as first-year student retention, graduation rates, and the strength of the faculty.

Dordt College President Erik Hoekstra says that the Dordt family is thankful and humbled to be recognized by U.S. News & World Report for their quality of education. He says, “Our outstanding faculty and dedicated staff develop meaningful relationships with our students and invest deeply in their education, discipleship, and growth.”

Northwestern College President Greg Christy says that the Northwestern family is encouraged when the high quality of a Northwestern education is affirmed. He says the ranking is a mark of the excellence of Northwestern’s faculty and “their commitment to teaching and mentoring students as they prepare to pursue God’s redeeming work in the world.”

Dordt and Northwestern were also named one of several Midwest Colleges “A-plus School for B Students” by the publication. That list recognizes colleges where every student can thrive academically.

To see the full list, click here.

September 13, 2017 - 8:01 am - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — Yesterday was school election day in Iowa.

In the Boyden-Hull School District, Mark Nilles was unopposed and was re-elected to his District 1 position with 63 votes. Gina Woelber was unopposed for her District 3 position and was re-elected with 64 votes, and Laura Woelber ran unopposed for her District 2 position and was re-elected with 64 votes as well.

At MOC-Floyd Valley, Hermencgildo Reyes Rodriguez ran unopposed for the District 3 seat held by Gerald Van Roekel and was elected by 96 votes. District 5 Director Christine Koerselman ran unopposed and was elected with 102 votes.

The Director-At-Large seats in the Rock Valley Community School District were filled by Shelli Rens, Steven Van Den Top, and Terry Van Maanen. All three were elected by 56, 54, and 55 votes, respectively. Van Den Top and Van Maanen were re-elected, and Rens will fill Al Vermeer’s chair.

In the Sioux Center district, Jerod Work was the only incumbent of four people running for one of three at-large positions up for election. Work was re-elected with 233 votes. Also elected was LoriAnne Anderson with 267 votes, and Nathan Bullock with 180 votes. Joshua Tacke’s 158 votes were not enough to elect him.

At West Sioux, the District 1 chair will continue to be filled by Russ Coons, who ran unopposed and received 236 votes. No one filed papers for the the District 2 chair held currently by Gary Witt, but Witt won anyway with 100 votes. Rachell Schurman received 33 votes for that position. The District 4 chair will continue to be filled by Tom Sellers, who ran unopposed and received 237 votes. The at-large chair held by Ken Koch will continue to be. He also ran unopposed and received 202 votes.

The West Sioux ballot Public Measure “A,” which asked if the school board should be able to levy a physical plant and equipment tax not exceeding $1.34 per $1000 of assessed valuation also passed by a measure of 60.74% yes to 39.26% no.

September 12, 2017 - 6:08 pm - Posted in News

Spencer, Iowa — A new law passed earlier this year is going to affect public employee employment in Iowa. One of the things that the new law does is require re-certification elections for public employee unions and professional organizations.

Mike Cormack is the chair of the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board. He says that the board is not on the side of labor or management — that they are basically the “referees” when it comes to these type of issues. In simple terms, Cormack says if you work for the city, county, school district, or state, you will get to choose whether to keep your union or not.


Because of that, Cormack says the Public Employment Relations Board is holding a number of meetings across the state to inform public employees.


He says one in twenty-nine Iowans is a member of a public employee union. He says if they are in a one-year contract, they will be voting this fall. If they’re in a three-year contract, they vote in year two of the contract when they’re a year away from the contract’s expiration. But if the local bargaining unit votes a union out, then no union may represent them for at least two years.

Cormack also stresses that in order to retain their current union, a unit has to have the majority of potential members vote to retain the union — NOT the majority of voters in the election.

The informational meeting in our area is this Wednesday, September 13th at the Spencer Public Library at 21 East Third Street in Spencer. Presentations will be from 4:30 to 5:30, and again from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. For more information on the law or the meeting, you can visit iowaperb.iowa.gov

Northwest Iowa — Autumn is right around the corner, and with it comes harvest season in northwest Iowa.

Iowa State Patrol Trooper Vince Kurtz says NOW is the time for farmers to make sure their equipment is properly marked.

Kurtz says marking your equipment begins with that triangular emblem.

In addition to the SMV emblem being displayed on every piece of equipment, he says there are lighting requirements as well.

Trooper Kurtz stresses that now is the time to make sure your implements are marked properly.

In addition to farmers properly marking their implements, motorists also need to be aware of harvest season, and expect slow moving farm machinery to appear in the road ahead of you.

September 12, 2017 - 4:53 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — If you have a large collection of antiques,  you’ll be excited to hear that Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, the American Pickers, will be picking in Iowa next month!

American Pickers is a documentary series that explores the fascinating world of antique ‘picking’ on History. The hit show follows Mike and Frank, two of the most skilled pickers in the business, as they hunt for America’s most valuable antiques. They are always excited to find sizeable, unique collections and learn the interesting stories behind them.

Wolfe and Fritz say they’ve seen a lot of rusty gold over the years, and they’re always looking to discover something they’ve never seen before. The pair say they’re ready to fins extraordinary items and hear fascinating tales about them.

American Pickers is looking for leads and would love to explore your hidden treasure.  If you, or someone you know, has a large, PRIVATE collection or accumulation of antiques that Fritz and Wolfe can spend the better part of the day looking through, they want to hear from you!!  Send your name, phone number, location and description of your collection, with photos, to americanpickers@cineflex.com, or call 1-855-OLD RUST.  That number again is 1-855-653-7878.

Who knows, the boys from Antique Archaeology in LeClaire, Iowa may be coming to pick your collection next month.

September 12, 2017 - 8:38 am - Posted in News

Ireton, Iowa — An Orange City man was injured after his vehicle was sideswiped on Monday, September 11th near Ireton.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that just before 6 am on Monday, 53-year-old James Heilman of Orange City was driving a 2015 Chevrolet Express van westbound on Highway 10, two miles northwest of Ireton. Thirty-eight-year-old Dustin Winkel of Holstein was driving a 2006 Peterbilt semi-truck pulling a tanker eastbound on Highway 10. According to the report, Winkel crossed the center of the roadway and sideswiped Heilman.

The Chevrolet received $500 damage. The Peterbilt received $1,000 damage.

Heilman reported minor injuries and declined further medical treatment.

September 12, 2017 - 12:18 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — This Tuesday, September 12th is the day for school board elections. There are board members at each area school whose terms will be expiring this fall. For example:

Two members of Sheldon School Board have terms that will expire this fall. They are At-Large member Randy Merley, and District 1 member Susan Rensink. Rensink is running, but Merley did not file papers for his chair. Running unopposed for that position is Lori Richards.

In the Boyden-Hull School District, the District 1 position held by Mark Nilles, the District 3 position held by Gina Woelber, and the District 2 position held by Laura Woelber are all up for election, and all three are running for re-election, unopposed.

At MOC-Floyd Valley, the school board terms held by District 3 Director Gerald Van Roekel and District 5 Director Christine Koerselman are expiring. Koerselman is running unopposed for re-election, while Hermencgildo Reyes Rodriguez is running unopposed for Van Roekel’s seat.

The Director-At-Large seats held by Al Vermeer, Terry Van Maanen, and Steve Van Den Top in the Rock Valley Community School District are up for election. Van Maanen and Van Den Top are running. Shelli Rens is running unopposed for Vermeer’s seat.

In the Sioux Center district, three at-large positions are up for election. They are those of Jerod Work, Lori Zomermaand, and Dale Kraayenbrink. Work is running for re-election, but Zomermaand and Kraayenbrink did not file papers. Besides Work, running for the at-large positions are LoriAnne Andersen, Nathan Bullock, and Joshua Tacke. Three of the four will receive a post on the school board.

At West Sioux, the District 1 chair, held by Russ Coons, the District 2 chair, held by Gary Witt; the District 4 chair, held by Tom Sellers, and the at-large chair held by Ken Koch are up for election. Witt has not filed papers, and no one has filed papers to run for his chair. Koch, Sellers, and Coons have filed papers for re-election. Also on the West Sioux ballot will be Public Measure “A,” which asks if the school board should be able to levy a physical plant and equipment tax not exceeding $1.34 per $1000 of assessed valuation.

September 12, 2017 - 12:15 am - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — A Yankton, SD man who faced a number of charges in Sioux County after a traffic stop near Rock Valley has been sentenced to ten years in prison.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that they arrested 47-year-old Wilbert Givihan of Yankton, South Dakota on July 6th, near the intersection of 310th Street and Coolidge Avenue, four miles west of Rock Valley, after a traffic stop.

They say the arrest stemmed from a joint drug investigation between the Sheriff’s Office and the Rock Valley Police Department.

Givihan was charged with a class C felony count of delivery of methamphetamine, as well as possession of methamphetamine, operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, open container of alcohol, and other misdemeanor counts.

According to court records, Givihan has been sentenced to a 10-year prison term, which is to run concurrently with a sentence imposed in South Dakota. He was also ordered to pay a $1000 fine, a 35% surcharge, a DARE surcharge, a Law Enforcement Inititive surcharge, and his driver’s license is revoked for 180 days.

He was also sentenced to a suspended $1000 fine and surcharge. Givihan received credit for time served. He will also have to submit a DNA sample for profiling. As a part of the plea agreement, charges of possession of a controlled substance and OWI were dismissed.

September 12, 2017 - 12:13 am - Posted in News

Sioux Center, Iowa — A couple from South Dakota has been arrested after police say they stole merchandise from the Sioux Center Walmart.

Sioux County arrest records indicate that the Sioux Center Police Department arrested 31-year-old Michael Wika of Parker, South Dakota and 28-year-old Kela Hansen of Sioux Falls on Saturday, September 9th.

According to the criminal complaint, the Sioux Center Police Department believes that Wika and Hansen entered the Sioux Center Walmart, and Wika gathered items and then met Hansen in the store. The police allege that Wika told Hansen to drive their pickup to the rear of the store, which they say she did. They then believe that Wika exited the store from a rear emergency exit and placed a large tub full of merchandise in the back of the pickup. Sioux Center Police say the value of the merchandise was nearly $1700. They believe the pair were going to sell the electronics, according to the complaint.

In addition, court records indicate that after Hansen was transported to jail, meth was found on her person.

The arrest log says Wika was charged with Second Degree Theft, a class D felony; and misdemeanor counts of Presenting a False ID and Open Container. It says Hansen was also charged with Second Degree Theft, as well as Possession of Contraband in a Correctional Facility, which is also a class D felony. She was also charged with misdemeanor counts of possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and driving without a license.

Court records indicate that the pair will face a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, September 19th. At last report, they remained in the Sioux County Jail in lieu of $5300 bond, each.

September 8, 2017 - 10:33 pm - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — Another large ground hay pile was destroyed in a fire near Orange City recently.

Orange City Fire Chief Denny Vander Wel says this is the fourth time this year that they’ve been called to Robert Wassenaar’s dairy farm at 4280 Jackson Avenue, just north of the Orange City city limits on K64.

He says the fire call actually started on Thursday, September 7, 2017. He says they were paged at 6:22 a.m that day, and were called again at 4:44 a.m. the next day, Friday, September 8th.

Vander Wel says no injuries were reported, and that the Alton Fire Department brought water both times. He says the cause of the fires is still unknown. He says he’s pretty sure the fire on Friday was due to a flare-up of Thursday’s blaze.

He says they used a side-dump truck and two large manure spreaders to move the pile out into a field where they broke it apart and drenched it with water.

He says they used 30,000 gallons of water to fight the fire between the two days, and crews were on scene for at least three hours.