May 15, 2018 - 2:34 pm - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — A Hawarden man who was sentenced to prison last month after pleading guilty to child endangerment charges, has decided to appeal his prison sentence.

Matthew Spaans, along with his wife, Nina, each pled guilty to four counts of Child Endangerment in Sioux County District Court. According to the Sioux County Attorney’s Office, the prosecution had recommended that the couple each be sentenced to a four-year prison term. Although the Court followed that recommendation for Matthew Spaans, his wife received a suspended sentence, allowing her to serve a period of probation with the possibility that she resides at the residential treatment facility in Sioux City, as determined by her probation officer.

Sioux County Attorney Thomas Kunstle says Matthew Spaans has appealed his sentence, and was released on an Appeal Bond until his appeal can be heard.

According to Kunstle, the sentences stem from a case that arose in February of last year when the couple’s children began telling authorities that various injuries they had received over the last two and a half years were inflicted by Matthew Spaans. Kunstle says that all children were removed from the couple’s home at that time.

Before February 2017, Kunstle says the children were claiming their injuries were caused by accidental means, though some were, according to medical authorities, clearly inflicted. He says the children were fearful to tell the truth as their mother, Nina Spaans, threatened they would never see each other again. Nina reportedly further directed them to share false explanations for their injuries when questioned by school officials.

Orange City, Iowa — If you’re an Orange City resident, it’s almost time to “get your Dutch on.” The annual Orange City Tulip Festival is next week.

Jenon Scallon, who is the marketing person for the Tulip Festival tells us that volunteers are busy doing last-minute prep for next week’s celebration.

Scallon highlights some of the Tulip Festival activities that are planned.

There are usually many street parking spaces available close to the downtown area where the bulk of the activities take place, but Scallon tells us about a resource that you may not know about if you have trouble finding a nearby parking place at the Tulip Festival next week.

You can find more information including a schedule of events at

May 9, 2018 - 8:12 pm - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — A Christian elementary school in northwest Iowa may be expanding. Principal Jason Alons at Orange City Christian School tells us that an expansion plan has been proposed.

He says the election will take place on Wednesday evening, May 30th at the Orange City Christian School Gym.

He says they also hope to streamline pickups and dropoffs to make a safer environment for their students.

Alons tells us that as proposed, phase I is estimated to cost in the neighborhood of $2.1 million. He says they have not released estimates yet on the other two phases because some options may change and those phases are at least a couple of years away, and prices change.

Members of the Orange City Christian School Society are invited to learn more and vote on May 30th. He says there will not be absentee ballots available because they want people to be able to see a presentation on what’s proposed before voting. For more information, you can call the Orange City Christian School.

Rock Valley, Iowa — Following the arrest of a Rock Valley woman on charges of Dependent Adult Abuse, the woman’s employer, Hope Haven in Rock Rapids, has released a statement.

In the statement, Marlowe Van Ginkel of Hope Haven says, “The incident which occurred on April 27 was addressed immediately by Hope Haven staff. Hope Haven is very concerned about the safety and the well-being of every person receiving services at Hope Haven. The individual is no longer employed at Hope Haven.”

The incident Van Ginkel cites is one in which Rock Valley Police arrested 27-year old Guadalupe Fonseca who, while acting as a care-giver in a Hope Haven group home, allegedly struck a dependent adult in the abdomen with her foot five times. Rock Valley Police Chief Monte Warburton says his agency was contacted at the time of the alleged offense, by Hope Haven staff. Warburton said the resulting investigation culminated in Fonseca’s arrest.


Original story posted 2:58pm, 5/8/18

Rock Valley, Iowa — A Rock Valley woman has been arrested on a charge of Dependent Adult Abuse.

According to Rock Valley Police Chief Monte Warburton, his department began an investigation on April 27th, after a complaint was filed with the Rock Valley Police Department by Hope Haven Staff in Rock Valley.

Warburton says that 27-year old Guadalupe Fonseca, an employee of Hope Haven, acting as a caretaker, was working in a group home on April 27th when she allegedly struck a dependent adult in the abdomen five times with her foot. Warburton says an eyewitness observed the alleged incident, and reported it to Hope Haven management.

According to Warburton, Fonseca was arrested Tuesday, May 8th, on a charge of Dependent Adult Abuse, which is a serious misdemeanor, and transported to the Sioux County Jail.

The Rock Valley Police Department was assisted by the Iowa Department of Human Services.

Tea, South Dakota — After just hearing last week that the Iowa Legislature has decided to give them $4.5 million in the form of a federal funding advance, the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System has now announced even more good news.

The federal government has been historically slow on fulfilling their end of the bargain, according to Lewis & Clark Executive Director Troy Larson. That’s why they have been asking for “loans” or “federal funding advances” from the state legislatures, which they hope to pay back when the federal government pays their share.

But the funding news this time from the federal government is better than in past years. Larson says the Bureau of Reclamation has announced that Lewis & Clark’s total funding from the fiscal year 2018 Budget will be $14.875 million. Last time they only received $9.15 million. Larson says the funding increase is great news and says it will be used to construct the segment of pipeline between Beresford, SD and the Big Sioux River, which is just under 15 miles. He says they won’t know if it will be enough money to fund the entire segment until the bids are opened in August. He says this leg of the pipeline is the one that will someday feed Sioux Center, Hull, and Sheldon.

Additional background information from Larson:

“The administration originally proposed $3.65 million for Lewis & Clark in the FY18 Budget.

The tristate congressional delegation then worked hard to secure an additional $48 million for Reclamation’s Rural Water Program. It was announced this past February that a bipartisan budget agreement was reached adding $10 billion in infrastructure funding to the FY18 Budget. The tristate delegation then urged appropriators to direct a portion of these funds to the Rural Water Program. Through these efforts, another $18.5 million was directed to the Rural Water Program, bringing the total additional funding for the Rural Water Program to $66.5 million. Because of the earmark ban, which unfortunately includes fully vetted authorized projects like Lewis &Clark, after President Trump signed the FY18 Budget on March 23 the Bureau of Reclamation then had 45 days to determine how to allocate the $66.5 million in additional funding among five authorized rural water projects. Reclamation allocated $11.225 million to Lewis & Clark. Along with the $3.65 million proposed by the administration, this brings total funding for FY18 to $14.875 million.”

May 8, 2018 - 5:01 pm - Posted in News

Ireton, Iowa — The Ireton Fire Department responded to a call of a barn fire recently. It was at 4346 Fig Avenue. That’s about three miles north and two east of Ireton. Fire Chief Richard Steckelberg says they originally called for assistance from the Sioux Center Fire Department but called them off once they got to the fire. He says it was a fire in the barn roof and had been started by embers from a burn pile that became airborne on the wind. He says they were able to put it out in short order.

May 8, 2018 - 4:09 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — This being Iowa Egg Month, and National Egg Month for that matter, we wanted to hear from one of the egg producers in northwest Iowa and see what message they might have for the rest of us.

We had a chance to visit with Ross Dean, who is the Vice President for Marketing and Sales for Versova Management Company, who run the Center Fresh Egg facilities in Sioux County and other poultry operations in the state.

Dean tells us eggs are nutritious, delicious, and an “eggcellent” choice.

He reminds us that by buying and eating eggs, you are helping the local economy and helping to pay wages to workers who work, live, play, buy products and services, and pay taxes in this area.

The Iowa Egg Industry contributes more than $2 billion in total sales, some 8,800 jobs, more than $502 million in labor income and nearly $23 million in general tax revenues to Iowa, according to Iowa State University.

May 8, 2018 - 4:01 pm - Posted in News

Sioux County, Iowa — If you are in Sioux County and go into cardiac arrest, your chances of survival just got better.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office has received 12 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) through a cooperative grant made available through the 3A Emergency Preparedness Coalition. Sioux County Chief Deputy Nate Huizenga explains.

Huizenga says since Sioux County Deputies are often the first to arrive at a call, there was a gap in the availability of AEDs.

He says now that gap has been filled, since all twelve of his agency’s patrol deputies now have an AED in their patrol vehicle.

Huizenga says there have been several times during his career when he has wished that an AED was available.

Sioux County deputies are trained in the use of the AEDs, along with their CPR recertification training every two years.

May 8, 2018 - 11:01 am - Posted in News

Ireton, Iowa — A Hawarden teen was injured after crashing his car near Ireton Sunday afternoon.

Sioux County authorities say the crash happened when 17-year old Noah Boyles-Clough fell asleep at the wheel of his 2007 Chevy Cobalt as he was northbound on Dipper Avenue, two miles west of Ireton. Deputies say the car left the roadway, entered the west ditch, and rolled.

Authorities say Boyles-Clough was taken to the Hawarden Hospital by the Ireton Ambulance.

Damage to the Chevy were estimated at about $7-thousand.

Boyles-Clough was cited for Failure to Maintain Control, Minor In Possession of Tobacco, and Possession of Marijuana, according to authorities.

May 4, 2018 - 1:39 pm - Posted in News

Hull, Iowa — Western Christian High School will be searching for a new principal, following the resignation of current Western Principal Dan Barkel.

According to a press release from Western, Barkel informed the Board of Directors that he has accepted the Superintendent position at Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn-Remsen Union School District.

In their statement, the Western Board said, “Dan has contributed greatly to Western Christian and our students over the years and we thank him for his service.  We wish Dan the best and pray that God will use him and his gifts, talents, and faith to positively impact the students and families in the MMCRU School District.  We have no doubt that he will do so”.  

Barkel stated, “It’s hard to leave, the people at Western Christian have been great to work with.”

Barkel joins MMCRU from Western Christian, where he has spent the last 26-years as a Choir Teacher, Guidance Counselor and Principal. While Principal at Western Christian, Barkel led the school through a $7-million renovation and improvement project that brought new science facilities, an Agriculture and FFA program, and a state-of-the-art Event Center to the campus. 

Barkel will step into his new role as superintendent on July 1.

After growing up in Zeeland, Michigan, he moved to Iowa and received his bachelors in Music Education from Northwestern College in Orange City. He went on to receive his Masters and Education Specialist degrees from the University of South Dakota. The MMCRU School Board chose Barkel from among 22 candidates to replace retiring Superintendent Jan Brandhorst.

The Western Christian Board of Directors says that they will immediately initiate a search for a new Principal.