October 13, 2021 - 10:11 am - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — A Spirit Lake man has been found guilty again of murder in Sioux County.

Sioux County Attorney, Thomas Kunstle says 71-year-old Gregg Eugene Winterfeld of Spirit Lake was found guilty Tuesday in Sioux County District Court for the crime of Murder in the Second Degree, a Class B Felony.

Court records say that on May 9, 2020 Grant Wilson and Theresa Wilson of Cleghorn, spent the afternoon and evening visiting Winterfeld at a rural Ireton home. Grant Wilson and Winterfeld spent the day drinking alcohol. At one point, Winterfeld locked the home’s doors, put on a holster with a loaded revolver, then convinced Wilson to come back inside. The court records say Winterfeld pursued and un-holstered his gun. Wilson turned around, gave a threatening look, so Winterfeld raised his gun, shooting Wilson. Winterfeld was charged with Murder in the First Degree, a Class A felony, and the case proceeded to jury trial on March 30, 2021. On April 7, 2021 the jury returned a guilty verdict to Murder in the Second Degree, a Class B felony. Winterfeld was taken into custody.

But, before sentencing on May 28, 2021, the Court noted the law grants 10, as opposed to 6, peremptory challenges to both the State and Defendant during the jury selection process for a Class A felony trials. On June 16, 2021, the Court ordered a new trial and released Winterfeld on bond.

That re-trial began on October 5, 2021 and on October 12, 2021 at approximately 9:00 p.m. a second jury returned a guilty verdict to Murder in the Second Degree. County Attorney Kunstle says Winterfeld was taken back into custody pending a new sentencing hearing, which the District Court has yet to schedule.

Orange City, Iowa — A northwest Iowa employer is breaking ground on a new $15 million facility in Orange City this Wednesday, October 13th.

According to officials with Diamond Vogel in Orange City, they will host a groundbreaking ceremony for their new $15 million Innovation Center. Company officials tell us the Innovation Center will add 36,000 square feet of state-of-the-art laboratory and office space to the existing Orange City campus.

In addition, they say the new facility will allow up to 60 research and development scientists to collaborate on cutting-edge technology to improve all of Diamond Vogel’s product lines. Construction is underway, with project completion anticipated by the end of 2022.

The ceremony will be from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. this Wednesday, October 13th at 1110 Albany Place Southeast in Orange City.

Photo: Artist’s rendering of new facility. Courtesy Diamond Vogel

Northwest Iowa — Harvest continues in northwest Iowa, and most of the news is pretty good, but not all.

Iowa State University Extension Agronomist Joel De Jong keeps track of harvest progress and yields. He tells us how far the farmers are.

As far as yields, De Jong says, “The range is huge.”

He also has an important safety message for us.

Experts remind farm equipment operators to use slow-moving vehicle emblems and reflectors on equipment and make sure it is well lit. Also, use flashers both day and night. For other drivers, expect slow-moving farm equipment, especially this time of year, and slow down when you see it. Don’t wait until you get close to it. And as De Jong says, be patient and plan for a slower trip this time of year.

Northwest Iowa — October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

According to the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, for many people, a home is a safe place. It’s somewhere that you know you will be surrounded by care and support, and a nice little break from the busyness of the real world. But, for millions of others, home is not a safe place at all.

Sheriff’s office personnel tell us the U.S. Department of Justice estimates that 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are victims of physical violence by a partner every year. Every nine seconds, a woman in the U.S. is beaten or assaulted by a current or ex-significant other. One in four men are victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.

They also tell us the number of U.S. troops that lost their lives in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488. But the number of women who were murdered by male current or ex-partners during that same time frame is 11,766, according to the Huffington Post. That’s almost double the number of people who were killed fighting in the war. They say many people ask them why someone would stay in an abusive relationship with their partner.

There are a number of reasons, according to the Sheriff’s Office:

-Their self-esteem is totally destroyed, and they are made to feel they will never be able to find another person to be with.
-The cycle of abuse, meaning the “honeymoon phase” that follows physical and mental abuse, makes them believe their partner really is sorry and does love them.
-It’s dangerous to leave. Women are 70 times more likely to be killed in the weeks after leaving their abusive partner than at any other time in the relationship, according to the Domestic Violence Intervention program.
-Statistics suggest that almost 5 percent of male homicide victims each year are killed by an intimate partner.
-They feel personally responsible for their partner, or their own behavior. They are made to feel like everything that goes wrong is their fault.
-They share a life. Marriages, children, homes, pets, and finances are a big reason victims of abuse feel they can’t leave.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office says they would like to share a few ways to know if you’re in an abusive relationship that you need to get out of:

-Your partner has hit you, beat you, or strangled you in the past.
-Your partner is possessive. They check up on you constantly wondering where you are; they get mad at you for hanging out with certain people if you don’t do what they say.
-Your partner is jealous. (They do say that a small amount of jealousy is normal and healthy) however, if they accuse you of being unfaithful or isolate you from family or friends, that means the jealousy has gone too far.
-Your partner puts you down. They attack your intelligence, looks, mental health, or capabilities. They blame you for all of their violent outbursts and tell you nobody else will want you if you leave.
-Your partner threatens you or your family.
-Your partner physically and sexually abuses you. If they EVER push, shove, or hit you, or make you have sex with them when you don’t want to, they are abusing you (even if it doesn’t happen all the time.)
-Finally, they don’t have to hit you, choke you or slam your head into a wall in order for it to be domestic abuse. If they degrade you, humiliate you, blame you, lie to you, cheat on you, withhold finances from you or even just try to control you, it’s still domestic abuse, according to Sioux County Sheriff personnel.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse and would like to reach out to the Family Crisis Center, please click here for help. If you are in immediate danger, call or text 911.

Sheldon, Iowa — At the latest Sheldon City Council meeting, a representative of Premier Communications was on hand to give the council an update on the company’s investment in Sheldon.

Premier Communications spokesperson Scott Te Stroete says they purchased the system from HTC three years ago, and they’ve been upgrading it ever since.

He breaks down the work that they have been doing for us.

Te Stroete says the new infrastructure is 100 percent fiber optic — from the origin to the customer’s building.

According to Te Stroete, while most customers don’t need the speed yet, they are offering gigabit speeds to both their commercial and residential customers, and he says he anticipates two and three-gigabit speeds in the future. He says the beauty of fiber optics is that it can grow just by putting different electronics on the ends.

Statewide Iowa — The director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority is urging Iowans to “tell our story.” During a recent stop in Le Mars, Debi Durham told members of the Chamber of Commerce how our state has great potential and many opportunities, but we need to share that information with the rest of the world.

Durham says Governor Kim Reynolds approved a new ad blitz demonstrating all Iowa has to offer.

Durham says Iowa is often overlooked since many corporate officials regard it as simply as a “fly-over” state between both coasts. She says it’s good Iowa doesn’t have a negative image, but she says the problem is, we don’t have any type of image at all.

While Iowa is known for its rich agriculture base, she says we need to expand beyond the nation’s old-fashioned perceptions of farming.


October 11, 2021 - 1:46 pm - Posted in News

Rock Valley, Iowa — A Rock Valley man was taken to the hospital as the result of a single-vehicle crash in Rock Valley late Friday afternoon.

According to a report from the Rock Valley Police Department, a 2017 Bash Moped, driven by 67-year-old Ronald Pedersen, of Rock Valley, left Cenex and drove on to Highway 18. While riding on Highway 18, Pedersen’s moped struck the curb causing him to fall from the machine onto the grass on the side of the road.

Police say a nurse stopped to help and stabilized Pedersen’s neck until the ambulance arrived. He was by Rock Valley Ambulance to Hegg Health Center  for treatment of a neck injury.

Officers say they suspect alcohol may have played a factor in the mishap.

October 11, 2021 - 1:16 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — The latest report from the Iowa Department of Public Health reports 156 new positive COVID tests in the four-county area of Lyon, Sioux, O’Brien and Osceola Counties.

50 new positives were reported in Lyon County, with 49 in Sioux County, 36 in O’Brien County and 21 in Osceola County.

Despite the sharp uptake in positive results, no new deaths were reported in the four-county area in the past week. The death toll remains at 193 of our friends and neighbors who have lost their lives to COVID. That total comes from 76 Sioux County residents, 59 from O’Brien County, 41 from Lyon County and 17 from Osceola County since the pandemic began.

As of early Monday afternoon, 57.8% of O’Brien County residents over the age of 18 have been fully vaccinated against the virus, 51.8% of Osceola County residents in that age group have taken the poke, 49.4% of Sioux County residents and 49.0% of Lyon County residents. The county with the highest vaccination percentage in the state is Johnson County (home to the University of Iowa), where 64.1% of their residents over 18 are fully vaccinated. The lowest percentage is Davis County in extreme southern Iowa, where just 32.6% of their adult residents have gotten the vaccine.

Hull, Iowa — The Hull Fire Department was called out on Thursday, October 7, 2021.

According to Hull Fire Chief Ron Hoksbergen, about 2:25 p.m., Hull firefighters were called to the report of an oven fire at TeSlaa Manufacturing at 821 Black Forest Road. That’s about a half of a block west of The Station in Hull on Highway 18.

The chief says firefighters found the fire in the attic of the building, above an industrial oven used in the manufacture of TeSlaa’s products. He says the fire had extended to the rafters of the building.

Hoksbergen says no injuries were reported.

He says Rock Valley firefighters automatically respond to structure fire calls in Hull and vice versa, so they assisted as well.

He tells us the cause of the fire appeared to be a malfunction of the industrial oven.

Chief Hoksbergen reports that there was minimal damage to the rafters and related materials.

He says the firefighters who responded were on the scene for about an hour and a half.

October 8, 2021 - 10:53 am - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa —  Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to speak at a rally on the State Fairgrounds in Des Moines Saturday night, his first appearance in the state since leaving office in January.

Eric Branstad worked on Trump’s 2016 and 2020 Iowa campaigns and he’s a senior advisor to Trump’s political action committee.

On Thursday afternoon, the stage was being set up where the Midway operates during the Iowa State Fair. Branstad says “jumbo trons” will be in place — so the crowd can watch the Iowa-Penn State football game. Trump will not speak until the game is over.

At his September 25th rally on the Georgia National Fairgrounds, Trump criticized Georgia’s Republican governor for the certification of Joe Biden’s win in Georgia nearly a year ago. Trump carried Iowa by eight points in 2020 and most of Iowa’s top Republicans have been invited to speak at the Des Moines rally. That includes Iowa’s Republican governor, Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley and two Republican congresswomen from Iowa — all of whom are seeking reelection.

Trump has made it clear he may run for president again in 2024. A recent Des Moines Register Iowa Poll found 53 percent of Iowans have a favorable view of Trump, which is higher than it was during his presidency.

Trump also appears to be the most popular Republican in Iowa, with 91 percent of Republicans surveyed for the Iowa Poll saying they have a favorable view of the former president. Iowa Democratic Party chairman Ross Wilburn says that’s worrisome.

Wilburn says Trump has shown a complete disregard for the rule of law as he continues to protest the 2020 election outcome.

Wilburn made his comments during the Iowa Democratic Party’s weekly online news conference.