Ambulance LightbarHull, Iowa — A Hull man was taken to the hospital, treated, and then arrested for OWI after an accident early on Sunday.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 12:35 AM, 21-year-old Arturo Tapia of Hull was driving a 1999 Ford Expedition eastbound on 310th Street. Tapia drove across Hickory Avenue, and lost control.

The SUV entered the south ditch, struck a MidAmerican Energy utility pole and rolled.

Tapia left the scene of the accident on foot and was located by deputies a short distance away.

Tapia was transported by the Hull Ambulance to the Sioux Center Hospital for treatment of minor injuries. He was released and deputies arrested him at 4:00 AM for operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and failing to obey a stop sign.

The Ford sustained about $10,000 in damages. The utility pole sustained an estimated $5,000 in damages.

The sheriff’s office was assisted by the Hull Fire Department, Hull Ambulance and the Sioux Center Police Department.

law lightbar blueSpencer, Iowa — An Alton woman has been arrested on Operating While Intoxicated and Child Endangerment charges after a traffic stop near Spencer.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office reports that they arrested 26-year-old Nicole Marie Holtz of Alton in the early hours of Saturday. About 3:05 AM, Deputies were dispatched to a vehicle in the ditch at the intersection of 350th Street and 180th Avenue, two miles west of Spencer. Upon investigation, Clay County Deputies determined Holtz was driving under the influence of alcohol, with two children in the vehicle and no proper child restraints. Holtz was placed under arrest and transported to the Clay County Jail where she was charged with Operating While Intoxicated, Child Endangerment, and Failure to Secure a Child.

Holtz was held in jail to appear before the magistrate.

Sheldon Fire Lightbar Blue on YellowSheldon, Iowa — Sheldon emergency crews were paged out to an accident near the Sheldon Motel on Saturday, but the victims escaped without serious injury.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office covered the accident. They report that about 11:25 AM, 20-year-old Christopher Lynch, of Rock Rapids was driving a 2004 Chevrolet Venture minivan eastbound on Highway 18, about a quarter mile west of Sheldon. Fifty-six-year-old Robert Hartzell of Spencer was driving a 2008 Ford F150 pickup westbound on 18. Lynch attempted to make a left turn and struck the Ford.

No injuries were reported.

Lynch’s Chevy minivan sustained about $6,000 in damages. Hartzell’s Ford pickup sustained about $5,000 in damages.

Lynch was ticketed for Failure To Yield Upon Left Turn and Driving While Suspended.

The Sheldon Police Department assisted the sheriff’s office.

Highway 18 was closed for over half an hour, according to a Nixle message from the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office

October 28, 2013 - 12:45 pm - Posted in News


A Weekly Column about Plants, Gardens, & Yards

ISU Extension and Outreach Consumer Horticulture • Lyon-O’Brien-Osceola-Sioux Counties

Gardening Indoors with Houseplants

By: Margaret Murphy, Horticulture Educator/Regional Foods Coordinator Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola & Sioux Counties

Three quarters of Americans decorate their indoors with houseplants. If you are thinking of adding a new houseplant to your home, here are some helpful tips on how to select plants and keep them healthy.

Before you bring home a new houseplant give some thought to where it is going to be placed. Like plants we grow outdoors, houseplants have preferred light requirements, moisture needs and temperature ranges. The type of light a plant requires is one of the most important factors to consider prior to buying and bringing it home. Does the plant do best in bright light or will it do fine in medium or low light? The University of Illinois Extension’s website on houseplants ( has several good suggestions on plant placement based on its light needs.

When it comes to temperature, the good news is that most houseplants can tolerate a rather broad range. The majority of foliage houseplants, for example, manage well with daytime temperatures around 70 degrees F and nighttime temperatures about 10 degrees cooler. Not too different from how many of us keep our homes. However, houseplants can be adversely affected by being exposed to temperature extremes. Avoid placing them near heat vents where they will receive blasts of hot air or too near windows or doors where they may encounter cold drafts this winter.

The moisture needs of a houseplant can be influenced by a number of things including type of plant, type of container, type of soil, time of year and level of relative humidity. If you’re like me, you find it easier to remember to water if you keep to a schedule. I water my houseplants on the same day every week. However, ideally, plants should be watered only when they need it. For most this is when the top inch or two of soil is dry to the touch. If you are not sure of a specific plant’s watering needs and the plant label doesn’t provide it, you can look it up in a book on houseplants or on a reputable website. But no matter what the water requirements are for a plant, it should not be allowed to sit directly in water for too long. Remember to discard the water that drains through to the saucer.

With indoor plants, it is also a good idea to consider the humidity level in the house. Many houseplants favor a more humid environment than the average home provides, especially during winter. A tip to increase the humidity level around a plant is to place its pot on a tray filled with pebbles and water. Make sure the plant roots are not sitting in the water. Grouping plants closely together can also help create a more humid environment.

Other things to consider when selecting a plant is look for one with a well-balanced silhouette that doesn’t look leggy or sparse. Avoid plants that appear stressed or cared for improperly. Your new plant should not start off wilted or with damaged leaves or stems. Check the plant carefully for any signs of insects or disease. Remember that houseplants you buy at a store or garden center will be accustomed to a different environment than what they’ll find in your home. So give them some time to adjust. The University of Illinois Extension also reminds us that often plants will drop leaves or develop yellow leaves when first placed into a new environment. It is recommended to avoid fertilizing during this adjustment period to help minimize stress. If buying a houseplant now, keep in mind that most houseplants don’t need to be fertilized in the winter months.

Lastly, keep indoor plants well-groomed by removing dead leaves or stems. Some types of plants perform better if occasionally pinched back. This is usually best done in the spring or summer. Larger leafed plants may also need gentle dusting from time to time. Though houseplants can become infected with pests or diseases and should be periodically inspected for such; more commonly problems arise due to improper watering or fertilizing. Changes in temperature or light can also cause problems for houseplants. So if you find a houseplant is losing its leaves or otherwise looking stressed, double check that it is receiving the proper amount of moisture, fertilizer and light and is not experiencing too much in the way of temperature changes throughout the day.

For any questions feel free to contact Margaret Murphy by phone (712) 472-2576, email or contact your local County Extension office. Additional information was provided by the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Resource Guide for Iowa Master Gardeners (2011).

Contact information: Margaret Murphy 712 472-2576(office) •605 521-7893(cell) •

film slate clapperSioux Center, Iowa — A documentary movie that was shot among other locations in parts of Orange City, Le Mars, and Rock Rapids, will have a special, one night only screening tonight in Sioux Center.

The film Caucus follows eight Republican candidates leading up to the 2012 presidential election as they campaign through the state.  For nine months, A-J Schnack and his team piled into a rental car and followed the candidates into nearly every corner of the state. Schnack says Iowans approach elections with the knowledge that quite a bit hinges on their votes.

Click or tap the play button above or this link to listen.

(as he says) “There are people in the film who you would see each candidate — that just doesn’t happen everywhere. People make their mind up and then they’re done,” Schnack says.

The film shows everyone from Michele Bachmann to Tim Pawlenty making their case to Iowans at fundraisers and campaign events-often asking outright for a vote–but it also shows voters asking questions, even grilling candidates with their concerns.

Click or tap the play button above or this link to listen.

(as he says)”That is a really amazing piece to the American political system. I’m not sure anyone understands how rigorous that is, and what a task it is for these candidates,” according to Schnack.

Schnack says he’s wanted to document the Iowa caucuses for years-and lucked out with his cast of characters. He says Santorum’s decision to visit each of Iowa’s 99 counties posed a challenge.

Click or tap the play button above or this link to listen.

(as he says) “We were either staying the night in Des Moines and Iowa City, then getting up early to driving and trying to find out where he was at,” Schnack says. “You’d drive for hours and and hours and get to a place and there would be 10 to 15 people there, and you’d be like, how do any of these candidates do it!” Schnack says.

But Schnack says the Iowans featured in the film became characters themselves as he says the voters at campaign events took their role seriously, remaining skeptical and asking questions.

The movie opened on Friday in Des Moines, and will have a special, one night only screening at Cinema 5 in Sioux Center tonight (Monday, October 28) at 6:30.

Radio Iowa assisted with this story.

Ambulance front generic actually SCAT 2Sioux Center, Iowa — A Hawarden man was taken to a Sioux Falls hospital after an accident on Monday, October 21 near Sioux Center.

The Iowa State Patrol reports that about 6:25 AM, 63-year-old Conrad Bensen of Hawarden was northbound on Highway 75, three miles north of Sioux Center, or a mile north of the Carmel road in a 1999 Ford pickup. Sixty-six-year-old James Heuertz of George was also northbound on 75 in a 2004 Freightliner semi.

Benson was slowing to turn west into a farm driveway. Heuertz was unable to stop in time and struck the rear of the pickup, pushing it into the west ditch.

Bensen was transported to the Sioux Center Hospital and later to a Sioux Falls hospital by Sioux Center Ambulance.

The preliminary accident report does not list the amount of damage to the vehicles involved, or address whether any charges were filed.

The State Patrol says the investigation is ongoing.

October 23, 2013 - 7:58 am - Posted in News



Hawarden, Iowa — A Hawarden man and a Sioux City woman have been arrested on drug charges.

Just into Sunday morning (October 20, 2013), the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office arrested two people as a result of an ongoing drug investigation. The arrests were made after a traffic stop that occurred in Hawarden.

Twenty-three-year-old Leopaldo Martinez of Hawarden was charged with two counts of delivery of methamphetamine and one count of possession with the intent to deliver methamphetamine. Twenty-seven-year-old Kimberly Saucedo of Sioux City was charged with possession with the intent to deliver methamphetamine.

The Hawarden Police Department assisted the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office.

Sioux Center AmbulanceSioux Center, Iowa — An Alton woman was transported by helicopter to a Sioux Falls hospital after an accident south of Sioux Center on Monday afternoon.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 12:50 PM, 55-year-old Brian Fryhe of Cushing, Iowa was driving 2011 Peterbilt semi-tractor pulling a gravel trailer northbound on Highway 75. Fryhe stopped the truck and was waiting for oncoming traffic before turning west onto 420th Street. Nineteen-year-old Shea Van Surksum of Alton was driving a 2002 Ford Focus northbound on Highway 75 behind Fryhe. Van Surksum was not able to stop and struck the rear of the gravel trailer.

Van Surskum was trapped in her vehicle and had to be extricated by the Sioux Center Fire Department. She was transported by the Sioux Center Ambulance to the Sioux Center Hospital and was later flown by helicopter to Avera-McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls.

Van Surksum’s vehicle sustained approximately $5,000 in damages. The gravel trailer sustained an estimated $10,000 in damages.

The Sioux Center Police Department, Sioux Center Fire Department and Sioux Center Ambulance crew assisted the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office.

October 21, 2013 - 5:04 pm - Posted in News

cowboy bootBoyden, Iowa — The northwest Iowa community came together to wrap its arms around a Boyden girl and her family on Saturday night (10/19/13). Twelve-year-old Mady Hansmann is battling cancer, and her friends and neighbors organized a benefit to help her family “kick cancer” with financial support for their medical and other expenses. It was this past Saturday night at the Boyden-Hull Elementary in Boyden.

One of the organizers of the event, Darnell Clark, says after a little issue with the ice cream machine at the beginning, everything went well.

Click or tap the play button above or this link to listen.

Clark says that due to privacy concerns they will not be releasing the total dollar figure from the supper and auction, so we asked her to describe the auction in a word.

Click or tap the play button above or this link to listen.

Mady Hansmann is 12 years old and attends Boyden-Hull Schools, where she is in the 7th grade.

October 21, 2013 - 10:52 am - Posted in News


A Weekly Column about Plants, Gardens, & Yards

ISU Extension and Outreach Consumer Horticulture • Lyon-O’Brien-Osceola-Sioux Counties

 October is for Planting

By: Margaret Murphy, Horticulture Educator/Regional Foods Coordinator Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola & Sioux Counties


I know it is a bit early to think about spring blooms. After all, most of us are still busy putting our gardens to bed for the winter. But now is the time to plant spring flowering bulbs otherwise known as hardy bulbs. These include daffodils and tulips. Trust me, the reward of seeing their early spring color makes it worth the effort.

Planting bulbs is easy but it is important to plant them at the correct depth. If the package doesn’t include planting depths, the rule of thumb advises planting bulbs 2 to 3 times as deep as they are wide. Place the bulb tip or pointed end facing up. If the top and bottom of the bulb are not obvious, lay the bulb on its side (it will figure out the right way to grow). Once planted, water thoroughly to get the bulbs started on their rooting process.

It is not recommended to place fertilizer in the hole before planting bulbs as this might burn their young roots. Instead, use a light application of slow-release fertilizer on top of the ground or work it into the soil before planting. The fall is the best time to fertilize hardy bulbs since this is when their roots are developing. After the ground freezes, remember to cover your bulb bed with 2 to 4 inches of mulch. Use lightweight mulch such as pine needles or chopped leaves. Lastly, don’t forget to plant some bulbs from the ‘minor’ bulb group such as snowdrops, crocus, winter aconite and striped squill. These are early spring bloomers and can sometimes be seen peeking through the soil while snow is still on the ground.  More information on spring flowering bulbs can be found online in Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach Yard and Garden article Planting Spring-Flowering Bulbs by Richard Jauron and Willy Klein (September, 2011).

Another item you can plant now is garlic. Garlic is grown by planting the cloves. Avoid planting cloves bought in the grocery store as these are often treated to prevent sprouting. This makes them keep longer in your kitchen but can hinder the number of cloves that will develop after planting.

Garlic needs to be planted in a location that receives plenty of sun. Make sure the soil is well-drained. Garlic also does not compete well with weeds so it’s best to maintain a tidy garlic bed during the growing season. Before planting, gently separate the individual garlic cloves. The largest cloves will be the most productive.  Plant the cloves about one inch deep with the pointed side facing up. Cloves should be placed 3 to 5 inches apart in the row with rows spaced at about 18 to 24 inches apart. When finished planting, put down several inches of mulch to insulate the cloves over winter. Remove the mulch in early spring after the threat of a hard freeze is over.

Garlic is considered a “heavy feeder” so before planting work some all-purpose garden fertilizer into the soil. In the spring, side-dress the plants about three weeks after you see the first shoots emerge. This involves lightly sprinkling fertilizer along each side of the row keeping it about 3 to 4 inches away from the shoots. It’s recommended not to apply nitrogen after the first week of May as this may delay bulb development.

For hardneck cultivars, flower shoots (called scapes) begin to form in midsummer. The scapes should be removed when they begin to curl. This encourages the plant to focus its energy on bulb growth rather than flower development. If not removed, the bulb production can be reduced. But don’t throw those scapes away. Young, tender scapes are considered a delicacy and can be chopped up and put in salads or other dishes to add a mild garlic flavor. Harvest garlic when the foliage begins to dry and turn brown. In our area, that usually happens in August. For more information on growing garlic, see ISU Extension article Growing Garlic by Cindy Haynes (October, 2009).

So even though it seems like we should put our gardening thoughts away for awhile, it’s still time to get out and get some planting done! For any questions feel free to contact horticulture educator, Margaret Murphy, by phone (712) 472-2576, at email or contact your local County Extension office.


Contact information: Margaret Murphy 712 472-2576(office) •605 521-7893(cell) •