12/28/2011 4:20 PM

GOP Presidential Candidate Senator Rick Santorum has decided to make his final campaign event before the Iowa Caucuses in Rock Rapids.

Lyon County Republican Party Chair Dr. Cody Hoefert says it is an honor to be chosen as the final stop.

The Senator has seen strong support in Lyon County.

Santorum will hold rallies in Orange City and Rock Rapids Sunday — New Year’s Day. The Faith, Family & Freedom Rally at Northwestern Bank in Orange City will begin at 4:45 p.m. and last until 5:45 p.m.

He will make his final campaign stop on Sunday evening at 6:30 PM at the Frontier Bank Basement in Rock Rapids.

In the latest CNN poll just released Senator Santorum is in third place just behind Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director

December 28, 2011 - 9:13 am - Posted in News
Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul will campaign in Iowa for three days in the run-up to the January 3, 2012 Iowa Caucus.  The far-reaching visit starts today and goes through Friday, December 30th.
Public events during this visit include town hall meetings in large population centers and rural areas, and a major Salute to Veterans Rally.
Dr. Paul will be in our area on Friday.  At 1:00 p.m., it’s a Plymouth County Town Hall Meeting at the LeMars Convention Center.  At 3, he’ll hold a Sioux County Town Hall Meeting at the Sioux Center Public Library.  Then it’s on to a Sioux City Town Hall Meeting at the River’s Bend Convention Center / Stoney Creek Inn.

Friday, December 30, 2011: Paul’s Schedule

1:00 p.m.: Plymouth County Town Hall Meeting at the LeMars Convention Center   on 275 12th St. SE in LeMars, IA 51031

3:00 p.m.: Sioux County Town Hall Meeting at Sioux Center Public Library on 102 S. Main Ave. in Sioux Center, IA 51250

7:00 p.m.: Sioux City Town Hall Meeting at River’s Bend Convention Center / Stoney Creek Inn on 300 3rd St. in Sioux City, IA 51101

December 28, 2011 - 8:58 am - Posted in News
Mitt Romney has decided not to visit northwest Iowa himself in the next few days.  He’s sending a face northwest Iowans will be more familiar with — South Dakota Senator John Thune.
Thune endorsed Romney last month.  The northwest Iowa stops are planned for Sioux City, Le Mars and Orange City.  In Sioux City Thune will be joined by former GOP senators — one each from Minnesota and Missouri.
December 26, 2011 - 8:25 am - Posted in News

Three people were arrested on drug charges in two separate incidents over the Christmas weekend in Sioux County

They report that on Saturday, December 24, one of their deputies arrested two people for drug violations following a traffic stop near Sioux Center.  Twenty-one-year-old Amber Wichers of Sioux Center was arrested when it was discovered she was wanted for a Plymouth County arrest warrant.  She was later charged with OWI/Drugged 2nd Offense, an aggravated misdemeanor and possession of marijuana, a serious misdemeanor. Twenty-year-old Randy Kirsch of South Sioux City, Nebraska was a passenger in the vehicle and was arrested for furnishing a controlled substance into a detention facility (the Sioux County Jail), a class D felony; possession of marijuana, a serious misdemeanor; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a simple misdemeanor. The Sioux Center Police Department and O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the investigation.
Then on Sunday, December 25, 21-year-old Erica Olivarez-Gomez of Sioux Center was charged by the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office with Introducing a Controlled Substance to a Detention Facility, a Class D Felony.  Olivarez-Gomez had been arrested shortly after 12 AM — just into Christmas morning — by a Sioux Center Police Officer pursuant to an arrest warrant.  Upon further investigation by the sheriff’s office, a controlled substance was found among Olivarez-Gomez’ possessions.
December 23, 2011 - 10:23 am - Posted in News
Thirty-two northwest Iowa homeowners will get some money from the state to update their houses.
The Iowa Finance Authority Board of Directors recently approved a total of more than $4.8 million in grants to 25 Local Housing Trust Funds to move local affordable housing projects forward. The grants will aid in the development and preservation of more than 1,500 affordable housing units throughout the state.
$241,707 of the money will go to the Northwest Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund.  The grant will focus on assisting an estimated 32 low-income homeowners through the financing of needed repairs and lead-hazard reduction activities, which will assist in the rehabilitation of the region’s aging housing stock.  The Northwest Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund serves Buena Vista, Emmet, Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola and Sioux Counties.
Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Dave Jamison says that the Local Housing Trust Fund grants will not only provide nearly $5 million in funding to support local housing priorities throughout the state, but they will leverage more than $4 million in additional funds, or 83 cents for every dollar of LHTF Program funding. 
The Local Housing Trust Fund Program was created by the Iowa Legislature in 2003. Since its inception, the program has provided more than $23.5 million in housing assistance to provide 9,870 Iowa families with affordable housing opportunities. These awards have leveraged an additional $3.42 in other resources for every dollar of State Housing Trust Fund Local Housing Trust Fund program funding.
For more information, and to see if you might be eligible, you can contact NW IA Planning and Development Commission at 1-800-798-7224 ext 139.
December 20, 2011 - 9:33 am - Posted in News

Sioux County Attorney Coleman J. McAllister announced that Tristan Scott Schulz, age 24, of Sheldon, Iowa, was sentenced on December 19, 2011, in Sioux County District Court for the crime of Escape from Custody, a Class D Felony, in violation of Iowa Code Section 719.4(1).   prosecuted the case on behalf of the State ofIowa. 

 This case arose onOctober 23, 2011, when the Defendant, who was incarcerated at the Iowa Department of Correctional Services managed Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) located inSheldon,Iowa, escaped by leaving the facility without permission. Defendant was serving a felony sentence at the RTF for Burglary in the Third Degree, a Class D felony. Defendant was arrested onNovember 18, 2011.  

 The Defendant was sentenced to five years in prison for the Escape charge. The Court further ordered that Defendant must serve the five-year prison term consecutively to his original five-year sentence for Burglary in the Third Degree.

The US Postal Service decided this week to delay the closings of several rural northwest Iowa post offices.

Post offices in Alvord, Archer, Ashton, Calumet, and Harris in our area, as well as many not too far away in places like Ayrshire, Cleghorn, Fostoria, Gillette Grove, Larabee, Linn Grove, Oyens, Plover, Quimby, Rembrandt, Washta, Webb, and Westfield, among those in several other communities in Iowa were in various stages of being considered for closure. Tim Albrecht, Governor Branstad’s spokesperson says that the governor heard about these possible closings, and found that there would be a disproportionate number of closings in Iowa compared to other states.



He says there are no misconceptions here — the Postal Service has to do something to stay afloat.

Recently, it was announced that the Postal Service heeded Governor Branstad’s advice. Albrecht says they’re “going back to the drawing board” and are delaying all closings until May, 2012.



He says several ideas have come forth, including the sharing of postmasters between several offices. He says there are labor considerations at the federal level that caused the Postal Service to be hesitant to take some actions. Albrecht also says that Postal Service officials were unable to answer some simple questions at some of the meetings. He said it was also very common for communities to be worried about not being able to attract new business and industry to their community when they didn’t even have a post office.

Some 37-hundred (3,700) post offices nationwide are part of the so-called “expanded access study” after the Postal Service posted an $8.5 billion net loss in the 2010 fiscal year. That’s almost 23-million dollars the Postal Service is losing every day.

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director

Details are still a bit sketchy, but law enforcement officials are starting to piece together what happened in a rural Kingsley home a week ago — Friday, December 9.  Seventeen-year-old Kyle Badgerow died from injuries he sustained after being shot with a .45 pistol.
The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference on Friday, at which they explained some of the details they have worked out.
Authorities are continuing their investigation, but so far, they can tell us that they have taken Badgerow’s step-brother, 14-year-old William Keith Noll — who goes by “Billy” — into custody.  He was taken into custody at the home of his father, Kenneth Noll, of Royal, and is being held at the Y.E.S. Center in Cherokee.
Noll is charged with two felony counts — Involuntary Manslaughter — a class D felony; and Willful Injury — a class C felony.  Authorities claim that Noll did QUOTE “unlawfully and unintentionally cause the death of Kyle Badgerow by recklessly committing a public offense, to-wit an assault.”  They claim he pointed a loaded firearm at his step-brother, which caused serious injury to Badgerow.
Investigators also think the shooting took place inside the home, with a total of four people present, including Badgerow, Noll, and two others who are not being identified so as not to jeopardize any further investigation.
The pistol was found in the home after the shooting and investigators are certain that Noll acted alone.
December 19, 2011 - 9:29 am - Posted in News
A Royal man has been arrested on a Sioux County Warrant for contempt of court.
The Clay County Sheriff’s Office reports that they arrested 32-year-old Matthew Lewis of Royal on Monday evening.
The deputy initiated a traffic stop on a vehicle and upon investigation, it was found that the passenger — Lewis — had a warrant for his arrest.  The warrant was from Sioux County for contempt of court on an original charge of Operating a Motor Vehicle without Owner’s Consent.  He was arrested and taken to the Clay County Jail, where he was later released on a $2,000 cash or surety bond.

Iowa State University’s Extension Department has been doing surveys of farmland values for 70 years, but the results for this year show numbers like nothing that’s been seen in the previous seven decades.

Economist Mike Duffy put together the survey.

“The biggest record in my opinion was the percentage increase, our survey this year showed a 32.5% increase (in land values), and that’s higher than even what we saw in 1973, which as a little over 31%,” Duffy says. Landowners in all 99 counties saw increases.

“Every county was up over 20%,” Duffy says, “the highest county actually was Scott County, and it was up 37%. The lowest percentage wise was Washington County, but it was still up 28%.”

The average value of an acre of Iowa farmland is $6,708, which is an all-time high. The top driver of the higher farmland values according to Duffy, is the increase in gross farm income brought on by higher corn and bean prices. He says there are a lot of secondary drivers too, including lower interest rates, and the fact that land is a relatively good investment.

“You know a lot of people were saying ‘if we sell the land, what are we going to do with it,’ and so they’re not seeing as much of a supply of land and yields, even though some parts of the state were not as good, we did have good yields (overall),” Duffy says.

Past history always raises the question of whether land prices could crash. “It’s one of the things that when we ask people in the survey to list negative factors, 31% indicated that land was too high and that were expressing concern that we may be on speculative bubble and that land values would really collapse,” he says.

Duffy has some encouragement though for those concerned about farmland going the way of home values. “My personal feeling is that we’re not on a speculative bubble, I do think there is a possibility for corrections though, we saw a little correction in 2009. That to me is a good sign in that it shows there is still discipline in the market,” Duffy explains. “Right now these levels of increases that we’ve seen, even though they are very high, there’s a lot of fundamentals backing them.”

Some land in Sioux County sold last week for $20,000 dollars an acre but Duffy doesn’t believe that’s an indicator that overall prices are going to go rapidly higher. “It think we have to always remember the $20,000 and the $16,000 plus are auction sales, and a lot depends on if you have two people going head to head and want it, then the (land) prices go higher,” Duffy says.

He says he thought the prices in his survey are a little higher than he expected, but not totally out of line. You can see maps showing the 2011 farmland values and additional information on the I.S.U. Extension website: www.extension.iastate.edu/topic/landvalue

In Lyon County, the average price paid for an acre of land has increased from $6277 last year to $8355 this year an increase of $2078 per acre, or 33.1%.

In Sioux County, the average price paid for an acre of land has increased from $7048 last year to $9419 this year an increase of $2371 per acre, or 33.64%.

In Osceola County, the average price paid for an acre of land has increased from $6350 last year to $8452 this year an increase of $2102 per acre, or 33.1%.

In OBrien County, the average price paid for an acre of land has increased from $7148 last year to $9513 this year an increase of $2366 per acre, which is also 33.1%. The average price paid in OBrien County this year was the highest in the state.

Dar Danielson – RadioIowa and
Scott Van Aartsen – KIWA