March 24, 2017 - 3:31 pm - Posted in News

railroad tanker carsOmaha, Nebraska — Railroad trains on what Union Pacific calls their “Worthington Sub” are moving a little faster through our area.

Union Pacific officials say they are increasing the maximum track speed limit from 40 to 49 mph on the rail line paralleling Highway 60 in northwest Iowa.

We talked to Union Pacific spokesperson Calli Hite, who tells us the reasons behind the speed increase.

She says not only do the upgrades allow them to increase speeds, they also support the state’s current and future freight transportation needs, and enhance safety and efficiency.

Hite says the increased speeds shouldn’t have a large impact on safety.

She says train speeds at Sibley, Ashton, Sheldon and Hospers area crossings are increasing gradually.

Hite says trains do not have to move at the full 49-mile-per-hour rate. She says it’s a speed limit just like a speed limit for cars. And just like car drivers need to adjust their speed for certain conditions, conductors and engineers sometimes need to adjust the train’s speed as well.

Hite also says that the line that parallels Highway 60 in our area is under what they call “track warrant control,” which has a speed cap of 49 miles per hour. She says the speed limit could not go any higher than 49 without changing the method of traffic control, which would take significant infrastructure upgrades.

March 24, 2017 - 3:29 pm - Posted in Sports

Sioux Center, Iowa — Erika Feenstra, senior at Western Christian High School, has announced her intention to attend Dordt College and join the women’s basketball program.

Feenstra, a 6-1 guard, comes to Dordt fresh off a 2016 class 2A state basketball championship, where she earned all-tournament honors. As a senior, she averaged 15.2 points per game, while sinking 46 three-point shots and grabbing 128 rebounds on the way to a first team all-conference selection. During her career at Western Christian, she has been a part of three state tournament teams, including the 2016 championship and a runner up finish in 2015, and three-consecutive Lake Conference titles.

“Erika’s an incredibly gifted athlete. Because of her length, speed, versatility and athleticism she creates match-up problems for opponents on both ends of the floor. We have always been impressed with her ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter and guard the best playing on the opposing team. This year we saw her score in a variety of ways and develop into a leader on the best team in the state. She has an extremely bright future as both a student and athlete at Dordt and we are looking forward to watching her development over the course of her career,” said Dordt assistant coach, Tanner Havens.

Feenstra was named first team all-state, and all-conference in volleyball for the Wolfpack. She helped guide Western to the back-to-back state volleyball championshipsin 2015 and 2016 along with a runner-up finish in 2014. She was named captain of the 2016 Class 2A State Volleyball All-Tournament team.

Feenstra is also an accomplished track athlete. She was a part of the 2014 state champion 4×200 relay team, and the 2016 state champion 4×400 relay team. She has also placed in the top 10 individually at the state meet in the 100, 200, and 400 meter run at least once during her prep campaign.

Erika is the daughter of Randy and Lynette Feenstra of Hull, Iowa. She intends to study Exercise Science at Dordt.

March 24, 2017 - 2:32 pm - Posted in News

RTFOrange City, Iowa — A man who escaped from the Iowa Department of Corrections Residential Treatment Facility in Sheldon last year is back in custody.

According to Sioux County Jail records, 25-year-old Eric James Spratt of Alta was picked up by the Buena Vista County Sheriff’s Office and was returned to Sioux County this past week, where at last report he remained in custody in lieu of a $5000 cash or surety bond.

Sioux County Chief Deputy Nate Huizenga says that Spratt absconded from the Sheldon RTF in June of 2016. According to Iowa Department of Corrections records, Spratt was serving a sentence for 3rd Degree Burglary out of Buena Vista County. He now faces the rest of that sentence. In addition, Sioux County authorities filed a felony escape charge against Spratt after he escaped from custody last June. He faces a preliminary hearing on that charge on Tuesday, April 4th.

March 24, 2017 - 11:24 am - Posted in News

Sioux County Courthouse_svaOrange City, Iowa — A trial date has been set for a Hawarden couple facing felony charges of child endangerment after their 11-year-old told a teacher he was being abused.

According to court records, authorities believe that on at least three separate occasions from September of last year until now, 35-year-old Matthew Spaans abused his 11-year-old stepson, causing injuries. Authorities also believe the child’s mother, 33-year-old Nina Spaans told the boy to make up stories about how the injuries were received.

Matthew Spaans is charged with three counts of Serious Assault Causing Bodily Injury, a serious misdemeanor; and both Matthew and Nina Spaans are charged with three counts each of Child Endangerment Causing Bodily Injury, a class D felony.

Both have entered “not guilty” pleas.

A pretrial conference has been set for April 17th, with a jury trial scheduled for Tuesday, July 18th.

March 24, 2017 - 11:22 am - Posted in News

RAGBRAI tentsOrange City, Iowa — More details have been finalized about how Orange City is going to handle thousands of bicyclists and their support people in July.

The Orange City RAGBRAI® committee has announced campground information for registered riders who will be participating in RAGBRAI XLV and spending the night in Orange City before heading out on the bike ride across Iowa on July 23. According to JoAnn Weber of the Orange City RAGBRAI executive committee, the main campground will be on the campus of Northwestern College in an area just east of the college’s Bultman Center.

She says that the main campground is about five and a half acres. She says the Bultman Center will have showers and restrooms available for campers. This campground is primarily for riders utilizing the RAGBRAI luggage service, and will be available on a first come, first served basis, according to Weber.

She tells us this campground will not accommodate vehicles, so RVs and other support vehicles will need to find alternate locations. Some of the RV camping areas include Northwest Implement, the MOC-FV High School parking lot, and the Unity Christian High School parking lot.

A map of additional official campgrounds available in Orange City during RAGBRAI will be released in April after charter groups have indicated their needs. Registered riders may also apply for various housing options at after May 1. That web site is also a clearinghouse for everything RAGBRAI in Orange City this year.

lifeserve logo

Help your community and roll up your sleeves to saves lives! Donate today with LifeServe Blood Center.


LifeServe will be in Boyden on Tuesday, April 4th at the DEMCO Community Center, located at 714 Main Street, from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

On Thursday, April 6th LifeServe will be in Sioux Center at the Centre Mall, located at 251 N. Main Ave, from 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m

LifeServe will be in Hospers on Monday, April 10th at the Hospers Community Center, located at 211 Broad Street, from 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

On Tuesday, April 11th  LifeServe will be in George at the George Community Building, located at 117 S. Main Street, from 10:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m

Thursday, April 13th LifeServe will be in Orange City at the Orange City Area Health System Downtown Campus, located at 400 Central Ave SW, from 12:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

March 24, 2017 - 8:41 am - Posted in Sports

basketballKansas City, MO. – The final edition of the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll is out. National champion Union (Ky.) earned the top spot. The Bulldogs earned all 11 first-place votes and 281 total points to remain in control.The Crossroads League, Cascade Collegiate Conference and the Great Plains Athletic Conference are tied for most schools represented with four each.

Briar Cliff led the conference with an 11th place finish followed by Northwestern in the 12 spot. Dakota Wesleyan finished at number 20 with Midland ranked number 24 in the final poll.  Concordia finished in the receiving votes category.

1 Union (Ky.) (11) 35-3 281
2 Cornerstone (Mich.) 34-4 272
3 Indiana Wesleyan 29-8 258
4 Bethel (Ind.) 31-5 256
5 Bellevue (Neb.) 25-11 245
6 IU East (Ind.) 28-8 237
7 Trinity International (Ill.) 30-6 215
8 Tabor (Kan.) 25-10 212
9 Northwest Christian (Ore.) 25-6 209
10 Robert Morris (Ill.) 27-7 207
11   Briar Cliff (Iowa) 26-8 182
12   Northwestern (Iowa) 27-7 168
13 Saint Francis (Ind.) 23-11 163
14 College of Idaho 24-10 159
15 Davenport (Mich.) 24-9 148
16 Warner (Fla.) 26-5 144
17 Eastern Oregon 24-9 139
18 Rochester (Mich.) 29-3 130
19 York (Neb.) 25-10 127
20   Dakota Wesleyan (S.D) 23-10 121
21 Taylor (Ind.) 21-12 101
22 Oregon Tech 24-10 89
23 IU Southeast 24-7 87
24   Midland (Neb.) 21-10 79
25 Washington Adventist (Md.) 22-7 72

Receiving Votes: WVU Tech 59; Reinhardt (Ga.) 27; Florida Memorial 25; Morningside (Iowa) 17; Cal Maritime 14; Aquinas (Mich.) 11; St. Thomas (Fla.) 10; Pacific Union (Calif.) 8; Corban (Ore.) 7; Southwestern (Kan.) 6; Concordia (Neb.) 5

March 23, 2017 - 3:27 pm - Posted in News

ambulance rear_OOrange City, Iowa — An Alton teen was airlifted to a Sioux City hospital after an accident on Wednesday, March 22nd.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that at 10:45 p.m., 36-year-old Brandon Hofland of Sioux Center was backing a 2004 Freightliner semi‐tractor pulling a feed trailer on 400th Street onto a hog confinement property, four miles north of Orange City. They say 18-year-old Lauren Pottebaum of Alton was driving a 2010 Jeep Patriot eastbound on 400th Street when she struck the feed trailer on the roadway.

Crash 2Pottebaum became trapped in her vehicle and required mechanical extrication by the Orange City Fire Department. The Orange City Ambulance took her to the Orange City Area Health System Hospital. She was later flown to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City.

The feed trailer sustained approximately $20,000 in damage. The Jeep sustained approximately $18,000 in damage.

The Sheriff’s Office reports that the Orange City Ambulance crew and Orange City Fire DepartmentCrash assisted on the scene.

They say the accident remains under investigation.

March 23, 2017 - 3:27 pm - Posted in News

pipeline construction2Hospers, Iowa — The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office has just released some information about some attempted vandalism to property owned by the Dakota Access Pipeline last week.

The Sheriff’s Office reports that the vandalism was reported in two locations of the Dakota Access pipeline south of Hospers.
Deputies found that someone had apparently attempted to burn holes into the above ground valves at these two locations. Deputies responded and secured both locations. 

The Sheriff’s Office says they contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They say the FBI is conducting the investigation of the incidents in Sioux County, as well as similar incidents in South Dakota and Iowa.

Sheriff’s Officials say that they encourage you to report any suspicious activity near any of the pipeline sites. If you have information regarding the damage to the pipeline, you are asked to contact the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office or send an anonymous tip through their Text‐A‐Tip program.  Find more information about it at