September 24, 2014 - 8:10 am - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Governor’s Office has released some data regarding property tax relief.moneybag

The data from the Iowa Department of Revenue shows that Iowa counties are receiving over $78.3 million in state backfill funding and taxpayers are receiving over $49 million in credits, for a total of roughly $127.3 million, in the 2013 assessment year, as part of the historic property tax reduction bill advocated for by Governor Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Reynolds.

The plan includes many benefits. Part of the plan is permanent property tax relief protected by a standing appropriation, that represents the largest tax reduction in Iowa history – $4.4 billion over 10 years. Another part is property tax reduction for all classes of property: agricultural, residential, commercial and industrial, without shift of the tax burden to other classes of property. Changes the school finance formula so that “allowable growth” is replaced by 100% state aid. Finally, commercial and industrial property are being taxed at 95% of assessed value this year, eventually moving to 90% of assessed value next year.

The historic tax reform passage of 2013 received strong bipartisan support. It passed the Iowa Senate 43-6, and the Iowa House 84-13 in May.

State funds, called “backfill” were paid to counties to ensure they did not see a loss in revenue from the property tax reduction. This is permanent relief protected by a standing appropriation.

State Senator Randy Feenstra of Hull says that the state has seen an uptick in the economy since 2008 and 2009. He says that the governor and legislature have used this increased revenue and “plowed it back into commercial tax relief.” Feenstra says that it is actually a tax shift when you backfill using other tax money.

The money to pay the backfill comes from the ending balance. It’s unspent money left over at the end of the state fiscal year.

Critics of the deal say this spending is crowding out other priorities for state government and they say with the escalating commitment, the governor may have set the stage for future tax increases; all of which Branstad rejects.

In our area, O’Brien County, state backfill amounted to $230,325.56. State tax credit to taxpayers amounted to $383,546.68, and total tax relief funding to the county was $613,872.24. Sioux County’s backfill was $651,173.77. And credit to taxpayers was $765,007.94, for a total of $1,416,181.71. In Osceola County, the backfill amounted to $148,531.07; individual relief was $158,800.32; for a total of $307,331.39. And in Lyon County, the backfill was $175,878.11; individual relief amounted to $216,668.63; and the total tax relief funding to the county was $392,546.74.

Click here for a pdf file of the figures for the rest of the state.

Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson assisted with this story.

Sioux City, Iowa — Three law enforcement agencies in our area had a hand in an investigation, through which a Le Mars man has now been sentenced to eleven years in prison.gavel_sxc

According to the United States Attorney’s Office, 30-year-old Jason Moore of Le Mars received the prison term after pleading guilty in April to conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.

Moore admitted his involvement in a conspiracy from about June of 2012 through March 2013, that distributed more than 500 grams of actual (pure) methamphetamine. During the time period of the conspiracy, Moore lived in northwest Iowa and sold methamphetamine to various customers in northwest and central Iowa. According to court documents, Moore traveled to Des Moines one or two times a week to obtain methamphetamine for resale in central and northwest Iowa.

In addition to the 11 years in prison, Moore must also serve a 5-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.

The case was investigated by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by the Iowa Great Lakes Drug Task Force, Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, police departments from Spirit Lake, Le Mars, Hawarden, and Sheldon, the O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office, and the Central Iowa Drug Task Force.

Hawarden, Iowa — A storage area in an apartment building in Hawarden was damaged in a fire on Monday, September 22, 2014. Fire Lightbar

About 1:50 PM, the Hawarden Fire Department was called to the report of structure fire at 1005 Avenue F in Hawarden – an apartment house owned by Trent Richards.

According to Hawarden Fire Chief Jon Strong, the fire department saw fire coming out of a window as they approached the scene. Strong says the storage area used to be a garage, and the fire was coming through one of the former garage door windows.

Strong reports that there were no injuries to people, pets, or livestock.

The Ireton Fire Department always assists the Hawarden Fire Department on structure fires in Hawarden and vice versa, so they assisted on the scene.

He says the cause of the fire was undetermined, but the chief says it’s his opinion that it could have been related to smoking in the storage area.

Chief Strong reports that there appeared to be five to eight thousand dollars in damage, plus some minor smoke damage to one of the apartments.

He says they used minimal water to fight the fire, and crews were on scene about an hour and a half.

September 23, 2014 - 8:11 am - Posted in News

Hull, Iowa — A Boyden man was taken to a hospital after an accident on Monday morning near Hull.Ambulance Front Generic

The Sioux County Sheriff’s office reports that about 7:10 AM, 32-year-old Justin Hoogland of Orange City was driving a 2004 Ford F‐250 pickup northbound on Indian Avenue, three miles southeast of Hull. Forty-two-year-old Craig Van Briesen of Boyden was driving a 1996 Ford F‐150 pickup westbound on 340th Street. The two met in the intersection and Van Briesen’s pickup struck Hoogland’s.

The Hull Ambulance transported Van Briesen to the Sioux Center Hospital.

Hoogland’s vehicle sustained approximately $8,000 in damages. Van Briesen’s vehicle sustained an estimated
$5,000 in damages.

Hoogland was cited for failing to yield to vehicle on the right.

The Hull Fire Department and Hull Ambulance crew assisted the Sheriff’s Office.

September 23, 2014 - 8:06 am - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — An aluminum sculpture of a seated pig. That’s what was reported stolen in a recent theft report from the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office.Sioux Sheriff Car 84-

They report that they investigated the complaint on Sunday afternoon, September 21. It was reported to have happened at a home four miles north of Orange City.

The sculpture of the seated pig is made of aluminum, painted black and white, weighs approximately 150 pounds, and measures four feet long and three feet tall. The theft is believed to have occurred after 10:00 PM on Saturday, September 20.

The value of the property is estimated at $300.

If you have any information about this crime you are asked to contact the sheriff’s office. If you wish to remain anonymous you can use the Text‐a‐Tip Program.

September 20, 2014 - 8:16 am - Posted in News

Hospers, Iowa — Two people from Paullina have been arrested on felony warrants after a Sioux County Deputy showed up at a home where they were visiting in Hospers.Hand Cuffs sxc

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that shortly after 8 PM Thursday evening, September 18th, the deputy went to a Hospers home to serve a civil process document. While at the home the deputy became suspicious of the behavior of two people who were visiting the occupants at that home. Upon further investigation it was discovered that there were felony arrest warrants out for the visitors.

Twenty-seven-year-old Ashley Silberstein was arrested by the deputy on site. Thirty-one-year-old Nathan Silberstein attempted to evade arrest by fleeing on foot, but he was taken into custody a short time later.

Both were wanted in connection with a burglary case.

The sheriff’s office was assisted by the Orange City Police Department.

Both Silbersteins have a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, September 30th.

Orange City, Iowa — The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office has recently investigated a report of burglary and assault that occurred at a home four miles northeast of Orange City, and has now made three arrests in connection with the case. Sioux Sheriff Car 84-

Deputies discovered that three people illegally entered the victim’s home on Saturday, September 6, at approximately 4:00 AM, and an assault occurred inside the home.

As a result of the investigation 23-year-old Jonathan Kats of Hull was arrested and charged with 2nd Degree Burglary and Serious Assault. Twenty-three-year-old Andrew Driesen of Alton was arrested and charged with Serious Assault and Criminal Trespassing. Twenty-three-year-old Lance Hulstein of Sheldon was arrested and charged with Criminal Trespassing.

In other news from the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, deputies have made an arrest in the case of the broken car window near Sioux Center on September 12th. The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office charged a 16-year-old boy from Sioux Center with Criminal Trespassing. He was cited into Juvenile Court.

Sioux Center, Iowa — It’s a different kind of fundraiser, but it promises to be a lot of fun.FGSCP Harlem Ambassadors

The Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion program is bringing in the Harlem Ambassadors basketball team to take on a team of local celebrities. It’ll be at the Sioux Center High School gym on Tuesday, September 23rd at 6:30 PM.

The Harlem Ambassadors perform fundraising/entertainment comedy basketball games for non-profit organizations, service clubs, and the U.S. military. The Ambassadors have helped non-profits raise approximately $9 million for their communities since 1998. They also perform “Stay in School, Stay off Drugs” assembly programs for youth at elementary and middle schools.

We talked to Cathy Bonestroo with the Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion program. She says this is their main fundraiser for the year, and tells us how they came up with the idea.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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

Bonestroo tells us what the Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs do.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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

According to the Harlem Ambassadors, you can find more information about them at  They tell us that families laugh together at the Harlem Ambassadors’ hijinks and are amazed at their high-flying slam dunks.  They say kids can look up to the Ambassadors as great role models who are college-educated and drug-free.

But — who are the Ambassadors playing? A team of local celebrities including Senator Randy Feenstra, Deputy Waylon Pollema, several teachers and administrators from several area schools, radio announcers including KIWA’s own Larry Ahrens, Pastor Kevin Gingerich from Sheldon United Methodist Church and representing each of the programs, Nancy Burley, a volunteer from the Foster Grandparent program, and Ray Bohlke, a volunteer from the Senior Companion program.

Bonestroo says it should be a lot of fun. You can get your tickets by calling 476-2628 or 224-2610. Advanced tickets are $4, $6, and $8 and at the door they will be $5, $8, and $10.

She also says if you’d like to volunteer for one of their programs or if you think their services could help you or a loved one, give them a call at 476-2628.

September 15, 2014 - 8:01 am - Posted in News

Maurice, Iowa — The DNR spill team is back in northwest Iowa today, this time to investigate a manure spill near Maurice.Fish Kill

According to the DNR, they are investigating a spill in a creek called “Orange City Slough Creek”.

They say the fish kill appears to have happened after a wrong switch was pulled Saturday evening at the Brian Roorda Dairy east of Maurice. The switch turned on a pump that moves manure from one lagoon to another. That caused the second lagoon to overflow. Manure from the lagoon ran down a grassed waterway into the creek.

The spill was discovered and then reported to the DNR on Sunday morning. The dairy was able to construct an earthen dam to stop the flow of the manure after the overflow was discovered.

Approximately five miles of the stream had been affected by the spill by early Sunday evening.

September 13, 2014 - 8:31 am - Posted in News

Granville, Iowa — A charter bus carrying 39 passengers was involved in an accident on Friday near Granville, and only the driver reported any injuries.charter bus accident

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 12:15 PM, 57-year-old Harold Flavell of Johnston, Iowa was driving a 2007 VanHool charter bus transporting 39 passengers westbound on Highway 10 when he apparently experienced a medical condition and lost control of the bus. It entered the north ditch, struck a fence and came to a stop in a bean field.

The Granville Ambulance transported Flavell to the Orange City Area Health System Hospital. None of the passengers reported any injuries.

The bus sustained about $7,500 in damages. The fence and bean field sustained an estimated $500 in damages.

The sheriff’s office reports they were assisted by the Granville Fire Department, Granville Ambulance Service, and the Spalding Catholic School in Granville. The school provided a school bus to transport the passengers to another charter bus.