May 16, 2016 - 2:06 pm - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — A total of over $101,000 in grants were given to sixteen non-profit entities and units of government on Monday, May 16th, 2016 at the Prairie Winds Events Center in Orange City.
Sioux County Community Foundation
The Sioux County Community Foundation awarded the grants in support of projects and programs throughout Sioux County. This brings the total grants awarded to over $919,000 since the first grants were made ten years ago in 2006. Funding for the grant program is a result of County Endowment Fund legislation (HF2302) passed in 2005, which provides that a percentage of state gambling revenues be distributed among all Iowa counties.

Receiving grants of $10,000 were Greater Sioux Community Health Center for dental chair unit replacement; the Sioux County Library Association toward the Sioux County Library Technology Improvement project; and the Sioux County Regional Airport, toward an Approach Lighting System and Terminal Building Enhancements.

Grants of less than $10,000 were given to many projects in Sioux County including improvements and renovations to parks and other outdoor facilities, a rehab home, money toward a new fire truck and a new ambulance, other emergency equipment upgrades and replacements, and funding towards a veterans’ memorial.

Here is the full list:

Name Project Title Amount
Maurice Volunteer Fire Department SCBA Cylinder replacement $1,664.00
Granville Community Veterans Granville Veterans Memorial $3,000.00
Rock Valley Fire Department Thermal Imaging Camera $3,650.00
Hull Bright Start, Inc. Bright Start Kitchen Remodel $5,000.00
Hawarden Ambulance Ambulance Equipment Upgrade $5,846.00
Boyden Area Fire Department Air Pack Replacement $7,300.00
Hospers Ambulance Service Hospers Ambulance – New Ambulance $7,300.00
Ireton Community Fire Dept. New Fire Truck $7,300.00
City of Boyden Tennis Court/Basketball Court Renovation $7,500.00
City of Hospers Hospers South Side Park Campground Cement Project $7,500.00
City of Rock Valley Rock Valley Sports Complex Playground Equipment Project $7,500.00
Siouxland Habitat for Humanity Ireton Rehab Home $7,500.00
Greater Sioux Community Health Center Dental Chair Unit Replacement $10,000.00
Sioux County Library Association Sioux County Library Technology Improvement $10,000.00
Sioux County Regional Airport MALSR Approach Lighting System/Terminal Building Enhancements $10,000.00
Total $101,060.00


May 15, 2016 - 7:56 am - Posted in News

Sioux Sheriff 84-8 FacebookOrange City, Iowa — A Sioux Center teen rolled her vehicle near Orange City on Friday, May 13th.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that at about 9:17 am on Friday, 17-year-old Nikole Van Engen of Sioux Center was driving a 2010 Hyundai Elantra southbound on Ironwood Avenue, three miles north of Orange City. According to the report, Van Engen lost control of the vehicle, entered the west ditch and rolled.

The Hyundai received $10,000 damage.

No injuries were reported.

May 13, 2016 - 3:07 pm - Posted in News

Sioux Center, Iowa — A northwest Iowa Christian liberal arts college has received a grant worth over a quarter of a million dollars to study mental health in Ukraine.
dordt grant ukraine
Dordt College psychology professors Mark Christians and Luralyn Helming; history professor Mark McCarthy, and statistics professor Nathan Tintle, have received a three-year, $355,268 grant from the National Science Foundation to facilitate a research program for undergraduates that explores the effects of political upheaval and ethnic discord on the mental health of Ukrainian citizens.

Dordt officials say that using an interdisciplinary approach, this research program will provide undergraduate students with a unique opportunity to make meaningful contributions to important health and policy research issues in a developing country.

McCarthy says he is very excited to see how the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities can all come together to study issues in mental health. He says that being at a small college they have unique opportunities for meaningful interaction between the different disciplines. He says they have the ability to see and study God’s world as an integral interconnected whole.

The four professors have already analyzed and interpreted data from a survey on mental and physical health of Ukrainian adult citizens, leading to 10 peer-reviewed papers. The two most recent papers have resulted from a pilot project run at Dordt the last few years.

Senior psychology major Matt Bolt participated in a pilot version of the summer program last summer exploring the relationships between exposure to the Chernobyl nuclear accident and various long-term mental health issues. This summer he is leveraging his experience at Dordt to participate in a different summer research program in Colorado this summer.

The NSF grant will allow the program to expand the number of undergraduate research students who can participate in this research annually from one to nine. Each year, three to five of these undergraduate students will come from Dordt, with the other students coming from various institutions from across the country.

Students will collaborate with Kiev International Institute of Sociology and be mentored by the four Dordt professors and worldwide experts on Ukraine mental health. The research positions will become available starting in the summer of 2017.

May 13, 2016 - 8:53 am - Posted in News

sioux county sheriff emblemSioux Center, Iowa — A failed pass ended up in an accident near Sioux Center on Tuesday, May 10th.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that at about 2:08 pm on Tuesday, 25-year-old Beth Vonk of Ireton was driving a 2010 Mazda eastbound on 420th Street, six miles southwest of Sioux Center. Twenty-four-year-old Luis Hernadez-Flores was driving a 2006 Jeep Commander eastbound on 420th Street, behind Vonk. According to the report, Hernandez-Flores attempted to pass Vonk and struck the Mazda.

The Mazda received $2000 damage. The Jeep received $50 damage.

No injuries were reported.

May 12, 2016 - 11:43 am - Posted in News

OC PD Orange City PoliceOrange City, Iowa — Three vehicles were damaged in Orange City on Wednesday, May 11th.

The Orange City Police Department reports that at about 6:00 pm on Wednesday, 17-year-old Jayci Nibbelink of Orange City was driving a 2000 Chevy Impala southbound on Georgia Avenue Southwest in Orange City. Twenty-year-old Aaron Lemon of Mitchell, South Dakota was driving a 2002 Ford Taurus eastbound on 7th Street Southwest and entered the intersection of Georgia and 7th. According to the report, Nibbelink failed to yield to Lemon, struck Lemon’s Ford and continued through the intersection onto the southeast curb and struck a legally parked 2005 Hyundai Tucson.

The Chevy received $6000 damage. The Ford received $5000 damage, and the Hyundai received $2000 damage.

No injuries were reported

May 12, 2016 - 8:20 am - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — An Alton man has been re-sentenced to life in prison for a 1976 murder, but this time with the possibility of parole.
Sioux County Attorney Thomas G. Kunstle says that 55-year-old John Walter Mulder, originally of Alton, was re-sentenced on May 11, 2016 in Sioux County District Court for the 1976 Murder of Jean Homan.

Mulder was found guilty of Murder in the First Degree before a jury in 1979 and sentenced to mandatory life without parole on February 2, 1979. Mulder was convicted after accused of shooting and killing 55-year-old Jean Homan while she was in her Alton bedroom on April 23, 1976. Immediately before firing at Jean Homan, Mulder aimed at her husband, Carl Homan, but the rifle misfired, says Kunstle.

This re-sentencing arose after the United States Supreme Court held that juvenile offenders cannot be sentenced to mandatory life imprisonment without parole even for homicide offenses. Governor Branstad commuted Mulder’s sentence to life with parole after 60 years. In 2013, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the Governor’s blanket commutation was not right because each case required an individualized sentencing hearing.

Since Mulder has had several disciplinary violations during his 37 years in prison, including escape attempts, the court decided to re-sentence him to life with the possibility of parole after 42 years before he will be eligible for parole or work release. Mulder has 30 days to appeal the sentence.

More information from the Sioux County Attorney’s Office:

In 2015 the law changed relating to the service of mandatory minimum sentences by juveniles convicted of murder, setting out three alternatives for the courts in these so-called juvenile murder re-sentencings. They are:

  • Life without the possibility of parole;
  • Life with the possibility of parole after setting a minimum term of confinement before parole eligibility;
  • Life with the possibility of parole.

Since 1979, Mulder has served 37 years in prison. The State requested a sentence under paragraph (ii) above – life with parole after 45 years. Mulder requested life with parole under paragraph (iii) above. The State cited the following DOC disciplinary violations as reasons for a stricter sentence:

  1. On 1/17/1980, Mulder possessed a bomb precursor. Mulder had received charcoal from another inmate, which was stolen from the Furniture shop, and that Mulder felt the inmate was going to utilize it to manufacture gun powder and make a bomb. Mulder was 18 years old.
  2. Between June 1981 and April 1982, Mulder was involved with multiple instances of collecting money and possessing and arranging for drugs to be purchased and introduced into the prison. Mulder was 20 years old.
  3. On 8/22/1989, Mulder had an argument with his at-the-time wife, and escaped from medium custody from a South Dakota Penitentiary. Mulder fled on foot, did not turn himself in, and was apprehended a short time later. Mulder received a 10 year suspended prison sentence from South Dakota for escape, and was no longer able to be supervised out-of-state. Mulder was 28 years old at the time.
  4. Mulder was part of a 1998 tunnel escape attempt which was ongoing for “six” or “seven months” where inmates tunneled just before the exterior prison wall, and inmates were “very close” to getting out. Staff found drills, masonry bits, electric extension cords, goggles, dust masks, gloves, coveralls, candles, pry bars, hammers, alcohol, plexiglass and steel shanks, spurious guard uniforms, and a 20 gauge shotgun made from galvanized water pipe and pipe fittings. Mulder stated he “knew about the shanks and gun” and Mulder’s personal property, marked with his inmate number, was located within the tunnel.
  5. Between 7/26/2013 and 8/20/2013, Mulder and another inmate were utilizing an off-limits room, avoiding surveillance cameras, for inappropriate consensual sexual misconduct. Mulder was also 52 years old at the time.
  6. Throughout Mulder’s incarceration he has been found with marijuana, un-prescribed prescription medication, tobacco, and alcohol.
May 11, 2016 - 3:43 pm - Posted in News

Granville, Iowa — After many years of dreaming, planning, design, and construction, the City of Granville now has a new fire station.

Photo courtesy Granville Fire Department

Photos courtesy Granville Fire Department

We talked to Granville Fire Chief Greg Penning. He says the idea for a new fire station has a long history.

He says they actually had some property purchased, but the project fizzled and nothing happened for a number of years.
New Granville Fire Station Outside

He says that they didn’t end up using the land that they had originally purchased for the new station. He tells us what they decided and about how much the project cost.

Penning says the building is 150′ by 60′, which includes a 50′ x 60′ community room, bathrooms, kitchenette, office, gear storage, and truck bays.

He says unlike the old station, they have a safe place to get geared up to go out on a call.

He says they have room for expansion and training, and it’s more safe.

He says there are enough “thank-yous” to go around.

Penning says he also wants to give the residents of Granville and the surrounding area a big thank you as well.

May 11, 2016 - 8:54 am - Posted in News

Sioux Sheriff 84-8 FacebookHull, Iowa — Two vehicles were damaged in an accident on Monday, May 9th near Hull.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that at about 4:34 pm on Monday, 58-year-old Doris Kragt of Rock Valley was driving a 2010 Chevrolet Suburban westbound on 320th Street, two miles west of Hull. Forty-four-year-old Darcy Techen of Hull was driving a 2013 Ford F-150 behind Kragt. According to the repot, Kragt stopped for the stop sign at the intersection of Highway 75 and 320th Street when Techen struck Kragt.

The Chevrolet received $500 damage; the Ford received $2000 damage.

No injuries were reported.

Sheldon, Iowa — The Prairie Arts Council has received a grant toward the Baker Township School renovation project.
Baker Twp School
The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) has announced that the organization will be donating $4,295 toward the project. Funding for this project was made possible through the sponsorship of the Ladies of the Lake Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution in Spirit Lake, which serves the northwest Iowa area including Sheldon.

Harold Tuttle, President of the Park Board says that they are very pleased to be receiving such a wonderful donation from DAR. He says they realize that their grant is just one of many that they made throughout the year to preserve our nation’s history. He says they feel fortunate that the DAR has chosen to provide the cement floor and finish for their basement and provide a 1936 light for the bathroom. Tuttle says as he understands it, this is the only grant in Iowa this year.

The DAR grants program was started in 2010. Funding is awarded to support projects in local communities which promote the organizations mission of historic preservation, education and patriotism.

The award will be presented on August 23rd.

Incidentally, Baker Township is in O’Brien County, south of Sheldon. The township does not have any towns in it, but it’s just east of Hospers, and northeast of Granville.

May 10, 2016 - 3:28 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — As the old Meridith Wilson song goes, Iowans will “give you our shirt and a back to go with it.” Apparently it’s true. According to the web site, not only do Iowans give more money to charity than people in Illinois, Wisconsin, or Minnesota on average, people in northwest Iowa are among the most philanthropic.
money cash bills dollars
According to data compiled by, residents of Sioux, O’Brien and Lyon counties are among the 10 counties in Iowa giving the highest percentage of their income to charity. They define “giving ratio” as the percentage of adjusted gross income that residents give to charity according to charitable contributions listed on income tax forms. These numbers are based on data from 2012, the most recent year for which information is available.

Topping the list is Sioux County, where they say people give, on average — 6.54% of their income to charity. The median annual contribution is $6,007.

Residents of O’Brien County made a median contribution of $4,720 per household in 2012, which was good for sixth place. The giving ratio was 4.62%

Coming in at number ten was Lyon County, where the data reports a giving ratio of 4.09%.

Osceola County was a little further down the list with a giving ratio of 3.5%.

While Iowa does beat some of its surrounding states, residents of South Dakota, Nebraska, and Missouri give more on average. As a whole, South Dakotans give 3.45% of their income. Nebraskans give 3.67%, and Missourians give 3.38%. Iowans on average give 3.03% of their income to charity.

For more information including a clickable map of the data, click here.