October 21, 2014 - 4:03 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) continues to work closely with local public health and health care professionals, state entities and the CDC in response and preparation to the West African Ebola situation. Despite what you might read on social Iowa Department of Public Health IDPHmedia or hear around the water cooler, there are and have been NO cases of Ebola in Iowa.

Last week, screening of travelers coming from Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia began at international airports at the time of arrival in the U.S. They are asked about things like current symptoms and possible exposures to patients with Ebola while in West Africa. If needed, appropriate action is taken at that time; for example, travelers with symptoms consistent with Ebola are not being allowed to continue until they are medically assessed. If they are well, they are given information about what to do once they arrive at their final destination – such as Iowa. Meanwhile, in Iowa, public health officials are notified of the arrival of the traveler. Iowa officials then re-interview the traveler to confirm their health status and their risk of exposure to Ebola. Appropriate action is then taken in Iowa, such as the traveler staying at home and away from others for 21 days, or taking their temperature and reporting this to public health for 21 days.

This will lower the risk of Ebola spreading in Iowa, and should reassure the public that extraordinary action is being taken by the U.S. Public Health system to protect them.

Other actions taken by IDPH over the past several weeks include several webinars for local public health agencies, emergency responders, hospitals, health care providers, and state agencies regarding transmission of the Ebola virus and how to prepare for any suspected cases.

Iowans should remember that Ebola is not transmitted through water, air, food or casual contact. Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids of a sick person, or exposure to objects such as needles that have been contaminated. In addition:

  • People are not contagious after exposure unless they develop symptoms.
  • Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola, but the average is 8 to 10 days.

For more information about Ebola, visit the CDC’s web site at www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/index.html or the IDPH web site at http://bit.ly/1wmnEWa.

In the latest from the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office:

Hull, Iowa — A Hull man has been arrested after an assault.
Sioux Sheriff Car 84-
The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office says that they investigated the report of an assault on Thursday evening, about 6:40 PM. It had reportedly occurred at a home on First Street in Hull.

Deputies believe that 24-year-old Filiberto Perez‐Saucedo of Hull, went to the home and assaulted an adult male resident. The victim was transported by the Hull Ambulance to the Sioux Center Hospital.

Perez‐Saucedo was arrested and charged with serious assault.


Ireton, Iowa — On Friday, October 18, at about 7:40 PM, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office investigated a report of a burglary that occurred at a residence on Fig Avenue, about a mile north of Ireton. They believe the burglary likely occurred on Thursday, October 17, between noon and 3:30 PM.

On the date of the incident the homeowner came home and met two people leaving the residence. After further checking the resident discovered that the people apparently had been inside the residence and likely stole jewelry while there.

The suspects were described as a black male, 5’8” with a thin build and a white female, 5’6” with a heavier build. They left the area driving a black 1990′s style Chevrolet pickup with dual rear wheels pulling a black car trailer with plywood sides.

If anyone has information about this crime you’re asked to contact the sheriff’s office.


Boyden, Iowa — On Sunday, October 19, at about 12:10 AM, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office arrested two people as a result of a traffic stop that occurred at the intersection of Highway 18 and Jackson Avenue, three miles west of Boyden.

Deputies suspected that the driver, 37-year-old Pamela Stands-Martinez of Orange City was under the influence of alcohol. The deputy also discovered that a passenger in the vehicle, 20-year-old Lucia Maldonado of Orange City, had outstanding Sioux County arrest warrants for probation violation and failure to appear.

Stands-Martinez was arrested and charged with second offense operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and child endangerment, as there were children under the age of 18 riding in the vehicle. Maldonado was arrested on her outstanding arrest warrants.

October 21, 2014 - 12:49 pm - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — Orange City firefighters were kept busy on Sunday, October 19th, with two fire calls.Orange City Fire OCFD Engine 60

Orange City Fire chief Denny Vander Wel says that about 2:15 AM, they were called to the report of a fire at 3880 420th Street. He says the property owner had placed some old building materials in a burn pit. He says they told him they hadn’t used the pit in about two weeks, but some spot must have stayed hot and was enough to ignite the building materials. Vander Wel says that wouldn’t have been an issue, but it was close to a corn field that had yet to be harvested. He says they were fortunate that we’ve had as much moisture as we have had, and that it didn’t start the corn on fire. The chief says they did extinguish the fire with about 2,500 gallons of water and were on scene about an hour and ten minutes. He says the fire was called in by a passerby.

Then about 5:35 Sunday evening the fire department was called to a fire alarm at Premium Pet Health. Vander Wel says that turned out to be nothing. He says it was a malfunction of the alarm system and that a heat or smoke alarm in the freezer malfunctioned. He says they were on scene for about forty minutes.

Hawarden, Iowa — A Hawarden man was taken to a hospital after an crash near Hawarden on Thursday, October 16.Sioux Sheriff Car 84-

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 5:40 PM, 68-year-old Larry Van Wyhe of Hawarden was driving a 2006 International semi‐tractor pulling a grain trailer westbound on Highway 10, two miles east of Hawarden. Forty-eight-year-old Denise Salker of Ireton was driving a 2011 Chevrolet Suburban westbound on Highway 10 behind Van Wyhe.

The report says that Van Wyhe began turning left onto a farm driveway as Salker was passing the truck and Salker struck the Van Wyhe truck on the roadway.

VanWyhe was transported by private vehicle to the Hawarden Hospital.

The International semi sustained approximately $8,000 in damages. The Chevrolet sustained an estimated $6,000 in damages.


In other news from the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office:

Hospers, Iowa – An Orange City man was arrested after someone called to make sure he was okay.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 2:20 AM on Friday, October 17, they arrested 23-year-old Mark Meerdink of Orange City.

The arrest stemmed from an investigation into a call requesting the sheriff’s office to check on Meerdink and make sure he was okay — something law officers call a “welfare check.”

Upon finding Meerdink walking on Locust Street in Hospers, deputies also discovered that he was in possession of a controlled substance, and he was subsequently arrested.

Sioux Center, Iowa – Dordt College in Sioux Center is holding a Dedication Ceremony of the newly renovated $12 million Science and Technology Center this Saturday, October 18th.Dordt tech center

It’s from 10:30 to 11 AM in the lobby of the Science and Technology Center. Following a presentation by Dordt leaders and students, tours will be given of the building.

Visitors are encouraged to park behind the Science and Technology Center, using the 4th Avenue entrance.

Groundbreaking took place in May 2013, and the first phase of construction was completed before classes began this fall. To foster interdisciplinary interaction across campus, a two-story addition connects the current science building to the classroom building. The new addition contains faculty offices, technology-enabled classrooms, computer learning labs, an engineering wing, greenhouse, informal learning spaces, and areas for public presentation and display of ongoing work.

Dordt is now beginning fundraising for the final phase of construction, set to be completed in 2015. Still to be completed are new and renovated classroom and lab spaces for chemistry, biology, environmental studies, and construction management, as well as a new astronomy observatory and renovation of the current agriculture and physics laboratories. Finally, the Science and Technology Center will be connected to the Campus Center to create a fully integrated and connected academic complex.

For more information about the expansion project visit www.dordt.edu/services_support/advancement/science_building.

The ceremony is part of the college’s annual Defender Days, a weekend filled with events for students, alumni, parents, and friends. To view a full schedule of events, visit www.dordt.edu/defender_days.

October 14, 2014 - 8:18 am - Posted in News

UPDATE: The cause of the fire has been ruled as accidental by Le Mars Fire Chief David Schipper. He says that the most probable cause of the fire was an unattended candle in the bedroom that ignited nearby combustibles.

Le Mars, Iowa — Eleven people are without a home after a fire in Le Mars overnight.FD fire lightbar

Le Mars Fire Chief David Schipper reports that the fire was at 301 Central Avenue. Crews were paged about 11:45 PM. The fire was in a two-story home containing two apartments. When firefighters arrived, flames were seen coming from the windows.

Three adults and eight children were evacuated. Two people, a 40-year-old man and an eleven-year-old boy, were transported to the Floyd Valley hospital. Chief Schipper says the fire was so hot, that he was concerned about the possibility of neighboring houses catching on fire.

A garage also caught fire and a car was damaged in the garage.

The Orange City Fire Department was called to help; and the Red Cross offered assistance to the victims.

The cause of the fire is undetermined.

Artist’s rendition of the proposed entry

Hull, Iowa — A nearly $7 million update to Western Christian High School is planned.  Some of the money had already been committed before the announcement of the project.

The Western Christian High School Board of Directors says that the Western Christian High School constituency approved the campaign for major renovations and improvements amounting to almost $7 million.  The measure passed with a 97% approval vote.  A Kickoff Banquet to publicly announce what’s being called the “Second Century of Service Campaign” is scheduled for Thursday, October 16 at 6 pm at Western Christian High School in Hull.

We talked to Western Christian Principal Dan Barkel, and he says students, faculty, parents and donors are happy about the announcement.

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

Voters voted to approve three main improvements and renovations to the school. The number one priority in the Second Century of Service Campaign is a three-stage improvement in the academic facilities. Included in this portion of the campaign is a complete remodel of the science wing. New classrooms and state-of-the-art labs for the offerings in science and agriculture will enable students to be better-prepared to either enter the workforce or further their education.

WC-StageView

Artist’s rendition of the proposed stage

“Renovating the science wing at WCHS would benefit the students by providing better lab-to-lecture transition, room to work on projects and/or lab work outside of class time without interrupting ongoing class periods, and ease of study in a new one-to-one educational technology setting. Teachers would also be provided with classrooms that function as labs that are separate, yet visible, from their more formal teaching area, aiding in more fluid set-up, transition, and on-going lab work, among many other things,” says Alysia Haveman, science teacher at Western Christian High School.

In addition to the science wing remodel, the health, family and consumer science programs will be moved from the first floor of the school to the second floor where there is available classroom space. This will allow for the area that previously housed those programs to be completely renovated into a Vocational Ag classroom which will introduce students to various areas of industrial manufacturing that is prevalent in Western’s supporting area.

“This is an exciting time at Western Christian High School,” says Principal Barkel. “We have an energetic and dynamic faculty at Western that constantly challenge our students to reach their full potential and prepare them to either enter the workforce or further their education.”  “The economy in northwest Iowa is based on agriculture and manufacturing and we are called to provide [students] with the best Christian education possible and prepare them to take up roles in either the workforce or higher education. We’ve talked to many employers in this area and most of them are looking for hard-working, skilled young people to fill the many well paying positions that are available. We see our new agriculture and vocational programs introducing students and possibly sparking an interest in them in the many opportunities available to them.”

In addition to the academic improvements, approval has been given to renovate the current auxiliary gymnasium/auditorium into an event center. Barkel says this will be a state-of-the-art facility that will greatly enhance the fine arts program at Western Christian High School, yet be versatile enough to host banquets, athletic practices, and various other events. According to administrators at Western, this area will be a model for other schools in utilizing current square footage on school campuses. They say these improvements include completely remodeling the band/orchestra room and choral rehearsal room, updating music offices, practice rooms, and storage areas.

Western Christian administrators say that the proposed event center would provide an enhanced experience for both audience members and performers in theatrical productions and concert performances.  Enhanced acoustics, a larger stage, increased and comfortable seating contribute to these performance opportunities, but the administrators say that the event center and its accommodations will also  provide a meaningful setting for their weekly chapel services.  This event center would contribute to Western’s continual commitment to provide the best  facilities in our lifetime pursuit of “Learning to Serve the King,” says Darren Van’t Hul, choral instructor at Western Christian High School.

“In regards to the new Western Event Center, this space will provide a venue that will greatly enhance the performing arts program at Western and provide a comfortable, well-lit, and acoustically designed facility that is state-of-the-art,” says Barkel. “We are thinking outside the box for this facility because it will have many other uses in addition to the performing arts. We see this as a model for other schools to use.”

Finally, we are told that a new and identifiable entrance to the school will be constructed which will better lend itself to visitor hospitality, community building within the student body, and enhanced security. Outdated corridors will be renovated and a complete overhaul of the HVAC system will be included in the renovations of the school.

“This new entrance will be easily identifiable and more welcoming to visitors who come to Western for events in the event center or for those visitors who are considering Western for their son or daughter,” says Barkel.”We see it as a place we can build a closer community within our student body. It will also lend itself to better security of building during the school day. The only way into the school will be through the office during the school day.”

“The Board of Directors are truly excited to see the results of our Strategic Planning Process bear fruit with this initiative.  We believe these facility and curriculum improvements meet a broad spectrum of needs in the sciences (including agriculture), the fine arts (drama and music), technology, school security, and infrastructure, while at the same time being good stewards with our current space and maintaining the financial integrity of the school.  We are confident these improvements will aide us in our mission of developing well-rounded students and disciples for Christ, while also strategically positioning Western Christian to thrive as we move into the next century of providing high quality Christian education.  Ultimately, we believe these steps reinforce the institutional goal of Learning to Serve the King!” says Kevin Gesink, President of Board of Directors.

Currently, half of the necessary funds for the project have been committed through outright gifts, pledges, and expectancies, according to Western’s Director of Development & Promotions, Wes Fopma. He says that Cannon Moss from Sioux City will be the architect on the project while Poppema Construction from Sheldon, Iowa will be the general contractors. Construction is projected to begin in late spring of 2015.

“God has blessed Western Christian with an energetic and dynamic faculty, a supportive alumni and constituent base, and students who want to find their place in God’s creation, whether that be in the workforce or in furthering their education. As we look forward to celebrating our 100th anniversary as a school we see this project as catapulting us into our next century of service,” says Principal Barkel.

We had a chance to visit with Barkel and we talked about the history of the school and how it was decided to proceed with this project.

Click or tap the play button below or this link to listen to the full interview.

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Rock Valley, Iowa — Rock Valley Police think they may have found evidence of a meth lab in their city.rock valley police badge

According to a statement released on Monday:  On Saturday October 11, 2014, an investigation by the Rock Valley Police Department led to the discovery of a container consistent with the manufacturing of methamphetamine. It was found under a tree at a home in the 2000 block of 14th Street. Officers followed protocol and evacuated adjacent homes. The scene was made safe by clandestine lab cleanup officers certified in the disposal of hazardous chemicals.

No arrests have yet been made but the investigation continues and criminal charges are expected.

The Rock Valley Police Department was assisted by the Sioux County Sheriff’s Department, the Iowa State Patrol, the Iowa Division of Narcotics Enforcement, the Rock Valley Fire Department, and the Rock Valley Ambulance.

The Rock Valley Police Department urges the public to remain vigilant and to report to authorities any suspicious containers located on their properties. The Rock Valley Police Department also encourages parents to educate their children of the dangers of methamphetamine manufacturing.

October 10, 2014 - 3:25 pm - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — A plea agreement has been reached in the case of an Orange City woman accused of murder in the death of a child in her care.Sapp,Rochelle- cut

In a hearing that was supposed to start at 10 AM, but didn’t get underway until nearly 1 PM Friday, Judge Edward Jacobsen announced that a plea agreement had been reached and signed in which 34-year-old Rochelle Sapp will change her plea to guilty.  The terms of the plea agreement will not be made public until a plea taking and sentencing hearing, scheduled for Thursday, October 16th, in Sioux County District Court.

Although it is known that Sapp will plead guilty, we will not know to which charges she will plead guilty until next week’s hearing.  A pre-sentence investigation was ordered by judge Jacobson, but defense attorney Ned Bjornstad indicated that will be waived.

Sapp, who appeared emotional at Friday’s hearing, is accused of causing injuries to 3-year-old Autumn Elgersma nearly a year ago that allegedly lead to her death. According to court records, Sapp was charged with First Degree Murder, a class A felony; and Child Endangerment Resulting in Death, a class B felony.

No ruling was made as to if statements that Sapp made while in custody in Minnehaha County, and cell phone records from the time that she was there would have been admitted as evidence.

Sioux City, Iowa — An Iowa man who was arrested after a controlled drug buy in Orange City has been sentenced to more than five years in federal prison.orange city alton police oc pd ocpd

Thirty-two-year-old Ivan Lopez-Castelan from Iowa received the prison term after he pled guilty in June to conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.

At the guilty plea, Lopez-Castelan admitted he was involved in the distribution of at least 1500 grams of mixed methamphetamine which contained 500 grams or more of actual (pure) methamphetamine from approximately 2011 through February, 2014. On February 7, 2014, law enforcement conducted a controlled purchase of approximately one pound of methamphetamine from Lopez-Castelan in Orange City, Iowa, for $28,000.

Lopez-Castelan was sentenced to 61 months in federal prison. 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, Iowa Division of Intelligence, Orange City Police Department, and the Tri-State Drug Task Force.