January 15, 2021 - 2:25 pm - Posted in News

Alton, Iowa — Sioux County authorities have released more information on a fatal two-vehicle crash late Thursday afternoon near Alton.

According to authorities, 18-year-old Josiah Gonzalez, of Granville, was westbound on Highway 10, three miles east of Alton, driving a 2007 Chevrolet Malibu when he lost control of the car and entered the eastbound lane, striking an eastbound 2019 Ford F-250, driven by 45-year-old Barry Galles, of Remsen.

Deputies say both drivers were transported by ambulance services from Alton and Orange City to Orange City Area Health System, where Gonzalez was pronounced dead as a result of his injuries and Galles was treated for minor injuries and released.

Authorities estimate damage to Gonzalez’ Malibu at approximately $5,000. Galles’ pickup sustained an estimated $20,000 in damage.

The sheriff’s office was assisted by the Orange City Police Department, Alton Fire Department, Alton Ambulance, Orange City Ambulance and the Iowa State Patrol.

Deputies say the accident remains under investigation. Read The Full Story…

Des Moines, Iowa — The former speaker of the Iowa House who did not seek re-election in 2020 will be helping the Iowa Republican Party to try to win elections statewide in 2022.

Party leaders meeting Saturday plan to elect Linda Upmeyer of Clear Lake as the co-chair of the Republican Party of Iowa, to replace Rock Rapids chiropractor, Dr. Cody Hoefert.

(As above) “I’ve been engaged in elections and recruiting candidates and doing all kinds of things over the years,” Upmeyer says. “And while I still genuinely do not want to be as busy as I was as speaker, I want more time for my family, I also thought: ‘Gee, if I can be helpful with my skills and help out Jeff Kaufmann, why wouldn’t I do that?'”

Kaufmann has been the chairman of the Iowa Republican Party since June of 2013. Upmeyer raised one-and-a-half million dollars for legislative candidates running in 2018 and Upmeyer says she’s ready to ask donors for money for the party — and to recruit candidates to run for office in 2022.

(As above) “My experience in working with women, to recruit more women, and people that perhaps that haven’t thought about it before,” Upmeyer says, “I think I have a decent track record doing that.”

The state party will be involved in high-profile races for governor and U.S. senator in 2022, as Republicans wrestle with what’s next after the U.S. Capitol riot in the closing days of Donald Trump’s presidency.

(As above) “What went on in Washington was outrageous and we absolutely can’t tolerate people bursting into the Capitol and creating insecure environments for our elected officials. All of that’s just terrible. We now need, in my opinion, to look forward,” Upmeyer says. “…Uniting Americans, finding areas where we can agree, really seems like something that requires attention now, not later.” 

Upmeyer, who served 18 years in the legislature, was the first woman to serve as speaker of the Iowa House. Upmeyer announced in the fall of 2019 that she was stepping down from that role and wouldn’t seek re-election.

Dr. Hoefert had served as state Republican Party Co-Chair since June of 2014, but announced this past November that he would not be running for the position again.

Sheldon, Iowa — Northwest Iowa Community College — or NCC — in Sheldon will be competing for a million-dollar prize.

NCC officials tell us the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program named NCC as one of 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges.

Based on impressive and improving student outcomes — including: learning, completion rates, employment rates and earnings, and equity — 15 percent of community colleges nationwide have been invited to apply for the Aspen Prize.

Dr. Alethea Stubbe, President of NCC says that out of 1,047 community colleges in the country, NCC is 1 of only 15 colleges that have been recognized as top 150 Aspen colleges all SIX times since the inception of the competition. She says this places NCC in the top 1.43% of the highest performing colleges in the nation. She says NCC is grateful for this prestigious recognition. She says it is well-deserved by their employees who constantly focus on student success.

The 150 community colleges named as eligible to compete for the 2021 Aspen Prize were selected from a pool of nearly 1,000 public two-year colleges across the nation using publicly available data on student outcomes.

For a full list of the top 150 eligible institutions and to read more on the selection process, visit highered.aspeninstitute.org/aspen-prize.

January 14, 2021 - 4:06 pm - Posted in News

Sioux Center, Iowa — The pandemic has caused some issues that you may not think of at first, such as an uptick in the reporting of domestic violence.

Shari Kastein, the Executive Director of Sioux Center-based Family Crisis Centers tells us that one thing they point to is the extended “togetherness.” Kastein says back when Hurricaine Katrina hit, it was the same way.

(as said:) “It was actually 45 days later… after the waters receded that people started speaking out for help and you know, lots of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, and incestual activities. We are seeing that come out in this pandemic and we are working, you know, just diligently to get to all of the individuals that are seeking help. We have had on the Statewide crisis center line — the hotline that takes calls for all victims of violence — the past month has increased by 1400 calls. So we’re over 4,000 calls a month coming in.”

She says they are seeing about 125% of normal call volume and in northwest Iowa they’re helping around 115% of their normal slate of clients.

Kastein tells us they’re also doing something new — addressing housing.

(as said:) “We’re doing a special housing program that came out with the CARES money where we are able to assist people with rental assistance. We also are able to do rapid rehousing so we are… with the homelessness prevention funds… we’re able to prevent eviction and then also the rapid rehousing… if we do have a client that is looking to seek a relocation, then we’re able to get them turnkey ready and ready to go. So it’s been really pretty busy for us in that sense. Because is that program has taken off crazy. So I don’t mean to minimize the domestic violence or sexual assault. It’s people losing their jobs, losing their income, losing their homes. There’s all of those facets that are facing folks.”

She says it’s a “crazy time” right now.

(as said:) “So we keep saying those vaccinations just can’t come soon enough or quick enough because we have families right here… Rock Rapids, Sheldon, Sioux Center that are homeless. We have been getting calls from ATLAS programs that we have people living in a garage, we have people living in a camper, and you know, you think of that like, ‘oh, yeah that happens in Chicago or Des Moines.’ No that’s right here at home. And so we’re working diligently hard to get people in warm places, especially children.”

Kastein says two-thirds of their funding comes from grants, but they also need your donations. In fact, she says contributions are greatly needed at this time. You can give at www.familycrisiscenters.org, you can send checks to PO BOX 25, SIOUX CENTER, IA 51250.

She says if you or someone you know is the victim of an assault or other crime, at risk of such a thing, or if you just need to talk to someone about a bad situation, you can call 800-382-5603 anytime, day or night.

January 14, 2021 - 3:37 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Sixteen additional cases of COVID-19 were reported in the four-county area in Thursday’s report from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Lyon County’s total was up four cases. Eleven residents of Sioux County and one from O’Brien County were reported to have tested positive as well. Osceola had no new cases. About one in eight northwest Iowans have tested positive for COVID since March 2020.

The death toll for the area remains at 146 since the pandemic began. The death totals since the pandemic started are 54 in O’Brien County, 51 in Sioux County, 32 in Lyon County, and nine in Osceola County.

Out of the 1,368 Lyon County residents who have had COVID-19, 1164 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 85%.
Out of the 4,522 Sioux County residents who have had COVID-19, 4118 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 91%.
Out of the 1,674 O’Brien County residents who have had COVID-19, 1494 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 89%.
Out of the 631 Osceola County residents who have had COVID-19, 596 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 94%.

Osceola County currently has 26 active cases, down one from yesterday. There were 126 in O’Brien County, which is down 4. Sioux County has 353 active cases, down four. Lyon County has 172 active cases, which is down two.

Total numbers of cases from other counties around the area and their change from the previous report:

Iowa counties:
Plymouth 3,479 , up 4
Cherokee 1,330 , up 3
Buena Vista 3,891 , up 13
Clay 1,651 , up 8
Dickinson 1,830 , up 2

January 14, 2021 - 2:27 pm - Posted in News

Hull, Iowa — The investigation into a vandalism at a Hull business has resulted in a felony charge against a Hull man.

Sioux County authorities say 46-year-old Dwayne David Hansmann, of Hull, is accused of intentionally cutting a conveyor belt system at the Hull Co-op Ag Center in Hull, causing nearly $5,000 in damage.

Hansmann was reportedly arrested Wednesday on one count of 2nd Degree Criminal Mischief, which is a Class D Felony.

Online court records indicate he made his initial court appearance Thursday.

Hull, Iowa — Another Habitat For Humanity house is coming to Hull, and applications are being received from families who want to live there. Read The Full Story…

Washington, D.C. — The Democrat representing Iowa’s third congressional district voted “yes” while the three Republicans from Iowa serving in the U.S. House have voted “no” on the articles of impeachment that passed the House Wednesday afternoon.

All four released written statements before the vote.

Republican Randy Feenstra of Hull said impeachment is divisive, Trump only has a few days left in office and it’s time for the country to come together.

Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Ottumwa said last week’s attack was “horrific,” but she said impeaching Trump would make it more difficult for President-elect Biden unify the nation.

Republican Ashley Hinson of Marion said Trump bears responsibility for one of the darkest days in our country’s history, but she said impeachment is the wrong path forward.

Democrat Cindy Axne of West Des Moines said President Trump incited last week’s Capitol mob with “dangerous” rhetoric and she voted for impeachment. Read The Full Story…

January 13, 2021 - 3:49 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Thirty-eight additional cases of COVID-19 were reported in the four-county area in Wednesday’s report from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Lyon County’s total was up seven cases on Wednesday. Twenty residents from Sioux County, nine from O’Brien County, and two from Osceola County were reported to have tested positive as well.

The death toll for the area remains at 146 since the pandemic began. The death totals since the pandemic started are 54 in O’Brien County, 51 in Sioux County, 32 in Lyon County, and nine in Osceola County.

Out of the 1,364 Lyon County residents who have had COVID-19, 1158 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 85%.
Out of the 4,511 Sioux County residents who have had COVID-19, 4103 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 91%.
Out of the 1,673 O’Brien County residents who have had COVID-19, 1489 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 89%.
Out of the 631 Osceola County residents who have had COVID-19, 595 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 94%.

Osceola County currently has 27 active cases, with 130 in O’Brien County, and 357 in Sioux County. Lyon County has 174 active cases.

Total numbers of cases from other counties around the area and their change from the previous report:

Iowa counties:
Plymouth 3,475 , up 14
Cherokee 1,327 , up 13
Buena Vista 3,878 , up 14
Clay 1,643 , up 8
Dickinson 1,828 , up 14

Statewide Iowa — Iowa is fortunate to have only had a few bitter cold days so far this winter with wind chills of 20-below, but it’s still plenty cold for our pets, especially those furry critters that are used to living the life of luxury indoors.

Pam Wiese, with the Humane Society, says it’s vital that Iowans keep close tabs on their animals when they send them outside for a bathroom break.

(As above) “Set your timer for five minutes and check on them if you’re letting them out,” Wiese says. “Any longer than that, for dogs that are used to being inside, their feet get cold, they can get ice between the pads of their feet. If you leave them out for longer, obviously, even frost bite or frost nip can set in.”

Wiese says even outdoor dogs need some type of shelter during an Iowa winter. If a doghouse is too small, parts of them will stick out and get frostbitten, while if a doghouse is too big, it won’t hold the heat.

(As above) “A doghouse needs to be big enough for a dog to walk in, turn around once and curl up, that’ll hold in the body heat,” Wiese says. “It’s a good idea to insulate it with some type of material that leaches water so that if they come in covered in snow or ice and it begins to melt, it doesn’t create a brick of cold below them.”

If you park outside or in a carport, Wiese says it’s important to remember the “whack the hood” rule before starting your vehicle.

(As above) “Neighborhood cats and free-roaming cats will often climb up into the engine of a car or truck because it’s warm and out of the wind,” Weise says. “That may be a place that they perch throughout the evening and they may fall asleep there. In the morning, make sure you wake them up and scare them away before you start your car. They can get caught in the fan belt and it can cause traumatic injury.” 

Not only is the gesture kind to animals, she says whacking the hood could also save you an expensive car repair.