Rock Valley, Iowa — The Rock Valley Police Department has arrested a Rock Valley 19-year-old on a warrant for felony sex abuse.

According to Rock Valley Police, 19-year-old Dawson Nelson of Rock Valley was arrested on Wednesday on a warrant for the charge of Third Degree Sexual Abuse, a class C felony.

Court records accuse Nelson of committing a sex act with a 14-year-old juvenile in Rock Valley in January of this year, when Nelson was 18 years of age. The complaint and affidavit say that Nelson was more than four years older than the victim at the time of the alleged crime.

Nelson was released the same day he was arrested after posting a $10,000 bond. Court records do not yet indicate any court dates for Nelson.

Orange City, Iowa — A Sioux County jury has convicted a Spirit Lake man of 2nd Degree Murder in connection with the shooting death of another individual at a rural Ireton residence last spring.

The case against Gregg Winterfeld went to the jury Wednesday and they returned with their guilty verdict later that day. Winterfeld had been charged with 1st Degree Murder, but was convicted of Murder in the 2nd Degree, which is a Class B Felony.

The case arose on May 9, 2020, after Grant Wayne Wilson and Theresa Wilson of Cleghorn, spent the afternoon and evening visiting Winterfeld at his mother’s rural Ireton farm home. According to the Sioux County Attorney’s Office, Grant Wayne Wilson and Winterfeld spent the day drinking alcohol. An argument developed and Wilson decided to sleep in a car parked in the driveway. Winterfeld locked the home’s doors, put on a holster with a loaded revolver, exiting the home and convincing Wilson to come back inside. Upon reentry, the argument continued and Wilson attempted to leave. Winterfeld pursued and un-holstered his gun. Wilson turned around, and according to Winterfeld, Wilson gave Winterfeld a look, so Winterfeld raised his gun aiming as close as he could get between Wilson’s eyes and fired.

Winterfeld was charged with Murder in the First Degree and the case proceeded to a jury trial on March 30th. On April 7, after business hours, the jury returned a guilty verdict to Murder in the Second Degree. The District Court has yet to schedule a sentencing date.

April 7, 2021 - 4:27 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Iowa US Senator Chuck Grassley was in northwest Iowa on Wednesday and met with people in several locations.

Grassley started his day at Diamond Vogel Paint in Orange City. He was also at Weld North Education (formerly AOP/Glynlyon) in Rock Rapids, the CFE mill in Ocheyedan, the Community Services Center in Sheldon, and finished his day in Spencer. Grassley staff told us there were 12 stops this week on Grassley’s schedule.

We asked Grassley what the top issues have been that he’s heard from Iowans about on his visit this time. One of the big ones has been his trip to the Mexican border. He says the Congressional delegation went there because the media was not allowed to publicize the conditions there. He says if the Biden administration had listened to the Border Patrol, they wouldn’t be having the issues that they are. He says the open border is causing national security, humanitarian, and drug issues. He says more Border Patrol officers are needed, and the “fence” or wall has been working, but we need more of it.

Grassley tells us what other issues have been on the minds of Iowans.

(as said) “From farmers… the inability some days not to get a livestock market or if you do, taking a penalty for being a residual supplier because there’s not enough competition because four companies have the major part of it; the rationale for spending another one and nine-tenths trillion of which probably only 10% of it was related the pandemic and doing that on a party-line vote, which obviously you know, how I voted; and let’s see… we’ve had questions on health insurance; almost every factory you go to we can’t hire help and so why is the federal government paying people more unemployment not to work than work; the federalization of all election laws; after 240 years… doing away with the state election laws. Another one we hear a lot about is a big bill that deals with a lot of labor issues, but the one thing it does that’ll affect Iowans… it does away with Iowa’s and 26 other states’ right-to-work laws.”

We asked the Senator if he had any solutions to the issues.

(as said) “I can tell you I’m not for federalization of state election laws. That wasn’t intended by the Constitution writers. I can tell you that I don’t want to do away with Iowa’s right-to-work law. I can tell you that I want to get farmers a market for their livestock and that’s my own bill and I want to cut down on the price of prescription drugs with a bipartisan bill that I’m writing and have written already with Senator Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon.”

Other issues that Grassley heard about on Wednesday included how can agricultural producers get the labor they need legally, the risks to peoples’ lives during a polar vortex when too much attention is paid to environmental issues, and nursing home regulations that prevent people from seeing and being an advocate for their loved ones during a pandemic when they can’t help themselves.

Grassley says Congress’s Easter break gave him the opportunity to meet with people. He says normally he holds public meetings, but with the pandemic, he has switched to going where he is invited. He says it helps him know what’s happening in his state and gives people who work in these facilities the opportunity to meet with Grassley.

Photo caption: Grassley talks with Weld North/AOP’s Vice President of Operations, Tami Murray at Weld North’s Rock Rapids facility

April 7, 2021 - 3:54 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — The recent strong winds have blown things about in northwest Iowa, but they’ve also caused — or at least accelerated — a number of fires as well.

A couple of the fires involved area tree dumps.

On Monday, about 3:30 p.m., Sutherland firefighters were called to a fire at that town’s tree dump. Sutherland Fire Chief Mark Shriver says the wind had provided oxygen to some embers, and that had caused some big logs to ignite. He says firefighters put out the fire and the city personnel covered the embers with dirt and closed the dump for the day to limit the possibility of someone inadvertently stoaking any embers or starting any fires.

Orange City firefighters also responded to a tree dump fire at that city’s tree dump late Monday night, about 11:35 p.m. Orange City Fire Chief Denny VanderWel says something hot was pushed near some other tree debris and started the pile on fire. VanderWel says nothing important burned, but it did cause Orange City firefighters to work into the wee hours making sure the fire was out. He tells us they were there about three hours. He says they received help from the Alton Fire Department in the form of a tanker of water, and from city staff who helped with a payloader.

VanderWel says the recent moisture should help prevent this type of call. He says hopefully, we’ll get some more rain soon.

Sioux Center, Iowa — Sioux County authorities are investigating an incident near Sioux Center late Wednesday morning in which a vehicle was reportedly run off the road.

Deputies say the incident happened shortly before noon Wednesday on Highway 75, two miles north of Sioux Center, when a 2015 Chevrolet Equinox, driven by 28-year-old Lauren Kleyer of Sioux Center was southbound on Highway 75. Authorities say Kleyer told them an unknown vehicle entered her lane, causing her to swerve into the west ditch to avoid striking it.

Deputies report no injuries in the incident, but Kleyer’s SUV sustained about $2,500 in damage.

According to authorities, the unknown vehicle was described by witnesses as a black Jeep Liberty with running lights on the roof that were illuminated at the time of the incident.

If you have any information about the black vehicle, you are asked to contact the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office.

Luverne, Minnesota — A Sioux Center man was involved in an accident that sent a Luverne, Minnesota man to the hospital on Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

The Minnesota State Patrol reports that about 7:50 a.m., 69-year-old Loren Broek of Sioux Center was driving a 2018 Peterbilt Semi northbound on Highway 75 at Gabrielson Road in Luverne, when, according to the report, he struck 25-year-old Jeffrey Morrison of Luverne, who was crossing the highway on foot. That intersection is about a block north of the Luverne McDonald’s, along I-90.

The Rock County Ambulance took Morrison to Sanford Luverne Hospital. Broek was not injured.

Statewide Iowa — Governor Kim Reynolds has ordered all flags in Iowa to remain at half-staff until midnight April 7th, in honor and remembrance of Representative Alcee Hastings, a congressman from Florida and a prominent champion for civil rights.

Representative Hastings passed away on Tuesday (April 6th). The governor’s order is issued in conjunction with President Joe Biden’s Proclamation to lower all United States flags to half-staff for the same length of time.

Flags will be at half-staff on the State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol Complex. Flags will also be half-staff on all public buildings, grounds and facilities throughout the state. Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flags at half-staff for the same length of time.

Statewide Iowa — Four wardens within Iowa’s prison system have been reassigned, including the warden who was in charge at the Anamosa State Penitentiary when two staff members were murdered by two inmates last month.

Randy Gibbs, the warden of the state’s maximum-security prison in Fort Madison, has been temporarily reassigned to serve as warden at Anamosa.

Jeremy Larson, who had been Anamosa’s warden since late 2019, was named interim warden of the prison in Newton today. A spokesman for the Iowa Department of Corrections says having a different leader in place will help ensure “a thorough and impartial investigation” of the murders of a correctional officer and nurse at the Anamosa prison.

Since Fort Madison’s warden has been reassigned today, the deputy warden is now in charge there. And finally, the warden who’s been in charge of the prisons in Fort Dodge and Rockwell City retired today. The warden of the Newton prison is now interim warden of the two facilities while the search is on to replace the warden who retired.

Statewide Iowa — While hundreds of thousands of Iowans have been vaccinated for COVID-19, with thousands more getting the shots daily, Governor Kim Reynolds says they shouldn’t have to carry a “vaccine passport” to prove it to anyone.

(As above) “I strongly oppose vaccine passports and I believe that we must take a stand as a state against them,” Reynolds says, “which I intend to do either through legislation or executive action.”

Vaccine passports have already been banned via executive orders by the governors of Texas and Florida. The statement by Reynolds, a Republican, comes after the Biden administration announced Tuesday it would -not- create a federal vaccine passport or require travelers or businesses to be inoculated. A spokesman for Reynolds said federal officials may change their minds and that’s why Reynolds is planning state action.

(As above) “While I believe in the efficacy of the vaccine enough to get it myself and encourage Iowans to do the same, I also respect that it’s a personal choice,” Reynolds says. 

The governor says a federal vaccine passport would have privacy implications and might be unconstitutional.

(As above) “What you’re doing when you move forward with something like that is you’re creating a two-tiered society,” Reynolds says. “You’re either engaged or you’re marginalized.” 

Reynolds plans to meet with lawmakers to discuss whether a bill can be passed before the 2021 legislative session ends this spring, or if she needs to take executive action.

(As above) “Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve consistently put my trust in Iowans to do the right thing rather than demand or mandate it,” Reynolds says, “and vaccination is no different.” 

A bill stalled in the Senate this year that would have prohibited Iowa businesses and health care facilities from requiring that employees get vaccinations. The bill also sought to bar health insurance companies from denying coverage based on a lack of immunizations. Reynolds announced this (Wednesday) morning that 44 percent of adult Iowans have had at least one dose and 28 percent of Iowans eligible for COVID shots are fully vaccinated. However, she said vaccination rates among middle aged Iowans are lagging and 61 percent of the people with COVID who are hospitalized in Iowa are in their 40s, 50s and 60s.

(As above) “I’m asking Iowans, if you’re comfortable, please take the first vaccine that’s offered to you rather than wait for one that you believe is better than the others,” Reynolds says. “Everyone of the vaccines are safe and effective, especially at preventing serious illness that can result in hospitalization and death.”

Reynolds used a portion of her weekly news conference to highlight efforts in Storm Lake to boost vaccination rates among Latinos. A mass vaccination clinic in Storm Lake is planned for Sunday April 18th.

April 7, 2021 - 1:08 pm - Posted in News

Hawarden, Iowa — A 64-year-old Akron man was arrested Tuesday on a felony warrant for a crime he allegedly committed between 2016 and 2018.

According to court records, sometime between May, 2016 and June, 2018, Kevin James Jacobs of Akron allegedly committed sexual abuse of his step-granddaughter while camping in a Sioux County Park near Hawarden.

Online court records indicate that an investigation into the alleged incident led to a 2nd Degree Sexual Abuse charge, which is a Class B Felony, being filed against Jacobs on March 31st of this year. A warrant for his arrest was issued April 1st, with the warrant being executed by Sioux County authorities Tuesday (April 6th), according to court records.