June 17, 2021 - 6:16 pm - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — An error by a judge in a Sioux County murder trial will result in a new trial for a Spirit Lake man.

Gregg Winterfeld was convicted in Sioux County District Court in April of 2nd Degree Murder in the shooting death of a Cleghorn man at a rural Sioux County residence. But his conviction has been overturned on appeal, and he faces a new trial.

Winterfeld had originally appealed his conviction on the grounds that his alleged confession, as well as several voicemail messages on his phone, were improperly allowed as evidence in his trial, but should have been suppressed.

The judge who presided over the trial discovered after the trial was complete that the original judge had erred in ruling that the prosecution and defense were each allowed six peremptions, or juror dismissals, during jury selection, when in fact the law allows each side ten peremptions. The judge then expressed his desire to rule on the error’s impact on Winterfeld’s motion for a new trial. At that time, Winterfeld’s attorney added the juror peremption to his grounds for appeal.

The judge in the case issued his ruling Wednesday, denying Winterfeld’s motion for a new trial on the issue of the alleged confession and voicemails, but ruled in favor of Winterfeld in the matter of the jury selection instructions, granting him a new trial on the charge of 2nd Degree Murder.

Winterfeld had originally been charged with 1st Degree Murder, but since the original jury returned a guilty verdict to 2nd Degree Murder, the judge’s ruling states that Winterfeld’s new trial will be for 2nd Degree Murder, since the original jury found him not guilty of Murder in the 1st Degree.

June 17, 2021 - 4:17 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has released their weekly fishing report for northwest Iowa. This weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys and county and state parks staff. You can check the activity of your favorite lake or stretch of river, including which species are being caught, a rating of the bite (slow, fair, good or excellent), as well as a hot bait or lure pattern.

Arrowhead Lake
Black Crappie – Fair: Try minnows on a small jig fished in deeper water near structure. Bluegill – Fair: Look for bluegills nesting along shore in areas 2-6 feet deep. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Try a variety of bass baits along weed edges.

Black Hawk Lake
Water temperature is in the low 80’s. Lake level is about 9 inches below the crest of the spillway. Black Crappie – Fair. Some black crappie are still being picked up along Ice House Point near woody structure and from the fish house. Bluegill – Slow. Walleye – Fair: Walleye bite has slowed with the heat. Use a twister thrown from shore or a leech or live minnow fished under a bobber along Ice House Point, the north shore and along shore near the outlet. Largemouth Bass – Good: Try traditional bass baits fished along shore in areas with rocks or vegetation or along docks.

Brushy Creek Lake
Water levels are near the crest of the spillway. Yellow Perch – Fair: Use a small jig and crawler or minnow under a bobber along shore or drifted near structure in 10-15 feet of water. Bluegill – Fair: Look for bluegills nesting up in near shore areas. Walleye – Fair: Use a live minnow or leech fished near rock and woody structure. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Try weedless lures along vegetation edges and traditional bass lures anywhere with woody structure.

Crawford Creek Impoundment
Water temperature is around 80 degrees. Water clarity is good. Bluegill – Fair: Bluegills up to 9 inches are on nests along shore in 1-4 feet of water. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Try weedless lures along vegetation edges.

Storm Lake (incl Little Storm Lake)
Channel Catfish – Good: Use cut bait or troll crankbaits along shore; catfish are spawning. Walleye – Fair: Try trolling crankbaits and spinners with crawlers along the dredge cuts during mid-day. If fishing from shore, try a leech fished under a bobber in areas with a rocky substrate in the evening or after dusk. White Bass – Fair: Troll along the dredge cuts with crankbaits and spinners with crawlers. Anglers are also picking up fish from shore with crawlers fished under a bobber.

Swan Lake (Carroll County)
Water temperatures is in the low 80’s. Bluegill: Fair: Fish are 7- to 8-inches. Use a small jig fished under a bobber near shore. Black Crappie: Fair: Fish are 6- to 10-inches. Most have moved off shore. Largemouth Bass: Fair.

Water temperatures are in the low to mid 80’s in most district lakes. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638.

Beeds Lake
Black Crappie – Slow: Try a small minnow or tube jig fished from the causeway. Best bite is early morning. Yellow Bass – Fair: Drift fish a tube jig. Bluegill – Good: Use a small piece of crawler fished under a bobber near shore.

Briggs Woods Lake
Water temperature is in the low 70’s. Bluegill – Good: Bluegills are on the beds near shore. Try a small piece of crawler or jig in 2-3 feet of water. Largemouth Bass – Fair.

Clear Lake
Water temperature is in the lower 80’s. Bluegill – Good: Try a small piece of crawler below a bobber in open areas of vegetation near shore. Walleye – Fair: Use a jig tipped with a minnow or crawler fished near vegetation on the north shore. Also try slip bobber fishing a leech on the rock reefs. Shore anglers are having success fishing minnows from docks. Best bite is early morning. Yellow Bass – Slow: Use a small jig tipped with cut bait fished in the open areas of the vegetation. Best bite is early morning.

Crystal Lake
Black Crappie – Fair: Try a small minnow or tube jig fished on the outside edge of the vegetation or along the old road bed. Bluegill – Fair: Use a piece of crawler under a bobber fished near the vegetation edge. Largemouth Bass – Fair.

Lake Smith
Anglers are catching crappies and bluegills along the shoreline rocks. Black Crappie – Fair. Bluegill – Fair. Channel Catfish – Slow: Try a crawler fished near the rocky shore by the outlet.

Lower Pine Lake
Largemouth Bass – Fair: Bass are biting on a variety of baits. Try fishing near the woody habitat. Bluegill – Good: Use a small piece of crawler under a bobber near shore.

Upper Pine Lake
Black Crappie – Fair: Try small jigs or a minnow fished near the downed trees. Morning bite is best. Bluegill – Good: Use a small piece of crawler under a bobber near shore. If you don’t get a bite right away, try slowly reeling in your bobber.

For information on the lakes and rivers in north central Iowa, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.

East Okoboji Lake
The water temperature is 79 degrees. The curlyleaf pondweed has started to die back allowing for easier fishing and promoting native aquatic vegetation to grow. Leeches or worms with a slip bobber are a simple way to get some success out fishing with kids. Try this setup in about 8 feet or less of water. The current water temperature is 60 degrees. Black Crappie – Fair: Try fishing close to docks and hoists. Trolling weed lines has been successful for many anglers. Crappie are hard to target specifically, but can be caught mixed with other panfish. Bluegill – Fair: Bluegill are started to move off their beds out of the shallows. Leeches or worms and a simple bobber setup work well. Pumpkinseed – Good: Fun and easier to catch from most docks. Use a small hook, bobber and piece of worm.

Lost Island Lake
Anglers have had consistent success with yellow perch and a few other species. Yellow Perch – Good. Bluegill – Fair. Black Crappie – Fair. Walleye – Fair.

Minnewashta Lake
Panfishing has been good for anglers trolling weedlines, as well as fishing docks and hoists near shore. Black Crappie – Fair: A nice crappie bite can be found with a little movement around the lake. Bluegill – Fair. Pumpkinseed – Good.

Silver Lake (Dickinson)
Silver Lake is starting to green up due to an algae bloom. Walleye – Fair.

Spirit Lake
The lake has started to green up significantly due to an algae bloom. The walleye bite has been hit-or-miss most nights. The day bite has been fair to poor unless you’re right on top of them. Bluegill are starting to sit on beds. The water temperature is 79 degrees. Bluegill are moving off their beds to deeper water. Yellow Perch – Fair: Bites from morning till 11:00 and mid-afternoon have been seen. Depths vary depending on the time of day. Walleye – Fair: Bite is hit-or-miss at dusk. Use slip bobbers along weed edges.

West Okoboji Lake
The water temperature is 77 degrees. Try fishing for panfish in 8 feet or less and around docks and hoists. Anglers slowly trolling weedlines have been successful catching a variety of species. Bluegill – Fair: Bluegill are starting to be found in shallower water as they move off their beds. Leeches or worms and a simple bobber setup work well. Black Crappie – Fair: Hard to target specifically, but crappie can be caught while picking through other panfish.

The day bite trolling for walleye in the area has been very slow. The panfish/perch bite has been very good lately. The extended forecast calls for continued warm temperatures with highs in the 70’s and 80’s. Water temperatures have risen significantly with most in the 70’s to 80’s. This quick increase has been tough on fish that are already stressed due to spawning. This has caused noticeable mortality of some fish. For current conditions, call the Spirit Lake District Office at 712-336-1840.

June 16, 2021 - 3:56 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — After last year’s pandemic-related cancellations, all of Iowa’s 100 county fairs are a go in 2021 — and five will be held this month.

Tom Barnes is executive director of the Association of Iowa Fairs.

Barnes says the curveball of last year’s pandemic prompted fair managers to improvise. For example, many staged competitions for the livestock 4-H and F-F-A members raised last year.

Barnes is also secretary of the Howard County Fair, which starts next week. Barnes says after years of emphasizing concerns about the spread of diseases among livestock, county fairs are being proactive about the human side as well.

The Wapello and Worth County fairs start this Wednesday, June 16th. The Linn, Jefferson, and Howard County Fairs begin on June 23rd. Iowa has 99 counties, but 100 county fairs since Pottawattamie County holds two — one in Council Bluffs and the other in Avoca.

In our area, the fairs start with the Sioux County Fair, July 12-15. The day after that one starts, the Osceola County Fair starts. It will run July 13-18. The very next day, the Lyon County fair begins, and will run July 19-22. Two days later, it will be time for the O’Brien County Fair, which will run July 24-29.

Granville, Iowa — Sioux County authorities are seeking information into a theft that occurred during the early morning hours Tuesday (June 15th) in Granville.

According to the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, around 4:00 am Tuesday, two people were seen removing the tires and rims from a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado pickup that was parked at G & H Repair, which is located at 727 Elm Street in Granville.

The pickup, with and without the tires and rims, can be seen in the photos below.

If you have any information you’re asked to contact the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office.

Photos courtesy of the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office

Sheldon, Iowa — Northwest Iowa Community College has been ranked number 6 in “Value College’s Best Online Community Colleges In The Country.”

Value Colleges is an independent online guide to the best values in undergraduate and graduate education, featuring only fully accredited institutions that have proven their value for graduates on the job and on the job market. Value Colleges rankings are based on verified data from sources including IPEDS and Niche. Programs are ranked according to factors including cost and student satisfaction, so students can feel certain their choice of program will have a positive impact on their career.

Northwest Iowa Community College is the only Iowa school to crack the Top 10 in Value College’s rankings, and one of just four in the state to make the top 50 in the United States. The others on the list, in alphabetical order, are Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, Iowa Lakes Community College at Estherville, and Western Iowa Tech in Sioux City.

According to the editors at Value Colleges, the US economy has changed in major ways in the last couple of decades, with manufacturing and industrial jobs giving way to a professional and technical workforce, and community colleges have been the key force in educating and preparing working adults for the new world of work. The editors say that for working adults already in a career, online community college degree programs are the most important innovation of the century.

Sioux Center, Iowa — A chance for beef producers to learn, connect with others, and have a great meal is coming up in Sioux Center.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Beef Specialist Beth Doran says after a year off due to COVID, they are back this year, but the forum (On Tuesday, June 29th) is going to be a little different, she says.

Doran gives us the lowdown on the PM part of the program.

She says registration is necessary. Go to www.iowabeefcenter.org/news/FeedlotForum2021.html for more information. She says you can register online or download the form and mail it in. It will be $25 per person, including a $10 beef certificate and a meal, which will be ribeye steak sandwiches and trimmings. The deadline is June 21. Call the Sioux County Extension office for assistance or more information at (712) 737-4230.

June 15, 2021 - 3:16 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Iowa State University Extension crop specialist, Joel DeJong, says northwest Iowa crops are showing signs of stress from the dry conditions. He says they need around 25 inches of moisture during the crop development stage.

DeJong says stress is already showing up in the corn leaves.

He says the rolling has been evident the last week in the afternoons and some mornings during the mid-90 degree days. DeJong says the humidity that we try to avoid is a good thing out in the field.

De Jong says if the issue continues, farmers may see a drastic yield loss. The corn ear now is starting to fill in rows.

DeJong says the next thirty days will be critical to the corn development as the corn begins to pollinate. He says soybeans are also showing some signs of stress, but soybeans have a way to delay the need for moisture until later in the year.

Sioux Center, Iowa — A Sioux Center woman was arrested Tuesday morning on four felony counts and eight misdemeanor counts as the result of an investigation by Sioux Center Police.

Authorities say 62-year-old Nancy Kaye Vermeer is charged with four counts of 3rd Degree Burglary, a Class D Felony, four counts of 5th Degree Theft, a Simple Misdemeanor, and four counts of Unlawful Possession of a Prescription Drug, a Serious Misdemeanor.

Police say the charges stem from an investigation by the Sioux Center Police Department that revealed four separate occasions in which an individual allegedly entered a residence and removed prescription medication.

Authorities stress that all charges are allegations and charged individuals are to be considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Photo courtesy of the Sioux County Jail

Sioux Center, Iowa — A dog barn was damaged in a fire on Saturday, June 12, 2021, near Sioux Center.

According to Sioux Center Fire Chief David Van Holland, about 3:30 p.m., the Sioux Center Fire Department was called to the report of a grove fire at 3338 430th Street, two miles south and two and a half miles east of Sioux Center. He says they took care of that but were called back about an hour later, as there was then a fire in the attic of the dog barn on that place.

The chief says the grove fire was minor, but some sparks from that fire must have gotten into the ventilation system or cupulas of the dog barn and started the insulation on fire. He says it was very hot up there with temperatures in the 140s, but they were able to search for hot spots with their thermal imaging camera and douse them with water.

Van Holland says no injuries were reported. He says in the big scheme of things, the fire in the attic caused minor damage, and only the insulation will need to be replaced.

He says the firefighters who responded were on the scene for about a half-hour the first time and for over an hour the second time.

Statewide Iowa — High temperatures in the southwestern US are forecast to climb as high as 118 degrees over the next few days and there are fears that extreme heat could expand into the Midwest.

Meteorologist Dennis Todey, director of the USDA’s Midwest Climate Hub in Ames, says he’s concerned Iowa’s drought conditions will continue to worsen.

Forecasters are calling for warmer-than-normal highs this week across Iowa, again, in the 80s and 90s with little chance for rain. Summer starts this coming weekend so we’re heading into the hot months.

The computer forecast models are still not providing a clear picture of what may lie ahead.

The latest drought monitor shows about 90-percent of Iowa is in abnormally dry or drought conditions, with more than half the state under moderate to severe drought.