Sioux Center, Iowa — The Sioux and Lyon County Sheriff Departments are working with local police, trying to identify individuals involved in a check scheme at banks in Alvord, Orange City, and Sioux Center.

They say Hispanic or Guatemalan individuals entered banks in what appears to be a unified manner and presented fraudulent checks for cash. They would reportedly arrive at locations in groups of four to six individuals, enter the lobby to present checks for cash, then another new group of four to six people, and enter in the same manner to overwhelm the bank employees. The fake checks were printed on high quality holographic paper, and had bank routing numbers.

We’re told nearly all of those present wore hats, face coverings, neck coverings, long sleeves, and other attempts to disguise their identity. The suspects kept their faces down to avoid video identification and appeared to be the same individuals at multiple locations.

The investigation continues.

September 5, 2023 - 9:18 pm - Posted in News

Hawarden, Iowa — An apartment complex was totaled in a fire early on Tuesday, September 5, 2023, in Hawarden.

According to Hawarden Fire Chief Duane Schiefen, at about 4:30 a.m., the Hawarden Fire Department was called to the report of an apartment building on fire at 805 8th Street in Hawarden.

The chief says the fire department saw flames from the front of the building as they approached the scene. He says they used an exterior attack, and then an interior attack to fight the fire.

Schiefen says no injuries were reported to people, as everyone got out in time.

The fire department was assisted by the Ireton, Iowa and Alcester and Hudson, South Dakota fire departments.

He says the cause of the fire is undetermined.

Chief Schiefen reports that three of the five units sustained damage, with one of them sustaining the most damage and the others sustaining basically smoke and heat damage.

He says the firefighters who responded were on the scene until about 7:30 a.m.

Schiefen tells us the American Red Cross was called in to assist the tenants with alternate living arrangements.

September 2, 2023 - 6:23 pm - Posted in News

Alton, Iowa — A Granville woman was airlifted to a Sioux City Hospital in the aftermath of a single-vehicle crash Friday afternoon.

According to the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, the mishap occurred shortly after 3:00 Friday afternoon, when a 2001 Pontiac Bonneville, driven by 43-year-old Michelle Vant Hof of Granville, was eastbound on Highway 10, one mile east of Alton. Deputies say the Vant Hof car drove onto the shoulder, went out of control and entered the south ditch, before striking a MidAmerican Energy electrical utility pole.

Authorities say Vant Hof was transported by helicopter to Mercy Hospital in Sioux City for treatment of severe injuries.

The Pontiac sustained approximately $10,000 in damage.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Orange City Police Department, Orange City Fire Department, Orange City Ambulance, Alton Ambulance and Alton Fire Department.

Orange City, Iowa — It’s only been less than four months since the Orange City Tulip Festival, but plans are well underway for next year’s Tulip Festival.

In fact, the Tulip Festival Steering Committee has announced the annual Night Show musical production for the 83rd annual Tulip Festival, as Footloose. The musical is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals.

They tell us auditions are still a way off, but if you’re interested in performing in Footloose, auditions have been scheduled after the first of the year. Mark your calendar for January 8, 9, and 11, 2024. They are looking for actors who are 16 years of age and older. A variety of ages are encouraged to audition.

Directing this year’s show will be Drew and Amanda Lemke and Susan Henrich will serve as producer.

Regular ticket sales for the 2024 Tulip Festival Night Show, Footloose, will also begin after the first of the year — on Monday, January 13, 2024. Tickets will be $30-45 each. With a minimum contribution of $100 to the Friends of the Festival Foundation, you can receive early access to purchase your tickets to the Night Show starting December 1, 2023.

Join us for this live production, May 13-18 at the Town Hall, in Orange City, Iowa. The show will be at 6:30 pm on May 13-14, and at 8:00 pm on May 15-18. Orange City Tulip Festival 2024 is set for May 16-18, 2024.

Matlock, Iowa — A Yankton, South Dakota man has been arrested on felony theft and firearms charges after a pursuit near Matlock.

According to a criminal complaint filed with the Osceola County Clerk of Court’s Office by the county sheriff’s office, 47-year-old Jeremy Ray Bickett of Yankton is accused of the theft of a vehicle and firearms and eluding law enforcement. He was arrested on Tuesday evening after a joint effort by law enforcement officers from multiple jurisdictions.

In his statement, the deputy states that Bickett was called in as a suspicious person parked in a driveway of 2443 Nettle Avenue, about a mile southwest of Ashton. The vehicle Bickett was said to be driving was described as a Silver GMC truck. A deputy was dispatched to the area and located the matching vehicle. The deputy says Bickett was driving away from the property, traveling northbound on Nettle Avenue. The deputy attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but Bickett refused to stop and attempted to elude the deputy by allegedly driving recklessly, speeding, swerving over the centerline, and driving through multiple stop signs.

The deputy says Bickett then entered Lyon County before coming to a stop near Hershey’s bridge on Larch Avenue north of 270th Street (the Sioux County line). The deputy tells us Bickett then allegedly abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot. A check of vehicle registration showed that it was reported stolen along with two handguns.

Bickett would not comply with commands and ran into a field. The O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office was called in with their drone. They tell us the O’Brien County Deputy flying the drone was able to locate Bickett within minutes of deploying the drone using the thermal imaging camera. They say Bickett was tracked with the drone until Sheldon Police Department K9 Balin and arresting officers were able to arrest the suspect after deploying a taser.

The arresting Osceola County Deputy says the apprehension was a joint effort from their office, the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office, Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, the Sheldon Police Department, and the Iowa State Patrol. The Lyon County Ambulance transported Bickett to the Osceola Regional Hospital where he was treated for his injuries and was later transported to Osceola County Jail.

Bickett was charged with second degree theft against an older individual – motor vehicle not exceeding $10,000 in value, a class C felony; eluding at over 25 miles per hour over the speed limit, second degree theft, and dominion/control of firearm/offensive weapon by felon, all class D felonies, as well as a misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle without owners consent. Class C felonies carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and class D felonies carry a penalty of up to 5 years in prison if convicted.

Bickett faces a preliminary hearing on the charges on September 21, 2023.

At last report, Bickett remained in the Osceola County Jail in Sibley in lieu of a $10,000 bond.

August 31, 2023 - 5:31 pm - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — A vehicle was destroyed in a fire on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, in Orange City.

According to Orange City Fire Chief Denny Vanderwel, at about 5:50 p.m., the Orange City Fire Department was called to the report of a vehicle fire at 316 Third Street Northwest.

The chief says the fire department was only two blocks away at a Touch-A-Truck event when they received the page. He says they saw the car fully involved as they approached the scene.

Vanderwel says no injuries were reported.

He says the cause of the fire is undetermined, but Vanderwel thinks it was probably electrical in nature.

Chief Vanderwel reports that the vehicle was totaled in the blaze.

He says the firefighters who responded were on the scene for about a half an hour.

(click to enlarge) Students from the NCC Heavy Equipment program and Kristi Landis, Director of College Advancement at NCC, receive donation from Rich Rozeboom, President and Promotion Director for the Valley Pullers, Inc.

Sheldon, Iowa — Northwest Iowa Community College has received a donation from an organization they helped out this summer, and the money will go towards scholarships and equipment.

Northwest Iowa Community College officials tell us that the Valley Pullers, Inc. recently gave $3,000 to the college, in appreciation for the volunteer hours the Heavy Equipment Operation and Maintenance program provided to the annual Thunder in the Valley event, held on July 7-8, 2023 in Rock Valley.

Northwest Iowa Community College received two checks from the Valley Pullers, Inc. One check for $2,000 will be used to fund two – $1,000 scholarships for students who are enrolled in the areas of Diesel Technology, Automotive & Light Duty Diesel Technology, Heavy Equipment Operation and Maintenance, Engineering Design, Design Technology, Production Welding, or Advanced Welding Technology and are residents of the immediate area surrounding Rock Valley. The other check for $1,000 will be used to purchase new hand-tools and other needs of the NCC Heavy Equipment program.

Rich Rozeboom, President & Promotion Director for the Thunder in the Valley event says, “It takes a lot of volunteers to pull an event of this magnitude off, and we are so thankful that the students from the Heavy Equipment program continually help us. The amount of hours they put in is critical to our success. Additionally, we also want to thank NCC for allowing us the opportunity to work with the college, and students, and the use of various pieces of equipment.”

Matlock, Iowa — Sheldon’s police K9 has provided an assist in Lyon County.

Sheldon Police officers tell us that on Tuesday, August 29th, they received a mutual aid request for K9 Balin just north of Matlock near the “Hershey Bridge”. The bridge is just into Lyon County, only a half mile north of the Sioux County line, and four miles west of the Osceola County line.

Multiple area law enforcement agencies were already on the scene where an Iowa State Patrol Trooper had located a stolen vehicle. They tell us the vehicle had just been involved in a pursuit with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office. The suspect was believed to be in possession of stolen firearms as well.

The O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office used their drone to find the suspect in the field. The suspect refused all commands and continued to flee. Officers and Deputies from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, and the Sheldon Police Department then entered the field to arrest the suspect. The suspect was still non-compliant and after several warnings, so K9 Balin was deployed to apprehend the suspect.

The suspect was taken into custody with no injuries to deputies or officers. The suspect was treated by George first responders and transported to the Sibley Hospital by the Lyon County Ambulance. The suspect was released from the hospital and transported to the Osceola County Jail.

They tell us investigation is still ongoing.

The Sheldon Police Department says they would like to express their pride for K9 Balin and all of the agencies involved in bringing this intense situation to a safe outcome.

Hull, Iowa — A Rock Valley teen was taken to the hospital by ambulance after an accident on Tuesday afternoon.

According to the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, about 3:45 p.m., 70-year-old Gary Meinders of Little Rock was driving a 2002 Buick Century eastbound on 310th Street, two miles west of Hull. They tell us 17-year-old Hannah Van Ginkel of Rock Valley was driving a 2010 Chevrolet Malibu westbound on 310th Street. After stopping for the stop sign at Highway 75, Van Ginkel entered the intersection and was struck by Meinders, who mas making a left turn onto Highway 75.

The Hull Ambulance took Van Ginkel to Hegg Health Center Avera. Meinders reported minor injuries but refused further medical treatment at the scene.

The Van Ginkel Chevrolet sustained about $8,000 in damage. The Meinders Buick sustained about $4,000 in damage.

The sheriff’s office says the Rock Valley Police Department, Sioux Center Police Department, Hull Ambulance Squad and the Hull Fire Department assisted with the response to the accident.

August 29, 2023 - 2:36 pm - Posted in News

Sioux Center, Iowa — Work is moving forward on the Highway 75 construction project in Sioux Center. The Godbersen-Smith paving crew is laying down concrete for Phase 1 on the west lanes of Highway 75.

Officials tell us that last week, they started near 20th Street South and worked north toward 16th Street South. Then they moved their equipment to 13th Street South and are working south toward 16th Street South.

From there, they’ll pave 16th Street Southwest from Highway 75 to the four-way stop by Walmart. After this, they say there will be smaller connections to pave. All of this paving will take a few weeks.

We’re told that once the west lanes of Highway 75 are completely paved and ready to use, traffic will shift from where it is now (east lanes) and will begin using the new pavement. With traffic moved to the west, a crew will remove the old pavement on the east lanes.

Officials say that the east lanes have less utility work than the west side – mainly storm sewer. Utility work on this side should take less time than the west lanes. Paving for the east lanes is slated for late October or early November of this year.

Median work, including paving colored concrete and adding plantings, will take place in spring and early summer of 2024.

The City says the 2.5-mile Highway 75 reconstruction will replace the deteriorating pavement and rebuild it with a design focused on safety and function, “showcasing Sioux Center’s character, to serve the community for decades.” The project is a shared one between the City of Sioux Center and the Iowa Department of Transportation.

Courtesy Community First Broadcasting Station KSOU Radio in Sioux Center