February 9, 2016 - 3:06 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A group of concerned parents and community members addressed the Central Lyon School Board Monday night, February 8th.
CLEMS Central Lyon
Three people spoke during the community input portion of the meeting. They said they were upset with what they call the board’s failure to act to protect preschool students.

An investigation was launched, and in October, according to court records, preschool teacher Melissa Lockey was charged with a misdemeanor assault charge after allegations that she “clotheslined” a student who was running around during a group activity on September 9th, 2015.

Lockey pled not guilty and a jury trial was set for January, but on December 10th, Judge Robert Dull dismissed the charges, and Lockey was allowed to resume her duties in the classroom.

The school board listened to the three women, Susan Blair, Rochelle Johnson, and Laura Sievers present their comments. Johnson alleges that the school district disregarded the testimony of paraprofessionals in the room, including her daughter, creating trust issues. According to Blair, only one of the four paraprofessionals for that room are still employed by the district. Sievers was upset with the use of the term “unfounded,” as used in a communication with parents. She says that “unfounded” doesn’t align with the criminal complaint that states that Lockey admitted to the act. All three were concerned with the amount of time it took the district to act.

Central Lyon Superintendent Dave Ackerman took a few moments to address the three and the group of fifteen to twenty others who were there. He said that due to employee confidentiality, he could not say much in an open meeting. What he did say is that situations such as this take time, and they wanted to take the time do do everything right, checking with legal counsel at every step of the way. He also stated that it wasn’t a matter of whether something had happened or not, it was a matter of the severity of what happened.

February 5, 2016 - 9:19 am - Posted in News

George, Iowa — The USDA has just announced that Lyon & Sioux Rural Water will be using over $4 million in grant and loan funds from the USDA to help pay for a new facility constructed recently near George.
water 1
Lyon & Sioux Rural Water System, Inc. is using a total of $4,094,000 in USDA Rural Development loan and grant funds to pay for the construction a new water treatment plant at their well field outside of City of George and make other water system improvements for their customers.

Bonnie Koel, Administrative Manager of Lyon & Sioux gives us the background of the project.

She says they also constructed five miles of 8” water mains to connect to existing distribution piping.

She says that previously, the five George area wells had been used with chlorination only for treatment since they were constructed in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Since 2012, she says the levels of the well water have come up again.

The USDA funds consisted of $3,594,000 loan and $500,000 ECWAG (Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant).

The water treatment plant and pipeline was put into use in April, 2015.

February 4, 2016 - 5:03 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Boyden man who faces charges including attempted murder after an incident in November in George has accepted a plea agreement.
Thirty-two-year-old Joshua Johnson of Boyden was to have stood trial on Tuesday, February 2nd, but a plea agreement was reached and has been filed.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office says the incident happened on Saturday, November 7, 2015. They say three people were allegedly assaulted at a George home. One victim was taken to Sanford Hospital Rock Rapids and then transferred to Sanford Sioux Falls. The sheriff’s office says that victim received serious injuries to his head. The other two victims injuries were to their heads and bodies.

On Tuesday, November 10, 2015 the Lyon County Sheriff’s Department says their deputies, along with the Sioux County Sheriff’s Department executed a search warrant at Johnson’s home at 612 Main Street in Boyden. Johnson was placed under arrest at that time on a charge of Wilfull injury, a class C felony.

Two days later, on Thursday the 12th, Johnson was also charged with Going armed with intent, a class D felony, and 2 counts of assault causing serious injury, both serious misdemeanors.

On Saturday, November 14th Johnson was also charged with one count of attempt to commit murder, a class B felony.

Late last month, Lyon County Attorney Shayne Mayer moved to dismiss an additional charge of assault with intent to inflict serious injury.

A plea taking hearing is scheduled for Monday, February 8th.

February 4, 2016 - 10:34 am - Posted in News

Sioux Center, Iowa — It’s been held for four years now and while it focuses on learning, it’s a big hit with kids.
science chemistry STEM students
“STEM Fest” hosted by Dordt College, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach 4-H and Youth Programs, and the Northwest Iowa Governors STEM Initiative is coming up on Saturday, Feb. 20 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Dordt College’s Science and Technology Center. Mike Compton from the Osceola County Extension office is one of the main organizers of the event. He reminds us that “STEM” in this case is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

He says the STEM Fest is for all youth ages 9 to 14, grades 4th to 8th, and you don’t have to be a 4-H member to attend.

He says Dordt College faculty and students, Iowa State University students, and ISU Extension and Outreach staff offer fun-filled, mind-blowing, “STEM-ulating” activities to help area youth experience the exciting applications of STEM.

Check-in is from 8:30 to 9 a.m. with sessions starting at 9 a.m. The day includes lunch at the college food service, along with morning and afternoon snacks.

Online registration found at https://form.jotform.com/4Hregion1/DordtSTEMFest2016. Deadline to register is Tuesday, Feb. 16. Tracks fill up quickly; first come, first served. There is a limit of 168 participants.

Contact your local Extension and Outreach youth coordinator for brochure and registration form: Lyon County: Jill Postma 712-472-2576jpostma@iastate.edu; Sioux County: Danielle Zuidema 712-737-4230dzuidema@iastate.edu; Osceola County: Michael Compton 712-754-3648mcompton@iastate.edu; O’Brien County: Sarah Fiddelke 712-957-5045sfiddelk@iastate.edu; Cherokee County: Debbie Erpelding 712-225-6196deberp@iastate.edu; Plymouth County: Ann Schoenrock 712-546-7835schoenro@iastate.edu.

February 1, 2016 - 3:52 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A few days ago we told you that at the end of Sanford Health’s lease of the Rock Rapids hospital and clinics in 2019, that Avera Health will take over. We also told you that the hospital board and Avera are planning a new hospital and clinic in Rock Rapids.
sanford rock rapids sign
Now Sanford Health, who has run the Rock Rapids operations for the last 25 years, has released information saying that they too will be building in Rock Rapids. Jesse Tischer, president of Sanford Health Network tells us more.

He says Sanford is in the preliminary stages and is not yet sure where the proposed new clinic will be built, but it will be a “technically advanced facility.” He says although Rock Rapids is a small community and the other new facility to be run by Avera will also have a clinic, he is not concerned about staffing issues.

Tischer says some of the differences between the Rock Rapids hospital board and Sanford had to do with how the field of rural health care is changing.

Sanford does have nearby hospitals in Luverne, Minnesota; and in Sheldon; as well as the Sanford University Medical Center in Sioux Falls.

He says Sanford plans on offering the same high-quality care that patients at Rock Rapids have come to expect at the current facility through the end of their lease in 2019, and in the future in their planned new clinic.

February 1, 2016 - 12:57 pm - Posted in News

Doon, Iowa — Two people were taken to the hospital after an accident near Doon on Monday morning, February 1st.
lyon co ambulance side
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 8:15 AM, 16-year-old Ross VanBemmel was driving a 1996 GMC Jimmy eastbound on 260th Street, three miles east of Doon and a mile north of the county line. The deputy’s report says VanBemmel came to the intersection at Highway 75, stopped, and continued through the intersection.

According to the report, he did not see a northbound 2005 International semi and trailer driven by Donald Facile. VanBemmel’s SUV ran into the driver side of the semi’s cab below the door.

The Lyon County Ambulance crew took VanBemmel and a minor passenger to the Sioux Center Health Hospital.

The GMC sustained heavy damage and is considered a total loss, The International truck and trailer sustained approximately $6000 in damage.

VanBemmel was cited on a charge of Failure to Yield Upon Entering Through Highway

The Lyon County Sheriff’s office reports the Lyon County Ambulance crew, Doon Fire and Rescue personnel, and the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office assisted them on the scene.

February 1, 2016 - 7:16 am - Posted in News

Dallas, TX — Officials with the Dakota Access Pipeline are working to secure the needed easements in preparation for construction of the 11-hundred-plus-mile crude oil pipeline — part of which is planned to cut through portions of Lyon, Sioux, and O’Brien counties.

file photo

file photo

State leaders in North Dakota, South Dakota and Illinois have signed on, but Dakota Access is still waiting on Iowa to give its formal okay. Vicki Granado, spokeswoman for Dakota Access, says it’s all still pending in Iowa.

She says the hearings in Iowa have helped clear up a lot of misconceptions about the pipeline.

Granado says after the pipeline is built, the land returns to its former purpose.

That’s because the company will need access to the pipeline for routine operation and maintenance. During construction, Granado says Dakota Access will pay substantial state sales taxes to all four states, in addition to property taxes once the pipeline is in service. She says the company will employ up to 4,000 construction workers per state to build the 1,168 miles of 30-inch pipeline.

Dakota Access has signed voluntary easement agreements with landowners representing more than 85 percent of the properties along the four-state route. Currently, 89 percent of the properties in North Dakota, 92 percent in South Dakota, 78 percent in Iowa and 87 percent in Illinois have been signed. Project representatives will continue easement negotiations with landowners during the coming months.

The Dakota Access Pipeline is a $3.78 billion infrastructure project that will transport approximately 450,000 barrels per day, with a capacity as high as 570,000 barrels per day, of domestically produced light sweet crude oil from the Bakken and Three Forks production areas in North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois, where shippers will be able to access multiple markets including Midwest, East Coast and Gulf Coast regions.

January 31, 2016 - 4:45 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Two men have been sentenced to five-year prison terms after they agreed to plead guilty to felony drug charges.
Jail Door2
Lyon County Attorney Shayne Mayer’s office says 30-year-old Adam Anthony Anderson and 34-year-old William Millard Cochran were sentenced last week for Manufacturing, Conspiracy to Manufacture, or Aiding and Abetting Another in Manufacturing Marijuana, a Class D Felony. Anderson and Cochran were both sentenced to prison sentences not to exceed five (5) years with credit for over sixty days spent at the Lyon County Jail. They must must also pay surcharges, fees, and court costs, however the statutory fines and statutory surcharges were suspended.

The Court also found Anderson violated the terms and conditions of his probation and his probation was revoked.

January 29, 2016 - 9:58 am - Posted in News

Rural Larchwood, Iowa — A Sioux Falls man has been charged with felony criminal mischief after an incident at Grand Falls Casino near Larchwood.
Grand Falls Casino sign at night
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office says 33-year-old Nathan Olson is charged with second degree criminal mischief, a class D felony; and a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct.

They report that about 9 PM on Wednesday night, January 27th, 2016, they took a report of vandalism that had occurred at Grand Falls Casino. After an investigation, deputies believe 33-year-old Nathan Olson of Sioux Falls, SD damaged a 2015 Cadillac Escalade belonging to the casino.

Olson was arrested and charged at that time.

Damage to the vehicle was estimated at between $1000 and $10,000.

January 28, 2016 - 4:05 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Changes are on the horizon for health care in Rock Rapids in the coming years.
The owner of the current facility, the Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital Association and Avera Health have jointly announced that they have reached an agreement for Avera to lease to operations of the Rock Rapids community hospital and clinics beginning in May, 2019.
sanford rock rapids sign
The community hospital is owned by Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital Association, which in the past has leased hospital operations to Sanford Health. The Hospital Association Board recently voted to lease hospital operations to Avera when its current lease expires in 2019.

Partnering with Avera, the Hospital Association plans to build a state-of-the-art replacement hospital and clinic in Rock Rapids.

The Rock Rapids hospital is currently a 16-bed Critical Access Hospital. Clinics located in the communities of Rock Rapids and George provide family medicine services. Under the new lease agreement, Avera will hire every employee, match their rate of pay and offer a competitive benefits package.

Curt Hohman, Avera Senior Vice President for Managed Facilities says that Avera has a long history of positive working relationships with community hospitals and they look forward to forming this new partnership with Rock Rapids and the surrounding communities. He says they tailor their partnership agreements to communities’ needs and they took nine months to listen to the Association’s long-term goals. Hohman says they found that their aspirations for the organization matched their top priorities of providing quality care, close to home, and keeping local health care strong.

The Hospital Association conducted an extensive assessment of its future needs, and looked for a partnership that would help answer those needs in the best way for the entire community.

Jim Vander Woude, Hospital Association Board President says that Rock Rapids is a growing community, and with that comes a growing need for quality health care services. He says that the community is excited about the future of health care in Lyon County, and planning for a new facility that will help the hospital provide quality care for decades to come.

He goes on to say that the community is fortunate to have two strong systems in the area, and the board has great respect for both. He says they found that Avera’s vision aligns with their vision for the community, and so they feel confident in choosing the direction of a long-term partnership with Avera.

The Hospital Association Board and Avera will begin working immediately to secure financing for the new campus project and will establish a design team to include members from both organizations. The team will seek community input on the design through focus groups and community meetings.