September 29, 2016 - 3:42 pm - Posted in News

Jail DoorRock Rapids, Iowa — A Rock Rapids woman received a suspended prison sentence as the result of a plea agreement on drug charges.

According to authorities, the charges against Luz Leann Simons stems from the execution of a search warrant at her Rock Rapids residence in September of 2015.  Authorities say Simons was initially charged with Gathering Where Controlled Substances Unlawfully Used, a Class D Felony; Possession of Controlled Substance: methamphetamine, an Aggravated Misdemeanor; and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Simple Misdemeanor.

This month, Simons entered into a plea agreement with the State of Iowa, in which she plead guilty to Gathering Where Controlled Substances Unlawfully Used, a Class D Felony.  With this guilty plea, the State agreed to dismiss the Possession of Controlled Substance: methamphetamine, an Aggravated Misdemeanor; and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Simple Misdemeanor, with the agreement Simons pays for the cost of dismissals of all three counts.

Simons was sentenced to prison for a period no more than five (5) years, on the felony charge, with the sentence suspended, and she was placed on probation for a period of two (2) years.  Simons was also ordered to obtain a substance abuse evaluation and comply with any and all recommendations, as directed.

In addition, Simons was ordered to pay a $750.00 fine, $10.00 D.A.R.E. surcharge, 35% statutory surcharge ($262.50), $125.00 Law Enforcement Initiative Surcharge, court appointed attorney fees, jail fees, and court costs ($100.00). Simons’ fine and surcharge were suspended.

September 29, 2016 - 2:46 pm - Posted in News

AccidentGeneric 2Larchwood, Iowa — A Sioux Falls man was taken to the hospital following a two-vehicle head-on crash at the south end of Larchwood Wednesday morning (September 28th).

According to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, the accident happened when an eastbound 2008 Nissan, driven by 22-year old Terrence Karla of Sioux Falls, attempted a left turn onto Broadway Street, turning into the path of a westbound 2009 Sterling Grain Truck, driven by 39-year old Jeremy Steuven of George, and owned by Cooperative Farmers Elevator, causing the vehicles to collide head-on.

Deputies say that after the collision Karla’s vehicle went into the south ditch and Stueven’s vehicle tipped over on the road, causing the road to close for approximately 3 hours.

Karla was transported to Avera Hospital in Sioux Falls, SD by the Lyon County Ambulance, with what deputies describe as non-life threatening injuries.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Larchwood Fire Department and Larchwood EMS and the Lyon County Ambulance.

September 29, 2016 - 10:28 am - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Two Lyon County entities have received funding from a foundation that some assumed had ceased to exist.
money cash bills dollars
The Community Foundation of Lyon County was formally established in 2005 through affiliation with the Siouxland Community Foundation. Until Grand Falls Casino was opened in 2011, funding for the grant program was a result of County Endowment Fund legislation passed in 2005 which provides that a percentage of the state’s gambling revenues is to be distributed among all Iowa counties that do not have a gambling entity. But after the casino opened, the foundation no longer received state funds. However, the casino’s nonprofit license-holder, the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation does distribute a portion of funds the casino takes in.

Lyon County Economic Development Director Steve Simons says that despite the lack of state funds coming in to the Community Foundation of Lyon County, the foundation continues to operate and accept donations and endowments from private individuals. He says while both foundations’ goals are helping Lyon County, the Riverboat Foundation is tasked with giving away all the money that they get, while the Community Foundation’s goal is to keep some of the funds they receive from donors and give away some, in a manner similar to a revolving fund.

He says that the Community Foundation of Lyon County has given away its first two grants since the opening of the casino. They went to the Rock Rapids Kids Club and Rapids Theatre Preservation Society. Kids Club received $13,000 toward their new daycare facility construction and the Theatre Preservation Society received $9,000 toward work on the exterior of the historic building in downtown Rock Rapids.

September 29, 2016 - 10:05 am - Posted in News

deer_sxc2Larchwood, Iowa — An Inwood teen struck a deer near Larchwood on Wednesday, September 28th.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that at about 9:20 pm on Wednesday, 19-year-old Jace Vande Kamp of Inwood was driving a 2011 Ford F-150 eastbound on A-26, near Beech Avenue, eight miles southwest of Larchwood. According to the report, Vande Kamp struck a deer in the roadway.

The Ford received $4,500 damage.

No injuries were reported.

September 28, 2016 - 5:57 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Those planning a new hospital in Rock Rapids say they need some information.

The owner of the current hospital, which is leased to Sanford Health, is the Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital (MPCH) Association. In January of this year, the association and Avera Health jointly announced that Avera will lease the operations of the Rock Rapids community hospital and clinics beginning in May, 2019.

Avera and MPCH are planning a new hospital and clinic to be built in southwest Rock Rapids. The plan is for the new building to be available by the time Avera takes over.

The MPCH Board of Trustees is conducting a fundraising feasibility study to determine potential financial support and to gain understanding of public opinion for the proposed new hospital and clinic. The Board of Trustees invites residents of Lyon County and nearby Minnesota communities to participate by completing an online survey.

The survey is available at It will provide everyone throughout the region an opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions with the board of trustees. The online survey will be available until October 12, 2016.

James Vander Woude, president of the MPCH Board of Trustees says that the purpose of this study is to gather valuable feedback from people throughout Lyon County, and the bordering communities in Minnesota, so that the board can have a clear understanding regarding potential financial support for the proposed new Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital and clinic in Rock Rapids.

Vander Woude tells us about the funding picture for the new facility.

Lukas Partners, a fund development firm from Omaha, will conduct the fundraising feasibility study.

Rock Rapids, Iowa — It’s time once again for the non-profit license-holder of the Grand Falls Casino near Larchwood to give out some of the money the casino takes in.
Grand Falls Casino sign
The Lyon County Riverboat Foundation (LCRF) has announced its third quarter non-competitive grant awards totaling $237,809.48.

This time the cities’ grants range from a low of $12,148 for Inwood to a high of $14,533 for Rock Rapids. West Lyon, Central Lyon, and George/Little Rock school districts each get nearly $40,000, and Lyon County gets nearly $17,000.

These funds are programmed by each city council and school board and the County Board of Supervisors.

Since inception, the foundation has given from a low of almost $296,000 for Alvord to a high of over $355,000 for Rock Rapids.

The LCRF non-competitive grant program distributes 50% of it’s total revenue directly to the cities, public schools and county, located in Lyon County based on population. For 2016, LCRF has distributed $744,585.93. To the government subdivisions, the foundation has distributed a total of $5,581,176.16 since the casino opened and the foundation was founded.

In related news, the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation will hold its semi-annual competitive grants award ceremony on Thursday, October 13th, 2016 at the Grand Falls Casino and Golf Resort’s event center. The evening will start at 6 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres, to be followed by a program at 7 p.m. Fifteen different organizations will receive funding to complete projects. The foundation also has eight multi-cycle grants that will receive funding during this fall cycle totaling $229,000. The event is open to the public.

September 23, 2016 - 1:09 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A plea taking hearing is scheduled for one of the two George area defendants charged with possession of drugs, with intent to deliver.

file photo

file photo

Court records indicate that 46-year old Shannon Nagel, and 38-year old Sheila Nagel are both charged with Possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine, a class B felony; Possession with intent to deliver marijuana and Failure to affix a drug tax stamp, both class D felonies; Possession of a controlled substance- methamphetamine and Possession of a controlled substance- marijuana, both serious misdemeanors; and Possession of drug paraphernalia, a simple misdemeanor.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports the charges stem from a search warrant carried out at a rural George residence in late July.

According to online court records, a plea taking has been set for 11:00 a.m. Monday, October 3rd, in Lyon County District Court at Rock Rapids for Shannon Nagel. Online court records say both entered written pleas of not guilty in August. The records say the next scheduled court appearance for Sheila Nagel is the trial, which is scheduled for October 11th.

September 23, 2016 - 8:33 am - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — New census data shows the Latino population in Iowa increased by 116 percent from 2000 to 2015 which is a little more than 96-thousand (96,147) people.
The Latino population in Lyon County increased by 652 percent between 2000 and 2015. The latest estimate is that Latinos make up 2.7 percent of Lyon County’s population. They make up 10.2 percent of Sioux County’s population, 7.2 percent of Osceola County’s population, and 4.6 percent of O’Brien County’s population.

Latinos make up just under six percent of Iowa’s population, making them the largest minority group in the state. Thirty-two percent of the Latinos in Iowa were not born in this county. Seventy-eight percent of them came to Iowa from Mexico.

The median age of Latinos in Iowa is 22-point-two, while the state median age is thirty-eight-point-one. The median income of Latino households in 2015 was a little more than 38-thousand dollars, while the statewide median household income was nearly 55-thousand dollars (54,736.)

The poverty rate was 25-point-six percent, while the corresponding rate for Iowa is 12-point-two percent. The average family size for the Iowa Latino population in 2015 was 3.82, compared to the overall average family size in the state of 2.99.

Over half of the growth in Iowa’s Latino population from 2000-2015 occurred in seven counties: Polk, Woodbury, Johnson, Marshall, Scott, Pottawattamie, and Linn. Polk County had the largest overall population of Latinios at 21-point-four percent.

When it comes to the overall population, 27.4% of all residents of Crawford County were Latino, followed by Buena Vista 24.6%, Marshall at 20.7%, Muscatine at 17.5%, and Louisa at 16.2%.

You can find out more at the Iowa Data Center’s website.

September 22, 2016 - 7:53 am - Posted in News

Lyon Sheriff Facebook HeaderRock Rapids, Iowa — Two vehicles were damaged in a collision at a Rock Rapids intersection on Wednesday, September 21st.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that at about 8:18 am on Wednesday, 21-year-old Vanessa EekHoff of New Era, Michigan was driving a 2004 Chevy eastbound on S 12th Avenue in Rock Rapids. Fifty-two-year-old Toby Lorenzen was driving a 2002 Ford pickup on South Story Street. According to the report, Eekhoff’s vision was obstructed by the rising sun and she was unable to see the Lorenzen vehicle.

The Chevy received $1,500 damage; the Ford received $500 damage.

No injuries were reported.

September 21, 2016 - 4:37 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Sioux Falls, South Dakota man has been sentenced to two weeks in the Lyon County Jail after an Iowa District Judge found him in contempt of court for failure to obtain a sexual offender evaluation.
Lyon Courthouse SVA
The Lyon County Attorney’s office reports that 48-year-old Jason Stowell of Sioux Falls was convicted by a Lyon County jury in August, 2014, of having Indecent Contact with a Child from an incident which occurred in September of 2013 in George. The sentencing judge granted Stowell probation, but as a condition of his probation ordered Stowell to complete a sexual offender evaluation and complete any recommended treatment.

On Monday, September 19, 2016, Stowell was back in court after Lyon County Attorney Shayne Mayer, filed a request with the Court to revoke Stowell’s probation; arguing Stowell failed to comply with the terms of his original sentence. The State requested Stowell be sent to prison for the original sentence of two years.

After a hearing on Monday at the Lyon County Courthouse, the Court found Stowell in contempt, ordered his probation to be extended for one year, and sentenced Stowell to fourteen days in the Lyon County Jail. Stowell was ordered to obtain an evaluation as part of his continued probation.