November 25, 2014 - 8:09 am - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Rock Rapids man is behind bars after a weekend incident.Jail Door2

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that their dispatch received a call on Sunday, November 23, 2014, requesting that they check on a man in Rock Rapids and make sure he was okay.

A deputy responded, and after investigation, arrested 33-year-old Brian Michael Wood of Rock Rapids on a charge of Domestic Abuse Causing Serious Injury, an aggravated misdemeanor.

At last report, Wood was being held in the Lyon County Jail.

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Eight young people were found drinking and have been charged after Lyon County Sheriff’s Deputies broke up a party early on cup underage drinking_sxc

The Sheriff’s Office reports that about 1 AM, deputies received an anonymous tip of an underage party that was taking place at a home in the 3700 block of 140th Street in rural Rock Rapids.

Upon further investigation Deputies determined that there were minors under the age of 21 consuming alcohol. Eight people were charged with Minor In Possession of Alcohol.

Those arrested were from Adrian, MN, Ellsworth, MN, Rock Rapids, George, Sheldon, and Sioux Rapids.

November 24, 2014 - 6:25 am - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Some of the circumstances are coming to light surrounding the grain bin kidnapping in Lyon County this past July.Lyon Courthouse At Night

A pre-trial conference was held on Friday, November 21, 2014. According to court records, 33-year-old Oriana Groppetti says that when she and her father locked up her husband, it was meant as a joke and a wake-up call. They allege Groppetti’s husband Derek was adulterous and an alcoholic.

Groppetti and her father, Craig Olson, each face prison time if convicted. They are charged with third-degree kidnapping and are to go on trial in Rock Rapids next month.

Olson and Groppetti are accused of trapping Groppetti’s husband in a grain bin. He escaped and was walking to another location when his wife allegedly picked him up and took him to another grain bin where the Sheriff says the victim was held again. He then escaped and called 9-1-1.

California court records show that Groppetti filed protection order documents accusing her husband of alcoholism, violence and infidelity. She alleges that when she was staying with her family at their home near Canton, her husband showed up asking for a divorce.

The defense wants to talk to the husband before the trial to find out what they’re going to say in court. Coleman McAllister with the Iowa Attorney General’s Office has asked the judge to deny that request, saying the defense had a chance to fly to California to talk to the husband, and they declined.

Judge Carl Peterson says he will rule soon on that issue. Groppetti’s next court date is December 2nd.

Inwood, Iowa — A water main break in a rural water line in western Lyon County caused over fifty people to be without water and closed West Lyon School for the day.water valve main_sxc

According to Bonnie Koel, Administrative Manager of Lyon-Sioux Rural Water System, it was a break in a main line two miles east of their Klondike water treatment plant. She says it happened after midnight and wasn’t noticed until the morning when customers called in, reporting no water or low pressure.

She says West Lyon School called early because they had no water and had to make a decision of whether to have classes or not. Koel says that unfortunately, at that time water crews didn’t know how bad the break was or where it was, so West Lyon made the decision to call off school.

The break was found and was repaired by 10:00 AM. The water tower east of West Lyon School had been drained, but by noon everything was back to normal she says. The customers affected were in the Inwood and Larchwood rural area.

The Lyon County Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Iowa State University (ISU) Extension will be hosting an informational meeting at the Forster Community Center in Rock Rapids, IA on December 2, 2014 at 1:30 PM.FSA_masthead_logo

Farmers and landowners will learn about the new programs authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (commonly referred to as the Farm Bill). The meeting will focus on the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) programs that will be administered by USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), and the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) administered by the USDA Risk Management Agency through Federal crop insurance providers.

Melissa O’Rourke, the ISU Extension Farm and Agribusiness Management specialist in this region will discuss decisions farmers and landowners will need to make in the coming months regarding Price Loss Coverage, County Agricultural Risk Coverage, and Individual Agricultural Risk Coverage options. Timelines for program decisions along with information about online Farm Bill decision tools will also be shared. FSA staff will discuss the program procedures, policies, rules and forms. The meeting will end with a question and answer period.

Please call the local ISU Extension office at 712-472-2576 to pre-register. There is no registration fee. Pre-registration will assure adequate materials, seating and refreshments can be provided.


Adrian, Minnesota — A Rock Rapids man and his passenger were taken to the hospital after an accident with a snow plow near Adrian, Minnesota. mndot plow stay back stay alive

The Minnesota State Patrol reports that about 1:15 PM on Saturday, November 15, 2014, 60 -year-old Mark Holtz was driving a 1999 International snow plow owned by the Minnesota Department of Transportation eastbound on Interstate 90, two miles east of Adrian. Twenty-eight year-old Kyle King was eastbound on 90 in a 2005 Chevy.

The report says that the MnDOT plow was in the left lane, had the blade lifted, and was going slowly to make a u-turn in a turnaround. King was in the right lane went out to pass and did not see the plow with the snow blowing around and rear-ended the plow in the left lane. In addition to the blowing snow, the road conditions were reported to be icy at the time.

The Adrian Ambulance took King and a passenger in his car, 14-year-old Jaylen Klein to Sanford Worthington Hospital.

The snow plow sustained minor damages, and no damage was reported to King’s Chevy.

The Nobles County Sheriff’s Office and the Adrian Ambulance crew assisted on the scene.

Northwest Iowa — Strategic Economics Group has released a study of the economic and fiscal impacts of the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline. The pipeline will carry crude etc_logo_roil from the Bakken oil field in northwestern North Dakota to Patoka, Illinois, and cut right through our area. The wheels are in motion for the project to seek approval from the Iowa Utilities Board, and public information meetings are scheduled for December 1st in Inwood and Sioux Center.

The study finds that the construction of the pipeline will have significant economic impact on the four states that it will traverse.

The Dakota Access project is a more than 1,100-mile pipeline that will be built at a cost of approximately $3.8 billion. The pipeline will have a transportation capacity of more than 450,000 barrels per day of crude oil and will move crude oil to domestic refineries more safely and at a lower cost than the current alternatives. Currently, about 70 percent of the oil extracted from the Bakken area moves to refineries by railroad, which has experienced bottlenecks and is a more expensive form of transportation than by pipeline.

According to the study, during the two-year construction stage of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the four-state region will experience an increase of 33,000 temporary full-time jobs; an increase of $1.9 billion in income; nearly $5 billion increase in production and sales; and a $156 million increase in state and local taxes.

A copy of the study and individual state-by-state analyses and summaries are available at

Orange City, Iowa — A program to help communities invest in their future by helping youth solve problems and even prevent problems from happening in the first place is headed for northwest Iowa.prosper-logo

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach system is at the core of the PROSPER Partnership in Iowa. We had a chance to talk with ISU Extension family specialist Lori Hayungs, and she tells us where the program will be put in place first.

Hayungs says PROSPER is a model designed to help communities deliver high-quality prevention programs to youth and families.

Extension leaders say PROSPER has been proven effective for preventing risky behaviors in youth, promoting positive youth development, strengthening families, and improving the quality of life in the community while saving money.

Extension leaders work with researchers from Partnerships in Prevention Science Institute (PPSI) to implement the evidence-based PROSPER Model and make sure it is making a difference. County Extension staff serve as leaders of PROSPER Community Teams and state Extension Specialists link the Teams with the expertise of Extension Administrators and ISU scientists.

She tells us about “All Stars,” one of the curricula they’re going to use in schools.

Hayungs says the other curriculum they will be using is called “Strengthening Families 10-14.” She says George-Little Rock has already held such a session. Another one will be held there this coming spring, but they’re going to open this one up to all students and families in Lyon County. There will also be one in Sioux County, open to all students and families in the county.

If you’d like more information on the program or how to get involved, you can go to or contact your local extension office. You can also contact Hayungs at the Sioux County Extension office.

If your browser or device cannot access the audio players above, here are the direct links to the audio cuts.

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island park entrance closedThere is going to be an Island Park Planning public information session on Thursday, December 4th in conjunction with the Chamber Soup Supper before the Parade of Lights. It is to start at 4 PM.

The meeting is your chance to find out what’s being planned at this point, and tell the City Council your thoughts and ideas.

UPDATE: We need to stress that the grant is only to STUDY what should be done about the big dam. Its removal and replacement with a rock rapids has been suggested to the city by the DNR for several years, but its removal is not imminent.

Rock Rapids, Iowa — The Rock Rapids City Council met in regular session last night at the Forster Community Center.ForsterCenter

In the public comments section, the owner of Palace Jewelers talked to the council about the use of a front end loader next to his business and the repair of the curb out front. It seems he thinks the use of the City’s front-end loader so near his building could be causing structural issues in his building. He said he had sent a number of letters, which appeared to have gone unanswered. The council informally decided to have a structural engineer look at the situation. The business owner also says he asked that the curb in front of his business be replaced over a year ago, and nothing has been done. The council stated the City would take care of that when the sidewalks are re-done; hopefully before Heritage Days, 2015. They are considering having the sidewalk done in that block between Tangles and Story Street, and the north side done between Story and Marshall streets.

In the Parks and Recreation Committee report it was noted that the City is applying for a grant to do some preliminary work toward the possible elimination of the big dam in Island Park. In other communities, people have been injured or killed by getting caught behind similar dams, and it is felt that our dam may be unsafe as well.

The council decided to give a donation of $5000 to NECHAMA, the Jewish disaster response group that gave so generously of their time and resources to help Rock Rapids flood victims this past June.

The council also discussed an upgrade to the Fire Department’s communication system. City Council member and firefighter Eric Borman says that the department is having trouble talking truck-to-truck or truck-to-walkie-talkie since the FCC required all licensees to convert to narrow-band operations. Borman says the department wants to purchase a repeater, which would listen on one frequency and transmit the signals it receives on another from a high tower, giving them a signal boost. The Lyon County E911 Board has given a grant of $5000 toward the project. The total cost to the city will be $1700.

Councilperson Marlene bowers brought up the issue of ordinance enforcement, nuisance enforcement and zoning enforcement, which were previously handled by former Police Chief Jim Kille. This will probably be assigned to two people — one to handle zoning issues, and one to handle the grass length and failure to remove snow from sidewalk ordinances. Mayor Jason Chase assigned the issue to the public works committee.

Also brought up at the meeting was the possible removal of the large median markers on San Fernando Drive and Sterling Drive in East Rock Rapids. The council believes they are becoming eyesores, and the street department says they make snow removal more difficult. This had been discussed before but it was an engineer’s opinion at that time that the whole street in that area would have to be torn up, surveyed, re-graded, and re-covered. Discussions continue.