Northwest Iowa — If the currently-proposed Iowa legislative district maps are approved, both Lyon County’s State Senator and the county’s State Representative would change, and Sioux County would be split in half for House representation while being paired with more of Plymouth County for Senate representation.

Lyon County is currently represented by Zach Whiting in the State Senate, and by John Wills in the State House of Representatives. Both men currently live in Spirit Lake. And Spirit Lake would no longer be in the same district as Lyon County for either the Senate or the House.

In the proposed State House plan, all of Lyon County and roughly a little less than the northern half of Sioux County would be in the new “District 4.” The district appears to include Rock Valley, Hull, Boyden, Matlock, the Sioux County portion of Sheldon, and Sioux Center.

No current Iowa State Representatives live in the proposed “District 4.”

As for the State Senate, all of Lyon County, all of Sioux County, and the northern half of Plymouth County, minus a few townships on the far eastern side would make up the new “District 2.” The district appears to include the city of Le Mars in its Plymouth County area.

The proposed senate district covers the residence of current District 2 State Senator Jeff Taylor in Sioux Center.

September 21, 2021 - 12:49 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — Numerous dignitaries were on hand Tuesday morning for a ribbon cutting at Northwest Iowa Community College.

The ribbon was cut for NCC’s Diesel Technology and Automotive classrooms and labs, and the Educational Partnership with Snap-On Tools.

The celebration included remarks from representatives of NCC, Sheldon Chamber of Commerce, City of Sheldon, and leadership from Snap-on Tools Inc. The NHRA Snap-on Tools Dodge Charger Nitro Car was also present during the celebration. Additionally, Andy Jacobs, Diesel Technology (NCC Class of ‘02), was presented NCC’s Outstanding 2020-2021 Alumnus of the Year award.

Also speaking at the event were; Representative Dennis Bush, Representative Skyler Wheeler, Representative John Wills, Senator Jeff Taylor, Wes Fopma — representing Congressman Randy Feenstra, Kolby DeWitt — representing Senator Joni Ernst and Jacob Bossman — representing Senator Chuck Grassley.

A video of the ceremony may be viewed below……

Northwest Iowa — Candidates who want to run for city and school positions had to have their papers in last week. We told you who is running in Osceola and O’Brien counties last week. Now it’s time to tell you who’s running in Sioux and Lyon counties.

In Sioux County, we’ll start with the community of Alton, where Dan Vande Griend is running unopposed for mayor. Terri Vander Pol, Harlan Jorgensen, and Travis John Plathe are running unopposed for the Alton City Council.

In Boyden, Laryl Koerselman is running unopposed for mayor. Austin Loges and Stacie Damstra are running unopposed for the Boyden City Council.

For Chatsworth mayor, Gregory Alan Arens is running unopposed. There are five seats open on the Chatsworth City Council. Only three people filed papers to be one of those five. They are Bekki Baker, Robert Baker, and Clifford Puhl.

No one filed papers to run for the Granville Mayor position, so, presumably, the winner will be a write-in. Meanwhile, there will be an actual race for Granville Council. Three people filed papers for two available seats. They are Christopher Hunt, James Wynia, and Joyce Murphy.

There is apparently a lot of interest in the Hawarden City Council positions. Only three seats are available. Nine people are running. They are Kevin Warner, Amy Cason, Douglas J. Koob, Maria Camacho, Patricia Anderson, Monte Harvey, Robert Jay Bak, Jerry Wilson, and Robert Klocke. Hawarden voters will also vote for hospital trustees.

One person is running unopposed for Hospers’ mayor’s position. It is Dannie J. Dykstra. Two seats are available on the Hospers City Council, but only Michael Thompson filed papers.

In Hull, four people are vying for three seats on the council. They are Ryan D. Beukelman, Les Van Roekel, John Emerick, and Eric D. Rankin.

Kent L. Hoogland is running unopposed for Ireton’s mayor chair. There’s a race for Ireton’s City Council. Two seats are available, and there are four people running. They are Jim Marco, Brett Buyert, Gerad Gradert, and Pamela J Lewis.

Two people want to be Matlock’s mayor. They are David Phillips and Charles Schwebach. Three people are running for three available positions on the council there, they are Jo Stegemann, Lori Hoven, and Carol Fliear. One person is also running to fill one vacancy on the council. That’s Lance De Jong.

In Maurice, Randy Hoekstra is running unopposed for mayor. There are two positions available on the Maurice City Council, but only one person filed for the positons — William Korver.

Orange City Mayor Deb De Haan is unopposed for her position. Rod De Boer and Steve Roesner are also running unopposed for two seats on the council. Orange City residents will also vote for hospital trustees.

There are four people running for three available seats on the Rock Valley City Council. They are Dale Kooima, Charlene Granstra, Jeremy Van’t Hul and Rod De Kam.

In Sioux Center, three people are running for three positions on their council. They are John Brantsen, Jennifer Vermeer, and Randy Vreugdenhil.

In school races, we’ll start with Boyden-Hull, where there are two people running for two postions on the Board of Education. They are Mark Nilles and Gina Woelber.

It’s the same story at MOC-Floyd Valley, with two people running for two postions. They are Mere Reyes and Christine Koerselman.

For the Rock Valley School Board, four people are vying for three at-large positions. They are Mike M. Suter,
Steven Van Den Top, Shelli Rens, and Jacob Brosamle.

It’s the same thing for the Sioux Center Community School District. Four people there are running for three positions. They are Jerod Work, LoriAnne Andersen, Nathan Bullock, and Yeabsira Doornink.

In the West Sioux School District, Russell Coons is running unopposed for District 1, and Gary Donald Witt is running unopposed for District 2. Two people are vying for one at-large seat. They are Ken Koch and Travis Dean Waterman.

Since Northwest Iowa Community College is in Sioux County, they will be compiling the results of that election. Three people are running unopposed. For District 1, it’s Cynthia Porter. For District 4 it’s Steve Loshman, and for District 7 it’s Larry Hoekstra.

——————————————————
In Lyon County, we’ll start with the City of Alvord. Mayor Mark Nagel is running unopposed, as are Sam Metzger and Dennis Thielvoldt for the city council. There is actually one council position and an additional one position to fill a vacancy open, but no one filed papers for either of those positions.

In Doon, two incumbents are running for three available positions on the City Council. They are councilmembers Arlys Rozeboom and Les Vander Tuin.

Five people want to be on the George City Council, but only two positions are available. Running are incumbent Carola Oehmsen Vivian, and challengers John Grotluschen, Bobby Gruis, Lucius Johnson, and Jack Smith.

Five people also want to be on the Inwood City Council, where there are three seats open. Candidates include incumbent Kyle Knobloch and challengers Richard G. Halma, Jordyn Huyser, Rick Rozeboom, and Mark D. Timmerman.

Larchwood Mayor Dean Snyders is running unopposed. Four people are running for two available seats on the City Council. They are incumbents Mike Metzger and Ted Underberg and challengers Ned Hodgson and Shane Reinke.

Lester Mayor Daniel Gerber is also running unopposed. Two people are vying for two positions on the council. They are incumbent Lance Boote and Erika Kellenberger.

One person is running for the Little Rock Mayor position. It is Alex Wiertzema. Three people are running for two available chairs on the Little Rock City Council. They are incumbent Diane Peters and challengers Shannon Lloyd and Thomas Schilling.

And in Rock Rapids, Mayor Jason Chase is running unopposed, as are councilmembers Cody Hoefert and Ed Reck. There is also a race to fill a vacancy. Roland (Rollie) Vander Lee has been filling that position in the interim and is now running for the seat against challenger Richard Reitsma.

As far as Lyon County Schools —

Two people are running for two terms on the Central Lyon Board of Education. Both are incumbents. They are Keri Davis and Scott E. Postma. Voters will also be voting on a Revenue Purpose Statement and a purpose agreement for Physical Plant and Equipment — or PPEL — funds.

Two people are also running for two available terms at George-Little Rock. They include Andrea Johnson for District 2 and incumbent Kristi Landis for District 3.

At West Lyon, there are two races for the school board. For District 1, Vincent Smith faces Tanner Tracy. For District 2, incumbent Jennifer Jenson faces challenger Melissa Rozeboom. In District 5, Alexander Hage is running unopposed. West Lyon voters will also vote whether to approve a Revenue Purpose Statement.

This Tuesday is the withdrawal deadline for candidates who have decided not to run.

Northwest Iowa — There have been 119 new positive COVID results in the four-county area in the past seven days, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The total in the O’Brien, Sioux, Osceola and Lyon County area breaks down to 62 new cases in Sioux County which is up 21 from a week ago, 34 new cases in Lyon County which is up 8 from last week, 16 new cases in O’Brien County and 7 in Osceola County. Both O’Brien and Osceola Counties were down 1 from the week before.

The streak of several weeks with no COVID-related deaths in the four-county area came to an end in the last seven days, when O’Brien and Sioux Counties each had one resident claimed by the virus. That brings the total dead since the start of the pandemic to 191; 752 in Sioux County, 58 in O’Brien County, 41 in Lyon County and 17 in Osceola County.

As of Monday morning, 52.7% of O’Brien County residents age 12 and up have been fully vaccinated, with 47.2% in Osceola County, 43.3% in Lyon County and 43.7% in Sioux County.

Patients hospitalized statewide, as of Monday morning, stands at 578, with 158 being treated in Iowa Intensive Care Units. Of those hospitalized, 76.9% are not fully vaccinated. For those in ICU, 87.7% are not fully vaccinated.

There are 26 Long-Term Care Centers in the state experiencing COVID outbreaks as of Monday morning, according to the IDPH.

 

Northwest Iowa — While alfalfa may be about ready to cut, one northwest Iowa expert says that depending on your plans for next year, making hay may not be the best course of action right now.

Iowa State University Extension Agronomist Joel De Jong tells us that if your intent is to keep the alfalfa and harvest hay from it again next year, it might be best to hold off on the last cutting for a while.

Waiting on cutting alfalfa shouldn’t be much of a problem for area farmers, most of whom are busy getting ready for soybean and corn harvest at this point.

Lebanon, Iowa (western Sioux County) — A milestone was reached in northwest Iowa this week in the construction of the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System. Troy Larson, the project’s executive director, says the final section of pipe between Beresford, South Dakota, and Sioux Center was laid this week.

Larson says there’s still a lot of work to do before water is flowing through that pipe.

Larson says they still have a few more member cities to bring online.

Larson tells us about the line connecting Hull and Sheldon.

He tells us that while Sheldon getting water is a few years away yet, they are getting things ready in the Sheldon area.

For clarification purposes, water going to Sibley will come off of the Worthington branch, which is separate from the Sheldon branch.

Larson says they are also watching the U.S. House of Representatives closely, as the infrastructure bill that they are considering contains the remaining federal funding that Lewis & Clark needs to complete the base system — $132 million.

Larson tells us that the Lewis & Clark board is already planning for expansion from 45 million gallons per day to 60 million gallons. He says the proposed expansion will involve expanding the water treatment plant, adding more pumps to existing pump stations, adding two more pump stations, adding more wells in the same area, and adding more lime drying beds.

First developed in 1989, the water system is a partnership of cities and rural water districts in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota. It uses some 340 miles of underground pipe to move treated water to communities from wells near the Missouri River, south of Vermillion, South Dakota.

Photo caption(left to right): L&C Executive Director Troy Larson, Hull Councilman Eric Rankin, Hull City Administrator and L&C Director Jim Collins, Sioux Center Assistant Utilities Manager Adam Fedders, Sioux Center Water Department Supervisor Harlan Kruid, Sioux Center City Manager Scott Wynja, Sioux Center Mayor Dave Krahling and Sioux Center Utilities Manager and L&C Chairman Murray Hulstein.

Des Moines, Iowa — The redistricting plan the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency presented to Iowa lawmakers Thursday morning would expand the fourth congressional district, which is represented by Congressman Randy Feenstra of Hull, from 39 to 44 counties.

Feenstra plans to seek reelection in 2022 and he lives in the proposed fourth congressional district. It would include cities like Sioux City, Fort Dodge and Mason City — which Feenstra currently represents, but the contours change as the proposed district flows to the south. Council Bluffs and Sidney on the far southwest corner of the state would be included, but Ames — which Feenstra current represents — is NOT included.

The proposed fourth district would still be a Republican-dominated area, with just under a quarter of voters registered as Democrats compared to more than 45 percent of voters being registered Republicans.

Donald Trump won the 44 counties that would be included in the proposed fourth congressional district by a more than 30 percent margin.

Here is what the proposed redistricting of Iowa would look like…..

 

 

September 16, 2021 - 2:10 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — A new report finds Iowa’s adult obesity rate rose significantly from 2019 to 2020. The study by the non-profit Trust for America’s Health found 36-percent of adult Iowans were considered obese last year, putting Iowa among 16 states with a rate above 35-percent.

The Trust’s Dara Lieberman says the shift in many people’s daily routines and a reported decrease in physical activity during the pandemic may have contributed to the increase.

Lieberman says obesity is linked to an increased risk for many conditions like diabetes, heart disease and even getting severely ill from COVID-19. She says obesity rates differed along racial lines due to social and economic factors, with black Iowans having higher rates than white and Latino Iowans.

Iowa is tied with Delaware for the seventh highest obesity rate in the country. Lieberman says lawmakers need to push for more resources to be invested in combating obesity.

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Supreme Court has set December 1st as the deadline for Iowa lawmakers to approve new boundaries for Iowa congressional and legislative districts.

The Legislative Services Agency will release new maps Thursday, part of the once-every-ten-year process of redrawing congressional and legislative district lines based on new Census data. That data showing shifts in Iowa’s population didn’t get delivered until August — four months late — making it impossible to meet the September 15th constitutional deadline for having a redistricting plan approved. Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Christensen has issued an order that sets December 1st as the new deadline.

The chief justice says Iowa’s redistricting law has been recognized as the nation’s gold standard and has been studied and praised by redistricting commissions in other states. Christensen’s order cited the strict criteria the Legislative Services Agency uses to reconfigure the districts as she granted the legislative branch permission to proceed with the process that has been used since 1981.

Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver of Ankeny says he appreciates the Supreme Court’s work in helping to maintain Iowa’s nationally recognized redistricting process. Governor Kim Reynolds has set October 5th as the date for legislators to reconvene in special session to vote yes or no on the set of maps that will be released this Thursday.

Orange City, Iowa — When Iowa voters vote in the upcoming November election, several new provisions will be in effect.

We talked to Ryan Dokter, who along with being the Sioux County Auditor is also the President of the Iowa State Association of County Auditors, and he tells us about some of the important changes.

That voter registration deadline for the November election will be October 18th, but as Dokter says, you can register another way. He says absentee voting has changed as well.

So, for this election, here are the dates:

Absentee voting in person and the mail-out of absentee ballots can start on October 13th. People were able to request an absentee ballot as early as August 24th, and that continues. The last day your Auditor’s office can mail out ballots is October 18th.

Dokter says that postmarks will now have no effect on whether your completed mailed-in absentee ballot will be counted or not.

The auditor tells us that there are also several changes to the way county election officials handle several aspects of the election. One of those is that county auditors can no longer set up satellite voting sites at their discretion. He says any satellite voting sites now have to be requested by petition. He says this is not a provision that affects Sioux County at this time, but it does affect some of the larger counties in the state. He also says that willful violation of the election law by election officials is now a class D felony offense.