August 20, 2016 - 5:30 am - Posted in News

accidentRock Rapids, Iowa — A traffic crash near Rock Rapids Wednesday afternoon sent two people to the hospital, and totaled two vehicles.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office says the accident happened shortly before 5 pm Wednesday at the intersection of 180th Street and Garfield Avenue, two miles south and three miles west of Rock Rapids. Deputies say a 2005 Chevrolet Colorado pickup, driven by 17-year old Kane Spencer, of Little Rock, was southbound on Garfield Avenue, and, according to authorities, failed to stop for the stop sign posted at the 180th Street intersection, striking the passenger side of a westbound 2014 GMC Terrain, driven by 62-year old Cheryl Hulstein, of Rock Rapids. Deputies say both vehicles came to rest in the south ditch, with Hulstein’s SUV coming to rest on it’s left side.

According to authorities, Hulstein had to be extricated from her SUV, by the Rock Rapids Fire Department, and was then transported to Sanford Rock Rapids Hospital for treatment of possible injuries. Spencer was reportedly transported by private vehicle for observation.

Deputies estimated damage to Spencer’s pickup at $10-thousand, while Hulstein’s SUV sustained an estimated $20-thousand in damage. Deputies say damage to both vehicles was enough to total them.

The Sheriff’s Office says Spencer was cited for Failure to Obey Stop Sign, and Use of Electronic Communication Device on a Restricted License, both simple misdemeanors.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Rock Rapids Fire Departement, Lyon County Ambulance, Iowa State Patrol and Track Side Towing from Alvord.

August 16, 2016 - 8:53 am - Posted in News

deer_sxc2Larchwood, Iowa — A Larchwood man struck a deer near Larchwood on August 15th.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that 69-year-old Thomas Skidmore of Larchwood was driving a 2008 Toyota westbound on Highway 9, 1/4 mile east of Birch Avenue. According to the report, Skidmore struck a deer that entered the roadway from the south ditch.

The Toyota received $4,000 damage.

No injuries were reported.

August 15, 2016 - 6:58 pm - Posted in News

Terri SnellerRock Rapids, Iowa — A Rock Rapids woman is a quarter-million dollars richer after a Powerball drawing held Wednesday, August 10th.

Terri Sneller of Rock Rapids won her big prize after matching four of the first five numbers and the Powerball.

Sneller talked about her winning ticket.

Sneller’s easy pick ticket initially won a $50,000 prize, but since she added the Power Play® option, her prize multiplied to $250,000.

When asked, Sneller says she does have plans for the money.

She says she plays about three times each month.

The winning numbers in that night’s $67.6 million jackpot were: 23-56-61-64-67 and Powerball 12. The Power Play number was 5. The jackpot has been growing since July 30 and has climbed to an estimated $94 million for this Wednesday’s drawing.

August 12, 2016 - 1:36 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Brandon, South Dakota woman has been arrested on felony OWI charges after an accident earlier this month.
Hand Cuffs sxc
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that they arrested 23-year-old Betsy Thomas of Brandon earlier this week on a charge of OWI 3rd Offense, a Class D Felony. They say she was also charged with Striking Fixtures upon a Highway, Driving Without a Valid License, Open Container, and Failure to Main Control, which are all simple misdemeanors.

Thomas was booked into the Lyon County Jail.

The charges stem from a crash early on Tuesday August 3, 2016, in which Thomas was eastbound on Iowa Highway 9, two miles south of Grand Falls Casino, when she allegedly lost control of her vehicle traversing the curve. They say she entered the north ditch and her vehicle struck a creek embankment. Thomas was transported to Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls.

August 11, 2016 - 11:42 am - Posted in News

George, Iowa — An arraignment has been scheduled for two people from rural George who were arrested on three felony drug charges.
file photo
Court records indicate that 46-year-old Shannon Lloyd Nagel and 38-year-old Sheila Marie 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 1886 Kingbird Avenue near George in late July.

According to court records, both Nagels are scheduled to be arraigned on Monday, August 22nd. A bond hearing for Shannon Nagel is scheduled at the same time.

At last report, the pair remained in the Lyon County Jail.

August 10, 2016 - 10:05 pm - Posted in News

Sioux Center, Iowa — A Sioux Center-based telephone, cable, and Internet provider has purchased several telephone exchanges in northwest Iowa, and the sale is set to become final upon regulatory approval.
premier communications
Premier Communications is set to acquire the Iowa telephone exchanges of: Akron, Boyden, Doon, Hawarden, Hull, Ireton, Rock Rapids, Rock Valley and Sibley, which are currently owned by Consolidated Communications. These exchanges were part of the original Northwestern Bell area and for many of the last several years were owned by a company called “Hickory Tech.”

We had a chance to talk with Premier CEO Doug Boone. We asked him what the acquisition would mean to those involved. First of all, we asked him how adding nine exchanges would affect their workforce.

Consolidated currently has an office in Rock Rapids and other infrastructure in other communities. Boone says time will tell what happens to those facilities.

Boone says that out of the nine exchanges they are purchasing, Premier is only new to two of them.

Boone says that at the start of service, they will offer the same products that were offered through Consolidated, such as telephone service and DSL Internet. However, he says they will continue to make improvements to the old network to upgrade their services. He says while they do offer subscription cable TV service in some communities, it remains to be seen if they will add that service in areas where they don’t already offer it.

According to a press release from Consolidated in May, the agreement is an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $22.5 million, subject to certain contractual adjustments.

August 10, 2016 - 10:27 am - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — The City of Rock Rapids has received state funding to help with the construction of a street in the city’s industrial park.
New Rock Rapids Water Tower
The Iowa Transportation Commission approved the funding during its meeting this week at the Hilton Garden Inn Sioux City Riverfront in Sioux City.

We talked to Rock Rapids Mayor Jason Chase, who gives us the details.

The immediate RISE grant, for up to $85,275 from the city share of the RISE Fund was approved for a Local Development grant. The road, in the Forster Industrial Park in eastern Rock Rapids is being called Forster Court. This project is necessary to provide improved access to more than 3 acres for industrial purposes. This project is anticipated to be completed by June 2017, but Mayor Chase says they’d like to get it done yet this year if possible.

He says Forster Court is planned to eventually connect with Forster Drive, creating a loop through the industrial park.

According to Chase, the city applied for the grant only two weeks ago.

August 9, 2016 - 11:02 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — The town of Rock Rapids continues to recover from the flood of 2014.

In the aftermath of the flood, several Rock Rapids residents who live near the Rock River and Moon Creek found their homes destroyed, unlivable, or unsafe.

Three flood-damaged houses torn down in March, 2015

Three flood-damaged houses torn down in March, 2015

The City of Rock Rapids has been partnering with the federal government for a buyout program in which the city uses federal funds to help buy the property, demolishes the structures, and then turns the property into permanent green space. Not all of the properties were purchased at the same time, and that process continues, according to city officials.

Rock Rapids Mayor Jason Chase gives us an update on the program.

Chase says at that point they have some questions to answer.

He says there are some restrictions as to what they can do with the properties, which will remain property of the city. He says they can only build open shelter houses without walls, and there is even some question as to if they can install pavement besides sidewalks.

The mayor tells us that Monday night’s bid opening was a re-bid due to a technicality in the bid from Scott Ohlemann of Traxx Excavating.

He tells us what the city council did.

A firm from St. Cloud, Minnesota bid $398,755 for the next round of demolitions. Traxx Excavating of Rock Rapids bid $75,600, and the council accepted the lower bid.

Chase says the $6 million project will turn around 50 lots in the town into green space. He says that’s roughly five percent of the total occupied residential lots in Rock Rapids.

August 8, 2016 - 5:03 pm - Posted in News

Inwood, Iowa — An Inwood man has been arrested on felony sex charges.
lightbar with hand cuffs
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that they carried out a search warrant on Sunday, August 7th at 1446 US Highway 18 near Inwood.

They say that as a result of the investigation, they arrested 41-year-old Perry Vande Kieft of Inwood on charges including two counts of sexual abuse in the 2nd degree, class B felonies; possession of a controlled substance, a serious misdemeanor; and possession of drug paraphernalia,a simple misdemeanor.

Northwest Iowa — Buy locally-grown food or grow it yourself. That’s the advice being given by some experts — and some people are following that advice.
Flavors of Northwest Iowa
Recognizing the growing interest in fresh, locally-produced food, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach county offices in Northwest Iowa launched Flavors of Northwest Iowa, a regional food project to build a network of support for growers and consumers.

This Tuesday, August 9, Extension is hosting “Cooking with Garden Vegetables” at the Forster Community Center in Rock Rapids from 6 to 8 p.m.

Extension experts say it will be a hands-on workshop where you’re going to learn some easy cooking tips. The presenter will do some demonstrations, and they’ll do tastings. They say they’re offering this because some people aren’t sure exactly how to cut and prepare certain vegetables. They say they’ll have some recipes available too. It’s free.

Later this week, they’ll have the companion “Cooking with Herbs” workshop at the Sutherland Fire Rescue and Ambulance building in Sutherland. That’ll be this Thursday, August 11th, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Experts tell us they’ll split up into groups and go into the kitchen and make pesto and salsa and things with freshly-prepared herbs. There will also be food tasting.

She says you need to register for that by August 9th by calling the O’Brien County Extension Office. There is a $15 per person fee for the herbs workshop.

You can learn more at or find all the details on Facebook. Look for “Flavors of Northwest Iowa”.