September 24, 2014 - 2:56 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines — A new judge will be serving our area.gavel_sxc

Governor Terry Branstad has appointed Patrick H. Tott as a District Court Judge in the Third Judicial District (3B).

Tott, of Sioux City, earned his law degree from Creighton University School of Law and is currently working in private practice and as a judicial magistrate.

District 3 includes Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Crawford, Dickinson, Emmet, Ida, Lyon, Kossuth, Monona, O’Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Sioux, and Woodbury counties.

Tott fills the vacancy left by Judge D. Scott.

Northwest, Iowa — A chase that started in Orange City and went all the way into Minnesota ended south of Rock Rapids Tuesday night, September 23, 2014.
Police lightbar chase

The Orange City Police Department says that at about 8:17 pm, an officer attempted to stop a 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser on Seventh Street Northeast in Orange City. The vehicle matched the description of a vehicle that was involved in an earlier incident that occurred in Sioux Center. The driver was also wanted on several outstanding warrants. The driver refused to stop for the officer and a pursuit began. The vehicle traveled eastbound on Seventh Street Northeast, continued eastbound on 440th Street, went northbound on Kingbird Avenue, and entered into Lyon County.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Department says that they were advised as the chase was nearing Lyon County. At about 8:45 PM the pursuit came into Lyon County southeast of George, where Lyon County Deputies joined in an attempt to stop the vehicle. The pursuit continued into Minnesota and began traveling west where stop sticks were deployed partially disabling the vehicle. The vehicle then continued west before going south. The pursuit successfully ended with the vehicle becoming disabled near the intersection of A-34 and K-52, about five miles southeast of Rock Rapids.

The driver, 36-year-old David Cyril Cephas Wilson of Orange City, was arrested and in Lyon County was charged with eluding a peace officer, an aggravated misdemeanor; six stop sign violations, all simple misdemeanors, and careless driving, a simple misdemeanor.

Wilson is currently being held in the Lyon County Jail.

This incident is still under investigation and charges are pending from the Orange City Police Department.

The Orange City Police Department was assisted by the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office and the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office

September 24, 2014 - 8:10 am - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Governor’s Office has released some data regarding property tax relief.moneybag

The data from the Iowa Department of Revenue shows that Iowa counties are receiving over $78.3 million in state backfill funding and taxpayers are receiving over $49 million in credits, for a total of roughly $127.3 million, in the 2013 assessment year, as part of the historic property tax reduction bill advocated for by Governor Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Reynolds.

The plan includes many benefits. Part of the plan is permanent property tax relief protected by a standing appropriation, that represents the largest tax reduction in Iowa history – $4.4 billion over 10 years. Another part is property tax reduction for all classes of property: agricultural, residential, commercial and industrial, without shift of the tax burden to other classes of property. Changes the school finance formula so that “allowable growth” is replaced by 100% state aid. Finally, commercial and industrial property are being taxed at 95% of assessed value this year, eventually moving to 90% of assessed value next year.

The historic tax reform passage of 2013 received strong bipartisan support. It passed the Iowa Senate 43-6, and the Iowa House 84-13 in May.

State funds, called “backfill” were paid to counties to ensure they did not see a loss in revenue from the property tax reduction. This is permanent relief protected by a standing appropriation.

State Senator Randy Feenstra of Hull says that the state has seen an uptick in the economy since 2008 and 2009. He says that the governor and legislature have used this increased revenue and “plowed it back into commercial tax relief.” Feenstra says that it is actually a tax shift when you backfill using other tax money.

The money to pay the backfill comes from the ending balance. It’s unspent money left over at the end of the state fiscal year.

Critics of the deal say this spending is crowding out other priorities for state government and they say with the escalating commitment, the governor may have set the stage for future tax increases; all of which Branstad rejects.

In our area, O’Brien County, state backfill amounted to $230,325.56. State tax credit to taxpayers amounted to $383,546.68, and total tax relief funding to the county was $613,872.24. Sioux County’s backfill was $651,173.77. And credit to taxpayers was $765,007.94, for a total of $1,416,181.71. In Osceola County, the backfill amounted to $148,531.07; individual relief was $158,800.32; for a total of $307,331.39. And in Lyon County, the backfill was $175,878.11; individual relief amounted to $216,668.63; and the total tax relief funding to the county was $392,546.74.

Click here for a pdf file of the figures for the rest of the state.

Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson assisted with this story.

Rock Rapids, Iowa — The Duggar kids are going to be educated with homeschool curriculum from a Rock Rapids-based publishing company.Alpha Omega AOP

Alpha Omega Publications — AOP — says that the Duggar family from the TLC reality show “19 Kids and Counting” has chosen AOP as its choice for homeschool curriculum.

Now in its ninth season of production, “19 Kids and Counting” airs on Tuesdays at 8 PM Central Time on TLC. Throughout the upcoming season and beyond, Alpha Omega Publications says they are proud to support the Christian family in their commitment to homeschooling.

Duggar mom Michelle Duggar says that for them, with their number of children, they really felt like the best way that they could really direct their children’s hearts toward God was with homeschooling. She also says that as she has encouraged others to homeschool, they have come back and said it is the best thing they’ve done for their family.

Alpha Omega Publications impressed the Duggars with its passion for homeschooling and tradition of excellence. Most importantly, however, the Duggars continue to use AOP curriculum because of its foundation in faith.

Michelle Duggar says AOP complements their family’s goals because they have our same values at heart. She says that it is about Godly character and getting God’s Word into their lives, and it is integrated all through the curriculum and materials.

To see Michelle Duggar talk more about homeschooling and using Alpha Omega Publications’ Christian homeschool curriculum, visit

Sioux Center, Iowa — It’s a different kind of fundraiser, but it promises to be a lot of fun.FGSCP Harlem Ambassadors

The Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion program is bringing in the Harlem Ambassadors basketball team to take on a team of local celebrities. It’ll be at the Sioux Center High School gym on Tuesday, September 23rd at 6:30 PM.

The Harlem Ambassadors perform fundraising/entertainment comedy basketball games for non-profit organizations, service clubs, and the U.S. military. The Ambassadors have helped non-profits raise approximately $9 million for their communities since 1998. They also perform “Stay in School, Stay off Drugs” assembly programs for youth at elementary and middle schools.

We talked to Cathy Bonestroo with the Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion program. She says this is their main fundraiser for the year, and tells us how they came up with the idea.

Click or tap the play button above or this link to listen.

Bonestroo tells us what the Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs do.

Click or tap the play button above or this link to listen.

According to the Harlem Ambassadors, you can find more information about them at  They tell us that families laugh together at the Harlem Ambassadors’ hijinks and are amazed at their high-flying slam dunks.  They say kids can look up to the Ambassadors as great role models who are college-educated and drug-free.

But — who are the Ambassadors playing? A team of local celebrities including Senator Randy Feenstra, Deputy Waylon Pollema, several teachers and administrators from several area schools, radio announcers including KIWA’s own Larry Ahrens, Pastor Kevin Gingerich from Sheldon United Methodist Church and representing each of the programs, Nancy Burley, a volunteer from the Foster Grandparent program, and Ray Bohlke, a volunteer from the Senior Companion program.

Bonestroo says it should be a lot of fun. You can get your tickets by calling 476-2628 or 224-2610. Advanced tickets are $4, $6, and $8 and at the door they will be $5, $8, and $10.

She also says if you’d like to volunteer for one of their programs or if you think their services could help you or a loved one, give them a call at 476-2628.

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A few more new dates have been set and both defendants have pled not guilty in the Lyon County grain bin kidnapping case.Lyon Courthouse At Night

The two cases are actually being heard separately.

The father, 55-year-old Craig Allen Olson of Canton, SD and his daughter, 32-year-old Oriana Ti Groppetti of Visalia, California 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.

Both defendants were arraigned and filed written pleas of not guilty; Groppetti on Monday, September 8th, and Olson on Friday, September 12th.

Groppetti’s attorney has requested a change of venue in the case. A hearing has been set for Friday, September 26th at 1 PM, with a pretrial conference to happen on Friday, October 10. At this point the trial for Groppetti is scheduled for Tuesday, October 14th in the Lyon County Courthouse in Rock Rapids, however that may change depending on how the judge decides on the change of venue request.

A pretrial conference in Olson’s case will also be on October 10 and his trial is scheduled for the same day as Groppetti’s, on Tuesday, October 14th.

Inwood, Iowa — A Canton boy and an Inwood teen are charged in the theft of a pickup in Lyon County.Hand Cuffs sxc

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that they charged a Canton, SD boy on Saturday with Theft in the 1st Degree, a Class C Felony, and Criminal Mischief in the 2nd Degree, a Class D Felony.

Also on Saturday, the Sheriff’s Office says they arrested 19-year-old Mason Van Den Brink of Inwood in connection with the case. He was charged with Possession of Stolen Property in the 1st Degree, a Class C Felony, and Criminal Mischief in the 2nd Degree, a Class D Felony.

The arrests stem from an investigation of a pickup that was stolen from an Inwood business on July 9, 2014. The Sheriff’s Office believes the Canton boy stole the pickup and had been storing it in Canton.

In the morning hours of July 21, 2014 the boy and Van Den Brink were driving the pickup and caused about $6,800 in damages to the pickup, a mailbox, and a sign.

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Some court dates have been set up for the father and daughter accused of holding the daughter’s husband in a grain bin in western Lyon County. Lyon Courthouse SVA

On Tuesday, July 22nd, Lyon County Deputies and a Iowa State Trooper responded to a call from an individual who claimed he had been kidnapped in western Lyon County. The victim was located and the victim’s father-in-law, 55-year-old Craig Allen Olson of Canton, South Dakota was arrested and charged with Third Degree Kidnapping, a class C felony.

As the investigation progressed, it was found that his wife, 32-year-old Oriana Ti Groppetti of Visalia, California was also in on the kidnapping. Arrest warrants were issued charging her with one count of Third Degree Kidnapping (aiding and abetting) and one count of Third Degree Kidnapping, Both Class C felonies.

The father and daughter are accused of trapping the victim in a grain bin. He escaped and was walking to another location when Groppetti, 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.

According to court records, both defendants have a court date on Friday. A pretrial conference is set for Groppetti and an arraignment is scheduled in Olson’s case. The kidnapping trial for Groppetti is scheduled for Tuesday, October 14th in the Lyon County Courthouse in Rock Rapids.

September 9, 2014 - 9:09 am - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Two people have been arrested after an incident in a Rock Rapids parking lot.Lyon County Sheriff Car Door 60-8

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that in the early hours of August 25th, a Lyon County Deputy noticed a man who exited Casey’s General Store in Rock Rapids and appeared to be causing a disruption in the parking lot.

Upon further investigation 19-year-old Tyler Espinoza from Doon was arrested and charged with Public Intoxication, a simple misdemeanor.

Also arrested was 20-year-old Natasha Walling of Inwood. It was determined that Walling drove a vehicle to Casey’s and was found to be over the legal limit. She was subsequently arrested and charged with Operating while Intoxicated, a serious misdemeanor.

Both individuals were transported to the Lyon County Jail and booked in on the charges.

September 6, 2014 - 7:29 am - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — Texas Governor Rick Perry is coming to northwest Iowa again.

The Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola and Sioux County Republican parties are holding another fundraiser for Republican candidates in this area and statewide, and this time it’s hosted by the O’Brien county Republican party, and will be at the Northwest Iowa Community College Lifelong Learning & Recreational Center in Sheldon. The event is scheduled for Friday, October 3, 2014, starting at 5:45 PM.

Rick Perry (Photo Courtesy Gage Skidmore)

Rick Perry (Photo Courtesy Gage Skidmore)

The group looks to build on the event they held last year with over 350 people in attendance and several national, state and local media present.

Governor Rick Perry will give the night’s keynote speech.  Perry took office in Texas in 2000, and is mulling another bid for the Presidency in 2016.

Among the others who plan to speak at the event are Iowa Fourth District Congressman Steve King, Iowa US Senate Candidate Joni Ernst, Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, Iowa Auditor Mary Mosiman, Iowa Attorney General Candidate Adam Gregg, Iowa Treasurer Candidate Sam Clovis, Iowa Secretary of State Candidate Paul Pate, two members of the Iowa Republican National Committee and Iowa Republican Party Co-Chairman Dr. Cody Hoefert from Rock Rapids.

Tickets are available through  For more information, you can contact Republican Party chairs in any of the four northwest Iowa counties — O’Brien, Osceola, Sioux, or Lyon.