Lyon County Riverboat Foundation Gives Over $600,000 And Commits Over $1.9 Million This Grant Cycle

Riverboat Grants February 2013Larchwood, Iowa — Twenty-four projects and worthy purchases designed to help make Lyon County a better place to live were given funding from the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation on Thursday night. Six of the projects had been given funds before, and the Foundation continued to fulfill their commitments to the projects. Eighteen additional projects were also funded — some of them got all they asked for on Thursday night, and the Riverboat Foundation started funding some others.  The foundation gave out $610,923.91, and made a total commitment (through some multi-cycle grants) to give $1,939,600 on Thursday night.

The biggest projects receiving funds were the Rock Rapids Kids Club day care, Larchwood Fire Department, and the City of Lester.

The Rock Rapids Kids Club day care will receive $750,000 in 20 cycles — that’s $37,500 per cycle, or twice a year. It goes toward a new day care facility which is planned in Rock Rapids.

The Larchwood Fire Department will use their $492,500 toward the construction of a new fire station — one that is safer and has more parking. They get their money in 10 payments of $33,200.

The City of Lester received a commitment to $246,560 — $100,560 now, and four more payments of $36,500 — toward a new community center.

The Foundation received 37 grant applications, 18 of which were funded in this grant cycle.

Some of the money ($117,823.91) also went to other projects to which the Foundation had committed funds in past grant cycles.  The City of Inwood received $37,500 more toward their aquatic center.  The George Fire Department got $15,170.50 more toward the purchase of their grass rig.  Larchwood Emergency Medical Service (LEMS) received $25,000 more toward their new ambulance.  The Lester Fire Department received $16,666.66 more toward their new fire truck.  The City of Rock Rapids received $6457 more toward their housing project.  And the Inwood Fire Department received $17,029.75 more toward their grass rig.

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Four Hospers Residents Arrested, Charged With Drug-Related Charges

siouxsheriff2Hospers, Iowa — Four Hospers residents have been arrested on drug-related charges after a report of an identity theft.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that on Tuesday afternoon (2/5), they arrested 19-year-old Chelsea Hakeneis, 18-year-old Matthew Zinnel, and 18-year-old Victoria Guadalupe‐Villarreal, all of Hospers, on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia. Twenty-year-old Christian Vargas‐Ortiz, also of Hospers was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia, identity theft and two counts of forgery.

The arrests stemmed from a report of identity theft which was received by the Sheriff’s Office in the overnight hours, early on February 5th.

Upon further investigation deputies determined that Vargas‐Ortiz had gained employment at Hickory Hill Farms LLC near Hospers by using another person’s identity.

Sheldon City Council Members Disagree On How To Fund City’s Children’s World Commitment

community services center 02Sheldon, IA — Now that the city of Sheldon is beginning plans for residential development plus a park area in Sheldon Crossing, they also want adequate recreational trail access to the area.  The Trails committee reports they are concerned about the inability of trail users to safely access the eight foot trail section that goes past Drenkow Motors.  Persons have to use Country Club Road itself or private sidewalks that are too narrow.   Pete Hamill told the City Council Wednesday that after considerable discussion the trails committee was in unanimous agreement that a ten foot trail should be placed from Highway 18 to East 9th street on the west side of Country Club Road.

He explained that a ten foot trail is usually required in order to get grant money for the project.  Otherwise, an 8 foot trail would be adequate.  Everyone agreed that if such a trail was placed immediately adjacent to the road it would be hazardous.  This means it would have to be located in the area of the sidewalks.

There was a question of whether or not the city would have the right of way on the properties involved.  Public Works Director Todd Uhl  told the council he felt that they would have the right of way.  But Council members weren’t too supportive of the whole idea.  Other ideas came up including putting the trail on the east side of the road . Ron Rensink who lives in that area commented that, “if you put it on the west side of the road those people are not going to be happy and if you put it on the east side they are not going  to be happy.  Waiting  to make a decision later will not change that.”   The Council asked  Hamill  to take the problem back to the trails committee.  They meet the third Thursday of every month at seven p.m.


The council also debated how to fund a commitment they want to make to assist Children’s World.  In their budget session they agreed on one hundred thousand dollars over three years.  There was a question of  how much of that would be paid out of Local Option Sales Tax Funds, and if they should tap into the Hotel-Motel tax income which is normally handed over to the marketing committee.  Dave Popkes said he felt they should take it all from the Sales Tax Fund, but some objected because this would use money which is usually set aside for emergencies.  Ron Rensink said that since the Hotel-Motel tax has grown from thirty thousand a year to ninety thousand, the Marketing Committee does not need it all.  Brad Hindt commented that Marketing does a lot of good things with their money.,

Duane Seehusen made a motion to dedicate 30 percent of the Hotel-Motel tax to Childrens World for a set period of three years.  This motion was defeated.  Greg Geels pointed out that they had not even talked to the Marketing Committee.   His motion to discuss the matter with Marketing and also bring up the possibility of raising the Hotel-Motel tax from five to seven percent  passed on a four to one vote with Rensink voting no.  In the meantime the budget will show the money is coming from the Local Option Sales Tax, and if Hotel-Motel tax money is dedicated to Children’s World those dollars will be moved to the Sales Tax fund.


In other business, the council approved Nathan White for the fire department and Pat Meester as the City representative on the Northwest Iowa Regional Housing Authority Board.   They also approved an agreement with the Iowa D.O.T. for the Country Club Road and East 9th Street project,  approved an increase in the fees for zoning permits, and set February 20th as the date for public hearings on the Trilogy Plat and the 2013-2014 fiscal year budget.

Benefit Scheduled For Presthus Family

Sheldon, IA — A benefit is planned for the family of Chris Presthus of Ashton, who passed away December 20th as the result of a heart attack.  The benefit includes a supper, silent and regular auction, raffle and a bake sale, and will be held March 2nd at the Eagles Club in Sheldon.

Brian Tutje of Sheldon is one of the organizers of the benefit, and says that, with his untimely passing, Presthus left behind a wife and four children.

Tutje tells us more about the day’s events.

Tutje says folks will have the opportunity to bid on many different items during the auction, from football tickets to a puppy, all donated by local residents and merchants.

Tutje said he wants to thank everyone who has helped organize this event, and especially those who generously donated auction and bake sale items.  He added that any additional donations for the auction or bake sale are most welcome, and appreciated.

The bake sale will begin Saturday morning, March 2nd at 10 am at Fareway in east Sheldon, while the dinner, auction and raffles will be held at the Eagles Club, on Highway 18 in central Sheldon, beginning at 4 pm.

Help Soon To Be Available To Those Starting Or Improving A Business Through New Sheldon SCORE Branch

score_logoSheldon, Iowa — Those hoping to start or improve a business in Sheldon will soon have a new resource.

Mark Gaul, Executive Director of the Sheldon Chamber & Development Corporation, says Sheldon is going to be the home of a local branch of the Iowa Lakes SCORE Chapter. Gaul tells us what SCORE is all about.

He says it’s a tool for people to connect with those who have experience.

He says they’re looking for people interested in becoming a SCORE mentor.

He says people interested in serving as a mentor are invited to attend an informational meeting at noon on Thursday, February 14th, in third floor Board Room of the Sheldon Community Services Center. Gaul says a free lunch will be provided. He says there is some training involved.

Gaul says he’s happy to be the contact for SCORE, as it’s a handy, local tool that he can recommend to people who want to start or improve a business.

He says if you’re interested at all in being a mentor, or if you’re someone who wants to start or improve a business in Sheldon, call him at the Sheldon Chamber at 324-2813.

SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentoring.

Because SCORE’s work is supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and due to their national network of over 12,000 volunteers, they are able to deliver their services at no charge or at minimal cost.

Ashton Man Charged In Series of Primghar Burglaries

O'BrienSheriff obriensheriff O'Brien SheriffPrimghar, Iowa — An Ashton man is behind bars, accused of carrying out three burglaries in Primghar this past spring and summer.

According to the O’Brien County Sheriff’s office, the Primghar Pizza Ranch and Primghar Public Library reported on May 15, 2012 and the Pizza Ranch again on June 26, 2012 that their premises had been burglarized.

Twenty-year-old Matthew Schoneman of Ashton was charged with 3 counts of Burglary in the 3rd degree, a Class D felony, 3 counts of Theft in the 5th degree, a simple misdemeanor, and 2 counts of Criminal Mischief in the 5th degree, a simple misdemeanor.

His bond was set at $5,000 and Schoneman was being held in the O’Brien County jail. He will appear in District Court at a later date.