Sheldon Home Damaged By Fire Monday Evening

A garage was destroyed, and the adjoining house damaged by heat and smoke in a fire that happened Monday evening in Sheldon.

The Sheldon Fire Department was called to the residence at 1001 Oak Street about 6:50 Monday evening, after the home’s residents were alerted to a fire in their garage by a couple who spotted the blaze while walking past the home.

Sheldon Fire Chief Jerry Meyer says that when firefighters arrived on the scene the garage was fully engulfed in flames, and the fire was beginning to travel into the attic. Meyer says firefighters were able to put out the flames in the garage, then moved on to access the attic through the roof, and from inside the house. He says burning insulation and rafters were extinguished and insulation removed until the blaze had been completely extinguished.

27 firefighters were on the scene for about 3-1/2 hours, and fortunately there were no injuries to firefighters or occupants of the home.

Meyer says the fire was apparently caused by some burnt popcorn that had been put into a garbage can in the garage. No dollar estimate of the damage is currently available.

By: Tom Traughber, KIWA News

Master Plan Concept Revealed For Proposed Park South Of Sheldon Crossing

About two dozen Sheldon area residents had the opportunity, Monday night, to view, and pose questions about, the Preliminary Master Plan Concept for a new community park in the area south of Sheldon Crossing.

Mike Bell of RDG Planning unveiled the Master Plan Concept for the park, which includes many amenities suggested by community members who had attended earlier meetings. Among these amenities were open space, a day lodge, RV park, a playground and shelter, fishing access to the borrow pit, among others, as well as an area for potential residential and commercial building lots.

Bell told the group that he thought it was important to have a portion of the park space left as a natural prairie area, since many people come to these parks specifically to see nature in such natural prairie areas. He stressed the importance of having both what he called an “urban aspect” as well as an unimproved nature area in the park.

Bell said that the plan would provide everything the state looks for when providing funding for parks, since the plan addresses quality of life, health and economic development.

When questioned, Bell said that the project would be developed incrementally over a number of years. He said the first part would be the pond, or as he put it, “let the pond be the pond”. After that, he said, the city could take a proactive stance and partner with developers to develop the residential and commercial building lots to generate part of the finances required to complete the project.

Bell told those present that the proposed park would put Sheldon in the position of having a better park than 90 percent of the communities in the state of Iowa.

He said that the next step will be a final plan, with a model of the proposed park, and then a presentation to the City Council, complete with cost estimate information, all of which should happen in the next several weeks. He said he would plan another meeting in Sheldon in early February.

By Tom Traughber
News Reporter

Sanborn Man Arrested In Clay County On Charge Of Supplying Alcohol To Minors

A Sanborn man was arrested on Saturday in Clay County, accused of selling alcohol to minors.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office reports that 43-year-old Richard Scott Hoops II of Sanborn was arrested in the early morning hours of Saturday, January 7th on Highway 10.

The arrest happened during a traffic stop for an equipment violation. Upon investigation Hoops was arrested and charged with supplying alcohol to minors, a serious misdemeanor. Three passengers in the vehicle were charged with possession of alcohol under the legal age and one charge of depositing litter upon the highway. Hoops was transported to the Clay County Jail.

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director

Sioux County Sheriff Investigating Theft Of 500 Gallons Of Gas

On Thursday, January 5, at 2:40 pm, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office investigated a theft that occurred at a rural residence near Hull.

Upon further investigation, the sheriffs office found that sometime between November 15, 2011 and January 3, 2012, someone stole about 500 gallons of gasoline from a farm location.

Anyone with information of this crime is requested to contact the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office.

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director

Canadian Teen In Trouble With The Law In Sioux County

A Canadian teen is in trouble with the law in Sioux County after leading deputies on a pursuit in northwest Sioux County on Thursday evening (1/5).

About 11:30 pm, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office was involved in a pursuit with a 1998 Volkswagon Jetta. The pursuit started near the intersection of 270th Street. and Highway 75, about seven miles northwest of Hull. The incident began when the deputy attempted to stop the vehicle for a traffic violation; the vehicle attempted to elude the deputy by travelling at a high rate of speed on gravel roads with its headlights off.

The pursuit continued for several miles before officers were able to stop the vehicle near the intersection of 290th Street and Garfield Avenue, four miles northeast of Rock Valley.

The driver, 19-year-old Eric Van Essen of Picture Butte, Canada, was arrested for Attempting to Elude Law Enforcement Officers, a Class D Felony, Operating While Intoxicated 1st Offense, a serious misdemeanor, Driving Without Headlights, a simple misdemeanor, Speeding, a simple misdemeanor, and two Stop Sign Violations, both simple misdemeanors.

This case remains under investigation.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by the Rock Valley Police Department and the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office.

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director

Have We EVER Had A Winter Like This?

A KIWA listener posed a very good question to us — they asked how long it’s been since we’ve had a winter like this.

KIWA’s own Frank Luepke — the official National Weather Service Observer for Sheldon did some research and came up with this response.

He says it’s a very complicated question….there are at least three factors at play here.

First of all, it was an extremely dry September through December period. Certainly, he says it was one of the driest. Our 1.60 inches was even dryer than the dustbowl 1930’s. Luepke says that during the 30’s we had lots of dry, hot summers, but there always seemed to be one big rain in the fall each year. 1939 did have only 1.85 inches. Luepke says he didn’t add up this four-month period for all of the last 100 years, but it looks like our 1.60 could very well be the record.

Secondly — we’ve had a significant lack of snow. Sheldon has only recorded 4.2 inches so far this winter. Normally we have about 12. If not a record, it’s pretty close, says Luepke.

Finally, It’s also been a very warm January. Lots of days in January have seen 50 degree temperatures over the years. He says the hottest was 69 degrees on January 9, 2002. It was 66 degrees on January 24, 1981, 65 on January 25, 1944, and 66 degrees January 27, 2002, for example. But this many days in a row of warm temperatures could be unprecedented.

The question remains for you to answer — have we ever had a winter like this before?

With highs around the 50’s on Monday and predicted highs in the low 50’s in northwest Iowa tomorrow, the heat wave continues.

But — it sounds like this may be the end of the VERY mild temperatures for a while. National Weather Service Meteorologist Billy Williams at the Sioux Falls office says we should expect a change.

Williams lets us know what to expect.

He says Thursday will have the coldest temps. Then, we return to a little more normal temps for the weekend with highs in the 30’s. But even those highs are quite warm for January.

We asked him when our best chance would be to get some snow, but he said there are really no significant chances on the horizon, and didn’t want to predict more than a week or so out at this time. The official 6 to 10 day weather outlook does call for normal temperatures and normal precipitation in northwest Iowa.

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director