New Iowa License Plates Available

Iowa motorists will start getting new license plates next week. It’s been 15 years since Iowa switched from the plain, dark blue plate with white letters and numbers to the current skyline design, and that design is sticking around for at least another decade. LaVonne Short, executive officer of Iowa DOT’s Office of Vehicle Services, says it’s time to swap out the old and bolt on the new.


You’ll have the option of going to your county treasurer’s office to pick up the new plate, or send in $3 and they’ll send it to you in the mail. Even if your old plate is still in good shape, you’ll have to upgrade. “There are quite a few plates out there that have been damaged for whatever reason or they’re faded or bent,” Short says. “For law enforcement purposes, we need to have good-looking, sharp plates out there so they can easily identify the vehicle.” The new plates will look almost the same, with the blue-on-white city skyline and farm-scape, but the sharp eye will notice a few differences.


Iowa does not plan to change up the city/farm design, Short says, as there are already so many other specialty plate options, including collegiate, military and other designs. While there are just over three-million Iowans, we own four-point-one million registered vehicles.

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Candidates File For County Positions

The filing period for county offices has come and gone and we now have the lists of people running for the party nomination for the various county offices up for election this year.

In O’Brien County

For Board of Supervisors, District 1, James DeBoom is running against Michael A. Negus for the Republican nomination. No Democrats filed.

For Board of Supervisors, District 2, Clara Black, John Haack, Wes Schnack, and John Steensma are running for the Republican nomination.

Greg Fritzsche is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination for District 2.

For Board of Supervisors, District 3 — which is the city of Sheldon between Washington and Western Avenues, Rob Hegenbarth, Nancy McDowell, and Edmond Stephens are running for the Republican nomination.

Dennis Brouwer and Duane Kooistra are running for the Democratic nomination for District 3.

For the Board of Supervisors, District 4, Tom Farnsworth, Richard Haack, and Gerry Seivert are running for the Republican nomination. No Democrats filed.

For Board of Supervisors, District 5, Dan Friedrichsen, Micah Powers, John Putnam, and Richard Van Beek are running for the Republican nomination. Darwin Dau is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

County Auditor Barbara Rohwer is running unopposed for the Republican nomination. No Democrats filed.

County Sheriff Michael Anderson is also running unopposed for the Republican nomination. No Democrats filed.

There are no contested races for the Republican nomination for any available county positions in Sioux County, nor are there any Democratic candidates.

Running unopposed are County Auditor Lois Huitink; County Sheriff Dan Altena; for County Supervisor for District 1, John Degen; for County Supervisor for District 3, Al Bloemendaal; and for County Supervisor for District 4, Mark Sybesma.

In Osceola County, no Democrats filed papers — all races are for the Republican nomination.

Incumbent Auditor Barb Echter is running unopposed.

Sheriff Doug Weber is being challenged for the nomination by Matthew Block.

For Supervisor, district 1, Rochelle Buchman is running against Doug Hensch for the nomination.

In District 2, it’s Roger Sixta against Jayson VandeHoef for the nomination.

Michael Schulte is running unopposed for the District 3 nomination.

In District 4 Phil Bootsma is running against William Imhoff.

It’s a three-way race for Osceola County Supervisor District 5. Joseph McElroy, Merlin Sandersfeld, and Ed Jones are all running.

A special election was held August, 2011 which changed Osceola County from Plan 2 (where Supervisor candidates must live in their district, but are voted for at large) to Plan 3 (where they must live in district; and only residents in that district vote for the supervisor for that district). Therefore, all supervisor districts are open for election.

In Lyon County, there are no Democratic candidates.

Running for the Republican nomination for County Board of Supervisors, District 2 are incumbent Merle Koedam and challenger Timothy Kroger.

Incumbent Mike Modder is running unopposed for County Board of Supervisors – District 3.

Lyon County Auditor Wayne Grooters is retiring from the position. Running for the Republican nomination for the seat are former County Economic Development Director Glenn Anderson and Deputy Auditor Jen Smit.

Lyon County Sheriff Blythe Bloemendaal is retiring from the position as well. Running for the nomination are County Deputies Rick D. Bos and Stewart Vander Stoep.

In the coming weeks, look for interviews with the candidates on our web site,

Van Roekel Ordered To Pay $360,000 To Ames Businessman

It’s probably not the end of a Boyden woman’s troubles with her ticket sales business, but it’s certainly a significant ruling.

A district judge in Story County has ordered 44-year-old Ranae Van Roekel of Boyden to pay an Ames businessman $360,000. Half of that is for the fraudulent Superbowl and other premier event tickets she sold Dixon Jensen of Ames, and the other half is for punitive damages.

Van Roekel allegedly acted as an agent, buying and selling tickets for customers. The Superbowl tickets she sold Jensen over a year before the event, never showed up.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s office has received over 50 complaints about Van Roekel’s ticket-selling business, totaling over $500,000 in losses for the victims. The complaints were turned over to the US Attorney’s Office in Sioux City. That case is still being investigated and no criminal charges have yet been filed.

Sheldon Native To Receive JFK Profile In Courage Award

A Sheldon native will soon receive a John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award™
Three former Iowa Supreme Court Justices who were part of a unanimous decision to legalize same-sex marriage in that state have been named this year’s recipients of the award. Former Iowa Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and former justices David Baker and Sheldon native Michael Streit were chosen in recognition of the political courage and judicial independence each demonstrated in setting aside popular opinion to — in the words of the Kennedy Library Foundation, “uphold the basic freedoms and security guaranteed to all citizens under the Iowa constitution”.
The John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award is presented annually to public servants who have made courageous decisions of conscience without regard for the personal or professional consequences. The award is named for President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Profiles in Courage, which recounts the stories of eight U.S. Senators who risked their careers, incurring the wrath of constituents or powerful interest groups, by taking principled stands for unpopular positions.
In November 2010, at the prompting of another Sheldon native — former gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats — voters removed Streit, Ternus, and Baker from office following an unprecedented campaign. The justices’ ouster marked the first time since Iowa adopted its current judicial system that any sitting Supreme Court judge had lost an uncontested retention election.
The prestigious award for political courage will be presented by Caroline Kennedy at a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston on Monday, May 7.

NCC To Host Regional Competition For Instrumentation Students

Northwest Iowa Community College is hosting a regional competition for students in the instrumentation systems and automation field.

Called the District 6 Instrumentation Systems and Automation or “ISA”, Student Games, the event is being held this Friday at NCC.

We talked to NCC instructor Tim Floen, who told us about the competition.


He says the competition will be another chance for NCC to show off their newest facility, the Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center.


He says about 85 people will be on campus.


In past years, the winner of the district level competition moves on to compete at the international competition (held in Houston, TX) against the other 12-districts in the world. NCC has won this right 8 out of 10 years and finished as high as 2nd place in the international competition.

This year, there are four teams of four from NCC, says Floen. He says there are two first year students and two second year students on each team.

Colleges Competing (14-teams total from the 6 colleges):

  • North Dakota State College
  • Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
  • Joliet Junior College
  • Mesabi Range Technical College
  • Northwest Iowa Community College
  • Mitchell Technical College

Fast Facts About the Day:

  • Students arrive at 7:30am.
  • Contests will begin at 8:00 am, 9:00 am, 10:00 am, 12:00 pm, and 1:00 pm. A final quiz bowl event is scheduled to begin at 2:30 pm.
  • Exercises are 45-minutes long with a 15-minute break between exercises.
  • There will be equipment vendors putting on displays.
  • 4 companies in this area that hire instrumentation graduates will host job fair booths during the competition.
  • Competition is going to be at the Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center located on the East side of campus.

Northwest Iowa Community College students competing:

  1. Nick Stettnichs – Ashton
  2. Chad Heitritter – Sheldon
  3. Jamison Van’t Hul – Hospers
  4. Jeremy Kamp – Sheldon
  5. Gabe Reisz – Sheldon
  6. Mike Kipngetich Firarei – Sheldon
  7. Jon Langfitt – Primghar
  8. Travis Otto – Cherokee
  9. Dalton Klein – Sheldon
  10. Luke Pratt – LeMars
  11. Joey Mantel – Doon
  12. Patrick Brausey – Yankton, SD
  13. Brennan Jungers – Hospers
  14. Matt Dolphin – Hartley
  15. Brett Barker – Sioux City

Lyon County Sheriff Blythe Bloemendaal To Retire In 2013

Lyon County Sheriff Blythe Bloemendaal will not be sheriff in 2013.

The longtime Lyon County lawman has decided to hang up his gun and badge, and, as he put it “Let the young bucks run the show.” Sheriff Bloemendaal has much to look back on with pride in his tenure as Sheriff. Among his most publicized cases was the case of Wilma June Nissen. Before Sheriff Bloemendaal took office, however, she was known as “our girl” — as her body was unidentified. The body was found in a roadside ditch a mile south and a mile and a half west of the West Lyon School in 1978, when Craig Vinson was Sheriff.

Fingerprints being entered for the first time in a database in California in 2006 turned out to be the break that helped identify Nissen. A $10,000 reward is still active for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Nissen’s killer or killers.

Before becoming Sheriff, Bloemendaal spent many years as an undercover officer for the Sheriff’s Office, making drug buys from suspected drug dealers.

Sheriff Bloemendaal says he has put in thirty years with the Sheriff’s Office, the last twelve as Sheriff.

He says his future is undecided, but he may consider part-time employment in another county department, should the opportunity arise.

Two candidates — both current deputies for the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office — filed papers for the Republican nomination for Sheriff. They are Stewart Vander Stoep and Rick Bos.