Sioux Sheriff: Paving Scams May Be Occurring Again

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Orange City, Iowa — The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office says there may be asphalt paving scams occurring again in the area.

The Sheriff’s Office advises that these traveling asphalt paving crews usually offer a low-priced opportunity to repair or pave your residential or business driveway. They say they’ll normally tell you that they just finished another job and have leftover asphalt and they’ll offer to apply it to your driveway for a low price. In some recent cases, sealant for driveways is applied without asking for permission. Sometimes only patchy, small amounts were applied and caused the overall finish to look mismatched and discolored, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

They say the quality of the material used and the manner it is applied is also often of poor quality. These companies sometimes say that they will apply the asphalt three to four inches thick, when in actuality the finished application is just two inches or less. By the time you notice the problems the company that completed the work is long gone.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office says there are three things to look for if you deal with these companies:

  • No contract offered: Always make certain there is a written contract. Without a written contract, the original low estimate you were given may grow into hundreds of dollars or even thousands after the work is finished.
  • They will push you to make a quick decision: Reputable contractors will provide a written estimate that will be valid for weeks or even months. Good contractors leave the decision to you without pressure.
  • Unmarked trucks: Suspicious trucks usually will not have business markings or names on them or will have an out of town address and phone number displayed.

The Sheriff’s Office says you should ask for references and do a check on them before agreeing to have any work started. Get a written estimate and tell them you will get back to them. Making sure that you first get bids from other local paving companies before granting them permission to start is also a good way to compare prices.

They say the best advice is to know who you are doing business with. In many cases, you are safer dealing with a contractor who has local ties to the community.

The Sheriff’s Office also advises that if you are in doubt, don’t agree to any services. If these companies pressure you or begin work without your permission, don’t wait; contact your law enforcement agency immediately.


Flags At Half Staff To Honor Five Soldiers

Des Moines, Iowa — Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has ordered flags in Iowa to be lowered to half-staff until Monday, July 27, 2015, at 8 AM, to honor the five soldiers killed in the terrorist attack at military facilities last week in Chattanooga, Tennessee. President Barack Obama has also issued a proclamation calling for flags to be lowered on federal buildings.
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The governor’s directive applies to all U.S. and state flags under control of the State of Iowa.

Flags will be at half-staff on the state Capitol building and on flag displays in the Capitol complex, and upon all public buildings, grounds, and facilities throughout the state. Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect.


Fifty Projects Receive Casino Mini Grants

Larchwood, Iowa — Fifty projects in and around northwest Iowa have received a shot in the arm, thanks to mini grants from the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation.
Grand Falls Casino sign

The foundation is the non-profit license holder for the Grand Falls Casino near Larchwood. State law mandates a certain percentage of the casino’s gaming take has to go back to the community. The agreement between the casino and the non-profit stipulates that for the first $20 million the casino collects in gambling winnings in a year, they will give the foundation 4.5 percent. When they get up to $20 million, the percentage goes up to 4.75 percent; and when they get up to $30 million, it goes to 5 percent.

The Lyon County Riverboat foundation is set up to give half of the money in grants to county government subdivisions and schools, and half to non-profit projects. In the past, that second half has been given away in a competitive grant process. This year, the foundation decided to also give away up to a total of $100,000 in grants of up to $2000.

Foundation president Jeff Gallagher explains:

He says unlike with the competitive grant process, essentially, there were no criteria for the mini grant applications, and no vetting process by the foundation.

Of the fifty randomly-selected winners, the foundation gave out two grants to South Dakota entities, one to a Minnesota entity, and the remaining forty-seven to Iowa entities.

Just to give you an idea of some of the projects, some went towards park equipment like benches and bleachers, some toward emergency equipment, and some toward safety and security equipment.

Northwest Iowa Community College was lucky enough to receive five grants — for a trailer, a TV, software, and more. The City of Sibley got over $1000 to repair their clock, as well as money toward a pool vacuum and seating replacement. The Rapids Theatre Preservation Society in Rock Rapids got $2000 toward media materials. The Rock Valley Chamber got $2000 toward a daycare expansion project. Sanford Medical Center in Rock Rapids got $2000 toward ALICE active shooter training.

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RTF Escapee Remains At Large

Sheldon, Iowa — The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office sent out a Nixle message on Friday evening, July 17th, that an inmate at the Iowa Department of Corrections Residential Treatment Facility — or RTF — had escaped. According to RTF Director Maureen Hansen, 21-year-old Tray Scott Ehlers remains at large.
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She says Ehlers was serving a sentence for Third Degree Burglary and Third Degree Theft, both out of Plymouth County.

Ehlers is described as a six-foot tall white male with brown hair and blue eyes. He weighs about 197 pounds and has multiple tattoos. His date of birth is September 3rd, 1993. At the time of his escape, the Sioux County Communications center noted that he may be driving a tan 1999 Chevrolet Malibu with Iowa plate number  DEB670.

Hansen says Ehlers is an inmate of the Iowa Department of Corrections, who had been in prison, but was granted parole. She says he violated his parole, so parole was revoked to work release. That means Ehlers worked during the day and stayed at the RTF at night.

She says, however that Ehlers did not escape while he was supposed to be at work. She says he was in the building and allegedly tore a screen in his room and left via the window. His absence was discovered during a routine hourly check on Friday night.

Hansen says an alert has been filed with the National Crime Information Center. She says that means that if a law enforcement officer finds him they can take him into custody and hold him without bond. She says if he’s found, there would probably be a request for transfer review, which means he may be sent to a more secure institution, such as back to prison.


King Says He Doubts Trump Will Apologize

Washington, DC — Republican Congressman Steve King says he suspects it is “not in the D-N-A” of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to apologize — and King suggests that could doom Trump’s campaign.
Steve King Official
This past weekend in Iowa, Trump complained about John McCain, who endured five years of torture as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Trump said he likes “people that weren’t captured.” King notes McCain refused an offer of early release.


(as said) “There were others who were taken prisoner before him and he refused to go home before the others that were taken before him in, say, seniority order. That stands up, I think, against all criticism,” King says. “And I’m not sure Donald Trump is going to be able to stand up against this criticism.”

On July 1st King praised Trump for his “scrappiness” in confronting the issue of illegal immigration. McCain has accused Trump of bringing out “the crazies” by focusing on the issue and Trump on Saturday was responding to that.


(as said) “John McCain can get a little bit prickly,” King said. “I mean, he’s the one that fired the first shot at Trump, so Trump is firing back. It looks like he is paying, you know, a pretty heavy, at least temporary political price for this.”

King says he has some sympathy for Trump because he has taken political heat for his own controversial comments about immigrants. King says Trump surged to the top of national polls because he has taken on this controversial issue, but time will tell if Trump can remain popular.

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Grassley Bill Will Target “Sanctuary Cities”

Washington, DC — Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the Obama administration’s immigration policies “are hurting American families” and that’s the subject of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Grassley chaired on Tuesday.grassley-photo-official

The Republican is also introducing legislation that targets so-called sanctuary cities. Obama administration officials are taking “far too much liberty and are essentially trying to write the laws themselves,” according to Grassley. He says the hearing is “intended to highlight how misguided the Obama administration’s lax enforcement policies are and how these policies are putting Americans in harm’s way.”


(As above) Grassley says, “In addition to a couple of administration officials, we’re going to hear testimony from a number of relatives who have lost loved ones as a direct result of criminals not being deported or the executive branch’s tolerance of sanctuary policies.”

Thousands of times a year, Grassley says, the federal government has asked states or local law enforcement agencies to take undocumented immigrants with criminal records into custody — requests that are frequently ignored by sanctuaries.


(As above) “These sanctuary jurisdictions are allowed to continue their ways while the administration fights states that try to enforce the law,” Grassley says. “There’s really no good rationale for non-cooperation between federal, state and local law enforcement.”

The mayor of Davenport has pushed for months for that eastern Iowa city to become a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, but the city council has not made the move official. Grassley says several Iowa communities are acting as sanctuaries, even though they’re undeclared. Public safety is being placed at risk by these sanctuaries, Grassley says, and changes need to be made at the federal level.


(As above) “I’m introducing legislation today that will hold sanctuary jurisdictions accountable,” Grassley says. “It will require the executive branch to withhold certain federal funding if states or local law enforcement refuse to cooperate with the federal government in holding or transferring criminal aliens.”

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