Larchwood Woman Arrested After Western Sioux County Accident

Rural Sioux County, near Fairview, SD — A Larchwood woman has been arrested after an accident near Fairview, on the Iowa side of the river.
Sioux Sheriff Car 84-
The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 11:15 PM, 20-year-old Marisa Groeneweg of Larchwood was driving a 1999 Buick Century southbound on Highway 18, about six miles south of Inwood, when she lost control of the vehicle, which entered the east ditch and rolled.  

Groeneweg reported minor injuries but declined further medical attention.

The Buick sustained approximately $5,000 in damages.

Upon further investigation, deputies suspected that Groeneweg was under the influence of alcohol.  

Groeneweg was arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and failing to maintain control of her vehicle.

Rock Rapids Daycare Center To Let Bids For New Center

Rock Rapids, Iowa — The community daycare center in Rock Rapids is bursting at the seams, and waiting lists to get a child into the center are very long. So the nonprofit group that runs the facility, called “Kids Club” is going to build a new, modern two million dollar facility, and they’re almost ready for the bid-letting.
RR Kids Club sign
The daycare center was started about 20 years ago and was a department of Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital. That continued for a number of years, through the hospital’s affiliation with what was then Sioux Valley Health System, and has now changed to Sanford Health System. In the middle of the last decade, with some of the changes in medicare reimbursement, Kids Club no longer fit in the hospital’s operations. At that point, Rock Rapids Kids Club was spun off into its own nonprofit corporation.

RR Kids Club 1Now, according to Rock Rapids Economic Development director John Hulshof, city leaders — faced with an expanding preschool population — are ready for the next step. Hulshof says a new facility, almost double the size of the old one is planned, which will support up to 220 children, and is projected to cost $2 million. The new facility will be in east Rock Rapids on the same property as Mid Sioux Opportunity’s office  and Head Start.

He says the next big step is putting the project out for bids.

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Rock Rapids Mid Sioux Opportunity Outreach Office and Head Start Center

Hulshof says in order to get Community Development Block Grant funds, it needs to be co-located with the Head Start facility in Rock Rapids, run by Mid-Sioux Opportunity. The reason is that a certain percentage of the served families have to be low-income families. By co-locating with Head Start, Kids Club qualifies for a Community Development Block Grant, in the amount of $600,000.

Hulshof says that in addition to the block grant, they are also receiving founds from the USDA in the form of a loan, The Lyon County Riverboat Foundation, and the Forster Trust.

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Sheldon School Board To Meet

Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon Community Schools Board of Education will meet in both Special and Regular Sheldon High SchoolSessions this Wednesday evening.

Wednesday night’s meeting will begin with a Special Session at 5:30 pm.  The sole item on the agenda for this meeting calls for the Board to receive the Initial Bargaining Proposal from the Sheldon Education Association, the union that represents the District’s teachers.

At 6:00 pm, the Board will embark upon their Regular January Monthly Meeting.  During that meeting, there will be a representative from the Iowa State Auditor’s Office who will go over the District’s Audit Report for FY 2013-14.

The Board will also hear an update from Superintendent Robin Spears on the East Elementary Construction-Renovation Project, as well as a report on the progress of developing the District’s new website.  Spears will also talk with the Board about health insurance premiums, and the Board will consider the purchase of a new school bus, among other agenda items.

The meeting is scheduled to wrap up with a closed session for discussing the District’s negotiation strategy with the teacher’s union.

Wednesday’s meetings will be held in the High School Library.


Rock Valley Man Airlifted From Scene After Alvord Area Accident

Alvord, Iowa — A Rock Valley man was airlifted to a Sioux Falls hospital after an accident near Alvord on Monday, January 12, 2015.
avera mckennan careflight new helicopter
The Iowa State Patrol reports that about 4:20 PM, 52-year-old Robert Hepp of Hartford, South Dakota was westbound on 210th Street, about two and a half miles east of Alvord in a 2004 Peterbilt semi. Thirty-eight-year old Aaron Westra of Rock Valley was southbound on Fir Avenue in a 1996 Buick.

Westa failed to stop for a stop sign according to the report, and drove into the passenger side of the truck.

Westra was trapped and was freed mechanically. The Avera Care Flight helicopter landed at the scene and transported Westa to Avera Medical Center in Sioux Falls.

The investigation continues.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office and rescue crews from Inwood, Rock Rapids, and Alvord assisted Iowa State Patrol troopers on the scene.

Hawarden Woman Who Pocketed Customers’ Cell Phone Payments Sentenced

Orange City, Iowa — A Hawarden woman has been sentenced to a suspended ten-year prison term after she was found to have pocketed cash payments from customers.
Sioux County Courthouse_sva
Sioux County Attorney Thomas Kunstle says that 27-year-old Brenda Faviola Montes of Hawarden was sentenced on Monday, January 12, 2015, in Sioux County District Court for the crime of First Degree Theft, a Class C Felony.

Court records indicate that on July 30, 2014, the Hawarden Police Department received a complaint from Cellular Services reporting that a customer was late on a payment and was facing disconnection. The owner of the store contacted the customer who stated they brought in cash and gave it to employee Brenda Montes. The owner and a US Cellular district representative confronted Montes, who admitted taking cash payments from customers and deleting the payments from their accounts over an 18-month period.

Montes was sentenced to ten years in prison. The ten-year prison term was suspended and she will serve three years probation. She was also ordered to pay restitution to Cellular Services, pay a $125 Law Enforcement Initiative Surcharge, successfully complete a victim empathy course, and submit a DNA sample.

State Auditor’s Office Releases Audit Report Of Sheldon Schools

Des Moines, Iowa — Auditor of State Mary Mosiman has released an audit report on Sheldon Community School District in Sheldon.

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Mosiman reports that the district’s revenues totaled nearly $13.5 for the year ended June 30, 2014, a 7.5% increase over the prior year. Revenues included nearly $4.5 million in local tax; charges for service of nearly $1.2 million; operating grants, contributions and restricted interest of slightly over $2 million; instructional support surtax of about $550,000; statewide sales, services and use tax of about $844,000; unrestricted state grants of about $4.3 million; unrestricted investment earnings of about $30,000 and other general revenues of nearly $30,000.

Expenses for district operations for the year ended June 30, 2014 totaled about $12.7 million, an increase of 4.4% over the prior year. Expenses included about $7.8 million for instruction; about $3.3 million for support services; nearly $66,000 for non-instructional programs (excluding food service operations); about $914,000 for other expenditures and about $581,000 for food service operations.

A copy of the audit report is available for review in the district secretary’s office, in the office of Auditor of State and on the Auditor of State’s web site at