Western Christian Allegedly Burglarized

Hull, Iowa — Another break in has been reported at a Hull high school. This time three boys have been charged in connection with a break in at Western Christian High School.
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The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 5:30 AM on Saturday, April 18, their office investigated a reported burglary that was in progress at Western Christian High School in Hull.

Upon further investigation deputies were told that a school employee found several people inside the school.

The suspects allegedly had vandalized some areas of the school and took items from a concessions area.

The Sheriff’s Office charged three juvenile males from Hull with Third Degree Burglary. They were released to
their parents.

The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Rock Valley Police Department and Iowa State Patrol.

In February a 25-year-old and a 17-year-old were arrested on burglary charges after a break in at Trinity Christian High School in Hull.


Avian Influenza Confirmed In Osceola County

usda_logoDes Moines, Iowa – The bird flu that poultry and egg farmers are concerned about has now been found in Osceola County.

The latest outbreak of the H-5-N-2 avian influenza is reported in a commercial egg laying facility in northwest Iowa’s Osceola County. The first outbreak was found in a turkey facility in Buena Vista County, to the south, and impacted 37-thousand birds. This latest outbreak ramps up the impact significantly with three-point-eight million birds that will have to be destroyed. It is believed the virus is carried by the migration of wild birds. The Iowa Department of Public Health says the risk to people from the virus is considered to be low and there have been no human cases detected.

The flock experienced increased mortality and as a result samples were sent to the South Dakota State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for preliminary testing. The APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames, Iowa confirmed the findings. NVSL is the only internationally recognized Avian Influenza reference laboratory in the United States.

USDA APHIS is working closely with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) on a joint incident response. State officials quarantined the premise and birds on the property will be humanely euthanized to prevent the spread of the disease.

The United States has the strongest Avian Influenza (AI) surveillance program in the world. As part of the existing USDA avian influenza response plans, Federal and State partners as well as industry are responding quickly and decisively to these outbreaks by following these five basic steps:

1) Quarantine – restricting movement of poultry and poultry-moving equipment into and out of the control area

2) Eradicate – humanely euthanizing the affected flock(s)

3) Monitor region – testing wild and domestic birds in a broad area around the quarantine area

4) Disinfect – kills the virus in the affected flock locations

5) Test – confirm that poultry farms in the area are free of the virus.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health are working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure proper precautions are being taken.

These virus strains can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick. People should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.

All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard flock owners, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state/federal officials, either through their state veterinarian at 515-281-5321 or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593. Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov.


Teens Learn From Mock Accident

Rock Rapids, Iowa — If you were in Rock Rapids Monday morning, April 20th, you may have wondered what all the sirens and the helicopter were about.
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Normally those sounds would mean a tragic incident had probably taken place. In this case the idea was to hopefully prevent a tragic incident. Central Lyon High School students have their prom this coming weekend, and according to Lyon County Sheriff Stewart Vander Stoep, Monday’s event was a mock accident to teach teens the dangers of driving while intoxicated and driving distracted.

Vander Stoep tells us how the ball got rolling for the mock accident.
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He says Central Lyon teachers, staff, and administrators played a major role as well. Vander Stoep says they brought in two vehicles, one from Lems Auto Recyclers in Doon, and one that had been donated to the fire department a while back. The accident vehicles were pre-set and then draped with a tarp, he says.


The Sheriff says when responders arrived, they went through the process as if it were a real accident.


He tells us about the reaction from students and staff.
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Vander Stoep says after the accident, the students went back inside the school. A short time later, they heard some speakers talk about the dangers of alcohol and the dangers of distracted driving.


Central Lyon’s prom is this Friday night, April 24th.

Photo credit: Arden Kopishke/Lyon County Emergency Management
Thanks to Rock Rapids Fire Chief Ed Reck for forwarding them.

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Coop Members Approve Unification

Rock Valley, Iowa — The members of three northwest Iowa agriculture coops have approved a unification measure.
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Mark Finck, General Manager of Farmers Elevator Coop tells us about the vote.


Members of the three coops, Farmers Elevator Coop locations based in Rock Valley, Cooperative Elevator Association locations based in Ocheyedan, and United Farmers Coop locations based in George approved the measure by over 70 percent, says Finck. Finck says while they are releasing the fact that the measure passed, they are not releasing the numbers at this time. He says that may be done in the future.

He tells us the name of the new company and about the leadership structure.


Cooperative Farmers Elevator will begin their unified operations on September 1st, 2015.

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Branstad, Reynolds To Make NW Iowa Stops

Northwest Iowa — Iowa’s Governor and Lieutenant Governor are going to be in northwest Iowa this week.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad

They’ll start in the southern part of our region, and move north, before heading back south again.

In our area, the executive pair will start in Cherokee. On Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 3 PM, Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds will attend the Cherokee Connect Iowa and Skilled Iowa Community announcement at the Spring Lake Yacht Club at 606 Spring Lake Drive in Cherokee.

From there, it’s on to Paullina for a 4:30 PM tour of Mill Creek Machining. That’s at 119 North Willow Street in Paullina.

Then on Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 9 AM, Governor Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Reynolds will attend the Sibley Rotary Club meeting, which will be at the Osceola County Courthouse, on the third floor. That’s at 300 Seventh Street in Sibley.

At 10:30, they’ll be at the ribbon cutting ceremony at the Dur-A-Lift facility near George, at 2002 Kingbird Avenue. The ribbon cutting is to celebrate the new facility and the latest milestone in the ongoing growth and expansion of Lyon County’s largest manufacturer. Dur-A-Lift and sister companies Sudenga Industries and Ranger All-Season make up Diversified Technologies, Incorporated.

As we’ve told you previously, at 12:30 PM, they will be at the Rock Valley Community Schools library to hold a Teacher Leadership Conversation. The school is at 1712 20th Avenue in Rock Valley.

At 2:30 PM, the governor will sign a Soil and Water Conservation Week proclamation at the Bob Puetz Farm at
16175 Marble Avenue near Le Mars.


Teen Arrested On Drug-Related Charges

Doon, Iowa — A Maurice teen has been arrested on drug-related charges in Lyon County.
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The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 2 AM on Saturday morning, one of their deputies stopped a vehicle on First Street and Hubbard Avenue in Doon. They report the driver was identified as 18-year-old Kolten Van Voorst of Maurice.

The Sheriff’s Office says that a search of the motor vehicle allegedly resulted in a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia being found. They say Van Voorst was arrested and transported to the Lyon County Jail.