Block Sentenced To 180 Days In Jail

Sibley, Iowa — A former Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputy who pled guilty in a plea agreement in the case of several stolen items being found on a farm place in rural Osceola County — has been sentenced to 180 days in jail on seven felony counts and one misdemeanor.

Block, Michael

According to court records, 52-year-old Michael Lawrence Block of Sibley pled guilty in February in Osceola County District Court in a plea agreement. The records say Block was in possession of several pieces of stolen agriculture and construction equipment from Osceola, O’Brien, Sioux, and Lyon Counties.

As part of the plea agreement, eleven other charges were dropped.

Block was originally charged with seven counts of First Degree Theft, a class C felony. On the three counts that remained, Block was sentenced to ten years in prison on each count for a total of 30 years in prison, however this was all suspended, as were fines of $3000 and surcharges of $1050.  Block will serve three years probation on the First Degree Theft charges, which will run consecutively to the probation for the other charges.

He was originally sentenced to ten counts of Second Degree Theft, a class D felony. On the four counts that remained, he was sentenced to five years in prison on each count, for a total of 20 more years, but again this was all suspended, as were fines of $3000 and surcharges of $1050. Block will serve three more years probation on the Second Degree Theft Charges.

Block was actually sentenced to incarceration only on the misdemeanor count of Fourth Degree Theft. He will serve 180 days in jail, or 210 days if he elects to do work release. Fines and surcharges were also suspended on the misdemeanor count.

Among conditions of his sentence, he was ordered to comply with his mental healthcare providers, sign a release authorizing his mental healthcare providers to provide information to his probation officer, attorneys of records and the Court and obtain a new mental health evaluation, if recommended by his probation officer.

Rock Rapids Man Arrested On Several Warrants

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Rock Rapids man has been arrested on several warrants.
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On Friday, March 20th, 2015 at about 6:00 PM, a Lyon County Deputy stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation in the 3400 block of A-52. That’s about five miles north-northeast of Hull.

It was determined that numerous warrants had been issued for the arrest of the driver, 21-year-old Melvin Lopez of Rock Rapids.

The deputy subsequently arrested Lopez on warrants concerning charges of Operating While Intoxicated, Failure to Maintain Control, Windshield Tint Violation, No Valid Drivers License, Failure to have Proof of Insurance, and Fraudulent Use of Registration.

Lopez was held at the Lyon County Jail in lieu of a bond of $2,500.

Legislators Seek More Oversight of Medicaid Program Shift

Des Moines, Iowa — All 50 state senators are pushing for more legislative oversight of a shift that will turn over management of nearly all of the state’s more than four-billion dollar Medicaid program to private “managed care” companies. Senator Amanda Ragan, a Democrat from Mason City, says there’s “great uncertainty” about how this transition will impact the 560-thousand low income, elderly and disabled Iowans who get health care coverage through Medicaid.
iowa state capitol sva

(as said) “It’s critical that we will have a voice in this because many of the people that we are representing don’t have a voice,” Ragan says.

A bill on the subject has passed the senate on unanimous vote. Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, says private companies stand to gain big if they get the contract.

(as said) “If you look at the fine print…those managed care companies will extract about $800 million a year that’s currently being spent on services to our constituents for the pleasure of operating the program,” Bolkcom says.

And Bolkcom argues it’s likely health care services to poor and disabled Iowans will be cut by 800-million to cover the cost of the contracts. Republican Senator David Johnson of Ocheyedan told Democrats their tone was not helpful.

(as said) “Let’s just settle down here a little bit,” Johnson said. “I’m going to support this bill, but I’m not here to knock the administration about this.”

Johnson says while he supports the idea of having the legislature more involved in the decision making, nearly 40 other states are moving to sign managed care contracts for Medicaid programs. Governor Branstad’s administration expects to hire up to four managed care companies to run most of Iowa’s Medicaid program. When announcing the initiative last month, officials said their aim was to implement the change starting July 1st. Iowans on Medicaid who’re being treated for mental illnesses are already part of a managed care plan, but the plan is to have most Medicaid-financed services in Iowa under a managed care contract. That includes nursing home care for elderly Iowans who are on Medicaid.

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King Says He Wants To Prevent Hungry Kids

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Steve King has reintroduced the “No Hungry Kids Act”. It would repeal the USDA rule that created the new standards that some say leave kids hungry.
steve king forster center
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released standards that some say have left children across the nation hungry during the school day because of calorie rationing. The “No Hungry Kids Act” would repeal this USDA rule that created the new standards, would prohibit the USDA’s upper caloric limits, and would protect the rights of parents to send their children to school with the foods of their choice.

King says the act would help students be the best they can be. He says that the goal of the school lunch program was – and is – to ensure students receive enough nutrition to be healthy and to learn. King goes on to say QUOTE, “The misguided nanny state, as advanced by Michelle Obama’s ‘Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act,’ was interpreted by Secretary Vilsack to be a directive that, because some kids are overweight, he would put every child on a diet. Parents know that their kids deserve all of the healthy and nutritious food they want.”

King says his ‘No Hungry Kids Act’ prohibits the USDA from rationing calories to children, so schools can serve our students as much nutritious food as they want, so that students can grow and learn and excel, “in school and out of school – in the classroom and on the playing field.”

Schoolhouse Moving Date Postponed, Meeting Scheduled

Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon Prairie Arts Council continues to plan to bring the Baker Township Schoolhouse to their complex.

Sheldon's First Schoolhouse At Prairie Arts
Sheldon’s First Schoolhouse At Prairie Arts

The moving date had been set for April 1, 2015, but that had to be pushed back because the council found out that an “Open Public Hearing” had to be held before they could proceed with moving the building. The Open Meeting will be held Saturday, March 28, at 10:00 AM.

Hal Tuttle from the Prairie Arts Council says they have reached $25,000 in their fundraising efforts. He says they sincerely thank the several businesses and area residents for their contributions.

Tuttle says the group still needs financial help in reaching their goal of $40,000. Fifteen thousand dollars is still needed to refurbish the building with basement windows, painting, roof repairs and so forth.

He says he wants to remind potential donors that their financial contribution is fully tax deductible. He says that contributions of any amount can be sent to “Prairie arts Council, P.O. Box 61, Sheldon, IA 51201.

For further information you can contact a Member of the Board of Directors:

  • Hal Tuttle 324-4190
  • Bernie Van’t Hull 324-2100
  • Karin VandenBerg 324-9718

or Trisha Meendering at Sheldon City Office.

Two Face Felony Drug Charges

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Two western Lyon County teens face felony drug charges after their arrests this week.
Lyon County Sheriff Car Door 60-8
The Lyon County Sheriff’s office reports their deputies arrested 18-year-old Anthony P. Viereck of Larchwood on two counts of Conspiracy to Deliver Marijuana under 50 kilograms. Both charges are Class D Felonies.

Also arrested was 19-year-old Mason A. Vanden Brink of Inwood. He was also charged with two counts of Conspiracy to Deliver Marijuana under 50 kilograms. In addition, Vanden Brink was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance – Marijuana, a Serious Misdemeanor; Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Simple Misdemeanor; and Maintaining a Drug House, an Aggravated Misdemeanor. The charges were filed after deputies executed a search warrant at Vanden Brink’s home.