Man Who Hit Sheriff’s Pickup Sentenced

Sibley, Iowa — The man who authorities say rammed his vehicle into a Sheriff’s pickup in Sibley last year has been sentenced.
Osceola Sheriff Car 72-2
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that 26-year-old Ricky Robert Jeppesen of Sibley pled guilty to Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree, an aggravated misdemeanor. He had been originally charged with First Degree Criminal Mischief, a Class “C” Felony.

On October 13, 2014, the Sheriff’s Office says Jeppesen intentionally drove his 1997 Lincoln into a parked and unattended 2014 Ford Pickup belonging to the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office. Jeppesen allegedly drove into the pickup twice causing the 2014 Ford to strike another parked and unattended 2007 Ford belonging to an on-duty dispatcher. The incident occurred in front of the sheriff’s office in the parking/driveway area.

Jeppesen was immediately taken into custody by an Osceola County Deputy. All three vehicles involved received extensive damage.

In addition to other fines and fees, Jeppesen was ordered to pay restitution to the Osceola County Sheriff in the amount of $597. He was sentenced to a year in the Osceola County Jail with all of that time suspended except for 15 days which must be served. He will also serve two years probation.

Orange City Man Accused Of Misuse Of Emergency Lights

Orange City, Iowa — An Orange City man has been arrested after he allegedly misused his emergency lights.
The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that on Thursday evening, February 19, they arrested 20-year-old Benton Vargason of Orange City.

The arrest stemmed from an incident that occurred on Wednesday evening, February 18 in Sioux Center. Deputies say Vargason is accused of vandalizing another person’s vehicle.

Following that incident, they say the victim of the vandalism followed Vargason. They allege that Vargason used his blue volunteer firefighter emergency lights to stop the person’s vehicle at the intersection of 380th Street and Harrison Avenue, one mile east of Sioux Center.

Vargason was arrested and charged with harassment and unlawful use of emergency vehicle lights.

Lennox Man Allegedly Runs From Deputy

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Lennox, SD man is behind bars in Lyon County after he was allegedly found with drug paraphernalia, and then later is accused of running from a deputy.
Law Enforcement Lightbar red
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office says that 19-year-old Ozra Holzer of Lennox was stopped earlier this month, and a deputy found a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia. Holzer was then released from the scene, but five days later, on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 arrest warrants were issued for Holzer for Possession of a Controlled Substance, a Serious Misdemeanor, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a Simple Misdemeanor.

On Friday afternoon, February 20, 2015, a deputy stopped Holzer in Inwood. During the investigation, the Sheriff’s Office reports that Holzer allegedly fled the scene on foot and was later located as a passenger in a motor vehicle. Holzer was taken into custody on the two outstanding warrants and was also charged with Escape From Custody, a Serious Misdemeanor and Interference With Official Acts, a Simple Misdemeanor.

Holzer is currently being held in The Lyon County Jail. The Sheriffs’ Office says the investigation is on-going and additional charges are pending.

Attorney General Opposes Foodservice Merger

Des Moines, Iowa — Two food distribution companies are considering a merger, and nine states’ attorneys general are not in favor of it.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and a bipartisan group of state attorneys general have joined the Federal Trade Commission’s administrative complaint challenging a proposed merger between food distribution giants Sysco and US Foods.

Miller says they allege this merger would violate antitrust laws by significantly reducing food distribution competition across the country, and particularly in western Iowa. He says that the result would be higher prices for Iowa consumers who eat away from home, and higher costs for Iowa restaurants, school districts, hospitals and hotels.

Attorneys general from nine states including Iowa, plus the District of Columbia, signed onto the complaint.

The complaint alleges the merger would affect the broadline food distribution industry nationwide, and would significantly reduce competition in 32 local markets, including the Omaha-Council Bluffs market.

Sysco and US Foods offer extensive product lines, including national-brand and private-label food products, and provide frequent and flexible delivery, high levels of customer service, and other value-added services such as order tracking, menu planning, and nutritional information. The two are by far the largest such distributors in the United States.

For more information, click here to go to the Iowa Attorney General’s Office page about the complaint.

Mayor Says City Not Removing Dam

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Rock Rapids Mayor Jason Chase says there’s been some confusion over the city’s plans for the big dam in the city’s Island Park.

Big Island Park Dam in minor flood stage in 2012
Big Island Park Dam in minor flood stage in 2012

We had a chance to talk with him, and he says the city council is not trying to get rid of the historic dam, despite what public opinion appears to be.

Chase says that despite the fact that the dam is not needed to provide water power to run a mill as it was in its early days, the council is well aware of the recreational, historic and aesthetic aspects of the dam. However, they also need to keep safety of citizens and other park users in mind. He says the DNR and the council are considering several options to make the dam safer.

Chase says he is taking at least some of the blame for the misunderstanding. He says he found an article in the Des Moines Register talking about how, in communities that actually had removed their dams — the fishing had actually improved, due to better chance for the fish to travel and spawn. Chase says he sent this article to a resident, who sent it to another resident who had just heard about the grant that the city was getting to study the dam, and in the Mayor’s words, “the whole thing just spiraled out of control.”

Some of the options being considered are side channels, stair steps, and more. He says that’s why they need to bring in professional help.

Little Dam Rock River Island Park
Small Island Park Dam in low water over 10 years ago

Chase says the smaller dam downstream just north of the old railroad trestle is actually more of a concern.

Before the flood in the summer of 2014, the city had contracted with park planning firm, Confluence, to get some ideas for improving the park. The flood had an impact on those plans, but that is still moving forward too. One of the things the plan calls for is a new Mini Zoo to replace the one that was destroyed in the flood. We’ll tell you more about that in future newscasts and on

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Block Sentencing Postponed

Sibley, Iowa — Sentencing has been postponed for 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.

Block, Michael

According to court records, sentencing for 52-year-old Michael Lawrence Block of Sibley has been pushed back a month, to March 20th, 2015. Block pled guilty earlier this month in Osceola County District Court to seven counts of first-degree theft, as well as a serious misdemeanor charge. Block is alleged to have been 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.