Lyon Tobacco Sales Enforcement Surprise

Rock Rapids, Iowa — The latest sweep of Lyon County tobacco retailers was a success, according to law enforcement, and the results were somewhat surprising.
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The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports they have taken a pledge to keep tobacco out of the hands of Lyon County youth. It’s called the Iowa Pledge — or I-Pledge — and it’s a partnership with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) to educate local retailers and to enforce Iowa’s tobacco laws. The I-Pledge Program has helped increase statewide tobacco compliance to a rate of 93% since it began in 2000.

We talked to Lyon County Sheriff Stewart Vander Stoep who tells us how they check for compliance.


Clerks who successfully complete an online training program and pass an exam will be I-Pledge Certified and the retail establishment will receive an affirmative defense against a civil penalty if the certified clerk makes an illegal sale.

Vander Stoep says the I-Pledge Retailer Training Program is a great way for clerks to prepare themselves to refuse illegal tobacco sales. He says the training will help retailers maintain a compliant and responsible establishment.

He says that he’s happy to report 100 percent compliance among Lyon County retailers this year, and says that’s the first time that’s happened in over ten years.


The sheriff says that by partnering with the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, they hope to educate clerks and maintain a compliant retail environment in the county. He says he and his deputies pledge to help keep tobacco out of the hands of youth.

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Man Who Pointed Gun At Deputy Sentenced

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Rock Rapids man who pointed a gun at a deputy was sentenced to two years in jail after he pled guilty in a plea bargain.
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In late October of last year a Lyon County Deputy went to 108 South Bradley Street in Rock Rapids. They report that the occupant of the home, 27-year-old David Harold Warren Jr. threatened the deputy and pointed a rifle at him out of an upstairs window.

Warren was charged with Assault on Persons Engaged in Certain Occupations with intent to cause injury, a class D felony; Harassment in the first degree, an aggravated misdemeanor; and Domestic Abuse, a simple misdemeanor.

According to court records, after pleading not guilty in December, 2014, Warren changed his plea to guilty last week in plea negotiations.

On the assault on persons in certain occupations with intent of injury charge, Warren was sentenced to a year in jail, plus another 305 days in jail was suspended, two fines of $315, one of them to be paid and one suspended; and a year of probation.

On the First Degree Harassment Charge, he was sentenced to another year in jail, to be served consecutively to the other jail sentence, a 275-day suspended jail sentence, another year of probation, and two fines of $625, one to be paid, and one suspended.


King Condemns ISIS Killing Of Christians

Webster City, Iowa — The Iowa Congressman for this area, Steve King, is condemning the brutal weekend slaughter of more than 20 Coptic Christians in Libya and he says the mass killing should serve as a call to action for America. King, a Republican from Kiron, says the murders of the Egyptian citizens by members of the Islamic State were videotaped and put online for the world to see.
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(As above) “They were in Libya, looking for opportunities to work and make some money. The economy in Egypt has been bad,” King says. “They were captured by ISIS. The 21 of them were marched down along the shoreline there of the sea and simultaneously beheaded and beheaded because they’re Christians.”

King says it’s yet another in a long line of vile, public acts of violence by the radical religious sect.


(As above) “It is a tragedy that took place in Libya, the Coptics who were beheaded,” King says. “Their religious leader is the Coptic pope in Cairo whom I have met with and have spent significant time with him and learning the pressures that have been on them.”

In recent years, Coptic Christians in Egypt have been vilified, with more than 100 of their churches burned and in one instance, a Coptic wedding was attacked and 50 people were killed, including the bride and groom. In the past day, the Egyptian air force launched a series of attacks in Libya, reportedly hitting ISIS camps, training sites and a weapons storage area. King says Egypt’s president is responding appropriately.


(As above) “He is prepared to retaliate or has retaliated and I think that’s one of the things that we must do,” King says. “I’ve come to the conclusion, we’re going to have to defeat radical Islamic jihadism wherever we find it and it’s going to take more than kinetic action to accomplish such a feat.”

King says he and a congressional delegation will travel to Cairo on March 9th to meet with Egyptian officials about ways to stop terrorism by groups like ISIS. The Congressman made his comments during a stop in Webster City on Monday.

Story from Radio Iowa

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Two Sioux County Teens Arrested On Drug Charges

Orange City, Iowa — Two nineteen-year-olds, one from Alton and one from Orange City, have been arrested on drug charges.
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On Sunday evening, February 15, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office arrested 19-year-old Cody Langel of Alton. On Monday morning, February 16, they arrested 19-year-old Trey Beltmen of Orange City.

The arrests were a result of a drug investigation.

Langel was charged with delivery of cocaine. Beltman was charged with delivery of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and delivery of prescription drugs.

According to jail records, both are free after each posting a $5000 bond.


Governor’s STEM Council To Highlight Accomplishments

Des Moines, Iowa — There’s going to be a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — or STEM — festival for middle schoolers at Dordt College on Saturday. Meanwhile, the governor’s STEM Advisory Council will highlight the accomplishments of the effort this Thursday at the capitol building in Des Moines. A preview was given at the governor’s news conference Monday. The focus on STEM began in 2011 and advisory council co-chair, Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, says the Scale-Up programs have been key.
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(as she says)”Getting those high-quality programs in the hands of students, and these 10 outstanding STEM programs, I am happy to say are reaching over 117-thousand students in the State of Iowa,” according to Reynolds.

The legislature appropriated five-point-two million dollars for STEM programs in 2014-2015, and that is supplemented with support from other sources.


(as she says)”Scale Up programs I am happy to say are in more than 90-percent of the 338 school districts across the state of Iowa, as well as many non-public schools and out-of-school settings,” Reynolds says. ” And our goal is to be in 100-percent of the districts, and we hope to do that relatively soon.”

The executive director of the STEM Advisory Council, Jeff Weld, is also an associate biology professor at the University of Northern Iowa.


(as he says)”We’ve been at this for three-and-a-half years and I think we’re beginning to see the impact of our affect. We have a wonderful uptick in the number post-secondary community college and four-year college majors in the STEM fields that we are seeing lately,” Weld says. “We’re seeing wonderful evidence of public support and awareness of the STEM cause for our state. We are seeing an encouraging rise in the number of teachers earning math and science teaching endorsements.”

STEM information shows a 13-percent increase in the number of teachers in Iowa with one teaching endorsement in science or math.


(as he says)”Last year the Board of Educational examiners approved a new STEM endorsement. So, unlike your and my school experiences where we took math and we took science, kids of our not-to-distant future will be able to take STEM classes by teachers trained and prepared to teach interdisciplinary active, community-based, problem-solving approaches to learning,” Weld says.

Displays touting the work of the STEM Council will be set up in the capitol rotunda Thursday.

The STEM Festival at Dordt on Saturday will be made possible in part by the Governor’s STEM Scale-Up Initiative, Dordt College, and Iowa State University Extension.

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Senator Feenstra Weighs In On School Start Dates

Des Moines, Iowa — School start dates are on the minds of several northwest Iowans, especially school boards, administrators and athletic directors.
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The start date for next school year in the Sheldon Community School District is still up in the air, as it is for all of the school districts in northwest Iowa, due to the very high bar set by the Iowa Department of Education at Governor Terry Branstad’s request — for waivers to start school earlier than the week in which September first falls. Sports and other activities could also be affected. School leaders are saying a later start date would not only mean a later release date in the spring, but could affect standardized test scores, due to having less time to prepare.

We had a chance to talk with Iowa District 2 State Senator Randy Feenstra and he gives us an update as to some bills that could set a compromise date.


Governor Branstad wanted the later start dates to allow Iowans with school-aged children to attend the Iowa State Fair, and to a lesser extent extend the vacation season at destinations like the Iowa Great Lakes. But Feenstra says his office now seems open to a compromise.


Since school districts are in a time crunch, due to having to get the schedules finalized, we asked Feenstra how long he expects it to take to give them a definitive answer.


He says his district, which includes Sioux, O’Brien, and Cherokee counties, and a little bit of Plymouth County, is basically split 50/50 with those who want earlier and those who want later start dates.


Feenstra says he’s excited that that there will now be a set policy, with no more waivers.

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