Sheldon Plans Improvements to Highway and Streets and Addition of New Residential Areas

digger backhoeSheldon, Iowa — Highway 18 through Sheldon can become confusing, even among those who drive it often. In some places it’s a four lane highway, other spots a three lane and others two lane.

That confusion should be eliminated after projects planned by the City and Iowa Department of Transportation are completed. As the City planned to extend their improvements to the east, the Iowa D.O.T. announced they would like to add a new blacktop overlay, providing a continuous three lane highway from Second Avenue all the way to the new industrial park east of the Highway 60 expressway.This should eliminate the current confusion and add safer turning lanes.

The project is expected to be completed this summer. This will be a busy construction season as the City also plans resurfacing of Country Club Road from Highway 18 to East 9th Street. This street improvement project will then continue down East 9th Street from Country Club Road to the area near the cemetery.

Opportunities for new housing in Sheldon will also be expanded with two separate developments. Infrastructure work on the new Trilogy Village area east and north of Fieldcrest will begin soon. The contract for the work was awarded to Vander Pol Excavating of Orange City at the last council meeting. The other housing area to be developed by the City is the Sheldon Crossing area located just east of the homes along Country Club Road.


Four Taken To Hospital After Accident Between Alton And Hospers

Hospers AmbulanceAlton, Iowa — Four people were taken to the hospital after an accident near Alton.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 10:20 on Thursday night (4/4), 22-year-old Jesse Gemar of Hawarden was driving a 2001 Nissan Frontier King pickup southbound on Highway 60, two miles northeast of Alton.

Gemar lost control of the vehicle, which entered the west ditch, struck a railroad embankment and rolled.

Gemar and three passengers in his vehicle, 4-month-old Adrian Carr, 19-year-old Stacy Carr, both of Orange City, and 17-year-old John Carr of Sioux Center were transported to the Orange City Hospital by the Hospers and Orange City Ambulances.

The Nissan sustained approximately $9,000 damage. A Sioux County Conservation fence sustained $200 damage.

Gemar was cited for driving with a suspended driver’s license, failure to maintain control, failure to wear a seatbelt and child restraint violation.

The Hospers Ambulance, Hospers Fire Department and the Orange City Ambulance assisted the Sheriff’s Office.

The accident remains under investigation.

Rock Valley’s Mandatory Water Restrictions to Remain in Effect

Rock Valley Water TowerRock Valley, Iowa — Due to the extended drought, the council of the City of Rock Valley has decided to extend the mandatory water restrictions which were originally enacted on August 31, 2012. The mandatory water restrictions apply to all properties including those with private wells or sand points located within the city limits of Rock Valley.

Under this order no outdoor watering or irrigation of lawns is permitted. The City of Rock Valley made a special point of announcing that they will not be granting any exceptions for people who have recently seeded their yards. Hand-watering of flower and vegetable gardens will be permitted twice a week with an application not to exceed one inch.

City officials say the restrictions continue to be necessary because of the persistent drought conditions last year and the minimal amount of snowfall this winter. Mayor Kevin Van Otterloo says that last year the City’s well levels dropped five to six feet, which required the council to pass the mandatory water restrictions. Since then, he says the well levels have only come back up six inches, which is not sufficient to remove the water restrictions.

The restrictions are to be in place until at least June 1st, when the matter will be reviewed to see if they can be lifted.

City Administrator Tom Van Maanen says they appreciate everyone’s cooperation and they hope to see several timely spring showers that will relieve the current situation.

For more information, including the fine schedule and special situations, you can contact the City of Rock Valley by email at or by phone at (712) 476-5707.

State Water Summary Update Mentions Sioux, O’Brien, Osceola Counties As Having Little Drought Improvement

lawn sprinkler dry drought brown grassDes Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has released the latest water summary update.

General drought conditions in Iowa have improved over the past month and a small area of southeast Iowa is now viewed as normal ― free of drought conditions. Other areas have improved as well. However, very little improvement has occurred in much of the western third of Iowa. The report specifically mentioned Sioux, O’Brien, Osceola, Shelby and Crawford counties as being especially hard hit.

This was the coldest March since 1975 with temperatures averaging 7.4 degrees colder than normal. The cold weather, plus frequent snow cover in some areas, kept soils frozen across the state for most of the month, thus preventing much moisture from soaking into dry Iowa soils. At month’s end, soils were mostly thawed across southern Iowa but considerable frost remains across the north.

The water summary update report is prepared by the technical staff from the Iowa DNR, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and the USGS, in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division.

Sheldon Police Recover Stolen Vehicle, Handle Property Damage Accident

Sheldon PD carSheldon, Iowa — In the latest from Sheldon Police,

They say that they received a report of a stolen vehicle this past week. A green 1995 Ford Taurus was reported to have been stolen sometime between 6 AM and 11:15 AM on Thursday (4/4) from the 500 block of Sixth Street, near the City Park in Sheldon. The vehicle, valued at about $700, was recovered the next day in Ashton. No other information was made available as to a suspect or whether any charges were filed.

A Sheldon woman’s van and a Sheldon man’s pickup were damaged in an accident this past Wednesday (4/3) in Sheldon.

The Sheldon Police Department reports that about 4:00 PM, 23-year-old Ashley Steffen of Sheldon was eastbound on Highway 18, near Fareway at the corner of 18 and Nest Avenue or Country Club Road in a 1997 Ford van. Twenty-six-year-old Kyle Heynen of Sheldon was also eastbound in front of Steffen in a 2012 Ford pickup.

Heynen was waiting for a vehicle ahead to make a left turn. According to the report, Steffen turned around in her seat to check on a child in the van. When she turned around again to face the roadway, she did not have enough time to stop and rear-ended the pickup.

Steffen’s Ford van received $3000 damage. Heynen’s Ford pickup received $1500 damage.

Sheldon City Council Debate and Timeline for Downtown Project

Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon City Council addressed many topics at their meeting Wednesday, but the one that generated the most discussion involved the Sheldon Downtown Infrastructure Project.

This started when they were asked to set the date and time for a public hearing to consider a resolution fixing the date for a meeting on the proposition to authorize a loan agreement and issuance of a General Obligation Capital Loan Note in the amount of One million, five hundred and sixty thousand dollars to finance the downtown project. Council member Ron Rensink asked if approving this would be final approval of the project. He was told that the council would have more opportunities to address changes in the future. It was also mentioned that this financing proposal leaves the door open for a reverse referendum.

But, City Manager Scott Wynja tells KIWA that after further investigation it was found that on January 2nd of this year, the Council voted unanimously in favor of using General Obligation Corporate financing which is NOT subject to a reverse referendum or petition.

So, here’s the timeline for the downtown project. On April 17th the project engineer will conduct a public information meeting at four o’clock. The public is invited to attend and hear details of the work that are planned at this time. At 4:30 the City Council will conduct a public hearing on the proposed downtown property assessments. Everyone who wishes to address matters related to the assessments will be heard. In addition, any letters or e-mails sent to the City will be read. At this meeting the Council will also hold a public hearing on the downtown infrastructure financing plus $930,000 to finance such projects as the deep well, a grader and street repairs.

It will also be necessary for the council to pass a resolution of necessity for the sidewalk and curb work assessments. This requires an affirmative vote of at least 4 of the council members to pass.

The next step for the project would be another public hearing tentatively planned for May 15th. At this time the Council will address the final plans and specifications in preparation for receiving bids. City Manager Scott Wynja tells KIWA that the council will again have an opportunity to make changes in the project at this time. In fact he pointed out that in some cases changes in a project are made after a bid has been approved.

Speaking of changes, during the discussion Wednesday, Council member Greg Geels asked about the removal of trees from the downtown plan. After some discussion Dave Popkes made a motion to include twelve trees in the plan. Four of these at the intersection of Third Avenue and Ninth Street, four more at the intersection of Fourth Avenue and Ninth Street, two at Third Avenue and Tenth Street , and two at Third Avenue and 8th Street. The motion passed with Popkes, Hindt and Geels voting in favor. Rensink and Seehusen voted against the proposal.

We’ll have more City Council news on future newscasts on KIWA Radio.