Files Motion To Dismiss Evidence From DCI Lab

Orange City, Iowa — There’s been an interesting development in the case of a Matlock man facing two counts of sexual abuse.
According to court records, Sioux County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 30-year-old Daren Thomas Leikvold of Matlock at his home on a warrant on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. Court records indicate that Leikvold is accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old on two separate occasions. The incidents are alleged to have occurred in October of last year, and in January of this year.

A bench trial was held last week, but no verdict has yet been entered in the case. On Thursday, July 28th, defense attorney Angela Kayl filed a motion to strike any and all reports, exhibits and testimony from the DCI lab where Amy Pollpeter was employed.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety says Amy Pollpeter, an analyst at the Iowa state crime laboratory, was fired on Tuesday, July 26th. The DPS issued a statement saying she was fired for a post on social media, but did not say what the post contained. According to Radio Iowa, the Des Moines Register reported that Pollpeter, in a Facebook post on July 8, lashed out at the Black Lives Matter movement and wrote that, “Because of blacks” she now does notice skin color and “frankly, I no longer feel safe around them.” The post followed the killings of several police officers in Dallas, Texas.

Pollpeter, who worked as a state criminalist for 10 years, has posted on Facebook that “there is more to the story than the Department of Public Safety is letting on” and she’s “disappointed that the department has chosen to disregard the policy of keeping personnel matters confidential.”

Century-Old Building Is New Again

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A building that started as an automobile dealership over 100 years ago in Rock Rapids has undergone some major renovation and will soon house some upscale downtown offices.

Worthmore building - new Home Warranty and DeNoble Austin & Co
Current building – click to enlarge

The building, on the corner of Story Street and South Second Avenue, across from the courthouse, was originally built as Watson’s Garage in about 1907. The Lyon County history book Buncombe to Twenty-Two says Watson’s was a dealer of the Mitchell automobile line.

The building has housed a number of businesses over the years. In fact some of them have some historical significance. Building owner Doug Van’t Hof says at one time it was owned by C. W. Swanson — they believe that’s the same Swanson that developed Swanson’s Foods, of TV dinner fame. For a time it was owned by a Campbell’s Creamery and Produce that was related to Campbell Soup, which had a facility in Worthington, Minnesota in past years. In the 1930’s and 1940’s, it was the Worthmore Creamery. Many Rock Rapids residents still refer to it as “The Worthmore Building.”

RR Worthmore building - Watson's Garage 1912
Soon after it was built — in early 1900’s

Van’t Hof says it was rumored that the freight elevator in the building was used to transport cars to the second floor when it was Watson’s Garage. But he says they discovered a tag on the elevator that said it was manufactured in the 1940’s. Plus, Van’t Hof says they don’t think even the early, small automobiles would have fit in the elevator.

RR Worthmore building - before
Before renovations

In more recent years, it has been a farm supply store, a Coast-to-Coast hardware store, a Family Drug store and a production facility for Simply Said, among several other things.

He tells us that among the first projects in the major renovation of the building were gutting the old renovations and working on the roof.

He says they would have liked to leave the building concrete color, but he says they would have had no way to match the color of concrete that’s over 100 years old when they did repairs and renovations, so they decided to use a dark grey concrete stain.

Van’t Hof says they wanted to return the outside of the building to as much of the original form factor as they could, and that included the big windows, which over the years had been boarded up or reduced considerably to make the building more energy-efficient.

He says the tint accomplishes several purposes. It protects the contents of the building from fading, eliminates the need for window treatments, and provides privacy, especially for their ground floor tenants, which will be DeNoble, Austin & Company Certified Public Accountants.

Van’t Hof says the upper level will be occupied by his business, Home Warranty, Incorporated. He tells us what they do.

He says many people also extend the warranty after the first year.

Van’t Hof gave local dignitaries, the media, and Congressman Steve King a tour of the facility on Wednesday, July 27th.

Van’t Hof says his business plans to move in by the end of August or early September. Dave DeNoble of DeNoble, Austin says they hope to move in by September 1st.

Driver Flees Scene After Crash That Injures Three

Lifenet Helicopter Cherokee lifeflight airliftAshton, Iowa — The driver of a car that was involved in a crash, near Ashton, that left three people injured, fled the scene of the accident last (Thursday) night.

According to Osceola County Officials, the crash happened shortly after 10 pm last (Thursday) night, when a 2006 Chrysler 300 was southbound on Oriole Avenue.  Deputies say the Chrysler ran the stop sign at the intersection of 240th Street and Oriole Avenue, striking a 1991 Chevrolet Corsica, driven by 35-year old Natalie Hieronimus, of Ashton, that was traveling eastbound on 240th Street.

Deputies say that after the crash, the driver of the Chrysler fled the scene on foot.

According to authorities, all three occupants of the Chevy were taken to Sanford Sheldon Medical Center, with the car’s driver, Natalie Hieronimis, later life-flighted to a Sioux Falls Hospital.

As a result of the accident investigation, Osceola County deputies say they arrested 27-year old Scott Thomas Nasers, of Sibley, who they say was the driver of the Chrysler involved in that crash.

Osceola County authorities say Nasers was charged with Leaving The Scene Of An Accident Resulting In Serious Injury, an Aggravated Misdemeanor, and Operating While Intoxicated, 1st Offense, a Serious Misdemeanor.  Deputies say Nasers was also ticketed for Possessing An Open Container, and Failure To Obey A Stop Sign.  Nasers was transported to the Osceola County Jail, where officials say he was booked in, and held on a $3,600 bond.

Damage to Nasers’ Chrysler, which was owned by Rachel Hupke of Hartley, was estimated at $6000.  Hieronimus’ Chevy also sustained about $6,000 in damage.  Damage to a fence was estimated at $300.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the accident scene, and in the resulting investigation, by the Ashton Fire Department, Ashton Ambulance, the O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office, and Hartley Police Department.

Hull Woman Pleads Guilty In Ticket Selling Scheme

Sioux City, Iowa — Ranae Harriet Van Roekel, 48, from Hull, Iowa, pled guilty Thursday in federal court in Sioux City and was convicted of one count of mail fraud and one count of filing a false tax return.
Evidence produced at the plea hearing revealed, from about January 2008 to about June 2012, Van Roekel, used the internet, phone networks, and the United States Mail, to claim to have access to tickets to various events (including Super Bowl XLVI) at steeply discounted prices because of some claimed personal relationship, membership, or association with the events or related organizations. For example, she claimed to have come by access to discounted Super Bowl XLVI tickets by fraudulently claiming she was a member of the Super Bowl Planning Committee. She then collected money from victims, through the United States Mail purportedly for the purpose of obtaining these tickets, hotel rooms, and other goods and services, but then claimed she could not fill most of the orders. Defendant paid some victims “refunds” with money from newly acquired victims to prevent detection of the scheme.

Sentencing before United States District Court Judge Leonard T. Strand will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Van Roekel remains free on bond previously set; Van Roekel faces up to 20 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, $100 in special assessments, and up to three years of supervised release following any imprisonment on the mail fraud count, and up to 8 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, $100 in special assessments, and up to one year of supervised release following any imprisonment on the filing a false income tax return count.

Rules Updated For Those Who Produce Their Own Electricity

IUB LogoNorthwest Iowa — If you provide some or all of your electricity through wind or solar, the Iowa Utilities Board recently updated their rules that apply to you.

Iowa Utilities Board spokesman Don Tormey says it involves a process known as “net metering.”

He says the new rules expand the size of operations that can feed electricity back into the grid.

Tormey says the rules cover the state’s two largest utility companies and it asks them to write new rules for the cost or tariff charged to the customer for hooking up to the grid.

He says there’s not an exact number of people who are creating their own energy with the chance to feed the excess back to the power companies, but it could be around 15-hundred or more.

Tormey says he expects more people to look at creating their own energy either from wind or solar.

Experts in the field say the cost of solar panels has been coming down as technology improves and more people are looking at using them. You can find out more about net metering on the I-U-B’s website.

Snowmobile Races On Water Friday and Saturday in Rock Valley

Rock Valley — There’s going to be a snowmobile race in Rock Valley. That sounds like something we should be announcing in January. But there’s a twist. These snowmobiles are going to be racing on WATER.
snowmobiles on water
We talked with Kelly Roder, who’s one of the individuals helping with what they call the “Rivers Bend Shootout”, and he tells us what’s happening.

He says there will be plenty of racing action, with cash payouts for the winners.

And the action continues the next day, he says.

He says the venue is the Rivers Bend Campground ponds. He says the area used to be the Van Zee gravel pits, and the City of Rock Valley has transformed it into a nice campground and some ponds.

He says most of the riders are from up north, but one of their club members is taking part.

Roder says there will be food vendors available on-site, and there isn’t a bad seat anywhere around the pond. Again, that’s the Rivers Bend Shootout this weekend at Rivers Bend Campground northwest of Rock Valley. Check out their Facebook page for ticket prices and other details.