New Rock Rapids Development Director To Take Reins

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Rock Rapids native is coming back to Rock Rapids to help the town land new businesses, find housing for employees, and help retain current businesses.
Micah Freese RREDC
The Rock Rapids City Council wrapped up their search for a new development director a while back, and the man who is going to take the reins — Micah Freese — has been working with Rock Rapids Economic Development Director John Hulshof for the last month.

Hulshof has been instrumental in several development projects since taking the position in August, 2008. Before that, Hulshof worked for Frontier Bank. Hulshof announced in March that he intends to retire in August after eight years at the helm of the Rock Rapids Development Corporation.

Freese says he’s really looking forward to helping out his hometown.

Freese says he has a degree in business administration and has been working for Walmart Corporation.

He says his focus will be primarily on following through on the projects that Hulshof started at first, but he will be working to promote the community to businesses and industries, develop housing opportunities, and work to retain current businesses.

Freese says that being available is important, and he plans to do that. He says he knows the job comes with continuous research.

The new economic development director says that he and soon-to-be-retired director Hulshof will work together until the end of the month. At that point, Hulshof will be available for consultation, but Freese will be flying the economic development ship “solo” at that point.

Freese says he’s looking forward to moving back “home” to Rock Rapids and being able to enroll his kids at Central Lyon. He says he’s very grateful for the education he received there and wouldn’t be where he is today without it.

Altena Warns Of Scams Targeting Elderly

Sioux County, Iowa — Numerous scams have been reported this summer.  So many, in fact, that we don’t have sufficient time to mention them all.

Sioux County Sheriff Dan Altena
Sioux County Sheriff Dan Altena

Sioux County Sheriff Dan Altena says the one thing most of these scams have in common in that they prey, primarily, on the elderly. Altena explains.

Altena says one of the most effective of these scams is the “Grandparent Scam”, because it plays on the emotions of the elderly.

Sheriff Altena says one of the ways you can protect yourself from these scammers is to check your Caller ID, and if you don’t recognize the number, just don’t answer the phone. He offers some other ideas to help avoid being taken for a ride by scammers.

The Sheriff says you need to be aware that there are a lot of scams out there, and most of them target the elderly.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office has put together an information sheet on how seniors can avoid scams.  You can find that information by clicking here.

Man Accused Of Barb’s Corner Robbery Pleads Not Guilty

Spencer, Iowa — The Milford man accused of the Armed Robbery of Barb’s Corner near Everly back in March has pled not guilty.
The arraignment for 40-year old Joshua Emerson Mandelkow was held on Monday, July 25th, in Clay County District Court.

Clay County authorities accuse Mandelkow of robbing the bar while armed with a shotgun. Deputies were provided with a description of the vehicle the robber used, deputies say, and they made contact with a suspect vehicle about 15 minutes later, leading to contact with Mandelkow.

Deputies say that, after leading law enforcement on a pursuit into Dickinson County, Mandelkow reportedly turned his shotgun on himself as deputies approached his vehicle. He was taken to a Spirit Lake hospital before being transferred to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, MN for treatment of his injuries.

Clay County officials say that once Mandelkow had sufficiently recovered from his wounds, they filed felony charges of 1st Degree Robbery, Going Armed With Intent, and Intimidation With A Dangerous Weapon.

According to court records, a pre-trial conference has been scheduled for August 8th, with the trial scheduled for August 16th in Clay County District Court.

Arraignment Postponed In Boyden Clerk Case

Orange City, Iowa — An arraignment in the case involving the former Boyden City Clerk has been pushed back almost a month.
Sioux County Courthouse Justice Statue
According to court records, 53-year old Beth Sipma faces charges of 1st Degree Theft following an investigation into improper money disbursements that allegedly took place in Boyden while she was City Clerk.

Online court records say the arraignment, which was to have been Monday, July 25th has been pushed back to Monday, August 22nd.

The charges stem from an investigation that began with the Iowa State Auditor’s Office, following a request from Boyden City officials as a result of concerns regarding payments, made by Sipma, from a City bank account.  The results of that investigation were then turned over to law enforcement, whose further investigation reportedly led to the charges against Sipma.

Theft in the 1st Degree is a Class C Felony, and Sipma faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Two Airlifted, Four Transported By Ground After Accident

Sibley, Iowa — Two people were airlifted to a Sioux Falls hospital and four more were taken to Sanford Sheldon after a head-on accident on Sunday evening, July 24th, near Sibley.
avera mckennan careflight new helicopter
The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 7:00 p.m., 17-year-old Mattea Lauren Van Kalsbeek of Sioux Falls was driving a 2016 Honda Civic eastbound on Highway 9. They say 47-year-old Vance J. Timmer, also of Sioux Falls, was driving a 2011 Honda Pilot westbound on Highway 9.

According to the report, Van Kalsbeek crossed over the center line and collided with the Timmer vehicle head-on east of the intersection of Highway 9 and Olive Avenue. Olive Avenue is L36, the county road west of Sibley.

Van Kalsbeek and her passenger, a juvenile, were taken to the Osceola Community Hospital in Sibley by ambulance and later they were each air lifted to Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls. Timmer and his three passengers, Dianne Timmer and two juveniles, were taken by ambulance to the Sanford Sheldon Hospital.

Both vehicles were totaled with the Van Kalsbeek vehicle receiving approximately $18,640 in damage and the Timmer vehicle receiving approximately $19,000 in damage.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Department investigated the accident with the assistance of the Lyon County Sheriff’s Department. Also assisting at the scene was Sibley Fire and Rescue, the Osceola County Ambulance Service and the Little Rock Ambulance. The Sheriff’s Office says the investigation is still ongoing.

Crops Weathered Extreme Heat Wave Well

corn fieldNorthwest Iowa — Cooler, more seasonable weather is in our forecast this week, as last week’s extreme high temperatures in the upper 90s are giving way to the 80s and even the upper 70s.

Area crops appear to have weathered the triple-digit heat indices well, according to Brad Rippey, a meteorologist with the U-S-D-A.

There’s been fairly timely rain across much of the state throughout the growing season, he says, so there should not be fears of a crop disaster. Rippey adds, last week’s heat wave can’t be blamed on the La Nina weather pattern because it hasn’t really formed yet.

Looking back, Rippey says there have been three recent heat waves where crops in the region did very well: 2000, 2004 and 2014.

As rain moves in late on Wednesday and into Thursday, forecasters say we may see highs only in the upper-70s by the end of this week.