Branstad “Streamlines” Form For Pardons, Restoration Of Gun Rights

Des Moines, Iowa — Governor Branstad says his staff has developed a shorter form for felons who are seeking a pardon or want to have their gun rights restored.
Branstad signs

The new form, which is available online, is now two pages rather than five pages long. Paroled felons are NOT be eligible for restoration of their gun rights until they’ve been out of prison for at least five years. Those convicted of attempted murder, armed robbery or some other crime WITH a gun won’t be eligible.

About 100 people apply each year for a pardon or to have their firearms rights restored. Branstad typically grants 10 or fewer requests and he personally interviews the few applicants who clear all the background checks before making his decision. To get pardoned or get your gun rights back, a person must show they’re current on paying any restitution and show they’ve already paid any fines and court costs associated with their case.

As of today, nearly 700 million dollars worth of fines and court fees are unpaid in Iowa’s court system. Branstad says 71 percent of that unpaid court debt comes from criminal cases. Branstad used Monday’s roll-out of the new form for getting a pardon or restoration of gun rights to praise the Iowa Supreme Court for recently upholding the similar system he uses for restore felon’s voting rights.

Iowa is one of three states that forbid all felons from voting once they’ve completed their sentences — unless they’ve had their right to vote restored by the governor. Former Governor Tom Vilsack issued an executive order granting voting right to felons who’d done their time and former Governor Chet Culver continued the practice. Governor Branstad undid that system in January 2011 when he returned to office.

Orange City Man Faces Felony Charge

Orange City, Iowa — An Orange City man faces a felony charge after he was arrested last week.
Sioux Co Jail
The Orange City Police Department says they investigated the case in October 2015. The police say they received information from the Department of Human Services regarding the complaint.  Upon further investigation the Orange City Police Department filed charges and arrested 21-year-old Chance Jacob Wetter of Orange City on a charge of sexual abuse in the third degree. He was arrested on Thursday.

According to court records, Wetter is accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl in September, 2015. Court records indicate Wetter was 20 at the time.

Wetter was transported to the Sioux County Jail, where at last report he remained on a $10,000 bond.

Sewage Spill Into Big Spirit Lake

Spirit Lake, Iowa – There’s been a sewage spill into a popular northwest Iowa lake.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says a blockage in a sewer main caused an estimated 4,000 gallons of wastewater to overflow into Big Spirit Lake late Sunday morning.

file photo
file photo

They say the blockage caused wastewater to backup into at least one home and out of a manhole located at 13881 Center Drive. The Iowa Great Lakes Sanitary District had stopped the overflow by noon. The DNR says the city of Spirit Lake Water Department was notified of the bypass. Strong south winds on Sunday helped direct the overflow away from the beach and water intake, according to the DNR.

As a precaution, the Ainsworth-Orleans beach owned by the Dickinson County Conservation Board, will post a swimming advisory.

Police: Engine Braking Illegal In Sheldon

Sheldon, Iowa — The loud noise that some trucks make when they’re slowing down is apparently causing some frustration on the part of some Sheldon citizens.
Sheldon Police Chief Lyle Bolkema says that the Sheldon Police Department has been receiving complaints of truckers who are “jake braking” or engine braking in town. When the engine braking system is activated, it opens exhaust valves in the cylinders after the compression cycle, releasing the compressed air trapped in the cylinders, and slowing the vehicle.

He says Sheldon does have an ordinance that prohibits engine or compression braking in the city limits.

Bolkema says that in an attempt to get compliance with this law, the police department is mailing a notice to several trucking companies in Sheldon and/or businesses that regularly have trucks coming and going from their properties.

Other northwest Iowa communities have similar ordinances on the books, prohibiting engine braking.

Research Farm Field Day scheduled for July 13

research farm field daySutherland, Iowa — Farmers and the public are invited to listen to Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach specialists present timely research and crop production information at the upcoming ISU Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm Field Day on Wednesday, July 13, near Sutherland.

Joel DeJong, ISU Extension and Outreach field agronomist tells us about the day.

Check-in registration will begin at 9:00 a.m., with cookies and coffee provided to start the day.

The field day will give farmers and the public a chance to see current research projects, and talk with the researchers involved in the experiments, says DeJong. He says that attendees will also be able to hear about the latest research and crop management information in the agriculture industry. Anyone is welcome to attend.

The afternoon will conclude with homemade ice cream.

The research farm is located at 6320 500th Street near Sutherland, Iowa. That’s 1/4 mile east of Highway 59 on B-62, about two miles south of Calumet or about 12 miles north of Cherokee.

For more information about the ISU Northwest Research and Demonstration Farm Field Day, contact Joel DeJong at 712-546-7835 or

Lyon County Leadership Graduates 19 Participants

Rock Rapids, Iowa –- A leadership program in Lyon County graduated 19 participants education notebook

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach sponsored the program. Their communities program specialist, Jane Goeken says that they had 35 people take the program earlier this year, and they had a waiting list, so they offered it again. She tells us about the six-week program.

She says the program focused on maximizing the strengths and skills of current and future community leaders. Participants focused on exploring and further developing leadership skills and becoming more aware of and involved in their community. She tells us at what kind of person the program was aimed.

She tells us how they decided to run the program.

She says the program has been offered within the past couple of years in O’Brien and Sioux Counties, and it looks like they’ll be offering it again as well.

Lyon County Leadership graduates include:

  • Ronda Arends, Lewis Drug
  • Carmen Austin, DeNoble, Austin & Company PC
  • Lori Carstensen, Alpha Omega Publications
  • David DeNoble, DeNoble, Austin & Company PC
  • Connie Douglass, LyonCounty Health Services
  • Russell Forrest, DeNoble, Austin & Company PC
  • Cameron Greenfield, Glynlyon
  • Michelle Hellenga, Sanford Health
  • Erik Hooser, Glynlyon
  • Jessica Jensen, New Century Press
  • Stacey McIntire, Frontier Bank
  • Kayla Reck, DeNoble, Austin & Company PC
  • Lisa Rockhill, LyonCounty Health Services
  • Nicole Schneekloth, DeNoble, Austin & Company PC
  • Lisa VandeStouwe, ATLAS of LyonCounty
  • Loralye Wibben, LyonCounty Extension and Outreach
  • Bonnie Wilson, LyonCounty Health Services
  • Dennis Winkowitsch, LyonCounty Extension Council
  • Jeremy Zink, Cooperative Farmers Elevator

Participants were nominated to attend Lyon County Leadership by their employer or another community organization. Sessions were taught by ISU Extension and Outreach staff members affiliated with the Community and Economic Development program.

Lyon County Leadership was sponsored by the Lyon County Extension Council.