Rock Valley Woman Airlifted After Head-On Crash

AccidentGeneric 2Rock Valley, Iowa — A Rock Valley woman was airlifted to a Sioux Falls hospital in the aftermath of a two-vehicle head-on crash north of Rock Valley Saturday evening.

Lyon County authorities say 23-year old Amber Vonk of Rock Valley was northbound on county blacktop A30, about four miles north of Rock Valley, in a 2012 Ford F-150 pickup, and 17-year old Jordan Baker of Rock Valley was southbound in a 2014 GMC Sierra Pickup, when the two trucks collided head-on.

Vonk was transported to Hegg Memorial Hospital in Rock Valley, then airlifted to Avera McKennan Medical Center in Sioux Falls with Serious injuries.  Baker and a passenger were both transported to Hegg Memorial in Rock Valley for possible injuries, according to authorities.

Both vehicles were totaled in the crash.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Department was assisted by the Doon Fire and Rescue, the Rock Valley Ambulance, the Rock Valley Police Department, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Department, and the Iowa State Patrol.

Deputies say the crash remains under investigation.

Better Tech May Mean Farmers Get Less Exercise

Statewide Iowa — Technology is constantly changing the face of farming in Iowa, but it’s also changing the bodies of farmers themselves, perhaps not for the better. Just as machinery, computers and fast-food have influenced the general population, they’ve also influenced farmers. A health study of the region’s farmers is being launched by researcher Paula Schulz at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

We picture farmers as lifting hay bales and working with cattle, Schulz says, but so much of farming is automated today that farmers don’t do as much physical work. A pilot study is underway to gauge heart disease risk in farmers.

In the one-year study, researchers will collect information about physical activity and dietary habits, quality of life and cardiovascular disease. Participants will wear a device that measures activity during peak farming season and during off season. Researchers hope the information can be used to identify strategies that could be tailored to the farming lifestyle to reduce heart disease risk.

Man Arrested After Police Chase

Estherville, Iowa — A Sibley man is in custody as the result of a traffic stop in Emmet County.
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According to Emmet County Sheriff Mike Martens, a sheriff’s deputy who was at the intersection of 490th Avenue and Highway 9 at 3:45 AM Thursday morning clocked a westbound vehicle at 89 mph. The deputy sheriff attempted to initiate a traffic stop of the vehicle.

When the deputy tried to stop the vehicle, it fled and accelerated to speeds in excess of 120 MPH still continuing westbound on Highway 9.

The vehicle entered Estherville on Highway 9, where the Estherville Police Department joined in the effort to stop the vehicle. After a brief chase through some city side streets the chase left the city limits of Estherville on 5th Avenue North. Then as the vehicle approached 410th Avenue it failed to turn onto 410th Avenue and entered a cornfield. Still attempting to flee, the vehicle traveled for about a mile through the field before trying to exit the field, becoming stuck in a road ditch near the intersection of 420th Avenue and 160th Street.

The driver abandoned the 2007 Ford registered to Paul Erickson of Armstrong and fled north on foot through a farm field before being taken into custody by officers from the Estherville Police Department.

The driver, identified as 27-year-old Casey Gene Schneidermann of Sibley was booked into the Emmet County Jail and was charged with Eluding a Law Enforcement Vehicle, a class D Felony; Carrying Weapons and Interference with Official Acts, both serious misdemeanors; Speeding, 120mph in a 55mph zone; Speeding, 108 in a 45 mph zone; Driving with a suspended license; and two counts of failure to obey a traffic control device, all simple misdemeanors.

Schneidermann remains in custody with bond set at $6000 cash on the Eluding and weapons charges and $1000 cash or surety on the Interference with official acts charge.

The Erickson vehicle received an estimated $1600 in damage.

The event remains under investigation by the Emmet County Sheriff’s Office.

UPDATE with images: Council Again Discusses Events Center

Events Center 10Sheldon, Iowa — The proposed events center was the main topic of discussion at Wednesday’s Sheldon City Council meeting.  Mike Bell who has been working with the City on the design of the project gave an overall review of the center’s final design.  Entrance to the area through the current roundabout just south of the Holiday Inn Express  would lead to a large parking lot and the events center which would be located on the north side of the pond.  The facility would seat about four hundred people and could be divided into three separate rooms.  The council was also shown detailed examples of the interior décor.  Earlier, in the time for public comments, Marv Van Riessen had asked the City to hold off on the project for at least sixty days to get more input from the public.  Later in the meeting Mike Bell mentioned that he had been working with the City on this project since 2012 and he felt it was going to be a “wonderful facility”.  He said his company was now working on ways to make it attractive to contractors and he expected to be able to bring more up-to-date cost projections to the next council meeting which will be March 15th.

Council members Zach Sawyer and Brad Hindt, who were among those who worked with Bell on the design, both praised the project.  Sawyer said it would be very attractive and also functional.  He added that other facilities in the area are not as functional.  Hindt said this was a “well-thought-through” plan.

In other business, the council held a public hearing on the 2016-17 fiscal year budget which drew comments from both Van Riessen and Bob Engel.  Engel had questions about the fact that there has been a considerable increase in the City’s property valuations.  He wanted to know if this was because of increased assessments or additional buildings in the City.  City Manager Scott Wynja pointed out that the City had no control over determining the assessed property valuations.  He said that development in the City also helped increase the overall valuation.

Van Riessen said he wants the City to stop funding benefits for the development director to reduce budget spending.

The council also heard from SCAT Director Cindy Freeman who asked that they consider adding RN’s to the ambulance staff scheduling, paying them $22.00 per hour.  She said they would be used only on transfers, and this would help with the scheduling problems that SCAT is experiencing.  The council voted their approval of this plan.

The council also approved the sale of a lot in the Trilogy Addition to Paul Van Roekel of Van Roekel Rentals, and they approved a payment of $2500.92 to the Northwest Iowa Regional Trust Fund.  City Manager Scott Wynja reported that in the past repairs to five homes have been helped with this fund and another one is under consideration.  About $38,000 is left in the program for O’Brien County and in July about $37,000 more will be added to that fund.

In other action, the council agreed to change the next council meeting to Tuesday, March 15th at 5 PM.

Below are the planner’s images of the proposed Event Center

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Odor Case Pushed Back To March 21st

Sibley, Iowa — The people of Sibley are upset about a smell in town, and options are being weighed to see what to do about it.
Osceola County Courthouse Closeup_SVA
In 2013, Iowa Drying and Processing purchased the former AMPI (that’s Associated Milk Producers, Inc.) building near Sibley’s downtown. Iowa Drying and Processing makes a a high-protein agricultural blood product called plasma that goes into pet foods, according to company officials, and they admit that sometimes the process releases an odor.

The company said they’d install a deodorizing apparatus that would pump out a wintergreen smell, but Sibley City Administrator Glenn Anderson says it’s not working. And that’s a problem because Andrson says when it’s bad, people don’t want to go out to eat in Sibley’s restaurants or shop in Sibley’s stores.

A more expensive “wet scrubber” solution to the odor problem is being considered. The Sibley City Council wants it installed by April 1st.

Iowa Drying and Processing has been fined by the City of Sibley numerous times, but the case has been continued several times in Osceola County District Court. The case was to have been heard on February 29th. The latest non-jury trial date on the charges has been set for Monday, March 21st at 9:45 AM.

Events Center Roadblock?

Events Center 10Sheldon, Iowa — If a proposed bill currently being looked at by the Iowa House Ways and Means Committee becomes law, it could throw a monkey wrench into the City of Sheldon’s plans to use Tax Increment Financing to construct the Events Center that is proposed for the Sheldon Crossing area of east Sheldon.

HSB-639 would prevent the use of TIF funds for a public building that is exempt from taxation, including the grounds of, and the erection, repair or reconstruction of, as well as additions or extensions to, such a building on or after the date of the bill becoming law.

The City of Sheldon has been studying the construction of a new Events Center, and are proposing the building be paid for with TIF funds.

While HSB-639 is currently being discussed by the House Ways and Means Committee, it is uncertain whether it will make it out of committee, and uncertain if it would pass the entire Iowa House.  We talked with State Senator Randy Feenstra, who told us that, according to indications he has received from the Democrat majority in the Iowa Senate, the bill’s passage in that chamber this session is highly unlikely.