Sheldon, Iowa – Landfill rates for the deposit of garbage have increased again this year, which has prompted the Sheldon City Council to raise the fee for garbage pickup. The current residential rate is $15.25 per month plus a garbageone dollar fuel surcharge. The surcharge may fluctuate with changing gas prices.

At their meeting Wednesday, the council voted to raise the base monthly garbage rate to $15.50 beginning November 1st, with another 25 cent increase beginning August 1, 2015 and another beginning August 1, 2016.  The garbage haulers gets all but $1.50 of the monthly rate, which is used by the City to cover expenses related to administering the program.

The council also held a lengthy debate on the subject of recycling.  The two Sheldon garbage haulers conduct regular twice monthly recyclable pickups.  The City also has a dumpster for that purpose located in the Community Building parking lot, which was placed there due to several complaints that the blue recycle containers weren’t big enough for their purpose.  However, the council members were told that other containers could also be used for recyclables.  The other complaint was confusion over the dates of their pickup.  With the dumpster available, residents can deposit their recyclables any time, especially if they forgot on their designated day. Now the City finds themselves with a predicament.  The use of the dumpster has been so popular that residents wanting to use it often find it full, and businesses who are not required to recycle materials have stuffed the dumpster with cardboard.  The haulers told the council that they find only a few people placing their recyclables on the curb because of the popularity of the dumpster, but were told the City is required to offer residential pickup.

The council decided to conduct a survey of residents to help guide them on future policy.  Council members have been asked to forward their suggested questions to the city manager, who will then use those suggestions to formulate a list of survey questions.

At the close of Wednesday’s meeting City Manager Scott Wynja gave the council a “heads-up” on the next council agenda.  One of the items will be a discussion on who should supervise the Police Department.  Currently the city manager appoints the police chief, and has supervision of the department.  At the council’s last planning session, a review of this situation was suggested, with the possibility of a police commission to oversee the department.

Wynja also reported that he had spent time in Des Moines on behalf of the Lewis and Clark Water Project and that it appears the 25 million dollars requested from the State of Iowa could be in the Governor’s Budget.

Mayor Katricia Meendering made a comment concerning a complaint that the council minutes aren’t published soon enough. She stated that City Council business is conducted in accord with Roberts Rules of Order, which dictates that minutes not be published until they have been approved, which is always done at the following council meeting.

Le Mars, Iowa — Plymouth County Authorities are looking for a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run accident on Wednesday. law-lightbar-blue

They say the driver of some sort of red vehicle fled the scene after smashing into the back of a small tractor early Wednesday morning near Le Mars.

They are looking for a red vehicle with what they believe may be substantial damage to the right front.

The 1940’s era Farmall tractor was going northbound on a county road when it was struck from behind and split in half. Seventy-six-year-old Mark Schroeder of rural Le Mars was driving the tractor. He was found lying on the road, next to the tractor, and was treated at the scene for a head injury. Schroeder was taken to a local hospital, but authorities say his injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

Anyone with information about the accident is urged to call the Plymouth County Sheriff.

Story from Radio Iowa

Primghar, Iowa — The kitchen of a Primghar home sustained considerable damage in a blaze Wednesday afternoon.fire_sxc

According to Primghar Fire Chief Gary Lansink, about 1:55 PM, the Primghar Fire Department was called to the report of house fire at 260 North Hayes Avenue in Primghar — the home of Jack and Clara Black.

The chief says the fire department saw fire was coming out the back of the house by the kitchen as they approached the scene. He says they used handlines and water to fight the fire.

Lansink says that there were no injuries reported to people or pets.

He says the cause of the fire is still undetermined.

Chief Lansink reports that there was considerable fire damage to the kitchen, plus heavy smoke damage throughout the home. He says they were able to contain the fire to the kitchen.

He says they used a couple hundred gallons of water to fight the fire, and crews were on scene a little longer than an hour and a half.

Sheldon, Iowa – A two month-long investigation into several business burglaries in Sheldon has resulted in the arrest of a Sheldon man.

Staab,TravisSheldon Police say that on Wednesday, October 15th, at approximately 9:30 PM, officers from their department executed a search warrant at 602 6th Avenue at an upstairs apartment in that home, where officers reportedly seized numerous items of potential evidence, including marijuana, drug paraphernalia, clothing related items, and burglary tools.  Officers say they arrested the tenant at that apartment, 27-year old Travis Dean Staab, on multiple charges.

Police say Staab was charged with one count of Burglary in the 3rd Degree for his alleged involvement in the Digital Plus burglary on September 2nd, one count of Burglary in the 3rd Degree for his alleged involvement in the Verizon Wireless burglary on September 14th, and another count of burglary in the 3rd Degree for his alleged involvement in the Shopko burglary on October 7th.  Additionally, Staab was charged with possession of Burglar’s tools, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Staab was transported to the O’Brien County Jail where he is being held on these charges.  Additionally, police say, Staab is being held on a warrant for parole violation.

Police say the investigation into these and other burglaries is ongoing, and additional charges are likely to be filed as this investigation develops.

Assisting the Sheldon Police Department were Deputies from the O’Brien County Sheriff’s Department and Officers from the Iowa Department of Corrections Probation and Parole Department.

The public is reminded that a criminal charge is merely an accusation and that all persons are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

Sapp,Rochelle- cutOrange City, Iowa — Rochelle Sapp, the in-home daycare provider who was charged with causing the death of an Orange City toddler last year has been sentenced to 100 years in prison following a plea agreement announced this morning in Orange City.

The 34-year old Sapp pleaded guilty this morning to one count of Involuntary Manslaughter, a Class D felony and one count of Child Endangerment Resulting In Death, a Class B felony.  Sapp also entered an Alford Plea to multiple additional acts of Child Endangerment.  An Alford Plea is a guilty plea, whereby the defendant doesn’t admit the criminal act, but acknowledges that the prosecution has sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction.

Following the announcement of the plea agreement, District Court Judge Edward Jacobsen sentenced Sapp to a 5-year prison term for Involuntary Manslaughter and a 50-year term for Child Endangerment Resulting In Death.  Those sentences are to be served concurrently.  Jacobsen sentenced Sapp to an additional 50 years on the multiple acts of Child Endangerment, for a total prison term of up to 100 years.  Sapp will be eligible for parole under the terms of the plea agreement.

Sapp must also pay $150,000 of restitution to the Elgersmas, over $7500 restitution to the Sioux County Clerk to go to the crime victim’s assistance division, court costs, room and board, and other expenses.  She also waived the right to an appeal under the current agreement.  If she does appeal it will make the plea agreement null and void.

The charges against Sapp stemmed from an incident in October of last year, in which 3-year old Autumn Elgersma of Orange City suffered fatal injuries while in Sapp’s care.

Over 170 people were present at the emotional hearing.  It was standing-room-only for around 20 more people who filled in behind the courtroom doors when they were opened to allow more people to see and hear.  Several of the audience wore purple or pink “#PrayForAutumn” t-shirts that said, “In Memory of Autumn” and gave her birth and death dates on the back.

During the victim impact portion of the sentencing hearing eight statements from Autumn’s family members were either read personally or read into the record by Assistant Attorney General Coleman McAllister.

In her statement, Autumn Elgersma’s mother Jennifer Elgersma noted that they are now suspicious of several other injuries that Autumn sustained while in Sapp’s care.  In a touching conclusion to her statement she told Sapp that in the end, she wants Sapp to be with her and her daughter Autumn in heaven.  Many of the other statements pled with Sapp to “admit her sin” and “ask for forgiveness from God.”  One of the statements quoted 1 John 1:9, where the Bible says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

After the sentencing, Sapp was taken into custody by Sioux County Sheriff’s Deputies and was to be transported to the Iowa Medical and Classification Center at Oakdale, Iowa to begin her sentence.

Sheldon, Iowa — The Sheldon High School Band is in need of some new drums.

The drums are called timpani, also known as kettle drums.

Earlier this fall, Orab Music Booster members April Schaeffer, Heidi Brown and Jodi Mohn volunteered as a subcommittee to spearhead a fundraising campaign for a new 5-piece Timpani Drum Set for the band. The drum set costs $13,000.

We had a chance to talk to Schaeffer, and she tells us about the situation.

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She tells us how the fundraiser will work.

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She says part of the fundraiser also involves the Lions Club and the Sheldon Trails Committee.

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She says the tree will be displayed with the ornaments people have purchased. It will be displayed at the Lions Club Omelette Supper on Monday, November 10th; the Sheldon Trails Committee Dad’s Belgian Waffle Supper on Monday, December 1st; the High School Band Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 14th, the 7th and 8th Grade Band’s Christmas Concert on Monday, December 15th, and the 5th and 6th Grade Band’s Christmas Concert on Thursday, December 18th. After that time, if you purchased an ornament and want to display it on your tree, Schaeffer says they will give it to you.

We also asked Schaeffer why the music boosters were called upon to help purchase the drums. Schaeffer says that it’s her understanding that the band programs are allotted a certain amount of money every year for band instruments. The problem is they have to use the money or lose it and cannot bank it from year to year, and the timpani are too expensive to buy all in one year.

Fundraiser Forms:
Trim the tree flyer
Bucks for Beats

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Sheldon, Iowa – Recently the City of Sheldon was approached by the Excel Development group about the prospect of building what is called ‘affordable’ housing in Sheldon.  Excel expressed an interest in the Trilogy housing area.

city councilAt Wednesday’s meeting the City Council approved steps which could lead to Excel building 12 units on the remaining lots in the Trilogy addition.  City Manager Scott Wynja said that most of these would be single-family homes, but there could be a ‘couple’ of duplexes.  Council member Randy Fonkert expressed concerns that the city had to do more to inform the people in that area about what is being done.  Councilman Ron Rensink commented that he felt the newspaper and radio had been doing a good job of that already.  Gary Feekes, who was attending the meeting, expressed his concerns about having affordable housing in that area.  He said it was a great thing, but should be in another part of the city.  When he found out that these would be rental units Feekes became more emphatic in his opposition.  He pointed out that Orange City and Sioux Center place their rental units in a separate area of their towns.

Feekes also said he knew of one person who had spoken for a lot in the Trilogy Addition who was trying to ‘get out of it’ because of these new units.  Council member Greg Geels told Feekes that it sounded like he looked at renting as a bad thing.  The Council explained that the Trilogy area, including Fieldcrest, has been zoned ‘multi-family’ housing from the very beginning many years ago. Councilman Brad Hindt said that in the years he has been on the council the main concern he has heard is the lack of affordable rental units in the city.  Feekes also expressed the opinion that the presence of rental homes would have a negative effect on the value of adjacent property.  Hindt commented that the presence of rental units in other parts of the city had not affected nearby property values.

O'Brien Sheriff 71-6Primghar, Iowa — In the latest from the O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office

A Primghar man has been arrested on drug charges.

The O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office reports they arrested a person on charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance alleged to be marijuana and drug paraphernalia after a traffic stop in Primghar on October 9, 2014. Arrested was 22-year-old Shawn D. Baker, of Primghar. Baker was transported to the O’Brien County Jail and was released later in the day on a $1,000 unsecured appearance bond. He will appear in District Court at a later date.

A Sanborn man has also been arrested on drug charges.

The O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office says their deputies responded to a suspicious vehicle complaint on Sunday, October 5, 2014 in the 3000 Block of Roosevelt Avenue in Sanborn. A deputy arrived and found the vehicle in the field and upon further investigation arrested 26-year-old Marc D. Gibbons, of rural Sanborn on controlled substance charges. Gibbons was charged with 3rd offense Possession of a Controlled Substance alleged to be methamphetamine and Possession of drug paraphernalia. He was transported to the O’Brien County Jail and released the following day after posting a $5,000 bond. He will appear in District Court at a later date.

A Laurens man has been arrested on a theft charge.

The O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office says they arrested a person on charges of Theft in the Fifth
Degree in connection with the theft of gas from a vehicle in the 5900 Block of 320th street near Sanborn on Sunday, October 5, 2014. Arrested was 58-year-old Michael W. Mitchell of Laurens, Iowa.

Deputies had responded to a call of a theft in progress and arrested Mitchell. He was transported to the O’Brien County Jail and later released after posting a $300 bond. The value of the fuel was less than $500.

The sheriff’s office reminds the public that all subjects are considered innocent until proven guilty.

Sheldon, Iowa — Two men are in the O’Brien County Jail after allegedly attempting to steal change from the Splish Splash Auto Bath car wash in Sheldon Monday night.

handcuffs - subject inSheldon Police say that about 9:45 Monday evening, 27-year old Timothy Mark Gough of Sioux City and 37-year old Jason Samuel Bates of Lexington, North Carolina were reportedly observed attempting to steal change from the automatic car wash bay.  Police say the pair was arrested before they were able to access any money from the machine.

According to police, Gough was charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance (Vicodin), Possession of a Controlled Substance (marijuana), Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Open Container, Failure To Have A Valid Driver’s License, and Possession of Burglary Tools.  Bates was charged with Possession of Burglary Tools.  Both men were transported to the O’Brien County Jail in Primghar.

Assisting the Sheldon Police Department with the arrests were Deputies from the O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities remind the public that a criminal charge is merely an accusation, and that all persons are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.


Jason Bates


Timothy Gough