Luverne, Minnesota — The Brandon, South Dakota man whose pickup struck a bike and trailer near Steen, Minnesota has pled guilty to criminal vehicular homicide in a plea deal.gavel_sxc

According to court records, 25-year-old Christopher Weber was making a cell phone banking transaction while driving on June 30th near Steen, when he fatally struck 33-year-old Andrea Boeve of Steen who was riding a bicycle, pulling a trailer with her two young children inside.

The plea bargain was that Weber would plead guilty to the felony, but the conviction would eventually be erased from his record.

Sentencing is scheduled for December 8. Weber’s 360 days in jail will be spread out over three years, and he will serve 300 hours of community service. After that, the felony conviction will be wiped from his record.

After the accident, Weber immediately pulled over and attempted to provide assistance to the victims, including CPR on Andrea Boeve, but she died at the scene.  Her daughters, ages one and four received non-life-threatening injuries.

Sheldon, Iowa — Sheldon Police are investigating an incident of Criminal Mischief that ended with 12 tires slashed at a Sheldon business. sheldon police pd car door logoAccording to the report, the damage was done sometime between October 29th and November 12th at Sheldon Highway Service.  Total damage was estimated at $1,000.

A Spencer man was jailed for Violation of a Temporary Restraining Order on November 13th.  Police say 47-year old Randy Newcomb was arrested in the 1400 block of South Second Avenue and taken to jail.

A Sanborn man was cited for Failure To Obey A Yield Sign following an accident in Sheldon Tuesday, November 18th.  Police say 27-year old Benjamin Bavier of Sanborn failed to obey a yield sign at the corner of 8th Avenue and 11th Street in Sheldon, and struck a vehicle driven by 45-year old Paul Acres of Sheldon.  Acres Chevrolet pickup received $1,000 in estimated damages, with Bavier’s Ford van sustaining an estimated $1600 damage.  No injuries were reported.

Des Moines, Iowa — If you were waiting for wintry weather to start stocking the bird feeders—you have it.

bird feederWith temperatures dipping into the teens and even single digits, it is creating crowds at those backyard feeders.

The latest U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Outdoor Recreation Survey indicates that 609,000 Iowans feed wildlife. Most of that is maintaining winter—and late fall—feeding stations for birds. Migrating songbirds are setting up their feeding stops now, ahead of the heavy duty wind, cold and snow. They want to expend as little energy as possible, while consuming maximum calories to stay warm.

The bonus to us?

“It’s just a great way to bring the outdoors right into our homes. We can see the songbird activity, hear their cheery calls. They brighten our spirits,” assesses DNR wildlife diversity technician Pat Schlarbaum. For him, the dark-eyed juncos showing up in the fall trigger the call to step into action.

The first step is cleaning your feeders. Removing debris and bacteria reduces the chances of disease this winter. Use a weak bleach and water solution to scrub and rinse them; whether they are still hanging in the yard…or are stored in the garage somewhere.

Next up? Run an extension cord and small heating element to the birdbath.

“If you are the one providing water for the birding community; you are probably going to have the largest selection of songbirds visiting your backyard,” predicts Schlarbaum.

Should you have just one feeder and one choice of feed…black oil sunflower seed attracts the widest variety of ‘desirable’ songbirds; cardinals, nuthatches, tufted titmice, blue jays, chickadees and more flock to sunflower seeds. Do yourself and the birds a favor. Flip the bag over and check the fat content. The higher it reads, the better it is for birds and the more bang you’ll get for your bird feeding buck.

Overall, different feeds attract different birds. Nyjer thistle attracts finches. Suet attracts woodpeckers. Lower priced millet or milo, spread on the ground, is big with mourning doves, sparrows and other ground feeding species. Be wary of discount mixes, though. Fill a feeder with it, and you could end up with much of it scratched out to the ground as birds waste it, to get to the ‘good stuff’. You may be money ahead feeding the more expensive stuff…and buying less of it overall.

Schlarbaum touts sunflower hearts for woodpeckers and titmice, too. Experiment and see what food sources attract the birds you prefer to see. Most of that is keeping winter bird feeders stocked…and watching the feathered palette of color on the blanket of snow in your yard. Oh, it’s coming alright.


Stepping it up a Notch

Should just feeding and watching birds in the yard not be enough, you can take it to the next level. Two popular winter weather activities include the Christmas Bird Count, which gets teams outdoors in a specified area; and the Great Backyard Bird Count, where you simply tally birds seen from your window.

Results are valuable, as these ‘citizen scientists’ provide information on wintering birds; especially winter territories and trends, such as movement into new areas.

Though promoted nationwide, a couple websites; and  provide more information. That includes links to local chapters, clubs or blogs…and lots more information that is ‘for the birds.’  Also, any full service bird feed supply outlet has information on the counts, winter bird watching walks and other activities and products to step up your winter bird watching involvement.


Sioux Center, Iowa — The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the report of a missing gun, which is thought to have been stolen.Sioux Sheriff Car 84-

On Monday evening, November 17, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office investigated a report of theft that occurred from a building near a home two miles west of Sioux Center.

Upon further investigation it is thought that someone entered the unlocked building and stole a Uberti model 397 .357 caliber revolver.

Authorities believe the alleged crime occurred sometime in the two weeks prior to November 17.

If you have any information about this investigation please contact the sheriff’s office.

Sioux Center, Iowa — A house received extensive damage in a fire early on Tuesday November 18, 2014 near Sioux Center. Sioux Center FD

According to Sioux Center Fire Chief Dave Van Holland, about 5:40 AM, the Sioux Center Fire Department was called to the report of house fire at 3987 Ibex Avenue, two miles east of Sioux Center. That’s just north of the Sandy Hollow Campground.

Van Holland reports that Chris Whitaker, who lived in the home was injured when he fell on the ice outside the home. He was taken to Sioux Center Health.

He says the cause of the fire was electrical malfunction.

Chief Van Holland reports that there was extensive damage.

The Sioux Center Fire Department was assisted by Hull Fire Department.

Washington DC — Iowa’s two current Republican Congressmen say chances are good, but not certain that the wind production tax credit which has been a boost to Iowa’s wind industry will be revived. Congressman Tom Latham expects the U.S. House to vote in December on a bill that would extend for two more years a list of over 50 tax breaks, including the tax credit for wind energy production.wind turbine_sxc

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(as said) “The Wind Energy Tax Credit — that will be included in any final deal or else they’ll have a real problem getting it passed,” Latham says.

Congressman Steve King says the package of tax breaks appears to be in a “good position” for passage.

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(as said) “it’s not a guarantee. It’s my sense the direction that’s is going and the production tax credit for wind would be within that,” King says. “Once they start peeling one from the others, then they throw this thing into a big fight and then there’s no expectation, at that point, that we could put it all back together and get it done by the end of the year.”

The tax benefit for wind power expired at the end of 2013. Late last week a committee in the U.S. Senate started work on a bill that would restore that tax credit for wind production, along with more than 50 other temporary tax credits that expired last year.

Latham warns things may get complicated if some members of congress push to make some of those tax breaks permanent.

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(as said) “In a lame duck session, you never know what’s going to be the final outcome,” Latham says.

The term “lame duck session” is used to describe voting in the U.S. House and Senate that happens after Election Day and before January, because some members, like Latham, won’t be part of the new congress in 2015. After 20 years in the U.S. House, Latham did not seek reelection this year.

Over in the Senate, Iowa US Senator Chuck Grassley says that the last item that Majority Leader Harry Reid has said that the Senate will likely take up in the lame duck session is a set of 53 tax provisions that have expired that need to be reauthorized. Along with the wind energy credit, a few more examples of these include the biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol and research and development tax credits.

Radio Iowa assisted with this story.

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Sibley, Iowa — A Sibley man has been sentenced to two years in prison on a number of charges after an arrest in Sibley.Jail Door2

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that 37-year-old Samuel Henry Seivert of Sibley pled guilty to Driving While Barred as a Habitual Offender, an Aggravated Misdemeanor; Possession of a Controlled Substance (Marijuana), Third or Subsequent Offense, an Aggravated Misdemeanor; and Failure to Appear, a Serious Misdemeanor.

He was sentenced to the custody of the Director of the Iowa Department of Corrections for a term not to exceed two years on the driving while barred and possession of marijuana charges. On the failure to appear charge, he was sentenced to one year.

However, the sentences for all three charges will be served concurrently and also concurrent to the sentence for a Dickinson County case.

Orange City, Iowa — The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an accident and a report of driving without owner’s consent — and they’re asking the public to help them find out who was involved.magnifying glass_sxc

On Friday, November 14, at in the 6 AM hour, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office investigated a motor vehicle accident that occurred on a parking lot at Natural Food Holdings, 4241 Highway 75, one mile south of Sioux Center. The accident happened sometime after 11:00 PM on Thursday, November 13 and prior to 6:00 AM on Friday, November 14.

A vehicle traveling on the parking lot struck a parked and unattended 1999 Ford Taurus, owned by 31-year-old Nathan Jans of Rock Valley. After the accident the suspect vehicle left the area in an unknown direction of travel, without reporting the incident.

The vehicle that struck the Ford is possibly a white pickup or SUV. The Ford sustained approximately $1,000 in damages.

The accident remains under investigation. If anyone has any information about this accident you’re asked to contact the sheriff’s office.

On Sunday, November 16 in the 2 PM hour, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office investigated a report of trespassing and operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent. The incident occurred at a home on 460th Street, a mile west of Ireton.

Upon further investigation sheriff’s deputies found that someone had removed and driven a Silver 2003 Chevrolet Suburban, which had been parked in an attached garage. The vehicle was returned to the garage prior to the owner’s return.

The incident most likely occurred sometime between Saturday, November 15 and Sunday, November 16. If you have any information about this investigation please contact the sheriff’s office.-

Washington, DC — Republican Congressman Steve King says President Obama will provoke a “constitutional crisis” if he follows through with an executive order that would shield millions of illegal immigrants from deportation.Steve-King ICE 3-20-13

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(as said) “There’s just a growing coalition of people that are starting to see that this isn’t just a trial balloon that the president has been floating for several months,” King says, “but it is a very, very serious threat to our constitution and it is an impending constitutional crisis.”

King has been a leading critic of what he calls “amnesty” for illegal immigrants. Congress was in session last week and King talked with his colleagues about what action can be taken if Obama issues that executive order.

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(as said) “We haven’t coalesced on an idea and a direction at this point, but I believe we that we’re digging in, ready to do so,” King says. “And there are a number of options that are in front of us.”

The “preferred” option, according to King, would be for the president to back off his threat to take executive action but, if Obama does, King says congress can act quickly in December to shut off funding for the agencies that would carry out the new immigration policy. As for filing articles of impeachment against Obama if he does issue an executive order on immigration, King says that’s a political decision.

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(as said) “High crimes and misdemeanors are not defined. Congress defines them. That really means that the people need to weigh in,” King says, “so of course I don’t want to go there. I don’t want to say the word (impeachment) but we have this: The president has taken an oath…to uphold the constitution, to take care that the laws are faithfully executed. We also take an oath and the president’s oath to the constitution may or may not mean something to him, but ours had better mean something to us.”

Some Democrats have said executive action from President Obama on immigration would only be temporary, as it would put pressure on congress to act.

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(as said) “There are a few Republicans who think that, but I think that there’s a huge flaw in that thinking,” King says. “…If the president could violate the constitution and insist that congress pass legislation to conform to his lawless executive edict in order for the president’s edict to be constitutional, that is a ridiculous concept that our founding fathers sought to avoid. They want congress to restrain a president, not want to conform to a lawless one.”

King says he cannot fathom the “audacity” of President Obama thinking “he can completely destroy the rule of law with the stroke of a pen.”

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