Arrest Made in Sheldon Homicide Investigation

(Sheldon)--A Rock Rapids man has been arrested after the report of a homicide Thursday in Sheldon.


According to a news release from the Iowa DCI, at or about 4:00 p.m. Thursday, the O’Brien County Communication Center received a 911 call about a deceased female located at 604 4th Ave in Sheldon. When authorities arrived, they found the female deceased inside her home. The death is being treated as a homicide investigation. An autopsy has been scheduled for Saturday  at the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner, in Ankeny.


The DCI says at around noon today(Friday), 41-year-old Nathanial Kessel of Rock Rapids was arrested in Flandreau, South Dakota on two Iowa arrest warrants for murder in the 1st degree, a class A felony and felon in possession of a firearm, a class D felony.


This is an ongoing criminal investigation and no further details or names are being released at this time.

Spirit Lake Man Facing Multiple Charges After Arrest in SW Iowa

(Sidney)--A Spirit Lake man is facing multiple charges after being arrested earlier this week in southwest Iowa.


The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office on Monday received a report of a possible stolen vehicle near a truck stop near the intersection of Highway 2 and Interstate 29.


Deputies located a 2015 Chrysler 200, reported stolen out of Dickinson County.  The driver, 20-year-old Kendel Schmidt of Spirit Lake, was arrested for Theft in the 1st Degree.  Schmidt also had a warrant for his arrest out of Dickinson County.  Schmidt was being held at the Fremont County Jail on $10,000 cash/surety bond.


Then on Wednesday, Schmidt assaulted a Fremont County Correctional Officer causing minor injuries.  It is alleged Schmidt tore the correctional officer’s uniform and attempted to steal items from their person in an attempt to escape. Schmidt was additionally charged with attempted escape, a class D felony, 2nd degree robbery, a class C felony, assault on a person in certain occupations and 5th degree criminal mischief.


Schmidt is now being held on an additional $17,300 cash bond.

Estherville FD Responds to Report of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

(Estherville)--The Estherville Fire Department Thursday afternoon was paged to a residence for possible Carbon Monoxide poisoning.


Estherville Fire Chief Travis Sheridan says the incident occurred shortly after 2:40 pm. Sheridan says when an officer arrived on scene, the owner of the home was outside in his vehicle complaining of having a headache, and that he just returned from the hospital, and they found levels of CO in his blood.


When firefighters arrived on scene, they air packed up and made entry with monitoring equipment and found levels of CO at 80 ppm. Firefighters also found that the exhaust pipe to the furnace had come apart by the foundation.


Firefighters were on scene for 40 minutes. Black Hills Energy assisted at the scene.


Minnesota Supreme Court Suspends License of Former Fairmont City Attorney

(St. Paul)--The Minnesota Supreme Court has suspended the license of former Fairmont city attorney Elizabeth Bloomquist.   


Blomquist served as the city attorney for Fairmont from 1989 to 2019, when her employment was terminated.


According to the order signed by the Supreme Court on Tuesday, the Director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility had filed a petition for disciplinary action alleging that Blomquist failed to diligently pursue criminal cases that were within her jurisdiction as city attorney.


The order says Bloomquist failed to process more than 135 criminal cases within the city’s jurisdiction. Over 50 of those cases were time-barred, including 26 that could otherwise have been charged out or further investigated. Additionally, 27 of the time-barred cases were domestic assault cases.


Blomquist is suspended from the practice of law for a minimum of 30 days and was fined $900 in addition to receiving a public reprimand.



North Union Booster Club Hosting Annual Athletic Banquet

(Armstrong)--The North Union Booster Club will be hosting their annual athletic banquet next Thursday, March 30th at 5:30 pm in the main gym in Armstrong. North Union Athletic Director Alex Fisher





Fisher says the evening will start with a meal.





Fisher says the Booster Club helps pay for a variety of things.





He says the boosters also hold a golf tournament in August. Fisher made his comments on the North Union Spotlight program which can be heard every Thursday at 5:45 pm on KILR FM 95.9.

Grassley Continues Push for Year Round E-15

(Washington, D.C.)--Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst along with other lawmakers from the Midwest are continuing efforts to make E-15 available year round. Grassley says it can happen one of two ways.





Grassley says currently E-15 cannot be marketed during the summer months.





He says allowing E-15 year round would bring more certainty to the ethanol industry.





On another topic, Grassley is renewing his push to allow cameras in federal courtrooms. Earlier this month, Grassley introduced the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act of 2023 with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar.





Currently 47 states allow cameras in trial or appellate courts. Only Indiana, Mississippi, South Dakota, and the District of Columbia ban cameras in the courtroom.

Former West Hancock Teacher Arrested for Sexual Exploitation of Student

(Britt)--A former music teacher in the West Hancock Community School District was arrested Thursday for sexual exploitation of a student.


44-year-old Steve Michael Heston of Britt, is facing charges of enticing a minor under 16 for sexual purposes and sexual exploitation by a school employee, both class D feloines.  Law enforcement says that when Heston was working as a music teacher at West Hancock Middle School, he “engaged in a pattern, practice, or scheme of sexual conduct with a minor that he had direct supervisory authority over as a student.”


Court documents say contact between Heston and the student happened during the 2020-2021 school year and into the summer of 2022 and involved communications in person, through the internet, and using school technology.


Heston resigned from the West Hancock school district in March 2022. 

MCW Students Wins 2023 Federated's Youth Tour Contest

(Jackson, MN)--Federated Rural Electric has released their winners of the 2023 Youth Tour Contest. Martin County West student Katie Hartke of Sherburn, is the winner of the grand prize, a trip to the US Capitol, Washington D.C.


Second place went to Gabriel Wolff, with a prize of $150, while third place went to Joseph Mohr, with a prize of $100. Both those students are seniors at Jackson County Central High School at this time.


The trip is scheduled for June13-18, and will include tours of memorials, visits from legislators and more.


Each applicant completed an application and an essay on an energy-related topic. Each applicant also received a $20 gift certificate to The five finalists were called back for personal interviews March 20.

Spencer Man Arrested on Warrant

(Spencer)--A Spencer man was taken into custody Tuesday on an active Clay County Arrest Warrant.


The Clay County Sheriff’s Office says 30-year-old Matthew Van Maanen was arrested on the warrant for failure to appear for a pre-trial conference on an original charge of 2nd degree theft.


Bond was set at $5,000. Van Maanen was being held in the Clay County Jail.

JCC Superintendent Staying in Jackson

(Jackson. MN)--The Jackson County Central School Superintendent is staying in Jackson after the New Ulm School Board chose a Twin Cities administrator to be their new Superintendent.


Barry Schmidt was not chosen to become the new Superintendent of New Ulm Schools. Instead Sean Koster from the Beacon Academy charter school in Minneapolis was selected as the board's first choice. Koster was also the top pick of school board members and community groups in the first round of interviews last month.


Osakis Superintendent Randall Bergquist was the other finalist.

Trial Delayed in Pipeline Surveyor Trespass Case

(Des Moines)--The trespassing trial of a land surveyor for Summit Carbon Solutions in Dickinson County has been delayed for a month because of a pending appeal to the Iowa Supreme Court.


According to the Iowa Capital Dispatch, the appeal asks the high court to review a judge’s denial of a motion to dismiss the case in January.


The trial for 28-year-old Stephen Larson of Arlington, South Dakota was set to begin today(Thursday). Larson was charged with trespassing last August for going onto a Dickinson County property to conduct a land survey for Summit’s proposed carbon dioxide pipeline. Other surveyors had previously been told to leave and not return. Larsen’s trial is now delayed to April 20th, pending a resolution of the appeal, which was filed in early February.


State law allows the surveys after companies hold informational public meetings about pipeline projects and notify landowners via certified mailings.


The county attorney who is prosecuting the case has argued that Summit should have obtained a court-ordered injunction to gain access to the land, which is allowed by state law if landowners are unwilling to grant access.


District Associate Judge Shawna Ditsworth had wrote in January that she lacked the necessary information to decide whether to dismiss the charge against Larsen.

GTRA Superintendent Concerned About Swatting Incidents

(Graettinger)--At least 30 Iowa school districts received swatting calls Tuesday morning. Those are calls where someone reports a shooting to get police to respond.  GTRA Superintendent Marshall Lewis says these types of threats are always taken seriously.





Lewis says school officials work closely with law enforcement.





He says students who hear about some type of threat should report it immediately to a parent or other authority figure.





Lewis made his comments on the GTRA Superintendent Spotlight program which can be heard every Wednesday at 5:45 pm on KILR FM 95.9.

MCW School District Holding Public Meetings on Facility Needs

(Sherburn, MN)--The Martin County West School Board is holding a series of informational meetings to gather public input on the district’s facility needs. The next meeting will be held at 6 pm this evening at the Sherburn Legion Hall. Martin County West Superintendent Cori Reynolds says the district is having this discussion for three reasons.





Reynolds says another driver is the condition of the district’s buildings.





After discussing a number of options, Reynolds says the school board has narrowed the list to three. 





Reynolds says the board would like to hold a bond referendum in November.





In addition to the meeting tonight in Sherburn, another meeting will be held on Tuesday at 6 pm at Triumph Hall in Trimont.

Emerald Ash Borer Confirmed in Faribault County

(Blue Earth, MN)--Emerald Ash Borer has been discovered in Faribault County, Minnesota.


The invasive insect has now been found in 40 of the state’s 87 counties according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.


Officials say the infestation was discovered at a rest area on I-90 near Blue Earth during a visual survey for Emerald Ash Borer.


This is the first documented infestation of EAB in Faribault County, so the state is declaring an emergency quarantine of the county, limiting the transfer of firewood and “ash material” out of the county.


There will be a virtual informational meeting on April 13th where the public can provide input on adding Faribault County to the state’s formal quarantine.

Iowa House Passes Bill With New Carbon Pipeline Restrictions

(Radio Iowa)--The Iowa House today(Wednesday) overwhelmingly voted to require at least 90 percent of miles along proposed carbon pipeline routes be voluntarily secured before the government's eminent domain authority could be used to seize the rest. It also would let farmers seek compensation years from now if crop yields are depressed in the area around a carbon pipeline. Representative Steven Holt, a Republican from Denison, is the bill's lead sponsor. He says the pipelines have generated intense debate around the state and he calls pipeline opponents "freedom fighters."






The bill passed by a margin of 73 to 20. Some of those who voted for the measure lamented that it did not go far enough in protecting landowners who do not want the pipelines on their property. Republican Representative Bobby Kaufmann of Wilton, a bill backer, is blasting pipeline developers and the ethanol industry who've been calling for the bill's defeat.






Representative Zach Dieken, a Republican from Granville, was a reluctant yes. He says the pipelines a cash cow for developers and he praises landowners who've refused to sign voluntary easements with pipeline developers.





(Summit Carbon Solutions released a statement saying the carbon capture projects will play a critical role in ensuring the long term viability of the ethanol industry and the future of Iowa's ag economy. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association says the bill is a mistake that will reduce ethanol production and depress corn prices.

Emmet Co. Supervisors Approve Grant Application for Road Project

(Estherville)--Emmet County Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved the RPA Region 3 application for federal road funding.  The application is for a five mile overlay project on County Road A-34 west of Wallingford. If approved the federal government would pay for 80-percent of the cost and the county pay for 20-percent.


In other business, the board approved the Second Tier Canvass of the North Union Community School District Special Election which was held on March 7th.The board also certified the cost of the election at $2,616 to be paid for by the North Union district.


Also Tuesday, Denise Ballard and Cynthia Allen with Iowa Government Health Plan joined the meeting to present Emmet County’s FY2024 Premium Renewal. Ballard reviewed the current structure of the trust membership and overviewed Emmet County’s current policy and usage. The Wellmark renewal for Fiscal Year 2024 reflects a 2.96% increase. Ballard also discussed different options for Emmet County including utilizing a 0% increase and going from a three tier to a two-tier format. The Supervisors voted to approve the 0% option.


Graduates of ILCC Welding Program in High Demand

(Estherville)--Graduates of the welding program at Iowa Lakes Community College have a variety of career options. Iowa Lakes Welding Instructor Emily Gottsche says graduates of the program are in high demand.





Gottsche details the starting pay for graduates of the program.





She says the welding program attracts both traditional and non-traditional students.





Gottsche explains how she got interested in a welding career.





The welding program is located on the Emmetsburg campus of Iowa Lakes and runs for 9 months. Gottsche says welding students are eligible for scholarship aid through the Last Dollar Scholarship program. For more information, visit Gottsche spoke with Dave Van Roekel Tuesday morning on KILR FM 95.9.


Spencer Council Awards Contract for First Phase of North Y Gateway Project

(Spencer)--The Spencer City Council has awarded the contract for the initial phase of the North Y Gateway project. Spencer City Engineer Jim Theisse says the city received four competitive bids on the project.





Theisse says work on the project will start soon.





The sanitary sewer and water main construction is scheduled to be completed by May 1st. City Finance Director Brian Weuve says bonds will be used to pay for the project.





City officials say Kwik Star is planning to build a new convenience store at the North Y.

Pocahontas Police Release Pictures of More Than 30 Suspects in Check Fraud Scheme

(Pocahontas)--The Pocahontas Police Department has released pictures of more than 30 suspects believed to have been involved in a massive check fraud scheme that occurred in multiple communities in northwest and north central Iowa.


Law enforcement agencies have been investigating a string of incidents since last Friday that involved a group of men attempting to cash forged checks all at once. The group was able to successfully cash thousands of dollars.


Incidents were reported in Rolfe, Pocahontas, Rockwell City, Sac City, and Storm Lake. Investigators say no one was hurt in any of the locations.


Pocahontas Police Chief Alex Leu said the groups started out small but continued to grow throughout the day.


In Pocahontas, the men successfully cashed more than $40,000 collectively. In Storm Lake, the men got away with nearly $10,000 in cash.


If anyone has information relating to this investigation, they are asked to call police.


Member of Spirit Lake School Board Announces Resignation

(Spirit Lake)--A member of the Spirit Lake School Board has announced his resignation. Scott Trautman says he’ll be resigning from his seat on the board effective April 4th.


Trautman said in a statement he wants to focus more on his family and work life. Trautman has served on the board nearly 10 years.


The Spirit Lake school board intends to fill the vacancy by appointment. The person appointed will serve until the November election. Eligible residents interested in the appointment should submit a letter of application, in person, to the Board Secretary within 10 days of publication of the District’s intent to fill the vacancy.


ELC School Board Approves Two Year Agreement with ELC-EA

(Estherville)--The Estherville Lincoln Central School Board Monday evening approved a tentative two year agreement with the ELC Education Association. ELC Superintendent Tara Paul says the first year of the contract includes $4,000 for each current employee covered under the Master Contract, except those currently making $37,000. They will receive $4,700. The base will increase by $4,000 to $41,000. Year two includes $2,500 for each current employee covered under the Master Contract. The base will increase by $2,000 to $43,000. Paul says in addition, the board approved retention incentive payments to encourage teachers to remain with the ELC School District.





In other business, the board approved an architect agreement with Shive-Hattery in the amount of $18,000 for a Fire Alarm system at the high school. Paul says the district can no longer get parts for the current system.





Paul explains what would happen if the current system goes down.





The board also approved $29,300 in donations to the FFA’s Ag Learning Center project.

Estherville Council Approves Zoning Change for FFA Ag Learning Center

(Estherville)--The Estherville City Council Monday evening approved an ordinance to reclassify the zoning at 1620 7th Ave. South from Commercial to Agricultural. The land is owned by the ELC school district and the change is needed for the FFA’s Ag Learning Center project. No one spoke at a public hearing on the project.


In other business, the council approved an engineering agreement with Stantec Consulting Services in the amount of $72,000 for engineering work on the low head dam mitigation project. Estherville City Administrator Penny Clayton.





Clayton says the city will fund the entire cost of the study after failing to get a grant last fall from the DNR that would have paid for 50 percent of it. The council also approved setting a public hearing date of April 17th and bid opening of April 12th for the 2023 East Water Tower Repainting Project.





The council also approved the third and final reading of an ordinance revising city code concerning fences, hedges, walls and retaining walls.





Sportscast - 03/24/23

ELC Superintendent Spotlight

Superintendent Tara Paul - school choice passes

GT/RA Superintendent Spotlight

Superintendent Marshall Lewis - Swatting Calls/Transgender Bathroom Bill Reaction

North Union Superintendent Spotlight

North Union Athletic Director Alex Fisher - NU Booster Club Athletic Banquet

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