Home News Thursday News, June 23

Thursday News, June 23


The Plymouth County Sheriffs Department late last night arrested a Hinton man on several outstanding warrants. 61 year old Douglas Bras is wanted on ten warrants from Dakota County Nebraska. All are for charges of theft/deception. Bras was booked into the Plymouth County Jail and is held on bond.


Orange City Christian School constituents last week approved a plan to construct the final phases of Project Engage

The first Phase of Project Engage was completed three years ago, when classrooms and a music room were added.

Board President Dan Foreman says the school board this spring decided to combine the last two phases of the project.

This combined phase includes a number of different spaces – classrooms, science room, gym/lockers, office remodel, learning commons, and an expanded kitchen

A new gym would alleviate the current scramble of using space in the school’s multi-purpose room.

Foreman says this early in the campaign, they are not setting construction priorities.

Construction options will be considered as progress is made on fundraising.

Contingency costs are built into the project estimates.

Foreman says now is the time to move forward on this project.

The total cost of all of these improvements are estimated between 12.9 and 15.2 million dollars. Construction won’t begin until at least 75% of the project costs are pledged or in hand.


The city of Orange City is working through four applications for incentives to downtown businesses. One application for a Retail Utility Incentive came from the Literary Dairy, which is opening at a site downtown. Another application for Tax Increment Financing comes from another downtown business, Jade and Beck. This is an expansion next door to a current business, Holland House Interiors. The city’s Dutch Front Committee has recommended the city approved an incentive to help build a dutch front at the new Jade and Beck Businesses, and for Baker Financial located at Lincoln Circle SE. The incentives to these businesses will not be determined until the final costs of their projects are realized.



A new law lets Iowa parents enroll their children in any public K-through-12 school at any time. Governor Kim Reynolds just approved this immediate change to Iowa’s “open enrollment” policy, which lets parents transfer their children out of the district in which the family lives. Parents typically had to make a transfer request by March First and transfers were only allowed into neighboring school districts. That adjacency rule is gone as well. School districts may still refuse transfer applications for lack of room.



Survey numbers from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources show hunters bagged around 375-thousand pheasants this year. Wildlife biologist, Todd Bogenschutz, says that’s around a 25 percent increase over last year — making it “the best we’ve seen (since) 2008.” He says the information from hunters confirmed their August roadside survey — which show bird numbers up in the northern third of the state and across the central portion — while tough winter conditions dropped bird numbers in the south. While bird numbers have trended up the last couple of years, Bogenschutz says habitat and weather remain the key factors that determine the trend will continue.



The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs today announced that a Le Mars  student took a top honor at the National History Day national finals held online last week.

Sarah Tilberg of Le Mars Middle School took first in the nation for her exhibit, “A Ray of Compassion: Debate and Diplomacy of the Indochinese Refugees.”

In addition, Melissa Fairbanks, Reegan McKee, Nathan Schoenfelder and Peyton Small of Akron-Westfield Middle School won third place for their documentary, “‘Tell Me and I May Forget; Show Me and I May Not Remember; Involve Me and I Will Understand’: The Story of the Osage.” Their project was also featured in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Documentary Showcase.

National Medalists

Akron-Westfield Middle School
Melissa Fairbanks, Reegan McKee, Nathan Schoenfelder and Peyton Small
“‘Tell Me and I May Forget; Show Me and I May Not Remember; Involve Me and I Will Understand’: The Story of the Osage”
Junior Group Documentary
3rd Place
Val Philips

Le Mars Middle School
Sarah Tilberg
“A Ray of Compassion: Debate and Diplomacy of the Indochinese Refugees”
Junior Individual Exhibit
1st Place
Kathi Oetken

Virtual Showcase Selections

Akron-Westfield Middle School
Melissa Fairbanks, Reegan McKee, Nathan Schoenfelder and Peyton Small
“‘Tell Me and I May Forget; Show Me and I May Not Remember; Involve Me and I Will Understand’: The Story of the Osage”
Junior Group Documentary
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture Documentary Showcase
Val Philips



There’s a new residential development set to open next month in Orange City. Lots will soon be for sale in the Gelderland Addition.  The city council this week approved restrictive covenants and lot pricing for the addition. Gelderland Addition is along 14th Street SE, which is located across from the new Orange City Elementary School.  26 residential lots will be available. Seven of the lots will be zoned R-2: medium to high density. Lots will be available on a first come, first served basis.  More lots will be open for sale once surface streets are completed around the school.



The University of Iowa unveiled a new mobile medical training truck Tuesday at the Iowa State Capitol. U-I program advisor, Cormac O’Sullivan says it allows medical professionals to get trained at home.

He cites one example where they would stage a car accident with mannequins for the local fire department.

They would then take them through training in the emergency room.  O’Sullivan says there’s already staff shortages — and it’s tough for small towns to take everyone to a training session.

The goal is to reach every single facility, provider, and county in the state at least once a year with some continuing education training with simulation. Sioux City E-M-T Trainer, Terry Regaller,  was on hand for the announcement.

He says the training is very important to the success of first responders.

The start-up of the program is funded with an eight-million-dollar grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust. Trustee Walter Panzirer (Pan-seer), says Iowa is the fifth state to get these types of trucks.

The funding will gradually drop down over four years, and then the University of Iowa has to find money to keep the program going.



Nineteen Iowa school districts splitting more than 45-and-a-half million dollars in grants to boost teacher training are making plans for how the money will be used. The state’s new Teacher and Paraeducator Registered Apprenticeship Pilot Program is being financed with federal pandemic relief money. In Davenport, superintendent T-J Schneckloth (SHNEK-loth) says the money will be used by the districts’ para-educators to earn enough college credits to become teachers. The state money can also be used by high school students to earn para-educator certificates and associate degrees. Schneckloth says the application and screening process will begin immediately.

The 19 districts include: Cherokee, MOC-Floyd Valley, Sioux City, and Storm Lake.


The City Council of Orange City this week authorized additional action on a loan and issuance of notes on a major water infrastructure project. The city plans to issue up to 12.9 million dollars in Water Revenue Capital Loan Notes. This would raise the necessary funds for drilling a new deep water well southwest of Orange City, and distribution lines to pipe the water back to the city treatment plant. The city has hired a bond attorney to move forward with the financing mechanism for this plan.



A Dickinson County judge has found a Sioux City woman guilty of murder in the 2020 death of a Lake Park woman. District Court Judge Shayne Mayer pronounced Allison Decker guilty of first-degree murder, theft, and conspiracy to commit theft. Decker, along with Justice Berntson, were charged in the strangulation death of Angel Bastman just days before Christmas in 2020 after all three individuals are said to have been using illegal substances. Berntson pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted murder as part of a plea deal that involved him testifying against Decker in court.



Effective July 1, All terrain vehicle (ATV) and utility terrain vehicle (UTV) users will now be able to ride in any of Iowa’s 99 counties, with a few restrictions.

The law change will still come with restrictions:

  • ATVs and UTVs have a speed limit of 35 mph
  • All ATVs and UTVs must have operational headlights, tail and brake lights, horn and rearview mirrors.
  • They must be operated by a person who is at least 18 years old with a valid driver’s license and carrying valid proof of insurance

There also remain several restrictions on which roads ATV and UTV users will be able to travel on:

All Iowa cities may regulate ATV and UTV traffic within their city limits, including primary and secondary road extensions, but cities may not charge a fee to ATV and UTV owners for use of their streets; these new laws will also override any county ordinances currently in place.