Newell-Fonda mandates masks

A way to avoid quarantines amid rising cases BY TOM CULLEN The Newell-Fonda School Board on Monday enacted a mask mandate for students and staff, a policy Supt. Jeff Dicks says will ensure the school year goes on as coronavirus cases rise.  Dicks told The Storm Lake Times before the meeting the policy, which will be in effect until Nov. […]

Coughing meth defendant shuts down court hearing

Buena Vista County District Court was recessed on Monday because a Storm Lake man facing a 10-year prison sentence for meth distribution was showing symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Jaime Soria, 28, was slated to appear in district court at 1 p.m. on Monday to address a slew of probation violations that have been reported since May. At the opening of […]

State covid data doesn’t jive with tracking

Numbers over 56 days don’t add up BY TOM CULLEN A discrepancy of coronavirus reporting that ranges from days to months in Buena Vista County can be explained by continuous updates on the state’s coronavirus monitoring website and misreporting by college students, according to Public Health Administrator Pam Bogue. A running tally of coronavirus cases monitored over 56 days by […]

Man gets 15 years for having 1.5 lbs. of meth

Spencer man also had loaded gun in BV buy A Spencer man was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for meth distribution in Buena Vista County and firearm possession. On Oct. 9, Christopher Frerichs, 44, pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession of a firearm, charges that earned 15 years in total.            Evidence at the hearing last […]

Serial arsonist suspected in series of small fires

A Storm Lake man who’s been convicted of serial arson in recent years was arrested again on Friday for outstanding arson charges. At 4 p.m. Friday, the SLPD responded to the 500 block of Geisinger Road to arrest Thavone Navongsa, 39, for third-degree arson, reckless use of fire and two counts of trespass. Arrest warrants for Navongsa were issued as […]

Virtual pumpkin decorating contest hosted by Witter Gallery

Witter Gallery’s annual Halloween party, which regularly draws hundreds of visitors of all ages, is unfortunately not taking place this year. However, the gallery is still celebrating Halloween and reaching out to the community by holding an all-ages pumpkin decorating contest and giving away some scarily-awesome prizes. The contest is free to enter, and people are welcomed to submit multiple […]

Witter Gallery seeks locals for ‘Quar-Art-Tine’ exhibit

Witter Gallery is putting out a call for artists for its December exhibit, “Quar-Art-Tine.” This exhibit will display a broad range of artwork created by Storm Lake area artists during the past few months. The gallery wants to celebrate our community’s creativity, diversity and resiliency, and to represent the broad range of ways people have experienced and coped with the […]

New buses come with seat belts

New school buses in Iowa are outfitted with seatbelts and students are expected to wear them. There are two such buses in the Newell-Fonda district and one in Storm Lake. Lap-shoulder seat belts add about $8,000 to the cost of a new school bus, which ranges from $90,000 to $100,000. Most Iowa school districts phase in the cost of new […]

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Funds aid Schaller family without insurance

Schaller firefighters extinguish the flames. Sippels were fixing home when ladder sparks fire Mark and Julie Sippel of rural Schaller are grateful to friends who have donated over $34,000 to help make up for the loss of the Sippel home, which was destroyed by fire last Thursday. “The fire claimed not only Mark and Julie’s home, where they raised their […]

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Combine fire near Albert City

A combine fire was extinguished Wednesday, Oct. 7 in a field along Hwy. 3, two miles south of the Albert City ethanol plant. The Albert City Fire Department was on the scene, with the assistance of departments from Newell and Marathon, the Buena Vista County Sheriff’s Office and Newell police. The combine was driven by Bill Conlon of Albert City. […]