Lyon County, Iowa — Weather facts, community announcements, church announcements, menus, school activities, and more.

Heard on KIWA-AM 1550 every weekday morning at 9:00 AM, and available here for 24 hours afterwards. (Friday edition is available until Monday edition is uploaded.)

As reported by KIWA News Director and Rock Rapids resident Scott Van Aartsen

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Doon, Iowa — We’re now hearing from the railroad company about the derailment of the Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railroad train into floodwaters south of Doon Friday morning, and the subsequent oil spill. Read The Full Story…

June 22, 2018 - 3:09 pm - Posted in News

There will be a dumpster available beginning today (Friday) in the George City shop area for George residents to bring flood-damaged items for disposal.

June 21, 2018 - 11:41 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — The summer solstice has come, so we are officially in “summer” now. Summer is the time for summer camps — and Iowa State University Extension is offering several of them.

Laura Beyenhof with the Lyon County Extension office tells us about extension summer camps available in Lyon, Osceola, Sioux, and O’Brien Counties.


She tells us what’s available.


Beyenhof tells us how you can sign up for an extension camp.


She tells us that you don’t have to be in 4-H to go to Extension Summer Camps, but they’d love it if you’d like to join, and you can find out more when you go to the camp or by calling your local extension office.

Larchwood, Iowa — Twenty-six area nonprofit projects received “mini-grants” from the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation this week — and all but one of the projects received $2000 grants.

Nearly $52,000 was given out in the fourth annual “mini-grant” ceremony at the Grand Falls Casino and Golf Resort near Larchwood.

The Lyon County Riverboat Foundation is the nonprofit license-holder for the Grand Falls Casino Resort, and a percentage of the facility’s gambling take is given back to the community through the foundation. The foundation distributes about two million dollars annually through three different grant programs — a competitive grant award program held in the fall of each year, the annual “mini-grant” program, and a non-competitive program that gives money to government subdivisions.

Half of the money that the foundation receives from the casino goes into the competitive grant process, and the other half is distributed quarterly to Lyon County towns, cities, public schools, and the County of Lyon.

Organization Project Grant
City of Doon Handicap Parking $2000
Crooks (SD) Area Working Together Football Scoreboard $2000
First Circuit (SD) Court-Appointed Special Advocates Office Equipment $2000
Little Rock Town and Country Park Updating $2000
City of Rock Rapids Fire Equipment $2000
City of Larchwood Defibrillator $2000
Rock Rapids Area Development Foundation Marketing Signs $2000
Project Morningstar – Worthington residential recovery facility Residential Recovery $2000
Rock County (MN) Historical Society Design Panels $2000
Midwest Honor Flight Mission 3 $2000
Granite Threshermen’s Association Train Depot Restoration $2000
St Mary’s Catholic Church of Larchwood Carpet $2000
City of Ellsworth Picnic Tables $2000
City of George Freedom Rock Concrete $2000
Project Food Forest – Luverne (MN) Public Food forest $2000
Little Rock Library Media Update $2000
Lifescape(SD)- helps children and adults with disabilities Updates For Hospital $2000
Garretson SD Blue Dragons (affiliated with school) Batting Cage $2000
City of Rushmore Playground Equipment $2000
All In The Family Learning (Larchwood daycare) Safety Improvement $2000
Sibley Public Library Ipads $1937
Hope Haven Bathroom Remodel $2000
Lester Visioning INC. Signs $2000
Rock Rapids Municipal Housing Carpet Instalation $2000
Center for Financial Education Lyon County Marketing $2000
Larchwood Community Group Farmer’s Market $2000
TOTAL $51937
June 21, 2018 - 11:35 am - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has issued a disaster proclamation for nine Iowa counties in response to flooding and severe weather — two of them in our area.

The governor’s proclamation allows state resources to be utilized to respond to and recover from the effects of this severe weather in Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Kossuth, Lyon, Osceola, Palo Alto, Scott and Story counties. A similar proclamation for O’Brien County was issued about five days ago. Two programs were activated.

The Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program provides grants of up to $5,000 for households with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level or a maximum annual income of $41,560 for a family of three. Grants are available for home or car repairs, replacement of clothing or food, and temporary housing expenses. Original receipts are required for those seeking reimbursement for actual expenses related to storm recovery. The grant application and instructions are available on the Iowa Department of Human Services website. Potential applicants have 45 days from the date of the proclamation to submit a claim.

Disaster Case Management is a program to address serious needs to overcome a disaster-related hardship, injury or adverse condition. Disaster case managers work with clients to create a disaster recovery plan and provide guidance, advice, and referral to obtain a service or resource. There are no income eligibility requirements for this program; it closes 180 days from the date of the governor’s proclamation. For information on the Disaster Case Management Program, contact your local community action association or visit www.iowacommunityaction.org.

They tell us that residents of counties impacted by the recent severe weather are asked to report damage to help local and state officials better understand the damage sustained.

June 19, 2018 - 4:51 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — This year’s American Cancer Society Relay for Life in Lyon County this past Thursday was a little different, but perhaps different was better in this case.

The format this year was switched from a more traditional Relay For Life to what was called a “Carnival for a Cure.” It started with the community’s “Thanks With Franks,” which was followed by carnival games, a sidewalk chalk art competition, a kiddie parade, and a dunk tank. One of the traditional activities that was retained was a survivor lap, this time around the courthouse. The luminarias that people can buy in honor or in memory of someone with cancer changed to pinwheels with the same purpose.

A number of acts participated in the talent show, which included dancers, singers, and instrumentalists.

Ronda Ahrends, who is one of the people who help organize the Relay every year says they don’t have all the final numbers in yet, since more money is still coming in, but overall, she says the event was a success. She says the crowd was larger and very enthusiastic about the format.

Ahrends tells us the games were “a hit” and the talent show was “amazing.” She says there is lots of great talent out there and the committee is, “so thankful they are willing to share.”

She tells us that so far just over $17,000 has been raised. She says they hope that increases as well. She asked us to remind people that donations continue to be accepted.

June 19, 2018 - 4:49 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Some lifesaving technology is now in the hands of some people who could potentially make a difference. The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office says that eight automatic external defibrillators are now in Lyon County patrol cars, ready in an emergency.

We talked to Lyon County Sheriff Stewart Vander Stoep, who tells us where the idea for the devices came from.


He tells us how the Physio-Control Life-Pac CR plus AEDs work.


Vander Stoep says that sometimes deputies are the first people to get to a medical call, and this device can be used until the ambulance or rescue unit gets there, and can even go with the patient on the way to the hospital.

He says while the Lyon County Sheriff’s office has twelve officers, including the sheriff and chief deputy, the grant was only enough for eight units. Vander Stoep says the cost per unit was $1,695, for a total of $13,560 for the eight units. He says he’d like to thank Health Services of Lyon County for their assistance in getting the funds.

He says not only does he hope to eventually outfit every patrol vehicle with a unit, he’d like an extra AED at the Law Enforcement Center as well. The sheriff says they have one now, but he’d like one in the jail area as well as one in the administration area. He says they have carried the one in the administration area over to the jail on a number of occasions, and it would be good to have one in each location. He says they’ll continue to look for grants to make it possible.

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Rock Rapids, Iowa — No ribbon was cut on Tuesday — instead, commemorative glasses of water were used to toast those involved with bringing Lewis & Clark Water System water to the first Iowa community — Rock Rapids.

Lewis & Clark Executive Director Troy Larson says that Rock Rapids’ history with Lewis & Clark started when the system was just getting organized. However, on a 2 to 1 vote of the Rock Rapids Utility Board, Rock Rapids left the system in the early days. Years later, after the route had been planned, Rock Rapids Utility Board members decided they wanted back in. Rock Rapids Utility General Manager Jim Hoye says since the community joined late, Rock Rapids was not eligible to have the pipe coming directly to the town and had to take delivery of the water from points along the main line. Rock Rapids’ connection to the system is north of Lester on the state line.

Hoye says years ago, their customer, Lyon & Sioux Rural Water was making a connection between a water tower six miles west of Rock Rapids and the city of Lester. He says Rock Rapids heard about that and paid to have that line upgraded so they could also use it for the Lewis & Clark connection. Last year contractors working for Rock Rapids Municipal Utilities completed a million-dollar project to install six miles of 10-inch plastic pipe from Rock Rapids’ water treatment plant north of town to the Lyon & Sioux tower. A $500,000 Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture helped pay for the project.

When the Grand Falls Casino Resort was being built on the state line northwest of Larchwood, they needed a good water supply. Rock Rapids Municipal Utilities used their membership with Lewis & Clark to help out the casino resort. Rock Rapids gets the water from the Lewis & Clark main near the casino and sells it to Lyon & Sioux Rural Water, who then sells it to the casino and hotel. So in one way, Rock Rapids Municipal Utilities has been hooked up to Lewis & Clark since that connection went live in 2011. But the businesses, industry, and citizens of Rock Rapids have only recently been able to use Lewis & Clark water. Larson says that happened last October.

Larson says while they are happy that Rock Rapids is now fully connected . . .


He says that Rock Rapids water is a mixture of Lewis & Clark water and water from Rock Rapids’ wells, so they wanted to make sure they got the mix correct before scheduling the ceremony. He says they wanted to do it in the spring, but with the winter weather hanging on as long as it did, they had to wait until now.

Rock Rapids Economic Development Director Micah Freese says people may not realize the impact of this connection.


Larson says they hope to hold two more of these celebrations in 2018, one for Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water’s connection near Adrian, Minnesota and one for the city of Worthington.

He says that next for the Iowa part of the system is installing the pipe from Beresford, South Dakota to Sioux Center.


He says they’ll have enough money to do 50 to 60 percent of that this time. Larson says that once Sioux Center is connected, Hull will receive water too, as there’s already a line between Sioux Center and Hull. He says it is their hope to have Sioux Center and Hull connected in the next three to four years, depending on funding levels. And the line to Sheldon from Hull will be constructed after that.

He says this fiscal year, they received around $15 million from the federal government. He says that’s a lot better than the around $9 million per year they had been receiving — and that if that funding level continues, that could accelerate the timeline for Sioux Center, Hull, and Sheldon.

Larson says Sibley is the last Iowa community scheduled to receive water. (With Madison, South Dakota being the last community in the entire system to be connected) That’s the bad news. But …


Larson says that the meter building north of Lester was also named on Tuesday in honor of Rock Rapids Municipal Utilities manager Jim Hoye, who he says was instrumental in the decision for Rock Rapids to re-join the system.

UPDATE: George, Iowa– A Melvin man and a Hull woman were taken to hospitals and the DNR is cleaning up a diesel fuel spill after an accident near George on Monday, June 18th.

The Iowa State Patrol reports that about 8:15 a.m., 19-year-old Jacob Schultz of Melvin was driving a 2000 Chevy pickup northbound on L26, six miles east of George or six miles south of Little Rock. They say 53-year-old Rhonda VanDerZwaag of Hull was eastbound on A34 in a 1986 Peterbilt pulling a hopper trailer. A third vehicle, a 2015 Ford pickup, driven by Douglas Heibult of Sheldon was westbound on A34.

The report doesn’t list any details about the circumstances of the crash.

The George Emergency Medical Service took Schultz to the Osceola Community Hospital in Sibley. The Lyon County Ambulance took VanDerZwaag to Sanford Rock Rapids Hospital. Heibult refused medical treatment.

Schultz ‘s Chevy pickup sustained about $8500 in damages, and VanDerZwaag ‘s Peterbilt sustained about $50,000 in damages. Heibult’s pickup received $10,000 in damage.

No charges have been filed.


Original story — Posted 3:51 p.m., Monday, June 18, 2018:

Lyon County, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is responding to a crash and diesel fuel spill near Marsh Avenue and A-34, about 6 miles south of Little Rock Monday morning.

No details have been released as yet on the crash itself, but the DNR says a semi’s fuel tank was punctured in the crash, and they estimate that fewer than 100 gallons of fuel leaked from the tank.

With the overnight heavy rains in the area, the DNR says the fuel was carried into Whitney Creek, a tributary of the Little Rock River, and Rock River.

A DNR spokesman says boom and pads have been deployed, but the heavily flowing water is making it difficult to keep the fuel conpletely contained.

The Iowa DNR says they will continue to monitor the situation.

KIWA will bring you more details of the crash when it becomes available.

June 18, 2018 - 3:21 pm - Posted in News

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Rock Rapids, Iowa — Construction continues ahead-of-schedule on the new $28 million hospital and clinic building in Rock Rapids.

We had a chance to get a construction update from general contractor Journey Construction’s job superintendent, Kevin Brockmueller. He tells us what has been going on the past few days.


Brockmueller says a good portion of the behind-the-walls work such as plumbing, HVAC, and electrical is done.


He tells us what’s going to keep them busy in the next few months.


After the facility is complete in early 2019, those that run the hospital will need to install all the equipment and get the facility ready to see patients in the spring.

The current local hospital owned by the Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital (MPCH) board of trustees is leased to Sanford Health and operates as Sanford Rock Rapids. Avera will assume the lease in 2019. It is not known at this time what will be done with the current hospital and clinic building.