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

Heard on KIWA-AM 1550 and FM 100.7 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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Des Moines, Iowa — (RI) — Republicans in the Iowa House have passed a bill that would force
any Iowa city or county with gun restrictions in a government-owned building to screen people at entrances AND have an armed guard inside.

Representative Steven Holt, a Republican from Denison, says it will help ensure Iowans have the right to self defense.

(As above) “It is also about the health and safety of our children and our families. It is about my right as a parent to be prepared to defend my wife and my children — my family.” 

The bill would override opinions from the state’s attorney general in 2003 and 2010 that indicated cities and counties could pass resolutions that create gun-free zones.

(As above) “I have never understood why someone believes that a gun-free zone will make them safer. In reality, a gun-free zone without screening and security will never stop a sick individual from killing innocent people. It will stop the law-abiding citizen from carrying protection.”

Representative Mary Gaskill, a Democrat from Ottumwa, suggested that if the bill becomes law, Iowans with a permit will be able to carry guns into most any city or county-owned building in the state.

(As above) “With the addition of metal detectors and armed security, few entities to pay for these measures.”

Representative Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, a Democrat from Ames, says it would cost more than 400-thousand dollars to staff metal detectors and have armed security at the Story County courthouse.

(As above) “This is an irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars.The constitutional right to own a firearm comes with important responsibility regarding community safety and therefore it must come with conditions.” 

Supporters of the bill say Iowa gun owners should not have to navigate a labyrinth of different ordinances. The bill also forbids cities and counties from trying to ban gun modifications or from establishing restrictive zoning aimed at gun shooting ranges. The House passed the bill on a 52 to 44 vote as dozens of gun rights activists sat in the gallery watching debate.

Statewide, Iowa — The counting of the Iowa Democratic Party’s February 3rd Caucuses appears to be over — with Pete Buttigieg finishing a fraction ahead of Bernie Sanders.

On Thursday night the Iowa Democratic Party announced the results of the limited recount requested by the campaigns of Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders. Delegate calculations changed in 19 of the 23 precincts the campaigns had asked party officials to review. However, the recount process resulted in no change to the National Delegate allocation. Pete Buttigieg has 14 and Bernie Sanders has 12. The Iowa Democratic Party’s state central committee will meet Saturday to certify the results. The party’s final “state delegate equivalents” calculation found Buttigieg finished ahead of Sanders by 0.04%.

February 27, 2020 - 12:11 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — A survey finds nearly a quarter of Iowa’s high schoolers vape, and critics say new federal regulations on e-cigarettes are having virtually no impact toward heading off the epidemic.

Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, says the new policies are “entirely inadequate” and will not help stop a new generation of Iowa kids from becoming nicotine addicts.

(As above) “There was a great deal of publicity about the new federal rule prohibiting the sale of certain flavored products, but literally thousands of flavored e-cigarette products remain on the market,” Myers says, “including many that are called single-use or disposable that look like a flash drive but have as much nicotine in them as a full pack-and-a-half of cigarettes.”

Studies find more than 80-percent of kids who use tobacco started with flavored products, while 97-percent of youth e-cigarette users puffed on a flavored e-cigarette in the past month. Myers says the packaging and the flavors clearly target youth, including cotton candy, strawberry and mango.

(As above) “There’s a bill pending in the U.S. House of Representatives that would ban the sale of all of the flavored products that have led to over 20% of Iowa’s high school students to using these products,” Myers says. “It’s called the Reversing the E-Cigarette Youth Epidemic Act and to vote on it is absolutely critical.”

Myers says the new federal policies are “riddled with loopholes” and he notes, thousands of flavored e-cigarette products remain available at more than 100-thousand locations nationwide, including convenience stores, gas stations and vape shops.

(As above) “It was a positive step, raising the age to 21, but we all know that if you make a product that’s highly appealing to kids, they’ll find a way to get it,” Myers says. “It was already illegal to sell to kids 18 and under, and yet over five-million American kids and over 20% of Iowa’s kids, have begun using these products.” 

The figures are discouraging, he says, as about six-percent of Iowa high schoolers smoke traditional tobacco cigarettes.

(As above) “The most recent survey shows that over 22% of Iowa’s high school students are using e-cigarettes,” Myers says. “That’s almost four times the number of high school students who are using cigarettes.”

He encourages Iowans to call their members of Congress and urge them to vote for the pending legislation to ban all flavored vaping products. For more information, visit https://www.tobaccofreekids.org

February 26, 2020 - 7:50 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A unique fundraiser is coming up this Thursday night in Rock Rapids. It’s a fundraiser for the Lyon County Conservation Foundation.

Lyon County Naturalist Emily Ostrander tells us about “Wok On the Wild Side.”

AUDIO: “So it’s called “Wok On the Wild Side” and we’re really excited about it. It’s going to be a lot of fun. We had been approached by our former game warden, Greg Harson, and he had offered to do a pasta bar. And it’s pretty neat. He has these woks — about eight of them. Kind of like a combo of Hu Hot and Olive Garden. You grab your ingredients, and then you pick out your noodles and your sauce and you bring it to one of the cookers and they cook it up right in front of you. There’ll be some garlic toast to go with it and some cookies and we’re going to have some live birds to go along with it.”

She tells us about the birds.

AUDIO: “Our special dinner guests are Luna — a bard owl from Buena Vista County, and then Odin is a redtail hawk that will be visiting from there also. The naturalist from Buena Vista County is going to come and bring her birds along. The kids and adults can come on out and check those out too. They’ll be in an adjacent room from 6 until 7, so you can stop in and check them out before or after you eat.”

Ostrander says the Lyon County Conservation Foundation helps the Lyon County Conservation Board in a number of ways.

AUDIO: “The Conservation Foundation makes things possible that we probably wouldn’t be able to do without their extra support. They help fund scholarships for kids that probably wouldn’t be able to make it to camp. They help with various field trips, they’ve helped with the handicapped-accessible fishing pier that gets heavily-used during the summer months. They’ve helped with the trail that goes around the lake and various other building projects and conservation projects. They go from doing smaller things all the way to some pretty big things that they’ve helped us manage to take on. And now, their big task is helping to raise money for the Nature Center that we’re hoping to break ground on in April.”

According to Ostrander, the Wok on the Wild Side supper proceeds will go to support the Lyon County Conservation Foundation and what they’re doing for the New Lyon County Nature Center that will be built this summer at Lake Pahoja.

The supper is this Thursday night from 5 to 7 at the Forster Community Center in Rock Rapids. To-go boxes are also available. If you have questions, you can call the Conservation Board office at 712-472-2217.

February 26, 2020 - 12:17 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — A statehouse hearing has given supporters and opponents of abortion a chance to voice their opinions on a proposed constitutional amendment. Republican lawmakers have drafted the amendment in response to the Iowa Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling that Iowa’s Constitution guarantees women a right to an abortion.

Renee Aamodt of Des Moines supports the proposed amendment that says Iowa’s constitution does not secure the right to an abortion.

Dr. Clare Harney, an obstetrician in Davenport, opposes the amendment.

The process of amending the state’s constitution takes a while. Two consecutive Iowa General Assemblies must approve the language for an amendment before it’s presented to voters for ratification. That means if the 2020 Iowa legislature takes action — as expected — and the NEW legislature that convenes NEXT year also approves the language, 2021 is the earliest Iowans could vote on the amendment.

Statewide Iowa — Rumors about coronavirus are flying and the medical director of the Iowa Department of Public Health is urging Iowans to get the facts before posting anything on social media so they don’t spread disinformation.

Doctor Caitlin Pedati says it’s understandable that people are concerned but they also need to use their heads before contributing to the panic.

In recent weeks, two Iowans were put under watch for possible exposure to the deadly virus and both ended up being fine. Now, Pedati confirms, seven more Iowans are under watch by the state health department. All of them are in self-quarantine, meaning, they’re staying in their own homes.

Federal health officials are warning Americans to prepare for the possibility of an aggressive outbreak. Pedati says Iowa families need to prep for this as they would any other emergency, like severe weather.

Coronavirus is confirmed in more than 30 countries, but federal health officials are not calling it a pandemic. Pedati explains why:

In China, more than 27-hundred deaths are attributed to coronavirus, with 78-thousand confirmed cases. Hundreds of cases are confirmed elsewhere around the globe.

For more information visit the Iowa Department of Public Health website

https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — A few kids who’ve operated lemonade stands in Iowa have had a sour experience — with the law. Representative Ray “Bubba” Sorenson of Greenfield says that’s because the iconic child-run lemonade stand is technically illegal in Iowa.

The bill passed the House Monday night by unanimous vote. Representative Sharon Steckman of Mason City was an enthusiastic supporter.

In 2011, police shut down at least three lemonade stands in Coralville the kids didn’t get a permit or undergo a health inspection to run a food stand on the day the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa came to town. Representative Mary Mascher of Iowa City voted for the bill, but aired this concern about lemonade and food stands run by children:

In the past couple of years, lawmakers in Texas and Utah have passed laws legalizing lemonade stands set up by kids. A few cities around the country have cracked down on kids — including Girl Scouts — selling cookies. The bill passed by the Iowa House would give kids under the age of 18 a pass on having to apply for business and food permits if they sell baked goods as well as beverages.

February 21, 2020 - 3:02 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — Six of seven Republicans on an Iowa Senate committee have endorsed a plan to require more of the Iowans getting health care benefits through Medicaid to work or volunteer in their community.

Senator Jason Schultz, a Republican from Schleswig, is chairman of the Senate Labor Committee.

The bill does have exceptions. The parents of young children and disabled Iowans would not be required to fulfill the requirement, but other adults between the ages of 18 and 64 would have to show state officials they’re working 20 hours a week. Schultz says his constituents want the state’s welfare programs to promote the Iowa work ethic.

Lana Shope of the Iowa Community Action Association says nearly 80 percent of the working-age adults enrolled in Medicaid already have a job — but many have inconsistent work schedules.

 

Statewide Iowa — A bill that would have allowed utilities to charge extra fees to Iowans with solar panels has been changed to simply authorize a study of solar power in the state. The original version passed the Iowa Senate last year, but couldn’t get enough votes in the House. A compromise that has emerged would launch a study within the next seven years of how solar users affect the electric grid. THEN lawmakers could decide whether utilities should be allowed to charge extra fees.

Representative John Forbes has solar panels on the roof of his pharmacy in Urbandale. He says the compromise provides stability for Iowans who’ve installed solar panels on their homes and businesses.

Pork producers were among the critics of last year’s bill that would have let utilities assess new fees to customers with solar panels. The Pork Producers Association argued raising livestock is a low-margin business and the new fees would have wiped out the savings farmers were getting from using solar energy.

Photo from KIWA Image Archives

Statewide Iowa — Republicans on a Senate committee have voted to place new limits in medical malpractice cases that involve the death of a patient. A bill that cleared a Senate committee this week would set 750-thousand dollars as the new cap on so-called “non-economic” damages that a family, children or spouses could receive.

Senator Zach Whiting, a Republican from Spirit Lake, says these are the kind of intangible losses that are commonly referred to as “pain and suffering.”

Critics say the bill is unfair to families who’ve lost a loved one due to a medical mistake. Senator Rob Hogg, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, voted against the bill in committee.

In 2017, the Republican-led Iowa legislature enacted a 250-thousand dollar limit for emotional pain and suffering damage awards when health care providers are found liable for medical negligence. However, that “cap” or limit does not apply if a patient dies.