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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January 18, 2019 - 3:29 pm - Posted in News

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley have received the E15 award from the Iowa Corn Growers Association for their work in the Senate championing year-round sales of E15.

Ernst and Grassley have been steadfast advocates for ethanol and environmentally-friendly alternative energy sources. Last year, Ernst and Grassley joined a bipartisan group of 35 other senators urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to increase volume obligations for biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuel and ensure any small refinery economic hardship exemptions are appropriately accounted for in its final rule for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Ernst and Grassley were also leaders in encouraging the Trump administration to approve year-round sale of E15 to help farmers and lower the cost of RFS compliance for oil refineries by producing more Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) which are used to ensure biofuels are being blended into our nation’s fuel supply.

Ernst says Iowa is proudly leading the way in corn and ethanol production. She says with strong support from the Iowa Corn Growers Association, she and Senator Grassley have continued to push the Trump Administration to fulfill President Trump’s promise of E15 year-round, which, she says, will boost the Iowa economy and provide Iowans choice at the pump. Ernst says she was humbled to receive the award. 

Senator Grassley said Iowa is the number one corn-producing state in the nation, and is also the number one ethanol-producing state in the country with 43 refineries employing thousands of workers, boosting economic activity on Main Street and expanding the local tax base. Grassley went on to say that opening the door for year-round sales of higher blends of ethanol is a victory for Iowa farmers, rural America and the nation as a whole. He says he was honored to receive this recognition.

Iowa Corn Growers Association Chair Mark Recker thanked both Senators for their leadership and unwavering commitment that resulted in the proposed E15 rule.

 

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Wisconsin man who is suspected of being involved in more than twenty-five burglaries across the state of Iowa, including a half dozen in Lyon County, has been arrested in Altoona, Iowa.

The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation says 43-year old Eric Robert Hall is accused of forcing his way into several businesses in Iowa and Minnesota late at night when the businesses were closed. The DCI says the burglar would steal primarily cash from the businesses.

According to the DCI, through cooperation and information sharing, law enforcement officials were able to identify Hall as the suspect in these crimes. Hall reportedly also had an outstanding warrant from the State of Wisconsin for Probation Violation.

Warrants had been filed for Hall’s arrest by the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Council Bluffs Police. Lyon County Sheriff Stewart Vander Stoep tells KIWA the Lyon County warrant stems from his office’s investigation into a series of burglaries in Larchwood and Inwood that happened during the early morning hours this past November 27th.

According to the DCI, on Wednesday of this week, an off-duty Guthrie County Deputy located Hall at the Prairie Meadows Casino in Altoona. The Deputy notified Polk County Sheriff’s Deputies who responded and attempted to arrest Hall on his outstanding warrants. Officials say Hall initially resisted arrest, but was taken into custody. Polk County authorities have charged Hall with 2nd Degree Criminal Mischief and Interference With Officials Acts, according to the DCI, in addition to the charges he faces in Lyon County and Council Bluffs.

The DCI will be spearheading the ongoing investigations, in cooperation with numerous Sheriff’s Offices and Police Departments across the state, according to Sheriff Vander Stoep.

The images below show a still photo taken from a security camera at one of the burglarized Lyon County businesses, the second is Hall’s booking photo………………

Photo courtesy Lyon County Sheriff’s Office

Photo courtesy Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation

January 18, 2019 - 12:44 pm - Posted in News

Washington, DC — FSA offices in two of our four primary coverage counties are open this Friday and will be open again on Tuesday in the midst of the government shutdown.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue says that many Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices are open temporarily to perform certain limited services for farmers and ranchers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recalled about 2,500 FSA employees to open offices on Friday, January 18, and Tuesday, January 22, during normal business hours. The offices will be closed for the federal Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 21.

The two offices in our area that will be open are the Osceola County office in Sibley and the Sioux County office in Orange City.

USDA officials tell us that in almost half of FSA locations, FSA staff will be available to assist agricultural producers with existing farm loans and to ensure the agency provides 1099 tax documents to borrowers by the Internal Revenue Service’s deadline.

Secretary Perdue says that until Congress sends President Trump an appropriations bill in the form that he will sign, the USDA is doing their best to minimize the impact of the partial federal funding lapse on America’s agricultural producers. He says they are bringing back part of the FSA team to help producers with existing farm loans. Meanwhile, says Perdue, they continue to examine their legal authorities to ensure they are providing services to their customers to the greatest extent possible during the shutdown.

Staff members will be available at certain FSA offices to help producers with specific services, including:

Processing payments made on or before December 31, 2018.
Continuing expiring financing statements.
Opening mail to identify priority items.
Additionally, as an intermittent incidental duty, staff may release proceeds from the sale of loan security by signing checks jointly payable to FSA that are brought to the county office by producers.

Information on the locations of FSA offices to be open during this three-day window will be posted:

On the USDA website.
On Twitter at @SecretarySonny and @USDA.
On USDA’s Facebook

While staff are available in person, most available services can be handled over the phone.

Additionally, farmers who have loan deadlines during the lapse in funding do not need to make payments until the government shutdown ends.

Other FSA Programs and Services

Services that are NOT available include, but are not limited to:

New direct or facility loans.
New Farm loan guarantees.
New marketing assistance loans.
New applications for Market Facilitation Program (MFP).
Certification of 2018 production for MFP payments.
Dairy Margin Protection Program.
Disaster assistance programs, such as:
Livestock Indemnity Program.
Emergency Conservation Program.
Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program.
Livestock Forage Disaster Program.
Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish.

While January 15, 2019, had been the original deadline for producers to apply for MFP, farmers have been unable to apply since December 28, 2018, when FSA offices closed because of the lapse in federal funding. Secretary Perdue has extended the MFP application deadline for a period of time equal to the number of business days FSA offices end up being closed, once the government shutdown ends. These announced days of limited staff availability during the shutdown will not constitute days open in calculating the extension. Producers who already applied for MFP and certified their 2018 production by December 28, 2018 should have already received their payments.

More information on MFP is available at www.farmers.gov/manage/mfp. More information on FSA programs and services during the partial government shutdown is available at www.fsa.usda.gov/help/shutdowninfo.

Larchwood, Iowa — Legal sports betting at Grand Falls Casino Resort near Larchwood? It’s a significant possibility. But it all depends on the Iowa Legislature.

Legalizing sports betting is one issue the legislature is expected to take up in this new session, and the state-licensed casinos are preparing to get into the action when they do. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission recently approved an agreement requested by Prairie Meadows in Altoona to create an area for a sports book at their facility. It’s unknown if sports betting will be approved by lawmakers — but the timing is right for Prairie Meadows to create the sports book space during their remodeling.

The opportunity to change state law to allow sports betting became a possibility when the US Supreme Court last year ruled in favor of the State of New Jersey, which said that it wasn’t fair that only The State of Nevada could allow sports betting. Now states have to decide for themselves if they will allow sports betting or not.

Grand Falls Casino Resort General Manager Sharon Haselhoff tells us the casinos are pushing for the change.


She says some details still need to be worked out, but they are optimistic.


She says the Iowa Gaming Association has been pushing to get lawmakers to legalize sports betting after the Supreme Court’s decision. She tells us that due to technology, bets wouldn’t have to be made in person at the casino — but they WOULD have to be made in Iowa.


According to Haselhoff, since many of their customers come from Sioux Falls and elsewhere in the state of South Dakota as well as Minnesota, to place a bet with Grand Falls, it will work best if out-of-state residents just come to the casino — again, assuming the bill passes.

She says while they encourage you to watch the game at the casino, you don’t have to be present to win and could just as well watch at home if that’s what you want to do.

She says Grand Falls is very interested in seeing where this goes and they’re hopeful that the state puts sports betting on a casino platform.

Washington, DC (RI) — Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he recently met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who reported no progress on key issues in last week’s trade talks with China.


Three days of trade talks were held last week in Beijing. Despite the lack of progress, Grassley remains optimistic about resolving the trade war in the near future.


Grassley made his comments in a conference call with ag reporters.

Washington, D.C. — Iowa 4th District Congressman Steve King has released a statement following  remarks made by FOX News senior political  analyst Brit Hume which condemn a New York Times article, published earlier this week, as being “completely bogus.” 

The New York Times writer responsible for the article condemned by Hume is the same writer of an earlier Times article that GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy relied upon to, in King’s words, “railroad” him for a quote King has consistently disputed.

King’s statement reads as follows:

“Brit Hume, a respected journalist who admittedly is no fan of mine, has it right: the New York Times is publishing ‘completely bogus’ hit pieces about me. Republicans should note that the ‘completely bogus’ article identified by Hume is written by the same writerin the same paperon the same general topic as an earlier Times piece relied upon by Kevin McCarthy, our politically correct Minority Leader, to railroad me.  Clearly, this ‘completely bogus’ second article should call the Times’ earlier article into question. It should also make Republicans question whether our politically correct leadership intends to stand with other conservatives, including President Trump, when the liberal New York Times publishes ‘completely bogus’ stories about them.”

The following is an excerpt of Hume’s remarks Tuesday:

“And that New York Times piece was completely bogus, I mean those comments, look I don’t agree with them and I’m no fan of Steve King. Look, I’m sorry, they did not amount to racism.”

Northwest Iowa — From time to time we tell you about new scams that are being perpetrated, or at least attempted, on unsuspecting victims here in northwest Iowa. But until now we haven’t had any real numbers to illustrate the impact of these schemes. Until now.

Internet Privacy Day, January 28th, and Safer Internet Day (February 6th) are just around the corner, and CenturyLink has collected data on the impact of these online scams.

According to their report, Iowans were swindled out of $4.01-MILLION by scammers last year. Iowa was fairly low on the scale of the number of people who were scammed, with 4.87 victims per 10-thousand people. The average amount of money lost by those who did fall for the scams totaled $2,618.00.

The state with the lowest average money loss was Nevada, at $6.53, while the highest was Arizona at $9,251.46.

Scammers are coming up with new ways to separate you from your hard-earned cash every day, so remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Use your common sense and avoid becoming a victim of scammers.

January 16, 2019 - 12:27 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — The Iowa Department of Human Services says they have been notified by the USDA that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, known in Iowa as Food Assistance, will be available for the month of February, but due to the federal government shutdown, issuance of February Food Assistance benefits will be early.

According to the DHS, February benefits will be available on the recipients’ EBT cards on January 17th, instead of the regular February dates. They stress that these are normal February benefits, they are just being issued early.

The DHS says they are encouraging recipients to budget their normal benefits to ensure they last through the month of February.

The Iowa Department of Human Services say anticipates increased call volume, which, they say, may impact the time it takes for them to return calls. The DHS says contingency plans are being developed for the month of March, should they be needed, and information will be shared as it available. The DHS says they will continue to closely monitor the situation.

For more information you can contact Matt Highland at 515-281-4848 or mhighla@dhs.state.ia.us.

Visit dhs.iowa.gov for information on DHS and its programs.

January 16, 2019 - 10:42 am - Posted in News

Washington, D.C. — Facing calls for his resignation and a 2020 primary challenge from his fellow Republicans, Iowa Congressman Steve King has voted for a resolution condemning white supremacy and white nationalism — a resolution “of disapproval” drafted in response to comments from King that were published in The New York Times.

King again disputed the way his recent comments have been characterized.

Congressman James Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina, led the bipartisan charge to condemn King’s remarks. Clyburn said racial divisiveness is ripping the country apart.

The resolution denouncing white nationalism and white supremacy as “hateful” passed on a vote of 424 to one. The one “no” vote came from a congressman who said he would only support a resolution that directly censures King. On Monday night, the Republican leader in the House said King’s New York Times quote was “not the first time” King used such language and GOP leaders stripped King of his committee assignments. King calls that an unprecedented assault on his freedom of speech.

During his House floor speech, King told his colleagues he “came from a family of abolitionists” who had served in the Union army during the Civil War.

Hull Senator Randy Feenstra is poised to run against King in a Republican primary in 2020. Feenstra says since King lost his seat on the House Agriculture Committee, “Iowa farmers are left without a vote on the important committee for the first time in 120 years.”

Kings complete comments on the House floor may be viewed below………….

January 15, 2019 - 1:40 pm - Posted in News

Washington, D.C. — (RI) — Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says it’s no surprise fellow Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King is being punished for his comments about white supremacy.

Grassley notes Republican House leaders have stripped King of his committee assignments and some Democrats are calling for King’s censure.

On Monday, King was removed from three panels, the Agriculture and Small Business committees as well as the powerful Judiciary Committee. Grassley says he understands the actions of House GOP leaders who say King’s remarks won’t be tolerated.

King says his comments were “completely mischaracterized” and that booting him from the committees is “a political decision that ignores the truth,” yet Grassley and other Republicans are distancing themselves from King.

Grassley says while King won’t be able to represent the people of Iowa’s Fourth District in committee action, he’ll still be able to voice opinions on any issues that comes from those committees when they go before the full House for a vote.