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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Des Moines, Iowa — The Lewis & Clark Regional Water System is one of the top infrastructure priorities on a list that Iowa’s governor has sent to the President.

President Trump is pushing Congress to pass a spending plan to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure. Trump asked each governor to submit a list of their top five infrastructure priorities.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has put three water-related projects on her list. “Modernization” of the Upper Mississippi River Locks and Dams is at the top.

Number two on Reynolds list is the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System. When complete, it will provide drinking water to 300-thousand residents in northwest Iowa, southwest Minnesota and southeast South Dakota. Lewis & Clark was incorporated in 1990. Ten years later in 2000, the project was authorized. While the member communities and water systems have paid their share, the federal government has been slow to keep up their end of the bargain, according to Lewis & Clark Executive Director Troy Larson. The estimated cost to complete the system is over $580 million. While cities and systems are slowly being connected, the system has yet to reach Sioux Center, Hull, Sheldon, and Sibley in Iowa; Worthington, Minnesota; and Madison, South Dakota. Rock Rapids is the only system in Iowa that’s connected in any way so far.

Number three on Reynolds’ list is the Cedar Rapids Flood Mitigation Project. Reynolds also lists reconstruction of the interchange in the Iowa City area where Interstate 80 and Interstate 380 intersect as number four. The fifth project on the governor’s priority list is the expansion of the terminal at the Des Moines Airport.

June 21, 2017 - 6:34 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa  — The four northwest Iowa counties in our primary coverage area remain in the top 10 for lowest unemployment in the state, and three of the counties are ranked first, second, and third.

The May 2017 county-by-county unemployment rates were just released, and Lyon County again has the lowest (non-seasonally-adjusted) unemployment rate in the state, at just 1.5 percent, unchanged from April. Sioux County is second, with 1.7 percent, also unchanged from April. Osceola and Story counties are tied for third at 1.9 percent unemployment. Osceola is unchanged from April. A little further down the list, rounding out the top 10 at number 10 is O’Brien County with just 2.2 percent unemployment, up a tenth of a percent from the April figure of 2.1 percent.

Lee County, in the opposite corner of the state, had the highest unemployment in May, at 5.1 percent.

Statewide, the employment rate stayed the same, but the state did add some jobs, according to Iowa Workforce Development Communications Director Cory Kelly.

He says the good news continues for Iowa.

Kelly says that hiring in trade, health care, and manufacturing establishments helped keep the state growing.

He says that while the state added jobs and the unemployment rate stayed the same, more people were unemployed in May than in April.

Kelly says that you can visit for more information about current and historical data, labor force data, nonfarm employment, hours and earnings, and jobless benefits by county.

Des Moines, Iowa — All courthouses in northwest Iowa, and around the state, will be gun-free zones, after an order signed Tuesday by Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Cady.

Cady says in his order that, after reviewing the policies on guns across the state, he found 44 of Iowa’s 99 counties already prohibit weapons in their courthouses.  Additionally, Cady wrote that 11 counties prohibit guns in all county buildings, and 16 prohibit weapons in areas controlled by the judicial branch.

In O’Brien County, for example, the only area of the courthouse that had previously been a gun-free zone was the third floor, which houses the courtroom, Clerk’s Office and Judge’s Chambers.

In Tuesday’s decision, Cady writes, “the inconsistent policies and gaps in protection must be corrected for our unified court system to uniformly protect all Iowans.”

The order says, the new policy “serves to establish a safety perimeter for each courthouse or justice center that
allows for the efficient implementation and enforcement of a weapons prohibition and is intended to prohibit the general public from entering any courthouse or justice center with a weapon.”

Cady’s order bans all weapons from courtrooms, court-controlled spaces, and public areas of courthouses and other justice centers occupied by the court system.  The exception to the ban would be law enforcement officers who are acting within the scope of their duties.

To see Chief Justice Cady’s order, CLICK HERE.

June 20, 2017 - 1:48 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — One of a pair of Minnesota people charged with possession of stolen property has filed a written plea of “not guilty.”

The St. Paul, Minnesota pair who was found to allegedly be in possession of a stolen camper and two stolen snowmobiles after a pair of traffic stops near Little Rock earlier this month was to face arraignment next Monday, June 26th. Authorities say 35-year-old Stephen Martin-Hall and 32-year-old Traci Cranston are charged with first-degree possession of stolen property, a class C felony; and second-degree possession of stolen property, a Class D felony; as well as several misdemeanor drug and traffic offenses.

According to court records, Martin-Hall has filed a written arraignment and plea of not guilty to the charges. Cranston has not filed a plea, and at last check was still scheduled for arraignment on the 26th.

June 19, 2017 - 6:32 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission is reviewing the way lifetime gambling bans are handled at Grand Falls Casino near Larchwood and the Hard Rock Casino in Sioux City, as well as the other casinos in the state.

Commission administrator, Brian Ohorilko says a new law will change the time period available for self-bans on July 1st.

There’s also a provision that will allow those on the lifetime ban list to ask to be removed from the list. Backers of the law believe more people may sign up for the self-ban if there is a shorter term involved for the ban. Ohorilko says the commission had a request to review the impact on casinos.

He says they also will look at the penalties and whether they are appropriate. Ohorilko says the regulators agreed to take a look.

That recommendation is expected at the July 13th commission meeting. Ohorilko says there are several things right now that are considered a violation by casinos when dealing with someone on the self-ban list.

The other part of the review will examine the penalties assessed to casinos.

Ohorilko says the Iowa Gaming Association is the custodian of the self-exclusion list for the casinos and the I-G-A is working to update the technology to deal with the new law change.

June 17, 2017 - 8:08 am - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Two people were taken to a hospital after an accident near Rock Rapids on Friday, June 16, 2017.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 4:25 p.m., 61-year-old Michael Bathke of George was driving a 2007 Ford Edge westbound on A34 or 210th Street, about five miles south of Rock Rapids. They report that 35-year-old Keisha Brummel of Rock Rapids was driving a 2005 GMC Yukon Denali northbound on Harrison Avenue. The Sheriff’s Office reports that the vehicles collided in the intersection.

The Lyon County Ambulance took two occupants of the Bathke Ford to Sanford Rock Rapids Hospital. Two occupants of the Brummel GMC received injuries but refused transport to the hospital.

The accident caused about $8,000 in damages to each vehicle.

They say Brummel was cited on a charge of failure to obey a traffic control device.

The Sheriff’s Office reports that the Lyon County Ambulance Squad, the Rock Rapids Fire Department, and Trackside Repair assisted at the scene.

June 16, 2017 - 2:54 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Not only is Jerry (The Beaver from Leave It To Beaver) Mathers in Rock Rapids this weekend, there are plenty of activities for young and old going on for Heritage Days.

Saturday’s events in Rock Rapids start with a 5-K, 10-K, and 1-mile road race at 8 a.m., starting from the swimming pool parking lot. The Relay For Life Survivor Brunch is at 9 a.m. at the Frontier Bank Basement. The fast pitch softball tournament also starts at 9 a.m. From 10 to 2, popcorn and root beer are available at the Rapids Theatre.

The parade starts at 11. There is a halfway decent chance of rain in the forecast, so if it’s raining they’ll try again to run the parade at 4 p.m.

At noon, the food vendors open in Island Park, as does the VFW brat feed at the VFW club, the pedal car races by the fire station, and the show and shine car show, the Vendor Fair, Greenie’s Balloon Art, face painting, the inflatables, the kids train rides, and “The Beaver’s” meet and greet, all in Island Park.

The Depot Museum opens at 1. The All American Lumberjack Shows are at 1 and 3 in Island Park.

The Lyon County Historical Society Cow Pie Bingo fundraiser and the Rock Rapids Mural Society Lion Statue Auction both start at 1:30 with the bingo on the museum grounds and the auction near U.S. Bank.

A new activity — the Rock Rapids Fire Department Water Fights start at 2:30 p.m. on Story Street.

The burnout contest starts at 4 on South Second Avenue. The All-School Reunion starts at 5 at the Forster Community Center. The Figure-8 races start at 7, and the street dance starts at 9.

Sunday’s activities include a community outdoor church service, the John Appel Memorial Shoot at the Gun Club, and the Soap Box Derby in the Swimming Pool parking lot.

Click here for the full schedule.

Primghar, Iowa — County Extension Councils from Lyon, Osceola, Dickinson, Sioux, O’Brien and Clay Counties have provided funding and teamed up with Iowa State University to bring additional Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) youth programming to Northwest Iowa libraries.

We talked to Extension Human Sciences Program Coordinator Mackenzie De Jong who told us more about it.

She tells us what they’ll be doing.

DeJong says that the six core lessons include Bridges, Colors, Electricity, Parachutes, Playdough and Pollinators. The interns will also help with and create additional lessons based on the needs of the library and community.

Three Engaged Scholar interns were hired for the summer, with each intern covering two libraries in Northwest Iowa. All of the interns have studied or are studying education at the post-secondary level.

· Kodie Borchers, a Northwestern College graduate and resident of Orange City, will be working at the Hull Public Library and Sanborn Public Library.

· Whitney Jorgensen, also a Northwestern College graduate and an Alton resident, will be spending her summer at the George Public Library and Sibley Public Library.

· Bradi Baske, a Spencer-native and current Iowa State University student, will be serving the Everly Public Library and Milford Public Library.

De Jong says all of the lessons have been tested in other locations and are “kid-approved.”

For a full schedule of summer programming, individuals are encouraged to contact their local library.

June 15, 2017 - 5:44 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — The past few years, changes have been made at Relay For Life events in northwest Iowa. They used to all be fairly similar and took place outdoors at a track on a weekend evening. But the events are now starting to look different depending on the community fighting cancer.

According to Ronda Arends, one of the people that help organize the relay every year, this year the event in Rock Rapids is going to be different once again.

She says anyone can join them for brunch.

Arends says you can call her at 712-541-7189 to let her know you and/or your group plan on attending, or you can call any board member. Arends says you can also call her if you’d like to buy a dove or butterfly in memory or in honor of a loved one.

Again, the Lyon County American Cancer Society Relay for Life will take the form of a Celebration Brunch at Frontier Bank in Rock Rapids starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, June 17th at the Frontier Bank basement meeting room.

June 15, 2017 - 5:42 pm - Posted in News

Doon, Iowa — A Doon man with leukemia is in need of a bone marrow transplant. But none of his family members are a match. So a bone marrow donor drive is planned this Saturday in Doon.

Amy Brands says her brother Dave Mulder is the one who needs the transplant.

As Brands alluded to, Mulder and his family are known for their participation in dirt track racing. Mulder has raced in the B-Modified class.

She tells us about her brother’s medical history.

Brands says the event will be held at the Doon Public Library and Community Center.

She says while the drive is through the University of Iowa Health Care “Be The Match” Foundation, Mulder is receiving care at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center in Sioux Falls.

Click here for more information.