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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March 23, 2018 - 1:34 pm - Posted in News

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Rock Rapids, Iowa — Ground has been broken on a new $5 million clinic and outpatient facility in Rock Rapids.

About 50 to 60 people braved sleet and 34-degree weather to attend the groundbreaking ceremony on Friday morning, March 23rd, 2018.

Sanford Rock Rapids’ Senior Director Tammy Loosbrock says it feels good to get the construction going on their new facility.

The “divide” that Loosbrock mentioned is due to the fact that while the physicians and primary care providers have committed to moving to the new facility, the owners of the old facility, the Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital Board of Trustees signed an agreement to build a new hospital and clinic with Avera Health. It’s not known which of the nurses or staff people will join Avera in their new facility and which will stay with Sanford in their new facility.

Loosbrock tells us about the design of Sanford’s new facility.

She says they also hope to be able to use new technology.

She gives us the timeline.

In his remarks, Sanford Rock Rapids Physician Chester De Jong spoke to the changes from the “employee family” perspective.

De Jong told about several people going above and beyond their job descriptions to help patients and families. He says there is uncertainty among the medical staff about their futures.

De Jong says it’s time to put the past behind us. He says when he sees the new facilities, he’s going to focus on the good.

De Jong says that person is physician’s assistant Brenda Vis, who was the only local provider when the hospital and clinic was going through a tough time. The remark was met with applause from the crowd.

After the opening remarks, gold shovels were employed by local dignitaries and Sanford officials, and the ceremonial first soil was turned.

March 23, 2018 - 12:17 pm - Posted in News

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Rock Rapids, Iowa — A garage and its contents were damaged in a fire on Thursday, March 22, 2018, in Rock Rapids.

According to Rock Rapids Fire Chief Ed Reck, about 7:00 p.m., the Rock Rapids Fire Department was called to the report of a garage fire at 1010 South Second Avenue in Rock Rapids, on the west side of town. Reck says since the firefighters were already at the station when the call came in, preparing to do some training at the elevator, response time was very short. He says that it was good that it was because if it had taken them even a few more minutes to get there, the fire would have been much worse.

The chief says the fire department saw flames coming out of the garage as they approached the scene. He says they extinguished the fire with water. According to the chief, the garage had been used for storage, but a number of items were pulled out of the garage before the fire could harm them, including an ATV. He says the garage is attached to the house but has no access directly to the house — a fact that turned out in their favor this time, as the house did not sustain any smoke or other damage.

Reck says no injuries were reported.

He says the cause of the fire is believed to have been electrical in nature but he says it is under investigation.

Chief Reck reports that there was fairly extensive damage.

He says they used 500 or fewer gallons of water to fight the fire, and the 23 firefighters who responded were on scene for about a half an hour.

March 21, 2018 - 4:45 pm - Posted in News

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Rock Rapids, Iowa — Ground is going to be broken on Friday (March 23rd) for the second of two brand new medical facilities being built in Rock Rapids.

The ground was broken last summer on the new Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital – Avera, which will be in the southwest part of town. Now the ground is being broken for the new Sanford Rock Rapids clinic, which is to be built in northwest Rock Rapids.

We talked to Eric Hilmoe, who is the vice president for operations for Sanford Health Network. He says the building, at the corner of Highway 9 and Buncombe Drive will serve as both a medical clinic and a location for outpatient procedures.

He says if you’ve seen the Sanford clinics in Sioux Falls, the outside look will be similar to that, with a central tower-like feature.

Hilmoe says that all of the physicians and primary care providers currently at Sanford Rock Rapids have committed to relocating to the new facility.

He tells us a number of services will be offered at the new clinic in addition to primary care, and that the Sanford specialists who come to Rock Rapids now will provide care at the new facility.

Hilmoe says Sanford is making a significant investment in Rock Rapids with the facility, which is estimated to cost in the area of $5 million. He says they hope to complete the facility by Spring 2019.

Friday’s groundbreaking will take place at 9:30 a.m. at the building site in northwest Rock Rapids.

Photo caption: Artist’s rendering of Sanford clinic to be built in Rock Rapids

Sheldon, Iowa – Rick Rapids, Iowa — Maintainer Custom Bodies, or MCB, in Rock Rapids, a subsidiary of Maintainer Corporation of Iowa, has partnered with a country singer/songwriter to release a music video of the artist’s song, Big Red Truck (A Firefighter’s Life) this Thursday morning.

MCB manufactures various emergency apparatus, including fire trucks. Maintainer Marketing Manager Todd Karolczak says MCB approached the artist, John Riggins, about the idea of a music video.

Karolczak says MCB partnered with an Ohio fire department to have one of their trucks, which had been built by MCB, appear prominently in the video.

He says the video will launch at 10:00 Thursday (March 22nd).

In addition to the release of the video for Big Red Truck (A Firefighters Life), Karolczak says Riggins will be performing in MCB’s booth at the FDIC In Indianapolis in late April.

For more information, visit

While the video will be rolled out Thursday morning, in the meantime you can get a sneak peak below.

March 19, 2018 - 4:28 pm - Posted in News

Lyon County, Iowa — A West Lyon student faces harrassment charges following the investigation into an alleged threat toward another student.

Lyon County authorities say they were contacted last week by the West Lyon School to investigate an alleged threat of a serious nature after they received information that a student had made a verbal threat towards another student. Authorities say this threat was allegedly made after the Florida school shooting.

Deputies say they arrested a juvenile, who is a student at West Lyon, late last week, on a charge of 1st Degree Harrassment, which is an Aggravated Midemeanor.

According to authorities, the juvenile was released to their parents.

March 19, 2018 - 3:55 pm - Posted in News

Spirit Lake, Iowa — A Spirit Lake Republican has officially entered the race for State Senator, District 1.

Spirit Lake native Zach Whiting says that he has now filed the paperwork to run in the Republican primary and is running to be the “true conservative, Republican alternative to incumbent David Johnson.” Johnson, the incumbent, suspended his membership in the Republican party in June 2016.

Whiting says that in 2017, he visited every community in District 1, knocked on several thousand doors, walked in eleven parades, and regularly attended community activities, events, and meetings across the district.

He says that as we draw closer to the June 5th election, he will, “continue to fight for the people of District 1 to lower taxes and spending, reduce burdensome regulations, grow the economy and create good paying jobs for all Iowans, support farmers and the agricultural industry, protect [Iowa’s] valuable natural resources, support high-quality education and school choice, and promote traditional family values.”

Iowa Senate District 1 includes all of Lyon, Osceola, Dickinson, Clay, and Palo Alto Counties in Northwest Iowa. The Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, June 5, 2018.

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Rock Rapids, Iowa — Construction continues 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.

He says construction is right on schedule, if not a little ahead at this time. He tells us what is planned in the next few months.

Brockmueller says landscaping will be done at the end of the fall of this year. He says they’re still on schedule to have the facility completed in early 2019.

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 what will be done with the current hospital and clinic building. Hospital board president James Vander Woude says they’re not sure if it will be possible to remodel the facility into some other type of building, so it may have to be demolished, but that decision has not yet been made.

Vander Woude says the George Clinic will be operated by Avera when the new lease becomes effective. MPCH owns the George clinic and it is part of the new Avera lease. He says he does not know what the fate of the Sanford Fitness Center will be. That facility opened several years ago in a portion of the old Central Lyon High School — now called the Central Lyon Activities Center. He says that currently, Sanford Health has a lease with Central Lyon Schools.

Meanwhile, Sanford Health will be breaking ground on a new clinic in northwest Rock Rapids on Friday, March 23rd.

March 13, 2018 - 1:13 pm - Posted in News

Little Rock, Iowa — A Harrisburg, SD teen was taken to a hospital after a crash east of Little Rock on Saturday morning, March 10th, 2018.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 11:10 a.m., 16-year-old Violet Rose Den Hoed of Harrisburg, SD was driving a 2011 Dodge Avenger eastbound on Highway 9 near the Osceola/Lyon County line. They report that 67-year-old David Marvin Amendt of Sutherland was driving westbound on 9 in a 2012 Volkswagen Jetta.

According to the deputy’s report, Amendt lost control of his vehicle, which started to spin into the eastbound lane. Den Hoed attempted to avoid the Amendt vehicle but they ended up colliding in the middle of the roadway.

The Den Hoed Avenger broadsided the Jetta as Amendt attempted to regain control of the vehicle. The Amendt Jetta entered the north ditch and the Den Hoed Avenger was left disabled in the middle of the roadway.

The Little Rock Ambulance took Den Hoed to the Osceola Community Hospital in Sibley.

The Sheriff’s Office says Den Hoed’s Avenger received about $6,000 in damage and Amendt’s Jetta received about $5,000 in damage.

Amendt was not injured and was cited on a charge of Failure to Maintain Control.

The Little Rock Fire Department assisted other responders on the scene.

March 9, 2018 - 3:28 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Have you noticed that the sun is coming up earlier in the morning and staying up later at night? The longer days are a sure sign that spring is on the way. The days are about to seem even longer at sunset, however.

Daylight Saving Time returns at 2:00 a.m. this Sunday morning, March 11th. You’ll have to turn your clocks AHEAD one hour if you don’t want to be an hour late for church on Sunday morning.

Daylight Saving Time is 100 years old this year. The law authorizing Daylight Saving Time was signed into law on March 15th, 1918 with the Calder Act, which was implemented to help conserve fuel during WWI. It’s been modified several times, including year-round “War Time” during WWII. The latest modification happened 11 years ago. While it was called the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and extended Daylight Saving Time by four weeks, it actually didn’t take effect until 2007.

Fire safety experts remind us that as long as you’re going around your house changing clocks, you might as well take some batteries with you on your journey around the house and change out your smoke alarm batteries as well.

Fire safety experts say that not only should you have smoke alarms installed on every floor of your home but in every bedroom as well. The U.S. Fire Administration says that you should change the batteries at least every year unless the alarms are over ten years old. If that’s the case, the whole alarm should be replaced.

March 9, 2018 - 3:13 pm - Posted in News

George, Iowa — A George man was taken to the hospital after an accident in George on Tuesday, March 6th.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that around noon, 65-year-old Herman Christians of George was driving a 2003 Pontiac Grand Prix eastbound on West Dakota Street in George. They say that 54-year-old Vincent Luitjens of George was driving a 1984 International dump truck owned by the City of George and was northbound on North Baldwin Street.

We’re told that Luitjens was unable to stop the dump truck at the stop sign due to the road conditions, and struck the Christians Pontiac.

The Lyon County Ambulance took Christians to Sanford Rock Rapids Hospital.

The Sheriff’s Office says the George Fire Department and George Emergency Medical Service also assisted at the scene.