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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November 16, 2018 - 4:50 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — Three northwest Iowa business projects were given prize money for placing in the annual Dream Big Grow Here entrepreneur contest held on Thursday night in Sheldon. And one of them is from right here in O’Brien County.

Economic development professionals in the area, who organize the contest say that the Dream Big Grow Here contest is an opportunity for entrepreneurs and small business owners to fulfill their dreams of self-employment or expansion of their current business. The contest allows entrepreneurs the chance to submit their dreams to start or expand a business, then encourage friends, family, and customers to vote for them online. The finalists presented their ideas to an audience and judges at Thursday’s pitch-off event at the Crossroads Pavilion in Sheldon for a chance to win thousands in cash prizes.

Entrepreneurs in Cherokee, Lyon, Monona, O’Brien, Osceola, Plymouth, Sioux and Woodbury counties were eligible to submit their business or startup ideas, says Sheldon Development Director Curt Strouth.

He tells us the winners.

Strouth says between 50 and 60 people attended the event. He says if you run a business or you’d like to start one, keep an eye out for the contest next year.

According to Strouth you can call him at the SCDC at 712-324-2813 or an economic development professional in your community for more information.

November 16, 2018 - 4:46 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Thanksgiving is coming up, and many of us are getting ready to roast the bird, make the sides, and sit down to a feast with family and friends. However, sometimes people have nowhere to go for Thanksgiving or have no one to share it with. There are meals planned in the area for just such a situation.

Besides the annual meal served at the First Reformed Church in Sheldon on Thanksgiving, there are others throughout the area.

A Thanksgiving Day CommUNITY Meal will be held Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 22, 2018 at Living Water Community Church in Orange City (next to the Dollar General Store). Turkey and all the trimmings will be served from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Everyone is invited, and it’s free. No pre-registration is needed, just show up at the church on Thanksgiving.

This free meal is made possible through donations from community churches, businesses, families, and individuals. They tell us that every year they need people to donate pies, turkeys and turkey bakers, bags of fresh cranberries; roasters, and grocery items. They also need people to serve and clean up. They say they could also use your financial donations. Please call /text Ronda Noteboom @ 712-548-3755 or or Sandie Vant Hof @ 712-230-0537 or if you can help.

Rides, take-out, and delivery are all available. Call Ronda or Sandie or the church at 712-707-5100. Food donations for the community food pantry will also be accepted at the event.

In Rock Rapids, the free community Thanksgiving meal is at the First Reformed Church on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2018 at noon. You can register by leaving a message or talking to someone at the First Reformed Church Office at 712-472-3729 by this Sunday, November 18th. If you need a ride, just provide your address and phone number, so someone can pick you up. Home delivery is also available.

Other communities also have free Thanksgiving meals. Find out more by calling your chamber or a local church.

Statewide Iowa — Iowa’s unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level in nearly 19 years. Iowa Workforce Development spokesman Cory Kelly says the state’s jobless rate in October dipped to 2.4 percent.

Only Hawaii, at 2.3 percent, has a lower unemployment rate than Iowa.

The IWD report shows the construction and manufacturing sectors are responsible for the bulk of Iowa’s job growth since October of 2017.

According to Kelly, construction added 1,600 jobs last month and has now recorded nine consecutive months of job gains. Iowa manufacturers added 1,900 jobs in October.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,647,100 in October. That’s an increase of 21,300 compared to one year ago.

Kelly says there was job growth in several areas.

The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 3.7 percent in October.

The latest NOT seasonally-adjusted county-by-county unemployment figures available are those for the month of September. According to Iowa Workforce Development, that month, Lyon and Sioux counties tied for the lowest unemployment in the state, at 1.2 percent. O’Brien and Plymouth weren’t far behind, tied for fifth place at 1.6 percent with five other counties. Osceola was tied for sixth place with nine other counties at 1.7 percent.

On the other end of the scale were Marshall and Lee counties at 3.7 percent, and Wapello County bringing up the rear with four percent unemployment.

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November 16, 2018 - 3:01 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — Whatever the weather, Iowa’s highways will be humming with heavy traffic next weekend as people head off to be with loved ones and to share a Thanksgiving feast.

Nick Jarmusz, spokesman for Triple-A-Iowa, says they’re forecasting a near-five percent boost in travel for the long holiday weekend, what promises to be the busiest Thanksgiving since 2005.

Gasoline prices have dipped substantially in recent weeks, which is welcome news before Iowans fill up their tanks.

Consumers have plenty for which to be thankful this holiday season, including higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth, Jarmusz says. Plus, those lower prices at the pump.

In most cases, he says the best days to travel will be Thanksgiving Day, Friday or Saturday. Drivers will likely see increased travel times on Sunday, Jarmusz says, as most holiday travelers will be making their way home after the long weekend.

November 16, 2018 - 12:00 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — The fees for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses in Iowa will soon increase. A legislative committee has given final approval to the license fee increases, which were proposed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources staff.

That’s Bruce Trautman, the acting director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. It’s been 15 years since the state license fee for fishing was raised, as Republican lawmakers have vowed NOT to raise state taxes OR fees. So…Iowa legislators recently handed over authority to DNR staff to set hunting, fishing and trapping license fees. The fees go into the state’s Fish and Wildlife Fund and are used on staff salaries and to do things like improve wildlife habitat and run the state’s fish hatcheries. Trautman says the new fees won’t take effect until next year.

There’s been a growing reliance on FEES to run the DNR. The amount of GENERAL state tax dollars budgeted for the agency is less than half of what it was a decade ago. Sporting groups lobbied for the increase in hunting, fishing and trapping license fees for several years.

Rock Rapids, Iowa — The Rock Rapids City Council met in regular session on Tuesday, November 13th at the Forster Community Center.

In the public comments portion of the meeting, those concerned with the public garden asked for clarification of getting water to the gardens. It appears as though the Rock Rapids Municipal Utilities will provide a garden hose connection from a nearby fire hydrant for now, with the possibility of installing a farm hydrant at some point. None of this was voted on by the council.

The former police station, which has been leased to Tangles by Becky for several years will soon be used only for storage by the City. Council members state that there are safety issues, and they felt it would be best to stop leasing out the building. Tangles will be moving into a different building on the north side of First Avenue.

The council approved permanent and temporary easements for the North Union Street bridge project, which will happen next year. This concerns the bridge on North Union Street over Moon Creek, north of Denny’s Sanitation and Moon Creek Vet Clinic.

Council members also agreed that the city will purchase part of the former Rock Island Railroad right-of-way in that area and some property on both sides of Moon Creek for bridge construction now, and possibly a recreational trail in future. The segment of the creek and right-of-way is from North Union Street to North Boone Street. The city paid Hawkeye Land Company $15,000 for the property.

The council also noted the following schedule from DGR Engineering for the construction going on on South Story Street from First Avenue to South Third Avenue:

Tuesday 11/13:
Contractor preparing sidewalk pours on the west side of both blocks.

Wednesday 11/14:
a. Pave the 2nd Avenue tie-in to Story Street.
b. Pave sidewalk & driveway south of Dollar Store.
c. Pave sidewalk north of former DeNoble office.

Thursday 11/15:
a. Pave East half of Story Street.
b. Pave sidewalk in front of entrance to Dollar Store in the afternoon.
c. Prep sidewalk paving for remainder of Dollar Store
d. Begin street sawing.

Friday 11/16:
a. Pave most of the remaining west side sidewalk.
b. finish street sawing.

Possible schedule for the week of November 18th:

Monday 11/19:
a. Begin preparing for east 2nd Avenue, 3rd Avenue and Hwy. 9 tie-ins
b. Pave remaining west side sidewalk.

Tuesday 11/20:
Prepare for sidewalk paving of the east side of Story Street on the north block.

Wednesday 11/21:
a. Pave 2nd Avenue tie-in east.
b. Pave east side sidewalk.

In other action, the council acknowledged the receipt of Riverboat Grant funding of $2,376 for Kiwanis concession stand equipment and $28,960 for a traffic signal override; transferred non-competitive Riverboat funds; and approved the annual financial report, the annual urban renewal report, and the annual TIF certifications.

The concession stand equipment will include a new refrigerator, a new popcorn machine, and a new hot dog machine. The traffic signal override device will listen for approaching sirens and will give a green light for the emergency vehicle and a red light for traffic coming from the three other directions.

They were going to go into closed session to discuss the collective bargaining agreement concerning city employees, but the person to whom they were going to speak was unavailable.

The council then approved the consent agenda and adjourned for the evening. The next regular meeting of the Rock Rapids City Council will be Monday, November 26th at 5:45 p.m. at the Forster Community Center.

November 15, 2018 - 3:16 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — A federal survey ranks Iowa number-four in the country for volunteerism, with more than 40-percent of Iowans donating their time, well above the national average of around 30-percent.

Barbara Stewart, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, says from religious groups to educational endeavors, Iowans are very generous with their giving.

Iowa’s fourth-place ranking this year is up six positions from the previous survey in 2016. The report finds Iowans donated more than 75-million hours of their time with an economic impact of nearly $2-billion. While many Iowans donate their time through organizations, many others take part in what’s considered “informal volunteering,” which may just be lending a hand to the person next door.

While Iowa ranks fourth overall for volunteerism, the state ranks third in Millennial participation and second in the nation for parental engagement.

The study also finds 55-percent of Iowans donate at least 25-dollars to charity, while the average Iowan donates 34 hours of time every year. Only Utah, Minnesota and Oregon rank higher than Iowa on the Volunteering in America report, while the bottom three states are Nevada, Mississippi and Florida. Learn more about how to volunteer in your own community at

November 15, 2018 - 3:04 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — Iowans elected Joni Ernst to the U.S. Senate in 2014 and her GOP colleagues have just elected her vice chair of the Senate Republican Conference.

It’s the first time since 2010 that a woman has been elected by her fellow Republicans to serve in a leadership role in the senate.

As vice chair, Ernst will be a leading messenger for the GOP agenda in the senate. In addition, she’ll be a liaison between rank-and-file members of the senate and the top GOP leaders.

Ernst was elected Wednesday during a private meeting of the Republicans who’ll be serving in the U.S. Senate in January. Ernst told the group she is a “fierce competitor.”

Ernst says as a result, she may be better than her male colleagues at connecting with key constituencies.

Ernst indicated she’ll use her new role to push Iowa-specific issues.

Ernst is likely to be seeking re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2020 and this new position will give her a more visible national profile.

Republican Chuck Grassley, the other U.S. Senator from Iowa, will be the Republican with the longest tenure when the Senate convenes in January. Grassley will become the Senate President Pro Tempore because of that seniority. As senate president pro tem, Grassley will be third in the line of presidential succession, behind the vice president and the speaker of the U.S. House.

Statewide Iowa — Flags in Iowa will fly at half-staff this Friday, in honor of a fallen U.S. Navy sailor.

Governor Kim Reynolds has ordered all flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset Friday, in honor of Navy Carpenter’s Mate 3rd Class William L. Kvidera, of Traer, who was killed in action on December 7, 1941, when the USS Oklahoma was attacked by Japanese aircraft at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

The 22-year old Kvidera’s remains were accounted for on July 3rd of this year.  After nearly seventy-seven years, he has now been brought back home to his final resting place.

Flags will be flown at half-staff on the State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol Complex, as well as on all public buildings, grounds and facilities throughout the state.

Governor Reynolds encourages individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions to fly the flag at half-staff Friday, as well, as a sign of respect for this fallen hero.

November 14, 2018 - 2:02 pm - Posted in News

Spirit Lake, Iowa — A state representative from our area will be in a leadership position in the Iowa House of Representatives when the legislature meets in January.

Republican State Representative John Wills of Spirit Lake has been elected by fellow House Republicans as the House Majority Whip.

Prior to being elected Whip, Wills had served as an Assistant House Leader since 2015. He was first elected to the Iowa House in 2014.

He tells us about the appointment.

Wills explains the “chain of command” in the House.

According to Wills, he will continue to represent the people of the first district (that’s Lyon, Osceola, and the northern part of Dickinson counties) the same as in the past.

Wills says that he’s excited to “continue working for the people of Iowa to grow the economy, strengthen our schools, and make our state an even better place to raise a family.” The 2019 legislative session begins Monday, January 14.