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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November 16, 2019 - 9:27 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — Researchers at Iowa State University are working to develop a glove to better protect firefighters from extreme heat while also allowing their fingers to remain agile.

Professor Guowen Song, who runs ISU’s Labs for Functional Textiles and Protective Clothing, says many first responders use gloves made with a thick, bulky material that protects the hand but limits comfort and dexterity.

Thanks to a one-point-five million dollar grant from the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Song’s team on the Ames campus is working to improve the safety and function of heat-protection gloves.

Studies find the gloves now being used by many firefighters cause them to lose more than 50-percent of their manual dexterity.

A better, safer glove is just the beginning. In the next stage, Song says ISU researchers want to apply what they learn to other types of protective first responders’ gear, including boots and helmets.

Photo: ISU Professor Guowen Song – Photo courtesy Iowa State University

November 16, 2019 - 5:42 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — A report from a non-profit group shows nearly one in ten Iowa babies were born pre-term this year. That’s up from 9-point-2 percent last year and is the highest rate in a decade. Plus, the rate is much higher for babies born to black mothers.

Stacey Stewart, president of the March of Dimes, says one reason for the disparity is that research shows black women often report they don’t feel as respected in health care settings.

The March of Dimes report gave Iowa a “C” grade. Stewart says pre-mature births are linked to a number of health issues for children.

While the state’s overall pre-term birth rate is nine-point-nine percent, it shows the rate is 33-percent higher for black women.

November 16, 2019 - 5:39 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — “Iowa’s Ride”, the new bicycle ride across Iowa, organized by a group of former RAGBRAI staff members, has opted to change the date, and direction, of this summer’s inaugural event.

In a social media post, ride organizers say they have heard from many cycling teams who were concerned that with the competing border-to-border rides scheduled for the same week, it was dividing long-standing cycling teams. Organizers of Iowa’s Ride say in their social media post that this type of situation was never their intent, nor is it good for anyone who just wants to ride their bike.

Saying they “want to do the right thing” for riders in Iowa, organizers of Iowa’s Ride decided to change the dates and directions for their 2020 ride. As a result, organizers say Iowa’s Ride will begin Sunday, July 12th and end on Saturday, July 18th, the week BEFORE the RAGBRAI ride. In addition, Iowa’s Ride will start on the eastern edge of Iowa in a Mississippi River town and travel west, ending seven days later in Western Iowa. 

Their social media post goes on to apologize to those who have scheduled around the original week and will be disappointed by the group’s decision. They say they’ll refund 100% of those entry fees if they request since they no longer wish to do the ride.

November 15, 2019 - 3:52 pm - Posted in News

Sioux City, Iowa — The winner of a regional entrepreneur contest is a boutique in Sibley.

People from across the region gathered in Sioux City, on Thursday evening, November 14th to attend the Northwest Iowa Regional Dream Big Grow Here pitch competition to determine the recipients of $7,000 in grant funds and to support entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout the region. Organizers of the competition say they are pleased to announce that Grace Boutique from Sibley was the first-place winner and recipient of $4,000.

Grace Boutique says they provide a boutique experience shopping for women’s and men’s name brand clothing, and decorative household and furniture items at an affordable price. Grace Boutique owner, Melinda Nasers says she has a goal of expanding her consignment store to offer more for her customers. Nasers says her grant funds will be used to increase the consignment store’s footprint, purchase retail display fixtures and racks for the new space, and develop a website to sell items online. She says that will allow Grace Boutique the ability to expand the product lines offered, to include infant and children’s clothing, as well as expand the number of days the store is open during the week.

The other winners were Brightside Café & Deli from Sioux City, which was awarded second place and $2,000, and Awaken Yoga from Le Mars, which was awarded third place and $1,000. These funds are provided to the business owners to help expand their businesses in northwest Iowa.

The other Dream Big Grow Here finalists who pitched on November 14th were Daniel Stillson with SnSLabz from Rock Rapids and James VanVeldhuizen and John Emerick with Northwest Iowa Firearms from Hull.

Photo caption: Grace Boutique owner Melinda Nasers and judges
Photo courtesy Northwest Iowa Development

Hawarden, Iowa — Rural Homes in and near the Big Sioux River area of Sioux County will be able to take advantage of high-speed internet via fiber optics, thanks in part to a grant announced on Friday at a farm near Hawarden.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey was on hand on Friday morning to announce that the USDA has invested $7.2 million in high-speed broadband infrastructure that will create or improve rural e-Connectivity for rural households and farms in Iowa and South Dakota. Premier Communications Sales and Marketing Manager, Scott Te Stroete tells us more.

Northey says, “Technology and innovation are key in meeting the growing demand in agriculture. Our mission to increase rural prosperity cannot be achieved without addressing the digital divide our rural communities face because of a lack of high-speed broadband Internet.”

Te Stroete says it will be a fiber-to-the-premises broadband network capable of simultaneous transmission rates of one-gigabit upload and download speeds. The funded service areas include 868 households, 17 businesses and 27 farms.

Te Stroete tells us where the project will take place.

He says it’s a multi-million-dollar project.

According to Te Stroete, the towns of Westfield and Chatsworth will also receive high-speed fiber optic capability. The towns of Akron and Hawarden, which are also in the area already have that capability, says Te Strote. He gives us an idea of the timeline of the project.

He says this area is one of the last parts of their service area to receive these types of internet speeds.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds was also on hand for the announcement. She emphasized the importance of investing in infrastructure projects, such as this, especially those that improve rural connectivity.

November 15, 2019 - 2:49 pm - Posted in News

Little Rock, Iowa — Two semi-tractors were destroyed and another one was damaged in a fire on Friday morning, November 15, 2019, near Little Rock.

According to Little Rock Assistant Fire Chief Tom Ver Steeg, about 6:10 a.m., the Little Rock Fire Department was called to the report of an accident and truck fire in the 1400 block of Jefferson Avenue, at Mulder Implement’s lot, seven miles west of Little Rock or six miles south of Ellsworth, Minnesota. Ver Steeg says it turned out that there was no accident, just a fire.

The assistant chief says the fire department saw one truck was completely destroyed and two others were on fire as they approached the scene. He says they used water and foam to fight the fire.

Assistant Chief Ver Steeg says no injuries were reported.

He says the cause of the fire did not seem suspicious, but the cause is undetermined.

Assistant Chief Ver Steeg reports that there was extensive damage, totaling two of the trucks and damaging a third.

He says the 13-14 firefighters who responded were on the scene for about two hours.

November 15, 2019 - 1:49 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — One of the first couple of flu-related deaths of the 2019-2020 flu season was someone from northwest Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Public Health doesn’t specify what they consider “northwest Iowa,” and they don’t identify the person, except to say she was an elderly northwest Iowa woman over the age of 81. Another person — an older woman between 61 and 80 years of age from central Iowa also died recently from flu-related causes. Both women had underlying conditions or contributing factors, according to the health department.

They tell us that flu activity in Iowa has increased to local spread this week, indicating that the virus is present in Iowa communities. IDPH Medical Director Dr. Caitlin Pedati says these deaths are an unfortunate reminder that flu can be a serious illness. She says that the flu virus does have the potential to cause severe illness and death, especially in the very young, very old, or those who have underlying health conditions. She says, “This is a great time to get the flu vaccine to prevent yourself and your loved ones from becoming sick before flu activity increases further.”

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that essentially everyone over 6 months of age should receive the flu vaccine. It takes up to two weeks after vaccination for the body to achieve full benefit against the flu virus.

The health department says the flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses. Symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, and body aches. Illness typically lasts two to seven days and often puts healthy people in bed for days.

To learn more about influenza in Iowa, visit The health department suggests that you contact your health care provider or local health department to find out where the vaccine is available in your community or use the Flu Vaccine Finder at

November 14, 2019 - 12:17 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — Even though RiseFest 2020 is several months away, Rise Ministries, the parent organization behind the annual RiseFest Christian Music Festival, has made a couple of announcements about RiseFest 2020.

Lee Stover is Marketing Director for Rise Ministries, and he says the 2020 festival has been returned to the third weekend in June.

Rise Ministries founder and president Rob Roozeboom says the Ticket PriceSlide is being brought back for RiseFest 2020.

The PriceSlide is something RiseFest used for the first time last year, and Roozeboom says the inaugural PriceSlide went very well.

Stover calls the PriceSlide a “fun way to get people excited” about buying their RiseFest tickets early.

Roozeboom says the first artist announcement for RiseFest 2020 will me coming soon.

Again, to take advantage of the reduced ticket prices, follow this link to the Rise Ministries website. But remember, the PriceSlide ends at midnight November 30th.

November 14, 2019 - 10:26 am - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — A group of local dignitaries were on hand to cut the ribbon at the new Advanced Manufacturing Center at Northwest Iowa Community College.

Sheldon Mayor Greg Geels kicked off the ceremony, saying her was very impressed with the new facility.

Development Director Curt Strouth talked of the importance of a skilled workforce here in northwest Iowa.

Sheldon Ambassadors Chairman Skip Tanner presented a special plaque in honor of the ribbon cutting.

Steve Waldstein is Dean of Applied Technology at NCC, and oversees the Electrical Programs, Manufacturing Programs and Transport Programs at the college, and he says the Advanced Manufacturing Center planning began about two years ago.

Waldstein called the new Advanced Manufacturing Center is a unique program for Northwest Iowa Community College.

The new Advanced Manufacturing Center at NCC is comprised of an Idea Lab, a Manufacturing Lab, newly remodeled Welding Lab, and CAD, or Computer-Aided Drafting, Lab.

KIWA Staff Photo

November 13, 2019 - 3:27 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. Organizers of the meals say that everyone is welcome.

For most of these meals, pre-registration is required, so we’re telling you about them now so that you have a chance to sign up before the deadline.

In Sheldon, there will be a free Community Thanksgiving Dinner served for anyone who would like a traditional meal. It will be at the First Reformed Church in Sheldon on Thanksgiving Day, November 28th, 2019 at noon. If you’d like to go, you need to reserve your spot by Friday, November 22nd. Organizers ask you to call Wendy at the church office at 712-324-2130 for a reservation. They also say that if you need a ride, just provide your address and phone number, so someone can pick you up.

In Sibley, the First Presbyterian Church is the place for the Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. It too will be served on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 28th at 12:00 noon. The church is located at 601 6th Avenue in Sibley, and the meal will be served in the Fellowship Hall. They emphasize not to sit at home, but to join your friends and neighbors in giving thanks. They also say that there is no charge, and no freewill offering will be taken. At Sibley, the meal is only for those who eat it at the church, except that take-outs will be permitted for those who are homebound.

In Orange City, they’re calling their free Thanksgiving meal a “Thanksgiving Day CommUNITY Meal.” It will be served at Living Water Community Church from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Take-out, delivery, and rides to the meal are all available. They’d like you to call 712-707-5100 to let them know you plan to come. They’re also looking for food donations and volunteers to help with the meal.

In Rock Rapids, the free Community Thanksgiving Dinner will be served at the First Reformed Church on Thanksgiving Day at noon for anyone who would like a traditional meal. Rides to and from the church can be provided. Just provide your address and phone number when you call for your reservation so they know where to pick you up. Home delivery is also available. Reservations are needed and may be made by calling the Rock Rapids Chamber of Commerce at 712-472-3456 or the Rock Rapids First Reformed Church at 712-472-3729 by Sunday, November 24th.

Staff photo