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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Statewide Iowa — State officials report there now are nearly 200 cases of COVID-19 in Linn County, and the latest death in the state is of an elderly Linn County resident over the age of 81.

By Tuesday night, 122 patients were being treated at Iowa hospitals for COVID-19. That’s been a recent double-digit increase in the number of reported hospitalizations, but Sarah Reisetter of the Iowa Department of Public Health says that’s partly because of new reporting guidelines.

(As above) “Previously we had been asking public health agencies to follow up with patients to determine hospitalization status,” Reisetter says. “Over the course of the last weekend, we put out a mandatory reporting order and we’re asking hospitals to report that information to us directly.” 

Reisetter says that means the information is more up-to-date. Testing has identified a total of 11-hundred-45 positive cases of COVID-19 in Iowa.

April 8, 2020 - 3:08 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — With the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down a wide range of businesses and attractions, people in northwest Iowa are thinking outside the box in order to provide their goods and services and still comply with the COVID-19 guidelines.

One of those entities in the Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center at Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon. LLRC Director, Dr. Greta Giese says they have found new ways to help their clients keep connected, healthy and well during the COVID-19 period.

(As above) “We’ve been trying to harness our social media and the worldwide web to keep everybody engaged and inspired and connected and most importantly healthy and well during this difficult time.”

Giese says she urges you to check out the LLRC’s various social media presences, and see what they have for you during this time.

As above) “I would encourage everybody that can, if you’re on Facebook, to follow along with our efforts. We have myself, and many of the LLRC instructors and trainers. Our assistant recreation coordinator Aaron Swenson, we’re all working on sharing workout videos and inspiration so that everyone can keep their wellness efforts moving forward.”

She talks about the kinds of things you’ll find.

(As above) “We’re working on putting together videos that they can follow along with, we’ve done some Zoom classes so that people can still get together virtually and  exercise as a virtual group, and then we always record those and post those on our social media sites, as well.”

Giese says they’re posting to the LLRC’s YouTube channel, as well.

(As above) “We put some videos up on our YouTube channel and please keep looking for new fun ideas just to keep people engaged and connected. Right now is not the time to skip our health habit. Right now is the time to rely on those healthy habits and to help them make us stronger so we can we can all come out of this on the good side.”

She says live online classes are also now available via Zoom.

(As above) “Right now on the schedule we have four classes that are meeting via Zoom every week. On Mondays at nine thirty we have stretch and flex, so it’s a flexibility and stretching class. On Tuesdays at nine thirty we meet via Zoom for strength and balance. And then Wednesdays at nine thirty we’re doing abs and core, and then Thursdays at nine thirty we have a high-intensity interval training workout. And all of those are trying are taught by a certified, experienced personal trainer.

Giese says everyone at the LLRC misses you, and wants to help you stick to your healthy habits.

The links below will take you to the LLRC’s various social media platforms:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NWICC.LLRC/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NCCRecCenter

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nwicc.llrc/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz-dy_-xCFMvwV6du4_rQ2A

 

Sheldon, Iowa — Normally, firefighters, other first responders, and volunteer storm spotters would be getting their annual chance to find out more about severe storms out at Northwest Iowa Community College. But due to the pandemic, groups of that size are not allowed to meet. But that doesn’t mean that there will be no storm watch training this year in northwest Iowa.

We talked to Warning Coordination Meteorologist Peter Rogers at the National Weather Service’s Sioux Falls Office. He’s the guy who normally does the training. He says this year, things will be handled somewhat differently.

(as said:) “So in a normal year, we have several in-person classes that are held throughout the region for people to learn more about severe weather, ways to identify severe weather, and report that information back to us at the National Weather Service. But because of the coronavirus those classes have been canceled for the season. Depending on how things go, we might be able to reschedule some of those later spring or even some time this summer but in the interim, we are right now exploring some virtual options if people are interested in that they can go visit our website at weather.gov/SiouxFalls. People will be able to find information on how to get into those.”

If you’d like to register for online storm spotter training, just click here.

Iowa City, Iowa — (RI) — A clinical trial for an experimental COVID-19 drug is now underway at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The hospital started enrolling patients last week to try Remdesivir. There have been promising results in lab tests, but it’s still not clear how safe or effective the drug is for people.

Dr. Dilek Ince, a clinical professor of Infectious Diseases at the university, is leading the research team at the hospital.

(As above) “In actual lab trials, in lab studies it’s shown to be very potent, very effective against multiple coronaviruses, including…SARS-coronavirus-2, the virus that causes COVID-19,” she says.

There are currently no FDA-approved drugs to specifically treat COVID-19. In the meantime, physicians and patients around the world are testing experimental treatments. Hospitalized patients can qualify the trial if they don’t have certain liver or kidney issues. Ince says patients are willing to try it, but they have questions.

(As above) “Is it really going to help me? That’s hard to know, right?” Ince says. “So that’s why we tell them, ‘You know, under lab conditions it seems like this drug should help you, but that’s why we need the clinical trials because in the real world, we do not if it’s really going to help.'”

Patients who agree to participate in the trial will be given the drug being tested or a placebo for up to 10 days.

Little Rock, Iowa — The Little Rock Fire Department also responded to a grass fire, that on Saturday. Assistant Chief Tom Ver Steeg says someone was burning fence lines at 4397 140th Street, two miles west of Little Rock, when the fire got away from them and started burning a pasture. Ver Steeg says they got it out with a grass rig and water. He says only about a half an acre of pasture was burned, and firefighters were at that fire for about a half an hour.

April 7, 2020 - 3:50 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — One of President Trump’s top public health advisers spoke with the governors of Iowa and Nebraska Monday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said late last week that he did not know why all states’ governors weren’t issuing shelter-in-place orders. This is what he said early Monday evening.

(As above) “When I had mentioned that, I think there was a public response that they weren’t really doing anything at all,” Fauci said, “and they really are doing a very good job — both of them.”

Fauci made his comments during the president’s news conference at the White House. Reynolds tweeted about her conversation with Fauci, saying the doctor told her and Nebraska’s governor they are on the same page with federal guidelines. Fauci offered this analysis of Iowa and Nebraska’s COVID-19 closures:

(As above) “Just because they don’t have a very strict stay-at-home order, they have in place a lot of things that are totally compatible with what everyone else is doing.” 

Governor Reynolds describes Fauci as “100 percent supportive” of the proclamations, orders and decisions she’s made thus far in the pandemic. The Reynolds Administration is using a rating system to chart the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak in each of six regions of the state. On Monday, it showed a large section of southeast Iowa was within one point of reaching the level at which Reynolds would order a regional shelter-in-place order.

April 7, 2020 - 3:39 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — The application period for Iowa’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has been extended through May 31st as part of the coronavirus Public Health Disaster Emergency.

State LIHEAP Bureau Chief Christine Taylor says you sign up through your local community action agency.

(As above) “They can find their local outreach office through our website at Human Rights-dot-Iowa-dot-gov (humanrighs.iowa.gov),” Taylor says.

Taylor says the applications have been slow as people adjusted to the COVID-19 restrictions.

(As above) “We are finding that more folks are begining to reach out — which is encouraging, we do want them to — because although right now the moratorium is in effect — which means their electric and natural gas cannot be turned off — those bills still accrue,” according to Taylor.

She says LIHEAP is based on income, and there are some rules for people who find themselves out of work or furloughed by the virus pandemic.

(As above) “People who have recently been laid off or their businesses have been closed — that means they’ve had a drastic change in their income,” Taylor says, “which means they may not have ever been eligible for our program before, but they are now. In addition to our regular heating season, we also have crisis funds available.”

Taylor says the are prepared for many new applications.

(As above) “We do anticipate a drastic increase in applications. Right now we have enough funds to handle those. We do anticipate getting additional supplemental funding from the government and should be able to help everyone who comes in,” Taylor says.

Taylor says the average payment from LIHEAP is 470 dollars, so you should pay what you can and work out a payment plan for when the moratorium is lifted.

(As above) )”contact your utility company, work with them, anything you can do to show that you are making an effort will go a long way,” she says.

She reminds everyone that there are many other types of assistance available that you can check out along with seeking food assistance.

(As above) “Such as food pantries, clothing pantries, and other emergency services,” she says. “So, when they reach out about LIHEAP, they should ask about other services as well.” 

You can find a link to information about your local community action agency by going to the Iowa Department of Human Rights’ website at https://humanrights.iowa.gov.

Northwest Iowa — According to the Iowa State Patrol, the number of speeders troopers are stopping for driving 100 mph or more has drastically increased drastically across the state of Iowa, even as traffic volume has decreased.

Iowa State Patrol Trooper Kevin Krull theorizes that the jump in excessive speeds may have come, at least partially, to the decline in traffic brought about by COVID-19 restrictions.

(As above) “The speed has really gone up in the state of Iowa and I don’t know if it’s the fact that there’s less vehicles out there getting in people’s way so they’re able to pick their speeds up, but we’ve noticed a drastic increase in people driving excessively fast, including a hundred mile an hour.”

Krull says during the first quarter of 2020, the Iowa State Patrol caught 196 people driving more than 100 mph, with March alone posting a 33% increase in the number of those drivers stopped for exceeding the century mark on their speedometers.

(As above) “That’s for January through March, actually March alone was ninety five people, one month, ninety five people When you start thinking about how much that cost and how dangerous that really is, it’s just mind boggling.”

He says those speeds are especially dangerous when you take into account that listed speed limits are set by the DOT, and are the speeds for which the roads are designed.

(As above) “You start increasing that speed it just throws a real big wrench into everything as far as one little movement on that steering wheel at a hundred miles an hour it is a lot different than the speed of fifty five which is the posted speed limit on most of these roadways where people are being stopped at excessive speeds like this.”

Krull tells us that, while the speeds are up, traffic volumes are down.

(As above) “We’re talking anywhere from thirty to fifty percent less car traffic out on the road, so people are doing their part and staying home with this and doing a good thing that way, but we just need people to understand that they need to slow down. Speed is still numb number one factor in our major crashes that we have on the roadways out there that are killing people.”

Trooper Krull says that with the jump in numbers of people driving 100 mph or more on Iowa roadways, he’d expect to see a corresponding jump in fatality numbers, but that hasn’t happened so far. He says that’s probably due to the fact that there have been fewer other cars for those with a heavy foot to hit.

Northwest Iowa — While it’s probably not really common around our area just yet, it could happen — the dumping of milk. And this during a time when some grocers’ coolers are low on milk. How can this be?

Those are the questions we asked of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Dairy Specialist Fred Hall. He says at first glance, it does seem to defy logic.

(as said:)”There has been milk that I’m aware of dumped in Nebraska and some in Minnesota and Wisconsin. To my knowledge there hasn’t been any dumped in South Dakota or Iowa. Now I would say it can happen and it likely will. Here’s the dichotomy we’re faced with. When the coronavirus hit it changed the marketplace completely. Milk that was destined for institutional use — hospitals and schools — that’s usually packaged specifically for those uses.”

He says it’s all about what product the production lines are set up to produce. He gives us some examples.

(as said:)”The butter pats you see in restaurants — they won’t repackage that. They’re not allowed to repackage it to make the traditional quarter-pound bars that we all buy and use at our house. Another example is if you’re a hospital and you’re putting milk into food trays you probably buy a 5-gallon reusable container for milk, fill the glass, and put it on the tray. You may use the small serving-size like schools use but ultimately those don’t go to the store because people traditionally want to buy gallons or half gallons. So once it’s in that system, it’s got a fairly short life. And if you’re set up as a process of doing that it’s real hard to transition.”

Hall also tells us that people were hoarding groceries, that “drained the pipeline.” Plus, he says that some of the plants are being hit by the coronavirus — either their line employees or truck and delivery personnel. He says all that plays a role in finding coolers not completely stocked with milk.

He says another issue is storage.

(as said:)”They just don’t have the storage or the time element to hold product indefinitely. With butter and cheese it’s a little better. But once those storage areas are full, they really can’t take any more milk. So they have to go back to the producer and say, ‘Here’s the option, you either have to reduce production or dump milk.’ The immediate way to reduce it is dumping milk. So that’s kind of a quick and dirty review of why we’re seeing an abundance of milk and pictures of it being dumped and yet some of the store shelves are empty.”

Hall says they’d ask people to continue to buy milk, and the store shelves should look more normal shortly. He does say that if dairy producers end up having to dump milk, they should make sure they measure that milk and report it to their creamery or coop so that it’s included in a federal market order report. He says if there ever would be a payment, it will have to be documented. He also advises dairy farmers to lock in some milk when prices improve, even just a little, and if it goes up again, you can lock in some more. He says it’s about “controlling the bleeding of the profit at this point.”

On the retail side, Hall predicts milk prices to stay the same in stores, but they hope the prices will rise on the farmer side, as costs are not being covered right now.

George, Iowa — An Ocheyedan man was taken to the hospital after an accident on Friday morning near George.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 7 a.m., Francisco Garcia of Ocheyedan was westbound in a 2005 Chevy Silverado on A34 when he lost control on the ice and the pickup entered the south ditch. It came to rest on its side after striking a power pole owned by Alliant Energy.

Garcia was transported to Avera Rock Rapids Hospital.

The truck sustained major damage and is totaled. There was minimal damage to the power pole. Garcia was cited on a charge of Fail to Maintain Control.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that the George Fire Department and George Emergency Medical Service, the Lyon County Ambulance Squad, Stockton Towing, Warntjes Paint and Body, Alliant Energy and the Iowa State Patrol assisted at the scene.