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 afterward. (Friday edition is available until Monday edition is uploaded.)

As reported by KIWA News Director and Rock Rapids resident Scott Van Aartsen

Click or tap the play button or link below to listen to KIWA’s Lyon County Daily News:

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Northwest Iowa — A new law that goes into effect next week makes permits to purchased and permits to carry handguns optional in Iowa.

The Iowa Legislature passed, and Governor Reynolds signed the bill into law, effective July 1st. Under the new law, people over the age of 21 would no longer be required to get a state-issued permit to buy or carry a handgun in the state.

Critics say the bill creates a loophole on private gun sales, since the state permit process for buying handguns, which will become optional, requires a background check. Supporters of the law say it gets rid of the state permission slip for a constitutional right under the 2nd amendment.

A provision of the new law makes it a felony crime for a private seller to sell a firearm to someone you “know, or should have known” was not permitted to have a gun. Which raises the question with sellers, “How am I supposed to know?” KIWA talked to Osceola County Attorney Nolan McGowan and posed that question to him. McGowan says that, sadly, with the law being brand new, there is no established procedure in place. But he suggested that, in order to protect themselves, private sellers should do as deep a background check as possible on the potential buyer BEFORE the transaction moves forward. He suggested that you utilize online resources such as Iowa Courts Online to check for felony convictions. He also said you may ask your County Sheriff’s Office to see what information they can provide. And, McGowan says, although the State of Iowa no longer requires a resident to acquire a Purchase or Carry Permit, as a seller you do have the right to require the potential buyer to provide a Permit to Purchase or a Permit to Carry before completing the sale. In fact, he thought keeping a photocopy of the buyer’s permit might be a good way to protect yourself.

And while you’ll no longer be required to get a permit in Iowa, there are a couple of reasons that you might want to:

Reciprocity — Several other states honor Iowa Carry Permits, meaning that, so long as you abide by the laws of the state you’re visiting, they’ll honor your right to carry a gun. Without and Iowa Permit there is NOTHING for that state to honor, thereby preventing you from carrying in that location.

Cutting the Red Tape — When you make a firearms purchase from an FFL, or Federal Firearms License dealer you are still required to fill out the NCIS Background Check paperwork. If you don’t have one of the optional Iowa Permits you will have to wait while they call in your information to the feds and wait while the feds conduct the background check, before you can take possession of your firearm. If you do have one of the optional permits, you just fill out the form and you’re on your way out the door, since you’ve already passed the required background check when you obtained your permit.

So, beginning next Thursday, July 1st, anyone 21 and over who is legally allowed to own a gun will be able to purchase and carry a handgun in the state of Iowa with or without a permit. Private sellers, however, according to attorney McGowan, should do everything in their power to make sure the prospective buyer is legally allowed to have a gun. He says that’s another important aspect to your self-protection.

June 23, 2021 - 4:29 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — Iowa’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 3.9 percent from 3.8 percent in April.

Iowa Workforce Development says the state’s jobless rate was 8.3 percent one year ago. Iowa’s labor force participation rate increased from 66.1% in April to 66.4% in May as the total number of working Iowans increased to 1,584,000 in May. The number of unemployed Iowans and the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased slightly by 1,300 and 0.1 percent respectively. The U.S. unemployment rate decreased to 5.8 percent in May.

Beth Townsend, Director of Iowa Workforce Development says that the positive takeaways from May’s monthly job report are that the number of Iowans in the workforce increased by 6,300; the number of Iowans working increased by 5,000 and claims numbers in May were down significantly from the previous month. She says that while the number of unemployed Iowans ticked up slightly, “the overall trend is positive for Iowa as we see more and more Iowans returning to the workforce.”

This figure was 5,000 higher than April’s number of 1,579,000 and 60,900 higher than May 2020. The number of unemployed Iowans increased to 63,500 in May from 62,200 in April. The current estimate is 1,300 higher than last month and 74,300 lower than a year ago. The labor force participation rate has gradually increased every month this year.

Northwest Iowa continues to have some of the lowest unemployment in the state. Lyon County had the lowest unemployment for May, at 2.1 percent. Sioux and Osceola counties tied for second place at 2.3 percent. Not too far down the page is O’Brien County at 2.9 percent.

Statewide Iowa — The head of a trade association representing the renewable fuels industry is urging lawmakers to ensure any national goals to reduce carbon emissions include ethanol and biodiesel.

Growth Energy CEO Emily Skor says the path to a clean energy future should be technology neutral.

A recent study led by a Harvard University professor found carbon emissions from corn-based ethanol are 46 percent lower than from gasoline.

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar are co-sponsoring legislation that would make a temporary USDA grant program for installing biofuel blender pumps permanent. Skor says that would be an important step.

Skor made her comments during a US Senate Ag Committee hearing about renewable energy.

Rock Rapids, Iowa — The Lyon County Board of Supervisors recently okayed the purchase of ten road graders (known as motor graders in the industry).

According to Lyon County Engineer Daryl Albertson, in the past, the county has purchased basically one road grader at a time, similar to the way sheriff cruisers are purchased.

The ten road graders will be purchased from Zeigler Cat at a total price of over three million dollars. He says they will be Caterpillar brand units. Albertson tells us that the old graders’ trade-in value was 981,000. He says they will take out a seven-year loan with American State Bank in Alvord at 1.74% interest.

Albertson says they will keep two of their current graders. He says the nice thing about having so many of the same type of grader is that they are all on the same maintenance schedule, it’s easy for operators to switch machines, and probably the biggest advantage is the locked-in trade-in values. Plus, he says with new graders, everything is under warranty, and the county won’t have to pay for out-of-warranty parts or labor, which, over the last seven years has run about $42,000 per year. He tells us he learned of the program when he was working in Hardin County.

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Someone new will soon have the title of Lyon County Recorder.

Current Lyon County Recorder Eldon Kruse says that he’ll be retiring soon, after nearly 27 years as the county’s recorder. He says he replaced Joyce Hjellming as the county recorder in November of 1994.

We asked Kruse if the County Board of Supervisors would be appointing someone to fill the position or if there would be an election.

Kruse says Amie Griesse has served as the deputy recorder for a number of years.

He tells us that he’s over 66 years of age, so, in his words, “It’s time to move on.” He says he doesn’t have any specific plans for retirement.

Kruse says his last official day will be July 5th, but with the end of the fiscal year coming July 1st, that date may be a little fluid as he might help out the staff for a few days.

An Iowa county recorder’s office maintains the official records of documents affecting title to real estate in order to preserve property rights. They also issue a number of permits and licenses and handle everything from marriage licenses and related documents to boat, ATV, ORM, ORV, and snowmobile licenses. They also handle birth and death certificates and a number of other official documents.

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A hog confinement was destroyed in a fire on Monday, June 21, 2021, near Rock Rapids.

According to Rock Rapids Fire Chief Ed Reck, about 11:10 a.m., the Rock Rapids Fire Department was called to the report of a hog barn on fire at 1035 Ibex Avenue, three miles north of Rock Rapids’ east side, two miles east, and a mile and a third north again.

The chief says the fire department saw the structure was fully involved with the roof caving in, along with lots of smoke and flame as they approached the scene. He says they used an exterior attack since the roof was already coming down.

Reck says There were 1200 100-pound pigs in the facility. All but 40 of them survived. No injuries were reported to people.

The fire department was assisted by George, Ellsworth, and Little Rock firefighters, and the Lyon County Ambulance Squad.

He says the cause of the fire appeared to be electrical in nature, but the cause is officially undetermined.

Chief Reck reports that the building was a total loss.

He says the firefighters who responded were on the scene for about five hours.

Northwest Iowa — A major provider of vision care in the state of Iowa says it’s dealing with a ransomware attack…..and will not be paying up.

Wolfe Eye Clinic says it will be notifying approximately 500-thousand current and former patients that their personal information may have been inappropriately accessed as a part of a cyber-related incident. The Clinic discovered a cyberattack on its systems in early February. Chief Financial Officer Luke Bland states the company responded to the attack to determine just how bad the breach was. According to the news release, “The threat actors demanded a ransom, which was not paid.” The full impact of the attack was not really known until late May and the forensic investigation was completed earlier this month.

Bland says the attackers were clearly not amateurs

Bland says patients will be receiving a notice with information on how to protect themselves.

Wolfe Eye Clinic says it has not been informed of any identity theft issues as of yet. That website and a toll-free number are; 1-833-909-3906.

In our area, Wolfe Eye Clinics operates a clinic inside the Spencer Municipal Hospital in Spencer.



June 22, 2021 - 2:03 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A burning ban has been enacted for Lyon County, according to Lyon County Emergency Manager Arden Kopischke.

The ban, requested by the fire departments in Lyon County, prohibits open burning in Lyon County, by the order of the State Fire Marshal. The fire marshal says open burning now constitutes a danger to life or property.

The burning ban will remain in effect until Kopischke notifies the State Fire Marshal that the risk no longer exists.

The Fire Marshal says that any violation of this proclamation order is a simple misdemeanor.

The burning ban in Lyon County is the first in our area this year. There are only two other burning bans in effect in Iowa at this time, both in the central part of the state.

We asked Kopischke if this burning ban also prohibits the use of consumer fireworks. While Kopischke says it does not ban fireworks, each city council and the County Board of Supervisors could enact a temporary fireworks ban too if they deem it necessary.

June 21, 2021 - 11:25 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — The streak continues, with another week with no COVID-related deaths reported in O’Brien, Osceola, Sioux or Lyon Counties, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

However, despite that good news, we must remember that 188 of our neighbors have succumbed to COVID-related sickness since the pandemic began. 71 in Sioux County, 57 in O’Brien County, 41 in Lyon County and 16 in Osceola County.

We were up slightly in the number of new positive cases in this area in the past seven days. Sioux County reports 4 new positives, with a positivity rate of 10%. That’s up 4 from the previous week’s number of positives. O’Brien, Osceola and Lyon Counties each reported no new positives during the previous seven days.

Three long-term care facilities in Iowa report COVID outbreaks as of late morning Monday. One facility in Audubon County reports 14 staff and residents have the virus, one facility in Cerro Gordo County has 12 staff and residents with the illness and on facility in Des Moines County reports four cases, for a total of 30 cases at three locations in the state of Iowa.

June 18, 2021 - 3:59 pm - Posted in News

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Northwest Iowa — The new map from the U-S Drought Monitor shows worsening conditions across Iowa.

Only five percent of the state is shown as having normal conditions, all in the southeast, while drought gained more ground practically everywhere else. Parts of eastern and far southwestern Iowa are in the abnormally dry category, but the majority of the state’s in drought.

A week ago, 56-percent of Iowa was in moderate to severe drought, now, it’s 76-percent. Severe drought covers about 40 of the state’s 99 counties, including virtually all of northern Iowa and much of the central region.

According to the National Weather Service, highs in northwest Iowa are forecast to stay in the 80s for the next six days, with one exception. Monday, a reprieve from the heat is forecast, with a high only around 70. On Thursday the mercury will rise into the lower 90s

At this point, the weather service says it looks like we’ll have a chance for showers this Saturday night and Sunday, with a 70 percent chance on Saturday night and a 60 percent chance on Sunday.

The six-to-ten-day forecast is calling for normal temperatures and normal precipitation.