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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May 21, 2019 - 4:14 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — May is Mental Health Month. Mental Health America (MHA) started May is Mental Health Month in 1949.

Kim Scorza, CEO/President of Seasons Center for Behavioral Health in Spencer says that attitudes seem to finally be changing toward mental health issues and those that struggle with them.


We asked her when people should seek treatment.


Scorza says Seasons Center is also encouraging small business managers and human resources departments to check in with their employees and if they are noticing any issues, to approach the employee, offering to help them seek services.

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — Zero Fatalities Iowa has won a national grant to continue its efforts to educate drivers about the dangers of driving drowsy.

Tracey Bramble of the Iowa DOT says they started the campaign two years ago with displays in rest areas that look like the Pac Man game and say “Don’t let the Sleepyzzz get you.” The new plan is to develop a virtual reality visualization that shows drowsy driving is not a game.

She says they want drivers to be able to recognize when they are in these situations and know what to do.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that driving drowsy causes more than 100-thousand crashes, 15-hundred deaths, and 71-thousand injuries every year. Bramble says it is hard to know how many drivers in Iowa are behind the wheel without enough sleep.

She says shift workers are often the ones who end up getting behind the wheel without enough sleep.

The 15-thousand dollar grant from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and The National Road Safety Foundation will allow them to develop the virtual reality experience.

She says the virtual reality library will have the videos they produce for the Iowa State Fair booth along with this new video. Iowa is one of five states to receive funding to continue its program. Zero Fatalities Iowa is a collaboration between the DOT, public safety, public health, and the Iowa Insurance Division to try and drop the number of fatal accidents on Iowa roadways to zero. For more information, go to their website.

 

Larchwood, Iowa — Some changes are in store for Grand Falls Casino near Larchwood as they prepare to offer sports betting.

This week, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed the bill into law legalizing betting on college and professional sports. If you are at least 21 years old you will be able to place a sports bets at any of the state’s 19 casinos or online if you go to a casino and register in person for that option. Now the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission — or IRGC — takes over, preparing the rules to carry out the law.

Sharon Haselhoff, the General Manager at Grand Falls tells us they are in the planning stages at this point, waiting on the rules from the IRGC.


She says some things are already planned.


According to Haselhoff, there will also be an online option.


She says they’re looking for a vendor to help them offer the online betting at this time. She says they’re excited about the new opportunities this will give them and their players.

Northwest Iowa — The Iowa Association of School Boards says this is School Board Recognition Month. They tell us it’s to honor the volunteer board members who serve on Iowa’s 330 local school boards, nine area education agency boards, and 15 community college boards. This year’s theme is “Superheroes for Public Education.”

Across northwest Iowa, area school districts are thanking their school boards in a number of ways.

In the Sheldon School District, Superintendent Cory Myer says that every board member gets a certificate of appreciation. He says they also receive polo shirts with school logo.

Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn Superintendent Patrick Carlin tells us they thank their board with phone calls and emails and honor them with certificates.

At Sibley-Ocheyedan, Superintendent Bill Boer tells us their board members are also recognized at the May board meeting. He says they also send out an email to all their staff, encouraging them to send each board member a thank you message.

At George-Little Rock, Superintendent John Eyerly says the board members are thanked during the comments portion of the board meeting from different groups, and the administration also puts together a press release honoring the board members in the media.

At Central Lyon, Superintendent Dave Ackerman says it’s mentioned at the May board meeting that it is School Board Recognition Month, and board members receive certificates. He says they also put up posters honoring the school board.

Rock Valley Superintendent Chad Janzen says they always put something in the board minutes. Plus, he usually writes a recognition message on Facebook. He says they also get thank you messages from the community.

Northwest Iowa — A safety expert says as Iowa boaters plan to make their first voyage on the water this season, they should check the boat’s life jackets.


That’s Susan Stocker, the boating law administrator and education coordinator in the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. The major concern is to ensure the life jacket fits the person wearing it.


There are more than 230-thousand registered boats in Iowa. Stocker says all boaters should use the buddy system — and give a “float plan” to someone who is NOT out on the water.


Flood conditions in some areas of the state may make boating impossible. Stocker says boaters must realize in high water, submerged trees and other objects can wreck the boat.


It happened within the last few days in southeast Iowa. Stocker says the paddler tipped over and “almost died from hypothermia.”

May 15, 2019 - 12:25 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — (RI) — Eight Democrats in the Iowa House and an attorney from Cedar Rapids are filing a lawsuit, seeking to block changes in the commission that nominates candidates for openings on the Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.

Representative Brian Meyer, a Democrat from Des Moines who’s joined the lawsuit, says they’re arguing the changes are unconstitutional because the plan was included in a bill with a wide range of other topics.

Governor Kim Reynolds approved the plan last week and has already used her new authority to appoint another member to the Judicial Nominating Commission. Meyer says the group is initially seeking an injunction to prevent the man Reynolds appointed to the commission from joining it.

Representative Steven Holt, a Republican from Denison, led the House effort to come up with the final plan that won approval from the Republican majority.

Last week, Governor Reynolds said the changes to the Judicial Nominating Commission “give all Iowans a greater voice in the process.” The lawsuit filed by eight Democrats in the Iowa House also challenges a section of the plan that changes the term for the chief justice of the Iowa Supreme Court — arguing that violates the separation of powers between the three branches of state government.

May 15, 2019 - 11:40 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — An evening that was forecast to see a SLIGHT chance of precipitation turned into severe thunderstorms last night (Tuesday, May 14th) around northwest Iowa and southwest Minnesota.

At 7:121 last evening the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for northeastern Lyon, and Osceola counties in Iowa, as well as Nobles County Minnesota. The warning stated that winds of 60 mph, along with quarter-size hail could be expected. That Severe Thunderstorm Warning remained in effect until 7:45 last evening.

The severe weather cell was on the western end of a large area of showers that stretched as far east as Kossuth County. The severe cell itself covered a fairly small area, but radar showed extreme intensity in that cell, which was moving southeast at about 30 mph.

At 7:37 the cell had made its way far enough into Iowa to prompt another Severe Thunderstorm Warning, this time for western Osceola and northern O’Brien counties. That warning also suggested that high winds and quarter-size hail could be expected in the warning area. The warning was in effect until 8:15 last night. Radar indicated that the most intense area of the storm would pass between Sheldon and Sanborn.

As the system moved further into Iowa the strong cell lessened in intensity quite rapidly, and the Severe Thunderstorm Warning was allowed to expire at 8:15.

A listener at Ashton reported a lot of hail in that area, and a listener just north of the Sheldon airport reported brief heavy rain, and some penny-sized hail in that area. As far as rain totals, here in downtown Sheldon we not only escaped the severe cell of the storm, but saw absolutely no precipitation fall last evening.

Listener photos from Tuesday night may be viewed below.

Listener submitted photo of hail that fell near Ashton Tuesday evening

Listener submitted photo of small hail that fell just north of the Sheldon Airport

 

Northwest Iowa — This is National Police Week. And this Wednesday is Peace Officers Memorial Day. In honor and in memory of peace officers who have fallen in the line of duty, flags are being flown at half staff across the nation.

In Iowa, Governor Kim Reynolds has ordered all flags in the state to be lowered to half-staff through sunrise Monday, May 20th in honor of Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week. The governor’s order is issued in conjunction with President Donald Trump’s proclamation to lower all United States flags to half-staff.

Flags will be at half-staff on the State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol Complex. Flags will also be at half-staff on all public buildings, grounds and facilities throughout the state. Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect.

President Trump’s order reads, in part:

“On Peace Officers Memorial Day and throughout Police Week, we express our unending gratitude to our Nation’s law enforcement officers.  Those brave men and women selflessly confront danger to protect our families and defend our communities.  We also honor those in blue who have been killed or disabled in the line of duty.  We are especially mindful of the tremendous sacrifices of the 106 heroes who laid down their lives last year while protecting their communities.”

It goes on to say:

“Our Nation’s law enforcement officers serve with courage, dedication, and strength.  They fearlessly enforce our laws, even at the risk of personal peril, safeguarding our property, our liberty, and our lives.  We owe them, and their families, our full and enduring support.”

President Trump also says that he and the First Lady will be lighting up the White House in blue on Wednesday in appreciation for the nation’s law enforcement officers.

May 14, 2019 - 3:47 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A working dog in northwest Iowa has received honors after competing in a contest out in New York.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that their K9 unit recently competed in the National USPCA narcotic detector dog trials in Albany, New York.

They tell us that fifty-one dogs from around the United States competed, including Deputy Kyle Munneke and his K9 partner Rizzo.

According to the sheriff’s office, Munneke and Rizzo scored 99.67 on the vehicle search and 96.33 on the indoor search for a total of 196.00 points. The maximum number of points available was 200. Deputy Munneke and K9 Rizzo placed seventh overall out of the 51 dogs who competed in the event. In another competition in March of this year, Rizzo scored third in the state.

Lyon County Sheriff Stewart Vander Stoep says Rizzo is what is called a “single purpose dog.” That means that she is trained for two similar jobs — detecting drugs and looking for missing persons. But she is not an attack dog. The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office has had Rizzo since the spring of 2016.

May 14, 2019 - 1:28 pm - Posted in News

Larchwood, Iowa — Governor Kim Reynolds has signed the bill into law legalizing betting on college and professional sports. If you are at least 21 years old you will be able to place a sports bets at Grand Falls, or any of the state’s other 18 casinos or online if you go to a casino and register in person for that option. The bill also makes it legal to bet and win at fantasy sports websites like DraftKings and FanDuel.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission will now take over as Commission Administrator Brian Ohorilko says they prepare the rules to carry out the law.

He says they can get started on the issue right away.

Ohorilko says there will be a second track following the emergency rule process.

Ohorilko says the commission staff have been preparing for this possibility since the 2018 U-S Supreme Court ruling that legalized sports betting in all states.

He says they have been doing a lot of research and review.

Governor Reynolds had not indicated what she planned to do with the bill, only saying that the support for and against it had been running 50-50 after the end of the legislative session. Critics say this is the largest expansion of gambling in the state’s history. Supporters say people have been betting on sporting events for centuries and the new state law will set up consumer protections to keep bad actors from taking advantage of betters.