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

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October 24, 2020 - 6:46 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — The number of Covid patients in Iowa hospitals has been escalating this month, to 536 and the state coronavirus website shows the number of confirmed Covid deaths in Iowa is now more than 1,600.

Covid is now the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer. The state of New Jersey has the highest per capita death rate. Iowa ranks 24th among the states in the number of Covid deaths per 100,000 residents. Only one other neighboring state ranks higher. Almost 9700 Covid deaths have been recorded in Illinois and Illinois ranks 10th per capita in deaths from the virus.

Wisconsin, where 1,730 residents have died of Covid, has the lowest coronavirus death rate in the Midwest.

Nearly 350 Covid deaths have been reported in South Dakota and the state ranks 34th in deaths per 100,000 residents. Nebraska ranks 40th, with 589 deaths. Missouri ranks 28th, with 2,734 deaths. Minnesota ranks 30th with 2,354 deaths.

Ames, Iowa — An Iowa State University researcher has helped show that a new skin test can identify Parkinson’s disease. Anumantha Kanthasamy has been conducting research into Parkinson’s Disease for more than 20 years and he says one of the challenges has been the lack of a test that can detect the disease in early stages.

(As above) “Even for other neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s, we don’t have one,” he says, “so I think that’s where the excitement is.” 

Parkinson’s Disease is currently diagnosed when a patient shows symptoms. However, it’s often mis-diagnosed in its early stages, preventing patients from getting the full benefits of clinical trials. Using the same method as a test that detects mad cow disease, this new skin test can identify clumps of proteins that are the hallmarks of Parkinson’s. Kanthasamy says the research team is getting a federal grant money to conduct another trial with a larger set of patients to validate the findings from its study with 50 patients.

(As above) “In 3-5 years I’m very confident that we shall have a test that could be approved or at least neurologists could say this can be used or not be in the toolbox,” he says.

The initial study of this skin test for Parkinson’s has been published in a medical journal. Kanthasamy, who is the study’s lead author, says by getting confirmation earlier, patients could benefit from medications that may slow down the progression of the disease. He also says the skin test could be used to monitor how well medications are working — all of which will advance treatment for Parkinson’s.

October 24, 2020 - 6:12 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — State Fire Marshal Dan Wood says there have been fewer fire fatalities in Iowa so far this year compared to 2019.

(As above) “Fire deaths are down. This time last year, we had 43 fire deaths in Iowa where right now we have 28,” Wood says. “Of course, I’d like to have zero, but having 28 at this time instead of 43 like we did last year, that’s definitely an improvement.”

Wood says the state fire marshal’s office has been called upon to investigate fewer fires this year as well. State law does not require fire departments to report structure fires to the Fire Marshal’s office, but many do. The state fire marshal says most house fires that lead to a fatality are in homes that do not have a working smoke detector.

(As above) “With the Daylight Saving Time coming, we always encourage both in the spring and in the fall when you change your clock, change the batteries in your smoke detectors,” Wood says.

Next Sunday, November 1st is the end of Daylight Saving Time — when clocks “fall back” an hour. The State Fire Marshal’s website indicates the total number of fires has been decreasing nationally, but the rate of fire-caused deaths has not. The State Fire Marshal says that’s partly due to modern trends, like open spaces and the use of building materials that cause fires to spread more quickly.

Statewide Iowa — State climatologist Justin Glisan says August 2020 was the driest in Iowa in 148 years.

In a question-and-answer session with the Iowa Farmers Union, Glisan said other increasing extremes, such as cold spells and heavy rain events, are also affecting farmers and he advises them to adapt.

(As above) “They see these impacts. And we’re trying to build a toolbox of tools that they can use to lock-in that soil in runoff events.”

Glisan says higher humidity has brought up the average overnight low temperature, which could begin to favor other crops such as hemp.

(As above) “We are seeing an expanding growing window, expanding conditions that can allow us to diversify the types of crops we grow across the state,” he says.

The same trends are also leading to a northward shift overall for the corn belt.

October 23, 2020 - 3:52 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — With the cold temperatures forecast for the next few days most of us will be kept warm by our furnaces. And most of those furnaces are fired by natural gas.

We talked to MidAmerican Energy spokesperson Geoff Greenwood about natural gas. He says it’s a very safe product and most people never have a problem with it. But it is a powerful fuel that deserves respect and people need to play it safe.

He tells us what to do if you do smell natural gas.

Greenwood says outside, you might be able to detect a gas leak with your other senses, in addition to smell.

He tells us the other risk when it comes to burning any fuel, especially indoors is the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Greenwood also reminds us to keep our gas meters clear of vegetation, snow, and ice, and to clear a path to the meter in the winter. He says sometimes workers may need to get to your meter in a hurry.

Northwest Iowa — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Iowa State Trooper’s Association has come up with a rather unique fundraising effort to raise money for cancer research.

Iowa State Patrol Trooper Kevin Krull says the State Troopers Association has redesigned the traditional Iowa State Patrol shoulder patch that troopers wear on their uniforms, and is offering the special design for sale to the public.

(As above) “The State Patrol patch is converted over into pink….pink and black. And what it is, we’re doing fundraising for breast cancer awareness. We’re going to take all the money raised through this campaign and we’re going to donate it to another organization that does a lot with breast cancer and cancer research and cancer stuff. We’re selling those (patches), we have them at the office, they’re ten dollars apiece, and you can also go on the (State Trooper’s Association) web page.”

There are actually two different designs, both with a pink and black color scheme. They’re available with a black background and pink lettering, or a pink background with black lettering. And both have the Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon emblazoned on the patch.

As Trooper Krull mentioned, the patches are ten dollars each and you may pick them up at the Iowa State Patrol Post 6 office just north of Spencer, or you can see and buy them at the Iowa State Troopers Association website.

October 23, 2020 - 2:44 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Two more deaths connected to COVID-19 have been reported in Sioux County according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. And 29 more cases of COVID were reported in our part of northwest Iowa on Friday.

Thirty-seven northwest Iowans have died in connection with COVID-19 since the pandemic started — Sixteen in Sioux County, fourteen in O’Brien County, and seven in Lyon County.

Sioux County reports a total of 2360 cases since the pandemic started, after a rise of 20 cases in the last 24 hours. O’Brien County is at 617, which is up 2 cases. Lyon County was up 3 cases at 531, and Osceola County was up 4 at 264.

As far as active cases, those are down significantly. Lyon County has 205, Sioux County has 707, O’Brien County has 223, and Osceola has 97.

Out of the 531 Lyon County residents who have had COVID-19, 319 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 60%.
Out of the 2360 Sioux County residents who have had COVID-19, 1637 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 69%.
Out of the 617 O’Brien County residents who have had COVID-19, 380 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 62%.
Out of the 264 Osceola County residents who have had COVID-19, 167 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 63%.

Total numbers of cases from other counties around the area and their change from the previous report:

Iowa counties:
Plymouth 1613, up 21
Cherokee 387, up 4
Buena Vista 2236, up 15
Clay 511, up 8
Dickinson 719, up 8

These numbers represent the period from noon Thursday, October 22nd through noon Friday, October 23rd.

October 23, 2020 - 10:40 am - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says Iowa hospitals have the resources to manage this month’s surge in COVID patient admissions.

On Wednesday evening, the state’s coronavirus tracker indicated 530 COVID patients were being treated in an Iowa hospital. That’s 44 percent more than a month ago and higher than in any previous month of the pandemic.

Reynolds says about 10 percent of Iowa hospital patients have COVID and she says hospital executives have assured her they have enough ventilators and space in intensive care units to handle current case loads.

The state tracker indicates there are COVID outbreaks at 70 nursing homes and more than 1800 Iowa nursing home residents currently have COVID.

October 22, 2020 - 4:04 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — The downward trend of new COVID-19 cases in the four-county area has been broken. Seventy-seven new cases were reported in the four-county area Thursday, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

On Saturday, 59 cases were reported. Sunday it was down to 33, Monday it was down to 24, Tuesday it was down to 18, and Wednesday, it was up a little at 20. But on Thursday we were back up to 77 new cases being reported in the 24-hour period ending at noon Thursday.

Sioux County reports a total of 2340 cases since the pandemic started, after a rise of 31 cases in the last 24 hours. O’Brien County is at 615, which is up 30 cases. Lyon County was up 8 cases at 528, and Osceola County was up 8 at 260.

Thirty-five northwest Iowans have died in connection with COVID-19 since the pandemic started — fourteen in both Sioux and O’Brien counties, and seven in Lyon County.

As far as active cases, Lyon County has 312, Sioux County has 745, O’Brien County has 242, and Osceola has 99.

Out of the 528 Lyon County residents who have had COVID-19, 312 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 59%.
Out of the 2340 Sioux County residents who have had COVID-19, 1581 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 68%.
Out of the 615 O’Brien County residents who have had COVID-19, 359 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 58%.
Out of the 260 Osceola County residents who have had COVID-19, 161 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 62%.

Total numbers of cases from other counties around the area and their change from the previous report:

Iowa counties:
Plymouth 1592, up 37
Cherokee 383, up 8
Buena Vista 2221, up 9
Clay 503, up 2
Dickinson 711, up 10

These numbers represent the period from noon Wednesday, October 21st through noon Thursday, October 22nd.

Washington, D.C. — Shortly after eight o’clock Thursday morning, Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst voted with other Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee to advance President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee for a vote in the full Senate.

Grassley gave a short speech after the vote, saying Amy Coney Barrett’s would practice judicial restraint.

(As above) “She has the temperament and humility that we would expect of a judge,” Grassley said. “…Most importantly, she understands that a judge should interpret, not make the law.” 

Grassley criticized Democrats on the committee for boycotting Thursday’s vote.

(As above) “Our colleagues don’t think that they ought to represent their states and that’s what they’re not doing is representing their people when they don’t show up here,” Grassley said.

Democrats placed large photos of Americans who’ve benefitted from the Affordable Care Act on their chairs in the committee room. During last week’s committee hearing, Democrats argued Barrett would side with conservatives on the court and nullify the Affordable Care Act. Grassley says that’s nonsense.

(As above) “They claimed her critique of Chief Justice Roberts’ reasoning in the 2012 ACA case dictates how she’d vote in the upcoming case and we all know that that’s bunk,” Grassley said. …She testified: ‘I have no hostility to the ACA.'” 

Senator Ernst did not speak in committee, but gave a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday about Barrett.

(As above) “Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a wise, experienced, compassionate and strong woman and this past week Iowans and all Americans had the chance to see that,” Ernst said. “No matter the question or the topic, she was calm, cool and collected.” 

Ernst accused Democrats of trying to score political points during Barrett’s testimony last week.

(As above) “What has become crystal clear to me throughout this process is that Judge Barrett’s academic and professional qualifications are above reproach,” Ernst said. 

Ernst says her test for a Supreme Court justice is whether he or she will defend the Constitution.

(As above) “Far too often politicians in Washington want the Supreme Court to be a super legislature,” Ernst said, “to push policy that can’t make it through congress.” 

Ernst says the soon-to-be-justice should be viewed as a role model for all women.

(As above) “I’m struck by the irony of how demeaning to women some of the left’s accusations really are,” Ernst said, “that Judge Barrett, a working mother of seven with a strong record of professional and academic accomplishment, couldn’t possibly respect the goals and desires of today’s women.” 

The Republican-led senate is scheduled to take its final vote on Monday to confirm Barrett as a Supreme Court justice.