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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Des Moines, Iowa — (RI) — A bill that would have given Iowa parents another way to opt out of vaccinations for their children has failed to advance in the Iowa Senate.

Iowans may now obtain a religious exemption to required immunizations before students may be admitted to public schools or licensed daycares. The bill that failed a Senate subcommittee would have created a philosophical objection to vaccines as well. Pediatrician Dr. Nathan Boonstra says when it’s easier to get an exemption, more people get vaccine-preventable diseases.

Dozens of parents and their children crowded into a committee room in the Iowa capitol to signal their support of a new exemption. Many, including Sonya Swan of West Des Moines, wore stickers for the group Iowans for Informed Consent.

Megan Wisner, another member of Iowans for Informed Consent, says some of her relatives have had allergic reactions to vaccines.

Spencer farmer Randy Heikens, a father of three, says vaccines are unsafe.

Dr. Kate Linkenmeyer of Des Moines responded to that criticism.

Senator Tom Greene, a pharmacist from Burlington, was one of two senators on a three-member committee who defeated the bill.

A second bill related to vaccines was killed by a senate subcommittee Tuesday. The defeated bill would have banned hospitals and other health care providers from firing staff or rejecting patients who haven’t been immunized against infectious diseases.

February 20, 2019 - 3:01 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — With the snowfall we’ve received over the past 24-hours or so, and the snowfall that’s forecast for the weekend, lot of us here in northwest Iowa are going to be doing a lot of shoveling. Physical Therapist Donna Ihnen of Sanford Sheldon has some tips for moving that mountain of white stuff.

Ihnen says the first thing you need to do before shoveling snow is prepare.

Once you’re prepared, she says it’s important to choose the proper shovel for the job.

When you have selected the right shovel, Ihnen says how you grip it is important.

Finally, she says your posture is important to keep from hurting yourself when you shovel.

Ihnen reminds you to life with your knees, and try not to twist your body as you move the snow. And, she says, like any form of exercise, if your body tells you it’s time to take a rest, pay attention and take a rest. Go inside, warm up, and take a drink of water before you return to shoveling. She says it’s best if you shovel for 20-minutes or or less at a time, and then rest for a bit. And if you experience chest pains while you shovel, stop and seek immediate medical attention.

Northwest Iowa — With the snow we’ve received recently, and with more forecast in the next few days, area fire chiefs are asking for your help.

Several area fire chiefs are asking residents and business people to help make sure firefighters don’t have to waste time shoveling snow to gain access to fire hydrants, before fighting a fire.

Between the seven-plus inches of snow that has fallen on the area with this most recent storm, and whatever the coming weekend storm brings us, hydrants may become inaccessible.

Time is of the essence when fighting a fire, and the time firefighters spend digging out a fire hydrant when they could be fighting the fire, could end in tragedy.

Area fire chiefs as that you dig out an area of about three feet around any fire hydrants on your property, as well as a path to the street. They urge you to take a few minutes when you’re clearing snow from your sidewalks and driveway, and clear snow from the fire hydrants, as well. Make it a habit every time it snows. The area’s fire chiefs will thank you for it.

February 19, 2019 - 4:01 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — An energy efficiency plan for the electric utility company that serves Sheldon and other areas of northwest Iowa has been approved by regulators.

A five-year energy efficiency plan filed by MidAmerican Energy Company has been approved by the Iowa Utilities Board, or IUB. The company’s plan, approved for 2019-2023, includes 14 energy efficiency and demand response programs with a proposed total budget of $256 million.

The utilities board says that MidAmerican’s plan as approved contains approximately $709 million in net electric benefits and more than $41 million in net natural gas benefits, projected to cumulatively save 767 million kilowatt-hours and 8.3 million therms. The IUB determined MidAmerican’s plan meets cost-effectiveness testing; includes programs for residential, commercial and industrial customer classes; and projects expenses that fall within budget parameters defined by Iowa Code.

Information from the board says that Iowa law allows customers of rate-regulated utility companies to request an exemption from participating in an energy efficiency plan if a plan does not meet the threshold 1.0 score on a cumulative rate-payer impact test. MidAmerican’s plan score of 1.09 does not trigger that exemption for the utility’s customers.

MidAmerican’s total energy efficiency spending under the plan is approximately $163 million for electric and $33 million for natural gas, or about 2 percent of the company’s expected retail electric revenues and 1.5 percent of the expected retail natural gas revenues during plan years. MidAmerican’s demand response spending under the plan is approximately $60 million.

February 19, 2019 - 3:19 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — Governor Kim Reynolds has approved legislation providing a nearly 90 million dollar state funding boost to public K-12 schools in Iowa.


One bill increases the state’s per-pupil spending on public schools by just over two percent. In the other bill, per-pupil spending in 170 districts is boosted by five dollars per student, to correct an inequity in the state’s school funding formula. There’s nearly 8 million dollars in that bill as well to increase state spending on school transportation budgets to help rural districts struggling to pay for busing students to and from school.


School boards are required by law to certify the budgets for the next academic year by mid-April. A state law requires the legislature to make the basic decision on school funding by mid-February, but there’s no penalty for missing the deadline. Lawmakers have often been tardy in taking final votes on school spending plans, and school administrators in northwest Iowa have said that they sometimes wish they knew what they had to work with before certifying their budgets.

February 19, 2019 - 2:53 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — (RI) — Republican Governor Kim Reynolds will not appeal a district court judge’s ruling that struck down the six-week abortion ban she signed into law last year. Reynolds said in a written statement she sees no path for getting the case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Republican Senator Jake Chapman of Adel says given recent rulings on abortion from the IOWA Supreme Court, that’s a prudent choice.

Chapman says this will heighten interest for an amendment to Iowa’s Constitution, stating the document does not protect abortion rights. House Republican Leader Chris Hagenow of Urbandale says banning abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected was important to GOP lawmakers.

Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s executive director says having the district court ruling that struck down the six-week abortion ban go unchallenged “is a victory for every Iowan who has ever needed or will need a safe, legal abortion.”

February 19, 2019 - 2:38 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Mother Nature has set her sights on northwest Iowa, sending a winter storm our way.

On Tuesday we talked to National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Gillispie from the Sioux Falls weather station, and asked him what we can expect from this impending snowstorm.

Gillispie says that once we get through this storm it’s not going to be time to hang up our snow shovels just yet, because another round of winter storms s forecast to bear down on our area later in the week, into the weekend.

He says blowing snow with the storm will make weekend travel difficult across northwest Iowa.

Between storms, however, Gillispie says we can enjoy the day on Thursday, when we should see mostly sunny skies and highs in the 20s.

February 19, 2019 - 2:07 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate have again drafted a resolution to give gun rights the highest level of protection possible under the Iowa Constitution.

Secretary of State Paul Pate’s staff missed a deadline for publishing the proposal last fall, so Republicans who’ve championed the amendment had to re-start the process. Richard Rogers, a lobbyist for the Iowa Firearms Coalition, says Iowa is one of six states that doesn’t specifically include gun rights in its constitution.

Opponents of the proposal say it goes further than the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Reverend Wendy Abrahamson, an Episcopal pastor from Grinnell, points to the inclusion of “strict scrutiny” language in the proposal.

Others say it makes current gun laws vulnerable to legal challenges. Supporters say it’ll keep lawmakers and courts from infringing on the right to keep and bear arms. The resolution triggering a statewide vote on the plan has cleared subcommittees in the House and Senate. 2022 is the earliest the proposed amendment could be presented to Iowa voters.

February 19, 2019 - 12:07 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — One of two George residents who were arrested on felony drug charges after Christmas has entered a not-guilty plea to the charges.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that their deputies carried out a search warrant in the 200 block of West Calumet Avenue in George on December 27th, 2018. They tell us that several guns and drug paraphernalia items were seized along with marijuana and methamphetamine.

Deputies arrested 49-year-old Bobby Sprock of George and charged him with possession of firearms by a prohibited person, a class D felony; two possession of a controlled substance counts, one for marijuana and one for methamphetamine, both serious misdemeanors; and a simple misdemeanor count of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Also arrested was 30-year-old Dianna Payne of George. She was charged with the same felony firearms and misdemeanor drug paraphernalia counts, as well as possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), 2nd offense, an aggravated misdemeanor.

Sprock entered a written plea of not guilty on Tuesday, February 19th, after a bench warrant was issued for his arrest. A bench warrant has been issued for Payne’s arrest as well, but at last report, no plea had been entered in her case.

Initial pre-trial conference and trial dates have been entered in Sprock’s case. At this point, the pretrial conference is set for Monday, March 4th. The trial date has been set for Tuesday, April 9th.

February 19, 2019 - 11:57 am - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — Seven Republicans in the Iowa Senate have voted to deny food stamp benefits to parents who aren’t making an attempt to pay child support.

The seven Republicans on the Senate Labor Committee also have endorsed quarterly income checks to make sure people on Medicaid and food stamps are eligible for the assistance. Senator Jason Schultz, a Republican from Schleswig, says the plan also calls for checking to ensure people aren’t getting welfare benefits from the State of Iowa if they move out of state.


The four Democrats on the committee opposed both bills. Senator Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, says it’s “pretty punitive” to require quarterly income checks for low-income elderly and disabled Iowans who’re on Medicaid.


Another Democrat said he’s no fan of “dead beat dads” who aren’t paying child support, but he suspects some of those fathers are living in other homes with other kids who’d suffer if the household loses food stamps benefits.