December 5, 2017 - 3:30 pm - Posted in News

Rock Valley, Iowa — A Doon man was taken to a hospital after an accident near Rock Valley on Monday, December 4th.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 5:15 p.m., 24-year-old Luis Martinez of Rock Valley was driving a 2003 Toyota Tacoma westbound on Highway 18, about two miles east of Rock Valley. They say 61-year-old Joe Munoz of Doon was driving a 2009 Pontiac Vibe eastbound on Highway 18.

Deputies say Martinez lost control of his vehicle, which entered the eastbound lane and struck the Munoz Pontiac.

The Rock Valley Ambulance took Munoz to Hegg Health Center Hospital in Rock Valley.

Deputies tell us that the Martinez Toyota and the Munoz Pontiac sustained about $8,000 in damage, each.

They tell us they cited Martinez on charges of driving a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license and failing to give a required name and address change.

December 4, 2017 - 3:50 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — The case against a Rock Rapids man who was facing a felony sex abuse charge after an alleged incident about a year ago in Rock Rapids — has been dismissed.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that they arrested 19-year-old Trysten Robinson of Rock Rapids on an active warrant for Sexual Abuse in the 3rd Degree. Robinson’s arrest was made following an investigation into the alleged incident.

Robinson, who is now 20, was 19 at the time, and was accused of sexual contact with a girl who was 14 years old at the time of the incident.

According to court records, the defense moved to have a confession obtained in a conversation between Robinson and a Lyon County Sheriff’s Deputy dismissed from evidence. Judge Patrick Carr said in his ruling that the state Supreme Court has routinely stated that “confession can never be received in evidence where the prisoner has been influenced by any threat or promise.” Judge Carr said he believed the deputy crossed that line during the interview, a transcript of which was included in the ruling.

After the ruling that the confession was inadmissible, Lyon County Attorney Shayne Mayer filed a motion to dismiss the charges because, “it now appears that there is insufficient evidence available to convict the Defendant…” The County Attorney’s office says the charges were dismissed without prejudice, which means if more evidence becomes available the case can be reopened.

Sexual abuse in the Third Degree is a class C felony. According to Iowa Code, Robinson could have faced up to ten years in prison and a fine of between a thousand and ten thousand dollars if he had been convicted.

December 4, 2017 - 2:53 pm - Posted in News

Inwood, Iowa– Inwood firefighters were called out to a fire on Saturday, December 2, 2017 near Inwood.

According to Inwood Fire Chief Mike Knobloch, about 12:50 p.m., the Inwood Fire Department was called to the report of a field fire near 2357 Buchanan Avenue, a mile northwest and a mile west of Inwood.

The chief says the fire department saw the grass burning as they approached the scene. He says they put out the fire with water.

Knobloch says no injuries were reported.

He says the most likely cause of the fire was a nearby burn pile.

Chief Knobloch reports that the damage was limited to about a half an acre of grass.

He says crews were on scene for a short time.

UPDATE: Rock Rapids, Iowa– The name of the victim who died in a head-on crash near Rock Rapids on Friday has been released.

The Iowa State Patrol says the victim was 19-year-old Caleb Semple of Le Mars. We now know the other driver sustained a minor injury as well.

They report that about 1:45 p.m. on Friday, December 1, 2017, Semple was driving a 2002 Buick southbound on Highway 75, a quarter mile north of 200th Street, about three and three-quarters of a mile south of Rock Rapids. The Patrol reports that 33-year-old Alyce Widrig of Sioux Falls, SD was northbound on 75 in a 2016 Kenworth Semi.

The report says that Semple crossed left of center and collided head-on with the semi.

Semple was pronounced dead at the scene by the Lyon County Medical Examiner. The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office took Widrig to Sanford Rock Rapids Hospital with a hand injury.

Both vehicles were totaled, according to the report. Semple’s Buick received $3500 in damages, and Widrig’s Kenworth Semi, owned by MTG Transportation Corporation of Sioux Falls, sustained $65,000 in damages.

The Iowa State Patrol reports that additional troopers, the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, both the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Department and the Maintenance Department of the Iowa DOT, and Rock Rapids Fire and Rescue assisted at the scene.

Original story posted December 2, 3:12 a.m.:

Rock Rapids, Iowa — One person has died in an accident near Rock Rapids.

The Iowa State Patrol reports that about 1:45 p.m. on Friday, December 1, 2017, a 2002 Buick was southbound on Highway 75, a quarter mile north of 200th Street, or about three and three-quarters of a mile south of Rock Rapids. They say the driver crossed left of center and collided head-on with a 2016 Kenworth semi driven by 33-year-old Alyce Widrig of Sioux Falls, SD, which had been northbound on 75.

The driver of the Buick, whose name is being withheld due to a family request, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Lyon County Medical Examiner.

The Iowa State Patrol reports that the collision remains under investigation.

No other injuries were reported.

Other state troopers, the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, the Lyon County Ambulance Squad, the Iowa Department of Transportation, and the Rock Rapids Fire Department assisted at the scene.

Northwest Iowa — Northwest Iowans who hold an Iowa Permit to Carry Weapons came one step closer yesterday (Thursday, November 30th) to being allowed to carry their firearms in every other state in the nation that allows concealed carry.

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Thursday passed H.R.38, otherwise known as the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, a bill that would amend the federal criminal code to allow a qualified individual to carry a concealed handgun into, or possess a concealed handgun in, another state that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms, according to the website

A qualified individual must meet a few requirements: (1) be eligible to possess, transport, or receive a firearm under federal law; (2) carry a valid photo identification document; and (3) carry a valid concealed carry permit issued by, or be eligible to carry a concealed firearm in, his or her state of residence.

Additionally, according to, the bill specifies that a qualified individual who lawfully carries or possesses a concealed handgun in another state: (1) is not subject to the federal prohibition on possessing a firearm in a school zone, and (2) may carry or possess the concealed handgun in federally owned lands that are open to the public.

Iowa 4th District Congressman Steve King is one of the bill’s sponsors, and voted in favor of the bill during Thursday’s committee vote.

After the vote, King noted that law-abiding Iowans with concealed carry licenses are exercising their rights under the Second Amendment, and recognize that Second Amendment rights do not end at our state’s borders. King said that H.R.38 “serves notice to gun-grabbers that their efforts to restrict the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms through excessive and burdensome state licensing schemes will not be tolerated.”

The legislation now moves out of committee and is eligible for consideration on the floor of the House of Representatives.

If you’d like to read the entire text of H.R.38, you can find it here.

November 30, 2017 - 10:15 pm - Posted in News

George, Iowa — The George Fire Department had three fire calls on Wednesday, November 29, 2017.

According to George Fire Chief Bill Sprock, about 8:35 p.m., the George Fire Department was called to the report of a structure fire at 2437 Log Avenue, three miles south and five miles east of George or about five miles west of Ashton’s south side.

The chief says the fire department saw the barn fully engulfed as they approached the scene. He says with the stronger wind, the fire had gotten into the grove and the cornfield as well. He says the main objective was to save the house.

The Ashton Fire Department and the Matlock Fire Department helped them fight the fire, says Sprock.

He says the farmer believes the cause may have been a short or something in an electric fencer in a nearby utility shed.

Chief Sprock reports that the barn was a total loss. He estimated the value at $5,000 to $10,000.

He says they used ten to twelve thousand gallons of water to fight the fire, and crews were on scene for about three hours.

Earlier that day, about 6:30 p.m., Sprock says they were called to a ditch fire along Jefferson Avenue. He says the cause of that fire is unknown. He says it burned about three-quarters of a mile of ditch. According to Sprock, they used about 1500 gallons of water to fight that fire and were on-scene for 45 minutes.

He says the fire department started the day about 10:30 a.m. with a grass and tree fire call on abandoned property on Jay Avenue north of 210th Street. He says the main objective there was to keep the fire from reaching the outbuildings. Sprock says they were able to keep that fire to grass and brush. He says the cause of that fire is also unknown. According to the chief, they used about 3000 gallons of water to fight that fire and were on scene for about an hour.

November 30, 2017 - 9:32 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — With the dry and relatively warm November that we had, area fire departments have been busy.

For instance, the Rock Rapids Fire Department was called out twice this week, and the George Fire Department was called out three times, all on Wednesday. Fire departments from Ireton, Hull, Rock Valley, Sanborn, and other towns have been out fighting fires this week as well.

According to the weather information that we recorded at the KIWA weather center, Sheldon only received nine-hundredths of an inch of rain in November, and no snow. The first and only recorded snowfall this season so far was two-tenths of an inch on October 28th. So it has been quite dry.

Rock Rapids Fire Chief Ed Reck says with these dry conditions it’s even more important to call in any controlled burns. He says one of the calls they responded to on Wednesday was actually a controlled burn of grass in a ditch. But it was called in as a fire, and the fire department responded. He says in Lyon County, as in many other counties, they have a system in which people can call the Sheriff’s Office and tell the dispatcher that they plan on burning a ditch, or what-have-you, and they’ll make a note of it. That way if someone calls in a fire, it can be checked against the list of controlled burns before the fire department is paged.

Reck says, for that matter, now is not an ideal time for controlled burns anyway, with the dry weather we’ve been having. He says especially if it’s windy, that’s a recipe for disaster. He says there is no burning ban in effect, but he urges caution.

George Fire Chief Bill Sprock echoes those comments. He says it’s very dry and fires are spreading very easily right now. In addition, Sprock says winter fireworks will go on sale shortly, and if we don’t get any moisture before then — and it doesn’t sound like we’re going to — fireworks could be even more dangerous than usual, so be very cautious.

November 29, 2017 - 3:11 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A couple of ditch fires were reported near Rock Rapids on Tuesday night, November 28th.

According to Rock Rapids Fire Chief Ed Reck, the fires were near 170th Street and Ibex Avenue, and were called in just before 10:00 p.m. He says one of the fires was just south of that intersection, and the other was just west of the intersection, which is a little over two and a half miles southeast of Rock Rapids.

Reck says the cause of the fires is undetermined. He says about 50 to 60 feet of ditch burned in each fire, but it would have been worse with the winds that the area experienced on Wednesday.

He says the fire department sprayed the fires with about 500 gallons of water in total to put them out and they were on-scene for less than half an hour.

George, Iowa — KIWA has been receiving listener reports today (Wednesday) about a loud boom sound that startled residents in and around George about 8:30 last (Tuesday) night.

One George resident we talked to described it as sounding like a shotgun going off, something very heavy being dropped, or even like an electrical transformer exploding.

KIWA talked to Lyon County Sheriff Stewart Vander Stoep who said he had asked his deputies who were working at the time, and they reported they had not only not heard the boom, but had not received any questions or complaints from folks in the George area.

We checked the electrical transformer angle, and were able to find no power outages in the George area beginning at that time.

KIWA reached out to the 114th Fighter Wing of the South Dakota Air National Guard to find out if there were any of their F-16 fighter jets had been running training missions over northwest Iowa, and may have gone supersonic, creating a sonic boom. A spokesman for the 114th told us that none of the unit’s aircraft were flying Tuesday night. He added that even when they do fly, they are not permitted to go supersonic to avoid the surprise of a sonic boom for residents under their flight path.

After exhausting the various explanations we could think of, it would appear that Tuesday night’s loud boom near George will remain under the heading of “Unsolved Mystery”, unless, or until, someone comes forward with more information.

George, Iowa — A Luverne, Minnesota woman suffered minor injuries when her car crashed into a downtown George buliding late Sunday morning.

Lyon County authorities tell us the crash happened shortly before noon Sunday on Main Street in George. According to the accident report, a vehicle driven by 79-year old Arlene DeBeer, of Luverne, attempted a U-turn on Main Street in order to park in front of the George Community Room. Deputies say DeBeer apparently pressed the accelerator instead of the brake pedal, causing her vehicle to strike the southwest corner of the Heartland Hardware building, causing an estimated $5-thousand to the building. Authorities say DeBeer’s vehicle sustained disabling damage in the crash, and was termed a total loss.

Deputies say DeBeer complained of minor injuries, and was transported to Sanford Rock Rapids by private vehicle.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by George Fire & Rescue, Lyon County Ambulance, and Warntjes Auto Body.