August 18, 2017 - 5:11 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Ground was broken this morning for a new 28 million dollar hospital to be built in Rock Rapids.

The current local hospital owned by the Merrill Pioneer Community Hospital board of trustees is leased to Sanford Health and operates as Sanford Rock Rapids. Hospital board president James Vander Woude says the board worked with both Sanford and Avera to come up with a plan for the future of healthcare in Rock Rapids, and the board thought that the Avera plan more closely aligned with the board’s vision, so Avera will assume the lease in 2019. But the current hospital, parts of which were built in the 1950’s needed updating and there was very little room to expand. So it was decided to construct a new hospital.

Vander Woude says the hospital had an option on land in far southwestern Rock Rapids in a new development called Forster Development. He says they could have used it as an investment or for a new facility. The hospital board is working with Avera Health and BWBR Architects.

Vander Woude says it’s a momentous occasion for the board and for Rock Rapids.

He says the finished hospital will be a 52,000 square foot full-service facility with both inpatient and outpatient beds. It will have an emergency department, surgery rooms, lab, imaging, and more.

In early July of this year, Vander Woude said the board needed to make a decision on whether to proceed with construction even before the fate of an 18 million dollar federal grant was known. He says they decided to proceed. He gives us an update.

He says the board is very optimistic about the federal funds, but he says the project will continue even if they are turned down for the grant.

He says if all goes well, the board and Avera Health hope to open the facility in February 2019. It will be located west of Highway 75 on South Tenth Avenue, which is planned to curve to the north. The hospital will be on the south side of South Tenth Avenue.

Meanwhile, Sanford Health, who has run the Rock Rapids operations for the last 25 years, has also put up a sign on a lot along Highway 9 West in Rock Rapids, which used to be home to a bait shop. Sanford also plans to open a new clinic at that location. Plans for the current hospital and clinic building and property are unknown at this time.

Click on these Facebook videos to see the groundbreaking ceremony
Video 1
Video 2
Video 3

August 17, 2017 - 4:29 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Boyden man now faces charges related to an accident in which he was injured near Doon in late July.

The accident in question allegedly happened on Sunday, July 30, 2017 in the 1 a.m. hour. The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office says an investigation determined that 22-year-old Brandon Driesen of Boyden was driving a 2000 Pontiac Bonneville eastbound on 260th Street, about five miles east of Doon, when his car entered the south ditch and became disabled after rolling.

They report that the Lyon County Ambulance took Driesen to Sanford Rock Rapids Hospital, and that he was later taken to Sioux Falls by the Avera Careflight helicopter for further treatment.

The vehicle sustained about $6,000 in damages, according to the report.

As a result of the investigation into the accident, the sheriff’s office now says that Driesen has been cited on charges of failure to maintain control and open container. They say he has also been charged with operating while intoxicated.

August 17, 2017 - 4:26 pm - Posted in News

Lester, Iowa — The summer festivals continue in northwest Iowa. This Saturday, it’s Lester’s turn. The small Lyon County Community has a full day of family-friendly activities planned.

We talked to one of the organizers of Lester Family Day — Darcy Gerber. She says that they’ve even got some new activities this year for you to check out.

She tells us about more activities including one that they’ve moved.

Again that’s all coming up this Saturday at Lester Family Day in Lester.

August 17, 2017 - 4:23 pm - Posted in News

George, Iowa — The first day of school at George-Little Rock has been pushed back — due to bats.

According to new George-Little Rock Superintendent John Eyerly, who just started in his position this summer, the first day of school is now scheduled for Monday, August 28, 2017.

He says that recently a colony of bats was discovered at GLR High School, and that they have contracted with Orkin to remove the bats and completely sanitize the affected areas of the school.

Orkin representative Lia Conrad says that they don’t know how long the bats have been in the school, but she gives us an idea of the time they were discovered.

We asked her how many bats we were talking about. She says since they aren’t capturing them, they can’t count them, but…

She says that by “remains” she means bat waste — called “guano.” Conrad says that since bats are protected in Iowa, they are not killing the bats in any way. She tells us how they are making sure they are no longer a problem.

She assures us that no poison or chemicals are being used to get rid of the bat problem. She says the school has been great to work with.

Superintendent Eyerly says that student and staff health is their top priority. He says that delaying the start of school will ensure that the project will be completed and there will not be a safety risk to students, staff and community members.

A statement from the school says that all extracurricular activities and events including practices will proceed at their scheduled times. If you have any questions, they encourage you to contact the school.

August 17, 2017 - 3:58 pm - Posted in News

Doon, Iowa — A Doon man received a hero’s welcome Wednesday night in Rock Valley, when he returned home from service in the United States Marine Corps.

Ryan Leloux was escorted into Rock Valley by police and fire units, and met by numerous sign-holding well-wishers as he returned home at the end of a 4-year hitch with Uncle Sam.

Leloux, who was deployed to the Middle East twice during his time in the Marines, tells KIWA that his last deployment came on a Navy aircraft carrier, which sailed to Syria and Oman in the Middle East, then continued to Djibouti in Africa, as part of a Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Leloux says he’s happy to be back home, and looking forward to entering an apprenticeship program under his dad, Evan, who operates Leloux Diversified, a plumbing and contracting business in Doon.

Welcome home, Marine!  Thank you for your service!  Semper Fi!!

Ryan Leloux Escorted Into Rock Valley


Leloux Greeted By Well-Wishers

August 10, 2017 - 3:23 pm - Posted in News

Doon, Iowa — A rural Doon man faces a felony charge after a recent altercation with his teenage daughter.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office says they received a call from a 17-year old female juvenile who claimed that she and her father had gotten into an argument the previous evening.  Authorities say the girl told them that, during the argument, her father had struck her in the face, causing a black eye.

Deputies conducted an investigation, and they allege that 37-year old Daniel Ryan Maassen of rural Doon had struck his daughter in the face, causing a black eye.  Deputies also allege that Maassen had thrown the girl’s cell phone at her, which struck her in the leg, causing a bruise.

Authorities say Maassen was subsequently arrested, and charged with Child Endangerment, a Class D Felony.  Deputies say they transported him to the Lyon County Jail, and he was later released on a $5-thousand bond.


August 8, 2017 - 2:28 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Sioux Falls woman is behind bars in Rock Rapids after she was arrested on a warrant.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that they have arrested 27-year-old Christina E. Gonzalez of Sioux Falls on an outstanding Lyon County warrant. The Sheriff’s Office says Gonzalez was charged with Theft in the Second Degree, a Class D Felony.

According to court records, deputies believe that on June 2, 2017 Gonzalez allegedly cashed a check at the Security Savings Bank in Larchwood in the amount of $3500. The deputy filing the complaint stated that he believes that Gonzalez knew the check didn’t belong to her. He also stated that it is his belief that she gave a South Dakota identification card at the time of the cashing.

Gonzalez was transported to the Lyon County Jail and at last report was being held on a $3,500 bond.

August 8, 2017 - 10:10 am - Posted in News

Little Rock, Iowa — A boy on a bike was injured when he struck a pickup in Little Rock on Monday, August 7th.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 6:35 p.m., a male juvenile was traveling eastbound in the 200 block of Clothier Street on a bicycle while using a cell phone. Deputies say his bicycle struck the side of a 2000 Chevrolet Silverado pickup being driven by 46-year-old Melissa Mammenga of Little Rock.

The Little Rock Ambulance Squad took the boy to Sanford Rock Rapids Hospital.

The Sheriff’s Office reports that Mammenga’s pickup sustained damages of less than $1,000.

August 3, 2017 - 2:39 pm - Posted in News

Larchwood, Iowa — A report of a stolen vehicle in Larchwood Wednesday morning led to an arrest, a patrol car being rammed, and a high-speed chase through two states.

According to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, their deputies responded to the report of a stolen vehicle in Larchwood shortly after 7:00 Wednesday morning.  When deputies arrived, they located a Gray 2013 Ford F-150 that they identified as the one stolen from Novartis Animal Clinic back on July 27th.  Sheriff’s officials say 26-year old Crystal Ullibari of Sioux Falls was located and found to be in possession of that stolen vehicle.

During the course of the investigation, law officers reportedly observed a gray 2012 Ford F-350 pickup at the Larchwood City Park. Deputies say they had reason to believe that truck had been stolen from Harrisburg, South Dakota.  According to authorities, when deputies approached the F-350 in the parking lot, the truck attempted to flee, and collided with a Lyon County patrol car.

Deputies say the suspect vehicle then sped off through the grass area of the park and on to William St.  According to authorities, the pursuit continued on Highway 9 reaching speeds near 100 mph. The chase entered South Dakota, came back into Iowa for a short period, then went back in to South Dakota.

The vehicle was reportedly found unoccupied in Sioux Falls and was confirmed as the stolen vehicle out of Harrisburg, SD.

The Iowa State Patrol is investigating the collision at the Larchwood City Park.

Assisting in the pursuit was the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation.

The young lady deputies say was in possession of the first stolen truck, 26-year old Crystal Ullibari of Sioux Falls, was arrested and faces charges of  2nd Degree Theft, and Possession of Firearms or Offensive Weapons by Felons, both Class D Felonies, as well as Possession of a Controlled Substance, a Serious Misdemeanor, according to authorities.

August 3, 2017 - 12:46 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa (Radio Iowa)  — For the 18th straight year, Iowans can take advantage of tax-free shopping on certain items Friday and Saturday this week.

Nicole Watson, at the Iowa Department of Revenue, says the annual Sales Tax Holiday is a time to save cash, especially for parents who are stocking up on their kids’ school clothes.

Watson says the tax-free shopping period is popular with shoppers and merchants statewide.

The Iowa Department of Revenue website details what items will be tax-free — and what ones aren’t — during the two day period.

Other tax exempt items include: caps and hats, socks, underclothing, uniforms for work and school, coats, bathing suits, leotards and tights, costumes and diapers. Other items that WILL still be taxed include: computers, school supplies, jewelry, fabric, athletic clothing and athletic footwear not usually for everyday wear. The holiday runs from 12:01 A-M on Friday though 11:59 P-M on Saturday. For more information, visit