May 14, 2019 - 12:08 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — A return to cool, wet weather put the brakes on planting in most areas of the state.

Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig says the weekly U-S-D-A crop report showed less than two suitable days for field work last week.

Naig says less than half the projected corn acres are planted.

The U-S-D-A report says this is the smallest percent of corn planted by May 12 since 2013 when just 15 percent of the expected crop had been planted. It is the fifth time in 40 years that less than half the expected crop has been planted by May 12. The soybean planting is six days behind both last year and the five-year average. Naig says farmers are anxious — but this is not new.

He says farmers still have some time before considering a move from corn to beans.

Cool temperatures are also a problem for corn that is already planted, as only five-percent of the corn is emerging.

Northeast Iowa is lagging most in corn planting — at only twenty-four-percent. West central Iowa has the most corn planted at 67 percent.

Rock Rapids, Iowa — The National Trust for Historic Preservation has declared May as National Historic Preservation Month.

One group working to restore a historic building is the Rapids Theatre Preservation Society in Rock Rapids. The group’s Matt Dengler gives us an update.

Dengler says it’s exciting to see how far the project has come since they started nine years ago. Instead of looking like a neglected old building on the outside, the storefront has been improved with large windows, the original art-deco doors, and more. But the interior still needs lots of work.

He says right now the interior work consists of planning and bare-bones work. They’re trying to decide how the new electrical wiring and utilities need to go in.

Dengler says the major issues that they came up against years ago are part of their planning now — and that is what to do about meeting code for enough restrooms and exits for the third-floor ballroom and what to do to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Dengler says some of their plans have had to change, or at least be put on the back burner for now. At one point they hoped to have a coffee shop on the second floor with a street-side balcony overlooking the marquee. However, he says they have to keep all their options open at this point, because they don’t know what will be required to get the facility up to code.

If you’d like to get involved or donate, he says you can contact the Rapids Theatre Preservation Society on Facebook or call Jackie Telford at 712-472-2434. They’ll also be selling popcorn and root beer on Saturday, June 15th, during Rock Rapids’ Heritage Days Celebration.

Northwest Iowa — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reminds everyone who drives to Share the Road during Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month this May. Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month coincides with May, as the month ushers in warmer weather, and motorcyclists begin to hit the streets.

They tell us that with thousands of deaths each year, motorcyclists are significantly overrepresented in traffic crashes and fatalities. In fact, per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclists are about 27 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash, and 5 times more likely to be injured.

Iowa State Patrol Safety Officer for our area, Trooper Nick Erdmann, says that motorcyclists need to be extra aware, because other drivers may not see them.

He says Motorcycle Safety Month is a good reminder to drivers of other vehicles to be looking for motorcycles.

He reminds us that all motorists should avoid alcohol and drugs and to be aware of the interactions of prescription drugs with each other and with alcohol, and to stay off the roads if they are impaired.

You can find more information about motorcycle safety at:

May 13, 2019 - 10:21 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Congressman Steve King and three Republicans who’re planning to challenge him in next year’s GOP primary spoke to a gathering of Christian conservatives Saturday night.

King, who spoke last, was cheered when he started and many in the crowd gave him a standing ovation as he concluded with this.

State Senator Randy Feenstra of Hull has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars for his campaign against King, but Feenstra did not mention the congressman during his remarks at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition gathering. Feenstra talked about his own faith instead.

Woodbury County Supervisor Jeremy Taylor mentioned King’s narrow three-percent win in 2018 and said keeping the fourth district in GOP hands was crucial if Republicans are to win back the U.S. House in 2020.

The other Republican who’s planning to challenge King is Bret Richards, the former mayor of Irwin.

This was the first time all four candidates — including King — shared the same stage. King, who will be seeking his 10th term in the House next year, told the crowd the party’s “heirarchy” has targeted him.

Northwest Iowa — The number of dairy operations has been on the decline for many years, due to technology making it possible for more cows to be taken care of by fewer people. But during the last few years, the number has been going down more rapidly.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Dairy Specialist Fred Hall tells us about it.

He says there has been a market imbalance for several years, in which more milk is being produced than is being consumed domestically or through export. And that’s causing low milk prices for dairy producers. He says things are improving slowly, however — and that some people are predicting a light at the end of the tunnel at the end of this year and the beginning of next year.

Consumers might be wondering, “If dairy prices are low, why are we not seeing lower milk prices in the grocery store?” Hall explains.

Hall says Americans are drinking less milk too. However, the demand for cheese and other dairy products remains stable to strong. He says the trade war also shrinks the ability to export and affects the price farmers get for their milk.

He says finding other markets for export is important to the solution. And he says there’s a strategy that producers should keep in mind.

Hall tells us a webinar will be hosted online by I-29 Moo University at 12 noon on Friday, May 17 to review the Dairy Revenue Protection program and the Dairy Margin Coverage program.

The Extension service presents more about the program:

Presenters will include Marin Bozic, Assistant Professor in Dairy Foods Marketing Economics, University of Minnesota plus Josh Newton and Cassandra Monger, Compeer.

Bozic will outline developments in the Dairy Revenue Protection program and how producers are benefitting from it as well as forecasts for the next year.

Newton is a crop insurance team leader and Monger is a dairy industry specialist, both with Compeer Financial. They will focus on Dairy RP from a lender’s perspective, including results from the first quarter in 2019; how DRP is set up to serve each operation; execution from application to endorsement and how the program fits into a producers overall risk management plan.

There is no registration and producers can access the webinar at the link below:

The I-29 Moo University is a consortium of Extension Dairy Specialists from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Now in its thirteenth year, the consortium provides resources and education to enhance a sustainable dairy community along the I-29 corridor by focusing on: best management practices, utilization of research-based expertise and resources, and ag-vocating the benefits of a vibrant dairy community. For more information about this webinar or other I-29 Moo University programs contact your state Extension Dairy Specialist. In Northwest Iowa, contact Fred M. Hall at 712.737.4230 or email at

Washington, D.C.– The U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation that contains funding for communities throughout the Midwest that have been affected by severe flooding in the region.

This area’s Congressman, Steve King says he applauds the passage of the legislation, which passed the House Friday on a vote of 257-150, with Congressman King voting in favor of it.

King spoke out on Thursday in support of the funding package.

Congressman King says he applauds the House for acting quickly, and he says he encourages the Senate to work just as quickly to produce a final bill that the President will not hesitate to sign into law.

Des Moines, Iowa — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has given the green light to a new “blackout” license plate design.

The “blackout” design has been on the road for a few years. More than 800 Iowans have purchased the specialty license plate for the Dordt College Defenders. It has a black background. The letters and numbers are white. Legislators tucked language creating a new “blackout” license plate — without the reference to Dordt College — in a “multi-subject” bill the governor approved this week. You may recall that in August of 2017, Reynolds spearheaded a public vote on three designs for NEW “standard-issue” state license plates. The chosen design and color scheme have sparked complaints.

Iowans who don’t want the standard-issue license plate can pay extra for specialty plates for their vehicles. As we reported earlier, the DOT plans to start taking orders for the new “blackout” plates on July 1st.


Original post 6:51 am, May 5, 2019

Des Moines, Iowa — If Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signs the appropriations bill on her desk, one of the other things it will do is create a new specialty license plate, and quite possibly reduce the number of Dordt College Defender plates issued.

Around here, the black background, white text Dordt license plates are mostly used by people who support Dordt College. But word on social media is that due to the plate’s minimalist design, some Iowans are also buying the Dordt plates, then buying a black frame to cover up the reference to the Christian college here in northwest Iowa, giving a sleek look to their vehicle.

The appropriations bill would create a similar plate with a black background and white letters and/or numbers, without reference to Dordt. The legislation refers to it as the “blackout” plate. Daniel Yeh is the manager for vehicle services at the Iowa Department of Transportation.

There is an additional charge for all specialty plates, including this “blackout” version.

According to the DOT, about 800 Dordt College license plates had been issued by last March. It remains to be seen if the number of Dordt plates issued each year will drop if the blackout plates are approved.

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — The State Board of Education gave preliminary approval Thursday to a change in state rules that would require seatbelts to be installed in all new school buses.

Department of Education transportation director, Max Christensen, told the board the National Transportation Safety Board recommended last May that lap-shoulder belts should be required.

He says they have a group that reviews proposed changes, and they unanimously voted in favor of requiring the belts. Some schools are already requesting them when they get new buses.

Christensen says those districts have found a side benefit to the lap belts along with the safe travel.

Information presented to the board shows the lap-shoulder belts cost around 123 dollars each, and that would add about 84-hundred dollars to the cost of an average new school bus. Christensen says that breaks down to about four-and-a-half cents a day for each student on a bus. There has long been a debate about adding the lap-shoulder belts to school buses — with the thinking that it made it more difficult to get kids out of the bus in an emergency. Christensen says the thought process has changed.

Christensen says another factor is kids now have grown up with seatbelts and are very familiar with their use and how to get out of them. The Board of Education voted to move ahead with the change and there will now be a public hearing on the proposal June 25th at 10:00 a.m. at the board office in Des Moines. You can also send the board written comments and those and the comments at the hearing will be considered when the board takes final vote on the issue.

May 10, 2019 - 1:04 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — RiseFest, the Christian music festival held each June in Sheldon is rapidly approaching, and is now just six weeks away.

Lee Stover of Rise Ministries, the organization behind RiseFest says getting tickets is as easy as visiting the organization’s website.

Stover says you’re also encouraged to buy one more ticket than you need.

Rise Ministries founder and president, Rob Roozeboom says sometimes people leave their extra tickets at the RiseFest gate.

While RiseFest is a Christian music festival, Roozeboom says it’s about more than just music.

Stover talks about the RiseFest lineup for Friday, June 21st.

On Saturday, June 22nd, the RiseFest gates will open at 11:00 am, and the Saturday lineup will include AC & Brady, Cade Thompson, I Am They, Plumb, We Are Messengers, Zach Williams, and Newsboys.

In previous years RiseFest was traditionally held on Father’s Day Weekend. This year, however, the festival will be held the weekend AFTER Father’s Day, on June 21st and 22nd.

May 9, 2019 - 1:58 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — It’s a big accomplishment for those graduating, and one of which they can be proud.

Commencement exercises at Northwest Iowa Community College, Sheldon, Iowa will be held this Friday, May 10, 2019.

College officials tell us that the Associate Degree Nursing Pinning Ceremony will be held in the Northwest Iowa Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center at 10:00 a.m. The Student Keynote Speaker is Jacob Moermond of Hartley, an Associate Degree Nursing graduate.

They tell us that the Spring Commencement ceremony will also be held in the Northwest Iowa Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center — that at 1:30 p.m. According to the officials, the Commencement Address will be given by Dennis Dees IV, Meridian, Mississippi. Dees is an Associate of Arts graduate.

The Outstanding Student Leadership Award will also be presented. The public is welcome to attend.