September 18, 2019 - 1:51 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — This week, September 16th through the 20th, is National Farm Safety & Health Week, a time for farmers to be mindful of the potential hazards they encounter each and every day.

Beginning in 1944, the third week of September has been recognized as National Farm Safety & Health Week. This recognition has been an annual promotion, first initiated by the National Safety Council and has been proclaimed as such by each sitting U.S. President since Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the first document. The development and dissemination of National Farm Safety and Health Week is led by the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS), the agricultural partner of the National Safety Council.

The 2019 theme for National Farm Safety & Health Week is “Shift Farm Safety into High Gear”.

Each day this week, they have been focusing on a different topic, including Tractor and Rural Roadway Safety, Farmer Health and Opioid/Suicide Prevention, Safety & Health for Youth in Agriculture, Confined Spaces in Agriculture, and Safety & Health for Women in Agriculture.

Some northwest Iowa FFA chapters are driving home the safety message with area students.

A Farm Safety Day Camp for Sheldon students was held last week at Sheldon High School. The students were exposed to numerous stations, each featuring a different potential hazard that can be encountered around the farm.

For more information on National Farm Safety & Health Week, CLICK HERE.

September 17, 2019 - 10:07 am - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — An attack on oil production facilities in Saudi Arabia will lead to higher prices at gas pumps in Iowa and elsewhere.

Mark Peterson of Triple-A Iowa says the world’s largest oil facility was hit.

Last weekend, gas prices were around two-dollars-and-40-cents ($2.40) a gallon. Experts predict the price will jump about 25-cents by the end of September. Peterson says how long the higher prices last depends upon how long the Saudi facilities are down.

Wholesale gasoline prices were 15 cents a gallon higher nationwide by midday Monday. President Trump has said he’s prepared to tap U.S. petroleum reserves if oil production in Saudi Arabia doesn’t rebound quickly.

Northwest Iowa — Time is running out if you want to toss your hat in the ring for northwest Iowa school board and city council positions. Some mayors’ seats are also up for election.

Nominating positions may picked up at your County Auditor’s Office right now. A varying number of signatures is required, depending on which position you are filing for. The deadline for submitting nomination papers is 5:00 p.m. this Thursday, September 19th.

The general election is on Tuesday, November 5th. Elections of school board members, community college board members, city council members, mayors, and other questions may all be on your ballot.

This will be the first time that city and school candidates will be on the same ballot. School board of education elections used to be held in September, but a law passed in 2017 requires them to be held in November — on the same day as city elections. The new law will require election officials to prepare more types of ballots because school elections sometimes cover several cities, plus rural areas. Many polling locations will remain the same, but there will be some changes. The Secretary of State says you can check out where to vote by clicking here. If you have questions, you can contact your county auditor’s office. Find that contact information here. Find the County Auditor Directory, select your county, and click “go.”

Absentee ballots will be available by October 7th and are due October 25th. They need to be requested on an official form. You can also vote in person at your auditor’s office, starting October 7th. Call them for more information.

September 16, 2019 - 2:56 pm - Posted in News

Sioux Center, Iowa — A northwest Iowa ethanol plant has put their production on “pause” for now, in the wake of a downturn in the market for the corn-based fuel.

President of the Board of Directors for Siouxland Energy Cooperative, Kelly Niewenhuis, tells us it was not an easy decision.

He says all 42 employees at Siouxland Energy are important to them.

Niewenhuis tells us how they ended up here.

He emphasizes that this, for now, is only temporary.

But, according to Niewenhuis, he lays the blame squarely on the Trump administration.

Niewenhuis says farmer organizations and agribusiness companies are glad to go to bat for the farmers, but sheer numbers mean something too, so he encourages all farmers to contact their representatives and even the White House to inform them about the situation when things like this inevitably happen.

He tells us that for now, Siouxland Energy doesn’t plan to accept any corn for this harvest season. However, he says if things turn around, they could have the plant up and running again within a week.

September 16, 2019 - 12:59 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — Governor Kim Reynolds is predicting President Trump will announce new ethanol production guidelines this week.

Reynolds flew to Washington, D.C. late last week for a meeting at the White House to discuss how to increase the federal ethanol production mandate. President Trump in August gave the green light to waivers so 31 oil refineries do not have to blend ethanol into gasoline. Trump has said he had to save those refineries “from certain closing” — but he’s promised a “giant package” will be unveiled to boost corn-based ethanol. Reynolds says she “feels really good” about last week’s White House meeting with Trump and farm-state senators.

The governor says the ethanol waivers granted to the oil industry erased any gains from President Trump’s June announcement that gasoline with a higher 15-percent blend of ethanol could be sold year-round. She says that message has been delivered.

Thus far, the increased numbers of RFS waivers granted to refineries have caused two northwest Iowa ethanol plants to stop production.

Photo Courtesy Radio Iowa


September 16, 2019 - 12:54 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Summer is almost over. In fact, Autumn will officially arrive next Monday, September 23rd.

Our weather forecast calls for unseasonably warm temperatures here in northwest Iowa to finish out summer. Kyle Weisser is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Office in Sioux Falls, and he explains why we’re experiencing warmer-than-normal temperatures this week.

Weisser says the warm temperatures will, at least for the next few days, be accompanied by some elevated humidity levels.

Autumn officially begins this coming Monday, and we asked Weisser if the temperatures would reflect the change of seasons.

Weisser says that, although this week will be warm, the temperatures won’t be record-setting, which would require highs well into the 90’s, as we approach the end of summer.

Photo Courtesy Radio Iowa

September 14, 2019 - 8:26 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — All three state universities are reporting a drop in fall enrollment. Iowa State University spokesperson Laura Doering says they have 33-thousand-391 students on the Ames campus for fall semester.

ISU has tried to manage enrollment after seeing the student population continually setting records.

She says they’ve also seen more and more students getting their degree in four years.

The Ames campus has also seen an impact from a drop in international students.

The state’s unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the country — and Doering says that does make a difference in a student’s decision to transfer from a community college.

University of Iowa Director of Admissions Kirk Kluver says the total enrollment in Iowa City was 31-thousand-240 — a drop of 416.

Kluver says continued enrollment increases can put a strain on resources.

He says the number of transfer students was down slightly — and there was also a drop in international students.

He says he likes the approach they are taking.

The University of Northern Iowa had projected an enrollment drop — and saw 715 fewer students. UNI’s president says they are working on getting the numbers back up.

September 14, 2019 - 7:51 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — A new report concludes Iowa has one of the highest obesity rates in the country. More than 35 percent of Iowans are considered obese, according to a report by the non-profit Trust for America’s Health. That makes Iowa’s obesity rate seventh highest in the nation.

Nadine Gracia is executive vice president for the group that did the study. She says obesity can lead to serious health issues.

Gracia says in Iowa and elsewhere, it’s often hard to find affordable, healthy food and a safe place to exercise.

The national obesity rate is the highest its ever been — about 31 percent — and Iowa’s obesity rate is four percent higher than that. The Trust for America’s Health says obesity is “a growing epidemic” in America and policymakers must take action. The group suggests several steps to address the problem, including new taxes on sugary drinks to try to reduce consumption of high-calorie sodas.

September 14, 2019 - 7:02 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — Governor Kim Reynolds met with the president earlier this week to talk about ethanol policy.

After the meeting, Governor Reynolds Tweeted that she “appreciated the opportunity to meet with Trump at the White House to discuss the importance of ethanol to rural America!” She used an exclamation point at the end of that sentence, then concluded by saying she’ll “never stop fighting for” ethanol.

A month ago, Trump gave the green light to waivers so oil refineries do not have to blend as much ethanol into gasoline. Reynolds has said Trump did not fully understand the negative impact that would have on the ethanol industry. Friday morning, Bloomberg News reported that President Trump has revealed Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, both U.S. Senators from South Dakota and Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse were part of a “big meeting” at the White House about ethanol.

September 14, 2019 - 6:14 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — The new blackout license plates offered by the Iowa Department of Transportation has been extremely popular among Iowans. Due to the high demand for the blackout design, the Iowa DOT says they’ve been working with suppliers to maintain needed production materials, but have been running out of specialty plate materials as quickly as they are purchased.

According to the DOT, that’s caused some counties around the state to run out of, or run low on, their inventory of the non-personalized version of the plates.  The DOT expects all counties that have reordered blackout plates to receive their stock within the next week.

IDOT says customers are encouraged to check with their county treasurer’s office to make sure they have stock on-hand before making the trip to purchase their non-personalized blackout plates.

Even if the blackout plates are not in stock, customers should be able to place an order in person at their county treasurer’s office and will be notified when they are available for pick-up. Personalized versions of the blackout plates can be ordered in person as well as online.

As of Sept. 10th, more than 17,500 blackout plates have been issued since the design was first made available on July 1st. The new plate will cost $35 for a non-personalized, alpha-numeric plate and an additional $25 (for a total of $60) for a personalized plate.  An additional fee of $10 for non-personalized and $15 for personalized plates will be added to renewal registration fees.  Funds collected for the blackout plate will go to the Road Use Tax Fund, which funds state, county, and city road and bridge projects throughout the state.

Photo courtesy Iowa Department of Transportation