December 13, 2018 - 10:34 am - Posted in News

Washington, DC — The US Senate approved the Farm Bill on Tuesday, with the US House approving it on Wednesday. This area’s Congressman, Steve King voted in favor of the legislation, which he says contains several important agriculture and biofuel initiatives.

The Farm Bill passed the House on a vote of 369-47. The legislation will now be sent to President Trump for his signature.

King says the Farm Bill provides predictability, while also enhancing our ability to trade in foreign markets. He made these comments on the House floor:

King is talking about ‘Genome to Phenome’ language that was a priority for Iowa State University. He says this will allow Iowa State to further its research into the impact on crops of weather, environmental, and production systems.

King says this Farm Bill is “a victory for our producers, it meets Rural America’s immediate need for greater trade, and it’s shameful that partisan politics prevented it from passing sooner.”

The Energy Title was preserved as a separate title in the Farm Bill, a designation King insisted upon in order to protect mandatory funding for important biofuel programs. The bill also includes increased funding for “Beginning Farmer” loans by $6 billion, while also increasing loan amounts available under the program. It will also increase the rural minimum standard for broadband internet service which he says means that rural areas, like Iowa’s 4th Congressional District, will now be provided with greater connectivity speeds.

In the Senate, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst voted for the bill, with Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley voting against it, saying it helps those who run big farms too much and doesn’t help those who run small and medium-sized farms enough.

December 12, 2018 - 3:54 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — With the holiday season coming up the risk of fires and accidents goes up.

We talked with Orange City Fire Chief Denny Vander Wel, and he told us some things to keep in mind to prevent fires and stay safe this holiday season. He started by suggesting that you should fill your house guests in on any emergency plans at your house, in case something happens.

VanderWel says one thing that can cause a fire if you’re not careful is a space heater.

He says another fire hazard involves holiday cooking.

Many people like to use candles around the holidays, but according to Vander Wel, they’re one of the worst offenders safety-wise.

Vander Wel says they had an example of that this past fall. He says the occupant had left a candle burning unattended on a bottom shelf when there was another shelf a bit higher up the wall. He says they returned to a house full of smoke because the top shelf started to burn.

He tells us that while newer LED holiday light sets are better than old ones, you still need to be careful.

He says while more and more people are getting artificial trees, a fair number of people do use live trees. He gives us some advice about those.

He says that while there aren’t that many Christmas tree fires, if it does light on fire, it’s an emergency, and your time is short.

Vander Wel wrapped up our talk by saying that the Orange City Fire Department wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season.

December 12, 2018 - 3:41 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — Iowa’s two U.S. Senators parted ways in Tuesday’s approval of a new five-year Farm Bill.

Joni Ernst voted in favor of the compromise bill, which now goes to the House. Chuck Grassley was one of just 13 Republicans voting against the bill.

Grassley’s payment limitation amendment was removed from the Farm Bill in conference committee. He’s fought for years to place “hard caps” on subsidies from the government, saying the largest ag operations and even non-farmers are benefiting the most.

Grassley said farm policy should be “a limited safety net” to help farmers recover from natural disasters and other “unforeseen challenges.” This bill, he said, goes well beyond that.

Senator Joni Ernst served on the conference committee that drafted the compromise. In a prepared statement, she praised the bill as “farmer-focused” and said it includes her provisions to reform the Conservation Reserve Program and provide “critical mental health support” through the FARMERS FIRST Act.

Northwest Iowa — A pursuit that started as a traffic stop in Worthington, Minnesota early Tuesday (Dec. 11) came right through our area and ended over 100 miles from Worthington, in rural Plymouth County, Iowa — and two out-of-state individuals are behind bars facing charges.

Worthington Police and Nobles County Sheriff’s officials had attempted to stop the vehicle when it fled from the officer. Multiple agencies in northwest Iowa assisted the Minnesota agencies during the pursuit.

After traveling through Nobles and Rock County, Minnesota on Interstate 90, the pursuit entered Lyon County and went through Sioux County before entering Plymouth County in the 4 a.m. hour. Plymouth County officials advise that at about 4:20 a.m, a Plymouth County deputy that was in front of the pursuit was able to safely deploy stop sticks near K22 (also known as the Perry Creek Road) and 250th Street. The suspect vehicle struck the stop sticks and both right side tires went flat. The vehicle then stopped in the 2500 block of K22, about 14 miles southwest of Le Mars. Both the driver and passenger were detained. After a records check, both the driver and passenger were found to have active arrest warrants from South Dakota.

Plymouth County authorities say the driver, 45-year-old Kevin Gunhammer of Tabor, South Dakota was charged with eluding, an aggravated misdemeanor, along with the South Dakota warrant.

The passenger, 34-year-old Desiree Sully of Minneapolis, MN was arrested on her South Dakota warrant. Once at the Plymouth County Jail, she was also found to be in possession of a controlled substance believed to be methamphetamine. She was then charged with Possession of a controlled substance 1st offense.

According to officials with the Worthington Police Department, other charges are pending in other jurisdictions.

Court records indicate Gunhammer is being held on a $5000 bond. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled on his Plymouth County charges for Thursday, December 20th.

Northwest Iowa — An Iowa State Patrol Trooper who is well-known in northwest Iowa was promoted to sergeant in a ceremony held Friday in Des Moines.

Trooper Vince Kurtz is very familiar to listeners of the KIWA Morning Show with Wayne and Aaron, having appeared as a monthly guest on the program for the past couple of years. Sgt. Kurtz tells us about his new position with the Iowa State Patrol.

The Sergeant talks bout his career with the Patrol.

Kurtz says his promotion does not require his family to move, which he says, pleased his daughters very much.

Sgt. Kurtz says they hope to have the process of selecting someone to fill his recently-vacated position as Public Resource Officer by sometime in January or February. Until that time, he says he’ll be filling both jobs as much as possible. And, as Public Resource Officer, Kurtz says that, on the foggy mornings we’ve had lately, motorists should NOT rely on their vehicle’s automatic headlights to turn on when they’re needed in the fog.

He also spoke about relying on daytime running lamps in the fog. He says that, while those will help you be seen by traffic approaching from the front, they do nothing to make your presence known to vehicles behind you, since your tail lights do not come on with your daytime running lamps.


December 8, 2018 - 10:24 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a man in connection with burglaries in the county.

The Sheriff’s Office says the man is thought to be responsible for burglaries in Larchwood and possibly Inwood on the morning of November 27, 2018. They have a photo of him, which is the photo of this story. By the photo, he appears to be a white male with a somewhat bushy beard and mustache. In the picture, he’s wearing jeans and a blue coat with the hood up.

Sheriff’s officials tell us they do not believe the man is a local resident. They also believe he is not in the area since he is suspected of committing burglaries again the next night between Sioux City and Council Bluffs. The sheriff’s office tells us the subject was seen in Council Bluffs two nights after the burglaries in Lyon County.

They are warning people that he is known to get hostile when confronted, so if he does return to northwest Iowa, they ask that you DO NOT confront him, but call law enforcement. He is believed to be driving a black SUV with black rims.

December 8, 2018 - 10:05 pm - Posted in News

George, Iowa — Another scam has hit northwest Iowa — or perhaps has hit northwest Iowa again. A George area woman tells KIWA that she almost got bilked out of over $4000.

We talked to Lyon County Sheriff Stewart Vander Stoep, and he tells us about the scam.

He says that the way she was told to get the money to the scammers is a red flag as well.

Vander Stoep says feel free to call law enforcement if you think something might be fraud or a scam. But, he says, unfortunately, helping you avoid the scam may be the only thing they can do. He says many scammers are not only out-of-state but may be operating from a foreign country, where it’s very difficult to prosecute those who run these scams.

Spencer, Iowa — An area facility that helps suffering kids and families received a special grant recently.

Officials at Seasons Center for Behavioral Health say they have received a Regional Partnership Grant (RPG) focused on supporting families who are suffering from the impact of abuse, trauma, and substance use. Seasons Center’s VP of Program Growth and Development, Christina Eggink-Postma, tells us about the grant.

Eggink-Postma tells us this was not a routine grant, but something special.

According to Eggink-Postma, details will be released soon as to how they will use the grant funds toward their intended purpose.

She tells us that the grant will help them help children through Seasons Center and Autumn’s Center in Spencer, as well as Camp Autumn in O’Brien County. She says it will help children throughout the area.

December 7, 2018 - 12:57 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Over the past several weeks we’ve seen the pump prices of gasoline drop here in our area, and similar decreases have been seen nationwide.

Triple-A Iowa reports that the average price for a gallon of gas nationwide is now at a record low of $2.43 a gallon. The average in Iowa dropped 13-cents compared to last week to hit $2.16 a gallon. That’s 30 cents a gallon lower than last year at this time. Triple-A spokesman Nick Jarmusz says everything has fallen into place to push prices lower.

Jarmusz says you won’t pay the average price at all stations — as the cost to fill up can vary quite a bit across the state. Here in Sheldon, as of Friday mid-day, the pump prices are within a cent or two of $2.15 a gallon.

He says the prices should stay low for awhile — but there is one unknown still out there.

Jarmusz says it is likely the prices will stay right around where they are, at least through December.

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — A top Iowa Farm Bureau official says he’s thankful Mexico didn’t start a food fight during the renegotiation of NAFTA.

David Miller, the IFB’s director of research, notes – unlike other countries – Mexican trade officials did not target agricultural products when retaliating to U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs.

Speaking this week at the Iowa Farm Bureau’s annual meeting in Des Moines, Miller said he wishes that would’ve been the model for other countries involved in trade disputes with the U.S.

Miller was quick to point out China did retaliate on U.S. food and ag products and that Mexico has done so in the past. He added it’s “refreshing” that, for the most part, the U.S., Canada and Mexico have kept food out of the tariff dispute.