August 19, 2019 - 3:49 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — When the severe weather started in northwest Iowa, the first indication was a tornado warning for northeastern Lyon and western Osceola counties, as well as south-central Nobles County in Minnesota, issued about 10:40 p.m. and in effect until 11:15 p.m. Saturday night. That warning said the storm capable of producing a tornado was over the Rock Rapids area at that time. After a look at the damage on Sunday and Monday, the National Weather Service now says that’s exactly what happened — a tornado in the Rock Rapids area.

According to Alex Trellinger with the National Weather Service’s Sioux Falls office, there is enough evidence to say it was a tornado, which started about four miles west of the south side of Rock Rapids.

He tells us about the damage at Multi-Rose Jerseys, west of Rock Rapids.

The hog confinement building was a newer confinement, just to the east of Highway 75 and 170th Street, a mile south of the city limits. Trellinger tells us two silos were also destroyed on the James Hommes place, about four miles east of Rock Rapids.

Photo by KIWA staff. Roof of hog confinement building blown off just west of Highway 75 on 170th Street.

August 19, 2019 - 12:11 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Area parents, students and teachers are gearing up for back-to-school, with most area schools beginning the 2019-2020 school year later this week.

Teachers around the area are putting the final touches on their classrooms as they prepare for the return of students to class. This Friday, August 23rd, is the first day of school for most students in the KIWA listening area. Some of the schools are beginning with a short day that day.

Area schools starting the new school year include: Sheldon Community Schools; Central Lyon Community Schools; George-Little Tock; Sibley-Ocheyedan; Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn; South O’Brien; Moc-Floyd Valley; Sioux Center; Rock Valley, West Lyon; Western Christian; and Unity Christian.

The lone school district not starting classes until next week is Boyden-Hull. Their school calendar lists Tuesday, August 27th as the first day of school in the Boyden-Hull district.

With the kids headed back to school, motorists are urged to be extra alert, and watch out for children who may dart out from between cars. In their excitement to get back to school and their friends, kids aren’t always as careful as they should be.

Kids, as you head back to school please remember to watch for traffic, and remember to crosss the street only at crosswalks.

Together we can make this a safe and happy back to school season for everybody.

Statewide Iowa — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has ordered all state flags in Iowa be lowered to half-staff Monday (August 19th) in honor of a fallen Lyon County Sheriff’s Deputy.

Reynolds ordered all state flags be lowered to half-staff on Monday until sunset in honor and remembrance of fallen Lyon County Sheriff’s Deputy, Stephanie Schreurs. Deputy Schreurs, a 24-year veteran with the department, died from injuries sustained in the line of duty on Tuesday, August 13th.

Flags will be at half-staff on the State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol Complex. Flags will also be half-staff on all public buildings, grounds and facilities throughout the state.

Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties, and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect for Deputy Schreurs.

August 18, 2019 - 12:47 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Severe weather rumbled through northwest Iowa once again late Saturday and early Sunday.

It started with a severe thunderstorm watch, which was issued about 6:15 p.m. Saturday evening, and was to run until 12:15 a.m. The action stayed west of our area until about 10:40 p.m., when things started with a bang around here, with a tornado warning for northeastern Lyon and western Osceola counties, as well as south-central Nobles County in Minnesota until 11:15 p.m. The warning said there was a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado, and the National Weather Service had detected it over Rock Rapids at that time. They said it would affect George around 10:50 p.m., Little Rock around 10:55, Ashton around 11 p.m. and Sibley about 11:05.

That was followed shortly thereafter by a severe thunderstorm warning for portions of several counties: Lyon, Osceola, Dickinson, Sioux, Clay, and O’Brien counties in Iowa; Rock, Jackson, Nobles, Murray, and Cottonwood counties in Minnesota, and Lincoln County, South Dakota. It was to be in effect until 11:30 p.m., and was to affect George, Wilmont, and Lismore around 10:50 p.m.; Little Rock about 10:55; Ashton around 11. Sibley, Fulda, Boyden, and Matlock around 11:05; Sheldon, Hospers, Brewster, and Melvin around 11:10; Ocheyedan around 11:15; Sanborn, Heron Lake, Harris, and Archer around 11:20; and Lakefield, Lake Park, and Primghar about 11:25.

Just after 11 p.m., the weather service said that they received a report via social media of damage to a metal shed and many trees down in Sibley. The next report in our general area was of nickel-sized hail, three miles east-southeast of Harris, about 11:24 p.m. The very next minute, the Weather Service says a thunderstorm wind gust of 54 miles per hour was experienced three miles south-southeast of Lake Park.

A little bit later, two large tree branches were reported down in the community of Okoboji. That was about 11:40 p.m. They reportedly blocked Lakeshore Drive.

Also received with this storm were reports of heavy rain, with rates of around an inch per hour reported in some locations, and some wind gusts over 60 miles per hour.

Rainfall reports were spotty. We have three different reports from Sheldon. One was 64 hundredths, one was 85 hundredths, and one was over an inch.

Statewide Iowa — China is the world’s largest consumer of pork products, but experts estimate by the end of the year, African Swine Fever will cut pork output in China in half.

Mike Paustian of Walcott, the president-elect of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, says farmers here could step in and meet Chinese demand for pork — if the Trump Administration strikes a trade deal with China.

Paustian says pork producers are having a hard time planning for the future when they don’t know whether China’s market will reopen to pork.

Paustian says the U.S. is starting to fall behind in other countries that are important markets for pork. He cites Japan’s recent free trade pact with the European Union. Paustian says there are other countries in southeast Asia where more U.S. pork could be sold if trade deals are struck — and sales to those emerging markets could help soften the blow of pork exports that aren’t going to China.

KIWA Archive Photo

August 17, 2019 - 7:26 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is using some blunt language to describe the EPA’s decision last Friday to grant waivers to big oil companies, reducing the amount of ethanol that must be blended into gasoline.


Grassley says the waivers were intended for small refineries, but are now being granted to the likes of Exxon and Chevron.

Last year the EPA granted 38 ethanol waivers to oil companies and this year has granted 31, but Grassley says there’s “no victory” here for farmers.

Grassley says he’s lobbied President Trump and Ivanka Trump on the issue — and Trump heard from farmers when the president visited a western Iowa ethanol plant earlier this summer.

But Grassley says officials in Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency are blocking ethanol’s progress.

August 17, 2019 - 6:59 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — Iowa Workforce Development is reporting something it hasn’t had to report in a long time — the unemployment rated went up in July.

IWD Deputy director Ryan West says it was a small increase.

West says one side of the numbers slightly outweighed the other in figuring the rate for July.

The number of unemployed Iowans increased by 14-hundred to 42-thousand-800 — while the number of working Iowans increased by four-thousand. He says there are a lot of factors involved in seeing some people without a job while there are so many job openings in the state.

The business sector added jobs in July along with construction.

The financial activities sector saw a loss of 18-hundred jobs and has seen loses throughout this year. The workforce report says the information sector continues to adjust to changing technologies and is down 14-hundred jobs. West says it is hard to say if the unemployment level has bottomed out.

West says efforts continue to retrain people to fit them into the jobs that are available, as well as getting some workers back into the mix.

The US unemployment rate remained at three-point-seven percent in July.

KIWA Archive Photo

August 17, 2019 - 6:40 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa – Republican Senator Joni Ernst says there’s a strong, negative reaction to the Reuters report indicating President Trump directed the EPA to grant oil companies waivers reducing the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline.

The EPA last week granted 31 so-called “hardship” waivers that exempt a refiner from blending ethanol into gasoline. The ethanol industry says the waivers are a back-door way for big oil to avoid the federal ethanol mandate — and experts say this year’s waivers already have reduced ethanol consumption by at least 10 percent. Ernst says former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who’s now the U.S. Ambassador to China, hopes to bring up the issue during a meeting with President Trump.

The President traveled to Iowa in June to announce EPA rules had been changed to allow year-round sale of gasoline with a higher, 15 percent blend of ethanol. And he has repeatedly talked about how loyal voters farmers are to him. Senator Ernst suggests these ethanol waivers are endangering that.

Lyon County, Iowa — A number of people gathered Thursday night to run or walk in tribute of Lyon County Deputy Stephanie Schreurs, who lost her life Tuesday after a crash last Friday. And a central Florida boy led them.

Central-Florida 10-year-old, Zechariah Cartledge decided recently that he would run a mile for each law officer or first responder who died while on duty. His dad, Chad Cartledge tells us they’re calling the effort “Running 4 Heroes.” He says Zechariah has always had a big respect for first responders.

He says Zechariah also got to meet the family of that officer when he did the Tunnel to Towers run in New York. He was going to run a mile for every officer or first responder that lost their lives in the line of duty last year. But then he got the idea to do a separate one-mile run for each of them lost this year.

That brings us to Thursday in Lyon County. A number of Lyon County residents wanted to run along with Zechariah Cartledge to honor the memory of Deputy Stephanie Schreurs. Shannon Monson, one of the people organizing the local effort, says that around 50 people did three laps on the Central Lyon track in Rock Rapids and then finished the mile walking to the Sheriff’s Office to place flowers on the deputy’s pickup memorial. She says there were also walk/runs in Larchwood and Inwood.

Cartledge tells us that each officer’s family receives the flag that Zechariah ran with, and that Deputy Schreurs’ flag is on its way to northwest Iowa.

For more information about Zechariah, “Running 4 Heros,” and a link to find out how you can help, click here.
Click here for the memorial story and funeral arrangements.
Click here for a story with more information.

Lyon County picture courtesy Shannon Monson
Zechariah picture courtesy Chad Cartledge

August 16, 2019 - 1:39 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Republican 4th District Congressman Steve King has taken to twitter to lash out at critics of his recent comments on abortion — and he’s sending a fundraising email about the uproar.

King backs an abortion ban that does NOT include exceptions for rape and incest. On Wednesday, King mused out loud at that given the pillaging of centuries past, there might not be any population of the world left if all the products of rape and incest were removed from family trees. Iowa Republican Party chairman Jeff Kaufmann says the party platform opposes all abortion and aligns with King’s policy position, but King’s line of reasoning was offensive.

Four other Republicans have announced they plan to challenge King in next year’s primary. The Iowa GOP’s chairman says the party is neutral in the primary – and it’s up to voters in the fourth congressional district to decide.

Liz Cheney, the top-ranking woman among Republicans in the U.S. House, called on King to resign this week. King, on Twitter is demanding on apology from Cheney. King has also tweeted at several of the Democratic presidential candidates who condemned his remarks. King accused Cory Booker of supporting the “killing of little black babies” and King tweeted at Joe Biden, saying: “Don’t look now, but Elizabeth Warren just passed you up in Iowa.”

KIWA File Photo