June 9, 2016 - 8:18 am - Posted in News

Lyon Sheriff Facebook HeaderRock Rapids, Iowa — A Luverne, Minnesota woman’s vehicle was damaged after an accident at a Rock Rapids intersection on Wednesday, June 8th.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that at about 5:50 pm on Wednesday, 35-year-old Ryan Jenness of Primghar was driving a 2014 Peterbuilt 386 pulling a 2001 Wilson trailer and stopped at the northbound stop light on Highway 75, in Rock Rapids. Thirty-two-year-old Heidi Wolthuizen of Luverne, Minnesota was driving a 2005 Chrysler Town and Country and was also stopped at the northbound stop light on Highway 75. According to the report, Jenness backed up Peterbuilt to provide space for an uninvolved semi that was turning off IA 9 on to IA 75. Jenness failed to see Wolthuizen’s vehicle and struck the van.

The Chrysler received $2000 damage.

No injuries were reported.

Lyon County, Iowa — The latest roadblock to construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the proposed line that would transport Bakken crude oil from the oil fields of North Dakota to other pipelines in Illinois, passing through parts of Lyon, Sioux and O’Brien counties here in northwest Iowa, didn’t come from environmental protesters, the Iowa Utilities Board, or the court system.  This roadblock was erected by the Iowa State Archaeologist’s Office.

About 10 days ago we told you that a Native American tribe had contacted State Archaeologist, John Doershuk, advising him of a potentially “culturally-significant” site, along the Big Sioux River in Lyon County.

Doershuk, along with state and federal officials, and Sioux Tribal leaders, reportedly toured the site this past Friday.  In a report filed over the weekend, Doershuk says the site has significant cultural and historical importance for the Upper Sioux Community, and other Sioux peoples.  He says, as a result, the Dakota Access Pipeline should avoid the Native American burial site.

The Iowa Utilities Board has a meeting scheduled for today to talk about letting Dakota Access to begin work on the pipeline in the state.  At this point, it’s not clear if Dakota Access will have to make changes to the pipeline’s planned route in order to avoid the Lyon County site.

June 4, 2016 - 5:34 pm - Posted in News
Mini Zoo Mural Going Up

New mural is hung in Rock Rapids

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Another new mural is up in Rock Rapids — the city of murals.

This one, the 32nd mural painted, remembers the Island Park Mini Zoo that was destroyed in the flood of 2014. It has been mounted on the east side of the Cooperative Farmers Elevator’s warehouse building, west across the street from the post office on North Story Street in Rock Rapids.

We talked to the Rock Rapids Mural Society’s Judy Gustafson. She tells us what prompted the idea for the mural.

She says that Peterson was the caretaker of the animals at the Mini Zoo for many years. She says that the Petersons gave the money for the mural, along with a small amount of money in a fund for the animals when the zoo was destroyed. Gustafson says the tribute was written by Mary Peterson and the tribute plaque was also donated by Bret Heitritter, who makes the plaques for all the murals.

According to Gustafson, the mural is true to life.

She says not many people are aware, but not all the animals died or moved away from the park during the flood. One rabbit, named “Freckles” remains in the park area.

While they can’t promise the same types of animals, the Rock Rapids City Council is planning a new mini zoo. This time the Council plans to have it further from the flood plain. At last report, the council had decided to use the current open shelter house west of the swimming pool for the new Mini Zoo, and put a shelter house near where the old mini zoo was.

Gustafson says that there are more murals in the works, including a DGR mural, honoring the three men who started the engineering firm that is now DGR Engineering — John DeWild, Dick Grant, and Bob Reckert. It is to be on the side of the building that housed their engineering firm in downtown Rock Rapids, just west of Frontier Bank. The engineering firm moved to a new building in southern Rock Rapids several years ago, and the old building on which the mural will be hung is now the Lyon County Annex building.

She says the Lion Banjo Company mural that was hung recently on the Lyon County Historical Society building will be dedicated at a coffee on June 10th at 9:45 AM.

June 2, 2016 - 4:20 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — If you don’t have much space or have other needs, but still want to try gardening, there’s an opportunity coming up for you.
vegetable garden 1
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will host a “Vegetable Gardening For Small Spaces” workshop on Saturday, June 11th from 9:30 AM to noon, at the ISU Demonstration Garden located on the Lyon County Fairgrounds in Rock Rapids.

Extension Horticulture Educator Margaret Murphy tells us about the workshop.

She says they have a four foot by four foot raised bed on the site that they will talk about and show how they’ve planted it. She says one of the techniques they’ll talk about is Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening.

She says the workshop is the first event of the summer 2016 Garden to Table Series. A follow-up hands-on workshop entitled, “Cooking with Garden Vegetables” will be held August 9th at the Forster Community Center in Rock Rapids. Recipes will be available.

She says they are able to offer the workshops for free, thanks to grant funding.

Both events are free and open to the public; however, pre-registration is requested. To pre-register or for more information, contact Murphy at 712-472-2576 or mmurphy@iastate.edu. The deadline for the June workshop is June 10th, and the deadline for the August cooking workshop is August 5th.

Murphy says there are also two herb workshops — “Gardening With Herbs” and “Cooking With Herbs” that are part of the series that will be held in O’Brien County later in the summer. The “Gardening With Herbs” workshop will be at the O’Brien County Fairgrounds in Primghar on July 25th, and the “Cooking With Herbs” workshop will be at the Sutherland Fire Station on August 11th. She says there is a charge for the “Cooking With Herbs” workshop, but all the workshops are open to everyone.

May 29, 2016 - 12:42 pm - Posted in News

North of Matlock, Iowa — A George woman and her children were taken to the hospital after an accident north of Matlock in Lyon County on Friday, May 27, 2016.
SCAT back 2012
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 12:18 PM, 34-year-old Jeanna Bennett of George was driving a 2004 Chevy Venture van southbound on Larch Avenue, about two miles north of Matlock, when she lost control of the van. The van entered the east ditch and rolled over onto its side.

The Sheldon Community Ambulance Team took Bennett and her three children to Sanford Sheldon Hospital.

In addition to Lyon County deputies, a Sioux County Deputy and SCAT assisted on the scene.

Northwest Iowa — Memorial Day will be observed in the United States on Monday, May 30th.Sheldon Avenue Of Flags

Originally called “Decoration Day”, and celebrated on May 30th, the day was created to honor Civil War dead. It has since been expanded to honor all veterans who have died in service to the United States; and Memorial Day is now observed on the last Monday of May — which this year happens to BE on May 30th.

In addition to national observances, many local communities will hold Memorial Day services in Northwest Iowa.

In Sheldon, flags will be displayed at Sheldon City Park, weather permitting. Volunteers are needed to help put the flags out at 7:00 AM and take them back down at 5:30 PM. Twenty-five to thirty volunteers are needed. If you are able to help, you are asked to meet at the City Park.

Sheldon American Legion McGlothlen-Cowie Post #145 will be holding Memorial Day Services at the Sheldon High School at 10:00 AM in the auditorium. The public is invited to come out and attend the free service honoring our veterans.

In Sioux Center, the Memorial Day Parade starts at 9:15 AM at the Sioux Center Public Library on Highway 75, and will process toward Memory Gardens Cemetary. Veterans will be honored. The HS band will play. The color guard, firing squad, scouts, youth groups, and the saddle club will take part, as will bicyclists and bikes in the bike decorating contest. Pastor Ryan Govig from New Life Church will give the invocation. Bob Hoogeveen of Sheldon will speak. Plus a mens quartet will perform. There will be a flag raising ceremony, and the roll of honor for dead will be read. You are asked to bring lawn chairs.

In Sibley, the Memorial Day ceremony will begin at 11 AM at the Holman Township Cemetery. American Legion Post 324 and VFW Post 7373 are in charge of services. The speaker will be retired Air Force Colnel Patrick Hatting. The Sibley/Ocheyedan High School band will play. You are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. In case of rain the ceremony will be moved to the American Legion building in Sibley.
Half Staff Osceola Courthouse
The American Legion Post 470 in Melvin invites everyone to observe Memorial Day services at Baker cemetery, two miles east and two miles north of Melvin beginning at 10:30 AM on Monday, May 30th. Those attending are urged to bring lawn chairs for their comfort. In case of inclement weather, the ceremonies will be held in the American Legion Community Center in Melvin.

At Rock Rapids, the new Veterans Memorial will be dedicated during the Memorial Day ceremony at Riverview Cemetery. It will start at 10 AM. Rock Rapids VFW Post 6960 and American Legion Rex Strait Post 103 and their auxiliaries will participate, as will Boy Scout Troop 190. The Central Lyon High School Band will perform. Representative and veteran John Wills will be the speaker. You are asked to bring lawn chairs. In the event of rain, the ceremony will be moved to the Forster Community Center.

The George American Legion, Jack Souter Post 404 will put up the Avenue of Flags at the Evergreen Lawn Cemetary in George at 7 AM on Memorial Day. They will take them down at 4 PM. Listen to KIWA in the event of rain for any updates.  The Memorial Day service will start at 10 AM at the George/Little Rock High School, and will proceed to the cemetery for the laying of the wreath and honoring all veterans with a special honor this year for four vets who served their country. Doug Hilbrands is the speaker. The George-Little Rock High School band will play, under the direction of Mark Swartz.

As always, the United States Flag will be flown at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day, and it should then be raised to full height from noon until sundown.

The US Flag Code says that the flag, when flown at half-staff, should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then slowly lowered to the half-staff position.

May 27, 2016 - 11:20 am - Posted in News

George, Iowa — “It would have been a lot worse if no one had been home.” That from George Fire Chief Bill Sprock. He’s talking about a fire call early on Thursday, May 26, 2016 in George.
George Fire FD
He says about three minutes after midnight, the George Fire Department was called to the report of a fire in the breezeway at the home of Robert Gruis at 609 East Iowa Street in George.

The chief says the fire department arrived to find the house filled with smoke. He says there were no visible flames so they used a thermal imaging camera to find the cause of the smoke. He says they found it behind the mantle of a gas fireplace. The chief says they believe that a lightning strike came up the electrical line following conduit. He says an extension cord had been on the conduit and it ignited and shorted out.

He says they did remove some wall that was burned and charred, and searched for other possible hot spots. He says they used a positive pressure fan to ventilate the smoke.

Sprock says there were no reports of injury.

Chief Sprock reports that there was minimal smoke damage.

He says they didn’t use any water, and crews were on scene until about 2:00 AM.

Inwood, Iowa — There could be another hurdle for the Bakken oil pipeline. And this one is in Lyon County.
Crude Oil derrick
According to Iowa State Archaeologist John Doershuk, a Native American tribe contacted his office to tell them about a potentially “culturally-significant” site.

While he cannot say exactly where the site is at this time, Doershuk assured us that it is not near the Blood Run National Historic Landmark site that is being considered for a new Iowa State Park. According to maps released by Dakota Access, the pipeline route is in the Canton, South Dakota and Inwood, Iowa area.

Doershuk says they are trying to determine the significance of the site.

He says that they hope to meet within the next couple of weeks at the site along the Big Sioux.

Doershuk tells us what his role will be at the meeting.

He says that he and his staff and the tribe that identified the site location have confirmed the reported site is within a portion of the Big Sioux Wildlife Management Area in Lyon County, intersected by the proposed Dakota Access pipeline project. He says the site is a property managed by the Iowa DNR but over which the US Fish and Wildlife Service has jurisdiction. The area also corresponds to one of the pipeline sections for which the US Army Corps of Engineers has permitting authority.

Doershuk says that the site has been identified by the tribe as of historical and cultural significance with associated burial activity. The possible burial of ancient remains at the site is what got the office of State Archaeologist involved, he says.

He says that the site boundaries and character will be discussed and refined at the on-site meeting. He says they hope consensus will be reached at that time about management of the site.

The pipeline, which is planned by Dakota Access, LLC, a division of Energy Transfer Partners, is to extend from the North Dakota Bakken region through South Dakota and Iowa into Illinois, passing through portions of Lyon, Sioux, and O’Brien counties along the route.

May 26, 2016 - 2:54 pm - Posted in News

Inwood, Iowa — A hog complex was damaged in a fire on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 near Inwood.
Fire Lightbar
According to Inwood Fire Chief Mike Knobloch, about 3:44 PM, the Inwood Fire Department was called to the report of hog building fire near the home of Nate Jansma at 1942 270th Street. That’s about three miles south and almost one and a half miles east of Inwood on the county line road.

The chief says the fire department saw a hog complex with some rooms totally engulfed in flame as they approached the scene.

Knobloch says no injuries were reported.

He says the Rock Valley Fire Department helped out by providing tankers and manpower.

The cause of the fire is undetermined at this time, according to the chief.

Knobloch reports that they were able to save two thirds of the 4400-head facility.

He says they used between 10,000 and 12,000 gallons of water to fight the fire, and crews were on scene until 8:00 PM.

May 24, 2016 - 10:01 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Parts of northwest Iowa experienced severe weather on Monday night.
lightning sxc
According to the National Weather Service, the storms entered our area from the south, with the first report being a tornado that was spotted by law enforcement two miles north of Granville at 4:41 PM.

Tornado sirens were sounded in Hospers at about 4:44 PM.

Hail estimated at an inch in diameter was reported by a spotter three miles south-southeast of Matlock at 5:42 PM. That spotter also reported winds estimated at 45 miles per hour.

At 5:58 PM, hail that was estimated at an inch in diameter was reported by a spotter five miles west of Ashton, into Lyon County. That report was followed by another report of inch-sized hail in the same area about seven minutes later. That report came from five miles west-northwest of Ashton. Just a few minutes later, another spotter report came in of inch-sized hail five miles south of Little Rock. About 6:20 PM, that same size of hail was repoted six miles north-northeast of Sibley. The report notes that most of the hail in that area was pea to dime sized, with a few quarter size.

About 6:55 PM, the Weather Service received a spotter report of hail estimated at 0.88 inches in diameter from five miles south-southwest of Paullina.

Along with the severe weather came the threat of flooding in some communities. Sioux County Emergency Management Director Nate Huizenga says Orange City received two inches of rain on top of 0.8″ received earlier in the day.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Philip Schumacher reported that stations in Sheldon and Ocheyedan also reported receiving upwards of two inches of rain. A flash flood warning was issued for Sioux, O’Brien and Plymouth counties until 9:30 PM. The rain was quite spotty, however, as Rock Rapids, while they received 0.4″ overnight Sunday into Monday received no rain on Monday evening.