June 12, 2019 - 10:47 am - Posted in News

Hull, Iowa — Iowa State Senator Randy Feenstra of Hull has announced that he will step down as chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

In his announcement, Feenstra noted that since regaining the majority in 2016, the Ways and Means Committee has produced significant pro-growth, pro-taxpayer reforms under his leadership. He says from income tax reform to property tax reform, this committee has protected the taxpayer, rewarded work, and encouraged investment. Additionally, Feenstra says, he worked productively with the House, Senate, and Governor Reynolds to see policy ideas become results for Iowa.

Feenstra noted the income tax reform bill in 2018 was the largest income tax cut in Iowa history. It also significantly reduced the complexity of the tax code, providing simplicity and certainty for Iowa job creators. Feenstra says he has spoken with Senator Whitver about his desire to be engaged on tax reform efforts in 2020 and Feenstra says Whitver has assured him he’ll retain a key policy role as the Republican caucus continues to implement pro-growth tax reforms.

Senator Feenstra is stepping down in order to allocate more time to his run for Iowa Congressional District 4, the seat currently occupied by Republican Representative Steve King.

June 11, 2019 - 4:10 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a little different in Lyon County when compared to the relays in other counties in northwest Iowa.

Lyon County has a carnival theme — in fact, it’s called “Carnival For A Cure.” Rochelle Herbert is one of the people organizing the event this year. She says it’ll be this Thursday night, June 13th during Heritage Days festivities at the courthouse square in Rock Rapids.

She says there’s also a dunk tank.

Dunk Tank Lineup:
5:00 to 5:15 – Ron Rice
5:15 to 5:30 – CL Principal Steve Harman
5:30 to 5:45 – Lyon County Treasurer Russ Hopp
5:45 to 6:00 – Justin Hinrichs
6:00 to 6:15 – Lyon County Deputy Sheriff Chad Klosterbuer
6:15 to 6:30 – CL Principal Jason Engleman
6:30 to 6:45 – Keith VanBeek
6:45 to 7:00 – Dr. Joe Murphy, dentist

They tell us the event is part celebration, part fundraiser, and all to help bring an end to cancer.

June 11, 2019 - 3:13 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A fireworks safety proposal by the town’s fire chief — presented at the Rock Rapids City Council meeting on Monday night — failed to light.

Rock Rapids City Council Member Ed Reck, who’s also the town’s fire chief has been concerned about fireworks — especially those that fly into the air. Mayor Jason Chase says Reck is the chairman of Rock Rapids’ Public Safety Committee, but since a consensus could not be reached in that committee about what to do about fireworks, the issue was placed on the agenda for the full council meeting, which was scheduled for Monday evening.

On Monday morning, Reck posted an invitation on Facebook, inviting people concerned about fireworks to attend the meeting to voice their concerns. Reck’s post stated,

“I would like to have a city ordinance that would make it illegal to shoot any fireworks that fly in the city limits. We had complaints last year of aerial fireworks being shot that end up landing on other people’s property and roofs. This is a very dangerous situation! Like many things adults are privileged to do, there have to be some restrictions to protect others and their property. Once you light fireworks that are made to shoot onward and upwards you have no control over this EXPLOSIVE device.”

Mayor Chase tells us what happened at the meeting.

Chase says there is a provision in the law that fireworks may not be set off in a reckless manner, but he says that’s hard to enforce.

For the fireworks ordinance in Rock Rapids and several other northwest Iowa communities, click here.

Statewide Minnesota — If your travels take you into Minnesota, there’s something you should know as a driver of a vehicle in that state.

According to the Minnesota State Patrol, holding a phone while driving will soon be against the law. The hands-free bill was signed by Governor Tim Walz on April 12, 2019, and becomes law on August 1, 2019.

Under the new law, a driver will be able to use their cell phone to make calls, text, listen to music or podcasts and get directions, but only by voice commands or single-touch activation without holding the phone. Troopers remind us that hands-free is not necessarily distraction-free.

The new law will make it illegal to hold your phone in your hand. Also, a driver may not use their phone at any time for video calling, video live-streaming, Snapchat, gaming, looking at video or photos stored on the phone, using non-navigation apps, reading texts and scrolling or typing on the phone. You may use it, however, for GPS navigation.

There are a few exceptions, and they all involve emergencies or emergency vehicles. Hand-held phone use is allowed if you are trying to obtain emergency assistance, if there is an immediate threat to life and safety, or if you are in an authorized emergency vehicle while performing official duties.

The Patrol suggests several ways of going hands-free. Their first idea is just not to use your phone at all while driving. Otherwise, a single earphone can be used. You can also pair your phone to your car radio or use the car’s AUX jack. You can even use a cassette adapter if you have an older car, or just buy a holder to clip your phone to the dash. You could also use a Bluetooth speaker.

Again, the main point is you can only use your phone by voice commands or single-touch activation without holding the phone — and this starts in Minnesota on August 1st.

If you are under 18, it remains against Minnesota law to use your phone at all while driving.

June 10, 2019 - 3:39 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Independence Day is a little more than three weeks away. Many people are thinking about fireworks. The Iowa Legislature made fireworks legal in the state in 2017. They had been illegal since a fire in Spencer in the 1930’s that was traced back to fireworks accidentally being set off in a store.

The state law, as it applies to the discharge of fireworks states that consumer fireworks may only be used between June 1st and July 8th (There is also a winter season around New Years). It also limits the hours of use to 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., except that the hours are extended to 11 p.m on July 4th and the Saturdays and Sundays immediately preceding and following July 4th. The law also says that you may use fireworks only on your own property or the property of someone who has consented to fireworks being used on their property. There are also several stipulations on the sale of fireworks.

Some cities have enacted stricter rules, however.

The Sheldon City Code says they may only be shot off June 20th through July 5th, for the summer season. The hours in which consumer fireworks may be used in Sheldon is between noon and 10:00 p.m., except for July 4th, when the hours are extended to noon to 11:00 p.m. The only fireworks that you can set off on public property in Sheldon are basically sparklers and snakes and you have to pick up and dispose of any debris safely afterward. You need to be at least 18; you may not light fireworks while you’re under the influence, or in a reckless manner. Click here for the Sheldon ordinance.

The Sibley City ordinance basically dovetails with the state law and has the same stipulations. The summer season runs from June 1st through July 8th. Click here for the Sibley ordinance.

The Rock Rapids fireworks ordinance says fireworks may only be discharged from June 29 through July 7th. There are no extended hours on weekends, however like the state law has.  Click here for the Rock Rapids Ordinance.

In Rock Valley and Sanborn, both their ordinances state that fireworks may be discharged from June 15th through July 8th with the same times of day as the state law, except no extended hours are included on the weekends before or after the holidays.   Click here for the Rock Valley ordinance.   Click here for the Sanborn ordinance.

In Orange City, the dates of use are the same as the state law (June 1st through July 8th), but the dates with extended times do not include the weekends before and after the holiday, and only include the holiday itself. Orange City’s ordinance also talks about open-flame sky lanterns and that they are prohibited unless the lantern has a tether and is under control. Find a copy of the Orange City ordinance here.

Use of fireworks is allowed in Sioux Center from June 13th through July 8th. The city will follow the state law regarding the times of day during which fireworks are allowed.  Click here for the Sioux Center ordinance

In Hull, there is not a separate ordinance. City officials tell us the state law applies in Hull.

Except for towns that only allow sparklers and snakes — such as Spencer — the most restrictive fireworks ordinance date-wise is that of Primghar, where it’s only legal to use fireworks on July 3rd and 4th from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. Click here for the Primghar ordinance.

Make sure you know the rules in the community or county in which you plan to set off fireworks. And as always, be safe.

Summary of Fireworks Dates
State Law — June 1 through July 8; 38 days
Hull — June 1 through July 8; 38 days
Orange City — June 1 through July 8; 38 days
Primghar — July 3 through July 4; 2 days
Rock Rapids — June 29 through July 7; 9 days
Rock Valley — June 15 through July 8; 24 days
Sanborn — June 15 through July 8; 24 days
Sheldon — June 20 through July 5; 16 days
Sibley — June 1 through July 8; 38 days
Sioux Center — June 13 through July 8; 26 days

June 10, 2019 - 12:17 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds is scheduled to make a trio of northwest Iowa stops when she visits this part of the state Wednesday (June 12th).

Governor Reynolds will begin her day Wednesday with a stop in Le Mars. The Governor will be attending the Grand Reopening and Expansion Celebration for the Wells Dairy Ice Cream Parlor & Visitor Center in downtown Le Mars at 9:30 Wednesday morning.

From Le Mars, Governor Reynolds will head to J&S Dairy near Maurice, where at 11:00 Wednesday morning she is scheduled to sign a proclamation in support of June Dairy Month.

Then from Maurice, the Governor will be wrapping up her northwest Iowa visit with a 12:15 pm tour of the new Avera Merrill Pioneer Hospital in Rock Rapids.

Northwest Iowa — Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley’s regional director will be in the KIWA listening area holding traveling office hours this coming Wednesday, June 12th.

Iowans are invited to stop by during the scheduled hours to seek assistance regarding a personal issue with a federal agency or share concerns on matters of federal policy. Grassley is represented by Regional Director Jacob Bossman, and the Senator will not be in attendance.

Bossman will be at the O’Brien County Courthouse on Wednesday, from 10 to 11 a.m. He’ll be in the Assembly Room. The courthouse is located downtown, at 155 South Hayes Avenue in Primghar.

That same day, Bossman will visit with people at the Cherokee Chamber of Commerce, at 201 West Main Street in Cherokee. He’ll be there from 11:30 to 12:30.

Grassley’s state offices regularly help constituents contact federal agencies to resolve problems with Social Security payments, military service matters, immigration cases, and other issues.

If you have any questions, they tell us you can contact Grassley’s Sioux City office at 712-233-1860.

Bossman will be making the rounds this month and in July. He’ll be back in the area on June 27, when he’ll be in Remsen, Sioux Center, and Larchwood. He’ll also be in the area on July 17th, when he’ll make stops in Sibley, Milford, and Everly.

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Little Rock woman is behind bars in Rock Rapids, facing a felony theft charge and an identity theft charge.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that they arrested 31-year-old Kaitlyn A. McCormick of Little Rock on Thursday afternoon. She was charged with Theft 2nd Degree, a Class D Felony; and Identity Theft, an Aggravated Misdemeanor.

Lyon County Sheriff Stewart Vander Stoep says that McCormick is accused of writing about $4800 in checks on someone else’s account. He says the other charge — for Identity Theft — is because deputies also believe McCormick opened a different account under the same victim’s name.

McCormick was transported to the Lyon County Jail and at last report was being held with a bond of $7,000 cash or surety.

June 7, 2019 - 3:05 pm - Posted in News

Inwood, Iowa — A tractor was destroyed in a fire on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, near Inwood.

According to Inwood Fire Assistant Chief Steve Faber, about 5:40 p.m, the Inwood Fire Department was called to the report of a tractor fire between Dipper and Coolidge Avenues on 270th Street, three miles south and about two and a half east of Inwood, in the field.

The chief says the fire department saw black smoke from town as they left town. He says the tractor was fully engulfed including the tires when they got there. They were able to extinguish the fire, but the tractor, which was probably 10 years old or less, according to Faber, was totaled.

Assistant Chief Faber says the disk that the tractor was pulling was undamaged, and no injuries were reported.

He says the cause of the fire is undetermined.

Assistant Chief Faber says the 10-12 firefighters who responded were on scene for about a half hour.

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A routine traffic stop in Rock Rapids late Thursday night resulted in the arrest of a Washington State man on seven separate charges.

According to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, shortly after 10:30 Thursday night one of their deputies stopped a motor vehicle that was pulling a trailer for an equipment violation on South Fairlamb Street in Rock Rapids.

Authorities say upon investigation they charged the vehicle’s driver, 52-year-old Michael Morris of Kent, Washington, with: Failure to Have a Valid Driver’s License; Failure to Provide Security Against Liability; a Registration Violation; Possession of Marijuana Drug Paraphernalia; Possession of Methamphetamine Drug Paraphernalia; and Operating Without Required Ignition Interlock Device, all of which are misdemeanors. In addition, the investigation also reportedly determined that the trailer Morris was towing at the time of his arrest had  been reported stolen out of Rock County, Minnesota, prompting Lyon County officers to add a charge of 2nd Degree Theft, which is a Class D Felony.

Deputies say Morris was transported to the Lyon County Jail.