May 15, 2015 - 5:38 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — One legislator says it’s time to send South Dakota a “louder message.” The state of South Dakota requires business and trade vehicles coming from Iowa to do work in South Dakota to buy a South Dakota license plate as well as its Iowa license plate. Senator Rick Bertrand of Sioux City explained the situation to his fellow Senators Thursday afternoon.
iowa south dakota commercial license plates

(as said) “If any of our guys are spilling over into South Dakota, they are required to carry a South Dakota license plate on their van, so you’ve got the Iowa license plate and then they get the drill out and right on the back of the door,” Bertrand said, stopping at this point to try to replicate the sound of a power tool, “all four screws go in and they have to put a South Dakota license plate on the back of the van.”

According to Bertrand, it’s a big issue for heating and air conditioning businesses, plumbers, electricians and locksmiths who are located in Iowa, but work on both sides of the border.

(as said) “Anybody that has a van or a truck that’s driving out there, doing the day-to-day trades,” Bertrand said.

Bertrand convinced his senate colleagues to vote Thursday to require South Dakota businesses to buy an Iowa license plate if the company’s service vehicles do runs into Iowa.

(as said) “I don’t want to say it’s battle at the borders, but there’s no doubt about it that places like South Dakota look for every opportunity…to draw companies across the border,” Bertrand said. “….What I’m seeing now is a shift of fleets that have names from Iowa starting to move into South Dakota for this licensing. It’s about 400 bucks a van. Take that times 12-, 16-van fleets — that’s real money every year.”

Senator Tod Bowman lives in Maquoketa, way over in eastern Iowa near the Mississippi River and he backs the move to require South Dakota service vehicles to carry an Iowa plate, too, if they’re on service calls in Iowa.

(as said) “This is kind of sending a message that what’s fair play for one is fair play for the other,” Bowman says.

The proposal was endorsed by senators on a voice vote. That vote came during Thursday’s debate of a massive budget bill that outlines a host of state spending, including the amount of general state aid for K-through-12 public schools. Senator Bob Dvorsky, a Democrat from Coralville, acknowledges legislators are far from crafting a final version of a new state budget.

(as said) “Obviously this is the start of a long, long process,” Dvorsky said.

The current state budgeting year ends June 30th so legislators, at the least, must meet that deadline or risk some disruption in state government operations. Key legislative leaders say they’re “hoping” the 2015 Iowa General Assembly can complete its work by the end of May.

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May 14, 2015 - 2:18 pm - Posted in News

Tea, SD — A Sioux Falls man died Wednesday in a motorcycle-vehicle crash that occurred in Tea.
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The South Dakota Highway Patrol says the victim, 24-year-old Dylan Moberg of Sioux Falls, was driving a 2014 Triumph Thruxton 900 motorcycle.

Wednesday’s crash occurred about 8:30 AM at the intersection of Austin Road and Katie Avenue in Tea.

The Highway Patrol says the motorcycle was traveling north at a high rate of speed on Katie Avenue when the driver lost control while the motorcycle was traveling on the curve approaching Austin Road. The driver was separated from the motorcycle. Both then crashed into an approaching 2011 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup truck. The motorcycle driver, who was wearing a helmet, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The patrol says 58-year-old William Bittner of Sioux Falls was the pickup driver. He was wearing a seatbelt and was not injured.

The Highway Patrol continues to investigate the accident.

Other agencies assisting at the scene were Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Tea Police Department and Tea Fire Department.

May 13, 2015 - 11:40 am - Posted in News

Lyon County Sheriff Car Door 60-8A South Carolina woman and a Rock Rapids man’s vehicles were damaged in an accident near Lester on Tuesday, May 12th.

According to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, 69-year-old Bridget Gorman of North Augusta, South Carolina was driving a 2011 Ford F 150 and turning into a residential drive 5 miles northeast of Lester. Twenty-three-year-old Derek Van Veldhuizen of Rock Rapids was driving east bound on a 2015 Can-Am Commander and was struck by Gorman.

The Ford received $1500 damage; Van Veldhuizen’s Can-Am received $500 damage.

No injuries were reported.

Gorman was cited for Failure to Yeild Upon a Left Turn.

May 12, 2015 - 5:45 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — Three more probable cases of bird flu and one confirmed case are being reported. Two of them are in our area, and the first case from Lyon County has now been reported.
With these new announcements, Iowa now has 49 cases of the disease in the state. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has quarantined the premises and once the presence of the disease is confirmed, all birds on the properties will be humanely euthanized to prevent the spread of the disease.

  • Buena Vista 14– A layer pullet farm that has experienced increased mortality.  An estimate on the number of birds at the site is still pending.  Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza.  Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.
  • Buena Vista 15– Turkey farm that has experienced increased mortality.  An estimate on the number of birds at the site is still pending. Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza.  Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.
  • Lyon 1- Commercial laying operation that has experienced increased mortality. An estimate on the number of birds at the site is still pending. Initial testing showed it positive for H5 avian influenza.  Additional confirmatory testing is pending from the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames.
  • Osceola 4– Broiler farm with an estimated 700 birds that has experienced increased mortality.  Confirmatory testing by the APHIS National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) in Ames showed the birds positive for H5N2 highly pathogenic avian influenza.

As the Department receives final confirmations of the disease updated information will be posted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s website at

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Iowa Department of Public Health considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections in wild birds, backyard flocks and commercial poultry, to be low.  No human infections with the virus have ever been detected and there is no food safety risk for consumers.


Concerned residents both within and outside the areas affected by avian influenza are encouraged to use the Iowa Concern Hotline at 1-800-447-1985 if they have questions or need disaster counseling. The Iowa Concern Hotline is available 24 hours a day. All calls are free and confidential, and the operators are willing to assist wherever possible.


Iowa State University Extension and Outreach operates the hotline and is partnering with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, theIowa Department of Health, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, IowaHomeland Security and Emergency Management Department and Egg Industry Council to provide up-to-date information to Iowans about the disease.





Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS)

  • Quarantining all infected sites
  • Subject to facilities implementing nationally approved biosecurity measures, the Dept. permits the movement of materials such as feed and other supplies on and off of infected sites
  • Leading efforts to monitor poultry within a 10-kilometer circle of each infected site
  • Coordinating state communication efforts on the disease
  • Working with federal and state officials to ensure the humane depopulation and disposal of all birds from infected sites


Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department (HSEMD)

  • Coordinating partial activation of the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) with several state agencies, including the Iowa Departments of Agricultureand Land Stewardship, Public Health, Natural Resources, Transportation, Public Safety, Inspections and Appeals and the Iowa National Guard. USDA, IowaTurkey Federation and Iowa Poultry Association are also present at the SEOC.
  • Conducting daily coordination meetings with IDALS, the governor’s office and other partner agencies to bring all up to date, and to discuss planning and needs. Other agencies involved include Iowa Dept. of Public Health, Iowa Dept. of Transportation, Iowa Dept. of Corrections, Iowa Dept. of Natural Resources, IowaDept. of Public Safety, Iowa National Guard, Iowa Dept. of Human Services, IowaDept. of Inspections and Appeals.
  • Providing resource support coordination as requested.
  • Regularly providing information for situational awareness with county emergency management coordinators.
  • Providing support for IDALS communications activities.


Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) – in conjunction with local public health officials

  • Sharing CDC recommendations on the use of personal protective equipment by persons working directly with sick chickens and carcasses.
  • Following up with workers who had direct contact with sick birds without the use of personal protective equipment.
  • Providing sound risk information, making sure the public understands that the virus presents no food safety concern or risk to the general public.


Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

  • DNR Air Quality has issued two variances for portable incinerators.  The DNR has also issued a variance for a thermal treatment unit.
  • The DNR’s primary concern is that disposal methods protect surface water, groundwater and air quality and does not result in further spreading of the AI virus
  • Investigating the feasibility and the potential benefits and problems associated with various disposal options including landfilling, composting, incinerating, and burying.
  • Looking at potential criteria for emergency air permits if needed for the incineration process.
  • Working with contacts at several landfills to determine the ability of those operations to take dead poultry as well as being able to wash and disinfect transport vehicles on site.
  • Investigating and maintaining contact with wastewater treatment facilities on the ability to accept and adequately treat leachate  produced by any landfill for the AI virus that may take dead poultry.
  • Developed solid waste acceptance criteria for landfills willing to accept AI infected poultry.
  • Contacted numerous potential sources of wood chips that can be used for composting. The wood chips would be used as part of the composting process.  The DNR has issued several variances to facilities to expand wood chipping capacity.
  • Preparing maps of infected facilities that show quarantine boundaries and to determine the proximity of other poultry operations and neighbors.
  • Investigating the geology involved with operations to determine the optimum potential locations for burial if needed.
  • Working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct sampling of waterfowl for AI.


Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS)

  • Communicated to the Disaster Behavioral Health Response Team (DBHRT) that volunteers were needed to assist with damage assessment surveying in the northwest region.  Three DBHRT members did volunteer to assist.
  • The Division of Mental Health and Disability Services (MHDS) is responding to requests from Buena Vista and Kossuth counties for mental health support; a plan is being structured in collaboration with businesses in Buena Vista and Kossuth counties.
  • MHDS is in communication with Iowa Concern staff who are taking calls from people with concerns relating to the Avian flu.  If calls are received from people who need additional support, contact will be made to MHDS and a plan will be put in place utilizing either local resources or DBHRT support.


Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT)

  • Water hauling to assist with USDA operations continues.
  • Motor Carrier Services has provided a contact number for carriers that are transporting poultry carcasses up to 90,000 lbs to contact them for routing directions; directions are good for 24 hours.
  • Districts have applied dust control to gravel shoulders along Highways 3, 17, and 69 in Wright County.
  • Established permitting requirements for carriers transporting carcasses up to 90,000 lbs.
  • Working to craft messaging to be placed on the 511 and the 511 truckers page as to what to do if drivers will be hauling poultry products in Iowa.
  • Contacted Turkey and Poultry Associations to notify counterparts in neighboring states to be aware of Iowa’s travel restrictions of poultry products.


Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS)

  • Providing liaison at Wright County emergency operations center

Background Information
The United States has the strongest Avian Influenza (AI) surveillance program in the world.  As part of the existing USDA avian influenza response plans, Federal and State partners as well as industry are responding quickly and decisively to these outbreaks by following these five basic steps: 1) Quarantine – restricting movement of poultry and poultry-moving equipment into and out of the control area; 2) Eradicate – humanely euthanizing the affected flock(s); 3) Monitor region – testing wild and domestic birds in a broad area around the quarantine area; 4)  Disinfect – kills the virus in the affected flock locations; and 5) Test – confirm that poultry farms in the area are free of the virus.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship in partnership with theIowa Department of Public Health are working directly with poultry workers at the affected facility to ensure proper precautions are being taken.
These virus strains can travel in wild birds without those birds appearing sick. People should avoid contact with sick/dead poultry or wildlife. If contact occurs, wash your hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with healthy domestic poultry and birds.

All bird owners, whether commercial producers or backyard flock owners, should continue to practice good biosecurity, prevent contact between their birds and wild birds, and report sick birds or unusual bird deaths to state/federal officials, either through their state veterinarian at 515-281-5321 or through USDA’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.

Information will also be posted to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and LandStewardship’s website at


May 12, 2015 - 10:04 am - Posted in News

Lyon County Sheriff Car Door 60-8A Sioux Center man backed into an Inwood woman’s vehicle on Saturday, May 9th.

According to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, at about 12:10 pm, 41-year-old Traci Stubbe of Inwood was driving a 2009 Chevy Malibu southbound on Main Street near Jefferson Street. Sixty-seven-year-old Jan Bucks of Sioux Center was backing out of a parking spot in his 2001 Ford F150 and struck Stubbe’s Malibu.

Stubbe’s Malibu received $4500 damage. The F150 received $300 damage.

No injuries were reported.

Bucks was cited for unsafe backing.

May 12, 2015 - 9:57 am - Posted in News

deer_sxcA Rock Valley Woman’s vehicle was damaged when she hit a deer on Monday, May 11th.

According to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, at about 6:00 am, 30-year-old Shaybrielle Van Schepen of Rock Valley was northbound on K-30 near 220 Street, two miles southeast of Alvord, in a 2008 GMC Arcadia when she struck a deer in the roadway.

The GMC received $2000 damage.

No injuries were reported.

May 12, 2015 - 8:23 am - Posted in News

Jasper, Minnesota — Two people have died in a hog barn fire just north of our area.
The Rock County Sheriff’s Office in Luverne, Minnesota reports that they received the initial call about 9:20 on Monday morning, May 11th. A hog barn fire was reported east of Jasper, Minnesota. Jasper Fire and Rescue was called. Fire departments from Edgerton, Hardwick, Luverne, and Pipestone helped fight the fire.

The Sheriff’s Office had received a report that two people were unaccounted for and were believed to have been inside of the hog barn.

They say some employees were pressure washing inside of the hog barn when it started on fire.

The Sheriff’s Office reports that 50-year-old Sharla Drew and 32-year-old Kristy Giesler, both of Jasper, died as a result of the fire.

Rock County Sheriff Even Verbrugge says the hog barn is owned by New Horizon Farms and no hogs were inside of the building at the time of the fire.

He also says that the cause of the fire is under investigation by the Minnesota State Fire Marshall Office.

May 8, 2015 - 5:05 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — The school start date debate was settled in April. Now, a month later, most northwest Iowa school boards have chosen a district start date.
chevy school bus_sxc
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed Iowa’s new “school start date” policy into law on April 10th.

There had been a law on the books for over 30 years that said school is supposed to start the week that includes the first of September, but the Department of Education was routinely granting waivers that let schools start earlier and earlier. Branstad said that led to the point where some schools were starting in the early part of August, which was causing a lot of concerns for a lot of Iowa families. The bill Branstad signed into law sets August 23rd as the earliest date Iowa schools may start the fall semester.

In our part of northwest Iowa, all but two public school districts have set their fall start date.

This year, that August 23rd date happens to be a Sunday. Starting on the first possible day, Monday, August 24th, will be Harris-Lake Park and South O’Brien. Starting on Tuesday, August 25th, will be George Little Rock, Rock Valley, and Sioux Center. Starting on Wednesday, August 26th, will be Central Lyon, MOC/FV, Sheldon, Sibley Ocheyedan, and West Sioux. Bucking the trend will be West Lyon. Their students won’t have to report to school until Monday, August 31st.

The Boyden Hull school board will talk about what day to start school at their meeting this Monday, May 11. The Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn School Board will discuss the issue at their Monday, May 18th meeting.

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May 8, 2015 - 5:04 pm - Posted in News

Greenville, Iowa — One of the bills still pending in the Iowa Legislature would limit the use of eminent domain authority to acquire property for the Rock Island Clean Line wind energy powerline and the Dakota Access Bakken crude oil pipeline, which are planned in northwest Iowa.
iowa state capitol sva
If the bill becomes law, developers of the pipeline and the powerline would have to get voluntary property rights agreements from 75 percent of landowners before they could use eminent domain to seize the rest of the land. Carolyn Sheridan, a farmer from Greenville, which is near Spencer, founded the Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance a couple of years ago to lobby against the Rock Island Clean Line. She says the effort to limit eminent domain authority is gaining steam because now there are two projects.

(as said) “Bipartisan support comes now because there are 17 additional counties in the state that would be impacted by the pipeline, the Bakken pipeline, and the same process will be used, eminent domain, to take private property,” Sheridan says. “The legislators have gotten together and are trying to change some outdated laws.”

The 2015 legislative session is winding down, though — perhaps concluding later this month, and Sheridan’s group is hoping this bill gets debated in the House and Senate.

(as said) “So we’re busy contacting legislators, making sure they have the facts,” Sheridan says. “There’s lobbyists working for us because when things move quickly in the House and Senate, part of the trouble can be getting good information out, making sure people have good background information.”

The bill Sheridan’s group supports cleared a senate committee earlier this week. Lobbyists for the two energy projects say it would be wrong for legislators to make “retroactive” changes to eminent domain authority since developers have been following existing law as they’ve been planning the projects. The governor’s former chief of staff is a lobbyist for the pipeline developers. Last year the governor’s economic development director embraced the Rock Island Clean Line project, saying it’s “an important infrastructure project that needs to occur.”

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May 7, 2015 - 4:32 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Hills, Minnesota man has been arrested after a crash near Doon.
Lyon County Sheriff Car Door 60-8
Monday’s arrest stems from an incident that happened last week. The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office responded to the report of a two-vehicle crash near the intersection of 240th Street and Ibex Avenue, about six miles northeast of Doon. They report that 37-year-old Sherry Baatz of Inwood was driving a 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix, which was struck by a 8520 John Deere tractor, driven by 45-year-old Bradley Baatz of Hills, MN.

The Pontiac sustained approximately $4,800 in damages. No injuries were reported.

The Sheriff’s Office says the cause appears to have been due to a domestic incident.

Then on Monday, May 4th 2015, deputies arrested Bradley Baatz on a warrant for Domestic Abuse Assault for the incident that occurred on April 27th, 2015. Baatz was arrested at the Lyon County Courthouse and was transported to the Lyon County Jail.