May 9, 2016 - 1:51 pm - Posted in News

Little Rock, Iowa — Some round hay bales and cut hay was destroyed in a fire on Friday, May 6, 2016 near Little Rock.
Little Rock Fire Truck FD
According to Little Rock First Assistant Fire Chief Tom Ver Steeg, about 4:50 PM, the Little Rock Fire Department was called to the report of hay on fire at a cattle setup at 4523 170th Street, two miles south of Little Rock and a mile west.

The chief says the fire department saw about twelve round bales and a significant amount of chopped hay on fire in bunkers as they approached the scene. He says skid loaders were used to pull the hay apart. The fire department kept the equipment cool as they went in to take out the burning hay, and then they spread they hay apart and doused it with water and foam.

There were no injuries reported, according to First Assistant Chief Ver Steeg.

The fire department was assisted by the Sibley Fire Department. Ver Steeg says they provided water.

He says at this time the cause of the fire remains undetermined.

First Assistant Chief Ver Steeg says about 75 percent of the hay burned, but some was salvageable.

He says they used 10,000 gallons of water to fight the fire, and crews were on scene for four hours. The Little Rock Ambulance Crew assisted on the scene.

May 6, 2016 - 1:31 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Rock Rapids woman’s SUV and a Sioux Falls woman’s car were damaged in a crash on Thursday, May 5, 2016 in Rock Rapids.
Lyon County Sheriff Car Door 60-8
The Iowa State Patrol reports that about 1:40 PM, 49-year-old Diane Sieperda of Rock Rapids was driving a 2013 Ford SUV westbound on Highway 9, at the intersection with South Bradley Street in the west part of town. Thirty-five year-old Jamie Hult of Sioux Falls was also westbound on 9 in a 2007 Kia when the vehicles collided. The report says that Sieperda improperly changed lanes or failed to signal her intentions.

Sieperda’s Ford SUV sustained $5000 in damages, and Hult’s 2007 Kia sustained $7000 in damages.

Sieperda was charged with a turning at intersection violation. Hult was charged with operation without registration card or plate.

The Rock Rapids Fire Department and Lyon County Ambulance crew assisted at the scene.

May 4, 2016 - 2:53 am - Posted in News

Mattoon, Illinois — The name of the main telecommunications provider in a number of northwest Iowa communities is changing yet again. But this time it’s due to the sale of the exchanges to a local company instead of a name change or sale at the corporate level.
premier communications
Mankato, Minnesota-based Hickory Tech had purchased the northwest Iowa exchanges from US West in 1997, and for a number of years used “Heartland Telecommunications” as its Iowa brand. US West was a “baby bell” and a successor of Northwestern Bell. After a short change to “Crystal,” Hickory Tech used its own name on the exchanges for several years. In October, 2013, they changed their name to “Enventis,” a name they only held for 20 months before a June, 2015 sale to Illinois-based Consolidated Communications.

Now Consolidated Communications Holdings, Inc. says they have entered into a definitive agreement with Mutual Telephone Company of Sioux Center (also known as Premier Communications) and Winnebago Cooperative Telecom Association to divest its Heartland Telecommunications Company of Iowa territory in order for the Company to focus on its core regions.

Premier will acquire the Iowa exchanges of: Akron, Boyden, Doon, Hawarden, Hull, Ireton, Rock Rapids, Rock Valley and Sibley. Winnebago will acquire the Iowa exchanges of Bancroft and Lakota.

Doug Boone, chief executive officer of Premier says that his company has been, and always will be, committed to offering exceptional voice, video and data services to their customers. He says that the addition of these nine exchanges is a natural fit to their existing service territory and they pledge to serve these new customers with, “the same cutting-edge technology and great customer service that Premier is known for.”

Consolidated’s Heartland operation contributed approximately $7.0 million of revenue in fiscal 2015. The agreement is an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $22.5 million, subject to certain contractual adjustments. The closing is subject to customary regulatory approvals, which are expected to be completed in the second half of 2016.

May 3, 2016 - 2:15 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Rock Rapids teen was taken to a hospital after an accident in Rock Rapids on Monday, May 2.
Lyon County Ambulance
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that just before 8 AM, 61-year-old Joann Sheldon of Brandon, SD was driving a red 2015 Ford Explorer eastbound in the Central Lyon parking lot on the north side of Central Lyon High School. They say 15-year-old Kaden Sprock of Rock Rapids was driving a green 2015 Yamaha Moped westbound in the same parking lot.

According to the report, Mrs. Sheldon did not see the moped because of the glare from the sun and she began to pull into a parking spot. She struck the moped on the left side and knocked Sprock off onto the ground.

Sprock was transported to Sanford Rock Rapids Hospital.

The Lyon County Sheriffs office was assisted by Lyon County Ambulance crew.

May 2, 2016 - 8:24 am - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A program designed to maximize the strengths and skills of current and future community leaders is coming up in northwest Iowa.
adult education notebook
Jane Goeken of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach tells us a little history behind the idea.

The program was offered earlier this year, but due to good response and a long waiting list, it’s being offered again. She says the Lyon County Leadership 2016 program will include six weekly training sessions focusing on topics that include understanding ourselves and others, dealing with controversy and conflict, and leading effective meetings.

The sessions will be held from 11:30 AM to 1:15 PM on six consecutive Wednesdays, beginning May 25 in Rock Rapids. Sessions will be taught by ISU Extension and Outreach staff members affiliated with the Community and Economic Development program.

Goeken says newly-elected and appointed officials are encouraged to register for the program, as well as long-time leaders interested in polishing their skills, and individuals interested in getting more involved in their community.

She says registration is $60 with a May 18th registration deadline.

Enrollment is limited to just 30 participants, so early sign up is encouraged to reserve your spot in the class.

Registration forms may be picked up and returned to the Lyon County Extension and Outreach office, 710 N 2nd Ave. E, #103, Rock Rapids; or obtained from Lyon County Leadership planning committee members Laura Beyenhof, Ashley Boom, Angie Jager, Jim Jensen, Tami Murray or Steve Simons.

The program is being sponsored by ISU Extension and Outreach – Lyon County.

For more information about the program, you can contact Jane Nolan Goeken, ISU Extension Community Development Specialist at or 712-240-2504; or Lyon County Extension or 712-472-2576.

April 29, 2016 - 5:20 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Utilities Board has denied motions by some landowners and the Sierra Club to reconsider or have another hearing on the permit for the Bakken oil pipeline, which is to carry Bakken crude through northwest Iowa on it’s way to Illinois.
IUB Logo
The I-U-B denied those motions Thursday.

The three members voted unanimously on March 10th to grant Dakota Access a permit to construct 346 miles of the pipeline through 18 Iowa counties. The board then issued the permit on April 8th after Dakota Access completed certain compliance filings required by the board.

The I-U-B has ordered what’s called a complaint proceeding for allegations that Dakota Access began construction of the pipeline before the permit was actually issued. The company says it was only doing preliminary survey work on the route and had not begun construction.

April 29, 2016 - 5:12 pm - Posted in News

Vatican City — A large regional healthcare provider has received a global award from the Vatican.
Sanford Vatican award
Sanford Health officials say that because of their determination to impact health on a global level the Vatican invited them to present on their work at the Third International Conference on the Progress of Regenerative Medicine and Its Cultural Impact this past week in Vatican City.

Sanford officials say they were humbled to be awarded the Pontifical Key Innovation Award. They say the award recognizes game-changing medical innovation exemplified by transformative thinking, creativity and ingenuity used to deliver the highest quality of medical care. Sanford employees were recognized for strides made in children’s health, cancer, type 1 diabetes, genetics and genomics, and biobanking for research and clinical purposes. Sanford officials say these strides would not have been possible without the generosity of philanthropist Denny Sanford.

They say Sanford is a driving force in the endeavors of adult stem cells, immunotherapy and genomic medicine. They say they are on the verge of breakthroughs in cancer, the regeneration of cells, advanced genetic therapy, pharmacogenetics and device design.

In our area Sanford has clinics in Boyden, George, Hartley, Hospers, Inwood, Orange City, Paullina, Rock Rapids and Sanborn as well as hospitals in Orange City, Rock Rapids, and Sheldon, and several other specialty services. They have about 280 locations in eight states and three foreign countries.

April 29, 2016 - 1:03 pm - Posted in News

Inwood, Iowa — The Inwood Fire Department may have saved some buildings on an acreage near Inwood from going up in flames on Wednesday.
According to Inwood Fire Chief Mike Knobloch, the Inwood Fire Department and Rescue Squad was called out about ten minutes before 10 AM, to the report of a structure fire about four miles east of Inwood, near the corner of A42 and Dogwood Avenue.

But when they got there, he says firefighters were made aware that the main building on fire — an old corn crib — had been intentionally set on fire, in preparation for its removal. However, the property owners became concerned that the fire was too hot and too fast-moving, and that it was threatening other buildings on the property, so they called the fire department.

Knobloch says that within about five minutes of their arrival, the target building had collapsed and was burning itself out. He says they sprayed the nearby buildings with water to prevent an unintentional fire.

The chief says there was no damage to speak of except for the building that was being burned intentionally, and that firefighters were on scene for about an hour.

April 26, 2016 - 2:28 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A grant that was recently awarded to Lyon County Extension and Outreach would benefit food banks in all four of the counties here in far northwest Iowa.

The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Master Gardener grants focus primarily on increasing access to healthy foods for families experiencing poverty.  ISU Horticulture Educator and Regional Food Coordinator Margaret Murphy tells us how the grants came about.

Murphy says Lyon County received a grant of just over $900.

She says that Lyon County is home to one of seven demonstration gardens in the state of Iowa.  That garden, which is located at the Lyon County Fairgrounds in Rock Rapids, has been designated as a “food pantry garden” this year.

Murphy says that the grant will be used help cover the costs of harvesting, and delivering, the produce from the Lyon County garden.

She says the garden in Rock Rapids has traditionally supplied Atlas of Lyon County, a local food Rock Rapids food bank, and this year hope to be able to branch out to supplying food banks like the Hull Food Pantry in Hull, Hope Food Pantry in Sioux Center, and Upper Des Moines Opportunity’s food banks in Sibley and Primghar.

Murphy says if you want to volunteer to help with this project, you can call her at her office in Rock Rapids, at 712-472-2576, or email

April 22, 2016 - 11:01 am - Posted in News

lyonsheriffLyon County, Iowa — A Pipestone, Minnesota teen faces drug charges after a traffic stop Thursday in Lyon County.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office says one of their deputies stopped a vehicle in the 2100 mile of Highway 75 Thursday.  Upon investigation, the deputy allegedly found 19-year old Deen Barnes, of Pipestone, in possession of an unidentified controlled substance, as well as drug paraphernalia.

Authorities say Barnes was arrested and transported to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office.