January 22, 2015 - 5:36 pm - Posted in News

Larchwood, Iowa — The Grand Falls Casino agreed to a 20-thousand dollar fine on Thursday for an illegal gambling violation at the facility near Larchwood. Iowa Racing and Gaming administrator, Brian Ohorilko, explained the situation to the Racing and Gaming Commission.
Grand Falls Roulette

(as he says)”We had a minor on December 14th enter the gaming floor unchallenged, was on the gaming floor for 30 minutes and had gambled,” Ohorilko says.

Casino general manager, Sharon Hasselhoff, apologized to the commission.

(as she says)”We take it very seriously, we did not I-D this guest as we should have,” Hasselhoff says. “Simply, there’s no excuse. We did not do our job.”

Hasselhoff says they have taken steps to ensure this does not happen again.

(as she says)”Since this incident, we have had significant re-training with our employees, reminding them of the importance of their job,” Hasselhoff says. She says 127 employees in security, table games and food and beverage areas went through I-D checking and training to check for intoxication since the incident.

She says they stressed during the training the importance of always following through and the consequences for the facility if they let someone in without checking their I-D.

(as she says)”Again, we’re very sorry that this happened and are using it as a retraining lesson for our employees,” Hasselhoff says.

Gaming administrator Ohorilko says the 20-thousand dollar penalty is standard for underage gambling violations. He says Grand Falls has a very good record and has not had any other recent violations.

Story from Radio Iowa

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Rock Rapids, Iowa — Lyon County Schools, Cities, and County government continue to win big with grants from the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation.
Grand Falls Casino sign at night
The foundation is the non-profit license holder for the Grand Falls Casino near Larchwood. State law mandates a certain percentage of the casino’s gaming take has to go back to the community. The agreement between the casino and the non-profit stipulates that for the first $20 million the casino collects in gambling winnings in a year, they will give the foundation 4.5 percent. When they get up to $20 million, the percentage goes up to 4.75 percent; and when they get up to $30 million, it goes to 5 percent.

The Lyon County Riverboat foundation is set up to give half of the money in grants to county government subdivisions and schools, and half in a competitive grant process to non-profit projects.

The fourth quarter 2014 non-competitive grants are being given during basketball games in the county. The eastern Lyon County grants were given during a ceremony on Friday night, February 16th at George/Little Rock High School.  The central and western Lyon county grants will be given during basketball games at Central Lyon and West Lyon schools this Friday night, January 23rd.

Lyon County public schools — Central Lyon, George/Little Rock, and West Lyon are each being granted a little over $46,000. That makes their total for 2014 about $176,000 per school. Since the Riverboat Foundation started giving grants in 2011, each school has received nearly $600,000.

Lyon County cities are given grants based on their population. They range from about $14,000 for Lyon County’s smallest incorporated community of Alvord to almost $17,000 for Rock Rapids this time around. That brings the total for 2014 to a low of almost $54,000 for Alvord to a high of over $64,000 for Rock Rapids. Since the grants started in 2011, the total ranges from over $183,000 for Alvord to nearly $220,000 for Rock Rapids.

Lyon County is being given just over $19,000 this time, bringing the 2014 total to over $74,000, and the grand total to-date to almost $254,000.

The total amount being given to government subdivisions in the fourth quarter is nearly $278,000 and in 2014, the total is over a million dollars.

The foundation says that what the government subdivisions do with the money is up to each one’s board or council.

The grand total given away to the government subdivisions by the foundation so far is over $3.5 million. Another $3.5 million has been given to non-profit projects in the competitive grant process. The latest competitive grants will be announced during a ceremony at the Grand Falls Casino and Resort on February 7th.

Click here to view this story on our main page at kiwaradio.com. At the bottom of the page you can find a table with the specific amounts.

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Farmers Union is asking the Iowa Department of Agriculture to require 48-hour advance notice to neighboring farms before pesticides are applied to row crops.
sprayer pesticide application
In addition the group wants enhanced penalties for pesticide applicators who are identified more than once as the source of pesticide drift. Iowa Farmers Union president Jana Linderman of Cedar Rapids says pesticide drift can destroy organic fruits and vegetables and bee hives, plus it’s a danger to farmers who’ve planted crops like food-grade soybeans.

Linderman cites research by the Practical Farmers of Iowa which found that between 2008 and 2012, less than 20 percent of pesticide applicators were fined after state investigators confirmed cases of pesticide drift had affected specialty crops. The average fine was seven-hundred-16 dollars ($716).

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey says over-spray does happen, but it’s not common.

He says there are roughly 400,000 fields in Iowa and most of them get sprayed multiple times in a growing season. He says the Department of Agriculture only gets a handful of complaints every year — most of them accidents — where conditions change or applicators are in too much of a hurry. Northey says issues do occur, and that’s why commercial and private pesticide applicator training courses are required.

The Iowa Farmers Union filed a petition with the Iowa Department of Agriculture in December, asking that the agency adopt new rules for pesticide applicators. The agency has 60 days to respond. In addition to its request of the Iowa Department of Agriculture, the Iowa Farmers Union is asking legislators to pass a bill requiring commercial pesticide applicators to obtain more liability insurance.

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Rock Rapids, Iowa — Rock Rapids’ annual talks with legislators are coming up again. Started several years ago, the talks originally included an egg bake breakfast. Nowadays the breakfast includes rolls, juice & coffee for a free will donation.
But the talks are still the last Saturday of the months of January, February, and March.

This year, that’s January 31, February 28 & March 28.

They are held at 8 AM at the Forster Community Center.

It’s an open political forum with District One State Senator David Johnson and our new District One State Representative, John Wills.

Everyone is invited.

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Last June’s flood is only a memory for most, but several Rock Rapids homeowners are still dealing with the aftermath and are participating in a buyout program.
RR FLOOD 2014 Main Street zoom
Rock Rapids Economic Development Director John Hulshof has been instrumental in dealing with the aftermath of the flood, especially how it affected the housing situation, homeowners and occupants of flood-damaged homes in Rock Rapids. We had a chance to catch up with Hulshof, and he gives us an update.

Hulshof says just like anything else that involves the federal government, it takes time.

Additionally, Hulshof says after the buyouts are completed, individual homeowners are potentially eligible for the replacement grant program.

If you need more information, you can contact Hulshof at (712) 470-3762.

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Rock Rapids, Iowa — A deputy’s stopping to make sure travelers were okay south of Rock Rapids has led to alcohol arrests.
beer cup underage drinking_sxc
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 2 AM on Saturday, January 17, 2015, one of their deputies came upon a vehicle on A34 at the stop sign of Highway 75, about five miles south of Rock Rapids. One of the passengers was standing outside of the car and a second passenger had her door open, so the deputy exited his car to check welfare of the passengers.

After investigating, the deputy believed all four passengers of the vehicle were under the age of twenty one and had been consuming alcohol. The driver, also under the age of twenty one, had not been consuming alcohol, according to the report.

Nineteen-year-old Jessica Mehls of Sibley was cited for possession of alcohol under the legal age. Three juveniles were cited for possession of alcohol and referred to juvenile court.

January 17, 2015 - 8:18 am - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — A Dallas, Texas based company proposing to build a crude oil pipeline that would cross 18 Iowa counties will file for a permit to build with the Iowa Utilities Board later this month. Energy Transfer Partners Senior Vice President Joey Mahmoud says the company has permission from 80 percent of landowners along the proposed route to survey. If the petition is approved, he says the company will seek eminent domain powers to survey the rest of the land.
oil well_sxc

(as he says)“Is it reasonable to think we’ll have 100 percent voluntary easements, probably not. In those rare cases, we’ll have to rely on the power of eminent domain if we’re able to secure it from the I-U-B,” Mahmoud says.

Iowans have spoken out in favor of and against the project so far in public information sessions held in the state. Opinions also vary outside the state. A Michigan State geoscientist is warning about a possible oil spill from the proposed pipeline, which Energy Transfer Partners says they intend to bury between three to four feet deep across Iowa farm fields. Geoscientist Bruno Basso says that’s not deep enough.

(as he says) “Three feet will not even be close to be safe for crop production. Roots will reach at least three to five feet, especially in those good Iowa soils. I mean, long story short, crops cannot grow if there is an oil spill,” Basso says.

Basso and Mahmoud made their comments on a recent broadcast of the Iowa Public Radio “River to River” program.

The proposed pipeline is expected to run through our area from northwest to southeast in Lyon, Sioux, and O’Brien Counties, as well as 15 more, on its way to a refinery.

Story from Radio Iowa

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Northwest Iowa — The economic development organizations in northwest Iowa are teaming up to bring an entrepreneur contest to the area.

Lyon Co. Economic Development Director Steve Simons

Lyon Co. Economic Development Director Steve Simons

The statewide “Dream Big Grow Here” contest is a business grant contest. The contest is an opportunity for Iowans to fulfill their dreams of self-employment or expansion of their current business. The contest allows entrepreneurs the chance to submit their dreams to start or expand a business, then encourage friends, family, and customers to vote for them online. The finalists will present their idea to an audience and judges in a pitch-off event for a chance to win thousands in cash prizes.

Lyon County Economic Development Director Steve Simons tells us about it.

He says the six industry categories include: Pre-revenue, Retail/Wholesale, Hospitality/ Restaurants, Ag/Production, Professional Services, and Manufacturing/Bioscience/ Information Technology. During the voting period, the entrepreneur will recruit others to vote for their entry at www.DreamBigGrowHere.com. Five entries will be selected from each industry category to advance to the statewide contest at the statewide entrepreneurial conference, EntreFest, in Iowa City on May 21, 2015. Each entrepreneur that advances in their industry category will participate in a pitch-off event against the other industry finalists for a chance to win $5,000. The winners of each industry category will then advance to the finals the evening of May 21st for a chance to win the grand prize of $10,000.

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More information from Northwest Iowa Planning and Development:

All entrepreneurs advancing to the statewide contest will also have access to the University of Northern Iowa’s Business Concierge services, as well as receive personalized coaching and mentoring from VentureNet Iowa to prepare their pitch.

As an added bonus, the economic development organizations in northwest Iowa will also host a regional Dream Big Grow Here contest in April. This regional contest will allow the top five vote getters in northwest Iowa to refine their pitches, showcase their ideas, and compete in a regional pitch off event for $5,000. Additional details about the regional contest will be announced in March.

Rock Rapids, Iowa — The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office has made three recent arrests.
Lyon County Sheriff Car Door 60-8
On Thursday, January 15th at approximately 2:30 AM, a Lyon County Deputy stopped a vehicle and charged the driver with Failure to Obey Traffic Control Device. The driver, 34-year-old Dawn Hanson of Rock Rapids, was found to be intoxicated. Hanson was arrested and charged with Operating While Intoxicated 3rd Offence, which is a class D felony. At last report, Hanson remained in the Lyon County Jail.


On Tuesday, January 13th, at about 8:00 AM, a Lyon County Deputy observed 58-year-old Chanh Sinsaath of George walking in the 100th block of North Virginia Street in George. The deputy had prior knowledge that Sinsaath had a valid warrant for his arrest. The warrant had been issued in March of 2014 and the charge was Failure to Appear on the original charge of Failure to Affix Drug Tax Stamp. Chanh was arrested and transported to the Lyon County Jail where at last report he was being held on a $5,000.00 bond.


On Monday January 12, 2014 the Sheldon Police Department conducted a traffic stop on 28-year-old Kari Buckley of Ashton. Buckley had active arrest warrants from Lyon County. The Lyon County Sheriff’s Department was notified, and Buckley was taken into custody by a Lyon County Deputy and transported to the Lyon County Jail. The warrants stemmed from failing to appear on a 2008 case. On Tuesday, January 13, Buckley bonded out of jail on a $1,000 bond.

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Des Moines, Iowa — Several environmental groups have filed a complaint with the Iowa Utilities Board over issues they say they have with meetings put on by those proposing the Dakota Access Pipeline – the proposed Bakken crude oil pipeline cutting across Iowa.

That pipeline is supposed to go through Lyon, Sioux, and O’Brien Counties on its way southeast across the state toward a refinery.

We had a chance to talk with Iowa Utilities Board spokesman Rob Hillesland about it. He tells us that a coalition of thirteen different groups brought the complaint.

The coalition claims Energy Transfer Partners and the Dakota Access Pipeline failed to give proper notice to landowners and county communities before conducting statewide informational meetings in December, as required by Iowa Code. Their two main complaints were that the company did not send landowners notice changing the date of a December 2 informational meeting in Wapello County to December 16 by certified mail, and that in published public notices announcing the informational meetings, they stated a minimum pipeline depth of 60 inches on agricultural lands. During the meeting presentation, company representatives stated a minimum depth of 48 inches. The coalition fears that some landowners, thinking that the pipeline would be too deep to affect them, may have stayed away from the meetings.

The coalition also told about one landowner who never received a notice about the meetings until they were over, and they are concerned there may be more people who didn’t know about the meetings.

Hillesland lists the groups in the coalition.

He says any responses from the public need to be filed by next Tuesday, January 20th.

Hillesland says the board may do anything from stopping the regulatory process and requiring the company to re-do all the meetings, all the way down to taking no action, or anything in between. It is not known when the decisions will be made.

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