Larchwood, Iowa — Firefighters extinguished a burning field on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, near Larchwood.

According to Larchwood Fire Chief Tony De Smet, at about 2:00 p.m., the Larchwood Fire Department was called to the report of a field fire near 140th Street and Beech Avenue, four miles due west of Larchwood on A18.

The chief says the fire department saw cornstalks burning as they approached the scene. He says the flames were aided by the gusty winds on Tuesday.

He tells us they were able to extinguish the fire with water and the assistance of three farmers who disked firebreaks.

De Smet says no injuries were reported.

He says the cause of the fire appeared to be a dropped or tossed cigarette. He says they found where the fire crept up through the dry grass to get to the field.

Chief De Smet reports that about 40 acres of stubble burned.

He says the firefighters who responded were on the scene for 45 minutes to an hour.

(file photo)

Northwest Iowa — A total of eleven projects in ten northwest Iowa communities were among 132 selected statewide to receive free paint from Orange City paint manufacturer Diamond Vogel and Keep Iowa Beautiful for the 2021 Paint Iowa Beautiful program.

Area entities receiving the free paint for their civic projects include:

The City of George will get paint for their swimming pool

The City of Hawarden will receive the paint for buildings in Hawarden’s downtown

The Ireton Historical Society will receive paint for the schoolhouse project

The City of Larchwood for the Larchwood Recreation Center

The City of Primghar for their Community Building, Skating Rick, Shelter House and Park Buildings

The Rock Rapids Mural Society for restoration of the mural on Benson’s Skating rink

The Sheldon Chamber & Development Corporation for the Historic Train Depot

Sibley Parks & Recreation for the Central Park Shelter House

Sioux Center Heritage Village for the Country School Building at Heritage Village along with the Sioux Center Public Library  for the library interior

Sutherland’s Willoway Complex for the kitchen and dining area of the Senior Dinner Date site.

In the 18-year partnership with Keep Iowa Beautiful, Diamond Vogel has awarded over 11,860 gallons of paint for 1,132 community projects in Iowa.

To see the entire list and to learn more about the Paint Iowa Beautiful program, CLICK HERE.

March 31, 2021 - 1:11 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — An annual rite of springtime is taking place this weekend, beginning in Sheldon.

Motorcyclists from around the area will rendezvous in Sheldon Saturday to take part in K&J Cycle’s annual Blue Finger Run. Janet Lohrenz who, along with her husband Kent, own and operate K&J Cycle, says the annual event is a time to get your bikes out for the first time this season and have fun.

(As above) “It’s a time where everybody can get back together after a long, hard winter and ride motorcycle and have fun and socialize.”

The Blue Finger Run earned its name from the blue fingers that many riders exhibit after riding in the cold weather we often see this time of year. But Lohrenz says she doesn’t think there will be any blue fingers, based on this weekend’s forecast.

(As above) “I looked at the forecast this morning and it’s supposed to be in the mid-70’s, sunny and the other thing were really excited about is no Wind Advisory.”

She says registration and the ride are both scheduled for Saturday.

(As above) “Registration has always been at K&J Cycle, here at the shop, from 11:00 to 1:00. We do have a $5.00 registration fee, all of which we pay back to the best poker hands at the end. (of the ride)”

Lohrenz says they just want to see people have fun.

(As above) “We want to see people have fun with their bikes and enjoy each other, the motorcycle (and) the open road.”

She says she expects a good sized group of motorcyclists for this year’s Blue Finger Run. She says the last time they had the ride in weather like we’re expecting this Saturday, 219 riders turned out for that year’s Blue Finger Run.

Northwest Iowa — Iowa Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg was in northwest Iowa on Tuesday as part of his 99-county tour.

Gregg tells us he started the day in Sioux City, by giving blood. Gregg says he wants to highlight the fact that COVID-19 has impacted the blood supply, and it doesn’t take much to give blood. He says he wanted to raise awareness of the need that still exists. He tells us about his visit to Inwood.

(as said) “I stopped at A & R Industries just outside of Inwood. One of the things that I am wanting to highlight is part of this 99-county tour is rural entrepreneurs. And so I met with two young men — 22 and 23 years old — who started their own business and really was born out of some work-based learning that they received a Rock Valley High School for Rocket Manufacturing and they took the skills that they learned there and they used both the trade skills and also the ability to write a business plan and their ability to make connections with potential customers — and they turned that into a business of their own, which is pretty remarkable in a number of senses, but especially because they opened up just a couple weeks before the pandemic really hit so they have only operated for a year. They’ve only operated in the pandemic environment and they’re talking about growth. I think that’s a great story. It’s young people taking control of their future staying right here in Iowa and investing in their community and I come away very inspired from that conversation. “

Next, it was on to Harris.

(as said) “We’re viewing their renovated jail there and new community center. And then Primghar, visiting another small business in O’Brien County. Wrap up the day in Hull in my home county of Sioux County speaking at the War Eagle Conference Academic Banquet. That one’s particularly special to me because I’m… first of all a former War Eagle Conference competitor being a West Sioux grad and also participated in the academic banquet for the years that I was at West Sioux. So it’s kind of coming full circle to have the opportunity to come back serving in the role of Lt. Governor and hopefully be able to impart some wisdom on the outstanding students who we’ll be honoring tonight. I was literally once in their seats and have had the opportunity to rise and serve in this role and I hope that they’re able to take some inspiration from that and build on their success and most of all I’m going to tell them that I hope they say in Iowa. I hope they take their skills and abilities and stay right here and continue to grow and improve our state.”

Gregg is a native of Hawarden. Gregg earned his B.A. from Central College in 2006. He graduated first in his class with degrees in political science and history. He has been in his current position since 2017, first as Acting Lieutenant Governor for two years, and as Lieutenant Governor since 2019.

March 29, 2021 - 4:04 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — House Speaker Pat Grassley says resolving the impasse over Iowa’s so-called Bottle Bill has historically involved finger-pointing among the interest groups involved — but lawmakers in the House may be nearing an agreement.

(As above) “If anything’s going to happen with the Bottle Bill, the legislature has to make a decision of what’s best for our constituents, what’s best for the long term viability of the program and just go forward,” Grassley says, “and the folks in the industry may not love that solution, but at some point we’re just going to have to do it.” 

Grassley says a potential deal in the works would increase the amount of money for redemption centers. In addition, the requirement that grocery stores and other retailers that sell beverages accept the empties and pay back the nickel deposit could be waived.

(As above) “If you choose to make that business decision, it’s going to probably cost you some money to pay someone else to take those cans, because in the state one of the pieces that we struggle with is is it’s not enforced that everyone that sells that product has to take them back,” Grassley says, “so I think requiring everyone to take them back or if you don’t want to take them back, you would either have to contract with someone or pay an additional fee to get them out of your store.” 

Grassley, who is entering his 15th year in the Iowa House, is the grandson of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley and the younger Grassley says the elder Grassley opposes repealing the Bottle Bill.

Northwest Iowa — One resident of the four-county area of Lyon, Sioux, O’Brien and Osceola Counties has died of a COVID-related illness in the past seven days, with 85 tests coming back positive in that same time frame.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, the lone death was that of an Osceola County resident, taking that counties death toll to 15 since the pandemic began. Across the four-county area, a total of 180 people have lost their lives to the pandemic in the past year. 69 of those in Sioux County, 54 in O’Brien County, 44 in Lyon County and 15 in Osceola County.

Eighty-five positive test results were returned in the past seven days, according to the IDPH. Sioux County reports 38 positive results, with a 7% of the tests coming back positive; O’Brien and Osceola County each reported 16 positive tests, with Osceola County reporting an 11% positivity rate, while O’Brien’s rate was just 4%. Lyon County reported 15 positive tests since last Monday, with 8% positive tests.

Statewide, as of mid-afternoon Monday (March 29th) there were zero long-term care facilities reporting a COVID outbreak.

Also statewide, over the past seven days, the highest percentage of positive COVID tests were in those age 18 to 29 years, which reported 30% of the positive tests statewide in the last week. The lowest positivity rate, statewide, was in the 70 to 79-year-old demographic, which reported a positive test rate of just 4%.

March 25, 2021 - 11:17 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — This is Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa. Each day this week the National Weather Service has been focusing on a different severe weather topic. Today we wrap up the week with flash flooding.

Warning Coordination Meteorologist Peter Rogers at the Sioux Falls office says, unfortunately, this is a topic with which we in northwest Iowa are somewhat familiar.

(as said:) “This, in particular, is a very important topic because at least recently there have been more deaths due to flash flooding than there have been from tornadoes. So our tagline is ‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown,’ meaning that if you come up to any kind of rushing water over a road or even ponded water, over an intersection to turn around and find a different way to get to where you need to go. It’s just not worth it. Not only do you not know how deep the water is, but the road itself might not be there. It might be washed out, and that can cause a lot of problems. You’re not only putting yourself in harm’s way, but also the emergency responders that would have to come and help you get out. So please take flash flooding seriously.”

According to the Weather Service, a flash flood is a rapid rise of water along a stream or low-lying urban area. Flash floods can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and bridges, and scour out new channels. Rapidly rising water can reach heights of 30 feet or more. Flash flood-producing rains also can trigger catastrophic mudslides.

Click here for more information about severe weather.

Northwest Iowa — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has announced her appointment to the District 3A bench.

According to a release from the Governor’s Office, Spirit Lake attorney John M. Sandy has been appointed to replace retiring District Court Judge David A. Lester.

The two nominated by the Judicial Nominating Commission for the 3A Judicial District were Sandy and another Spirit Lake lawyer, Matthew T.E. Early. A total of 5 applicants were considered for the position.

Sandy currently practices law with the Sandy Law Firm, P.C., in Spirit Lake and serves as a Minnesota Assistant Public Defender. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota and his law degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law. 

Judicial Election District 3A includes Buena Vista, Cherokee, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Kossuth, Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola, and Palo Alto counties. 

 

Statewide Iowa — Low-income Iowans could qualify for federal assistance to cover back rent or overdue utility bills that have accumulated during the pandemic.

Debi Durham is director of the Iowa Finance Authority, which has received 195 MILLION dollars in federal money from the pandemic relief package congress passed in December. The money can help low income Iowans who in the past year lost a job, saw their income cut, or suffered some other financial calamity due to COVID.

(As above) “The household must also be able to demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability which may include a past-due utility or rent notice or even, unfortunately, an eviction notice,” Durham says.

Federal officials estimate as many as 86-thousand Iowans are behind on their rent and assistance may be available for up to 12 months. A separate program is making up to 36-hundred dollars available to low income Iowans who are behind on their mortgages. Applications for both programs will be available online, starting at 2 p.m. Monday, at IowaHousingRecovery.com.

Inwood, Iowa — The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help locating an Inwood man.

Lyon County Chief Deputy Rob Ver Meer says 64-year-old Chanh Singsaath of Inwood was last seen in late February and has not returned home.

(as said:) “The 13th of March we received a report of a possibly missing individual by the name of Chanh Singsaath. He is from the county has been in the county for quite some time… We received a concerning report that he was missing. He was supposedly going to Minneapolis to purchase a vehicle with two other acquaintances. They left February 25th to go do this and on February 26th, Minnesota authorities located a vehicle that he had purchased in Otter Tail County by The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office. The vehicle was located near County Highway 82 and 120th Street. The vehicle was abandoned at that time. So, yeah, we’ve been working with Minnesota authorities to try to get any leads that we can to find. Mr. Singsaath.”

Again, Deputy Ver Meer says Singsaath’s last-known destination was Minneapolis, MN. The car he was believed to have been driving was located abandoned near Fergus Falls. If anyone has any information on Singsaath’s whereabouts, you are asked to contact the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office at 712-472-8300.