Lyon County, Iowa — Weather facts, community announcements, church announcements, menus, school activities, and more.

Heard on KIWA-AM 1550 and FM 100.7 every weekday morning at 9:00 AM, and available here for 24 hours afterward. (Friday edition is available until Monday edition is uploaded.)

As reported by KIWA News Director and Rock Rapids resident Scott Van Aartsen

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Pierre, South Dakota — Some of the money that the states of South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa loaned to the Lewis & Clark Regional Water system is starting to be repaid.

The Lewis & Clark system had been promised funding through the federal government, but up until recent years, the feds were slow to pay, so the system asked the states for advances until they received their funding from the federal government — so that they could keep building the system in the meantime.

Earlier this week, Lewis & Clark’s Executive Director Troy Larson hand-delivered a one million dollar check to South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem at the South Dakota State Capitol in Pierre. They tell us this reimbursed the State’s General Fund for a “federal funding advance” that the Legislature approved during the 2014 session. Federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law was used to make the repayment.

Lewis & Clark officials hope to be able to start providing their Missouri River aquifer water to Sheldon by the end of this year, and Sibley by the end of next year.

Alvord, Iowa– An Altoona 19-year-old was taken to the hospital after an accident near Alvord on Thursday, May 25, 2023.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that at about 7:00 p.m., 19-year-old Faith Wilson of Altoona was driving a 2008 Chevy westbound on 210th Street, just east of Goldfinch Avenue. That’s about four miles east of Alvord or about two miles west of the Lakewood Corner.

Sheriff’s officials say Wilson lost control on the roadway. The vehicle rolled several times in the ditch. They tell us she exited the vehicle, which shortly thereafter started on fire.

The Lyon County Ambulance took Wilson to Avera Merrill Pioneer Hospital in Rock Rapids.

Wilson’s Chevy was totaled in the crash.

They tell us she was charged with failure to maintain control and operating while intoxicated, first offense.

Northwest Iowa — Two northwest Iowa fire departments responded to calls recently that involved burning pit fires burning out of control.

According to Ashton Fire Chief Andy Gacke, in the 1 p.m. hour, the Ashton Fire Department was called to the report of a brush fire at 4933 220th Street, five miles west and a mile north of Ashton.

The chief says the fire department saw heavy smoke from the tree line as they approached the scene. He says they used water to fight the fire, which began as a burn pit fire went out of control.

Gacke says no injuries were reported. He says there was no damage to speak of, and that the firefighters who responded were on the scene for about an hour.

The Rock Rapids Fire Department was called out on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 for another burn pit out of control.

According to Rock Rapids Fire Chief Ed Reck, at about 2:45 p.m., the Rock Rapids Fire Department was called to the report of a field fire at 2907 180th Street, three miles south of the 9 and 75 junction in Rock Rapids and a mile and a half west.

The chief says a burn pile had gotten away from the person tending the fire. He says firefighters used water and foam to fight the fire.

Reck says no injuries were reported.

Chief Reck reports that there was no damage to anything of significance.

He says the firefighters who responded were on the scene for only a short time.

May 23, 2023 - 8:03 pm - Posted in News

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Rock Rapids, Iowa — A letter that looks like it could be from your county recorder’s office is actually a scam.

That’s according to Lyon County Recorder, Amie Griesse. Griesse tells us that the scam first came to light in Webster County. She says the Webster County Recorder’s Office recently assisted a resident with questions about a confusing letter they received, which was quickly identified as a scam and reported to local law enforcement.

She says the letter claimed to be from something called “County Deed Records” with false information about the recipient’s home warranty expiration date. The letter also contained a “renewal fee voucher” for $199, which resembles a check and requests immediate action to call or be left vulnerable to repair costs. The Iowa County Recorders Association in partnership with Iowa Land Records confirm that this information is not legitimate. She says they tell us that similar illegitimate letters have been found across the country.

The recorders’ association says that thankfully, in the Webster County incident, the resident came into the Webster County Recorder’s office with questions before taking any action. They ask that if you or someone you know has received a letter claiming to be from the County Deed Records, please DO NOT RESPOND to the letter in any way.

They say:
Do not pay
Do not call
Do not go to the website
Do not return any mail requests

Webster County Recorder, Lindsay Laufersweiler, says, “Scams are everywhere! Thankfully this individual came into the office to research. This mailing was NOT sent by County Recorders. [Please remember to] do your research and ask questions. You’ll be glad you did!”

May 23, 2023 - 7:57 pm - Posted in News

(stock file photo)

Larchwood, Iowa — An ATV was destroyed in a fire on Monday, May 22, 2023, near Larchwood.

According to Larchwood Fire Chief Tony DeSmet, at about 3:40 p.m., the Larchwood Fire Department was called to the report of a 4-wheeler on fire at 1131 Chestnut Avenue, about two miles north of Larchwood.

The chief says the fire department saw a late-model ATV fully engulfed in flame on a farm yard as they approached the scene. He says they used water and foam to fight the fire.

DeSmet says no injuries were reported.

He says the cause of the fire is undetermined, but he says it was probably electrical in nature.

Chief DeSmet reports that the ATV was totaled in the blaze.

He says the firefighters who responded were on the scene for about 10 minutes.

Larchwood, Iowa — Fifty-one projects from around the tri-state area have won grants of up to $3000 from the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation in their annual mini-grant giveaway.

The Lyon County Riverboat Foundation says that during the 2023 mini-grant cycle, 97 applicants applied for grants totaling nearly $280,000.

The foundation is the non-profit license holder for Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort near Larchwood. As such it receives a certain portion of the casino’s take, which it gives out in grants to government subdivisions and to non-profit projects.

Some of the projects closest to Sheldon to receive funding included (all for $3000) Northwest Iowa Community College  for Trauma Simulation Equipment and Materials, the Sheldon Community School District for Orab Baseball Field Renovations, the City of Hospers for South Side Park Ball Diamond Lights, the George-Little Rock Community School District for MS/HS Uniform Updates, Lil Mustangs Child Care Center for Furniture for Growing Rooms, Hawkeye Point Foundation  for a Hawkeye Point Campground Campsite Paving Project, the McCallum Museum for Mobile Artwork and Portfolio Storage, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office  for a Patrol Vehicle Lighting Upgrade, the Osceola County Sportsman’s Club for a Trap Thrower at the Otter Creek Shooting Complex, and the Sibley Housing and Development Corporation for a project called, “A Facelift for Sibley.”

Several other projects in Rock Rapids, Sibley, and Sioux Falls received funding, as did many projects elsewhere.

Click here for the full list.

May 17, 2023 - 5:15 pm - Posted in News

Edna, Iowa — A Rock Rapids man has died as the result of an accident near Edna on Wednesday, May 17, 2023.

The Iowa State Patrol reports that at about 11:10 a.m., 82-year-old Dennis Hayenga of Little Rock was driving a 2007 International tank truck owned by Farmers Coop Society westbound on 180th Street, about a mile northeast of Edna. They tell us that 77-year-old Myron Krull of Rock Rapids was westbound on 180th on a 1963 Farmall farm tractor.

The report says that Hayenga attempted to pass the tractor and struck the left rear corner of the sprayer that Krull was towing. The report says the sprayer came detached from the tractor and rolled. The tractor also rolled into the north ditch.

Krull died as a result of his injuries. Hayenga reported no injuries.

The trooper says the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, Lyon County Ambulance Squad, George Fire Department, and George Emergency Medical Service assisted with the response to the accident.

Doon, Iowa — A Rock Valley woman and her passenger were lucky to walk away from a pickup versus train accident on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, near Doon.

According to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, at about 5:50 p.m., 21-year-old Caitlin Grace Castaneda of Rock Valley was driving a 2021 Chevrolet Silverado Pickup eastbound on 250th Street, a mile northwest of Doon near Garfield Avenue.

The report says Castaneda did not see a train owned by BNSF Railway southbound on the tracks and she continued across the tracks. The locomotive struck the 2021 Chevrolet in the driver’s side rear, sending it into the south ditch where it overturned and came to a rest on its side.

The sheriff’s office says Castaneda and her passenger were able to exit the vehicle without injuries.

She was cited on a charge of failure to properly stop at a railroad crossing, a simple misdemeanor. The 2021 Chevrolet pickup was projected to be a total loss.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office says the Doon Fire Department and Rescue Unit and K and J Towing assisted with the response to the accident.

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Mountain Lake, Minnesota man who was arrested on a number of misdemeanor charges earlier this month, now faces a felony charge as well, as officers have discovered the vehicle he was driving was stolen.

According to a criminal complaint filed with the Lyon County Clerk of Court’s Office by the county sheriff’s office, 44-year-old Dean Prachomphonh of Mountain Lake was arrested on April 2nd at Grand Falls Casino west of Larchwood, and at that time faced charges of unlawful possession of a prescription drug, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of marijuana, and operating while intoxicated — first offense.

The complaint states that on Friday, April 14th, officers learned that the 2005 Honda he was driving had been stolen out of Sioux Falls the day before he was arrested.

Prachomphonh now faces an additional charge of second-degree theft, a class D felony. If convicted, Prachomphonh could face up to five years in prison.

According to court records, he faces a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, April 25th.

At last report, he remained in the Lyon County Jail in Rock Rapids in lieu of a $7000 bond.

Nathaniel Byron Kassel, courtesy Brookings County SD Sheriff’s Office/Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.

Sheldon, Iowa — A Rock Rapids man behind bars in Primghar on a murder charge after his mother was found dead in her Sheldon home — has pleaded not guilty.

According to court records, 41-year-old Nathaniel Byron Kassel of Rock Rapids is charged with First Degree Murder in the death of his mother, 62-year-old Jody Lynn Duskin, whose body was found inside her home at 604 4th Avenue, across the street southwest of Sheldon City Park on March 23rd. Charges of operating a vehicle without the owner’s consent and dominion or control of a firearm by a felon were dismissed. Kassel filed a written plea of not guilty to the murder charge.

Authorities say on Saturday, March 25th, the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner conducted a forensic autopsy, ruling Duskin’s death a homicide.

Kassel was found in Flandreau, South Dakota at a cannabis dispensary.

While it would be unusual if the case is not continued, at this point, Kassel’s pretrial conference is scheduled for May 15th and his trial is scheduled for June 20th.