August 2, 2021 - 4:16 pm - Posted in News

Boyden, Iowa — The Boyden Fire Department has been kept busy recently. They responded to a house fire early on Thursday, July 29, 2021. Fire Chief Chris Starkenburg tells us they were called back there on Friday morning for smoke coming from the roof. Then, another house was destroyed in a fire in Boyden on Monday, August 2, 2021.

According to Boyden Fire Captain Angie Paulsen, about 9:05 a.m., the Boyden Fire Department was called to the report of a house fire at 605 Pleasant Street in Boyden.

The captain says the fire department saw flames coming from the porch roof and out of a bedroom window as they approached the scene. He says they used an exterior attack with hoses and a deck gun to fight the fire.

Captain Paulsen says no injuries were reported, and the house was vacant at the time of the fire.

The fire department was assisted by Hull and Sheldon firefighters.

She says the cause of the fire is undetermined at this time, and an officer from the State Fire Marshal’s office was investigating on Monday afternoon.

Captain Paulsen reports that the home will be a total loss.

She says the firefighters who responded had the fire under control in about two hours and the firefighters from other communities left at that time. But she says some Boyden firefighters stayed until 2 p.m. completing other tasks.

We also talked to Inwood Fire Chief Troy Van Beek about a small fire last week. He says someone was welding on a combine and sparks got into the elevator of the combine where there are rubber paddles that move the grain, and these started on fire. Van Beek says the damage was minimal, thanks in part to the use of a fire extinguisher by the person who had been doing the welding. He says fire extinguishers are very valuable to help limit the extent of a fire in the early stages just after it gets started. He advises keeping one handy at all times.

Statewide Iowa — When the US Navy submarine that’ll be named after the state of Iowa sets sail for patrol duty in about two years, it will have an important distinction from all previous vessels in the fleet, according to Tom Hudson, executive director of the USS Iowa’s commissioning committee.

Space is at a premium onboard a submarine, Hudson says, with practically every square inch serving a specific purpose. That’s why it’s so monumental for women to have their own space onboard the sub.

The submarine will have a crew of 120 enlisted personnel and 14 officers. Eventually, between 20 and 40-percent of the crew will be female, but Hudson says the premier crew will be more lopsided toward men with perhaps just ten-percent female.

The USS Iowa will be christened in Connecticut in the spring of 2022, but it likely won’t be commissioned and begin patrol duties until the summer of 2023 — an event which Hudson hopes will take place in Los Angeles Harbor beside the previous USS Iowa, the retired battleship.

Photo courtesy of USS Iowa commissioning committee

Statewide Iowa — A regulatory change touted as a less expensive way for retailers to switch to selling gas with a 15 percent blend of ethanol is a key part of the debate over the governor’s proposed ethanol mandate.

Early this year, Governor Kim Reynolds called for a state law requiring all Iowa gas stations to sell gas with a 15 percent ethanol blend by 2026. The proposal stalled this spring, but supporters hope to revive it. Monte Shaw is executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. Shaw says his group does NOT support a mandate that would force retailers to crack into concrete and replace the underground fuel tank that leads to pumps above.

And Shaw says already existing regulations from the state fire marshal allow pumps dispensing gas with 10 percent ethanol to switch to E-15. Mark Cobb of Brighton owns nine gas stations in eastern Iowa and is installing new pumps to offer E-15 to his customers at all locations. He says it costs far more than the 10-thousand dollars Shaw mentioned.

Cobb, who is an investor in a biodiesel plant, too, says he’s not opposed to efforts to promote the sale of biofuels.

And Cobb says premium gasoline that has NO ethanol in it must be used in some vehicles on the road today in order to maintain the warranty. Iowa Corn Promotion Board vice president Kelly Niewenhaus, a farmer from Primghar, says he’s optimistic the two sides can find common ground in 2022.

The three men made their comments on this weekend’s “Iowa Press” program on Iowa PBS. Three months ago, Governor Reynolds said she’d ask representatives of ag groups and gasoline retailers to meet this summer and fall, to try to come up with a compromise Iowa Renewable Fuels Standard. There’s been no public announcement that a working group has been formed or is meeting.

August 2, 2021 - 11:20 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — We’ve heard that the recently low number of new COVID positives around the country have been spiking in recent days and that trend has now reached the four-county area of O’Brien, Osceola, Sioux and Lyon Counties.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, the four-county area saw an increase in positive COVID cases of nearly 700% in the past seven days, reporting 27 new cases this week, compared to just 4 last week.

Sioux County reported 12 new cases in the past seven days, compared to just 2 last week. O’Brien County reports 9 new positives in the past seven days, compared to last week’s report of just 1. In Osceola County they saw 4 new positives in this week’s report, compared to zero last week. And Lyon County reports 2 new positives, up from 1 last week.

The only good news coming out of this week’s report is that there were no additional COVID-related deaths reported in the area in the past seven days. So the totals remain at 74 in Sioux County, 57 in O’Brien County, 41 in Lyon County and 17 in Osceola County, for a four-county total of 189 of our friends and neighbors claimed by COVID-related illness since the pandemic began.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota — Some employees of Sanford Health in Sioux Falls apparently aren’t too happy about the healthcare giant’s recent COVID-19 vaccination mandate for employees and made their feelings known on Friday.

Around noon Friday, approximately 100 Sanford employees were picketing in the rain against the requirement at the main hospital in central Sioux Falls.

Sanford has said that the deadline for all employees at Sanford facilities to be vaccinated is November 1st.

Sanford Health says there are exemptions to the vaccination requirement for those with religious or medical reasons.

Sanford has facilities throughout the KIWA listening area, including the Sanford Sheldon Medical Center and clinic locations throughout the area.

Our news partner, KELO Radio contributed to this story.

Photo courtesy KELO Radio

July 30, 2021 - 2:51 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — The Iowa State Patrol is seeking your vote in this year’s 8th Annual American Association of State Troopers Best-Looking Cruiser Contest.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Safety, the public is encouraged to cast their vote for the Iowa State Patrol cruiser though Tuesday, August 3. The top 12 states receiving votes in the contest will have their photo included in the 2022 AAST Cruiser Calendar.

Proceeds of calendar sales will benefit the American Association of State Troopers Foundation, which provides educational scholarships to dependents of member troopers.

The AAST calendar contest rewards creative and impactful photo submissions in an effort to help promote the lives and work of State Troopers across the country. This year, renowned Des Moines-based photographer Mirza Kudic photographed an Iowa State Patrol Dodge Charger squad car traveling along Grand Avenue in Des Moines.

The DPS asks you to cast your vote today…one may be cast from each electronic device. Votes are being collected through Tuesday, August 3rd at 11:00 am Iowa time. Voting is free and can be done by CLICKING HERE. Photos of all 50 State Patrol vehicles in the contest may be viewed at that web page.

July 30, 2021 - 9:06 am - Posted in News

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

Click or tap the play button or link below to listen to KIWA’s Lyon County Daily News:

Click to listen

Statewide Iowa — A new breed of tick is being found in the U.S. for which Iowans, especially cattle producers, need to be watchful.

Professor Grant Dewell, an Iowa State University Extension beef veterinarian, says it’s called the Asian longhorned tick but to see its tiny antennae which resemble horns, you’d need a magnifying glass.

The tick is native to East Asia and it is spreading across the United States. It’s been identified as far east as Arkansas and as far north as New York.

Lyme disease and anaplasmosis are associated with most ticks. Dewell says the Asian longhorned ticks may carry those and other blood-borne diseases that are not common in the U.S. People should be aware of the risks, but he says cattle producers need to be vigilant for this tiny-but-dangerous insect.

A single Asian longhorned tick female can essentially start a new tick population on her own, as Dewell says she can lay up to 2,000 eggs without ever finding a mate. That’s why he says identifying new infestations and preventing the spread is essential. If you think you’ve found one, contact the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic at Iowa State University.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

July 29, 2021 - 2:17 pm - Posted in News

Washington, D.C. — Two Iowans spoke at a Senate hearing on cattle markets Wednesday. Jon Schaben, the owner of Dunlap Livestock Auction, says something needs to be done to help independent producers.

He says the money those producers receive has declined dramatically.

He says the large meatpackers controlling the industry is a concern.

Shane Miller of Sioux City is the group president of Fresh Meats at Tyson Foods. He had a different view of what is going on with beef prices.

He says the shutdown of plants caused by the pandemic made the situation worse.

Miller says Tyson provides several options to producers.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is on the Judiciary Committee and says had strong reservations about consolidation within agriculture and the livestock industry for more than 20 years.

July 28, 2021 - 3:36 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — Governor Kim Reynolds says undocumented immigrants and illegal drugs are infiltrating Iowa and she may send state troopers back to Texas to provide border security in the future.

The state will spend about 300-thousand dollars on the two-week mission 28 state troopers just completed in Texas earlier this month.

Dozens of troopers have been assigned to duty at next month’s Iowa State Fair as well as this week along the route of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. Reynolds says she’ll re-evaluate in late August and may send state troopers back to the southern border. Reynolds says Iowa and other states like Nebraska and Florida have had to step up because the Biden Administration’s policies have made the border a magnet for illegal migrants, drug smugglers and human traffickers.

Reynolds held a news conference at the Iowa Department of Public Safety late Wednesday morning. The patrolman who headed the mission to Texas outlined the ways in which Iowa officers assisted Texas Rangers and federal agents. Captain Mark Miller says some of the Iowa officers assisted in human trafficking investigations and traffic stops. A female trooper at a border gate noticed a migrant in the crowd was going into labor and summoned an ambulance.

Salaries account for about a third of the roughly 300-thousand dollar budget for this mission, with the rest spent on things like food, hotels and overtime pay. Miller says no State Patrol vehicles went south. Instead, troopers did overnight shifts with Texas officers.

While Texas officers dealt with a driver, Miller says the Iowa troopers were able to interview others in the vehicle and determine if human trafficking was an issue. In one instance, Miller says a trooper found a woman hidden in a pick-up who was in critical condition due to dehydration. The leaders of the Iowa Democratic Party’s Latinx Caucus issued a statement after Wednesday’s news conference, saying they’re grateful for the professionalism these troopers showed at the southern border, but they accused the governor of stoking fear against immigrants with her rhetoric. The group’s co-chairs say it is absurd for Reynolds to suggest, as she did late last week, that people seeking asylum are causing the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.