Rock Rapids, Iowa – Swine producers and building managers are invited to participate in “Managing Your Unseen Employee: The Ventilation System” on March 13-14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily in rural Larchwood.

Hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Iowa Pork Producers Association, the two-day training covers ventilation basics on the first day with hands-on troubleshooting and practicing on the second day.

The hands-on learning component is centered in a 24-foot trailer equipped with a functioning ventilation system that demonstrates fan, inlet and controller management, according to Dave Stender, swine specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach. Stender says that allows participating swine producers and barn managers to troubleshoot problems and practice real life scenarios without compromising biosecurity by going into an active production facility.

Stender said that program participants should plan for some classroom-style learning, but mostly hands-on learning and question-and-answer time.

Participants will practice adjusting inlets, measuring static pressure effects, setting fan controllers, observing plugged inlet effects, troubleshooting problems, answering questions and looking at real-life case studies of barn problems, according to Stender.

There is no registration fee for the program as program and material costs are being fully sponsored by the Lyon County Extension Council, with noon meals sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.

However, preregistration is required due to limited space and supplies. Preregister to Carly via phone at 712-472-2576 or email

Both days of the workshop will be hosted at 1940 110th St., Larchwood.

Further questions can be directed to Stender at 712-225-6196 or

February 23, 2023 - 3:50 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — Officials with Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon are again reporting that never before have this many students attended the college at one time.

In the first two semesters of the 2022-23 academic year, the College is on pace for a record enrollment year. The Fall of 2022 was the largest fall class in the school’s history dating back to 1966. They tell us the 1,811 enrolled students represent about a 5.54% increase from Fall 2021 when the headcount was 1,716. The previous record was in the fall of 2019 when enrollments were 1,777 students.

NCC officials say the enrollments for Spring 2023 follow in a similar trajectory topping all previous enrollment numbers with a record-setting 1,850 students. This represents a 3.64% increase over last year’s enrollments of 1,785.

NCC has multiple terms and start dates throughout the year, so the fall and spring enrollment numbers are just two data points that NCC records throughout the year. They say that another strong indicator is the summer semester enrollments.

Beth Sibenaller-Woodall, NCC Registrar, says that summer enrollments are looking strong, but there won’t be an accurate count until the official count day which is 10 days after the start of the semester. She says NCC is on track for a record-breaking year. Sibenaller-Woodall tells us that by the end of NCC’s previous academic year, on August 6, 2022, the college had taught 2,701 different students in its credit programs.

John Hartog, College President says, “We are excited to see what our year-end numbers will be this coming August. We care for each of our students, and we show our care with our affordable tuition rates and the services we offer to all of our students. Higher numbers mean more students are entering the workforce and transferring to four-year institutions with advanced standing credits.”

Lester, Iowa — Two people were injured in a snowy accident on Wednesday, February 22nd near Lester.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that at about 6:20 a.m., 29-year-old Aaron VandeKamp of Rock Rapids was westbound in a 2001 Buick LeSabre about a mile east of Lester, when he struck a snowdrift in the roadway, causing him to lose control of his vehicle and slide sideways within the roadway. Meanwhile, 62-year-old Robert Caswell of Brandon, South Dakota, was coming from the other way in a 2023 Ford F150 pickup. The front of Caswell’s pickup struck the passenger side of VandeKamp’s car.

Both VandeKamp and Caswell were injured in the accident. The Lyon County Ambulance Squad took Vande Kamp and Lester Rescue took Caswell both to Avera Merrill Pioneer Hospital in Rock Rapids.

Both vehicles are considered a total loss and were towed by Trackside Service of Alvord.

The sheriff’s office reports that the Lester Fire Department also assisted at the scene.

February 20, 2023 - 4:19 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — It sounds like we’re going to get some more wintery weather. And some are saying it could be a repeat of a storm we had earlier this season, with large amounts of snow.

We talked to meteorologist Jim Murray with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls. He tells us how they believe things will start this Tuesday.

Murray says there’s a chance we could see blizzard conditions in northwest Iowa. He tells us the event will probably wrap up by midday Thursday, and at this time they are thinking we could see 10 inches, up to maybe a foot of snow.

He gives us an idea of what to expect after the storm passes by.

Murray says the way things look right now, do not travel Wednesday evening or Wednesday night.

February 19, 2023 - 12:59 am - Posted in News

Inwood, Iowa — A West Lyon Teacher is one of six teachers in the state to receive an award.

The Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council tells us they are proud to announce that Mr. Shane Peterson, the 8-12 Industrial Technology Instructor at West Lyon Community School District of rural Inwood, has been named as a recipient of the 2023 Iowa STEM Teacher Award, sponsored by Kemin Industries. The award is given to six educators each year who go above and beyond to inspire student interest in and awareness of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Now in its ninth year, the award is given annually to one full-time, licensed preK-12 teacher from each of the six STEM regions in Iowa. Each recipient is honored for their efforts to foster enthusiasm and inspire a passion for STEM that goes beyond the classroom and helps prepare students for future high-demand careers.

They tell us that Peterson was recognized for his efforts in expanding the industrial technology program at West Lyon Community School District and transforming the program from a basic woodworking program to an impactful STEM program over his 10 years at the school.

In his nomination for the Iowa STEM Teacher Award, Peterson’s students describe him as someone who encourages them to think creatively, goes above and beyond for the industrial technology program, and someone who has grown his students’ confidence in their futures. His principal noted that in addition to acquiring new technology, encouraging more female students to take interest in industrial technology, and bringing in industry speakers to his classroom, he has received over $200,000 in grants for his classroom.

The Governor’s STEM Council says Peterson finds opportunities for his curriculum to connect with the community and STEM-focused business partners. His students are currently collaborating with the local daycare to build a storage shed for their facility, partnering with a local nursing home to develop and prepare birdhouse activity kits, completing Ford technician training modules, and working with a local production facility to create prototypes using 3D printing and modeling software. They say these are all opportunities for students to gain valuable learning experiences while connecting to their community.

As a recipient of the 2023 Iowa STEM Teacher Award, presented by Kemin Industries, Peterson will receive $1,500 to use for his classroom and $1,500 for personal use. He recently received his award and a small celebration at his school and will later be honored, along with his fellow recipients, in a recognition ceremony during STEM Day at the Fair at the Iowa State Fair.

George, Iowa — A George man has been arrested on a burglary charge after he called to turn himself in.

According to a criminal complaint filed with the Lyon County Clerk of Court’s Office by the county sheriff’s office, 25-year-old Frederick Buckalew of George is accused of breaking into his girlfriend’s house early on Friday. He was arrested when the deputy arrived.

The complaint states Buckalew called the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office and advised that he had just broken into his girlfriend’s house and he wanted to turn himself in. When the deputy arrived at the home, he says he found that Buckalew had broken the walk-in door to the garage to get into the home.

Buckalew was charged with third-degree burglary, a class D felony. If convicted, Buckalew could face up to five years in prison.

He faces a preliminary hearing on Monday, February 27th, 2023.

At last report, he remained in the Lyon County Jail in Rock Rapids in lieu of a $5000 cash or surety bond.

Des Moines, Iowa — A northwest Iowa state senator who’s proposed five different bills in response to proposed carbon pipelines says the current regulatory process is unfair to landowners.

Senator Jeff Taylor says the bill most likely to pass would require that developers get voluntary access to 90 percent of the land along the pipeline route before state regulators could grant permission to seize the rest through eminent domain.

Taylor is a Republican from Sioux Center — in Sioux County — where the proposed Summit pipeline would pass through. Taylor says since Summit is owned by major GOP donor Bruce Rastetter and former Governor Terry Branstad has been an advisor to the project, it’s been politically uncomfortable to raise concerns.

Taylor says there’s no guarantee the legislature will take any action on the issue.

Dan Tronchetti lives near Paton in Greene County. The Summit pipeline would pass through one of his fields and be within 12 hundred feet west of his front door. He’s frequently at the Iowa Capitol, outlining his objections to having his land seized for the project.

Tronchetti says the contract Summit presented him suggests he could be sued if his combine or farm equipment damages the pipeline buried four feet below ground.

Tronchetti says if the pipeline passes through his farm, he may make the 75-foot wide strip of land on top of the underground pipeline a no-go zone rather than plant corn or soybeans on it.

February 7, 2023 - 3:38 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — The details are quite limited at this time, but a Rock Rapids nursing home has closed, forcing residents and their families to find other facilities for them.

KIWA has received word that Rock Rapids Health Centre’s residents needed to be placed in other facilities.

We have not yet heard from a reliable source as to the reason for the Health Centre’s closure. At this point, all of that type of information is hearsay.

At one point, the facility was owned by Rock Rapids native Dan Boyle and his Dakota Dunes-based Boyle Companies. But Boyle Companies officials say they sold the facility and their Rock Rapids assisted living facility, Premier Estates, in 2012. The future of Premier Estates is not known. Their staff has not been informed of any changes.

Des Moines, Iowa — One of our area State Senators says he’s not opposed to the idea of pipelines, but he is against the idea of eminent domain abuse.

District 2 Republican State Senator Jeff Taylor of Sioux Center says he’s been trying to get people’s feelings about the issue.

Taylor says there are certainly pros and cons to the carbon capture pipelines.

He says many people are very passionate about the issue, and he’s going to continue to work on it in Des Moines. According to Taylor, you never know what the legislature is going to be discussing next.

Taylor represents Lyon and Sioux counties and part of Plymouth County.

January 30, 2023 - 9:03 pm - Posted in News

Larchwood, Iowa — A Jasper, Minnesota woman has been arrested on felony drug charges after she was arrested near Larchwood.

According to a criminal complaint filed with the Lyon County Clerk of Court’s Office by the county sheriff’s office, 32-year-old Brianna Thode of Jasper is accused of drug trafficking. She was arrested on Friday at Grand Falls Casino.

The complaint states an officer saw Thode sitting in her car in the parking lot. The officer was aware that the female registered owner of the car is a known drug user. He says he suspected the defendant was using or was under the influence of a controlled substance. Lyon County K9 Versa was deployed around the vehicle and alerted to the odor of illegal drugs. He says five bags of methamphetamine weighing approximately 19 grams were allegedly found in the vehicle. A bong, a methamphetamine pipe, a bag of 100 smaller bags, and a scale were also found.

Thode was charged with drug trafficking, a class B felony; and failure to affix a drug tax stamp, a class D felony. If convicted, Thode could face up to 25 years in prison.

She faces a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, February 7th.

At last report, Thode remained in the Lyon County Jail in Rock Rapids in lieu of a $30,000 bond.