Northwest Iowa — Many people are under the impression that since they have homeowner’s insurance, if something catastrophic happens to their home, it will be paid by insurance. And sometimes that’s the case, with no qualifications. But not always, according to insurance experts.

Experts tell us that sometimes, the policy is written with certain stipulations, and since construction material costs have increased significantly, it would pay to check your policy. Jodi Vermeer, an insurance agent with Perspective Insurance, an independent insurance agency in Sheldon, says it really depends.

She says it depends on the company and what was done when your policy was written.

She says most policies have an inflation rider, which should help, but not all of them do. And inflation varies, so it would pay to make sure that your coverage is keeping pace.

Vermeer encourages you to check with your insurance agent periodically, but especially now, when costs continue to rise and inflation is more of an issue.

Northwest Iowa — We’ve had scattered rain showers, but as a whole, it’s still pretty dry in northwest Iowa. And it’s drier the further south you go, up to a point.

According to the latest information from the US Drought Monitor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the area of extreme drought in Plymouth, Cherokee, and Woodbury counties hasn’t changed much. It still involves all but the very northern tier of Plymouth County, basically the northwest half of Woodbury County, and nearly the west half of Cherokee County, and extends across the Big Sioux River into South Dakota, and across the Missouri River into Nebraska.

The latest map does look fairly similar to the previous week’s. The only movement to speak of in northwest Iowa is the area of moderate drought that extended basically south of the Lyon and Sioux County line to about halfway down Sioux County, where it turns into severe drought. That area of moderate drought now extends well into Lyon County, and covers almost the entire northwest half of Lyon County now.

Osceola County looks to be faring the best up here, with just an area of abnormally dry conditions in the southern part of the county. O’Brien County has three different levels, with abnormally dry in the north, moderate drought in the central, and severe drought in the south.

Elsewhere in the state, the abnormally dry area along the Mississippi in the far-eastern “bump” of the state has all but disappeared. But there’s a new moderate drought area appearing in southeast Iowa and the two areas of abnormally dry conditions in the southeast and southwest are now connected via a narrow strip in the south-central part of the state.

July 22, 2022 - 8:41 pm - Posted in News

Doon, Iowa — The only town festival in our area that goes for TWO weekends is about to start.

Doon Days in Doon kicks off this Saturday with a poker run starting at Burns’ Grill at noon.

On Sunday, they’ve got both a Community Worship Service in the morning, and a United Methodist Church Concert “To God Be The Glory” by Joyce Strabala and family south of the community center on Sunday night.

Then next weekend it starts up again on Friday, July 29th with a community picnic, ice cream, a cruise night, helicopter rides, a pie and dessert auction, firetruck rides, a patriotic ceremony, fast pitch softball, fireworks, and karaoke.

Saturday the 30th, there’s a pancake breakfast, a parade, a “See How Long The Clunker Runs” fundraiser, Lunch in the Park, ice cream, a car show, a pedal pull, inflatables, face painting, a pie social, a golf ball dash, water fights, picnic in the park, an all-school reunion, and a street dance.

(click to enlarge)

Photo: L-R: Shawn Dreesen, Lyon County Riverboat Foundation Board Member, Heidi Borer, Little Rock EMS Director, Kevin Miller, NCC Coordinator-Emergency Services

Sheldon, Iowa — An ambulance body that served for a number of years as the Little Rock Ambulance is now serving in a new capacity. But it’s not to transport patients — it’s to educate EMTs and EMTs-to-be at Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon. And three of the main things that made it work were from Lyon County.

Kevin Miller is NCC’s Emergency Services Education Coordinator, and he tells us about it.

Miller says they were able find what they needed from a Rock Rapids-based company.

He tells us the simulation ambulance has onle been on-campus at NCC since June.

For more information about educational opportunities at NCC, either on campus or online, they tell us you can call 712-324-5061, 800-352-4907, or visit

Picture of the ambulance body in its previous paint job and role as a unit for Little Rock Ambulance:


Orange City, Iowa — A Doon man has been sentenced to a 10-year prison term as the result of an accident that killed a Hull woman last September.

According to Sioux County Attorney Thomas Kunstle, 28-year-old Seth Thomas DeJong of Doon has been sentenced for the crime of Homicide By Vehicle – Reckless, a Class C Felony.

Kunstle says that on September 3, 2021, DeJong drank alcohol during and after a golf outing in Hull. A nearby bicyclist was riding northbound on Hickory Avenue. At around 5:50 p.m., DeJong drove his van in the same direction, and he struck and killed the bicyclist. A traffic investigation by the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office found, at the point of impact, the roadway was at the top of a gradual hillcrest which was visible from several miles in either direction. DeJong, who had alcohol on his breath, told police he never saw the victim until the collision, even though the bicyclist was wearing hi-visibility clothing, during the day, with a red flashing rearward light. Approximately three hours afterward, a sample of DeJong’s blood was taken by police showing his alcohol level to be 0.081. When he was driving, DeJong’s blood alcohol content was estimated to be between 0.11 and 0.15.

After what Kunstle calls “a lengthy July 18 sentencing hearing, where the State was recommending prison and DeJong’s counsel recommending probation,” the District Court sentenced DeJong to an indeterminate term of incarceration not to exceed 10 years. He was immediately taken into custody. The Court further sentenced Seth to pay $150,000 restitution to the victim’s estate.

Rock Rapids, Iowa — It’s time for what is billed as “the best four days of summer.” The Lyon County Fair is on now in Rock Rapids.

Jared Ageson is on the Lyon County Fair Board. He was in the middle of the action at the fair when we caught up with him, and he highlights some of the goings-on in Rock Rapids.

The 4H and FFA buildings are open, as is the commercial building.

He tells us Tuesday is Kids’ Day at the fair.

Also on Tuesday evening, there’s a Demonstration Garden Tour. The garden is immediately to your right as you enter the main fair gate. Find more information on the tour below. Ageson says many activities are in store for Wednesday as well.

Thursday is the swine show, and some of the exhibits will be released. The 4-H Foundation Supper starts at 5:45, and from 7:30 to 9:30 it’s the Youth Fun Night.

Ageson says that as has become the tradition, the Rapid Speedway Races on Friday night will have free admission, thanks to the Lyon County Fair Board.

Click here for the full schedule of events at the Lyon County Fair.

From the Lyon County Office of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach — Regarding the Demonstration Garden Tour:

Local gardeners and interested community members will have the opportunity to learn about gardening basics, cut flowers and enjoy a healthy snack at the Lyon County Demonstration Garden Tour, hosted by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach on Tuesday, July 19 at 5:15 p.m. at the Lyon County Fair.

The evening program will be focused on hands-on education as participants take an in-person tour of the garden and learn about the Growing Together for Iowa Grant that helps fund the garden project, led by Dustin Kohn, Horticulture Intern, and Carly Herum, Lyon County Agriculture Program Coordinator, both of whom are employed locally by ISU Extension and Outreach.

“We invite the public to join us for a fun night of horticulture learning,” Kohn said. “We’re excited to showcase our youth gardeners, as well as the donation garden and cut flower plot.”

The night will begin with the youth garden tour at 5:15 p.m. which will highlight both “Growing in the Garden” Camp for youth who have completed 1st through 3rd grade and “Ready, Set, Grow!” Garden Club for youth who have completed 4th grade and up. During this segment of the tour, Laura Beyenhof, Lyon County K-12 Program Coordinator, and Jill Postma, Lyon County Youth Coordinator, will lead campers in showcasing their garden plots and what they’ve been learning this summer.

Following the youth garden tour, the Demonstration Garden Tour will begin. Kohn will guide participants through the garden, highlighting the plants grown in this year’s cut flower and donation garden quadrants.

“We will share about the importance of growing vegetables and what is doing well in our garden,” Kohn said. “Attendees will also see a beautiful cut flower garden with several floral varieties that grow well right here in Lyon County.”

There is no pre-registration or fee to attend the garden tour; however, participants are asked to dress for the weather, including sunscreen and their own form of insect protection.

Alvord, Iowa — A passenger in a utility terrain vehicle was seriously injured in an accident near Alvord on Saturday.

According to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, a 16-year-old male was driving a side-by-side utility terrain vehicle or UTV, going down a hill on private property in the 2100 block of Elmwood Avenue just east of Alvord, when, according to deputies, he lost control of the side by side resulting in it rolling.

Officials tell us there were four occupants in the vehicle including the driver. They say one of the passengers, Amanda Neyens of Sioux Falls, was fully ejected from the vehicle. The side-by-side landed on Neyens resulting in substantial injuries. Neyens was transported to Hegg Health in Rock Valley.

The rest of the passengers were not injured.

Deputies report that the Alvord Fire and Rescue Department and the Lyon County Ambulance Squad assisted with the response to the accident.

Ames, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Transportation is now accepting grant applications for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Fiscal Year 2022 Diesel Emission Reduction Program (DERA) for diesel fleets in the state of Iowa.

As part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, DERA is designed to achieve significant reductions in diesel emissions among on-road or non-road vehicles and equipment, including school buses, medium and heavy-duty transit buses and trucks, marine engines, locomotives, and non-road engines, equipment, or vehicles.

Iowa school districts, transit systems, or company fleet managers should go to the DERA grant website to read the program information guide and find out more about the grant process. The website includes a list of previous DERA awards.

Applications are being accepted through Sept. 9, 2022.

The total amount of available DERA funds in Iowa is $884,780, which includes a base grant amount of $353,912 and an Environmental Protection Agency incentive bonus of $176,956. In addition, the state is matching that base grant amount with monies from Iowa’s Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund settlement.

Ames, Iowa — The beauty and diversity of pollinators can be enjoyed within the home garden or landscape, if some basic steps are taken to assure their habitat.

In a recent publication called “Gardening for Butterflies and Pollinators,” horticulture specialists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach explain the life and role of common pollinators, and actions Iowans can take to increase their numbers.

Pollinators are animals that help plants reproduce (produce fruits and seeds) by carrying pollen from one flower to another. Specifically, pollinators carry pollen from the male flower parts to the female flower parts, enticed by the nutrients they derive from the nectar and pollen.

Common insect pollinators in Iowa include honey bees, bumble bees, solitary bees, beetles, butterflies, flies, ants and wasps. Bats, birds and other animals that visit plants can also be pollinators.

The publication lists common nectar-providing plants for the Iowa garden, including trees and shrubs. A list of caterpillar host plants is also provided.

The authors also explain the importance of plant location (full-sun is better), moisture, shelter and protection. For the best pollinator garden, avoid pesticides and be cautious with herbicides.

Once a site is selected, growers should remove existing plant debris or vegetation, such as sod and weeds. Follow good gardening practices, including plant spacing, planting depth, irrigation (especially when plants are young and getting started), and use mulch for weed control and moisture conservation.

It may take several years for butterfly and pollinator habitat to establish and flower, but the results can add another layer of beauty to your property, while helping plants and crops that depend on pollination.

Authors were Laura Jesse Iles, director and extension entomologist with the Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic at Iowa State; Nathan Brockman, director of entomology, Reiman Gardens; Donald Lewis, professor and extension entomologist at Iowa State; and Aaron Steil, consumer horticulture specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

For more information, contact Laura Jesse Iles at 515-294-0581 or

Photo courtesy of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

July 13, 2022 - 5:13 pm - Posted in News


Statewide Iowa — If you’re a farmer or an agriculture landowner, you’re probably busy. But here’s a reminder that busy farmers and landowners need to keep in mind. If you haven’t yet certified your acres — your time is almost up.

According to the USDA, agricultural producers who have not yet completed their crop acreage reports after planting should make an appointment with their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) service center before the applicable deadline. July 15th — this Friday — is a major deadline for most crops, but acreage reporting deadlines vary by county and by crop. Producers should make an appointment as soon as possible to avoid missing earlier deadlines.

FSA officials remind us that in order to be eligible for many programs, including disaster assistance, you will need an acreage report on file. To ensure you can benefit from FSA programs, they ask you to call your local FSA office to make an appointment to report your acreage if you haven’t done so already. As a reminder, perennial forage is eligible for continuous acreage reporting, which allows producers to report their acreage once and keep their certification in place until they make a change.

They also tell us that continuous acreage reporting provides an opportunity to substantially streamline producers’ applications for assistance. With protracted drought conditions across the Great Plains and the Western United States, producers who had previously filed a continuous acreage report benefitted from a streamlined application process for disaster programs like the Livestock Forage Disaster Program. Officials encourage producers to continue taking advantage of this tool and simplify their ability to apply for assistance.

An acreage report documents a crop grown on a farm or ranch and its intended uses. Filing an accurate and timely acreage report for all crops and land uses, including failed acreage and prevented planted acreage, can prevent the loss of program benefits.

For more information, click here, or call your local county FSA office soon.