Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Rock Rapids man was taken to the hospital after an accident on Wednesday evening.

According to the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, at about 7:15 p.m., Amira Stewart was driving a 2002 Saturn eastbound on Highway 9, attempting to turn north onto North Union Street. At the same time, Kaden Huisman was driving his 1999 Harley Davidson motorcycle westbound on 9.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Stewart failed to yield upon her left turn and struck the Huisman motorcycle.

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

The report says both vehicles sustained functional damage.

The sheriff’s office reports that the Lyon County Ambulance Squad and the Rock Rapids Fire Department assisted with the response to the accident.

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 been formally charged and his arraignment date has been set.

According to court records, 41-year-old Nathaniel Byron Kassel of Rock Rapids has been formally 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 the 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.

His arraignment has been set for Monday, April 17th.

April 10, 2023 - 10:07 pm - Posted in News

Little Rock, Iowa — A family is homeless and one of their pets died in a fire on Saturday, April 8, 2023, near Little Rock.

According to Little Rock Fire Chief Joe Schilling, at about 10:40 p.m., the Little Rock Fire Department was called to the report of a house fire at 4598 IA 9 Street/Highway 9 at the corner of Marsh Avenue, which becomes Section Line Avenue in Little Rock, about a half a mile south of Little Rock.

The chief says the fire department saw the southwest corner of the house was fully engulfed as they approached the scene.

Schilling says the occupants were able to escape the house. The Little Rock Ambulance took one person to Osceola Regional Health Center in Sibley. He says one pet perished in the fire.

The fire department was assisted by the George and Sibley fire departments, Little Rock EMS, the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, and the Iowa State Patrol.

He says the cause of the fire is undetermined and under investigation at this time.

Chief Schilling reports that the house is a total loss.

He says the firefighters who responded were on the scene until 1:15 a.m. Sunday morning.

Des Moines, Iowa — Numbers out this past week showed Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped below three percent in February.

Iowa Workforce Development director, Beth Townsend, says that’s one of the positives for the state.

She says the participation rate is important as they have been working to get more people back into the workforce.

Townsend says manufacturing added 700 jobs in February.

Townsend says leisure and hospitality jobs are up almost 45 hundred jobs over the course of the year, and the service industries had the biggest increase in jobs this past month.

The construction industry did lose 16 hundred jobs in February — which Townsend says is probably related to bad weather. She says they expect to see the industry gain back jobs as the weather improves and more projects get underway outside.

Closer to home, the latest numbers for county-by-county unemployment are the January figures. And for the first time in recent memory, Osceola County has the lowest unemployment in the state, beating out even Lyon and Sioux counties. January unemployment in Osceola County was a mere 1.8 percent. Unemployment was still pretty low in the other three counties in our coverage area, but many other counties elsewhere in the state had similar or lower figures. O’Brien County’s unemployment was at 2.9 percent, Sioux’s was at 2.7 percent, and Lyon’s was at 2.6 percent.

March 24, 2023 - 3:38 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — Authorities suspect a homicide in Sheldon, and an arrest has been made of a Rock Rapids man in connection with the case.

According to the Iowa Department of Public Safety (DPS), at around 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 23, 2023, the O’Brien County Communication Center received a 911 call about a deceased female located at 604 4th Avenue in Sheldon. They tell us that when authorities arrived, they found the female deceased inside her home. The death is being treated as a homicide investigation. The DPS says an autopsy has been scheduled for Saturday, March 25, 2023, at the Iowa Office of the State Medical Examiner, in Ankeny.

Around noon on Friday, March 24, 2023, authorities arrested 41-year-old Nathaniel Byron Kassel of Rock Rapids in Flandreau, South Dakota on two Iowa arrest warrants. One was for murder in the 1st degree, a class A felony. The other was for felon in possession of a firearm, a class D felony.

If you have any information regarding this investigation, you are asked to call the Sheldon Police Department at 712-324-2525, or you can call the Department of Criminal Investigation (DCI) at 712-224-7680.

The DPS says This is an ongoing criminal investigation; no further details or names are being released at this time.

According to the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe Police Department, who made the arrest, the victim is allegedly Kassel’s mother. They tell us that their Chief of Police, Brian Arnold, noticed a vehicle that fit the description provided by the Iowa DCI at their Royal River Casino and Hotel, and notified other agencies of the discovery. They tell us Kassel was apprehended outside the Native Nations Cannabis Dispensary in Flandreau.

March 17, 2023 - 4:22 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — With the coming of spring we also prepare for severe weather season. If you’d like to know more about severe weather, there is a Storm Watch class scheduled for next week at Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon.

Warning Coordination Meteorologist Peter Rogers with the National Weather Service’s Sioux Falls Office tells us about it.

Rogers says while many who attend are law enforcement, EMS personnel, firefighters, and plant safety managers, the class is open to the public.

He tells us what to expect if you go.

The class is free, thanks to the emergency management agencies of O’Brien, Sioux, Lyon, and Osceola counties, but the folks at NCC would like you to register. You can do that online by clicking here. For more information from NCC, you can call 800-352-4907 or 324-5061.

There are other classes scheduled around the wider area. For more information about those, click here.

Sanborn, Iowa — Congressman Randy Feenstra (Republican, from Hull) hosted a town hall with local farmers, producers, and constituents in Sanborn this Wednesday, March 15th, to discuss the upcoming Farm Bill and other issues.

Feenstra says he enjoyed meeting with Iowans — including “our hardworking farmers and producers — to hear their suggestions and priorities for the upcoming Farm Bill.”

The topics included everything from Feenstra’s work to reauthorize the successful 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and stop China from buying American farmland to what Feenstra calls “the unfair inheritance tax,” to biofuels production, and international trade.

He says, “Meeting with Iowans will always be a top priority for me as I travel all 36 counties in my district at least twice a year.”

Twenty-four people attended the event.

Feenstra also announced his Agriculture Advisory Board at the town hall. The board is comprised of 60 members of the greater agriculture community from all 36 counties in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District and represents a wide range of industries, including corn, soybeans, pork, beef, turkey, dairy, eggs, cattle, goat, seed, fertilizer, veterinary medicine, equipment manufacturing, FFA, conservation, agricultural lending, and research and development.

In our part of northwest Iowa, from Lyon County, Dean Meyer, Dwight Mogler, Doug Stensland, and Scott Schneidermann are on the board. From O’Brien County, the board members include Kelly Nieuwenhuis, Jeremy Van Ess, and Corey Rozenboom. There’s one board member from Osceola County, and that’s Rob Jacobs. Five members on the board are from Sioux County. They are Brad Kooima, Steve Rehder, Craig Moss, JT Dean, and Jeff Altena.

Additionally, Feenstra spoke to O’Brien County Sheriff’s deputies about the scourge of fentanyl in rural Iowa and the need to secure our border.

The other members of the Agriculture Advisory Board:

Dr. Calie Burgart, Audubon County
Former State Senator Jerry Behn, Boone County
Mitchell Sievers, Buena Vista County
Andy Kosky, Buena Vista County
Darcy Maulsby, Calhoun County
State Representative Mike Sexton, Calhoun County
Will Reever, Carroll County
Ramona Nitz, Cherokee County
Chad Tentinger, Cherokee County
Will Jones, Clay County
Ty Rosburg, Crawford County
Al Giese, Dickinson County
Jim Boyer, Emmet County
John Latham, Franklin County
State Representative Shannon Latham, Franklin County
Brian Borcherding, Franklin County
Don Latham, Franklin County
Leo Ettleman, Fremont County
Sam Martin, Fremont County
Jeff Jorgenson, Fremont County
Ben Slinger, Hamilton County
Jake Van Diest, Hamilton County
Darrin Kruger, Hancock County
Tony Smith, Harrison County
Nick Nielsen, Humboldt County
Jolene Riessen, Ida County
Sara Winkleman, Kossuth County
State Senator Jeff Edler, Marshall County
Wyatt Edler, Marshall County
State Representative David Sieck, Mills County
Dan Witten, Monona County
Eric Bruhn, Palo Alto County
Andy Schroeder, Plymouth County
Don Kass, Plymouth County
Darin Dykstra, Plymouth County
Grant Wells, Pocahontas County
Chris Perdue, Pottawattamie County
Chad Hansen, Sac County
Gabe Ferry, Shelby County
Bill Couser, Story County
Marty Chitty, Story County
John Fredrickson, Webster County
Gregg Hora, Webster County
Jacob West, Winnebago County
Barbara Sloniker, Woodbury County
Mark Nelson, Woodbury County
Ethan Lambert, Wright County

Sheldon, Iowa — We just don’t seem to be able to shake Old Man Winter for very long this year. Another storm system is set to strike northwest Iowa this Thursday, and forecasters may even use the “B” word — “blizzard” with this one.

We talked to meteorologist Andrew Kalin with the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls, and he tells us about it.

The “blizzard” word is not one that the Weather Service just kicks around. Kalin says it would take some specific conditions for them to call a storm a “blizzard.”

We asked him how much snow they’re expecting before it’s done.

And he says the snow will leave colder temps in its wake.

The forecast says it’s looking like it will take until at least Tuesday to get back into the 40’s.

March 11, 2023 - 11:02 pm - Posted in News

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Northwest Iowa — Has the snowfall affected the drought? According to one report, it has.

According to the latest information from the US Drought Monitor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the area of extreme drought has been shrinking. As late as Valentine’s Day, about half of O’Brien County was in extreme drought, along with about half of Cherokee County and nearly all of Buena Vista, Pocahontas, Humboldt, Woodbury, and Monona counties. But the latest Drought Monitor report, released at the end of last week shows much less extreme drought. It’s now limited to a small part of Woodbury, Monona, and Harrison counties.

The area of exceptional drought along the Missouri River south of Sioux City, however, hasn’t changed much.

For the most part, the rest of our area of northwest Iowa hasn’t changed much either. There’s still an area that’s only labeled “abnormally dry” in western Lyon and northwestern Sioux counties. The rest of Lyon County and most of Sioux and Osceola counties are in moderate drought, with severe (but not extreme or exceptional) drought in all of O’Brien County, extending a little into Sioux and Osceola counties and continuing three counties south and four east.

Most of the state is at least abnormally dry, except for the eastern few tiers of counties and a bubble of about 12 counties in south-central Iowa.

Northwest Iowa — Saint Patrick’s Day is this coming Friday and this week is traditionally one of the deadliest weeks of the year for motorists and pedestrians in Iowa and nationwide.

Trooper Kevin Krull with the Iowa State Patrol says they’re joining other law enforcement agencies to spread the message about the dangers of drinking and driving — and to take impaired drivers off the road.

The program started on Saturday and runs through this coming Sunday, March 19th. Krull says if you’re at a St. Pat’s party on foot, you’ll need to be especially cautious.

During the week of St. Patrick’s Day last year, 48 people were either seriously injured or killed in car crashes on Iowa’s roads.

He says drivers should also stay alert, slow down, stay off their electronics. Krull says everyone needs to play a part to stay safe.