July 9, 2022 - 5:49 pm - Posted in News


Statewide Iowa — The fall semester won’t start for several weeks at the state’s colleges and universities, but now is a key time in the financial planning process.

The CEO of Iowa Student Loan, Steve McCullough, says parents and students need to do some research when it comes to student loans.

He says there are federal student loans, private loans, and the loans offered through the Iowa program.

He says the state loan could save a family one-thousand dollars over the life of a 10-thousand dollar loan. McCullough says their website at studentloan.org can help you see your options.

There’s been a lot of talk from the Biden Administration about forgiving student loans. McCullough says the shouldn’t be a factor in any student loan decision right now.

McCullough says there are things students can do to reduce the amount they need to borrow.

He says if you base your decisions on the facts at the time and really take the time to do your research and understand that interest rates and the other factors you can make a difference in how much you end up paying in the long run.

Larchwood, Iowa — 1872 was a banner year in northwest Iowa. Not only were Sibley, Osceola County, and Sheldon all started that year, but so was the town of Larchwood up in the extreme northwest corner of the state.

The fine folks of Larchwood are combining their normal Larchwood Family Days Celebration this year with a sesquicentennial or 150th-anniversary celebration.

Sandi DeSmet is the Larchwood City Clerk. She gives us an idea of what’s happening this weekend, starting with Friday night’s activities.

Of course the big day is Saturday.

DeSmet tells us what will be happening later on Saturday and into the evening.

Festivities wrap up on Sunday with a community church service in the park. That’s all for Larchwood Family Days and Larchwood’s 150th-anniversary celebration. Click here for the full schedule.

Rock Valley, Iowa — A rural Rock Valley dairy operator has agreed to a fine from the Iowa DNR in regard to a large manure release into a waterway.

Terry Van Maanen operates Winding Meadows Dairy, just into Lyon County. The DNR says they issued a construction permit to Van Maanen for an anaerobic digester system. The system was built by the Gevo company out of Colorado. They process the methane that is captured from the dairy farm’s manure into renewable natural gas to power low-emissions vehicles in California.

The leak happened when they tested the digester. It was later found to be due to one or more control joints that had not been properly sealed. Manure ended up in a tile line that surrounds the digester and discharged to a field and then into Lizard Creek. The documents from the DNR state that over 375,000 gallons of manure were discharged and that the construction certification was not submitted before manure was added to the digester.

Van Maanen will have to pay a $10,000 administrative penalty.

July 6, 2022 - 3:56 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — The Community Blood Bank bloodmobile is headed for Rock Rapids this Thursday, and they could use your donation.

We talked to Community Blood Bank Executive Director Ken Ver Steeg. He tells us they’ll be at Avera Merrill Pioneer Hospital for their annual All American blood drive event on Thursday, July 7 between 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

But he says they hope you don’t forget, as donating is important. He says that supply-wise, going into the July Fourth holiday weekend, they had a good blood supply. But supplies have declined since then.

That number again is 605-331-3222.

Ver Steeg tells us that there are very few medications that — if you’re on them — they’d prevent you from donating. But there are a few. He says the best plan is just to take your list of medications with you and the bloodmobile staff can help you determine your eligibility.

Community Blood Bank supplies over 550 units of blood each week to people in northwestern Iowa, southeastern South Dakota, and southwestern Minnesota. They say that giving blood is a short process that will change a patient’s outlook quickly. A person can donate blood every 56 days.

Other stipulations include: Donors must be at least 17 years old (16 years old with a signed parent consent form found at www.cbblifeblood.org ), weigh 110 lbs or more, and be in good general health on the day of the donation. They ask that you come with an I.D. They also recommend that a person eat and drink plenty of fluid prior to donating. Ver Steeg says that is especially important in the summer when people are at higher risk of dehydration.

For additional information call Community Blood Bank at (605) 331-3222.

July 5, 2022 - 3:09 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — A storm system is headed our way. And it could mean some severe weather. Read The Full Story…

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Lyon County man who faced a litany of drug charges has been sentenced only to a suspended jail term and probation. Read The Full Story…

Washington, DC — The President has ordered US flags to fly at half-staff as a mark of respect for the victims of a shooting near Chicago on the Fourth of July.

A mass shooting took place during an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois on Monday, July 4th, 2022. We are told the shooting occurred in the 10 a.m. hour — roughly 15 minutes after the parade had started in the Chicago suburb. Authorities tell us six people were killed and at least 38 others were injured. They identified 21-year-old Robert Eugene Crimo III as a person of interest in the case, and following a short pursuit, we are told he was apprehended approximately eight hours after the shooting began.

President Biden’s proclamation reads, in part, “…the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, July 9, 2022. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.”

Grand Island, Nebraska — The company that operates the Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort near Larchwood filed this past week for a gaming license for a new casino they plan to build at Grand Island, Nebraska.

Elite Casino Resorts is planning a casino at Fonner Park in Grand Island. In addition to the casino near Larchwood, Elite already has the Riverside Casino and Golf Resort south of Iowa City and Rhythm City Casino Resort in Davenport. Fonner Park at Grand Island is approximately 150 miles west of Omaha. The Grand Island Elite casino is planned to open with 650 slots, 20 table games, a sportsbook, and a show lounge. A hotel, spa, fine dining, and more are planned. Officials say it will employ well over 300 people.

Also, in a statement, Elite CEO Dan Kehl said, “Should approval be received, Grand Island Casino Resort at Fonner Park will open as a temporary casino inside the existing Fonner Park facility by late 2022 with 300 slot machines, five table games, and a grab and go dining option.”

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Northwest Iowa — The latest crop report still shows good progress in much of the state, but the dry conditions are becoming more of a concern, especially in the Sioux City and Le Mars areas.

In the latest report, statewide topsoil moisture conditions rated 3 percent very short, 17 percent short, 74 percent adequate, and 6 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture conditions rated 4 percent very short, 19 percent short, 73 percent adequate, and 4 percent surplus.

Corn condition rating was 83 percent good to excellent. Ninety-three percent of soybeans have emerged, 6 days behind last year but 3 days ahead of average. Iowa’s soybean condition rating was 80 percent good to excellent. Sixty-two percent of the oat crop has headed, 3 days behind last year. Iowa’s oat condition remained at 82 percent good to excellent.

In northwest Iowa specifically, topsoil moisture was 20 percent very short, 33 percent short, 45 percent adequate, and 2 percent surplus, while subsoil moisture was rated 18 percent very short, 29 percent short, 50 percent adequate, and 3 percent surplus.

According to the US Drought Monitor at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, the conditions vary in northwest Iowa. It says that over the last week, an area of extreme drought has crept into the area just south of us and straddles the rivers in the Sioux City area into both extreme southeast South Dakota and extreme northeast Nebraska, covering much of Plymouth County and nearly the northwest half of Woodbury County. The area is bordered by an area of what is termed “severe drought,” which along with other areas, covers about the southern half of Sioux and O’Brien counties and all of Cherokee County. A little further north, roughly the northern halves of Sioux and O’Brien counties are in moderate drought. About half of Osceola County and the southeast half of Lyon County are only “abnormally dry,” with the remaining parts of those counties not under drought conditions at all.

Statewide Iowa — Several new laws were passed by the Iowa legislature this year, and many of them have now taken effect, as of July 1st — the first day of the fiscal year for many entities.

Some of the highlights include an increase of 2.5 percent per student in the state’s public education budget for fiscal year 2023; a change in tax code makes state income tax flatter at 3.9 percent by 2026, and the allowance of retired IPERS members to earn more money.

The legislature also decided that only female students, based on their sex, may participate in any team, sport, or athletic event designated as being for
females, women, or girls.

Under a new law, county assessors can now be shared by more than one county. People are now allowed to butcher their own meat and poultry without a license.

One of the new laws is a bit controversial. The Iowa Supreme Court has recently ruled that police cannot search a defendant’s trash for evidence while it’s on the defendant’s property without getting a warrant. The new law attempts to allow law enforcement agencies to search and seize garbage placed outside your home without a warrant.

Another new law makes it easier to share personnel or consolidate emergency response districts to make fire and emergency medical response more efficient.

The penalties for manufacturing, possessing, or delivering heroin are now the same as those for methamphetamine.

As of today, a person arrested on a sexual abuse charge can’t be released from custody until they appear before a magistrate judge.

A new law says K-12 public or charter schools may not perform health screenings on students without written permission from their parents or guardian.

All Iowa gas stations will have to sell E15 by 2026.

People who live in mobile homes now have to be given 90 days’ notice of rent increases instead of the previous 60 days.

A new law is also now in effect that makes it more difficult to steal and sell catalytic converters for scrap.

Another law strengthens the requirements for convicted sex offenders. Even if they’ve gone through the appropriate channels, they now have to wait longer to have their names taken off the registry.

There are several other new laws as well, plus one we’ve already told you about, making the use of ATVs and UTVs easier. Click here for that story.

For more information and the text of the new laws, click here.