October 22, 2019 - 3:24 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Farmers saw one of the driest weeks so far in the harvest season and they were able to get a lot done.

The USDA crop report says there were five days suitable for fieldwork last week.

Brad Medlock from the USDA tells us that harvest and other activities kept farmers busy.

He says we’ve had enough rain for a while.

Medlock tells us that while the growing season has ended in northern Iowa, some fields have not yet reached maturity.

The corn harvest more than doubled with 15 percent of the corn now out of the fields — compared to seven percent last week. That is still 11 days behind the average harvest.

The biggest gain came in the soybean harvest — which went from 17 percent to 48 percent harvested in the last week. That is now four days ahead of last year and five days behind average — a statistic he says is somewhat significant, compared to last year.

The corn condition is rated 66 percent good to excellent — with the soybeans rated at 65 percent good to excellent.

According to Medlock, news in the “other” category was mixed.

Here in the Northwest Iowa Reporting District, the crop report says 82 percent of corn made it to the “mature” stage. It says only 19 percent of northwest Iowa corn has been harvested. Nearly 100 percent of alfalfa hay has been cut for the third time. It says 96 percent of soybeans are dropping leaves, and 60 percent of the soybeans in our district have been harvested.

October 22, 2019 - 2:31 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — This Saturday, October 26th, is the second of two annual National Drug Take Back Days. And there are several places in northwest Iowa where you can take your unwanted medications.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach experts tell us that most people who misuse prescription drugs get them from family, friends, and acquaintances.

Sue Boettcher, Human Sciences Program Coordinator with ISU Extension and Outreach says that you can make a difference by keeping track of the medicine you have, by rethinking where and how you keep your medications in your home, and by safely disposing of any unused medication.

Extension experts also remind you not to share medications. They say keep track of your legally-prescribed controlled substances –- that is, count your pills so you always know how much you should have and so you know when to take action if any go missing. They tell us that with controlled substances, sharing is NOT caring. You could be putting your loved ones at risk, and unintentionally contribute to drug misuse, drug addiction, or a fatal drug overdose.

The experts also say you should limit access to medication. Everyone knows to keep medicine “out of the reach of children” but once your children become teens, there’s a good chance they can “reach” all medicines in your home and they know exactly where you keep what. They tell us that many people keep their medicine in easy to reach, easy to access cupboards, medicine cabinets, drawers, etc., so they advise you to put your medicine somewhere that only you can easily find and access. Lock it up if you can. According to Extension experts, this will keep your medicine from unintentionally ending up in the wrong hands and just may save someone’s life.

There are several locations in northwest Iowa where you can take back your unwanted drugs to get them away from anyone who might misuse them. The actual hours for the Drug Takeback Day on Saturday are from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., but several of the locations where you can get rid of your unwanted drugs are open year-round, some of them 24/7, and others during the business’s hours. Many law enforcement offices, pharmacies, and medical clinics have drop off boxes. There is a collection site locator at takebackday.dea.gov, but not all locations are listed. We at KIWA advise you to check the locator, but if a local site is not found, try calling one of the types of locations listed near you to see if they have a drop-off site.

Northwest Iowa — The Iowa Insurance Division is taking action against the owner of funeral homes in Emmetsburg and Graettinger in connection with pre-paid services and how they are handled.

Insurance Division spokesman, Chance McElhaney says if you are considering pre-paying for your funeral, you can check out the provider before signing any agreements.

He says they can tell you if the company you are working with has the proper paperwork.

You can call toll free within Iowa at: 877-955-1212. Or visit iid.iowa.gov

Orange City, Iowa — City of Orange City officials decided to attend and monitor one of the venues of the OC Pride LGBTQ+ festival this past weekend.

In a press release, Orange City officials say that they were concerned about the content of the headline show based on last year’s show, because it appeared that minors were going to be present. The City monitored the show for exposure of sexually suggestive material to minors which would have been in violation of state law.

In a YouTube video of the event, OC Pride organizers can be seen attempting to verify the policy with Orange City Economic Development Director Mark Gaul, who basically tells them that if minors are allowed to be present, performers need to follow certain stipulations.

In their own press release, OC Pride says that two days before the event, David Klennert, on behalf of OC Pride, received a letter from the City of Orange City asking for written assurances that the facility’s conduct policy would be followed and added five additional stipulations, including that minors could not be present.

The OC Pride release says that their organization thinks certain points in both the policy and the letter may infringe on freedom of expression rights guaranteed under the First Amendment.

OC Pride consulted with an attorney and requested an emergency injunction, which was denied by a judge.

OC Pride goes on to say that “the show proceeded as planned and no person performing or attending was found to be in violation.” OC Pride maintains that no aspect of the scheduled performance was obscene or unlawful.

In the press release from the City of Orange City, they state,

“To be clear – the City of Orange City maintains the rights of all citizens to express themselves lawfully as protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Supporters and participants of OC Pride may gather to express their viewpoint. All lawful expressions are allowed and upheld by the City. However, this right is not absolute. Expressions which [sic] involve exposure of sexually suggestive material to minors in violation of State law will not be tolerated. The City of Orange City in no way elevates the rights of one group over another. This Conduct Policy will be enforced equally to all patrons of the Prairie Winds Event Center or other City-owned facilities, regardless of that group’s beliefs.”

October 21, 2019 - 4:11 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Absentee voting has been on the rise in Iowa. Many political campaigns have been suggesting early voting, saying “life is uncertain.” They want to make sure you have the opportunity to vote, no matter what happens in your life on election day.

While absentee ballots were slow to come from the printer in northwest Iowa this year — if you have not requested an absentee ballot yet and you intend to, you have less than a week to do that and still vote by mail. Absentee ballot requests need to be received before the end of this week in order for there to be enough time for it to get to you and for you to send it back in time.

Absentee ballots need to be requested on a special form, available here.

Officials tell us you can also vote in-person at the Auditor’s office. But election officials say that at no time can you fill out a request form, drop it off, and expect to take a ballot out of the Auditor’s office that day — for yourself or anyone else. The two options are voting right there and then, or having the ballot mailed to your address. No ballots leave the Auditor’s office except by mail. So if you’re going to drop off the form, you should know how you’re going to vote when you go, or expect at least a few days’ delay for the ballot to come in the mail. You may drop off filled-out and signed ballot request forms for others, but the ballots will have to be mailed to the voters.

You can return your voted absentee ballot by mail. Absentee ballots received in the county auditor’s office by the time the polls close on election day are eligible for counting. Absentee ballots received after the polls close on election day must be postmarked by the Monday before election day or earlier and received in the county auditor’s office no later than noon on the Monday following the election.

The general election will be Tuesday, November 5th, 2019. The opening and deadline dates are all statewide, as they are spelled out in Iowa Code.

October 21, 2019 - 4:09 pm - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — The health departments in Sioux and Lyon counties — Health Services of Lyon County and Community Health Partners — will host a free presentation on the dangers of vaping and what to look for. The presentation will be in Rock Rapids this Wednesday, October 23rd.

Lyon County Health Nurse Melissa Stillson says it’s surprising the number of students who have tried vaping.

She says unlike cigarettes, vaping materials are easy to hide, and it’s becoming worse.

Stillson tells us that there is more risk because kids are unaware of what vaping can do.

And with all the flavors of vape, it makes it even more enticing she says.

According to Stillson, the manufacturers of vaping products originally thought they were doing a good thing by producing a way for smokers to get their nicotine fix without smoking cigarettes.

She says it kind of backfired, for lack of a better term.

Stillson says there will be similar presentations as to the dangers of vaping at George-Little Rock and Central Lyon Schools on Wednesday. But she believes kids and parents need to talk about it at home too.

Stillson encourages you to take your kids to the presentation as well, even if they already heard about it in school.

The event is on October 23, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. in the Forster Community Center in Rock Rapids.

October 21, 2019 - 11:37 am - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — A University of Iowa professor who’s done extensive research on farmer suicide is applauding proposed new legislation in Congress to address the worsening issue.

Corinne Peek-Asa, a UI professor of occupational and environmental health, says she and her team studied a wealth of federal data and found suicide rates were 45-percent higher for people in rural areas, and farmers stood out as having even higher rates compared to the general population.

Unlike someone who works in a bank, Peek-Asa says a farmer’s work is much more closely tied to their lives, making it harder to put stress away or to keep one’s work and personal lives separate.

One of the biggest challenges in suicide prevention, she says, is the stigma of talking about the topic, worries about seeking mental health care in general, and the availability of such care in rural areas.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is one of the two primary co-sponsors of the bill, called of the Seeding Rural Resilience Act. A news release from Grassley’s office says the legislation aims to curb the rising rate of farmer suicides through a stress management training program.

October 21, 2019 - 11:13 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — This is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and Iowa State Patrol Trooper Nick Erdmann urges parents to sit down and talk with their teens and talk to them about some of the things they can do to stay safe on the road.

Erdmann says one of the most prevalent things he sees on the road is people, especially teens, driving distracted.

Trooper Erdmann says another topic of discussion should be seatbelt use.

Erdmann says that not only will wearing your seatbelt help protect you in a crash, your seatbelt can also help your passengers.

Erdmann also says excessive speed is still a factor in a majority of crashes. He says impaired driving is still claiming lives on the road, and should be discussed with your teen driver.

Trooper Erdmann says having a serious conversation with your teen driver is very important.

One more thing parents can do to help their kids develop good habits behind the wheel is to exhibit good driving habits yourself, and be a good role model for your kids.

Northwest Iowa — With only a short time remaining to secure health insurance for the upcoming year, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and Outreach is offering free workshops to help individuals understand how to make smart choices when purchasing health care coverage.

Two workshops will be in our area. One of them is from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on November 14th at the ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County office in Orange City. The other is at the same time, but on November 19th at the Sibley Public Library.

Extension experts tell us that Smart Choice Health Insurance is a health insurance literacy curriculum that provides research-based education to help consumers understand health insurance concepts and terms, evaluate their own health insurance needs, examine insurance plans and select a plan that fits their needs and budget.

Jan Monahan, Human Sciences Specialist in Family Finance with ISU Extension and Outreach says that as individuals and families consider essential benefits, additional coverage and pre-existing conditions, they may feel overwhelmed by the choices. She says that is true at any stage of life, whether the individual is turning 26 and leaving their family’s health insurance plan or if he or she has had their own health insurance policy for years.

Through the Smart Choice Health Insurance workshop, attendees will:

Understand the importance of networks and finding out which health providers participate in various plans;
Find out whether financial assistance is available to reduce the cost of health insurance;
Use a guide to identify their own health insurance needs and priorities;
Be able to compare different plans available through the Health Insurance Marketplace; and
Prepare to purchase health insurance coverage.

Monahan tells us the workshop will help people choose the coverage that best fits their or their family’s budget and health care needs, and help them use that plan efficiently once enrolled.

For more information about the Smart Choice Health Insurance workshop, contact the ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County office at 712-737-4230 or xsioux@iastate.edu. The program is free and open to the public, with no pre-registration needed.

October 19, 2019 - 10:17 pm - Posted in News

Ames, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Transportation is making the transition into its winter operation phase. Winter operations director and former northwest Iowan, Craig Bargfrede, says they will gradually refit equipment from construction maintenance work to be ready for winter.

The DOT has 101 maintenance garages across the state that house 902 trucks, 42 motor graders, 27 tow plows, and 11 heavy-duty, self-propelled snowblowers.

The department buys salt during the spring and summer when prices are lower to have it ready for winter use.

While you might buy a one-pound bag of salt for your driveway — the D-O-T buys truckloads.

They spread salt and sand and also use 28 million gallons of salt brine to treat the roads during the winter. The department has more than one-thousand fulltime employees — and Bargfrede says they are also searching for some more people to work this winter.

He says many of the added winter workers come from other occupations that are seasonal.

Bargfrede encourages anyone who is interested to check out their winter work opportunities.

Bargfrede says he gets asked all the time when he expects the first snow — and says he doesn’t have a crystal ball to predict that — he just wants his crews ready when it hits.