Des Moines, Iowa — (RI) — Republican lawmakers are proposing an amendment to the Iowa Constitution, in response to Iowa court rulings that struck down abortion restrictions.

Republican Representative Steven Holt of Denison gave a loud Marine Corps “hoorah” on Tuesday when Governor Kim Reynolds mentioned it in her Condition of the State message.

A subcommittee in the Iowa Senate gave its approval Thursday to a proposed amendment that states Iowa’s Constitution does not “recognize, grant or secure a right to abortion.” Senator Jake Chapman, a Republican from Adel, says the amendment will over-rule the decisions of unelected judges.

If this year’s Republican-led legislature endorses the language, it must also be approved by the legislature sometime in the following two years. That means 2022 is the earliest Iowans could vote on the amendment. Chapman says there’s no way voters will not understand what’s being proposed.

Critics like Reverend David Sickelka of the United Church of Christ in Urbandale say the amendment would set a dangerous precedent.

Jamie Birch Elliott of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa also testified at Thursday’s statehouse hearing.

The proposal cleared the first hurdle in the legislative process. It will now be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

January 16, 2020 - 4:14 pm - Posted in News

Boyden, Iowa — A Hartley man was taken to the hospital after being struck by a semi at a feed mill in Boyden.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office says about 11:30 a.m on Wednesday, January 15th, 64-year-old Bruce Wehner of Jesup, Iowa, was backing a 2016 Freightliner pulling a tank trailer on the property of the Farmer’s Cooperative Society (FCS) feed mill, 903 Taft Street, in Boyden. As he was backing, the truck slid into a railing. Employees at the elevator pulled the Freightliner from the railing using a loader. As Wehner began driving forward again, an FCS employee, 26-year-old Jeremy Nagel of Hartley was walking next to the Freightliner when he slipped on some ice and his legs slid under one of the rear tires of the moving Freightliner.

The Boyden Ambulance took Nagel to Sanford Sheldon.

The railing sustained approximately $500 in damage. The Freightliner and trailer were not damaged.

The sheriff’s office says the Boyden Ambulance Squad, Boyden Fire Department, and the Sheldon Community Ambulance Team assisted them on the scene.

January 14, 2020 - 1:56 pm - Posted in News

Alton, Iowa — An Alta man was taken to a hospital after an accident on Highway 60 near Alton on Monday, January 13.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 11:25 a.m., 42-year-old Christopher Miller of O’Neill, Nebraska was driving a 2000 Peterbilt semi-tractor pulling a freight trailer northeast on Highway 60, two miles northeast of Alton. They say 28-year-old Juan Salazar of Alta was driving a 1999 Dodge Caravan northbound on Kingbird Avenue. Salazar failed to stop at a stop sign at Highway 60, entered the intersection and the vehicles collided.

The Alton Ambulance Squad took Salazar to Orange City Area Health. His injuries were described as “minor.”

The Peterbilt sustained about $6,000 in damage. The Dodge sustained about $3,000 in damage, according to the report.

Salazar was cited on charges of failure to obey a stop sign and operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license.

The sheriff’s office reports that the Alton Fire Department and Alton Ambulance Squad assisted them with the response to the accident.

Boyden, Iowa — A Sheldon woman and her passenger were taken to the hospital after an accident near Boyden on Monday, January 13.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that just before 4:00 p.m., 59-year-old Bonnie Boone of Sheldon was driving a 2004 Ford Ranger eastbound on Highway 18, near the intersection with Kingbird Avenue, a mile east of Boyden, when she lost control of the vehicle, which entered the south ditch, crossed Kingbird, struck a stop sign and rolled.

The Boyden Ambulance Squad took Boone and a passenger to Sanford Sheldon. Their injuries were described as “minor.”

According to the report, the Ford sustained about $10,000 in damage.

Boone was cited on a charge of failure to maintain control of a motor vehicle.

Hospers, Iowa — A Minnesota man was taken to a hospital after an accident near Hospers on Sunday.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 4:25 p.m. 65-year-old James Randall of Walnut Grove, MN was driving a 2013 Freightliner semi-truck southbound on Highway 60, a half-mile south of Hospers, when he lost control of the vehicle, which entered the west ditch and struck an embankment.

The Hospers Ambulance took Randall to Orange City Area Health. His injuries were described as “minor.”

The Freightliner sustained about $60,000 in damage.

Randall was cited on a charge of failure to maintain control of a motor vehicle.

Orange City, Iowa — The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office is trying to take a proactive approach to what could be minor school license violations.

According to Sioux County School Resource Officer, Deputy Waylon Pollema, several parents, educators, and other concerned persons have told him that that there are several students in Sioux County who are not abiding by the guidelines of what the law permits in regard to having a minor school license (also known as a school permit). Pollema explains.

Minor school licenses or “school permits” are for students that have had an instruction permit for at least six months, so they have to be at least 14 years of age, and normally they are for students who live at least a mile from the school.

He says reports of violations include driving off of their most direct and accessible route by going to a gas station or restaurant, driving to a friend’s house and driving to functions that are not school-related.

Pollema says he wrote a letter to parents to be proactive and so it could serve as an encouragement to have a conversation with children if they have a school permit about what is allowed, what is not allowed and what their route is. He says he would much rather educate students and parents on what is and what is not allowed than to write tickets for violations.

According to Pollema, you can get more information by clicking on this link. Iowa law on minor school driver’s license (permit)

Statewide Iowa — Making sure kids are growing up at a healthy weight from their very first days is a critical way to prevent obesity among adults. Most kids entering adolescence with obesity will still have obesity as an adult, so starting early is key. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) will be participating in a Learning Collaborative Partnership with the Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HPRC), along with other state and local health departments. All agencies will explore strategies to encourage healthy weight among children in their communities.

The project will include modeling two strategies related to helping children move more in school physical education classes and utilizing electronic decision support for pediatric medical providers to recognize and treat childhood obesity. As part of this project, IDPH will leverage existing policies and community-based efforts that help children be more active, eat well and grow up at healthy weight. IDPH partners in the project include the Iowa Department of Education, Iowa Medical Society, Iowa Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Blank Children’s Hospital, Iowa Heathiest State Initiative and United Way of Central Iowa.

The Learning Collaborative Partnership (LCP) began in 2015 as part of the Childhood Obesity Intervention Cost-Effectiveness Study (CHOICES) Project, one of the HPRC’s key projects. The CHOICES Project is working to help reverse the national obesity epidemic by identifying strategies to reduce childhood obesity that have strong evidence for effectiveness and offer the best value for the money invested.

Ames, Iowa — It’s been a difficult year for farmers, the planting season saw an overabundance of rain and delayed planting, the United States’ trade war with China persisted, skewing both commodity prices and demand, and farm bankruptcies rose to the highest level since 2011. However, favorable interest
rates, strong yields, and limited land supply combined to help drive Iowa’s farmland values up for only the second time in six years.

The statewide value of an acre of farmland is now estimated to be $7,432, which represents an increase of 2.3 percent, or $168, since 2018. The $7,432 per acre estimate, and 2.3 percent increase in value, represents a statewide average of low-, medium-, and high-quality farmland.

Once again this year northwest Iowa farmland is some of the most valuable in the state of Iowa. In fact, only one county reports land values higher than our four northwest Iowa counties of Lyon, Sioux, O’Brien and Osceola. Leading the way in Iowa is Scott County in far eastern Iowa, along the Mississippi River. Scott County’s average farmland value this year is $10,837 Second in the state is O’Brien County, with an average farmland value of $10,411 an acre, followed by Sioux County at $10,297, Lyon County at $9,451, and Osceola County at $9,119.

For more in-depth information on Iowa farmland values, CLICK HERE.

January 11, 2020 - 3:51 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — The changes continue for the state’s highest court.  Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Wiggins has announced that he will retire on March 13th.

The 68-year-old Wiggins has been the Acting Chief Justice since the death of Chief Justice Mark Cady in November. Wiggins is a Chicago native who got his law degree in 1976 at Drake University in Des Moines. He began practicing at a West Des Moines law firm after graduation, and also served as chairperson of the Judicial Qualifications Commission from 2000 until he was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2003.

The retirement of Wiggins will give Governor Kim Reynolds a chance to name a replacement. It will be the fourth justice she has appointed to the seven-member high court.

The Judicial Nominating Commission just sent three names to the governor to select a replacement for Justice Cady.

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — The five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer was raised this week from nine to ten-percent. While that still means a devastating nine out of ten people who are diagnosed with that form of cancer won’t beat it, the single-percentage uptick represents significant progress.

Pam Anderson is one of the rare Iowa survivors, who volunteers with the Des Moines affiliate of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

The survival rate for pancreatic cancer remains the lowest of all cancers, but reaching the ten-percent milestone is quite encouraging, according to Anderson, who says people in her circle are overjoyed.

Statistics find about 580 Iowans will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year and 430 of them will die from it. It’s the third-leading cause of cancer death in the United States and it’s expected to become the second-leading cause of cancer death this year. Knowing she’s among the very fortunate few, Anderson says being a pancreatic cancer survivor has granted her a new perspective.

The fast-moving disease is difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be vague and are often ignored until it’s too late. They include abdominal pain and back pain, changes in stool, yellowing skin, weight loss, appetite loss, and a feeling of being full after only eating a little food.

For more information visit

Image courtesy of Radio Iowa.