August 20, 2019 - 2:03 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — While there were again severe weather watches and warnings on Monday night into early Tuesday, there was not much damage in our part of northwest Iowa.

The action started at 11:55 p.m., when a Severe Thunderstorm Watch was posted for western and central Iowa, far southwest Minnesota, and far southeast South Dakota. It was to be in effect until 7:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. The watch said that the main threats would be scattered damaging winds with isolated significant gusts to 75 mph possible, as well as scattered large hail and isolated very large hail events to 2.5 inches in diameter.

The first severe thunderstorm warning issued by the Sioux Falls National Weather Service office was for a little north of our area, in Cottonwood County, Minnesota. That was triggered at 12:02 a.m. The possibility of half-dollar sized hail was mentioned.

Next, at 2:01 a.m., the action was in our area. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for northern Cherokee, southeastern Sioux, northeastern Plymouth, and southern O’Brien counties, which was to be in effect until 2:45 a.m. It said that just after 2 a.m., a severe thunderstorm was located near Marcus, or 12 miles southeast of Orange City, moving east at 25 miles per hour. It mentioned that the greatest threat was 60-mile-per-hour wind gusts and hail to the size of half dollars, with possible damage to vehicles, roofs, siding, and trees. In the path of the storm were Cleghorn, Paullina, Sutherland, Calumet, Meriden, and Larrabee.

The next severe thunderstorm warning was for south of our area in Woodbury and Ida counties. That was issued at 2:18 a.m., and similar threats were mentioned.

At 2:32 a.m., a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for portions of Cherokee, Woodbury, Plymouth, Buena Vista, and Ida counties. The same threats were mentioned once again.

As the storm system left the area, another severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Woodbury and Ida counties again. This was at 3:33 a.m.

Damage-wise, numerous tree branches were reported down in Battle Creek, some as big as three inches in diameter. Near Holstein, a 25-inch diameter tree was snapped off at the base. One-inch hail was reported near Superior in Dickinson County. A wind gust of 57 miles-per-hour was reported near Ida Grove.

Emergency managers in our part of northwest Iowa say that no damage was reported to them.

Sioux Center, Iowa — One person was airlifted to a Sioux Falls hospital after a two-vehicle accident south of Sioux Center Monday afternoon.

Sioux County authorities say the crash occurred shortly before 3:30 Monday afternoon at the intersection of Highway 75 and 420th Street, just south of Sioux Center. According to the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, 32-year-old Zachariah Kurtz, of Sioux City was northbound on Highway 75 in a 2019 Chevrolet Suburban, and had stopped for a vehicle ahead of him that was attempting a left turn onto 420th Street. Deputies say 17-year-old Caleb Sandbulte, of Sioux Center, was northbound behind Kurtz in a 2014 Ford F-150 pickup when he struck the rear of Kurtz’ Suburban.

According to Sioux County authorities, Sandbulte was transported by the Sioux Center Ambulance to Sioux Center Health, and later flown to Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls for further treatment of his injuries.

Deputies estimate damage to Kurtz’ Suburban to be about $13,000, with damage to Sandbulte’s pickup estimated at $16,000.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Sioux Center Fire Department, Sioux Center Ambulance and Sioux Center Police Department.

Sutherland, Iowa — Producers can gain valuable fertility management knowledge and learn more about soil testing at a conference coming up at the Iowa State University Extension Northwest Research Farm near Sutherland.

Extension field agronomist Joel De Jong tells us the cost of managing soil fertility in Iowa continues to change with increased fertilizer input costs and a rising demand for nutrients from higher-yielding crops.

De Jong tells us that it will be held this Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon.

He tells us you can register by calling the Plymouth County Extension Office at 712-546-7835. You can also call that number if you have any questions. He says a few seats are left, but he emphasizes that preregistration is needed this time due to the number of materials needed, and they’d like you to register by Wednesday.

The Northwest Research Farm is located about 10 miles north of Cherokee on Highway 59. The address is 6320 500th Street, Sutherland, Iowa.

August 19, 2019 - 3:57 pm - Posted in News

Hull, Iowa — A shed was damaged in a fire on Sunday, August 18, 2019 near Hull.

According to Hull Fire Chief Greg Van Roekel, about 7:55 a.m., the Hull and Rock Valley fire departments were called to the report of a shed on fire at 3108 Ironwood Avenue, three miles east of Division Street in Hull and almost a mile north.

The chief says it was a small fire and was easily extinguished after they found it.

Van Roekel says no injuries were reported.

He says the cause of the fire may have been lightning, but the cause is otherwise undetermined.

Chief Van Roekel reports that there was minimal damage.

He says the 15 to 20 firefighters were on scene for 15 to 20 minutes.

August 19, 2019 - 12:11 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Area parents, students and teachers are gearing up for back-to-school, with most area schools beginning the 2019-2020 school year later this week.

Teachers around the area are putting the final touches on their classrooms as they prepare for the return of students to class. This Friday, August 23rd, is the first day of school for most students in the KIWA listening area. Some of the schools are beginning with a short day that day.

Area schools starting the new school year include: Sheldon Community Schools; Central Lyon Community Schools; George-Little Tock; Sibley-Ocheyedan; Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn; South O’Brien; Moc-Floyd Valley; Sioux Center; Rock Valley, West Lyon; Western Christian; and Unity Christian.

The lone school district not starting classes until next week is Boyden-Hull. Their school calendar lists Tuesday, August 27th as the first day of school in the Boyden-Hull district.

With the kids headed back to school, motorists are urged to be extra alert, and watch out for children who may dart out from between cars. In their excitement to get back to school and their friends, kids aren’t always as careful as they should be.

Kids, as you head back to school please remember to watch for traffic, and remember to crosss the street only at crosswalks.

Together we can make this a safe and happy back to school season for everybody.

August 18, 2019 - 12:47 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Severe weather rumbled through northwest Iowa once again late Saturday and early Sunday.

It started with a severe thunderstorm watch, which was issued about 6:15 p.m. Saturday evening, and was to run until 12:15 a.m. The action stayed west of our area until about 10:40 p.m., when things started with a bang around here, with a tornado warning for northeastern Lyon and western Osceola counties, as well as south-central Nobles County in Minnesota until 11:15 p.m. The warning said there was a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado, and the National Weather Service had detected it over Rock Rapids at that time. They said it would affect George around 10:50 p.m., Little Rock around 10:55, Ashton around 11 p.m. and Sibley about 11:05.

That was followed shortly thereafter by a severe thunderstorm warning for portions of several counties: Lyon, Osceola, Dickinson, Sioux, Clay, and O’Brien counties in Iowa; Rock, Jackson, Nobles, Murray, and Cottonwood counties in Minnesota, and Lincoln County, South Dakota. It was to be in effect until 11:30 p.m., and was to affect George, Wilmont, and Lismore around 10:50 p.m.; Little Rock about 10:55; Ashton around 11. Sibley, Fulda, Boyden, and Matlock around 11:05; Sheldon, Hospers, Brewster, and Melvin around 11:10; Ocheyedan around 11:15; Sanborn, Heron Lake, Harris, and Archer around 11:20; and Lakefield, Lake Park, and Primghar about 11:25.

Just after 11 p.m., the weather service said that they received a report via social media of damage to a metal shed and many trees down in Sibley. The next report in our general area was of nickel-sized hail, three miles east-southeast of Harris, about 11:24 p.m. The very next minute, the Weather Service says a thunderstorm wind gust of 54 miles per hour was experienced three miles south-southeast of Lake Park.

A little bit later, two large tree branches were reported down in the community of Okoboji. That was about 11:40 p.m. They reportedly blocked Lakeshore Drive.

Also received with this storm were reports of heavy rain, with rates of around an inch per hour reported in some locations, and some wind gusts over 60 miles per hour.

Rainfall reports were spotty. We have three different reports from Sheldon. One was 64 hundredths, one was 85 hundredths, and one was over an inch.

Statewide Iowa — China is the world’s largest consumer of pork products, but experts estimate by the end of the year, African Swine Fever will cut pork output in China in half.

Mike Paustian of Walcott, the president-elect of the Iowa Pork Producers Association, says farmers here could step in and meet Chinese demand for pork — if the Trump Administration strikes a trade deal with China.

Paustian says pork producers are having a hard time planning for the future when they don’t know whether China’s market will reopen to pork.

Paustian says the U.S. is starting to fall behind in other countries that are important markets for pork. He cites Japan’s recent free trade pact with the European Union. Paustian says there are other countries in southeast Asia where more U.S. pork could be sold if trade deals are struck — and sales to those emerging markets could help soften the blow of pork exports that aren’t going to China.

KIWA Archive Photo

August 17, 2019 - 7:26 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is using some blunt language to describe the EPA’s decision last Friday to grant waivers to big oil companies, reducing the amount of ethanol that must be blended into gasoline.


Grassley says the waivers were intended for small refineries, but are now being granted to the likes of Exxon and Chevron.

Last year the EPA granted 38 ethanol waivers to oil companies and this year has granted 31, but Grassley says there’s “no victory” here for farmers.

Grassley says he’s lobbied President Trump and Ivanka Trump on the issue — and Trump heard from farmers when the president visited a western Iowa ethanol plant earlier this summer.

But Grassley says officials in Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency are blocking ethanol’s progress.

August 17, 2019 - 6:59 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — Iowa Workforce Development is reporting something it hasn’t had to report in a long time — the unemployment rated went up in July.

IWD Deputy director Ryan West says it was a small increase.

West says one side of the numbers slightly outweighed the other in figuring the rate for July.

The number of unemployed Iowans increased by 14-hundred to 42-thousand-800 — while the number of working Iowans increased by four-thousand. He says there are a lot of factors involved in seeing some people without a job while there are so many job openings in the state.

The business sector added jobs in July along with construction.

The financial activities sector saw a loss of 18-hundred jobs and has seen loses throughout this year. The workforce report says the information sector continues to adjust to changing technologies and is down 14-hundred jobs. West says it is hard to say if the unemployment level has bottomed out.

West says efforts continue to retrain people to fit them into the jobs that are available, as well as getting some workers back into the mix.

The US unemployment rate remained at three-point-seven percent in July.

KIWA Archive Photo

August 17, 2019 - 6:40 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa – Republican Senator Joni Ernst says there’s a strong, negative reaction to the Reuters report indicating President Trump directed the EPA to grant oil companies waivers reducing the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline.

The EPA last week granted 31 so-called “hardship” waivers that exempt a refiner from blending ethanol into gasoline. The ethanol industry says the waivers are a back-door way for big oil to avoid the federal ethanol mandate — and experts say this year’s waivers already have reduced ethanol consumption by at least 10 percent. Ernst says former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who’s now the U.S. Ambassador to China, hopes to bring up the issue during a meeting with President Trump.

The President traveled to Iowa in June to announce EPA rules had been changed to allow year-round sale of gasoline with a higher, 15 percent blend of ethanol. And he has repeatedly talked about how loyal voters farmers are to him. Senator Ernst suggests these ethanol waivers are endangering that.