June 13, 2019 - 4:11 pm - Posted in News

Sioux Center, Iowa — Over 70 firefighters and EMS responders from Sioux County are now better- trained, thanks to EMS Day.

Sioux County Emergency Management officials tell us they presented the annual training opportunity, which included 16 hours of training. The two-day event, held at the Dordt University Ag Stewardship Center, taught skills to Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s), paramedics and fire personnel that presented scenarios that challenged them to work together.

Officials tell us the scenarios and situations included assessing and working on vehicles with extrication tools and safely removing occupants while patient care was being provided in difficult situations. Thanks to a donation from Perdue Premium Meat Company of Sioux Center, students also had the opportunity to work with pig tracheas and lungs; this simulated how airway management and different treatments could impact patients in real-life situations.

Sioux County EMA Director Nate Huizenga says that the day would not have been successful without generous donations from community partners. He thanked Dordt University, Perdue Premium Meat Company and Alex Air Apparatus for their generosity in collaborating with Sioux County EMA to benefit public safety in Sioux County. Huizenga also thanked the training team that developed the courses and instructed over the two days.

Northwest Iowa — An Iowa farmer invited to speak when President Trump visited an ethanol plant in the state this week used the moment to make a plea on behalf of “corn country.”

Kevin Ross said, “Mr. President, you delivered on E15, but we have more work to do.” He told the President that EPA’s oil refinery waivers threaten to undo what the President did. Ross asked Trump to listen again because “the pain that the ethanol and biodiesel industries have endured is holding back a farm economy that has further capacity to produce clean air and clean liquid fuels for this country.”

Trump complimented Ross for his speech but did not directly address the EPA waivers that let big oil companies avoid adding ethanol to gasoline. Trump told the crowd the deal recently struck on immigration with Mexico includes a pledge to buy more U.S. ag commodities.

Trump said, “Mexico’s going to be doing a lot of buying, a lot of buying. Within a year and a half, I would say, you’ll be in the best position that you’ve been in in 15 years as farmers and you deserve it.”

Trump signed an executive order at the event in Council Bluffs. It directs federal agencies to streamline regulations that deal with agricultural biotechnology.

June 13, 2019 - 3:52 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — One of our Senators from Iowa is proposing a change to our change — our currency.

Many people online have advocated the elimination of the penny for many reasons, not least of which is because it costs more to make them than they are even worth. Some push the fact that it costs more in time to deal with them than they are worth. Plus, they are so worthless that some people even throw them away rather than dealing with them.

Senator Joni Ernst isn’t suggesting that we get rid of the penny, but she is suggesting some common sense reform. Or perhaps that’s common “cents” reform.

Ernst says it would save over $150 million of taxpayer money if the U.S. Mint were allowed to modify the composition of certain coins.

According to Ernst, it costs taxpayers seven cents to make one nickel. She says Congress can fix this, and they need to. Ernst says that’s why she’s put forward a bill that will allow the Mint the flexibility to use cheaper materials to produce certain coins, without changing the size or functionality of them.

Called the “Currency Evolution Now To Save” or “CENTS” Act, it would give the Treasury Department, specifically the U.S. Mint, the authority to change the composition of the nickel, dime, quarter, and half dollar coins if these changes save taxpayer dollars and do not impact the coins’ size or functionality. These changes would happen under the conditions that (1) the changes reduce the overall cost of minting the coin and (2) the changes do not affect the diameter, weight, and functionality of the coin. She says this could save more than $150 million over 10 years.

In their Fiscal Year 2019 budget justification, the U.S. Mint requested that Congress give it the authority to change the composition of coins in order to save taxpayer money. In addition, a March 2019 watchdog report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office recommended Congress consider providing the U.S. Mint with that authority.

Northwest Iowa — The USDA says more than 90 percent of the Iowa corn crop is now in the ground as farmers had nearly a full week of good planting conditions. The percentage planted went from 80 to 93 in the last week — but that is still more than two weeks behind last year and almost three weeks behind the five-year average. Farmers who have planted or are planting late have had crop insurance and federal program issues to deal with.

The latest crop report said this was the first time this season farmers had more than 5 days suitable for fieldwork in a week.

Soybean planting also has been going well — moving from 41 percent planted to 70 percent. Soybean planting is 17 days behind last year and the five-year average.

Seventy-three percent of the crop has emerged statewide, which is more than two weeks behind last year. The corn condition rated 58 percent good to excellent. Thirty-five percent of the soybeans have emerged — which is two weeks behind last year.

Here in the northwest district, the latest crop report said that corn was 95 percent planted and 70 percent emerged. Soybeans were 70 percent in the ground, with 26 percent emerged.

Holland, Michigan — The governing body that makes decisions for many churches in northwest Iowa has wrapped up their annual meeting at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. And that denomination may look different in the future.

The Reformed Church in America’s — or RCA’s — General Synod is one step closer to making a decision about what to do about the continued division in the church. At last year’s General Synod meeting, a team was formed to prayerfully explore different scenarios for the future of the RCA.

Church officials tell us that after a year of prayer, research, and developing emotional maturity, the team, called the “Vision 2020 Team,” brought three scenarios to the General Synod for delegates’ consideration and feedback: staying together, radical reorganization, and grace-filled separation. Throughout the process, the team has emphasized that at least as important as what the RCA decides is how the denomination decides it.

One of the consultants who have been working with the team, Trisha Taylor explained the idea of being “defined and connected” as holding your convictions tightly in one fist while reaching out with your other hand to shake someone’s hand. She encouraged synod delegates to act with a similar spirit as they engaged the scenarios and their fellow delegates.

The team will continue to gather feedback and prepare a final proposal for General Synod 2020. The scenarios the team proposed are starting points for discussion; they may shift over the coming year. In order to collect feedback, the team is inviting RCA churches to facilitate discussion groups like the ones that took place at Synod.

In a lengthy evening discussion and vote, delegates approved a change to the Book of Church Order that would require approval from a simple majority of classes—rather than the current two-thirds majority required—for proposals related to the work of the Vision 2020 Team. Officials tell us that since this is a Book of Church Order change, it requires approval from two-thirds of classes and ratification at next year’s synod before taking effect.

Also, beginning in January 2021, churches will begin contributing a percentage of their income to support denominational ministries and operations, rather than a per-member assessment.

Click here for a summary of decisions made at the meeting.

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds visited northwest Iowa on Wednesday.

She started the trip in Le Mars, where she attended the Grand Reopening and Expansion Celebration for the Wells Dairy Ice Cream Parlor & Visitor Center. After that, she signed a proclamation that June is Dairy Month in Iowa at a Dairy Open House event at J&S Dairy near Maurice. The governor gives us her impressions of the dairy operation.

Governor Reynolds was also impressed by the new hospital and clinic in Rock Rapids.

After the tour of the new Merrill Pioneer Hospital-Avera, Reynolds visited with officials from the Avera Health System, the Merrill Pioneer Hospital Board, and the Forster Trust, who all helped to make the facility possible. Reynolds shared that one of her priorities is rural broadband, which helps to make facilities like the new hospital and clinic more viable through telemedicine. They also briefly discussed physician recruitment and priorities for the future of Rock Rapids.

Photo caption: Governor Reynolds (left) speaks with Dr. David Springer and Hospital Administrator Craig Hohn

June 12, 2019 - 3:09 pm - Posted in News

The Iowa Girls Coaches Association All State Teams are out for 1A, 2A, and 3A.

Earning All State 1st team accolades in Class 1A was Unity Christian’s Jori Bronner.

Named to the 2A All State 2nd team was Mia Fank of Spencer.

For Complete Teams CLICK HERE

Rock Valley, Iowa — The final stages of construction continue on the $2 million event center and city offices in Rock Valley.

The building that is being transformed into the event center and the city offices started life as one of the many northwest Iowa factories for K-Products — a company that made seed corn caps and other promotional merchandise in several northwest Iowa towns. Most recently the building had been used by Hope Haven, Incorporated of Rock Valley.

Rock Valley Community Activities Director Adam Rosman gives us an update.

He says they hope to be in the facility sometime in July and be able to show it off during Rally in the Valley in early August.

Rock Valley Economic Development Director David Miller says they are in the final stages of hiring an events center manager. He says they hope to have that news in about a month.

Rock Valley City Administrator Tom Van Maanen tells us some of the funding for the events center portion of the building came from a Community Attractions and Tourisim, or “CAT” Grant from the state. Other funding came from individuals and a revenue bond. He says some revenue from the one percent sales tax will retire that debt.

June 12, 2019 - 10:47 am - Posted in News

Hull, Iowa — Iowa State Senator Randy Feenstra of Hull has announced that he will step down as chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

In his announcement, Feenstra noted that since regaining the majority in 2016, the Ways and Means Committee has produced significant pro-growth, pro-taxpayer reforms under his leadership. He says from income tax reform to property tax reform, this committee has protected the taxpayer, rewarded work, and encouraged investment. Additionally, Feenstra says, he worked productively with the House, Senate, and Governor Reynolds to see policy ideas become results for Iowa.

Feenstra noted the income tax reform bill in 2018 was the largest income tax cut in Iowa history. It also significantly reduced the complexity of the tax code, providing simplicity and certainty for Iowa job creators. Feenstra says he has spoken with Senator Whitver about his desire to be engaged on tax reform efforts in 2020 and Feenstra says Whitver has assured him he’ll retain a key policy role as the Republican caucus continues to implement pro-growth tax reforms.

Senator Feenstra is stepping down in order to allocate more time to his run for Iowa Congressional District 4, the seat currently occupied by Republican Representative Steve King.

June 11, 2019 - 11:03 am - Posted in News

Sioux County, Iowa — Sioux County authorities are looking for the public’s help in their investigation of a theft that took place in Hull.

According to the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office sometime between Wednesday, June 5th and Saturday, June 8th, someone entered an unoccupied vehicle in Hull and made off with a .45-caliber Ruger 1911-style handgun along with a Yeti Model 125 cooler. Authorities say the combined value of the two stolen items is approximately $12-hundred.

Deputies are asking anyone with information about this crime to contact the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office at 712-737-2280.