Sioux Center, Iowa — Thanks to a recent grant, lifesaving breast cancer screenings are available to northwest Iowa women who do not have the insurance or the money to pay for them.

Due to a grant of over $17,000 from the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Siouxland Affiliate, Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center can provide free screenings and line up free mammograms for area women.

Read The Full Story…

Orange City, Iowa — A defense attorney has asked for more time before a pretrial conference for one of two Hawarden people facing felony charges of child endangerment.

According to Sioux County Jail records, 35-year-old Matthew Spaans and 33-year-old Nina Spaans face several charges. Nina Spaans faces one count of Abandonment or Neglect of a Dependent Person, a class C felony; and three counts of Child Endangerment Causing Bodily Injury, a class D felony. Read The Full Story…

May 1, 2017 - 12:57 am - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — Orange City will swell from around six-thousand residents to perhaps 26-thousand as the northwest Iowa town hosts the start of the statewide bicycle ride, RAGBRAI, in July. Mike Hofman, executive director of the Orange City Chamber of Commerce, says he’s working feverishly to line up overnight accommodations for the massive influx of pedalers from around the planet.

The annual cycling event will need to have hundreds of volunteers and Hofman’s urging all locals to step up.

The 45th annual ride runs July 23-29. Other overnight towns include: Spencer, Algona, Clear Lake, Charles City, Cresco, Waukon and Lansing.

April 27, 2017 - 1:30 pm - Posted in News

hay bale and tractor with balerOrange City, Iowa — A northwest Iowa extension expert is telling farmers about a way to determine the feed value of alfalfa.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Dairy Specialist Fred Hall says there’s a pretty good way to determine the “butter zone” between harvesting too early and missing some yield; and harvesting too late and missing some feed value.

Hall says it’s called ” Predictive Equations of Alfalfa Quality or “PEAQ,” and it provides an estimate of the quality, measured as Relative Feed Value, for the first cutting alfalfa standing in the field.

Hall says the relative feed value of alfalfa can be estimated by factoring in the height of the plant and its maturity. He says relative feed values start high (around 240), but get lower as the plant ages. However, the yield or volume starts low and increases as the plant ages. So it’s when these two factors are balanced that the time is right to cut alfalfa — weather permitting, of course.

He says by the time you allow for some losses, you end up with alfalfa in the 150 range for relative feed value.

Click here for a chart that helps you estimate that relative feed value.

Hall will be monitoring alfalfa fields during late April and May in Sioux and Plymouth counties and the information will be posted on the ISU Extension and Outreach Dairy Team website, and will be added to the Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlook blog at

He says for more information you can call him at 712-737-4230.

April 27, 2017 - 12:11 pm - Posted in News

ISPshieldMaurice, Iowa — Two vehicles were heavily damaged after colliding at the intersection of B-58 and Highway 75 in Maurice on Wednesday, April 26th.

The Iowa State Patrol reports that at 3:15 pm on Wednesday, 18-year-old Dylan Opheim of Maurice was driving a 2005 Ford Focus eastbound on B-58, approaching the intersection on Highway 75 and B-58. Fifty-year-old Loun Phomphakdy of Sioux Center was driving a 2011 Nissan Pathfinder southbound on Highway 75. According to the report, Opheim failed to yield the right of way from the B-58 stop sign and entered roadway in front of Phomphakdy. The Nissan swerved left to avoid a crash but still collided with the Ford in the intersection.

The Ford received $10,000 damage. The Nissan received $12,000 damage.

No injuries were reported.

April 27, 2017 - 7:44 am - Posted in News

LIHEAPPrimghar, Iowa — The deadline to apply for winter heating assistance for northwest Iowa residents through the 2016-17 Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP is this Friday, April 28th.

LIHEAP was established to help qualifying low-income Iowa homeowners and renters pay a portion of their primary heating costs for the winter heating season.  Val Moermond of Upper Des Moines Opportunity in Primghar says the program is based on income.

Moermond says applications will only be accepted until Friday, April 28, 2017.  The deadline is actually the end of April, but since the 30th falls on a Sunday, the deadline is effectively Friday.

She tells us you need to have certain documents with you when you apply for LIHEAP assistance.

She says the program is not designed to pay your household’s total energy costs, but will provide supplemental assistance based upon several factors, including household income, household size, dwelling type, and type of heating fuel, among others.

Moermond says if you live in O’Brien County and want more information, or wish to apply, contact her office in Primghar.

In case you missed it the Primghar phone number is 712-957-1023. Upper Des Moines Opportunity also serves Buena Vista, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Hamilton, Humboldt, Osceola, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, Webster, and Wright counties. Their Sibley number is (712) 754-2573.

Other parts of our coverage area are served by Mid Sioux Opportunity. They serve Cherokee, Ida, Lyon, Plymouth, and Sioux Counties. Their Sioux Center number is (712) 722-3611. They also have an office in Rock Rapids, but it’s only staffed on Wednesdays.

April 26, 2017 - 10:58 am - Posted in News

National Weather Service NWS logoNorthwest Iowa — The calendar says spring, but winter may not quite be done with us yet here in northwest Iowa.  The National Weather Service Forecast Center in Sioux Falls says there is a chance of frost Wednesday night into Thursday morning, and again Thursday night into Friday morning.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Todd Heitkamp says that’s because of the cooler temperatures following our recent rains.

In addition to the frost in the short-term forecast, Heitkamp says there’s also a chance of snow from Saturday night through Sunday night.

He says that snow this time of year is not unheard of here in northwest Iowa.

We have seen snowfall accumulations as late as May here in our area.  In fact, just 4 years ago, there was a major storm that dropped between 3 and 5 inches of snow on May 1st throught 3rd, 2013.

OC RAGBRAI Dutch Till DawnOrange City, Iowa — Over 200 people were introduced to Orange City’s theme as the starting overnight host town for RAGBRAI® XLV during a Town Hall Event on Monday, April 24.

Orange City’s RAGBRAI publicity committee chairperson Jenon Scallon says the theme, “Dutch ‘til Dawn” reflects the community’s Dutch heritage and hospitality – and the city’s architectural style – which has made Orange City a popular tourist destination for its annual spring Tulip Festival. She tells us a local student came up with the theme.

She says another big “reveal” during the town hall event was the entertainment scheduled for the main stage in Windmill Park on July 22.

The Orange City RAGBRAI hospitality committee is also inviting residents to decorate for RAGBRAI with bicycles and white Christmas Lights. The Christmas light idea will also be a contest and is being called “Light It Up Orange City.”

…more information from Orange City’s RAGBRAI Committee:
They say that community members can create a truly inviting and memorable atmosphere for riders and visitors. Residents are encouraged to decorate their property with a variety of old bikes and accessories that will be collected by the committee, and businesses are invited to adorn their storefronts and windows for the occasion. A “Light It Up Orange City” initiative is designed to spark community-wide beautification for the week RAGBRAI is in town. Residents are asked to hang white lights on their homes and in their yards. The goal is to provide soft ambient lighting in the neighborhoods as guests walk and bike throughout the community – from the downtown area featuring entertainment, vendors, and a beverage garden … to the campgrounds and other housing facilities. A local “celebrity judge” will choose winning “Light It Up” homes and businesses, whose residents and employees will be invited to a special block party and a free meal.

Also shared at the Town Hall Event was information about a children’s art contest, housing and volunteer opportunities, and the sale of Orange City RAGBRAI logoed T-shirts. The winners of T-shirts and a child’s bike were announced, and attendees were able to visit with committee members at specific break-out booths.

The 2017 RAGBRAI is July 23-29.

April 24, 2017 - 11:36 am - Posted in News

Le Mars Fire DepartmentLe Mars, Iowa — Four Sioux County fire departments and two from Plymouth County battled a house fire on Sunday afternoon, April 23rd.

The fire was at 23804 Plymouth County Road C16, about eight miles south and two miles west of Ireton. The Ireton Fire Department was paged first, about 5:45 p.m. and arrived on scene first, but Ireton Fire Chief Richard Steckelberg reports that it was actually in the Le Mars Fire Department district.

Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says the Le Mars Fire Department saw heavy fire on the south side of the two-story home, with fire through the roof of a one-story addition as they approached the scene.

Schipper says no injuries were reported. He says the man was able to escape the home and his wife had been outside mowing the lawn. He says they tried to extinguish the fire but were unsuccessful, so they called 911.

The fire department was assisted by the Ireton, Hawarden, Maurice, Sioux Center, and Akron Fire Departments. He says about 40 firefighters responded.

Schipper says initially they were concerned about a house across the road, but no other buildings were burned as a result of the fire.

He says the cause of the fire appeared to be embers from a burning pile that flew with the wind toward the house and into some straw bales that had been placed around the house for insulation.

Chief Schipper says the house was totaled and estimates that there was $250,000 damage to the house and its contents.

The couple that had been living in the home were assisted by the American Red Cross with some food and clothing vouchers. Schipper says, fortunately, the couple does have a place to stay in Le Mars, and there will be some salvageable items.

He says they used 15,000-20,000 gallons of water to fight the fire, and crews were on scene a little over three hours. He says they have been doing spot checks to make sure the fire is out, and on one of their checks at 7 a.m. Monday morning they did put out a little fire.

The chief says the 30-35 mile per hour winds and the remote location of the home made the fire more difficult to fight.

April 24, 2017 - 9:29 am - Posted in News

Feenstra 2017aHull, Iowa — With the 2017 legislative session ending over the weekend, one northwest Iowa Republican senator is already working on tax reform for the 2018 session.

Senator Randy Feenstra of Hull says has been using computer models for the past few months to experiment with changes in the tax code.

Iowa’s top tax rate for individual taxpayers is nearly nine percent. But it’s NOT nine percent when compared to how taxes are calculated in other states. That’s because Iowans get to deduct their federal income taxes from their income, before calculating how much they owe the State of Iowa. For the first time in decades – at the urging of key business groups – Republicans are seriously talking about getting rid of that deduction. Senator Feenstra warns, though, that the deduction has to be phased out.

Feenstra is chairman of the Senate committee that drafts state tax policy. He says delaying the debate about income taxes changes means legislators will find out what changes may be made at the federal level — because those changes may force adjustments in a state-level tax plan.

Democrats point to the experience in Kansas, where Republicans enacted major tax cuts five years ago — and made 330-thousand small businesses exempt from taxes. It has created huge state budget deficits and Kansas lawmakers are struggling to figure out how to fix things. Feenstra says Republicans in Iowa do not intend to follow the Kansas playbook when it comes to tax policy.

Feenstra says Republicans in the Iowa legislature have another seven months to run ideas through computer models and come up with something that could simplify and reduce income taxes, but not blow a hole in the state budget.