October 19, 2019 - 9:52 pm - Posted in News

Boyden, Iowa — A Boyden man has been found dead in his house after a fire there on Friday.

According to the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, on Friday, October 18, at about 11:05 a.m., they investigated a request from a concerned party to check on the welfare of 39-year-old Daniel Kaufman at his home at 809 Sheridan Street in Boyden.

They tell us that when sheriff’s deputies arrived at the residence a short time later they observed heavy smoke inside the home. They attempted to enter the residence but were unable to because of the heavy smoke. Fire Departments from Boyden and Sheldon were called. They extinguished the fire and located Kaufman inside the home. He was later pronounced deceased by the Sioux County Medical Examiner. The Sheriff’s Office tells us they initiated an investigation with the assistance of the Sioux County Medical Examiner and the Iowa State Fire Marshal.

Kaufman’s body was transported to the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation Laboratory in Ankeny for an autopsy. At this time the cause of death has not been positively determined.

The sheriff’s office says the Boyden Fire Department, Sheldon Fire Department, Sheldon Community Ambulance Team, and the Iowa State Fire Marshall’s Office assisted with the response to the call.

They say the case remains under investigation.

File photo

October 18, 2019 - 3:13 pm - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — The “Pride Orange City” event, also known as “OC Pride” is back for a third year in Orange City.

The theme of the LGBTQ+ event this year is “You Can’t Burn Pride,” which is a nod to the book-burning controversy surrounding last year’s event. Organizers of the event say there are plenty of activities planned.

They start Friday night at 7:00 p.m. with a story event called “Nevertheless We Persisted” at the Prairie Winds Event Center, where people can share their stories. After that, there will be an after-party at Town Square Coffee House at 9:00 p.m.

On Saturday, events start with Morning Yoga from Awaken at City Hall from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. At noon, and until 3:00 p.m., there will be an Information & Resource Fair at City Hall. From 5:00 to 8:30 p.m., the Señor Machete food truck will be available. The Family Drag Show will be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., with the Headliner Drag Show to follow at 7:30. An event called “Dance & Move Your Body” will start at 9. The festivities will wrap up with a Sunday Brunch from 11 to 2 at Four Brothers in Le Mars.

Those who organize the festival say that they’re not trying to change anyone. They started the festival in Orange City because three of the founders of the event went to Northwestern College in Orange City and they and the other organizers call Orange City home.

Click here for more information, including the schedule.

October 18, 2019 - 1:31 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — The state unemployment rate is back in a holding pattern again, staying at two-point-five percent in September.

Iowa Workforce Development deputy director, Ryan West, says it’s the third month at that rate after 12 straight months where it held at two-point-four percent.

The unemployment rate hasn’t changed, but there has been movement both ways in the September job market.

He says the increase in workers getting into the workforce offset an increase in people who don’t have a job.

The total number of working Iowans has increased by 45-thousand-200 compared to last September. West says a lot of the increase in labor is companies hiring extra workers to get work finished before the winter weather sets in. West says it is hard to get a handle on how long it takes someone who loses a job to get a new one.

He says the time of year and type of employment play a big role in how quickly someone gets a new job. West says Iowa Workforce Development sometimes tries to help people get back into the workforce by expanding their search beyond the job they held in the past.

Iowa’s unemployment rate remains well below the U.S. rate, which fell to three-point-five percent in September.

Northwest Iowa — County Emergency Management Agencies from O’Brien, Sioux and Lyon Counties were among were six county EMA organizations that were each presented with a check for $20,000 in a ceremony held Thursday in Storm Lake.

The checks were from the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is making the donation to each county through which their pipeline travels, with the total donation, statewide, of $360,000. With the aim of helping first responders, each county is encouraged to use the funds where they need it most, according to a release from the pipeline company.

Dakota Access Pipeline says they are committed to being a good neighbor, a good business partner and a valued member of Iowa’s communities. Dakota Access plans to make similar donations to county emergency management agencies across its four-state route, totaling $1 million across 50 counties in North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.

The counties presented checks on Thursday were O’Brien, Sioux, Lyon, Cherokee, Buena Vista and Sac. The County EMA Coordinators from our immediate area, Jared Johnson of O’Brien County, Nate Huizenga from Sioux County and Arden Kopischke of Lyon County all indicated the money would be used for new emergency response equipment for their first responders.

Dakota Access Pipeline traverses approximately 101 miles through Lyon, Sioux, O’Brien, Cherokee, Buena Vista and Sac counties in Iowa. The company will also be donating to the Iowa 4-H Foundation and the Iowa FFA Foundation, as well. They made a similar donation of $1 million to county EMAs after the pipeline began service in 2017.

October 17, 2019 - 3:56 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — After last weekend’s cold snap and snow, this week has seemed comparatively pleasant.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Brad Temeyer at the Sioux Falls office says that while it seems nice, temperatures are not that much above normal.

He tells us that while the system will probably have some precipitation, it won’t be heavy and widespread.

According to Temeyer, it will be warm enough that any precip that does fall this weekend into Monday will be rain, and not snow. But he says looking at the middle to the end of next week, like starting around October 23rd, there may again be some precip, and at this point, it’s hard to predict whether that will fall as rain or snow.

We asked Temeyer to peer into his crystal ball and tell us what the rest of the fall and the first part of the winter will be like. He says while below normal temperatures are forecast for next week, as a whole, chances are better than even that temperatures will be above normal for the remainder of October, November, December, and into January. But he says chances are also better than even that we’ll see above-normal precipitation throughout that period too.

October 17, 2019 - 3:31 pm - Posted in News

Rock Valley, Iowa — The Rock Valley Fire Department was called out for a possible house fire on Wednesday, October 16, 2019, near Rock Valley.

According to Rock Valley Fire Chief Brent Eshuis, about 2:50 p.m., the Rock Valley Fire Department was called to the report of a house full of smoke at 2615 310th Street, just southeast of Rock Valley.

The chief says when the fire department arrived, they found that someone had been doing concrete work and was cutting rebar. He says somehow the home’s sill plate — which is the bottom board of treated lumber that rests on the foundation — started to smolder, and that’s what was causing the smoke. He says there were no flames, and tells us they took care of the smoldering wood, opened some windows to ventilate the smoke, and checked for hot spots with a thermal cam to make sure there was no danger.

Eshuis says no injuries were reported.

Chief Eshuis reports that there was minimal damage. He says the 25 firefighters who responded were on the scene for about a half hour.

The Hull Fire Department is always paged too for calls like this in Rock Valley, but Eshuis says he told them they could go home. However, the other day, the Hull department had their own call. It was to Pleasant Acres Care Center in southwest Hull for a strong smell of gas. Hull Fire Chief Greg Van Roekel says someone had left a burner on in the kitchen. He says no evacuation was needed and firefighters were only there for a few minutes.

October 17, 2019 - 2:21 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — The U-S Environmental Protection Agency is proposing some major changes to a rule that regulates lead in drinking water. One change would require water systems with lead above 15 parts per billion to annually replace at least three percent of their lead service lines right up to individual homes.

EPA Regional Administrator Jim Gulliford says this change is an improvement. The current rule requires water systems to replace seven percent of just their portion of the lead service lines, which he says doesn’t help individual homes.

Water systems with even higher amounts would need to replace at least 3 percent of their lead service lines each year.

The EPA is taking public comment on the proposed rules for 60 days once they’re published in the Federal Register.

October 16, 2019 - 11:14 am - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — A former Des Moines Register columnist who hosted many of the newspaper’s yearly bike rides across the state of Iowa is hoping for a reconciliation that keeps the event’s management team in place. The man who’s managed the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa for the past 16 years resigned yesterday, along with the rest of the RAGBRAI staff, and announced plans for a competing “Iowa’s Ride” during the same week as RAGBRAI next July.

Chuck Offenburger was the “Iowa Boy” columnist for the Register for 21 years.

In a statement posted online, the RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz, who resigned, said the decision was based on how The Register and its owner handled its story about Carson King. King is the former ISU student who raised three MILLION dollars for the University of Iowa children’s hospital with a poster he held up during an ESPN broadcast. Offenburger, who resigned from the Register in 1998 to protest treatment of other veteran reporters, says in his view the paper “handled the story appropriately,” but Offenburger is hoping the RAGBRAI staff who resigned and The Register’s management can meet and resolve the dispute.

Offenburger, the newspaper’s “co-host” of RAGBRAI for 16 years, says the annual, week-long ride is one the most important tourism events in the state.

The RAGBRAI’s now-former manager says the newspaper’s executives blocked him from responding the way he wished to RAGBRAI enthusiasts who had questions about the paper’s Carson King story. The Iowa Bicycle Coalition issued a written statement expressing extreme concern about the future of RAGBRAI, which the coalition described as “iconic” and both culturally and economically important to the state of Iowa. The group expressed hope that a cross-state bike ride would continues, in whatever version that may be, in a way that elevates bicycling and promotes safety.

Statewide Iowa — Leaders of Iowa farm commodity and biofuels groups held a news conference Wednesday to call on President Trump to force the EPA to follow the deal on ethanol and biodiesel that Trump struck with the industry a dozen days ago.

Primghar farmer Kelly Nieuwenhuis is board president of the Sioux Center ethanol plant that has shut down joined the event by phone. He told reporters President Trump “has lost a lot of support” over his administration’s approach to ethanol policy.

Iowa Corn Growers Association CEO Craig Floss warned thousands of farmers who invested in ethanol and biodiesel plants will go out of business if the EPA plan stands. Grant Kimberly, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board, agrees.

Iowa Renewable Fuels Association executive director Monte Shaw says the EPA draft for implementing the ethanol and biodiesel mandates over the next three years will create an economic crisis.

EPA officials, in revealing details of their ethanol and biodiesel policies for 2020, said their action “fulfills the agreement reached on October 4th with the White House, EPA and USDA.”



Original story posted 11:13am, 10/16/2019

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — Iowa’s ethanol and biodiesel industry reacted in disbelief and anger after the Environmental Protection Agency issued a draft policy on future biofuels production targets.

The president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association was first to react, saying he was outraged the EPA failed to implement the details of a plan President Trump announced less than two weeks ago. Trump’s outline suggested oil refineries would be forced to blend more ethanol in gasoline next year, to make up for the ethanol blending waivers granted this year. The Iowa Corn Growers’ leader said the EPA’s document fell “well short” of that mark.

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association blasted the EPA for reneging on Trump’s biofuels deal. The Iowa Biodiesel Board said the EPA’s plan did not restore the integrity of the Renewable Fuels Standard, as Trump had promised.

The EPA, in issuing its announcement, included comments from Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst as well as Iowa Ag Secretary Mike Naig, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, all Republicans, all of whom the EPA quoted praising the proposal.

Reynolds, in a separate written statement late Tuesday afternoon released by her own office, said she understands the industry’s frustration and distrust, and Reynolds suggested farmers need to make their voices heard during the 30-day period for public comment on the EPA’s plan.

Dave Loebsack, a Democrat from Iowa City, was the first member of Iowa’s congressional delegation to speak individually on Tuesday’s news. He called the EPA’s proposed policy “outrageous” because it provides no guarantee the ethanol and biodiesel production mandates will ever be restored. Congresswoman Cindy Axne, a Democrat form Des Moines, called it a broken promise from the president that’s “insulting, deeply disappointing, but unfortunately, not surprising.” Congresswoman Abby Finkenaur, a Democrat from Dubuque, said once again Iowa farmers are being let down by a president who “plays favorites with big oil.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign was the first in the Democratic presidential field to weigh in, issuing a statement on what it referred to as “the Trump Administration’s continued sabotage of Iowa’s renewable fuels industry.” Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar accused Trump of being more interested in his “big oil buddies” than in the plight of farmers.

Photo Courtesy Radio Iowa

October 15, 2019 - 2:59 pm - Posted in News

Hawarden, Iowa — Residents of an assisted living facility in Hawarden were evacuated and there were some tense moments there on Monday, October 14th.

According to Hawarden Fire Chief Duane Schiefen, a fire call came in at 10:50 a.m. on Monday from Oak Hill Assisted Living. The call mentioned a fire alarm and the smell of smoke in the building.

Schiefen says when the fire department got there, staff had evacuated the building. He says that firefighters found that a furnace motor had locked up, causing the smoke. He says they ventilated the building and looked for any additional hot spots, but found only the furnace motor was hot. He says the damage was limited to the furnace motor itself.

He tells us that a bus was requested from West Sioux Community School District so that the seniors who were able, could board the bus to get out of the wind. But he says it was a pretty nice day, so it wasn’t much of an issue.

The Ireton Fire Department also responds to all possible structure fire calls in Hawarden, so counting all firefighters, Schiefen says about 23 responded to the call and remained on-scene for between a half hour and 45 minutes. He says the Hawarden Ambulance and EMTs also responded to the scene and were available just in case.