May 13, 2022 - 9:17 am - Posted in News

Rock Rapids, Iowa — A Matlock woman lost her life Thursday as the result of a two-vehicle crash near Rock Rapids.

According to the Iowa State Patrol, 71-year-old Carol J. Fliear was eastbound on Highway 9 near Indian Avenue, when her 2016 Ford Taurus, for unknown reasons, crossed the center line and collided head-on with a 2007 Freightliner semi, driven by 64-year-old Gregory Krieger, of Sibley.

Troopers say Krieger declined medical treatment at the scene. Fliear was transported to Avera Rock Rapids, where she was declared deceased.

The Iowa State Patrol was assisted at the scene by the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office and Iowa DOT Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division.

Northwest Iowa — Power outages, along with trees blown over and damage to at least one hog confinement were all part of the thunderstorm that blew through northwest Iowa Wednesday afternoon.

Winds that gusted to nearly 50-miles per hour blew the roof off a hog confinement near Rock Valley, according to Sioux County EMA Director Nate Huizenga. He says that was the only major damage of which he is aware.

Power bumps and blackouts were reported across the area as the storm rumbled through. In Sheldon, there were a few short-lived power bumps, but power never went completely out. In Orange City, residents tell us the lights went out for about 5 minutes, while in other areas the power outages lasted considerably longer.

According to a MidAmerican Energy spokesperson, a possible tornado south of Rock Valley took out 27 of their electric transmission structures, which resulted in damage to five substations, and plunged some 3800 customers in the Rock Valley, Inwood, Alcester and Hudson areas into darkness. The outage occurred at about 4:30 Wednesday afternoon, with power restored by abut 6:00 pm, according to MidAmerican.

In Rock Rapids, the strong winds blew over a tree, which landed on a parked car. Fortunately, the car was unoccupied at the time and there were no injuries.

The storm brought much-needed rain to the area, but the amount varied greatly, by location. In Sibley, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports 1.65-inches of rain, while 0.8-inches fell in Rock Rapids and 0.78-inches in George. Unofficially, Orange City saw about 0.7-inches of rain. In Sheldon, only 0.21-inches found it’s way into the KIWA rain gauge.

 

May 12, 2022 - 1:02 pm - Posted in News

Washington, D.C. — Both of Iowa’s U.S. Senators, as expected, joined with their Republican colleagues in defeating the bill Democrats sponsored to guarantee access to abortion nationwide.

Senator Chuck Grassley spoke during debate of the bill.

Senator Joni Ernst did not speak during debate. The Washington Post has reported Ernst will introduce a bill in the Senate to ban abortions after the sixth week of a pregnancy. Grassley has said in interviews with Iowa reporters he will not comment on a nationwide ban until after the U.S. Supreme Court issues its final ruling. During remarks on the Senate floor, this is how Grassley described his approach to the issue.

Grassley said the bill Democrats were offering would invalidate current state laws that regulate abortions.

The U.S. Senate is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats and the outcome of Wednesday’s vote was expected, since there weren’t 60 senators willing to allow a vote on the bill. Abby Finkenauer, one of the Democrats running for a chance to face Grassley in the November election, says Wednesday’s vote shows why Democrats need to win more seats in the U.S. Senate. Mike Franken, who is also competing for the Iowa Democratic Party’s U.S. Senate nomination, says Grassley has consistently voted to take rights away from women.

Sioux Center, Iowa — Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg, a native of Hawarden, says northwest Iowa is proof that private schools do not diminish the performance of public schools.

Gregg addressed a crowd in Sioux Center on Wednesday.

Sioux Center Christian is a kindergarten through eighth grade school with about 550 students. About three times that many students are enrolled in Sioux Center’s public K-through-12 schools. The governor’s plan to provide 55-hundred dollar state scholarships to 10-thousand private school students has stalled in the Republican-led Iowa House. Critics say it will shift state funding away from public schools in the 42 rural counties in Iowa that do not have a private school. Others say it will become an ever increasing entitlement for the parents of students who attend private schools.

Northwest Iowa — Warmer temperatures and drier conditions are in the forecast and farmers will soon be in the fields in full-force. That means more equipment will be on the roadways in the coming days.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach says moving farm equipment on public roads can be a dangerous activity. Farm operators need to drive defensively and remain alert every second they are on the road.

Steven Freeman, a professor in agricultural systems and bioengineering at Iowa State University, reminds equipment operators of some important dos and don’ts this spring.

He says injuries can happen when farm equipment operators:

· Lack the experience to handle heavy, slow-moving machinery.
· Drive too fast, particularly when pulling a heavy load or turning.
· Drive partially over the centerline.
· Drive partially on the shoulder, and partially on the main road surface.
· Run into a tree or other fixed object.

He says that a major reason for farm machinery incidents on public roads is the difference in speed between automobiles and agricultural equipment. Motorists approach the slow-moving farm equipment so quickly that they only have a few seconds to identify the hazard and react appropriately.

Freeman says that’s why it is so important for farm equipment to be highly visible and properly identified with a slow-moving vehicle sign which must be visible from 500 feet away. He says the signs must be kept clean and faded or damaged signs should be replaced.

Tractors must be equipped with lights if operated on public roads at night, or under conditions of reduced visibility. Highway travel requires headlights, red taillights, and reflectors. Flashing amber lights provide day and night warning to traffic approaching from either direction. The more highly visible the equipment is, the better.

As for motorists driving road vehicles like cars, trucks, and motorcycles, the Iowa State Patrol says that even if you’re only going the speed limit you need to really pay attention. Because if you come over the crest of a hill and discover a slow-moving farm implement, you’re going to close in on that vehicle really quickly.

Troopers tell us that too many people combine high speed with distracted driving and a rear-end collision is the result. They advise you to slow down, put down the phone, and keep all your attention on the road, especially during busy farming seasons like planting and harvest. It’s also sometimes hard to know the intentions of the farm equipment operator as sometimes they need to swing wide for a turn and it seems like they’re turning one way when they may be turning the other. Or, you might not see them signaling at all. Troopers remind you to give farm vehicles a wide berth as you may not know the operator’s intent.

More information for farm equipment operators, direct from Iowa State University Extension & Outreach:

Freeman reminds farm equipment operators to perform a complete check of both the tractor and trailed equipment before heading onto the road.

· Use safety-type hitch pins, and make sure they are securely fastened.
· A safety chain must extend from the tractor to the frame of the towed equipment.
· Check all tires (on both tractor and towed equipment) for air pressure, cuts and bumps.
· Always lock brake pedals together for road travel. Sudden braking on one wheel only at high speed could put the tractor into a dangerous skid.
· Rearview mirrors, flares, and fire extinguishers should be standard equipment for tractors that are frequently driven on public roads.
· Confirm that all lights are operating properly.
· Make sure that the SMV sign is clean, unfaded, and properly mounted.
· Check towed equipment. Any load should be balanced and properly secured. Make sure the towed load is light enough for the tractor to handle safely. Heavy wagons should be equipped with independent brakes.

Farm machinery operators can make road travel safer for themselves and others by taking the following precautions.

· Avoid busy roads whenever possible, even if travel time will be longer.
· Travel at a speed that will allow you to maintain full control at all times.
· Slow down when making turns or rounding curves.
· Observe road travel precautions listed in operator manuals. Some tractors freewheel in higher gears. This can be very dangerous when coming down a hill. · Use lower gear ranges when climbing or descending hills.
· If possible, drive on the shoulder of a paved highway. However, don’t drive partly on the shoulder and partly on the paved lane.
· Stay alert for hazards such as soft shoulders, narrow bridges, loose gravel, bumps, potholes, and deep ruts.
· When cars are lined up behind you, and a suitable shoulder is available, pull over to let the traffic pass.
· If possible, move equipment in daylight during periods of light traffic.
· Travel after dark only if absolutely necessary. Remember that you need proper lighting for night driving.
· Don’t take chances by pulling onto a road in front of moving traffic. Enter and exit roadways very cautiously if your view is obstructed.
· Obey traffic laws and signs. Courtesy is a key component of road safety.

Orange City, Iowa — An Orange City teen is charged with a felony after allegedly posting a threatening internet post.

Court documents say that on March 31st, 19-year-old Donavan Schuiteman of Orange City is alleged to have posted on the app Yik Yak, threatening a school shooting the next day. Court records indicate the post circulated through the Northwestern College campus, causing fear and distress to students and faculty.

Following an investigation into the incident, Orange City Police charged Schuiteman with Threat of Terrorism, which is a Class D Felony.

According to online court records, Schuiteman is scheduled for a Preliminary Hearing at 10:00 am on Tuesday, May 24th in Sioux County Magistrate Court.

 

May 11, 2022 - 2:54 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — Over 200 college students will graduate in Sheldon on Friday.

According to Northwest Iowa Community College officials, 218 students will graduate from the Sheldon college on Friday, May 13th.

They tell us that the Nursing Pinning and Commencement Ceremony will be held in the Northwest Iowa Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center at 9:30 a.m.

The afternoon Spring Commencement ceremony (for all programs except nursing) will also be held in the Northwest Iowa Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center at 1:30 p.m. The Commencement Address will be given by Sara Vaske, of Le Mars, who is a Design Technology graduate. The Alumnus of the Year Award will also be presented.

Northwest Iowa Community College officials tell us that NCC is what they call a “progressive learning college rapidly responding to the global needs of our changing community.” NCC offers many programs from career and technical programs to arts and science transfer programs. NCC has seamless transfer agreements with the University of Iowa and Iowa State University and many students start their college experience at NCC and transfer to other area institutions of higher learning. NCC has also been honored for having among the best online programs in the nation.

May 11, 2022 - 1:04 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — It’s more expensive to fill our gas tanks in Iowa than ever before. Prices reached a record high in the state this Tuesday morning, topping a previous record that had stood since the recession 14 years ago.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican, places the blame on the Democrat in the White House.

Triple-A-Iowa says the statewide average for gas is now $4.08 a gallon, beating the record of $4.02 that had stood since July of 2008. Grassley and his fellow Republicans blame Biden.

Grassley also faults the Biden Administration for suspending federal funding for U.S. oil company projects in other countries.

Grassley says the US. should return to relying on its own stores of fossil fuels as well as biofuels, not imports, which he says have taken the country from being energy independent to energy dependent.

Democrats who are competing for the chance to run against Grassley say fuel prices are rising across the globe due to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Abby Finkenauer, Mike Franken and Glenn Hurst all support President Biden’s recent move to allow E-15 sales nationwide this summer, a move Biden says can help reduce gas prices. Finkenauer has called for a federal gas tax holiday.

Triple-A says the national average for gas is $4.37 a gallon, while California has the most expensive average at $5.84. The motor club says diesel fuel hit a record high in Iowa on Monday, as well, reaching $5.31 a gallon.

May 10, 2022 - 4:31 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Iowa’s Lieutenant Governor is going to be in our area this Wednesday.

According to Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg’s staff, the Hawarden native will attend Leadership Sioux Center’s Graduation exercises at the Terrace View Event Center in Sioux Center at noon. The event center is at 230 Saint Andrews Way in Sioux Center.

According to the Sioux Center Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Sioux Center is an educational program intended for Sioux Center area citizens who have an interest in their community, their leaders and institutions, and specific leadership opportunities available in Sioux Center.

During the program, which is spaced over eight months, participants build a leadership network among current and emerging leaders, learn about community issues, and become familiar with the rewards of serving one’s community.

The Lieutenant Governor’s staff also tells us that Gregg will be visiting C-S Agrow Services in Calumet this Wednesday as well. The business is located at 106 South First Street in Calumet and the appearance is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. C-S Agrow is a builder and servicer of grain bins. They tell us they have been the largest GSI dealer in the state of Iowa for 10 out of the last 14 years.

Alton, Iowa — A bar and grill was damaged in a fire early on Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in Alton and four fire departments fought the blaze.

According to Alton Fire Assistant Chief Kevin Langel, at about 3:45 a.m., the Alton Fire Department was called to a report of The Yard Bar And Grill being on fire at 211 East 10th Street, a half a block east of Old Highway 60 in Alton.

The chief says the fire department saw the back side of the building engulfed in flames, with lots of smoke downtown as they approached the scene. He says they started with an interior attack. Since the back was on fire, they went through the front door and found the main part of the bar was not on fire. At the same time, another crew of firefighters attacked the fire in the back from the outside.

Assistant Chief Langel says two Alton firefighters were injured fighting the fire and one needed medical attention.

The fire department was assisted by the Granville, Hospers, and Orange City fire departments, and the Hospers, Orange City, and Alton Ambulance Squads.

He says the cause of the fire is undetermined, but they suspect that it may have had something to do with an electrical box outside of the building.

Assistant Chief Langel reports that there was major damage to the rear, but the main part of the bar only sustained smoke and water damage.

He says the firefighters who responded were on the scene for over three hours.