Hawarden, Iowa — After over ten years of planning and over a year since the ground was broken, it is time for the grand opening of the Sioux County Conservation Nature Center near Hawarden.

Sioux County Naturalist Sunday Ford says the problem was they had the staff to do the education, but not the space. She says until now, there were many children who wanted to go to summer camp, but they did not have space for them.

The project received an Enhance Iowa Community Grant of $600 thousand from the state, to go along with the $4.8 million being raised. The 12 thousand-square-foot facility will host naturalist-led school field trips, summer camps, nursing home visits, civic groups, and families as they explore historical and wildlife displays. The total cost for the Nature Center was $4.8 million dollars.

Ford tells us about the open house and what you can see at the center.

The Prairie Woods Nature Center is at Oak Grove Park, 4051 Cherry Avenue, near Hawarden.

January 10, 2020 - 3:48 pm - Posted in News

Spirit Lake, Iowa — Use caution if you’re going to be on the lakes enjoying winter activities like ice fishing this weekend. That’s from the Iowa DNR.

Mike Hawkins, Iowa DNR Fisheries Biologist says that ice conditions vary among northwest Iowa lakes, and are poorer south of our area.

But he says even around here, be prepared for ice conditions to vary, and test the ice in front of you.

Since West Lake Okoboji is a little more variable, he gives us some specifics.

He tells us no car or pickup traffic is safe at this time, and he’d even use extreme caution with ATVs. Hawkins says whenever you’re on the ice, carry your picks on a rope and always wear a life jacket or floatation device.

Caption: An example of what is NOT safe at this time, according to Hawkins.

Iowa Statewide — The manager of an Iowa auction company says the state is making it difficult for truckers to get much-needed hay into the state.

Trucks transporting hay, straw, or cornstalks are often overweight and Iowa requires a permit for any truckload of hay — which isn’t the case in other Midwest states. Dyersville Sales Company manager Dale Leslein tells K-C-R-G T-V the permits are making it difficult for him to get hay into his auction.

Leslein said truckers don’t want to pay for these permits. Even if they did, he said truckers are worried they’ll get cited for not having the correct permits. Leslein said it’s critical to get hay into the state because of a shortage.

A low supply of hay means the prices go up, and that is passed on to farmers at a time when dairy farmers have already been struggling. These overweight permits for hay, corn, and straw cost 25 dollars. That allows a truck to drive on state roads for an unlimited number of times in one year. To drive on county and some city roads, truckers have to purchase permits from those local governments, too. Iowa Department of Transportation Sergeant Neil Suckow tells K-C-R-G T-V the state has given truckers a break by charging 25 instead of 50 dollars for the permit — which is the price for all other overweight loads.

Suckow said the permits have requirements to promotes safety on the road.

Leslein isn’t sure how much longer his business and farms can last with the permits in place. He says the alfalfa issue isn’t going away quickly.

Leslein said a change would help farmers who are already hurting as they try to supply food.

A similar hay and straw auction exists in Rock Valley where they sell on average, 4500 loads per year.

Des Moines, Iowa — The medical director of the Iowa Department of Public Health confirms the flu is spreading much faster than usual this season. Epidemiologist Dr. Caitlin Pedati says there were nearly 700 confirmed flu cases statewide through the end of December, compared to only about 150 a year ago.

Dr. Pedati says the state’s flu activity level is compiled by combining all sorts of data from a variety of sources.

At this point a year ago, one Iowan had died from flu complications, but this season, the number is far higher.

While January and February are typically the peak months, Iowa’s flu activity level is already at its highest point — widespread — but Pedati says there are still simple ways to protect yourself.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list Iowa among the 34 states where the spread of the flu this season is considered widespread. While the flu numbers are significantly higher this season compared to last year, Pedati notes this season is still tracking below the 2017-2018 season, which was particularly bad.

Statewide Iowa — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Senate president pro tempore and Senate Finance Committee Chairman, has released a statement regarding House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) announcement that she will soon transmit articles of impeachment to the United States Senate.

“Speaker Pelosi threw the United States Congress into unnecessary chaos with this pointless delay. From the beginning, it’s been unclear what the goal of this hurry-up-and-wait tactic was or what the country stood to gain. We now know the answer was nothing. We’ve had three needless weeks of uncertainty and confusion, causing even more division.”

“After House Democrats delayed passing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement for nearly a year, the speaker’s indecision on impeachment will now keep the trade deal from being ratified for even longer. Farmers, ranchers, manufacturers and all American workers will pay the price.”

“Regardless, I will take my role as a juror seriously and review the evidence presented by both sides before making any determination.”

January 9, 2020 - 4:18 pm - Posted in News

Hospers, Iowa — During the 2019/2020 school year, Kindergarten classes at Hospers Elementary have been spending some extra time with their School Resource Officer, Deputy Waylon Pollema. When Pollema has free time during his scheduled days at Hospers Elementary, he reads books, plays educational games and interacts positively with the students.

We talked to Deputy Pollema, and he tells us about it.

Pollema says it’s been a very positive activity. He says it’s about building rapport.

Pollema says the Kindergarten teachers, Mrs. Steph Schwebach and Mrs. Wendy Van Roekel approached him with the idea in an effort to gain more reading time for the students as well as spending time with a law enforcement officer in a positive atmosphere at a young age. One of the goals is to have the students reading to Pollema as well as to their parents by the end of the school year. The teachers say they appreciate what Pollema has done and his willingness to spend some extra time with the students.

January 9, 2020 - 11:23 am - Posted in News

Hawarden, Iowa — An Alcester, South Dakota man is facing a felony firearms charge after being pulled over by an Iowa State Trooper late Wednesday afternoon.

According to information released by the Iowa State Patrol, 45-year old Joseph Edward Constance was arrested at the corner of 420th Street and Cherry Avenue, northeast of Hawarden around 4:40 Wednesday afternoon.

Troopers say Constance had previously been convicted of a felony crime, which prevents him from being able to legally posses a firearm. The alleged discovery of a firearm in his possession led to a charge of being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm, which is a Class D Felony.

Online jail records indicate that Constance was booked into the Sioux County Jail, where he remained as of late morning Thursday.

Sioux County, Iowa — The 2020 Iowa Legislative Session begins in Des Moines next week, and KIWA asked 4th District Representative Skyler Wheeler to give us a preview of what he expects legislators to deal with this year.

Wheeler says workforce issues will be a major topic for the new legislative session.

He says he also expects conversations about the state budget.

We asked Wheeler if there are any other topics that may slide in under the radar.

Wheeler talked about his own two big issues for the upcoming legislative session.

The 2020 Iowa Legislative Session is scheduled to be gaveled in at 10:00 am Monday, January 13th.

January 8, 2020 - 1:01 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — January is National Blood Donor Month, and the Siouxland Community Blood Bank is in need of donations.

Ken Versteeg is the Executive Director of the Siouxland Community Blood Bank, the organization that is the sole supplier of blood and blood products to our area hospitals. He says they’ve been seeing a decrease in donations.

He cites some of the reasons for the recent decline in blood donations.

Versteeg says some blood types are in particularly short supply.

He tells us there are some requirements for donating blood.

If you’d like more information, or to see where the Siouxland Community Bloodbank Bloodmobile will be accepting donations, visit cbblifeblood.org.

Versteeg says that while they’re seeing a drop in donations, the demand for blood is still there.

Des Moines, Iowa — (RI) — Governor Kim Reynolds says all pending applications from Iowans with felony records who’re seeking restoration of their voting rights will be reviewed before the Iowa Caucuses.

Iowa is the only state that still bans all people with felony convictions from voting unless they appeal directly to the governor.

The Iowa Department of Corrections has just begun giving qualified inmates a nearly-complete voting rights application when they’re released from prison. The governor says that will eliminate the background check Department of Public Safety staff have had to do.

Reynolds is again this year asking legislators to craft a constitutional amendment that would automatically restore felon voting rights during the legislative session that starts next week. Reynolds made her comments Tuesday during a statehouse forum organized by the Associated Press.