Statewide Iowa — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds issued an additional State Public Health Emergency Declaration related to the COVID-19 virus on Friday. Included in the proclamation were certain modifications to the current law on weapon permits.

The declaration temporarily addresses portions of Iowa law regarding professional and nonprofessional permits to carry firearms, and permits to acquire pistols or revolvers.  Based on the Governor’s actions, permits to carry weapons and permits to acquire will not expire during the declaration.  This extension, however, does not allow one to use an otherwise expired permit to purchase a firearm without completion of a NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) check at the time of the purchase or transfer.  All Federal Firearms License holders (FFLS) must conduct a NICS check prior to the sale or transfer of any firearm if an expired permit is presented. Again, a holder of an otherwise expired permit will not be able to purchase a firearm without a NICS being performed

The declaration also gives county sheriffs greater discretion in determining how they receive weapon permit applications so as to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  You’re encouraged to check with your local county sheriff’s office to determine its procedure for accepting applications during this time.

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — State officials will release a report next Friday, but Iowa Workforce Development director Beth Townsend is offering a glimpse of the huge increase in jobless claims as businesses shut down during the COVID-19 outbreak.

(As above) “We are seeing an unprecedented number of claims…It’s pretty staggering,” Townsend says. “Essentially what we’re receiving on a daily basis is what we’d see in a month.”

The Iowa Restaurant Association warns the jobs for as many as 80-thousand Iowans in that industry are in jeopardy due to the unprecedented closure of bars and restaurants. Townsend says her agency’s goal is to get an unemployment check to most every eligible Iowan no more than 10 days after they file their claim.

(As above) “We are working very hard to lessen the financial impact of the temporary loss of income due to COVID-19-related layoffs,” Townsend says.

The requirement that Iowans receiving unemployment benefits actively search for other jobs has been temporarily waived during this emergency period as well.

(As above) “If you are laid off due to COVID-19, if you need to stay home to self-isolate or to care for family members or children due to illness related to COVID-19 or because of school and daycare closures, you can receive unemployment benefits provided you meet the other eligibility requirements,” Townsend says.

Governor Kim Reynolds says her staff will release details about alternative child care facilities for the children of health care workers and first responders.

Sioux Center, Iowa — Three people were taken to the hospital in the aftermath of a 2-vehicle crash near Sioux Center Friday morning (March 20th).

According to a report from the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, they responded to the report of a collision shortly after 7:15 Friday morning, one mile south of Sioux Center on Highway 75.

According to authorities, 22-year-old Tyler Leyendekker, Visalia, CA, was driving a 2002 Ford F-250 pickup southbound on Hwy 75. 57-year-old Evan Haarsma, of Orange City,was driving a 2001 Dodge Ram 3500 pickup northbound on Highway 75. Deputies say Leyendekker lost control of his vehicle, entered the northbound lane and struck Haarsma.

Haarsma, Leyendekker and a passenger in Leyendekker’s vehicle, 22-year-old Onika Nop, of Salisbury, VT, were transported by the Sioux Center Ambulance to Sioux Center Health for treatment of their injuries.

Deputies estimate damage to Leyendekker’s Ford at approximately $10,000, while Haarsma’s Dodge sustained an estimated $8,000 in damage.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office was assisted at the scene by the Sioux Center Police Department, Sioux Center Fire Department, and the Sioux Center Ambulance.

Leyendekker was reportedly cited for failure to maintain control of a motor vehicle. Nop was reportedly cited for failure to use safety belt.

March 20, 2020 - 4:19 pm - Posted in News

Sioux Center, Iowa — It’s no fun to have to cancel or postpone things due to COVID-19. But the postponing of some events has a bigger impact than others.

Every day we lose more and more veterans, especially the older ones, and time is running out. That’s why it’s a bigger impact when things involving them need to be postponed.

Midwest Honor Flight’s Board of Directors tells us that they have made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 May and June scheduled flights out of caution for the Veterans, Guardians, and Crew.

Aaron Van Beek, Midwest Honor Flight’s President says, “This heartbreaking decision was not made lightly as many hours of planning have taken place to make these flights possible.”

This change comes after the National Honor Flight Network announced that they are requiring all Honor Flights to be suspended through April 30th. In addition to that, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) have both stated that adults over the age of 60 are particularly at risk of infection and should avoid all non-essential air travel. Van Beek says that the vast majority of our Veterans fall into this high-risk category.

This decision has an immediate impact on our Missions on the May 30th mission, which is the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation, Mission 7. It will also affect the June 2nd mission. Van Beek says those that have been confirmed on each of these flights will not lose their spot and will be contacted soon with additional information.

The Lyon County Riverboat flight has been rescheduled for August 22nd, and the June 2nd mission will now be on September 5th.

Northwest Iowa — With the closing of schools, restaurants, bars and some other businesses due to the COVID-19 scare, many area residents were either working from home, surfing the web or watching streaming video, all of which requires reliable internet service.

KIWA talked to Premier Communications CEO Doug Boone and asked him if the added internet use had any major impact on the internet service his company provides.

Boone says the extra internet traffic over the past week or so didn’t reach a record level for Premier’s subscribers.

He says that Premier always strives to be a positive corporate citizen, and to that end has made some policy changes due to the current COVID-19 period.

Premier Communications is based in Sioux Center, and provides internet service to customers in twenty-eight communities in this area.


West Des Moines, Iowa — You may be seeing something new between you and your checkout clerk at your local Hy-Vee store in the next few days.

Hy-Vee, Inc. reports these changes to its operations are in response to the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Customers will start seeing temporary window panels installed at checkouts to help provide an additional layer of protection for both employees and customers.

Hy-Vee officials tell us the panels are being installed at the checkout, as this is the point in the store visit where customers and employees are in the closest contact. In the aisles or at service counters, customers and employees have more flexibility in placing distance between themselves but the setup of the checkout limits that ability.

Also, until further notice, customers are not allowed to bring in reusable bags. Hy-Vee officials say that it is difficult to monitor their cleanliness. Because it is not always easy to know the sanitization procedures customers are taking at their homes to keep the bags clean, this is one more way the grocer is helping prevent the spread of the virus.

Randy Edeker, Hy-Vee’s chairman, CEO and president, says that the spread of this virus is asking us all to take extraordinary measures and change the way we live our lives. He says, “We are continuing to adapt at Hy-Vee so that we can serve our customers and keep everyone in our stores as safe and healthy as possible.”

Orange City, Iowa (RI) — The chamber of commerce in Orange City is launching a rebate program in hopes of spurring consumer activity there and in Alton.

Mike Hofman is the executive director of the Orange City Chamber of Commerce.

(as said) “We’re trying to get an influx of cash for these restaurants and small business retailers,” he says.

The Orange City Chamber will be offering a 10-dollar coupon for future purchases in restaurants and small businesses in Orange City and Alton for every 100-dollars someone spends NOW on take-out food or other items.

(as said) “So if they have $100 in receipts that they’ve saved over the course of time, we’ll give them a $10 certificate,” Hofman says. “If they have $200, we’ll give them $20 and so forth.”

People will be able to get the gift certificates at the Orange City Chamber of Commerce office later, during a yet-to-be-announced time frame. Hofman says the chamber has already raised a substantial amount for this rebate program.

(as said) “We’re working with some community partners on this to get some special funding, maybe some folks who haven’t been quite as affected,” Hofman says. “Right now I have about $50,000 available and we’re hoping to get the program up to $100,000…If we get to $100,000 that means $1 million in retail sales has happened because of the $10 rebate, so we think that could be impactful for our area.”

The rebates are NOT for purchases at grocery stores.

(as said) “It’s any small business retailer, so a mom-and-pop on Main Street,” Hofman says, “and any of our restaurants in Alton and Orange City that affected by this adversely.”

The maximum amount of a purchase eligible for the rebate program is one-thousand dollars ($1000) which would yield a one-hundred-dollar ($100) rebate. Hofman says none of the restaurants in Orange City and Alton have closed and nearly all are now offering to deliver meals to local residents. Orange City’s annual Tulip Festival is scheduled for mid-May.

(as said) “The Tulip Festival executive committee met Monday night. We discussed the current situation which as everybody knows changes about every six hours,” Hofman says. “We are in a holding pattern right now…but as of right now the festival is still on.”

Orange City’s Sesquicentennial celebration has been planned on the same weekend. Pella’s Tulip Time festival — which was to be held the weekend before Orange City’s event — has been canceled.

Spencer, Iowa — The area transit agency has announced how COVID-19 is affecting their service.

Rides’ Chief Operating Officer, Cindy Voss, says at this time, it’s not affecting important things like routes or operating times. But they have made some requests of their passengers to help preserve rider and driver health.

She says they want people to only schedule essential trips at this time, like medical and medically-related trips. She says you should keep yourself healthy by distancing from other riders. Also, cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow or a tissue, and stay home if you feel sick.

Voss tells us they continue to evaluate what they need to do. She says it requires striking a delicate balance between providing essential service and protecting the health of the community.

According to Voss, system-wide, they are down from 600 trips per day to between 220 and 230 trips.

If you need more information, or to schedule a trip, you can call Rides Public Transit at 1-800-358-5037.

March 20, 2020 - 9:29 am - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — An Alton woman was injured when the ATV on which she was a passenger rolled Wednesday evening (March 18th) southeast of Orange City.

Sioux County authorities say the call came in shortly after 7:45 Wednesday evening. Deputies say a 2015 Polaris Ranger ATV, driven by 36-year-old Mark Vande Vegte of Alton, was southbound on Jay Avenue, about two miles southeast of Orange City, when he attempted to make a U-turn, lost control of the machine, and rolled.

According to authorities, 41-year-old Allisson Vande Vegte of Alton was a passenger on the ATV, and was transported to the Orange City Hospital for treatment of injuries sustained in the crash.

Deputies say the ATV was not damaged in the incident.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that Mark Vande Vegte was cited for failing to maintain control of a motor vehicle.

The Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Orange City Ambulance, Orange City Fire Department and the Orange City Police Department.

March 19, 2020 - 4:08 pm - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — A power outage affected about a third of Orange City on Thursday morning.

Orange City Municipal Utilities says the outage affected roughly 700 of their customers from the west side of Orange City to its downtown area.

The power was interrupted about 6:50 a.m. and was restored by about 8:50 a.m., according to Orange City Public Works Director Matt Van Schouwen.

Van Schouwen reports that workers found that the cause of the outage was a failure of their west substation, located near Veterans’ Park. The actual cause of the issue is still under investigation, says Van Schouwen.

Power was off for a total of about two hours. Power was restored when workers rerouted power from the other two substations in Orange City.

Repairs continue at the west substation, says Van Schouwen. He says their customers’ patience is appreciated. He says crews responded well and in a timely manner. According to Van Schouwen, the outage could have been a lot longer but it was taken care of as quickly as possible, thanks to city employees.