Le Mars, Iowa — The new extension agronomist for our area says northwest Iowa farmers may end up with low yields next year if our moisture situation isn’t rectified pretty soon.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Agronomist Leah Ten Napel took over from the retiring Joel De Jong a while back. She tells us about it.

She tells us about her qualifications for the position.

Ten Napel says we’ve known that we have been much drier this year, but there is some new northwest Iowa data.

She says this may not be a record, but it’s for sure the driest we’ve been in quite a while.

Ten Napel tells us that the only thing that’s going to help is timely moisture. She says the absolute best would be to get a good soaking after the frost is out of the ground next spring. If we don’t get some decent moisture, she says she’s concerned the crops will have significant reductions in yields next fall.

Click here for the values of plant available moisture for the fall of 2022 collected by ISU Extension and Outreach Field Agronomists

Mitchellville, Iowa — Gov. Kim Reynolds has announced Krystal Colbert, a 16-year veteran teacher, as the Iowa Department of Education’s 2023 Teacher of the Year. And two of the finalists were from our part of northwest Iowa.

Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo says that the Teacher of the Year award honors outstanding teachers who have made an impact on their students and colleagues. She says that Colbert is a life-long learner, teacher leader, and a Lighthouse team member working to build leadership and life skills in students. She says Colbert’s focus on supporting each student’s learning style and her ability to see challenges as opportunities for growth “will help advance our education system as we move forward.”

Colbert, who is a second-grade teacher in the Southeast Polk Community School District, says students who believe in themselves will be successful in school.

Two teachers from our area were among the finalists. They were Lori Brandt, a special education teacher in the Sioux Center Community School District, and Levi Letsche, a high school mathematics teacher from the Sheldon Community School District.

The Iowa Teacher of the Year award was established in 1958. The annual program is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Education through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. Honorees serve as ambassadors to education and act as liaisons to schools, higher education, and organizations across the state.

Little Rock, Iowa– Fourteen round bales were destroyed in a fire on Saturday, November 26, 2022, near Little Rock.

According to Little Rock Fire Chief Joe Schilling, at about 3:55 p.m., the Little Rock Fire Department was called to the report of bales on fire at 4591 160th Street, two miles south of Little Rock.

The chief says the fire department saw 14 round bales on fire as they approached the scene. He says the homeowner was able to put out the small grass fire near the bales and neighbors helped with pulling the bales apart.

Schilling says no injuries were reported.

The fire department was assisted by Little Rock EMS.

He says the cause of the fire appeared to be embers from a burning barrel.

Chief Schilling reports that the damage was limited to the two hay bales, 12 straw bales, and nearby grass. The value of the bales would have been around $2000 according to prices recently paid.

He says the firefighters who responded were on the scene for about two hours.

A little earlier that afternoon, at about 1:30 p.m., the Maurice Fire Department was called to a field fire at 490th Street and Ibex Avenue, which is about three miles east and two south of Maurice. Fire Chief Jeff Vander Weide says someone was burning the ditch, but with the wind it jumped the road and started burning the ditch on the other side and soybean stubble in the adjoining field. He says they were able to put out the fire with water and flappers and only stubble and grass burned. He says they were there for about a half an hour.

November 23, 2022 - 12:42 am - Posted in News

Orange City, Iowa — Orange City has a new Tulip Queen.

Amanda Hulstein was crowned the 2023 Tulip Festival Queen on Monday, November 21. Hulstein will reign over the 82nd annual Tulip Festival, set for May 18, 19, and 20, 2023.

A senior at MOC-Floyd Valley High School in Orange City, Hulstein is the daughter of Brent and Mary Hulstein.

Hulstein is joined on the 2023 Tulip Court by court members Katelyn Huizenga, daughter of Aaron and Kim Huizenga; Elizabeth King, daughter of Don & Miranda King; Nevaeh Sampson, daughter of Brent and Teresa Sampson; and Kinzie Van Kekerix, daughter of Leroy and Jasey Van Kekerix.

A Queen’s Tea with the court members and three pageant judges was held on Monday, November 21. A special crowning ceremony took place on that evening where the Tulip Court participated in introductions, question segments, and presentations, in order to select the 2023 Tulip Festival Queen. A livestream was made available on the Tulip Festival website for the crowning event.

Hulstein and her court will serve as ambassadors for the Orange City Tulip Festival as they travel in the spring, making several media and public appearances.

November 23, 2022 - 12:38 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Many years, about this time, due to travel that puts us together with our family members, we are concerned about the weather on the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend. But such does not appear to be the case this year.

Meteorologist Kyle Weisser with the Sioux Falls office of the National Weather Service says Thanksgiving weather can be very variable year-to-year in the Upper Midwest. Sometimes it’s mild and sometimes there are below-zero windchills and snow. He tells us this year, there don’t appear to be any concerns in northwest Iowa.

In fact, Weiser says even if you plan to drive or fly elsewhere in the United States to be with your family, there really aren’t too many concerns.

Weiser says that around here, we can expect more of the same seasonal temperatures after the holiday weekend, with the chance for a system moving through over a week from now.

For up-to-date weather information 24/7, listen to KIWA or head to kiwaradio.com.

Sioux Center, Iowa — A man from Michigan has been arrested on drug charges stemming from a traffic stop in Sioux Center.

According to a criminal complaint filed with the Sioux County Clerk of Court’s Office by the Sioux Center Police Department, 26-year-old Jason Lee Huddleston of Taylor, Michigan is accused of felony possession of a controlled substance. He was arrested early on Tuesday, November 22nd.

According to the Sioux Center Police Department, they stopped Huddleston because of a defective taillight. They say officers could smell the odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. Officers searched the vehicle and found a white granulated substance, which tested positive for MDMA (also known as ecstasy). They say when Huddleston was asked about the substance, he admitted it was MDMA.

Huddleston was charged with possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver, a class C felony; as well as misdemeanor counts of operating while intoxicated, unlawful possession of a prescription drug, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

If convicted of a class C felony, Huddleston could face up to ten years in prison.

Huddleston faces a preliminary hearing on the charges on Tuesday, November 29th.

At last report, he remained in the Sioux County Jail in Orange City in lieu of a $15,000 bond.

November 19, 2022 - 5:56 pm - Posted in News

Sioux Center, Iowa — An Omaha man faces a combination of felony and misdemeanor child endangerment charges in the wake of a Friday night domestic disturbance.

According to the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were called to a residence north of Sioux Center shortly after 10:00 o’clock Friday night (November 18th) to the report of a domestic disturbance.

Deputies say their investigation revealed that two incidents of child endangerment had occurred with two separate children; one of the children had minor injuries, was seen at a local hospital, treated and released.

According to authorities, 36-year-old Lazaro Mejia-Monge was charged with one count of child endangerment resulting in bodily injury and one count of child endangerment not resulting in bodily injury.

The Iowa Department of Human Services assisted in the investigation.

November 19, 2022 - 5:55 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — The latest data indicates about 25 percent of Iowans have gotten a flu shot.

That’s Dr. Robert Kruse, the state medical director. During the flu season three years ago, 40 percent of Iowans got a flu shot. Kruse says cases of influenza and the respiratory illness known as R-S-V are increasing in Iowa.

According to the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, just under 60 percent of Iowa residents are fully vaccinated against COVID. With holiday gatherings ahead, the agency is urging Iowans to get the flu shot AND ensure they’re up to date on COVID-19 vaccines.

State records indicate nearly 33-point-four percent of Carroll County residents got the flu shot by the end of October. That’s the highest flu vaccination rate of any county. More than 71 percent of Johnson County residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

November 19, 2022 - 5:53 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — The Iowa trapping season is underway, and a DNR expert says the prospects are good.

Furbearer biologist, Vince Evelsizer, says there shouldn’t be any trouble finding furs.

Evelsizer says the only two species that they’re concerned about are foxes and muskrats — which have seen declining populations. He says making a profit from trapping is a little less certain.

Evelsizer says the price of the furs is influenced by several things.

He says there’s been around 14 to 15-thousand licensed fur harvesters the past few years.

Evelsizer says some trappers aren’t concerned about the fur price.

Trappers don’t have to sell their furs this year — Evelsizer says they can keep them for one year and see if prices go up before they have to sell.

November 15, 2022 - 7:25 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — The new record price for farmland in Iowa might be right in the Sheldon area.

Mark Zomer of Zomer Company Realty & Auction of Rock Valley tells us about the sale.

We asked Zomer if the land was exceptional or if it was just a testament to the way ag land prices have been going lately.

That being said, Zomer says land prices are up.

Just a month ago, the record price was $26,250 per acre, and that land was a similar farm between Remsen and Marcus.