Des Moines, Iowa — If you or your children were on Medicaid before the pandemic, and during the time since, your income rose above the limit, you will probably lose your Medicaid benefits this year.

From March 2020, through April 1, 2023, Iowa Medicaid was required to maintain continuous health care coverage for members. This meant that if a member’s situation changed (e.g., financially) in a way that would normally disqualify them from the program, Iowa Medicaid was required to maintain coverage for the person during the public health emergency.

On December 29, 2022, President Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, which ends what’s called the Medicaid program’s “continuous coverage requirement” as of April 1, 2023.

According to the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, that means that most Medicaid members will go through a redetermination process during the 12-month unwinding period to determine if they are still eligible for any Medicaid program(s). This includes members who have not had a redetermination in the last 12 months and those who have been deemed ineligible but whose coverage is being maintained.

With the initiation of the unwind plan, Iowa Medicaid says they will share important information with members. They say it is critical that Iowa Medicaid members have up-to-date contact information in Medicaid’s database, watch for mail from Iowa Medicaid, and respond to requests for information.

If members do not respond to renewal letters or requests for information, they may lose coverage.

Medicaid officials tell us that if you are set to lose your benefits, they’re not just going to leave you in the lurch. The process will take several months, and they say they will assist by providing information, resources, and processes on obtaining alternative health coverage after disenrollment.

For more information, click here.

January 11, 2023 - 10:59 am - Posted in News

Perkins, Iowa — A Luverne, Minnesota teen has died as the result of an accident near Perkins on Tuesday, January 10, 2023.

The Iowa State Patrol reports that at about 6:00 p.m., 18-year-old Emma Nibbelink of Luverne, MN was driving a 2008 Chevy southbound on Highway 75, one mile south of the south junction of Highways 75 and 18, two miles southwest of Hull. They tell us that 25-year-old Dylan Taylor of Le Mars was northbound on 75 in a 2018 Chevy pickup.

The report says that Nibbelink drove onto the west shoulder, which was covered in snow and ice. It says she over-corrected and crossed the center line. The report says Taylor’s pickup struck the Nibbelink Chevy broadside in the center of his lane.

Nibbelink was pronounced dead on the scene.

The trooper says the Hull Ambulance Squad, Rescue, and Fire Department and the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the response to the accident.

Washington, DC — Iowa 4th District Congressman and Hull resident Randy Feenstra is taking the Biden administration to task over how they have investigated cases of classified documents differently in the possession of former president Donald Trump and Biden’s son Hunter.

The Republican from northwest Iowa says with his party now in control of the House, they will press for answers about how former president Trump was investigated and raided by federal agencies while Republican concerns about hunter Biden were ignored:

Feenstra joined fellow house GOP members in voting for the Family and Small Business Taxpayer Protection Act, which would repeal the IRS enforcement funding in the Democratic Inflation Reduction Act and prevent the Biden administration from hiring more IRS agents.

Experts say the bill will likely not make it to the floor in the Democratic-controlled US Senate.

Northwest Iowa — We up here in northwest Iowa seem to have lucked out again. A computer system that is used by some county recorders’ offices in Iowa was apparently hacked over the holidays and is still not completely back to normal.

The software, however, called “Cott Systems,” does not appear to be used by any of the four northwest Iowa county recorders’ offices, which use other software, such as “Eagle.”

Experts say the biggest remaining problem in counties that do use Cott Systems appears to be online access to real estate records. In some cases, we are told even the personnel in the recorders’ offices are not able to access those records. Not all of the counties that use Cott Systems were affected either. The hack seems to have only affected counties that have records hosted by Cott Systems.

Iowa county recorders’ offices issue birth certificates; licenses for boats, ATVs & snowmobiles; death certificates; hunting & fishing licenses, marriage certificates; and marriage licenses. They also deal with military records, real estate, and trade names.

Sheldon, Iowa — A local institution of higher learning is looking to honor one of their graduates.

Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon is seeking nominations for the 2023 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. They are asking that if you know of an NCC Alum who has done outstanding work in his or her industry, has done exceptional volunteer work, received a prestigious award, or obtained some other notable achievement, to nominate this individual.

NCC officials tell us that the person’s accomplishments can be of a personal or professional nature. They invite you to nominate a friend, a co-worker, a family member, or even yourself by visiting and filling out the Alumnus of the Year nomination form.

NCC officials tell us NCC employees are not eligible for consideration. All nominations must be received by March 3, 2023. They say the outstanding alumnus will be recognized during one of NCC’s 2023 Commencement Ceremonies.

Rock Valley, Iowa — A Luverne, Minnesota woman has been arrested in Rock Valley on a warrant for failure to appear in regard to a felony drug charge.

According to a criminal complaint filed with the Sioux County Clerk of Court’s Office by the county sheriff’s office, 59-year-old Shelly Rose Smit, also known as Shelly Rose Bouma of Luverne, Minnesota, formerly of Rock Valley was accused of felony possession of a controlled substance. She was originally arrested in October 2021. She was arrested by the Rock Valley Police Department on a warrant for failure to appear on Sunday, January 8th, 2023. Two additional drug charges were added to the list at that time.

The complaint states that she was originally charged when she was present at a home where a search warrant was carried out. It says she was found in possession of substances believed to be marijuana, THC wax, and drug pipes when these items were found in the room she was using. She was also found in possession of a substance believed to be methamphetamine, according to the complaint.

Bouma was charged with possession of a controlled substance, third or subsequent offense, a class D felony. If convicted, Bouma could face up to five years in prison.

She is due in court for a pretrial conference on February 16th, 2023.

At last report, she remained in the Sioux County Jail in lieu of a $6000 bond.

Seney, Iowa– Firefighters from Orange City joined their counterparts from Le Mars and Oyens for a house fire call early on Monday morning, January 9, 2023, near Le Mars.

According to Le Mars Fire Chief David Schipper, just before 3:00 a.m., the Le Mars Fire Department was called to the report of a house fire north of Seney. The chief says the fire was located in the attic.

Schipper says no injuries were reported, as everyone and their pets had evacuated the home. He says firefighters removed the ceiling and put out the fire.

He says the cause of the fire appeared to be an electrical malfunction in a ceiling fan.

Chief Schipper reports that there was minimal damage.

January 8, 2023 - 12:24 am - Posted in News

Ames, Iowa — The Iowa State University Extension gardening webinar series is back underway this month. Program Coordinator, Alicia Herzog, says the series is based on input from participants.

She says they will focus on three different topics in the next three months.

(as said)Our first month is going to be all about edibles. So microgreens herbs, edible landscaping, growing in the cold, because a lot of people don’t know you can put up cold frames and do other special techniques to be able to continue growing food outside, even in the winter months here in Iowa,” Herzog says. The topic will switch to pruning in February.

Herzog says you need to register for the webinars so you can get a Zoom link.

She says you can look up the Iowa Master Gardeners on Facebook, and all of the webinars are listed there as events and they have the link to the Zoom and you can register there as well. The January webinars are held on Tuesdays. Click here for the website.

Orange City, Iowa – A collaboration of land-grant university extension specialists from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota and representatives from the dairy industry with complementary expertise and knowledge of dairy production and management in the region are inviting dairy producers to a dairy workshop.

The collaboration is known as “I-29 Moo University.” They are encouraging dairy producers to register for this week’s I-29 Moo University Winter Workshop. This year’s theme is “Milking the Carbon Cow.” The workshops will take place at Wilbert Square Event Center in Brookings, SD.

Fred Hall, who is a dairy field specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, based in Orange City, says that the workshop will highlight a number of experts who will focus on topics that will help dairy producers understand carbon credits and market access.

The workshop begins at 10 a.m., with registration and refreshments, and will conclude at 3 pm.

Registration fees are $10 per person. Click here to register.

Hall tells us workshop topics include Measuring, Managing, and Modeling for the future with Dr. Kaitlyn Briggs, who is the Director of Environmental Research for Dairy Management Inc.; What’s all the Fuss about Carbon: A Soil Perspective, by Anthony Bly, who is an SDSU Extension Soils Field Specialist; and Opportunities and considerations in carbon markets by Leif Fixen, an Agriculture Strategy manager, for The Nature Conservancy.

There will also be a panel discussion.

For the full agenda, you can visit the I-29 Moo University events webpage.

Washington, DC — In the early hours of Saturday morning, January 7th, the U.S. House of Representatives, after several failed votes, finally selected Republican Kevin McCarthy from California as Speaker of the House.

McCarthy had to make concessions to Republican Party hardliners who had refused to support him for not being sufficiently conservative. It took 15 votes for a majority to vote for any candidate, in this case, McCarthy.

Congressman Randy Feenstra from Hull subsequently issued a statement after McCarthy was elected.

Feenstra says, “The American people entrusted Republicans with our new House majority to deliver real results for our country and our communities. With the election of Kevin McCarthy as our Speaker, we can now honor our Commitment to America by defunding President Biden’s army of 87,000 new IRS agents, securing our border, ending wasteful spending, and protecting our family farmers and producers. I am also encouraged that, under Speaker McCarthy, we have secured important reforms to prevent massive bills – like the recent $1.7 trillion government spending package that I opposed – from being written behind closed doors and passed in haste. I look forward to serving Iowans, rebuilding our economy, and delivering on our promises in the 118th Congress.”