Sioux Center, Iowa — Many northwest Iowans woke up to no internet and no landline telephone service this (Tuesday) morning.

Premier Communications spokesperson Scott TeStroete says it was time for scheduled maintenance, but things didn’t go as planned.

He says some of their people were up all night to fix the issue. TeStroete tells us they know when internet and phone service are down, that affects many individuals and businesses and makes people have to think about what they’re going to do instead to get by. He says they’re sorry for the inconvenience.

TeStroete tells us the outage affected their whole area and at times, both landline telephone and internet service were out. Cable TV appears to have not been affected.

Original announcement, published Nov 15, 2022 at 7:10 a.m.:

Northwest, Iowa — We have been made aware of internet and voice communications having issues across the listening area this morning. Keep your radio tuned to KIWA-FM 105.3 for the latest.

Premier Communications says that they are indeed having voice and internet issues in parts of the service territory. They tell us that they are aware of the issue, and are working to restore services as soon as possible.


November 12, 2022 - 6:58 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — The deadline to get your driver’s license upgraded to a Real ID has changed a couple of times, but it now is set for May 3rd of 2023.

The DOT’s Kayla Burkett says it’s a change designed to make travel easier.

Burkett says you can upgrade your driver’s license by making an appointment at a DOT service center, and bring in some documentation.

She says you also need to prove your residency with two pieces of mail that include your name and address. And if your last name is different than the name on your identity document, you would need to provide proof of name change. Burkett says the process to check the documents and issue your Real ID license will take around 15 minutes. She suggests those who have a license that is expiring gather all the documents and make the change when their license is renewed.

Burkett says a majority of Iowa drivers have already taken the steps to get the Real ID star on their license.

Burkett says with six months to go, there’s plenty of time to get the Real ID to make it easier to fly.

She says the lag time for scheduling an appointment at the DOT centers is about two weeks. They do accept walk ins — but you will have to wait a little longer than those who have an appointment. Burkett says the DOT’s county locations each does things a little differently — with some requiring an appointment — while some don’t.

IARN — A ruling on an obstructed license plate will stand after a split vote in the Iowa Supreme Court on the issue.

Prince Payne was stopped by an Altoona police officer who said the ball in the trailer hitch of his pickup was blocking the view of the third letter on the license plate.

Payne was convicted of driving while barred, but appealed, saying the stop was illegal because the hitch ball did not violate the requirement that license plates be clearly visible. The district court ruled against Payne, but the Court of Appels ruled in his favor.

Three Supreme Court justices favored the appeals court decision, and three favored the district court, with one justice not taking part. The high court split means the district court decision of a legal stop stands.

Northwest Iowa — If you’re part of an Iowa family whose children receive free or reduced-price lunches from school, you’ve probably received or will soon receive a P-EBT card with some unexpected benefits from the government.

According to the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, the federal Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act allows states to issue emergency food assistance benefits for Summer 2022 for School-Aged Children.

Officials tell us the Summer 2022 for School Aged Children program provides $391 per child who was in grades K-12 during the 21-22 school year. Additional information, including eligibility details, can be found online. They tell us benefits are being issued to eligible children on new EBT cards to be mailed by the end of November.

Janee Harvey, HHS’ Division Administrator of Adult, Child, and Family Services says “High food costs have affected every Iowan, and we hear every day how low-income parents continue to struggle to meet their children’s nutritional needs. These additional benefits will make it a little bit easier for parents to make ends meet and provide healthy, and nutritious meals for their children.”

Some families have said the literature accompanying the cards is confusing and looks like it wasn’t changed from when similar cards were sent out after schools were closed due to COVID-19 in 2020. The literature says “The money on this card is to be used to purchase food due to the extra food cost you had when schools were closed.”

For more information, you can visit the comprehensive P-EBT FAQ documents, available here.

Northwest Iowa — Thanksgiving is coming up and the December holidays aren’t too far away. With people meeting up more, there are bound to be more people on the roads. And the more people that are on the roads, the more accidents there are.

That’s always bad news, but Iowa State Patrol Trooper Kevin Krull explains it’s especially bad this year, when we find our fatality numbers higher than normal.

Krull works out of Post 6 in Spencer. He says the fatality numbers are higher this year in our area too. Post 6 covers eight counties.

Krull tells us what officials think is causing the higher numbers.

Another thing Krull says people need to do is to avoid the knee-jerk reaction of whipping the wheel to the left if they happen to drop off onto the shoulder. He says to slow down first, then ease back onto the road. Another instinctive reaction is to veer if you see a deer. Krull says that’s also a bad idea. Brake, hard if you have to. And even if you hit the deer, you’re more likely to remain uninjured than if you were to veer for the deer and end up flying into the ditch at highway speed.

Des Moines, Iowa — We’re still in the early stages of adding it to the Iowa Constitution, but a gun rights amendment appears to have passed at this week’s election. It’s the first time that’s happened since 2010, when the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund was created.

The text of the amendment reads:

“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”

Richard Rogers of the Iowa Firearms Coalition says gun rights advocates began lobbying for it 12 years ago after they realized Iowa is one of only six states without state-level constitutional protection of the right to keep and bear arms. Supporters had been on-track to put the measure on the ballot in 2020. An amendment needs to start by passing both chambers of the Iowa Legislature in two separate, two-year General Assembly calendars before they can be put to the public. The Secretary of State’s office erred when it neglected to inform the public that a resolution regarding the proposed amendment passed in 2018, which meant it couldn’t go on the 2020 ballot.

The amendment says any gun restrictions have to be judged by a legal standard called “strict scrutiny,” which legal experts tell us is the most demanding test.

Critics say the new amendment will make it nearly impossible to pass new gun safety measures in Iowa.

KIWA Radio asked the Iowa Secretary of State’s office what happens next, and they told us they are still reviewing everything and how it all works, but assuming there are no issues with the election results, the amendment will be written into the 2023 Iowa Code.

They tell us that all the checks and balances have to happen first, such as counties certifying the election, and the State Board of Canvassers certifying all the results in early December. A date for that statewide certification will be set once all county boards of supervisors certify county results.

The amendment just passed will be the 49th amendment to the Iowa Constitution.

November 10, 2022 - 4:15 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — This Thursday was Winter Weather Awareness Day in Iowa.

We had a chance to talk with meteorologist Matthew Dux with the National Weather Service office in Sioux Falls, and he tells us what the National Weather Service wants us to keep in mind.

Dux says if you’ve weathered a northwest Iowa winter, their products will be familiar to you.

Dux reminds us that when they issue a blizzard warning, there may or may not be snow falling. He says the criteria for a blizzard warning are winds of 35 miles per hour or greater and visibility of a quarter of a mile or less.

Iowa State Patrol Trooper Kevin Krull tells us some of the things motorists should keep in mind in regard to winter driving.

Krull says in the winter time it’s a good idea to have a full tank of fuel. He says there are other things to remember as well.

Trooper Krull tells us what to include in a winter-survival kit.

He also has some advice for us if you get stranded in the winter.

Rock Valley, Iowa — Your next chance to help boost the blood supply in northwest Iowa is this Veterans Day Friday in Rock Valley.

Lauri Hoffmann, who is the Program Coordinator for the Community Blood Bank, tells us about it.

She says they always need every blood type, but some more urgently than others.

Hoffman gives us some reminders for those who are interested in helping others by donating blood.

Again, the bloodmobile will be at Hegg Health Center Avera this Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Sioux Center, Iowa — Work on Highway 75 through Sioux Center is slated to begin next spring.

Sioux Center City Manager Scott Wynja gives us a progress update.

City officials tell us that they want a corridor that will safely serve the community and visitors, offer safe pedestrian use, and welcome travelers to the community.

The project is to turn the highway, which also serves as Sioux Center’s main street, into an enhanced 4-lane roadway featuring two lanes of travel in each direction with medians and a center turn lane.

Northwest Iowa — The burning bans issued in September for O’Brien, Osceola, and Sioux counties have been lifted.

Even after the recent rains, to be sure, conditions are still dry. The latest USDA crop report says 85 percent of topsoil in the northwest region is rated “short” or “very short” of moisture, with only 15 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus.

But the emergency officials in the counties and the State Fire Marshal’s office have determined that enough risk has been eliminated that the burning bans could be lifted. O’Brien County’s ban was lifted at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday night. Osceola’s was lifted as of 9 o’clock Wednesday morning, and Sioux’s was lifted as of noon on Wednesday.

Burning bans are put in place to prohibit open burning in unincorporated areas when the fire marshal finds that conditions are such that open burning constitutes a danger to life or property.

What we commonly call a “burning ban” should really be called an “open burning ban,” as certain kinds of fires are permitted. Sioux County Emergency Management Director Nate Huizenga says fires in barbeque grills, covered fire pits, barrels covered by a mesh screen, and incinerators are all OK. Plus, you can also get a permit to do open burning during a burning ban if officials believe the risk is low enough and other conditions are met.

Again, the burning bans in Sioux, O’Brien, and Osceola counties have been lifted. Emergency officials, however, would still like you to call your county sheriff’s office to advise them when you are going to be doing some burning to eliminate sending fire departments to false fire calls from the public.