July 27, 2021 - 10:49 am - Posted in News

Sioux Center, Iowa — A Rock Valley woman was taken to the hospital after her SUV collided with a train near Sioux Center Monday afternoon.

According to Sioux County authorities, at 3:25 Monday afternoon they received a report of a collision that happened on 360th Street, two miles northwest of Sioux Center.

Deputies say 20-year-old Elizabeth Blum of Rock Valley was driving a 2007 Buick Rainier westbound on 360th Street when she allegedly failed to yield to a train traveling southbound on the BNSF Railway and the two struck in the railroad crossing.

Blum was reportedly transported by the Sioux Center Ambulance to Sioux Center Health for treatment of minor injuries.

The Buick sustained approximately $10,000 in damage.

Deputies say Blum was cited for failing to stop at a railway crossing.

The sheriff’s office was assisted by the Sioux Center Police Department, Sioux Center Ambulance and Sioux Center Fire Department.

Statewide Iowa — With high temperatures flirting with triple digits this week, practically everyone in Iowa is struggling to stay cool, but the heat wave can be particularly challenging for people who are living with dementia.

Lauren Livingston, spokeswoman for the Iowa chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, says the extreme heat can be just as dangerous as a wintertime blizzard for people with memory issues.

Family and friends should make plans to regularly check in on a person living with dementia during extreme heat and special arrangement may be needed for sleeping.

During the winter, we’ll occasionally hear about so-called Silver Alerts when a person with Alzheimer’s has wandered from home during the bitter cold. Livingston says the risks during the heat of summer are just as great.

More than six-million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease, including 66,000 Iowans.

Orange City, Iowa — Last year’s Sioux County Relay for Life was a little different due to COVID. It was a cruise night. This year’s Relay will be a little unusual as well.

Gerry Bomgaars is on the committee and he tells us about this year’s Relay for Life, which will be in Orange City.

Bomgaars says the event will be this Wednesday, July 28th at the Windmill Park in Orange City. He says it might be hot, but they’ll have plenty of water available for everyone. He says kids’ games will be played and the playground will be open for them as well.

Luminaria to honor a survivor or in memory of someone who is done fighting their battle with cancer can be purchased online, at local banks (Bomgaars suggests calling your local bank to see if they have them), or at the Relay event on Wednesday.

Bomgaars says the pork sandwich meal will be available for a free-will donation, but cancer survivors get their meal for free. He says they also especially invite the caregivers as well.

Bomgaars says we’ve come a long way, but there is much to be done yet as far as research and also to help victims and their families. Again, the Sioux County Relay For Life will be this Wednesday evening at Windmill Park in Orange City, starting at 5:30 p.m.

July 26, 2021 - 11:10 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa —  There were four new positive COVID test results in the four-county area of Lyon, Sioux, O’Brien and Osceola Counties during the past seven days, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The positive test results included two tests in Sioux County, with one each in O’Brien and Lyon Counties. Once again, no new positives were reported in Osceola County.

For another week there were no new deaths reported in the four-county area in the past seven days. Since the pandemic began 74 Sioux County residents have succumbed to the virus, along with 57 from O’Brien County, 41 from Lyon County and 17 from Osceola County.

This week’s report lists COVID outbreaks in two Iowa long-term care facilities, but provided no additional details.

Orange City, Iowa – Iowa State University Extension and Outreach’s Annual Farmland Leasing Meetings for agriculture property owners, tenants, ag business representatives and lenders will be held at 11 different locations throughout early August, including Sheldon, Orange City and Rock Rapids.

Each workshop will focus on current farmland value and lease rate trends, methods for determining fair ag rents for 2022 and farmland lease communication and legalities, including how to write and terminate a lease.

ISU Extension officials say the meetings are designed for ag property owners and tenants, so they focus greatly on land ownership and tenant information such as rental rates and land values. The meetings will also discuss how to determine a fair cash rent with the current economic uncertainty.

Upcoming workshop dates and locations include:

August 3, 9:00 a.m. – ISU Extension and Outreach Sioux County office, 400 Central Ave. NW, Orange City; Preregister to 712-737-4230.

August 4, 9:00 a.m. – ISU Extension and Outreach Buena Vista County office, 824 Flindt Dr., Storm Lake; Preregister to 712-732-5056.

August 4, 5:00 p.m. – ISU Extension and Outreach Cherokee County office, 209 Centennial Dr., Cherokee; Preregister to 712-225-6196.

August 5, 9:00 a.m. – Dickinson County Community Building, 1602 15th Street, Spirit Lake; Preregister to 712-336-3488.

August 5, 3:00 p.m. – Immanuel Lutheran Church, 409 N 6th St., Estherville; Preregister to 712-362-3434.

August 10, 1:30 p.m. – ISU Extension and Outreach Woodbury County office, 4728 Southern Hills Dr., Sioux City; Preregister to 712-276-2157.

August 11, 9:00 a.m. – ISU Extension and Outreach Plymouth County office, 251 12th St. SE, Le Mars; Preregister to 712-546-7835.

August 11, 3:00 p.m. – Northwest Iowa Community College, Building A, Room 119, 603 W Park St., Sheldon; Preregister to 712-957-5045.

August 12, 9:00 a.m. – Forster Community Center, 405 South 2nd Ave., Rock Rapids; Preregister to 712-472-2576 or 712-754-3648.

August 12, 2:00 p.m. – 4-H Auditorium, Clay County Fairgrounds, 800 West 18th St., Spencer; Preregister to 712-262-2264.

August 17, 9:00 a.m. – Mallard Community Center, 605 Inman St., Mallard; Preregister to 712-852-2865 or 712-335-3103.

Meetings are approximately 2 ½ hours in length and all registrants receive a leasing arrangement book, as well as access to research-based resources from ISU Extension and Outreach. There is a $20 per individual or $30 per couple preregistration fee for those who preregister to the ISU Extension and Outreach office hosting the meeting at least two days prior to the workshop date.

Individuals are encouraged to call in and preregister so that adequate space and materials can be prepared and nobody has to be turned away.

For more information regarding land leasing and value or the upcoming workshops, contact Wright at 712-223-1574 or gdwright@iastate.edu.

Statewide Iowa — With last year’s derecho, Iowans learned the hard way that highly destructive weather events can be something other than tornadoes or floods.

Technically, the derecho was a severe thunderstorm, the most destructive thunderstorm in U.S. history. National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Krull says they’re soon adding severe thunderstorms — and, thus, any future derecho — to an important alert system.

Krull says any severe thunderstorms that NWS believes will produce damaging wind gusts in excess of 80 miles per hour or produce hail sizes baseball or larger will now activate the wireless emergency alerts on your cell phones. Starting August 2nd, the National Weather Service will be able to better convey the severity and potential impacts from major thunderstorms to the public — in seconds.

On average, only about ten-percent of all severe thunderstorms reach the “destructive” category, things like a derecho or a “supercell” storm. When the rare ones hit, people need to know — and right away — so the alert system is being expanded.

Krull says for most cell phones, it should automatically happen. He says some folks do have the alerts turned off on their cell phones, depending on whether you’re using an iPhone or some kind of Android device, he says you may want to check the settings for what your wireless emergency alerts are set to.

The powerful derecho that struck August 10th of 2020 packed winds up to 140 miles an hour — the equivalent of a category four hurricane — and it caused more than 13-billion dollars damage, most of it in Iowa. The storm started causing havoc in western Iowa and moved quickly eastward, doing its worst destruction in the Cedar Rapids area, eventually dissipating in Illinois. In many respects, it was like having a 150-mile long tornado that was 50 miles wide.

Statewide Iowa — Iowa’s dry conditions held about the same in the last week with around 70 percent of Iowa in some form of drought — and around 25 percent with severe drought conditions.

DNR hydrologist, Tim Hall, says the overall picture is still better than we had one month ago.

He says the average streamflows across the state are around normal — which is a little misleading.

Hall says the long-term forecast is a concern.

Hall says we are in a situation where things can flip in a real positive direction or go the other way in a real negative direction depending on how much rainfall does come.

The new drought monitor will come out this coming Thursday.

Washington, D.C. — An Ankeny woman who is president of the National Pork Producers Council is urging members of the U.S. Senate to reform the visa system so immigrants working as farm hands or in meat packing plants can stay permanently.

Jen Sorenson is also the communications for Iowa Select Farms, the largest pork producer in Iowa and the 8th largest in the United States.

The current H-2A visa program allows agribusinesses to fill temporary positions with foreign-born workers. Sorenson says that’s designed for seasonal agriculture, like vegetable and fruit farms, not for livestock operations which need a workforce all year long.

In March, the U.S. House passed a bill to make changes in the visa program for temporary farm workers. Sorenson says the bill is an excellent solution — if the bill’s cap on the number of visas in the bill is eliminated, so an unlimited number of visas for farm workers is available.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley invited Sorenson to testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee this week. Grassley also invited Leon Sequeira, an assistant U.S. Labor Secretary in President Bush’s Administration and the former legal counsel to the Senate’s Republican leader.

The National Pork Producers Council president told senators the labor shortage in the pork industry is exacerbates by continued population decline in rural areas of the country, where most pork production and processing is located.

Sioux Center, Iowa — A Hull woman was taken to the hospital after an accident in Sioux Center on Thursday, July 22, 2021.

The Sioux Center Police Department reports that about 5:15 p.m., 25-year-old Porter Ross of Sioux Center was driving a 2005 Honda northbound on Highway 75. Sixty-Seven-year-old Douglas Baade of Rock Rapids was also northbound on 75 in a 2005 Chevy SUV. And they tell us 74-year-old George Heynen of Hull was also northbound on 75 in a 2016 GMC SUV.

The report says that Ross was following Baade, Baade was following Heynen. They tell us Ross advised he was looking at a group of people off the left of his vehicle standing along Highway 75. Ross told officers he saw the brake lights of the Baade SUV shut off and did not realize Baade had again stepped on his brakes. They tell us that Ross hit the rear of the Baade SUV, which caused Baade to hit the Heynen SUV.

The Sioux Center Ambulance took a passenger in the Heynen vehicle, 69-year-old Nancy Heynen of Hull to Sioux Center Health Hospital. Ross was checked out by EMS, was released, and was not transported. All three vehicles were driven away.

The three vehicles sustained about $1000 in damages, each, according to the report.

Ross was charged with failure to stop in assured clear distance, according to the officer.

July 23, 2021 - 2:24 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — The Olympics are getting underway and Racing and Gaming Administrator, Brian Ohorilko, says they will give Iowa’s growing new sports betting industry a boost.

This is the first summer with the Olympics since the industry got up and running in Iowa.

He says there are also a few things that are off limits for sports betting.

The Olympics will fill some of the gap in the sports world before the fall college and pro football seasons get underway. More than one point-two BILLION dollars was spent on sports in Iowa in the first full fiscal year of betting that ended June 30th.