Northwest Iowa — An Iowa State Patrol Trooper who is well-known in northwest Iowa was promoted to sergeant in a ceremony held Friday in Des Moines.

Trooper Vince Kurtz is very familiar to listeners of the KIWA Morning Show with Wayne and Aaron, having appeared as a monthly guest on the program for the past couple of years. Sgt. Kurtz tells us about his new position with the Iowa State Patrol.

The Sergeant talks bout his career with the Patrol.

Kurtz says his promotion does not require his family to move, which he says, pleased his daughters very much.

Sgt. Kurtz says they hope to have the process of selecting someone to fill his recently-vacated position as Public Resource Officer by sometime in January or February. Until that time, he says he’ll be filling both jobs as much as possible. And, as Public Resource Officer, Kurtz says that, on the foggy mornings we’ve had lately, motorists should NOT rely on their vehicle’s automatic headlights to turn on when they’re needed in the fog.

He also spoke about relying on daytime running lamps in the fog. He says that, while those will help you be seen by traffic approaching from the front, they do nothing to make your presence known to vehicles behind you, since your tail lights do not come on with your daytime running lamps.

 

Spencer, Iowa — An area facility that helps suffering kids and families received a special grant recently.

Officials at Seasons Center for Behavioral Health say they have received a Regional Partnership Grant (RPG) focused on supporting families who are suffering from the impact of abuse, trauma, and substance use. Seasons Center’s VP of Program Growth and Development, Christina Eggink-Postma, tells us about the grant.


Eggink-Postma tells us this was not a routine grant, but something special.


According to Eggink-Postma, details will be released soon as to how they will use the grant funds toward their intended purpose.


She tells us that the grant will help them help children through Seasons Center and Autumn’s Center in Spencer, as well as Camp Autumn in O’Brien County. She says it will help children throughout the area.

December 7, 2018 - 12:57 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Over the past several weeks we’ve seen the pump prices of gasoline drop here in our area, and similar decreases have been seen nationwide.

Triple-A Iowa reports that the average price for a gallon of gas nationwide is now at a record low of $2.43 a gallon. The average in Iowa dropped 13-cents compared to last week to hit $2.16 a gallon. That’s 30 cents a gallon lower than last year at this time. Triple-A spokesman Nick Jarmusz says everything has fallen into place to push prices lower.

Jarmusz says you won’t pay the average price at all stations — as the cost to fill up can vary quite a bit across the state. Here in Sheldon, as of Friday mid-day, the pump prices are within a cent or two of $2.15 a gallon.

He says the prices should stay low for awhile — but there is one unknown still out there.

Jarmusz says it is likely the prices will stay right around where they are, at least through December.

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — A top Iowa Farm Bureau official says he’s thankful Mexico didn’t start a food fight during the renegotiation of NAFTA.

David Miller, the IFB’s director of research, notes – unlike other countries – Mexican trade officials did not target agricultural products when retaliating to U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs.

Speaking this week at the Iowa Farm Bureau’s annual meeting in Des Moines, Miller said he wishes that would’ve been the model for other countries involved in trade disputes with the U.S.

Miller was quick to point out China did retaliate on U.S. food and ag products and that Mexico has done so in the past. He added it’s “refreshing” that, for the most part, the U.S., Canada and Mexico have kept food out of the tariff dispute.

December 6, 2018 - 2:13 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — The Internal Revenue Service is highlighting the importance of keeping your tax information safe this week.

IRS spoksman, Christopher Miller says “National Tax Security Awareness Week” is especially important based on the trend this year.

Phising is when someone uses an email address that looks legitimate, but is not and they are trying to get your personal information. He says the reports of the problem are up dramatically this year.

Miller says the scams can be very sophisticated.

He says once you open the links they ask you for personal information that can use to file a tax return in your name. He says they will try all avenues to get to you and it may be someone close to you.

If the email is asking you for things like your Social Security number or bank information — that’s a big clue that it is a phising attempt.

Miller says you can help them try to stop these attacks.

One recent campaign used emais with subjects like “IRS Important Notice,” “IRS Taxpayer Notice” and other variations to demand a payment or they threaten to seize the recipient’s tax refund.

December 5, 2018 - 3:36 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Your gas meter. It’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind when we have ice or snow. But you shouldn’t completely ignore it either.

We talked to MidAmerican Energy Spokesperson Geoff Greenwood. He says they ask their customers to clear snow from their meters.


According to Greenwood, things have changed in the past few years in most areas MidAmerican serves. He says in most cases, company meter-readers no longer have to access each meter physically once a month, but . . .


Greenwood says if you’re feeling extra generous, you can clear a path in the snow to your meter, but their crews can handle that if they need to. Just make sure the meter is not buried in snow or ice. For more information, you can call your gas company. In MidAmerican’s territory, the number to call is (888) 427-5632.

Sheldon, Iowa — No injuries were reported in the collision of a Sheldon school bus and a minivan Wednesday morning at the south edge of Sheldon.

According to the Iowa State Patrol, about 8:00 Wednesday morning a 2002 Ford Windstar, driven by 21-year old Michael Austen Howe of Orange City exited Highway 60 at the Business 60 South exit, and attempted a left turn onto Business 60 South. At the same time, a 2008 Thomas school bus, owned by the Sheldon Community Schools, and driven by 35-year old Mark David Pritts of Sheldon, was northbound on Business 60 South, and rear-ended Howe’s minivan. Troopers say both vehicles ended up on the east shoulder.

Howe reportedly told troopers that he didn’t see the school bus due to the bright sunlight. Troopers say that Pritts told them that Howe had failed to stop at the stop sign posted at the end of the off ramp.

According to the trooper’s report, the Sheldon school bus contained 17 children at the time of the crash. Troopers say all of the children showed to be OK, with no injuries whatsoever. Another school bus was summoned to pick up the children and deliver them to class.

According to the Iowa State Patrol, damage to Howe’s minivan is estimated at about $3-thousand, while the school bus sustained an estimated $10-thousand damage in the crash.

Howe was reportedly cited for Failure to Obey a Stop Sign and Yield Right of Way.

Northwest Iowa — In the next few days, while there’s little chance for snow — maybe now’s the time to make sure that your winter survival kit in your vehicle is well-stocked with the right type of items.

We had a chance to visit with Iowa State Patrol Trooper Vince Kurtz, who tells us people should take a moment to think about winter driving. He calls it a “change of mindset.”


He says people sometimes get the idea that it’s up to the road crews to keep the roads in shape so that you can maintain control of your vehicle. But Kurtz says that’s not the case.


According to Kurtz, there are three main items you should keep in your vehicle in the winter, and several others that would be a good idea. He says the first one is almost a foregone conclusion nowadays — a way to communicate, like a cell phone.


Even though drinks may freeze if you keep them in the vehicle, they will thaw as you stay in your warm vehicle and provide you with something to drink. Remember that water expands when it freezes and could burst the container if you’re not careful.

Kurtz says there are other items that would be a good idea to include.


Some experts suggest some kitty litter to pour out under your drive-wheel tires to help with traction if you are in a slippery spot. If you are on meds, it would be a good idea to include at least a day’s supply of them.

Some items you might want to have in your vehicle year-round, according to experts. Such things may include jumper cables, reflective triangles, and a small hand-cranked or battery-operated AM/FM radio (with extra batteries).

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office has also released some winter driving and survival tips. Click here for that list.

December 5, 2018 - 2:03 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — Iowa again ranks among the best states in the country for motorists, according to a report from a personal finance website.

Adrian Garcia, a data analyst for Bankrate.com, says they compared things like annual insurance premiums, road conditions and commute times in all 50 states.

The reports are done every two years. In this latest report, Iowa placed 2nd in the national rankings, up from 3rd in 2016.

The average Iowa driver pays about a thousand dollars a year for car insurance, while the average California driver pays $17-hundred. Likewise, commute times in Iowa average 19 minutes versus 29 minutes in California, which ranked 50th on the list.

The report finds 11-percent of Iowa’s roads are of poor quality, compared to last-place California where 44-percent of the roads are in poor shape. The best state for drivers, according to the report, is North Dakota, followed by Iowa, Ohio, Minnesota and Nebraska. The worst state is California, followed by Hawaii, Connecticut, New Jersey and Washington.

You can view the entire 50-state report by CLICKING HERE.

December 4, 2018 - 3:10 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — Trade troubles with China have caused financial strain on many industries in the US, including agriculture, but Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is praising a new gesture by that nation involving Fentanyl.

Chinese officials vow to tighten controls on the production and export of that highly-potent drug, which Grassley says is a move that’s long overdue.

Grassley is chairman of the Judiciary Committee and the Caucus on International Narcotics Control. He says Fentanyl-laced heroin has fueled the deadly opioid epidemic in recent years and is linked to the majority of opioid overdose deaths in America.

In October, Grassley says his panel heard from government officials and experts from across the U-S who emphasized the need for China to act on Fentanyl. Grassley says former Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who is the U-S Ambassador to China, has been working toward this for some time.

A news release from Grassley’s office says in 2017, a full 60-percent of U-S opioid deaths involved Fentanyl, which is an increase from 14-percent in 2010. The release also says Fentanyl is involved in more deaths than prescription opioids or heroin.