November 17, 2018 - 9:11 am - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — A semi tractor was destroyed in a blaze late Friday afternoon on Highway 60 near Sibley.

Sibley Fire Chief Ken Huls tells KIWA that his crews were paged about 4:20 Friday afternoon to the call of a semi-truck fire on the southbound side of Highway 60, just south of A-22, in the vicinity of Jackrabbit Junction.

Huls says the truck driver had pulled to the side of the highway, and attempted to extinguish the blaze with a fire extinguisher, but was unable to do so. The Chief says when fire crews arrived at the scene, the semi’s tractor was fully engulfed. Heat from the fire reportedly ignited grass in the ditch, which spread into a field of standing corn stalks. The Ashton Fire Department was called out to assist, and they battled the ditch and field fire, according to Huls. He says the effort to extinguish the fire in the standing stalks was aided by a tractor and disc provided by a nearby implement dealer.

Chief Huls reports that the semi tractor, a 2008 Volvo, owned by KSX Trucking of Arion, Iowa, was completely destroyed, with damage estimated at about $15-thousand. Amazingly, the trailer, which contained soybean oil soap being transported from Mankato to Sioux City, was undamaged.

No injuries were reported, according to Huls, and firefighters were on the scene for about two hours.

Sibley Firefighters were assisted at the scene by the Ashton Fire Department and a deputy from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office.

November 16, 2018 - 4:51 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — Three northwest Iowa business projects were given prize money for placing in the annual Dream Big Grow Here entrepreneur contest held on Thursday night in Sheldon. And one of them is from right here in O’Brien County.

Economic development professionals in the area, who organize the contest say that the Dream Big Grow Here contest is an opportunity for entrepreneurs and small business owners to fulfill their dreams of self-employment or expansion of their current business. The contest allows entrepreneurs the chance to submit their dreams to start or expand a business, then encourage friends, family, and customers to vote for them online. The finalists presented their ideas to an audience and judges at Thursday’s pitch-off event at the Crossroads Pavilion in Sheldon for a chance to win thousands in cash prizes.

Entrepreneurs in Cherokee, Lyon, Monona, O’Brien, Osceola, Plymouth, Sioux and Woodbury counties were eligible to submit their business or startup ideas, says Sheldon Development Director Curt Strouth.

He tells us the winners.

Strouth says between 50 and 60 people attended the event. He says if you run a business or you’d like to start one, keep an eye out for the contest next year.

According to Strouth you can call him at the SCDC at 712-324-2813 or an economic development professional in your community for more information.

Statewide Iowa — Iowa’s unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level in nearly 19 years. Iowa Workforce Development spokesman Cory Kelly says the state’s jobless rate in October dipped to 2.4 percent.

Only Hawaii, at 2.3 percent, has a lower unemployment rate than Iowa.

The IWD report shows the construction and manufacturing sectors are responsible for the bulk of Iowa’s job growth since October of 2017.

According to Kelly, construction added 1,600 jobs last month and has now recorded nine consecutive months of job gains. Iowa manufacturers added 1,900 jobs in October.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,647,100 in October. That’s an increase of 21,300 compared to one year ago.

Kelly says there was job growth in several areas.

The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 3.7 percent in October.

The latest NOT seasonally-adjusted county-by-county unemployment figures available are those for the month of September. According to Iowa Workforce Development, that month, Lyon and Sioux counties tied for the lowest unemployment in the state, at 1.2 percent. O’Brien and Plymouth weren’t far behind, tied for fifth place at 1.6 percent with five other counties. Osceola was tied for sixth place with nine other counties at 1.7 percent.

On the other end of the scale were Marshall and Lee counties at 3.7 percent, and Wapello County bringing up the rear with four percent unemployment.

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November 16, 2018 - 2:59 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — Whatever the weather, Iowa’s highways will be humming with heavy traffic next weekend as people head off to be with loved ones and to share a Thanksgiving feast.

Nick Jarmusz, spokesman for Triple-A-Iowa, says they’re forecasting a near-five percent boost in travel for the long holiday weekend, what promises to be the busiest Thanksgiving since 2005.

Gasoline prices have dipped substantially in recent weeks, which is welcome news before Iowans fill up their tanks.

Consumers have plenty for which to be thankful this holiday season, including higher wages, more disposable income and rising levels of household wealth, Jarmusz says. Plus, those lower prices at the pump.

In most cases, he says the best days to travel will be Thanksgiving Day, Friday or Saturday. Drivers will likely see increased travel times on Sunday, Jarmusz says, as most holiday travelers will be making their way home after the long weekend.

Sheldon, Iowa — An elderly Sibley man was injured after his minivan struck two parked vehicles in the Sheldon Hy-Vee parking lot during the noon hour Thursday.

Sheldon Police report that a 2003 Chrysler Town & Country minivan,driven by 91-year old Gilbert Donald Petersen of Sibley, backed from a parking space at Hy-Vee, then accelerated forward rapidly, leaving black marks on the lot. Police say Petersen’s van struck the rear of a parked 2014 Chrysler Town & Country minivan, which had been parked beside Petersen’s vehicle. Petersen’s minivan then reportedly glanced off of the parked minivan, and continued forward in a circular motion, striking the rear of a parked 2018 Ford Edge.

According to the crash report, Petersen was transported to the Sanford Sheldon Medical Center by the Sheldon Community Ambulance Team for treatment of what are described as “minor” injuries.

Damage to Petersen’s minivan were estimated at about $4-thousand, with damage to the parked minivan estimated to be about $2-thousand, and damage to the Ford Edge estimated at $5-thousand.

November 16, 2018 - 11:59 am - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — The fees for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses in Iowa will soon increase. A legislative committee has given final approval to the license fee increases, which were proposed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources staff.

That’s Bruce Trautman, the acting director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. It’s been 15 years since the state license fee for fishing was raised, as Republican lawmakers have vowed NOT to raise state taxes OR fees. So…Iowa legislators recently handed over authority to DNR staff to set hunting, fishing and trapping license fees. The fees go into the state’s Fish and Wildlife Fund and are used on staff salaries and to do things like improve wildlife habitat and run the state’s fish hatcheries. Trautman says the new fees won’t take effect until next year.

There’s been a growing reliance on FEES to run the DNR. The amount of GENERAL state tax dollars budgeted for the agency is less than half of what it was a decade ago. Sporting groups lobbied for the increase in hunting, fishing and trapping license fees for several years.

November 15, 2018 - 3:16 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — A federal survey ranks Iowa number-four in the country for volunteerism, with more than 40-percent of Iowans donating their time, well above the national average of around 30-percent.

Barbara Stewart, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, says from religious groups to educational endeavors, Iowans are very generous with their giving.

Iowa’s fourth-place ranking this year is up six positions from the previous survey in 2016. The report finds Iowans donated more than 75-million hours of their time with an economic impact of nearly $2-billion. While many Iowans donate their time through organizations, many others take part in what’s considered “informal volunteering,” which may just be lending a hand to the person next door.

While Iowa ranks fourth overall for volunteerism, the state ranks third in Millennial participation and second in the nation for parental engagement.

The study also finds 55-percent of Iowans donate at least 25-dollars to charity, while the average Iowan donates 34 hours of time every year. Only Utah, Minnesota and Oregon rank higher than Iowa on the Volunteering in America report, while the bottom three states are Nevada, Mississippi and Florida. Learn more about how to volunteer in your own community at

November 15, 2018 - 3:05 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — Iowans elected Joni Ernst to the U.S. Senate in 2014 and her GOP colleagues have just elected her vice chair of the Senate Republican Conference.

It’s the first time since 2010 that a woman has been elected by her fellow Republicans to serve in a leadership role in the senate.

As vice chair, Ernst will be a leading messenger for the GOP agenda in the senate. In addition, she’ll be a liaison between rank-and-file members of the senate and the top GOP leaders.

Ernst was elected Wednesday during a private meeting of the Republicans who’ll be serving in the U.S. Senate in January. Ernst told the group she is a “fierce competitor.”

Ernst says as a result, she may be better than her male colleagues at connecting with key constituencies.

Ernst indicated she’ll use her new role to push Iowa-specific issues.

Ernst is likely to be seeking re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2020 and this new position will give her a more visible national profile.

Republican Chuck Grassley, the other U.S. Senator from Iowa, will be the Republican with the longest tenure when the Senate convenes in January. Grassley will become the Senate President Pro Tempore because of that seniority. As senate president pro tem, Grassley will be third in the line of presidential succession, behind the vice president and the speaker of the U.S. House.

Statewide Iowa — Flags in Iowa will fly at half-staff this Friday, in honor of a fallen U.S. Navy sailor.

Governor Kim Reynolds has ordered all flags at half-staff from sunrise to sunset Friday, in honor of Navy Carpenter’s Mate 3rd Class William L. Kvidera, of Traer, who was killed in action on December 7, 1941, when the USS Oklahoma was attacked by Japanese aircraft at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

The 22-year old Kvidera’s remains were accounted for on July 3rd of this year.  After nearly seventy-seven years, he has now been brought back home to his final resting place.

Flags will be flown at half-staff on the State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol Complex, as well as on all public buildings, grounds and facilities throughout the state.

Governor Reynolds encourages individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions to fly the flag at half-staff Friday, as well, as a sign of respect for this fallen hero.

November 15, 2018 - 2:35 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — Details are now being released on a single-vehicle traffic crash that happened Sunday noon west of Sibley.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that a 2001 Ford Ranger, driven by 22-year old Ezequiel Ayala Lopez of Sibley was northbound in the 1800-mile of Monroe Avenue. Deputies say it appears that the passenger wheels on Lopez pickup hit a washboard rut area, causing Lopez to lose control, cross the road and enter the west ditch, where the pickup rolled several times before coming to rest of its wheels, facing southeast in the ditch.

Deputies say Lopez was transported to the Osceola Community Hospital for treatment of injuries.

According to authorities, damage to Lopez’ pickup was estimated at about $6-thousand. Deputies say Lopez was cited for No Seatbelt, and Failure to Maintain Control.