Statewide Iowa — (RI) — Iowa farmers could again be facing costly delays in planting early in 2020 as forecasters warn the chances are rising for another cold, wet spring ahead — and more flooding.

Meteorologist Dennis Todey, director of the U-S-D-A’s Midwest Climate Hub, based in Ames, says conditions are setting up in a familiar pattern.

Wet soil and flooding forced many Iowa farmers to push back planting this year and the harvest has lasted into December for some growers. Based on the latest data, Todey says farmers could be in for another difficult planting season.

Winter arrives on December 21st this year, so we’re a good three months from the start of spring. Radical shifts in weather patterns before then are possible, though unlikely. Todey says the trends into early spring will be the ones to watch.

Severe and record flooding hit much of the Northern Plains this year and many of the region’s rivers are still near, at or above flood stage.

Dennis Todey photo courtesy of Radio Iowa

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — The top Republican in the Iowa Senate says GOP lawmakers are considering a tax package that may raise the state sale one percent, with part of the money financing water quality efforts and the rest used to replace taxes that are cut.

Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver says Republicans want to cut income taxes, property taxes AND corporate taxes. That conversation is now merged with discussion of raising the sales tax. In 2010, Iowa voters approved a new state natural resources fund — to be filled with the first three-eights of a cent of any future sales tax increase.

Whitver says the preference of Senate Republicans would be to cut income taxes to offset the sales tax increase.

Republican lawmakers passed a significant income tax reduction in 2018, but it’s not fully phased in yet. The 2020 Iowa legislative session starts January 13th.

Photo courtesy of Radio Iowa

December 7, 2019 - 8:07 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Here in northwest Iowa we’ve seen our first blast of winter weather, and it seems as though each year we have to re-learn how to drive in wintry conditions.

We asked Iowa State Patrol Trooper Kevin Krull to share a few winter driving safety tips. Trooper Krull says the first tip he’d give is to slow down.

He says it’s also important to remember that stopping your vehicle is more of a challenge on slippery roads.

Krull says many people put too much faith in four-wheel drive vehicles to take them anywhere through all kinds of snow. He reminds us that, even in a four-wheel drive vehicle it’s still possible to get stuck.

He says when snow and blowing snow reduce visibility, don’t blindly follow the tracks left by the last vehicle in front of you. All too often you’ll simply follow those tracks into the ditch, right behind the vehicle that left them.

He had one final thought about traveling in bad winter weather.

Trooper Krull urges you to stay on top of the latest weather forecasts, and plan accordingly. When you’re driving in wintry conditions he says you should slow down, and if you can postpone your trip until after the weather improves, that will be your safest course of action.

December 5, 2019 - 1:56 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon shows up high in a recent ranking of Iowa colleges by a nationally-recognized publisher.

EDsmart.org, a publisher of college resources and rankings says they provide college rankings, ratings, and reviews from the best sources. They say they tell the true story behind higher education.

Recently, EDsmart.org ranked the “Best Colleges & Universities in Iowa.” Northwest Iowa Community College is ranked fourth on that list. It is worth mentioning that the only three schools that ranked higher on the list are the three state schools in Iowa: Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Northern Iowa — in that order.

The ranking says NCC is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It says the college has a total enrollment of around 600 undergraduate students, and it boasts an acceptance rate of 100 percent. According to EDsmart.org, some of the most popular majors at NCC include the liberal arts, humanities, nursing, and electrical engineering. They report that the graduation rate at Northwest Iowa Community College is 70 percent, and the average starting salary for graduates of the institution is approximately $38,000 per year. The ranking says the school boasts a good value for the cost, and “it has a good record as a safe campus with a high quality of life for the student body.”

Other nearby schools on the list include Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville at number eight, Buena Vista University at number nine, and Western Iowa Tech Community College in Sioux City at number 21. Find the full ranking here.

Statewide Iowa — More than two million Iowans are registered to vote in Iowa — a new milestone for this point in an election cycle.

There have never been this many registered voters in Iowa at the beginning of December, heading into a General Election year. Secretary of State Paul Pate cites a variety of factors, like the new law that lets 17-year-olds register to vote if they’ll be 18 by Election Day next November. The 17-year-olds can also vote in a primary election if they will be 18 by the general election.

Pate also noted people can register online and victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking can register to vote now and keep their address confidential. Go to www.radioiowa.com to see how voter registration numbers break out for the political parties and in each of Iowa’s four congressional districts.

It’s a little different story in northwest Iowa. While O’Brien County Auditor Barb Rohwer did mention a small influx of 17-year-olds, somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 voters, she says there was not a big change, as voter registration is pretty high already in O’Brien County — a sentiment echoed by her counterparts in Sioux, Osceola, and Lyon counties.

Sioux County Auditor Ryan Dokter says his county is almost always in the top five or ten counties statewide for the percentage of citizens who are registered to vote. He says the numbers are always in a bit of a state of flux. He does expect a push to register to vote as we approach next year’s general election.

RadioIowa assisted with this story.

December 4, 2019 - 4:03 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — If you’re looking for that perfect gift for Christmas, you might consider one of the hottest selling items of the year on Iowa cars and trucks. The blackout license plates went on sale in July and have proved to be very popular.

Iowa D-O-T Vehicle Services Manager, Daniel Yeh says they have been able to adjust the production run of the regular plates to meet the demand.


The blackout plates become the top-selling specialty plate by mid-October. The blackout plates started when the standard number series that began with the letter I — and quickly moved through those letter combinations.


The next series of plates will start with the letter J. He says they do occasionally have to make adjustments in the number sequence for specialized plate requests.


He is glad they have the computer to keep track of the many variations of plates.


Sales of the blackout plates topped 46-thousand through mid-October to pull ahead of the black and gold University of Iowa plates as the best selling specialty license plate.

Around northwest Iowa, the plates are also very popular, according to county treasurers’ offices. In Lyon, O’Brien, Osceola, and Sioux counties, they confirm that they are the most popular specialty plate now. In the counties that had available figures, they are issuing roughly about one-fourth as many blackout plates as standard plates. Of course, there are still many other kinds of specialty plates also available.

County treasurers’ office officials tell us that many people are replacing their current plates with the blackout plates. In fact, in Sioux County, they tell us that one day, they went through a half a box of 50 blackout plates, which is all but unheard-of.

If you’re interested in the white writing on black background plates, you can find out more by contacting the motor vehicle department of your treasurer’s office.

Statewide Iowa — Many thousands of deer hunters will be combing Iowa’s fields and forests this weekend as the first of two shotgun seasons will open Saturday.

Tyler Harms, a wildlife biometrician with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, expects it to be a busy weekend and he reminds hunters to wear their blaze orange, follow the regulations, and report their harvest.

Harms predicts the deer harvested this month won’t fluctuate too much from 2018’s numbers.

Mother Nature has a lot to do with those numbers and Harms notes this weekend’s forecast is for drier, warmer weather.

The first shotgun season runs December 7th through the 11th, with the second season running December 14th through the 22nd.

KIWA Archive Photo

Statewide Iowa (RI) — Information from a debit and credit card processor located in Iowa confirms the trend that sees more Christmas shopping moving on-line.

SHAZAM network spokesman Patrick Dix says they found Black Friday transactions increased by three-point-five percent. He says type of card used for those purchases caught his eye.

The debit cards take money directly from your account instead of building a balance you have to pay later with a credit card. The amount spent for each Black Friday transaction went up 12 percent to around 28 dollars.

He says you can tell retailers have realized that on-line shopping continues to grow.

Transactions for Cyber Monday were up 14 percent and the average purchase amount was up four percent.

People spent an average of 27 dollars on Cyber Monday. Whether you shop on-line or in a store — Dix says there’s not clear cut choice of how people will pay.

He says they did see an increase in the number of digital wallet transactions done without a card.

Dix says this is also a generational issue as those who are more used to using their electronic devices begin to have more income to spend.

December 3, 2019 - 3:32 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Almost all — but not quite all — of the corn has now been harvested in northwest Iowa. That’s from the latest Iowa Crop Progress and Condition report released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig says, “With corn and some soybeans still standing, this is the latest harvest since 2009, and farmers are anxious to finish up.”

Ben Torrance with the USDA tells us conditions again made it difficult for farmers to make much progress.


Here in northwest Iowa, the report says 97 percent of corn has been harvested.

The weekly report is also available on the USDA’s website at nass.usda.gov.Crop Report: Great Majority Of Corn Has Been Harvested

December 3, 2019 - 3:13 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — The month of November was both colder and wetter than a “normal” November in Sheldon.

According to the weather facts collected by KIWA Radio, the highest high in November 2019 was 55 degrees, recorded on both the 16th and the 21st of the month. The lowest high temperature was 16 degrees, recorded on November 12th.

The lowest low in the month was six below zero on November 7th. We recorded below-zero low temperatures on the 7th, the 8th, and the 12th of the month. The highest low was 38 degrees on November 17th.

The average high for the month was 39. The normal is 44. The average low was 20. The normal is 24. The average temperature as-a-whole for the month was 30 degrees, and normally it’s 34.

We received 2.07 inches of precipitation for November. A normal November sees just under an inch, at 0.98, so we were above normal for the month by 1.09 inches. Year-to-date precip has been 38.84 inches. Normal year-to-date precip would be 26.65, so we’re 12.19 inches above normal on the year. The day with the most precip was the final day of the month, the 30th, when we received 1.05 inches of combined rain and melted snow.

The snow received in November 2019 added up to 6.85 inches. Normal snowfall for November is 3.3 inches, so we ended the month 3.55 inches above normal. Since September first, we’ve received 7.85 inches. Normal would be 4.3, so we’re 3.55 inches above normal for season-to-date snowfall. The day with the most snow was November 27th, with four inches recorded.

Statewide, State Climatologist Justin Glissan says November was below normal in a couple of areas.


Looking at the precipitation side of things, the state was at one-point-four inches. Which is about six-tenths below average. Snowfall was the one statewide area that was above normal for November.


We entered the winter season on Sunday and Glissan says the outlook calls for more precipitation than normal in the coming months.


He says there isn’t a clear read on what the temperatures will be like.


Glissan says December is normally the third driest month of the year.