Worthington, Minnesota– One person was killed and four people were taken to a hospital after an accident near Worthington on Wednesday, May 11, 2022.

The Minnesota State Patrol reports that at about 5:55 p.m., 23-year-old Tyler Gilbery of Tea, SD was driving a 2009 Pontiac eastbound on Interstate 90, two-thirds of a mile east of Highway 60 on I-90, near the MnDOT weigh station. They tell us that 26-year-old Jaskaran Singh of Ottawa Canada was also eastbound on I-90 in a 2019 Freightliner semi, and that 37-year-old Diego Alvaro Campos of Chile was also eastbound on I-90 in a 2021 Chevy.

The report says that power lines had fallen over the interstate due to a storm going through. The Campos Chevrolet stopped to avoid hitting wires. The Singh Freightliner collided with the Chevrolet. The Pontiac only collided with the wires.

A passenger in the Alvaro Campos vehicle, 30-year-old Martha Lilian Llanos Rodriguez of Mexico City, Mexico died in the crash. She was pronounced dead on the scene. The Worthington Ambulance took Alvaro Campos and two other passengers, 42-year-old Bradford Barrett of Annapolis, Maryland; and 33-year-old Aldo Viscarra-Avilez to Sanford Worthington Hospital. Barrett’s injuries were described as “life-threatening.”

The Worthington Ambulance also took Gilbery (the driver of the Pontiac) to Sanford Worthington Hospital. Singh didn’t report any injuries.

The Nobles County Sheriff’s Office, Worthington Police Department, Worthington Fire Department, and the Worthington Ambulance Squad assisted at the scene.

Northwest Iowa — Warmer temperatures and drier conditions are in the forecast and farmers will soon be in the fields in full-force. That means more equipment will be on the roadways in the coming days.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach says moving farm equipment on public roads can be a dangerous activity. Farm operators need to drive defensively and remain alert every second they are on the road.

Steven Freeman, a professor in agricultural systems and bioengineering at Iowa State University, reminds equipment operators of some important dos and don’ts this spring.

He says injuries can happen when farm equipment operators:

· Lack the experience to handle heavy, slow-moving machinery.
· Drive too fast, particularly when pulling a heavy load or turning.
· Drive partially over the centerline.
· Drive partially on the shoulder, and partially on the main road surface.
· Run into a tree or other fixed object.

He says that a major reason for farm machinery incidents on public roads is the difference in speed between automobiles and agricultural equipment. Motorists approach the slow-moving farm equipment so quickly that they only have a few seconds to identify the hazard and react appropriately.

Freeman says that’s why it is so important for farm equipment to be highly visible and properly identified with a slow-moving vehicle sign which must be visible from 500 feet away. He says the signs must be kept clean and faded or damaged signs should be replaced.

Tractors must be equipped with lights if operated on public roads at night, or under conditions of reduced visibility. Highway travel requires headlights, red taillights, and reflectors. Flashing amber lights provide day and night warning to traffic approaching from either direction. The more highly visible the equipment is, the better.

As for motorists driving road vehicles like cars, trucks, and motorcycles, the Iowa State Patrol says that even if you’re only going the speed limit you need to really pay attention. Because if you come over the crest of a hill and discover a slow-moving farm implement, you’re going to close in on that vehicle really quickly.

Troopers tell us that too many people combine high speed with distracted driving and a rear-end collision is the result. They advise you to slow down, put down the phone, and keep all your attention on the road, especially during busy farming seasons like planting and harvest. It’s also sometimes hard to know the intentions of the farm equipment operator as sometimes they need to swing wide for a turn and it seems like they’re turning one way when they may be turning the other. Or, you might not see them signaling at all. Troopers remind you to give farm vehicles a wide berth as you may not know the operator’s intent.

More information for farm equipment operators, direct from Iowa State University Extension & Outreach:

Freeman reminds farm equipment operators to perform a complete check of both the tractor and trailed equipment before heading onto the road.

· Use safety-type hitch pins, and make sure they are securely fastened.
· A safety chain must extend from the tractor to the frame of the towed equipment.
· Check all tires (on both tractor and towed equipment) for air pressure, cuts and bumps.
· Always lock brake pedals together for road travel. Sudden braking on one wheel only at high speed could put the tractor into a dangerous skid.
· Rearview mirrors, flares, and fire extinguishers should be standard equipment for tractors that are frequently driven on public roads.
· Confirm that all lights are operating properly.
· Make sure that the SMV sign is clean, unfaded, and properly mounted.
· Check towed equipment. Any load should be balanced and properly secured. Make sure the towed load is light enough for the tractor to handle safely. Heavy wagons should be equipped with independent brakes.

Farm machinery operators can make road travel safer for themselves and others by taking the following precautions.

· Avoid busy roads whenever possible, even if travel time will be longer.
· Travel at a speed that will allow you to maintain full control at all times.
· Slow down when making turns or rounding curves.
· Observe road travel precautions listed in operator manuals. Some tractors freewheel in higher gears. This can be very dangerous when coming down a hill. · Use lower gear ranges when climbing or descending hills.
· If possible, drive on the shoulder of a paved highway. However, don’t drive partly on the shoulder and partly on the paved lane.
· Stay alert for hazards such as soft shoulders, narrow bridges, loose gravel, bumps, potholes, and deep ruts.
· When cars are lined up behind you, and a suitable shoulder is available, pull over to let the traffic pass.
· If possible, move equipment in daylight during periods of light traffic.
· Travel after dark only if absolutely necessary. Remember that you need proper lighting for night driving.
· Don’t take chances by pulling onto a road in front of moving traffic. Enter and exit roadways very cautiously if your view is obstructed.
· Obey traffic laws and signs. Courtesy is a key component of road safety.

May 11, 2022 - 2:53 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — Over 200 college students will graduate in Sheldon on Friday.

According to Northwest Iowa Community College officials, 218 students will graduate from the Sheldon college on Friday, May 13th.

They tell us that the Nursing Pinning and Commencement Ceremony will be held in the Northwest Iowa Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center at 9:30 a.m.

The afternoon Spring Commencement ceremony (for all programs except nursing) will also be held in the Northwest Iowa Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center at 1:30 p.m. The Commencement Address will be given by Sara Vaske, of Le Mars, who is a Design Technology graduate. The Alumnus of the Year Award will also be presented.

Northwest Iowa Community College officials tell us that NCC is what they call a “progressive learning college rapidly responding to the global needs of our changing community.” NCC offers many programs from career and technical programs to arts and science transfer programs. NCC has seamless transfer agreements with the University of Iowa and Iowa State University and many students start their college experience at NCC and transfer to other area institutions of higher learning. NCC has also been honored for having among the best online programs in the nation.

May 11, 2022 - 1:04 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — It’s more expensive to fill our gas tanks in Iowa than ever before. Prices reached a record high in the state this Tuesday morning, topping a previous record that had stood since the recession 14 years ago.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican, places the blame on the Democrat in the White House.

Triple-A-Iowa says the statewide average for gas is now $4.08 a gallon, beating the record of $4.02 that had stood since July of 2008. Grassley and his fellow Republicans blame Biden.

Grassley also faults the Biden Administration for suspending federal funding for U.S. oil company projects in other countries.

Grassley says the US. should return to relying on its own stores of fossil fuels as well as biofuels, not imports, which he says have taken the country from being energy independent to energy dependent.

Democrats who are competing for the chance to run against Grassley say fuel prices are rising across the globe due to Russia’s war in Ukraine. Abby Finkenauer, Mike Franken and Glenn Hurst all support President Biden’s recent move to allow E-15 sales nationwide this summer, a move Biden says can help reduce gas prices. Finkenauer has called for a federal gas tax holiday.

Triple-A says the national average for gas is $4.37 a gallon, while California has the most expensive average at $5.84. The motor club says diesel fuel hit a record high in Iowa on Monday, as well, reaching $5.31 a gallon.

May 10, 2022 - 1:29 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — There wasn’t a lot of action in Iowa farm fields last week.

The U.S.D.A. crop report says weather limited farmers to just about two good days in the field. With no tractors pulling planters — only 5 more percent of the corn crop got in the ground for a total now of 14%.

That pace is two weeks behind both last year and the 5-year average.

Soybean planting moved from four to seven percent. That is 12 days behind the bean planting pace for last year and 11 days behind the 5-year average.

Statewide Iowa — Gasoline prices hit a new record high in Iowa as of Tuesday morning.

According to Triple-A Iowa, the average pump price for regular unleaded gas in Iowa hit $4.08 Tuesday morning. That’s up 8-cents since Monday, up 18-cents since one week ago, up 27-cents since this time last month and $1.26 higher than it was one year ago.

The highest prices in the state are in northeast Iowa’s Winneshiek County, where regular unleaded is selling for $4.20 per gallon, while the county with the lowest average price in the state is here in the northwest. Palo Alto County has the lowest average pump price for regular unleaded, at $3.91 a gallon.

Here in the far northwest corner of the state, Triple-A says the average pump price for regular unleaded in Sioux County is $4.13. Lyon County prices are at $4.01 a gallon and Osceola County is at $3.95 a gallon. Triple-A says there is no data available for O’Brien County, but a quick check of Sheldon stations shows the average pump price for regular unleaded stands at $3.99, up a dime a gallon from Monday.

Tripled-A says the national average pump price for regular unleaded as of Tuesday morning was $4.37 a gallon. The price range nationwide, according to Triple-A is $3.90 a gallon in Georgia to $5.84 in California.

May 9, 2022 - 4:14 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Sample ballots are now available for the June 7th primary election. Find a link to yours below.

In our area, for the new House District 3, Thomas Jeneary of Le Mars was the only Republican to file. District 3 covers southern portions of Sioux County and northern portions of Plymouth County. No Democrats filed. For the new House District 4: Skyler Wheeler is currently from Orange City which is not in the district, but has said he and his family are moving to Sioux Center or Hull. The other GOP candidate to file is Kendal Zylstra of Larchwood. No Democrats filed. The new District 4 is made up of all of Lyon County and the northern part of Sioux County, including all of Sioux Center and the extreme western part of Sheldon lying in Sioux County. For the new House District 5, your GOP candidates will be Dennis Bush of Cherokee, Zachary Dieken of Granville, and Thomas Kuiper of Sibley. No Democrats filed for that seat either.

For the State Senate, Senator Jeff Taylor will not need to run for his District 2 seat, as he was elected in 2020 and does not face another incumbent in the newly-redistricted District 2. Some of his area is at this time being represented by Senator Jim Carlin of Sioux City, who is challenging U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley for his seat in D.C. The new District 2 is made up of all of Lyon and Sioux counties and portions of northern Plymouth County.

The other State Senate District in our area is Senate District 3, where Lynn Evans of Auriela is taking on Anthony LaBruna of Storm Lake for the GOP nomination. District 3 is made up of all of Osceola and O’Brien counties and portions of Clay, Buena Vista, and Cherokee counties. No Democrats filed for the seat.

Senator Dave Rowley and Representative John Wills, both of Spirit Lake, who both serve portions of our area now, will not serve any of our four counties next year, as while they haven’t moved, due to redistricting, they will no longer live in this area’s districts. Both will run for the seats in the districts that now include Spirit Lake.

Republican incumbent Governor Kim Reynolds and Democratic challenger Deidre DeJear of Des Moines are the only two candidates listed for governor, so both will run unopposed in this primary. In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Chuck Grassley and Jim Carlin of Sioux City are listed for the Republican Primary ballot. The list shows three candidates for the Democratic Party’s U.S. Senate Primary — Abby Finkenauer of Cedar Rapids, Michael Franken of Sioux City, and Glenn Hurst of Minden.

In other statewide races, Democratic Primary voters will decide whether Clinton County Auditor Eric Van Lancker or Linn County Auditor Joel Miller will face Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate in November. The other four statewide races for ag secretary, attorney general, state auditor, and state treasurer appear set for the General Election ballot.

Ag Secretary Mike Naig, a Republican, will face Democrat John Norwood of West Des Moines. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller will face Republican Brenna Byrd of Dexter. State Auditor Rob Sand, a Democrat, will face Republican Mary Ann Hanusa of Council Bluffs. State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald, a Democrat, will face Republican Roby Smith of Davenport. But all of these candidates will be unopposed in the primary.

Republican Congressman Randy Feenstra is seeking a second term in the U.S. House (District 4) and he will be unopposed in the primary. One person is on the Democratic ballot for 4th District U.S. House. He is Ryan Melton from Nevada, Iowa.

Absentee ballots are not yet available. They will start being sent out and be available to vote in person at auditors’ offices on Wednesday, May 18th. The deadline for absentee ballots to be requested by mail and for voter pre-registration is Monday, May 23rd.

· O’Brien County Sample Ballots
· Sioux County Sample Ballots
· Lyon County Sample Ballots
· Osceola County Sample Ballots

May 7, 2022 - 7:15 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — May is Stroke Awareness Month in Iowa, as people are urged to learn about the dangers of what’s now the state’s seventh-leading cause of death.

Mark Mintun, a physician’s assistant at Van Diest Medical Center in Webster City, says a stroke is essentially a brain attack.

Mintun says there are basically two types of stroke.

There are a few key symptoms or warning signs that a person may have suffered a stroke, and one way to remember them all as with the word FAST.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reports 1,390 Iowans died of stroke in 2020.

 

Washington, D.C. — A bill sponsored by Senator Chuck Grassley would lay the groundwork for anti-trust lawsuits against members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC.

The bill would revoke the immunity countries in OPEC have had from lawsuits in the United States. The U.S. Attorney General could then sue Saudi Arabia and the other 12 countries that are OPEC members in federal court.

The bill is co-sponsored by a Republican senator from Utah and Democratic senators from Vermont and Minnesota. The bill cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday. Federal anti-trust laws give courts authority to determine when American businesses have acted illegally, but it’s unclear how a U.S. court would be able to enforce a guilty verdict against a foreign country.

The Reuters news service is reporting that the American Petroleum Institute opposes the bill, warning it could have unintended consequences and is unlikely to have much impact on OPEC operations.

Statewide Iowa — Consumers can buy small handheld devices that measure outdoor air quality for as little as 110-dollars these days — and Brian Hutchins of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says these monitors do show air quality TRENDS — but often have higher air pollution readings than the monitors used by government agencies like his.

At least one manufacturer of outdoor air monitors for personal use has warned that in wildfire conditions air quality readings may be slightly too high — because of the density of smoke particles. Hutchins says people with asthma or other health conditions still may find the information useful.

In 2020, the DNR participated in a 16-state study of how results from government-maintained monitors compared to hand-held devices. The US Environmental Protection Agency then came up with a way to calculate the difference in readings and now uses data from small, consumer-grade monitors along with information from satellites and government-maintained monitors to measure air quality.

There are also smart-phone apps that show air quality measurements. Last July, an air quality alert was issued for the entire state of Iowa due to wildfires in Canada and the western United States. Last month’s wildfires in southwest Nebraska did not dramatically affect air quality in Iowa, but experts say with wildfire seasons starting earlier in the west and spreading into Nebraska and Kansas, that’s likely to prompt more air quality alerts in Iowa.