May 30, 2015 - 10:10 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — The Iowa Department of Agriculture has announced some new developments in the bird flu outbreak.
The state announced two new cases of the bird flu. They are the fifth case of bird flu in Wright County at a pullet farm with 400-thousand birds, and the seventh case in Sac County that includes 42-thousand turkeys. That brings the state’s total cases to 70.

The Ag Department also announced that several loads of materials from cleaned out bird flu sites were buried Thursday at the Northwest Iowa Landfill near Sheldon. Its the first deposit of materials in a public landfill from the outbreak.

Officials also noted the incinerator at the Cherokee landfill came online Thursday, with loads scheduled for incineration in the immediate future. Governor Branstad has extended the statewide disaster emergency for the bird flu through the month of June. It was set to expire at the end of May.

The disaster declaration allows for the coordination of state resources in the disposal of the infected animals. Branstad said at the time he declared the state of emergency that it was the worst such outbreak in the state in modern times.

Radio Iowa assisted with this story.

May 29, 2015 - 12:12 pm - Posted in News

Rock County, Minnesota –- Another member water provider has been connected to the Lewis & Clark water system that is eventually supposed to provide water to Hull, Sheldon, Sibley and Sioux Center, as well as two more systems in Minnesota and one in South Dakota.
lewis & clark water tower

With a meter building on the Minnesota – Iowa border reaching substantial completion on Thursday, May 28th, the Rock County Rural Water District (RCRWD) began receiving water from the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System (L&C), becoming the twelfth member connected to L&C. Eight members remain.

RCRWD, which is overseen by the Rock County Commission, has reserved 300,000 gallons a day. However, it will only access half its capacity at this connection, with the other half at their future second connection at Magnolia.

RCRWD Manager Brent Hoffmann said “Many of our long-time directors and customers wondered if this day would ever come.  We have faced many hurdles in maintaining consistent water flow and quality.  Drought in 2013 and then record flooding in June of 2014, as well as ever-tightening federal and state restrictions on developing additional water sources, only highlight the importance of having interconnections with other water providers.  The days of
going it alone are a thing of the past.  Being connected to Lewis & Clark is a huge boost.”

Chairman Red Arndt of Luverne said, “Congratulations to the Rock County Commission and Rock County Rural Water District on this long awaited day! Having access to Lewis & Clark water will open many opportunities for the system and its customers. We couldn’t be happier for them.”

In addition to Luverne, which is anticipated to be connected this coming December, the other non-connected members include: The Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water System and Worthington in Minnesota; The cities of Hull, Sheldon, Sibley and Sioux Center; and Madison, South Dakota.

Meanwhile, The Lewis & Clark Regional Water System’s Board of Directors has awarded a $1,036,000 contract to Robert L Carr Construction of Marshall, MN to construct meter buildings at Luverne and Magnolia in southwest Minnesota. This December is the substantial completion deadline, at which time Luverne will begin receiving Lewis & Clark water. Lewis & Clark officials say the Magnolia meter building will eventually provide connections for the Rock County Rural Water District and the Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water System, however, the contract for construction of the pipeline between Luverne and Magnolia will not be awarded until this fall.

May 28, 2015 - 3:13 pm - Posted in Sports

Iowa DNRSpirit Lake, Iowa — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources issues a weekly fishing report on Thursdays in an effort to provide the latest information heading into the weekend. The weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys, and county and state parks staff. For more information contact the Spirit Lake fish Hatchery at 712-336-1840.


Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)

Boaters should use caution around the dredge barge, booster pump barge, and pipeline. Walleye regulations for Storm Lake are three fish per day, all fish between 17 and 22 inches must be released and only one over 22 inches may be kept. Walleye – Fair: Anglers are picking up 12 to 13 inch and 17 to 19 inch walleye. Try trolling shad colored crankbaits in 7 to 9 feet of water. Channel Catfish – Fair: Use traditional catfish baits. A few are also being picked up while walleye fishing.

Clear Lake

Crappie – Good: Crappies have been caught near the edges of the cattails and rushes around the lake. Some have started to move in. Use a cane pole or waders and a long rod to drop a light jig (1/8 oz. or smaller) tipped with a minnow or quarter piece of worm into little pockets in the reeds. Walleye – Good: Dodges Point and Billys Reef have been producing for anglers drifting or anchoring. Trolling has also been good. Shore fishermen have been catching some on north shore docks, city seawall, docks by the outlet and the island. Channel Catfish – Good: Catfish are in the pre-spawn period. Anglers can expect fast action in the shallows after dark. Fish with a piece of cut bait, live chub, stinkbait, or worms. MacIntosh Park, the Ventura jetties, Farmers Beach, and the C.L. city dock are good places to try for them. Muskellunge – Good: Yellow Bass – Good: Anglers have had good success on Woodford Island. Fishing is best before sunrise (4:30-5:30) and at sunset or on overcast or windy days. Fish with small hair jigs in the 1/32 or 1/64 oz. range. Tip jig with a small portion of worm, leech, or minnow. Anglers are sorting fish, with size ranging between 6.5 -7.1 inches or 7.9-8.3 inches. Bluegill – No Report: Anglers should look for spawning activity in the rushes on sandy bottom. Yellow Perch – Slow: A few nice perch have been caught in or near edges of rushes with a bobber and minnow.

Lake Pahoja

Bluegill – Excellent: Bluegills are schooled up off the jetties. Bluegills are very large many in the 7-8 inch range. Fish a worm and bobber. Largemouth Bass – Good: Largemouth are beginning to bed in the shallows along the south banks in shallower water. Throwing spinner baits or soft plastics for the aggressive males will produce bites.

Big Spirit Lake

Largemouth Bass – Fair: Small bass are in trickles. Larger bass are still out deep. Males are staging on beds. Many bedded bass are being seen along the north shore near Trickle Slough. Walleye – Good: An evening bite is happening at the north grade, anglers showing up around 8:30 pm are quickly catching walleye. Fish above and below the slot are being caught and creeled. Anglers using dark deer hair jigs tipped with leeches are proving the most successful. Bullhead – Excellent: The north grade is keeping anglers busy with bullheads. Anglers being creeled have reported catching many bullheads over a pound. Anglers are using worm weighted to the bottom. Yellow Perch – Fair: The fishing pier at the grade is producing more perch in the 6-8 inch range for anglers willing to sort through bullheads and bluegill. Anglers using jig heads and wax worms are having success.

East Okoboji Lake

Yellow Bass – Good: Large numbers of yellow bass are being caught near East Okoboji beach near the boat docks. Fish vary in size from small to a few 8-9 inch fish. Throw soft plastic shad. Anglers fishing under the highway 9 bridge are catching fair numbers of yellows using small plastic minnows. Yellow Perch – Fair: Numbers of smaller yellow perch are being caught while anglers are fishing for yellow bass. Pulling similar baits near the bottom will force more perch into your bucket. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Fish near the inlet to upper gar along the rocks to find a fast paced bass bite. Anglers are seeing bass bedding up in the upper gar then swimming into East Okoboji. Walleye – Fair: Parks Marina and Lone Tree Point are reporting a hot bite for walleye. Anglers are drifting minnows along the bottom before dark. Larger walleye are being caught in 10-12 feet of water.

West Okoboji Lake

Largemouth Bass – Good: Largemouth bass are schooled in the warm water of the canals and harbors as they enter their pre-spawn. Many male bass are already on beds while females are still out swimming the depths. Males are being caught on trick worms, wacky rigs, and drop shots. Females are enjoying jigs and deep diving cranks. Bluegill – Good: The canals are loaded with bluegills. Large and small fish are being caught in good numbers. Crappie – Fair: The trestle is still being reported to be a good bite. The canals are starting to fill with larger crappies. Smallmouth Bass – Good: Smallmouth are on beds in bays with sandy cobble and larger boulders. These fish will be bedded near larger rocks. Placing any soft plastics near the bed will result in a strike. Northern Pike – Good: Little Emerson and little millers are filled with northerns. Throw anything at this time and catch a few. Walleye – Good: Walleyes are being caught by shore anglers fishing the canal bridges after dark. Anglers fishing darker crankbaits or bottom jigs with leeches are having the most success. Fish being caught are in the 13-19 inch range.

May 28, 2015 - 8:46 am - Posted in Obituaries

Lawrence Hedges, age 83 of Sibley, Iowa, formerly of Ocheyedan, Iowa passed away on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at the Country View Manor in Sibley.

Memorial Services will be Monday, June 1, 2015 at 11:00 A.M. at the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sibley. Rev. Barb Kopperud officiating.

Graveside Services will be Monday, June 1, at 10:00 A.M at the Ocheyedan Township Cemetery in Ocheyedan.

Visitation will be Sunday, May 31, from 2:00 to 6:00 P.M. with the family present from 2:00 to 4:00 P.M. at the Andringa Funeral Home in Sibley.

Online Expressions of Sympathy can be sent to

The Andringa Funeral Home of Sibley in charge of arrangements for Lawrence Hedges.

May 26, 2015 - 4:20 pm - Posted in Obituaries

Donna Liechty age 83 of Sibley, IA, died Monday May 25, 2015 at the Osceola Community Hospital in Sibley, IA.

Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m., Friday, May 29, 2015 at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Sibley, IA, with Fr. Alan Reicks and Fr. Tom Flanagan concelebrating.

Burial will follow at St. Andrew’s Catholic Cemetery in Sibley, IA.

Visitation will be Thursday, May 28th from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with family present from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Jurrens Funeral Home of Sibley. There will be a Rosary at 5:30 p.m. and prayer service at 6:30 p.m. at the funeral home.

May 26, 2015 - 12:25 pm - Posted in Obituaries

ANDERSON, Dorothy picDorothy Anderson, age 73 of Mount Dora, FL, formerly of Harris, IA passed away Thursday May 21 at The Villages Hospice House in Villages, FL.

Funeral service will be 10:30 AM, Thursday, May 28th at the United Methodist Church in Harris, IA, with Rev. Emmanuel T. Naweji officiating.

Burial will follow at Union Cemetery at Harris, IA.

Visitation will be Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. with family present from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Jurrens Funeral Home Walton Chapel in Sibley, IA.

May 25, 2015 - 8:12 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Some of the response has not been fast enough. That’s what Senator Joni Ernst and other leaders heard from some of the farmers whose barns have been hit by avian influenza. Ernst had planned to be at meetings in Sibley, Rock Rapids, and Sioux Center but due to late votes on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and an extension of the Patriot Act in the Senate, she was only able to make the Sioux Center meeting.
Congressman Steve King, and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey were at all the meetings, as were local legislators.

One of the producers said that there have been dumpsters full of birds producing an odor and attracting millions of flies — sitting on his property for four weeks. He says he’s been told several times that they would be taken care of “soon”. Some people also worry that flies could transmit the virus, but Congressman King says research is leaning toward that being unlikely.

Some turkey farmers near Cherokee have banded together and have started composting birds on their own instead of waiting for government crews. But that brings up the issue of compensation.

Ag Secretary Northey says the problem is that no one expected an outbreak this large. He says the size is unprecedented.

Another big question is when the barns that held the infected birds can be re-populated, says Northey.

He says options being considered include fumigation and “shrink wrapping” the barn and heating it to the point that the virus couldn’t survive.

According to Northey, there may be another phase where producers put what he calls “sentient birds” into a facility to see if it’s disease free. He says these birds would probably be layers that were close to the end of their egg-producing stage anyway.

Northey says experts still don’t know how the virus is spreading, except that it arrived via wild birds. He says the truth is, we may never know whether it’s spreading via foot traffic, truck traffic, dust, dander, feed, or another method. In fact he says it may be spreading many ways.

Representative John Wills says people also have to remember the economic ripples this outbreak is going to have.

We asked Wills if he had any solutions to the economic impact. He says right now, they’re just trying to get through the initial disaster stage. He says they talked about a response through the Legislature, but decided that the best thing to do would be to let the disaster funds kick in.

Congressman King says the main things they are working on right now are on-site incineration of birds, disinfection with heat, and the possibility of a federal insurance program for poultry producers. He says the producers will be receiving indemnification payments because the USDA requires them to destroy healthy birds to prevent the spread of the disease.

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May 24, 2015 - 7:44 am - Posted in Obituaries

Christina M. Houwen age 81 of Ashton, IA died Saturday, May 23, 2015 at the Osceola Community Hospital in Sibley, IA.

Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, May 27th at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Ashton, IA. Burial will follow at the church cemetery.

Visitation will be Tuesday, May 26th from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., with family present from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Jurrens Funeral Home of Ashton. Also there will be a Rosary at 4:00 p.m. and a 6:30 p.m. Vigil service Tuesday evening at the funeral home.

For a complete obituary and online registry please visit:


May 23, 2015 - 9:42 am - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — As the response to and cleanup of the bird flu continues, disposal — specifically having enough disposal options available to deal with the quantity of birds that have been euthanized, has become a huge issue.
bird rolloffs
We talked with Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig about the disposal of the birds. He tells us the current situation.

Naig says the goal is to decrease the amount of time that it takes to clean up. He says that not only makes turnaround faster for the facilities affected, but also stops the spread of the virus quicker.

He says different kinds of birds are being disposed of in different ways in Iowa.

But he says chickens are not composted in the buildings.

Naig says the Northwest Iowa Solid Waste Agency Landfill near Sheldon and another landfill in southwest Iowa are the only two landfills that are taking the chickens.

Naig says when it warms up, that should help stop the virus, plus depopulating and disposal of infected flocks quickly will help stop the spread as well. He says biosecurity needs to be stepped up as well.

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May 23, 2015 - 9:41 am - Posted in News

UPDATE: Senate business has concluded and Senator Joni Ernst will attend the town meeting in Sioux County at 1:45 pm on Saturday to discuss the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in addition to other topics.

Representatives from the Senator’s office will host the other two meetings in Lyon and Osceola counties on her behalf. In addition, the guests below are still confirmed to attend.

These town meetings are open to the public.

Previous story:

Northwest Iowa —  U.S. Senator Joni Ernst says she’ll do everything in her power to attend the town meetings she has set up in Osceola, Lyon, and Sioux counties this Saturday, May 23rd to discuss the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI). However, due to pending votes in the Senate, she now says it’s unlikely that she’ll be able to make it. The town meetings, which are open to the public, will still be held. Members of Ernst’s staff will attend, whether she’s able to attend or not.
The Senator’s staff (and hopefully Ernst herself) will start the day at 9:30 AM at Cooperative Energy at 1708 Pierce Avenue at Sibley.  At 11:15 AM, they will be at the Rock Rapids Public Library at 102 South Greene Street in Rock Rapids. At 1:45 PM, it’s on to Sioux Center for a meeting at the De Yager Student Activities Center in the Campus Center on the campus of Dordt College at 498 Fourth Avenue Northeast.

Confirmed guests at the Sibley and Rock Rapids appearances will be Congressman Steve King, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, State Senator David Johnson, and State Representative John Wills.

At the Sioux Center appearances, will be King, Northey, and State Representative John Kooiker.

Ernst tells us why this issue is important to her and to the state.

Ernst says she’s interested in hearing from people whose lives are being affected by the outbreak.

Last week, Ernst and Senator Grassley sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack encouraging the USDA to ensure that resources have been properly deployed to Iowa to fight the ongoing outbreak of HPAI.

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