July 31, 2018 - 3:07 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — (RI) — Contrary to popular belief, wind energy projects do -not- lower surrounding property values, according to a study being released by the Center for Rural Affairs.

Center policy associate Lu Nelsen says opponents of wind power development who speak out at public meetings typically make the claim, but there’s no evidence to support it.

Iowa is one of the nation’s leading states for wind power generation, with much of it coming from our part of the state. More than one-third of our electricity comes from the wind. Iowa’s goal is 40-percent by 2020. Nelsen says other types of development often -do- have a negative impact on land values.

Nelsen says local officials and wind power developers need to be clear about what will happen with any new project, especially in regard to the land’s appearance post-construction.

The wind industry employs some 7-thousand Iowans. The study was conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the Universities of Rhode Island and Connecticut. The Center for Rural Affairs is based in Lyons, Nebraska.

Northwest Iowa — If you’re on Medicare you should be seeing a new card showing up in your mailbox sometime soon.

Julie Brookhart, a spokesperson for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, says the new cards will no longer use your Social Security number to identify you. She says that’s the only thing that is different, as it does NOT change your Medicare benefits. Brookhart says they’ve been getting requests for years to take the Social Security numbers off the Medicare cards as a security issue to help prevent identity theft.

The Social Security numbers have appeared on the cards since the program began back in 1966. She says the change was made for security reasons.

She says you can help ensure your new card gets to you.

You can also take care of it online.

Brookhart says the new Medicare card doesn’t replace any of the other cards you need for your health care.

Brookhart says once you get the new card in the mail, you should shred the old card that has your Social Security number on it.

Sibley, Iowa — Another school district may be added to the civil suit brought by the victim of an alleged sex crime at Sibley-Ocheyedan.

The plaintiffs, identified only as “CA” and “JA” claim that the Sibley-Ocheyedan Community School District was negligent in hiring Kyle Ewinger, a former teacher and coach who is accused of having sexual contact with a student, and that they knew or should have known that Ewinger posed a safety risk to the children entrusted to him. In September of last year, the Sioux City and Mediapolis school districts were added to the suit. The plaintiffs said the other districts were also negligent in not alerting future employers of this conduct, which could have prevented the eventual alleged sexual assault of the victim.

Now, an attorney for the plaintiffs has filed a motion to also include the Akron-Westfield School District in the suit. It alleges that Ewinger was accused of similar acts with children while he was employed by that school district as an elementary teacher between 2006 and 2008, that Akron-Westfield put safeguards in place to protect their students from Ewinger, and that when they were asked about Ewinger by Sibley-Ocheyedan officials, they did not inform Sibley-Ocheyedan of the allegations or safeguards.

The case was supposed to go to trial this October, but will be delayed to give attorneys more time to gather information.

In addition, the plaintiffs’ attorneys are also asking for a change of venue, citing a community meeting at which several people came out in support of Ewinger and a survey they conducted, which indicated that many potential jurors could not be impartial if asked to serve. A judge has yet to rule on both the addition of Akron-Westfield and the possible change of venue.

Ewinger has also been charged in a criminal case with Second Degree Sexual Abuse in connection with the alleged incident in October 2015, when Ewinger is alleged to have spent the night in his middle school classroom with a student and is accused of engaging in sexual activity with the boy. Ewinger has pled not guilty. The trial in that case is scheduled at this point for August 28th.

Ewinger was sentenced in April to 55 to 85 years in prison for first degree sexual assault of a child in a similar case in Nebraska. Those crimes are said to have occurred in 2012 and 2013.

Statewide Iowa — People with telephones in the 712 area code, which covers roughly the western third of Iowa, got nearly 10-million robocalls so far this year.

A robocall is an automated telephone call initiated by an autodialer for delivery of a prerecorded message. Some of these calls are legitimate, many are scams, and all are annoying.

An estimated 30 billion”robocalls” were made in the U.S. last year and so far this year, the pace of these nuisance calls in Iowa and the rest of the country is dramatically accelerating.

According to YouMail.com, 3.3 billion automated robocalls were made in the U.S. in April, which is a 34-percent increase from April of 2017.

Here in the 712 area code code we got nearly 9.9-million robocalls.The area code in Iowa getting the most automated calls is the 515. So far this year, there have been more than 33-million robocalls to phones with a 515 area code. In the 319 area code, there have been nearly 19-million robocalls this year and there’s been nearly 12-million into the 563 area code and in the 641 area code there were about 6.2-million .

By YouMail.com’s calculation, people with one of the five Iowa area codes got more than 135-million robocalls in 2017. A small percentage are legitimate, like pharmacies notifying patients they can pick up a prescription, but the vast majority are recorded messages from spammers and scammers.

Northwest Iowa — Herbicide-resistant weeds are becoming a problem for farmers. But there are ways to manage them.

We talked to Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Crop Field Specialist Joel DeJong. He says the two herbicide-resistant weeds that farmers are having the most trouble with are Water Hemp and Palmer Amaranth. He says we arrived at this destination due to the very common use of glyphosate herbicides like Roundup and Roundup-ready crops. He says unfortunately that helped us select for those strains of weeds that are resistant.

He says they have a few suggestions that should prevent more problems.

De Jong says water hemp is much more common than Palmer Amaranth, but “Palmer” is still a concern of some farmers in northwest Iowa.

He says sometimes it’s easier to manage “Palmer,” and sometimes it’s more difficult.

Again, if you have questions or need some help, call De Jong at the Plymouth County Extension office or call your local extension office.

Photo: Palmer Amaranth by Meaghan Anderson, ISU Extension Field Agronomist

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — The impact of President Trump’s announced soybean deal with the European Union is unclear. U.S. soybeans are already sold in Europe and China’s market for soybeans is far larger than the European Union’s.

Iowa farmer Ray Gaesser is past president of the American Soybean Association.

Soybean prices are down 20 percent from March when the U.S. trade disputes with China started to escalate.

Another factor, according to Gaesser, is that the global supply of soybeans is down because of a drought in Argentina.

But some European countries have labeled American soybeans as “genetically modified” and refuse to purchase U.S.-grown beans. Gaesser says he hopes Trump Administration negotiations with the European Union will resolve those conflicts, erase all tariffs and make the European market a larger sales option for U.S. soybeans.

July 27, 2018 - 2:14 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield has revealed three out of every one-thousand Iowans it insures were diagnosed with an opioid-related disorder last year.

According to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, its Iowa customers have the fourth-lowest rate of opioid abuse in the nation. Wellmark’s chief pharmacy officer says while the company is encouraged by the findings in the report, opioid addiction is still an issue in Iowa, plus there’s a shortage of qualify, accredited programs for those seeking treatment for an addiction. Blue Cross and Blue Shield has announced plans to establish a national hotline by 2020 for anyone to use to check out treatment centers.

Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield serves two million customers in Iowa and South Dakota.


July 26, 2018 - 3:26 pm - Posted in Sports

Spirit 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.

Black Hawk Lake
Water temperatures are around 80 degrees. Water levels are 4 inches over the crest of the spillway. Bluegill – Slow: Try Town Bay, Ice House Point, and the North Shore. Use a small hair or tube jig with a small piece of crawler fished under a bobber in 5-6 feet of water. Target deeper fish this time of year on the rock piles near Gunshot Hill, Cottonwood Point, and the East Basin. Walleye – Fair: Try leeches or crawler harnesses around Ice House Pt, the dredge cut near Denison Beach, and around the rock piles near Gunshot Hill, Cottonwood Point and the East Basin. Largemouth Bass – Good: Catch largemouth all over the lake using traditional bass lures. Many anglers have found good bass action at the Ice House Point, the east shoreline,and the lake side of the inlet bridge. There is a 15 inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass in Black Hawk Lake. Channel Catfish – Fair: Use stink bait, cut bait, or crawler fished on the bottom along Ice House Point and in Town Bay. Look for fish along rocky shorelines this time of year.

Brushy Creek Lake
There is a 15 inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass in Brushy Creek Lake, and a 40 inch minimum length limit for musky. Walleye – Fair: Use minnows and leaches in 15-20 feet of water. Black Crappie – Fair: Try minnows on a jig in 10-20 feet of water near submerged structure. Yellow Perch – Fair: Find perch along the vegetation and deeper structure. Largemouth Bass – Good: Catch bass along weed lines near shore just about anywhere with traditional bass lures. There is a 15 inch minimum length limit on largemouth bass in Brushy Creek Lake.

Storm Lake (including Little Storm Lake)
Storm Lake has a daily limit of 3 walleye and all 17- to 22-inch walleye must be released; no more than one walleye longer than 22 inches may be taken per day. Walleye – Fair: Boat anglers are picking up fish trolling crankbaits or drifting crawler harnesses on the edges of the dredge cuts around the lake in about 8 feet of water. White Bass – Fair: Use crankbaits; most action has been from boat while fishing dredge cuts.

Swan Lake
Bluegill – Fair: Use a small jig tipped with crawler along the dam and off the jetties in 3-6 feet of water. Most fish are 6-7 inches.

Beeds Lake
Black Crappie – Fair: Drift fish or troll with a tube jig or small minnow. Yellow Bass – Fair: Drift fish or troll with a small jig.

Clear Lake
Surface water temperature is 72 degrees. Walleye – Fair: Jig a minnow or leech above submerged vegetation in 6 to 10 feet of water. Channel Catfish – Good: Use stink bait or cut bait fished on the bottom after sunset. Black Crappie – Good: Try fishing the edge of the vegetation with a jig and minnow.

Crystal Lake
Bluegill – Fair: Bluegill are biting. Use a small piece of crawler and a bobber in 2 to 3 feet of water. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Bass are biting topwater baits. Black Crappie – Good: Drift or troll small tube jigs in the dredge cut.

Upper Pine Lake
Largemouth Bass – Good: Use topwater baits.

East Okoboji Lake
The dock at East Okoboji Beach boat ramp is out. Yellow Bass – Good: Excellent bite continues with good numbers of fish being caught. Cast mini-jigs or hair-jigs or use small baits tipped with wigglers. Walleye – Good: Numbers of fish are being caught with traditional baits; good numbers of yellow bass are mixed in with the catch. Bluegill – Good: Anglers report a good panfish bite of bluegill and crappie continues. Use small jigs tipped with waxworms in the weed lines.

Lake Pahoja
Bluegill – Good: Recent surveys show good numbers of large angler size fish in the lake.

Lost Island Lake
Walleye – Good: Walleye action has improved; reports of the best action in areas with flow. Yellow Bass – Good: Reports of yellow bass being caught. Use small lures such as a twister tail or hair jigs. Channel Catfish – Good: Numbers of fish were caught over the weekend, contact the local bait shop for more information.

Spirit Lake
Walleye – Good: Troll live bait or crankbaits. Yellow Perch – Good: Report of yellow perch action “picking up” on the lake with good numbers of angler acceptable size fish being caught. Northern Pike – Good: Look for areas with flow for the best action. Bluegill – Good: Reports of bluegill, crappie and yellow perch being caught in the Illinois Pondweed in 8 – 10 feet of water. Use a slip bobber and jigs to fish fast and find active fish.

West Okoboji Lake
Bluegill – Good: Rock piles in deeper water with stands of aquatic growth will produce good numbers of angler acceptable sized fish.

July 23, 2018 - 2:06 pm - Posted in Obituaries

Ronald Brandt, age 66 of Sunnyvale, CA, formerly of Melvin, IA, passed away at Palo Alto Veterans Medical Center in Palo Alto, CA on Friday, July 6, 2018.

A memorial service will be held on Monday, July 30th at 11:00 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Melvin. Visitation will be held at the Sanborn Funeral Home in Sanborn on Sunday, July 29th from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Family will be present at this time. Burial will take place at 10:00 a.m., prior to the service on Monday, at Baker Township Cemetery near Melvin, IA.

The Sanborn Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements for 66 year-old Ronald Brandt of Sunnyvale, CA, formerly of Melvin, IA.

Sibley, Iowa — Information and entertainment — that’s basically the business of a county fair. But Osceola County’s fair is adding “honor and gratitude” to that group on Friday.

Steve Voss, with the Osceola County Fair Board, tells us about Friday’s activities at the fair.

He says they’d like to honor military veterans on Friday too.

Voss says they’d also like to show their gratitude to the wives, mothers, and other women with a special event.

Highlights of the weekend at the Osceola County Fair are a bean bag tournament and monster trucks on Saturday and on Sunday a 4-H Council Breakfast and an ecumenical worship service are planned.

Click here for the full schedule.