Northwest Iowa — Iowans will go to the polls this coming Tuesday, June 2nd, in the 2020 Primary election. Area Republicans will have one more opportunity to comparison-shop the candidates seeking the 4th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives Friday night, when they take part in a debate that will be aired on KIWA-FM 105.3, with live streamed video available on our website,

The candidates for the Republican nomination in the 4th District are: the incumbent, Congressman Steve King, of Kiron; who is being challenged by State Senator Randy Feenstra, of Hull; Arnolds Park businessman Steve Reeder, former Woodbury County Supervisor Jeremy Taylor, of Sioux City; and Businessman Bret Richards, of Irwin.

On Tuesday, Republican voters will select one of the five to face off against Democrat JD Scholten, of Sioux City, who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. Scholten squared off against King in the 2018 general election, with the incumbent Republican winning by a slim margin.

With five candidates in the Republican race, to win the primary outright, one candidate must receive at least 35% of the vote. If that doesn’t happen, the race will go to the 4th District Republican Convention, where convention delegates will choose a winner to face off against Scholten in November.

Friday night’s debate has been organized, and is sponsored by, the Republican Central Committees of O’Brien, Sioux, Osceola, Lyon and Plymouth counties, and will run from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. You can see the debate, which is being held in a virtual format, by going to, where live streaming video will be available, or you can hear it by tuning in to KIWA-FM 105.3.

Please join the event’s Moderator, KIWA’s Tom Traughber, along with the Republican candidates for the 4th District congressional nomination, Friday night from 7:00 to 8:30 on FM-105.3, or at

Northwest Iowa — The four northwesternmost Iowa counties have seen a net increase of four cases of COVID-19 again in the 24-hour period ending at noon on Thursday according to the latest statistics from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Sioux County had an increase of three cases for a total of 212. Lyon is unchanged at 19 and O’Brien is unchanged at 27. Osceola County is up one case at 32 cases.

Again, these numbers are raw numbers and do not take into account how many people have recovered.

No deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in these counties.

Total numbers of cases from other counties around the area and their change from the previous report (5/27/2020):

Iowa counties:
Plymouth 119, unchanged
Cherokee 24, up 1
Buena Vista 700, up 21

State officials have now confirmed an outbreak of COVID-19 among workers at a meatpacking plant in Storm Lake. Iowa Department of Public Health deputy director Sarah Reisetter made the announcement late Thursday morning at the governor’s news conference.

Clay 13, unchanged
Dickinson 16, up 3

Minnesota counties:
Jackson 39, unchanged
Nobles 1496, up 8
Rock 22, up 1

South Dakota counties:
Minnehaha 3317, up 17
Lincoln 237, up 1
Union 88, up 1

In order to give you an idea of the density of cases, here are some selected numbers adjusted for population — given the number of cases actually in a county — the following are the numbers of cases there would be if the population of the county were 100,000 residents.

As far as regional hot spots, Buena Vista County has now surpassed Minnehaha County, South Dakota in the density of cases, but the density of cases in both of those is still much less than in Nobles County, Minnesota. Nobles County tops the list with a density of 6917 per 100,000. Next is Buena Vista County with 3522. Next is Minnehaha, with 1717.

In the four northwesternmost Iowa counties, Sioux County tops the density list at 607 per 100,000. Osceola is next with 530. Next is O’Brien County with 195, and Lyon County reports a density of 161.

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — High school students from across Iowa are invited to a virtual event this weekend that might help them chart a career path.

The Future Career and College Fair is being held Sunday and features more than 70 colleges, universities, and career resources from across Iowa and across the U-S. Brittania Morey, spokeswoman for ICAN — the College Access Network for Iowa, is helping organize the online gathering.

(As above) “It’s a single event that can help a student explore all of their options,” Morey says. “We start with career assessments. We have business and industry exhibitors who can talk about what career options are available and what, as employers, they expect. And we have education and training exhibitors, registered apprenticeship programs, military academies, and colleges and universities to talk about all of their different programs.”

Last year, the event attracted about two-thousand students and their parents but by going virtual, Morey expects the draw to be much larger.

(As above) “Normally, this would have taken place at the end of March in Cedar Rapids. We did push it back to the end of May, hoping that we could hold it in person,” Morey says. “It’s now switched to virtual and that really opens it up to any student in the state. We probably wouldn’t have had western Iowa students drive across the state to attend a physical fair in Cedar Rapids but now they have the opportunity to attend virtually.”

The online experience is designed to offer the same face-to-face connections as the in-person event, just through a screen from the comfort of home. Each exhibitor will have a virtual booth complete with webcam and audio features, so students and parents can chat with the representatives.

(As above) “It is a little harder to catch someone’s eye, so what we’ve done is create a scavenger hunt that we will provide to all of the registered students that will get them to explore booths that maybe they wouldn’t have initially thought to stop at,” Morey says. “The idea will be to get them to talk with a multitude of exhibitors and not just the ones they initially thought they might be interested in.”

The free event will be held Sunday from 1 to 3 PM. To attend, students need to register at

May 27, 2020 - 4:26 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa (RI)– Governor Kim Reynolds is removing more pandemic-related restrictions. Casinos, amusement parks and bowling alleys may reopen June 1st — but at 50 percent capacity.

(as said) “In communities across the state, there are signs life is starting to get back to normal,” Reynolds says. “The most welcome one of all is the ‘We’re Open’ sign hanging in the windows of local businesses.”

Last week, Reynolds announced bars, breweries and wineries will be able to reopen Thursday at 50 percent capacity. Tuesday she announced both bars AND restaurants may allow groups of up to 10 to sit together, starting this Thursday. The previous limit had been six at a booth or table. Many of the governor’s sports-related limitations — on practices, games and competitions — are also being lifted on June 1st. There can be spectators, but Reynolds says social distancing guidelines must be followed.

(as said) “Extended families and friends can gather together,” Reynolds says, “but that privilege comes with responsibility of ensuring you’re doing the right thing to protect your health and the health of the people you care about.”

Crowds will be allowed to watch car races, too, starting Monday, June 1st. Outdoor performance venues for events like music concerts may reopen next month — but at half capacity.

(as said) “Many of the other public health measures for businesses that have already reopened will remain in place, and businesses that remain closed will continue to be closed through June 17th,” Reynolds says. “I will continue to evaluate in the coming weeks whether any of these measures should be adjusted further.”

As for whether some closures might be restored, Reynolds says she and her staff will continue to monitor virus activity in the state, to understand the scope of outbreaks.

(as said) “If we see any type of a surge that might impact our ability to take care of Iowans, those with COVID-19 symptoms and those without, then that could potentially be a point where we would have to say: ‘Do we need to take a look at what’s happening here? Do we need to take additional actions?'” Reynolds says, “but for the most part, all of the indicators we’re looking at and monitoring when we look at trends, it’s positive.”

Reynolds is setting up a call with the Iowa State Fair Board this week to discuss their plans for the 2020 State Fair, which is currently scheduled to begin August 13th.

(as said) “I know they’ve been trying to wait to see how Iowa responds to our continuing to open up our economy,” Reynolds says, “and so we’ll have an opportunity to visit with them this week and see if I can answer any questions that they may have and really listen to them and see what they’re considering as they’re moving forward with making a decision.”

Minnesota’s 2020 State Fair was canceled last week. The Missouri State Fair is scheduled to begin on the same day as the Iowa State Fair. Missouri officials say they’ll make an announcement in early to mid-June about what their state fair will look like.

May 27, 2020 - 4:09 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — Eviction and foreclosure proceedings may resume in Iowa this Thursday. Governor Kim Reynolds declared a moratorium in mid-March, to prevent people from becoming homeless during the first of part the pandemic.

Reynolds says the Iowa Finance Authority is planning to help some of the Iowans who will now face the loss of their home or apartment.

(As above) “The program applies to residential evictions and foreclosures and will be available to eligible Iowans who’ve experienced a documented loss of income due to COVID-19 and are unable to pay their rent or mortgage payment,” Reynolds says. 

The governor plans to use some of the pandemic relief money the state got from the federal government for this program. Eligibility details will be released Thursday.

(As above) “We anticipate it being ready for Iowans on Friday,” Reynolds says.

In other news, the governor is no longer encouraging Iowans to limit the size of gatherings to 10 or less. Iowa Department of Public Health deputy director Sarah Reisetter says Iowans should wear face masks when social distancing is not possible.

(As above) “We know this is a difficult time and Iowans need to continue to be responsible in taking care of their own health as well as protecting the health of our communities,” Reisetter says. “I appreciate the governor’s regular reminders that as Iowans, we need to be accepting of one another’s choices and our individual decisions and needs.”

The governor is allowing casinos and amusement parks to open on June 1st. Outdoor sporting events may resume, with crowds of spectators who are properly socially distanced.

Northwest Iowa — The four northwesternmost Iowa counties have seen a net increase of four cases of COVID-19 in the 24-hour period ending at noon on Wednesday according to the latest statistics from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Sioux County had the only increase. They are up five cases for a total of 209. Lyon is unchanged at 19 and O’Brien is unchanged at 27. Osceola County is actually down one case from the number reported yesterday, at 31.

Again, these numbers are raw numbers and do not take into account how many people have recovered.

No deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in these counties.

As far as density of cases, Sioux County is now at 602 cases per 100,000, Osceola is at 513 per 100,000. Lyon remains at 161 and O’Brien remains at 195 per 100,000.

Total numbers of cases from other counties around the area and their change from the previous report (5/26/2020):

Iowa counties:
Plymouth 119, up 1
Cherokee 23, up 5
Buena Vista 679, up 426

Governor Kim Reynolds was asked if there’s an outbreak at a food production facility in Storm Lake — and she said nothing was confirmed at that time.

Clay 13, up 3
Dickinson 13, up 4

Minnesota counties:
Jackson 39, unchanged
Nobles 1488, up 10
Rock 21, unchanged

South Dakota counties:
Minnehaha 3300, up 11
Lincoln 236, up 3
Union 87, up 1

Statewide Iowa — (RI) — We’re told social distancing helps save lives, but a new report finds isolation and loneliness can hurt the health of people over age 50 — and Iowa has one of the nation’s oldest populations.

Doctor Juliann Sebastian, dean of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, says a solitary lifestyle, void of healthy interactions with friends, can mean a higher risk of depression, heart disease and even death.

(As above) “Social isolation and loneliness are each separately associated with health problems — with health outcomes,” Sebastian says, “but together there are correlations between social isolation and loneliness and various causes of mortality or death and various causes of morbidity or illness.”

Data from the U-S Census Bureau finds almost 15-percent of Iowans are 65 or older, the fifth most in the nation, while nearly three-percent of Iowans are 85 or older, the third most in the country. Loneliness is not a one-size-fits-all type of problem and Sebastian says we all need to keep a closer eye on our family, friends and neighbors.

(As above) “Social isolation and loneliness don’t fit in neatly within our typical health care environment. Those are not typically considered clinical issues,” Sebastian says. “In fact, they really are because of their connection with specific physical and behavioral health outcomes.”

One goal of the report is so that health professionals of all types, as well as direct care worker, know that we should strive to identify people who have problems with social isolation and loneliness.

(As above) “Not every older adult has these issues and not every person, for example, who lives alone is lonely,” Sebastian says. “We do think it’s very important in the clinical environment for health professionals to assess older adults and determine if these are issues of concern to them and then to connect with people and community organizations that can help.” 

More research is needed, she says, to determine some of the most helpful ways to intervene. Sebastian says it’s “stunning” to become more aware of the associations between social isolation and loneliness and health problems — and even mortality.

(As above) “We all need to be, I think, on the alert for someone who might be lonely and find ways to help,” Sebastian says. “Whether it’s ourselves helping or making a connection, with again, with a community organization that can help.”

The report says for people who are homebound, have no family, or do not belong to community or faith groups, a medical appointment or home health visit may be one of the few social interactions they have. Sebastian serves as dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing in Omaha.


Northwest Iowa — The four northwesternmost Iowa counties have seen a net increase of twenty-one cases of COVID-19 since Friday until noon on Tuesday, according to the latest statistics from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Lyon County reported no change and a total of 19. Sioux County is up 16 cases at 204. O’Brien County is up three at 27. And Osceola County is up 2 at 32.

Again, these numbers are raw numbers and do not take into account how many people have recovered.

No deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in these counties.

As far as density of cases, Sioux County is now at 584 cases per 100,000, Osceola is at 530 per 100,000. Lyon remains at 161 and O’Brien is at 195 per 100,000.

Total numbers of cases from other counties around the area and their change from the previous report (5/22/2020):

Iowa counties:
Plymouth 118, up 16
Cherokee 18, up 8
Buena Vista 253, up 113
Clay 10, up 1
Dickinson 9, up 1

Jackson 39, up 2
Nobles 1478, up 46
Rock 21, up 1
Minnehaha 3289, up 78
Lincoln 233, up 15
Union 86, up 13

So in our region, that’s 315 more cases since Friday. That’s a daily average for the Memorial Day weekend of about 79 cases per day. The daily average in the previous week had been around 57 cases per day.

Northwest Iowa — The five candidates competing in the Republican Primary in Iowa’s 4th congressional district are quarreling about their conservative credentials AND their ability to win the district in November.

Incumbent Steve King, who’s seeking a 10th term, says he was warned soon after his narrow 2018 win that he was going to be broadsided by a coup.

(As above) “I”m happy to have all of this scrutiny,” King says. “…I think the people that are going to the polls are going to be real pleased with the job that I have been doing.”

By mid-May, King had raised about 330-thousand dollars, but had just 32-thousand left in his campaign war chest. Challenger Randy Feenstra of Hull, a state senator, raised 925-thousand and had nearly four times as much money as King left for the campaign’s closing weeks. Feenstra has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Right-to-Life Committee as well as well-known Iowa Republicans like former Governor Terry Branstad and Sheldon native Bob Vander Plaats, president of The Family Leader.

(As above) “You need to be an effective conservative leader,” Feenstra says. “I’ve proven it.”

Jeremy Taylor of Sioux City, a former state legislator and former county supervisor, raised about 165-thousand dollars and had 24-thousand left in mid-May.

(As above) “Most of my funding comes from former Steve King supporters,” Taylor claimed, “about 80%.” 

Bret Richards, the former mayor of Irwin, says he is primarily self-funding his campaign and put 73-thousand miles on his van.

(As above) “Before the pandemic, I was door-knocking,” Richards says. “After the pandemic, it’s been social media — name recognition that way.”

Steve Reeder, a businessman from Arnolds Park, filed paperwork indicating a negative balance in his campaign account on May 13th. Reeder says he didn’t chase the big money or King’s former donors.

(As above) “I’m not beholden to any special interest groups or PACS,” Reeder says. “I’m beholden to the people of Iowa.”

The candidates made their comments during a weekend online forum hosted by Story County Republicans.

Statewide Iowa — An expert on insects says there’s no evidence so-called “murder hornets” are in Iowa and it’s entirely possible they’ll never buzz this far inland.

Donald Lewis, an extension entomologist at Iowa State University, prefers to use the wasp’s proper name, Vespa mandarinia, or the Asian giant hornet.

(As above) “That’s the official name,” Lewis says. “It was a good enough name in its home country of Japan. It should’ve been a good enough name here, but it got called something else which tends to add a little alarmism to the whole process.” 

The hornets were found in recent months in Washington state and in British Columbia, Canada in very small numbers and their nests were quickly destroyed.

(As above) “The possibility of the Asian giant hornet in Iowa is very slim,” Lewis says. “There’s a long history of insects finding their way to the North American continent and establishing and becoming invasive species. The chances for this one are slim but it’s worth watching.” 

The hornets got their murderous nickname because they can brutally wipe out honey bee colonies by decapitating the smaller, beneficial insects. About a dozen people are killed by the giant hornets every year in Japan, while in the U.S., about 50 people die every year from getting stung by various insects. In addition to being the world’s largest hornet at up to two inches long, their coloring is very distinctive.

(As above) “This is a huge wasp and it’s typical of all wasps with an elongated, slender body,” Lewis says. “They have four wings. The abdomen has a black-and-orange stripe. The head is orange, but the eyes are very black, which makes the eyes very prominent.” 

For the most part, if you don’t mess with the hornet, it won’t mess with you, Lewis says, but it will attack if provoked and its sting can be very painful and potentially fatal. If you encounter one, he says the best defense is simply to steer clear.