January 12, 2021 - 3:28 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Five more deaths and forty-six additional cases of COVID-19 were reported in the four-county area in Tuesday’s report from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The death toll for the area is now up to 146 since the pandemic began. There were three additional deaths in Sioux County and two in Lyon County. The death tolls since the pandemic started are 54 in O’Brien County, 51 in Sioux County, 32 in Lyon County, and nine in Osceola County.

Lyon County’s total was up 24 cases on Tuesday. Also, 17 residents from Sioux County, four from O’Brien County, and one from Osceola County were reported.

Out of the 1,357 Lyon County residents who have had COVID-19, 1151 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 85%.
Out of the 4,491 Sioux County residents who have had COVID-19, 4081 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 91%.
Out of the 1,664 O’Brien County residents who have had COVID-19, 1475 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 89%.
Out of the 629 Osceola County residents who have had COVID-19, 594 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 94%.

Total numbers of cases from other counties around the area and their change from the previous report:

Iowa counties:
Plymouth 3,461 , up 8
Cherokee 1,314 , up 2
Buena Vista 3,864 , up 11
Clay 1,635 , up 9
Dickinson 1,814 , up 3

January 11, 2021 - 3:39 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Twenty-seven additional residents of the four-county area tested positive for COVID-19 in Monday’s report from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

After an adjustment decline of 15 cases on Saturday, Lyon County’s total was up 22 on Monday, compared to single-digit gains or less in the other counties. The count includes two residents from Sioux County, three from O’Brien County and none from Osceola County.

No additional deaths were listed on Monday’s report, so the death toll for the area remains at 141 since the pandemic began. Fifty-four in O’Brien County, Forty-eight in Sioux County, Thirty in Lyon County, and nine in Osceola County.

Out of the 1,333 Lyon County residents who have had COVID-19, 1142 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 86%.
Out of the 4,474 Sioux County residents who have had COVID-19, 4046 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 90%.
Out of the 1,660 O’Brien County residents who have had COVID-19, 1458 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 88%.
Out of the 628 Osceola County residents who have had COVID-19, 588 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 94%.

Total numbers of cases from other counties around the area and their change from the previous report:

Iowa counties:
Plymouth 3,453 , up 0
Cherokee 1,312 , adjusted down 15 cases
Buena Vista 3,853 , up 2
Clay 1,626 , up 7
Dickinson 1,811 , up 3

Des Moines, Iowa — The battle over Iowa’s so-called “bottle bill” which set the nickel deposit fee on cans and bottles with carbonated and alcoholic beverages in 1979 will again be waged in the 2021 Iowa legislature. House Speaker Pat Grassley, a Republican from New Hartford, says he hears about it constantly.

(as said) “The question of tackling the Bottle Bill has 100 different opinions on what that looks like,” Grassley says.

Michelle Hurd, president of the Iowa Grocery Industry Association, says the law is not being uniformly enforced, as some businesses that sell beverages do not accept empties and paying back the deposit fees.

(as said) “Forty years ago you might not have had ‘Dollar’ stores that sell beverage that are contained in the bottle deposit law or maybe hardware stores,” Hurd says. “They’re now directly across the street from your hometown grocer, competing, and not playing by the same rules or being held to the same standard.”

The number of redemption centers, which also accept empties, has dwindled significantly over the years. The one-cent-per-container fee for processing the empties set 40 years ago has never changed. Troy Willard, owner of the Can Shed redemption centers in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City areas, is a member of the Iowa Recycling Association.

(as said) “There certainly needs to be more money in the system to make it a viable financial model,” he says. “That’s the only way that redemption centers are going to make it.”

Increasing the deposit fee and applying it to water bottles and other beverage containers that aren’t subject to the deposit now are among options lawmakers have discussed. Grassley says getting the empties out of grocery stores is the pressing issue he’s hearing the most about.

(as said) “That doesn’t mean that there’s not going to be a way to redeem them,” Grassley says. “Just I think COVID really brought that to our attention, when it comes to sanitary conditions within the stores.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, Governor Reynolds suspended bottle and can redemption at grocery stores for a few months.

Des Moines, Iowa — The 2020 Iowa legislative session began this Monday, with Republicans who control the debate agenda predicting significant action on education and taxation. Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver of Ankeny says there’s no consensus yet, though.

(as said) “The tax conversation and tax changes don’t happen in a bill filed day one in the legislature, usually,” Whitver says. “What I know is as long as I’m majority leader and as long as we’re in the majority, we want to improve the tax climate in the state of Iowa.”

House Speaker Pat Grassley, a Republican from New Hartford, says legislators will get the next detailed report on state tax revenue in March.

(as said) “We’re seeing higher than expected revenue growth,” Grassley says. “If we have those opportunities to return dollars back to the hard-working Iowans, we want to do that.”

House Democratic Leader Todd Prichard of Charles City says tax cuts should be targeted to make things like housing and child care more affordable.

(as said) “If we’re going to talk tax cuts, let’s talk tax cuts for working Iowans,” Prichard says, “not just for those at the top.”

Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls (like “walls”) of Coralville says the legislature’s primary focus should be on the pandemic.

(as said) “This is the event that has turned all of our lives upside down,” Wahls says, “…so looking at things that’ll help our front-line health care workers, other essential workers, small businesses, community agencies like food banks. We know that food insecurity has tripled since the start of the pandemic.”

Last Thursday, Republican Governor Kim Reynolds hit pause again on her “Invest in Iowa” proposal to both lower income taxes and raise sales taxes, due to the pandemic. Republican legislators say their education plans will revolve around ensuring parental choice. Speaker Grassley says it was an issue in the November election, as some parents grew frustrated that their children were not back in the classroom full time.

(as said) “I think Iowans spoke loud and clear that that’s their expectation,” Grassley says, “and in fact I think it affected a lot of races.”

Both Grassley and Senator Whitver say everything is on the table when it comes to education policy, including giving parents state money to cover the costs of private school tuition.

(as said) “When you talk about parental choice, there’s a lot of different things that go into that…Can you transfer out of Des Moines Public Schools or not? Are your kids in five days a week or are they all virtual? It’s public-private,” Whitver says. “…Education is going to probably be the biggest conversation of this entire session.”

Democrats say spending state tax dollars at private schools diverts scarce resources at a time when Iowa’s public schools need more assistance.

Northwest Iowa — Seventeen additional residents of the four-county area tested positive for COVID-19 in Sunday’s report from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The count includes eight residents from Sioux County, six from Lyon County, three from O’Brien County and none from Osceola County.

No additional deaths were listed on Sunday’s report, so the death toll for the area remains at 141 since the pandemic began. Fifty-four in O’Brien County, Forty-eight in Sioux County, Thirty in Lyon County and nine in Osceola County.

Of the 1311 Lyon County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19, 1142 have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 87%.
Of the 4472 Sioux County residents who have tested positive, 4040 have recovered, for a rate of about 90%.
Of the 1657 O’Brien County residents to test positive, 1456 have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 88%.
Of the 628 Osceola County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19, 588 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 94%.

Total numbers of cases from other counties around the area and their change from the previous report:

Iowa counties:
Plymouth 3453, up 10
Cherokee 1327, up 1
Buena Vista 3851, up 3
Clay 1619, unchanged
Dickinson 1808, up 10

These figures represent the 24-hour period from noon Saturday, January 9, 2021 to noon Sunday, January 10, 2021.

January 9, 2021 - 4:23 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Twenty-two new cases of COVID-19 were reported Saturday in the four-county area, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Sioux County had twelve new cases reported, O’Brien had five new cases and Osceola County added three to their tally. An adjustment was made to Lyon County’s total, lowering it by fifteen cases, for a total of 1305.

No additional deaths were listed on Saturday’s report, so the death toll for the area remains at 141 since the pandemic began. Fifty-four in O’Brien County, Forty-eight in Sioux County, Thirty in Lyon County and nine in Osceola County since the pandemic began.

Of the 1,305 Lyon County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19, 1140 have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 87%.
Of the 4,464 Sioux County residents who have tested positive, 4031 have recovered, for a rate of about 90%.
Of the 1,654 O’Brien County residents to test positive, 1454 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 88%.
Of the 628 Osceola County residents who have tested positive for COVID-19, 588 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 94%.

Total numbers of cases from other counties around the area and their change from the previous report:

Iowa counties:
Plymouth 3443, up 7
Cherokee 1326, up 29
Buena Vista 3848, up 11
Clay 1619, up 3
Dickinson 1798, up 9

These figures represent the 24-hour period from noon Friday, January 8, 2021 to noon Saturday, January 9, 2021.

 

Statewide Iowa — Governor Kim Reynolds says the the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations for Iowa nursing residents and staff is unacceptable. Under a federal agreement, a pair of national pharmacies were hired to get the shots deployed to Iowa nursing homes. Some nursing home managers say they cannot find out when shots will be administered in their facilities.

(As above) “This is a problem that’s happening in states all across the country,” Reynolds says. “None of us are happy with the way that this is being executed.” 

Reynolds and other governors spoke with executives from the two national pharmacy chains late Thursday. Reynolds says if the two companies can’t fulfill the contract in a timely manner, local pharmacies should get the business.

(As above) “If they can’t reach a certain threshold, a certain percentage, then that ought to be a trigger for them to pass it to the states,” Reynolds says. 

Reynolds says the agreement to have the national pharmacy chains in charge of delivering and administering the COVID vaccines in nursing homes seemed to address concerns about having enough staff to give the shots.

(As above) “But it’s just not being allocated in a manner that we were hoping that it would be,” Reynolds says. 

The first doses of vaccines in nursing homes were given December 28th. However, nearly two weeks later, it’s still unclear how many of the state’s more than 60-thousand nursing home residents and staff have been vaccinated. The governor says about 60 percent of the doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that the state has received so far have been given, but there’s no break-down on who’s getting the shots. According to the most recent federal data, Iowa’s COVID-19 vaccination rate is among the highest in the country.

January 8, 2021 - 3:54 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Five new deaths and forty-three new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Friday in the four northwesternmost Iowa counties.

Lyon County had two more deaths, and Osceola, O’Brien, and Sioux counties had one more death, each. There have been 141 COVID-related deaths of northwest Iowans since the pandemic began. Lyon County’s death toll is 30, Sioux’s is 48. Osceola County has had nine deaths, and O’Brien has had 54.

Lyon County was up 12 more cases at 1320 cases since the pandemic started. Sioux County was up 20 at 4452. O’Brien County was up 10 at 1647, and Osceola had 1 more case for a total of 625.

An average of about one in every eight northwest Iowans in our area has now tested positive for COVID-19 since March.

Out of the 1,320 Lyon County residents who have had COVID-19, 1136 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 86%.
Out of the 4,452 Sioux County residents who have had COVID-19, 4012 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 90%.
Out of the 1,647 O’Brien County residents who have had COVID-19, 1446 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 88%.
Out of the 625 Osceola County residents who have had COVID-19, 588 of them have recovered, for a recovery rate of about 94%.
Total numbers of cases from other counties around the area and their change from the previous report:

Iowa counties:
Plymouth 3,436 , up 9
Cherokee 1,297 , up 7
Buena Vista 3,837 , up 25
Clay 1,616 , up 17
Dickinson 1,789 , up 21

January 8, 2021 - 3:45 pm - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — The Republican leaders in the Iowa legislature say they’re confident in the security at the Capitol building in Des Moines. Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver of Ankeny says Wednesday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol was a sad day for the country.

(As above) “This is a great country that has given me so much and given all of us so much, allowed me to grow up in Grinnell, go play football at Iowa State, become a state senator,” Whitver says. “…Violence like that should never stand and should always be condemned.” 

House Speaker Pat Grassley of New Hartford says Americans have every right to express their opinions, in a non-violent way.

(As above) “I hope that this is not the way that this country is moving towards,” Grassley says. “…I’ve been very consistent, even going back into the summer, that’s not the proper way to do it. There’s a proper way to do it and what we’ve seen the last eight months isn’t always it.” 

There were protests in June outside the 135-year-old Iowa Capitol building when the legislature was in session.

(As above) “Between the security we have inside the Capitol and the State Patrol as well, I think that we’re well equipped,” Grassley says. “Some of what we saw in June, if it were to be anything like that, kind of prepared us and we know what steps may need to happen.” 

Whitver says the small group of people who protested in the U.S. Capitol do not speak for Iowa Republicans.

(As above) “Part of the reason we’ve been successful here in Iowa with our elections in the House, in the Senate, with the governor is because we focused on Iowa and we focused on what we need to do to make Iowa the best state we can,” Whitver said, “and that’s what we’re going to continue to do.”

The two lawmakers made their comments during the taping of a show for Iowa Public Television.

January 8, 2021 - 3:42 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — The KIWA website at kiwaradio.com saw a lot of traffic last year, which has been a good thing for our advertisers.

We talked to kiwaradio.com‘s webmaster, Justin Hellinga about it. He tells us that it’s part of a trend for our website.

(as said:) “Over the last several years we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the amount of information that northwest Iowa in general… Lyon, Sioux, O’Brien, and Osceola counties are consuming. Back in 2017… we’ll go back to then… we only had six point three million hits and then it’s increased since then in 2018, 2019, then for 2020… the year January 1st to December 31st — we hit 10 million page views on our website due to the abundance of information that people are consuming across northwest Iowa with the massive change into people consuming their local news more and more.”

Hellinga says those ten million hits are a great indicator to potential advertisers how popular our website is, and therefore how many northwest Iowans may be exposed to their messages.

(as said:) “The more hits that our website gets, the more exposure that our advertisers will get. They will see the advertisements on there all the time and then you’ll be able to see some of the deals that people put on there. You click on the link on the advertisement and that’ll bring you to what the advertisers have to say as well. The KIWA website brings in the traffic and then in turn we will export the traffic to our advertisers.”

Hellinga says many people are aware that they can get local news, sports scores, sports broadcasts, and the lists of our Marketplace items at kiwaradio.com. But he says we offer much more.

(as said:) “We have news, weather, sports. We have ag news. We have many obituaries that come in as well. We also have lunchroom menus; our community calendar tells you what’s going on all across northwest Iowa as well with some of the events going on.”

Hellinga tells us another thing that gets a lot of use on our website is our Closures and Delays page, whether it’s weather-related or pandemic-related announcements, you can find out what is and what is not going on at kiwaradio.com.