September 21, 2021 - 12:49 pm - Posted in News

Sheldon, Iowa — Numerous dignitaries were on hand Tuesday morning for a ribbon cutting at Northwest Iowa Community College.

The ribbon was cut for NCC’s Diesel Technology and Automotive classrooms and labs, and the Educational Partnership with Snap-On Tools.

The celebration included remarks from representatives of NCC, Sheldon Chamber of Commerce, City of Sheldon, and leadership from Snap-on Tools Inc. The NHRA Snap-on Tools Dodge Charger Nitro Car was also present during the celebration. Additionally, Andy Jacobs, Diesel Technology (NCC Class of ‘02), was presented NCC’s Outstanding 2020-2021 Alumnus of the Year award.

Also speaking at the event were; Representative Dennis Bush, Representative Skyler Wheeler, Representative John Wills, Senator Jeff Taylor, Wes Fopma — representing Congressman Randy Feenstra, Kolby DeWitt — representing Senator Joni Ernst and Jacob Bossman — representing Senator Chuck Grassley.

A video of the ceremony may be viewed below……

September 20, 2021 - 4:26 pm - Posted in News

Sibley, Iowa — The Community Blood Bank is in need of blood donations. Your next chance to help them out is this Wednesday in Sibley.

Ken VerSteeg, the Executive Director of the Community Blood Bank tells us about it.

VerSteeg says, however, that they would prefer if you would make an appointment. The number to call for this blood drive is 712-754-2574.

VerSteeg tells us that they have been keeping up with demand, but now they are in a tight spot again supply-wise.

VerSteeg says for whatever reason (possibly COVID, possibly busy schedules), blood donations as a whole are down, so they’d love for this drive in Sibley to be a great drive such as they had recently in Sheldon.

Northwest Iowa — There have been 119 new positive COVID results in the four-county area in the past seven days, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

The total in the O’Brien, Sioux, Osceola and Lyon County area breaks down to 62 new cases in Sioux County which is up 21 from a week ago, 34 new cases in Lyon County which is up 8 from last week, 16 new cases in O’Brien County and 7 in Osceola County. Both O’Brien and Osceola Counties were down 1 from the week before.

The streak of several weeks with no COVID-related deaths in the four-county area came to an end in the last seven days, when O’Brien and Sioux Counties each had one resident claimed by the virus. That brings the total dead since the start of the pandemic to 191; 752 in Sioux County, 58 in O’Brien County, 41 in Lyon County and 17 in Osceola County.

As of Monday morning, 52.7% of O’Brien County residents age 12 and up have been fully vaccinated, with 47.2% in Osceola County, 43.3% in Lyon County and 43.7% in Sioux County.

Patients hospitalized statewide, as of Monday morning, stands at 578, with 158 being treated in Iowa Intensive Care Units. Of those hospitalized, 76.9% are not fully vaccinated. For those in ICU, 87.7% are not fully vaccinated.

There are 26 Long-Term Care Centers in the state experiencing COVID outbreaks as of Monday morning, according to the IDPH.

 

Northwest Iowa — The filing deadline for the November election has passed, and several people have thrown their hats into the ring. The election will focus on city and school candidates and questions.

In Osceola County, in the City of Ashton, Incumbent Mayor Patrick H. DeVries has filed to keep his position and is running unopposed. For Ashton City Council, three candidates have filed for three open positions. They are JoAnn Koedam, Douglas J. Konz, and incumbent Kay Winkel. They are all running unopposed.

In Harris, Russell Meier is on the ballot for Mayor. There are two city council positions open and three people want to fill them. They are incumbent Jeff Loring and challengers Glen DeVries and Larry Hegwer.

In Melvin, incumbent mayor Paul D. Heitritter is running unopposed to keep his chair. Three city council positions are open, and two incumbents have filed. They are Jeff Sorensen and Michael J. Wynja.

In Ocheyedan, Mayor Arlyn D. Pedley is running unopposed to keep his chair. There are two city council positions open, and one city council position to fill a vacancy, but no candidates have filed for any of the council spots, so the winners will probably be write-ins.

Sibley Mayor Jerry L. Johnson is running unopposed for his seat, as are At-Large Councilmember Larry Pedley, Ward 1 Councilmember Mitchell Ackerman, Ward 3 Councilmember Larry Stone, Ward 2 Councilmember LaDonn Hartzell. However, Hartzell’s is to fill a vacancy.

In the Sibley-Ocheyedan School District, Laurel Klaassen is running unopposed in District 1. District 3 Boardmember Jamie Arend is running unopposed, as is District 4 Boardmember Greg Atherton.

As far as O’Brien County:

Archer Mayor Nathan Mueller is running unopposed, as are three councilmembers: Jeremy Engel, Troy Iedema, and Branden Lehner. Aimee Mueller is running to fill a vacancy on the council.

In Calumet, Mayor Michael N. Jensen is running unopposed, as are Councilmembers Andrew Lichter and Regina Loshman.
Kim Mesenbrink is running to fill a vacancy on the Calumet Council.

Hartley Mayor Rodney E. Ahrenstorff is running unopposed. Five people are running for three positions on the Hartley City Council, including incumbents Ronald Glen Hengeveld, Brian Myers, and Mary Westphalen. Also running are Greg Cotter and Nickolas R. Galm.

In Paullina, Mayor John Ihle is being challenged by Brenda Ebel Kruse. Councilmembers Steven Heeren and Carol Honkomp are running unopposed for their seats.

Six people are vying for three positions on the Primghar City Council. Incumbents Tim Honkomp and Kenneth Miller are challenged by Kevin P. Kelleher, Darin Logan, Kayla Weishuhn, and Steve Wittrock.

Sanborn Mayor Randy Lyman is running unopposed, as are councilmembers Jerry Back and Larry Reitsma.

Click here for the Sheldon city and school races.

Sutherland Mayor Kay Gifford has filed papers to run and faces no opposition. For the Sutherland City Council, there are two open positions and four people that want to fill them. They are incumbent Johanna Homan, Tyler Draper, Devon Jones, and Gary Tunink.

Turning to school races, at Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn, the Director District 2 position will be available, but no one has filed papers to have their name on the ballot. Director District 3, Chad Lyman and Director District 5, Scott Vollink are both running unopposed.

At South O’Brien, Sue McCauley is running unopposed for Director District 1. There are no candidates for the available Director District 3 chair. Director District 6, Gina Paulsen is unopposed. Bobbi Honkomp and Joshua Rausch are running for the Director District 2 spot – to fill a vacancy.

The election will also include people running for Community College boards and ballot questions.

We’ll have the Lyon and Sioux County races in an upcoming story on KIWA and kiwaradio.com.

September 17, 2021 - 4:03 pm - Posted in News

Sioux City, Iowa — A $77-million lawsuit filed by a U.S. Congressman from California (who has ties to northwest Iowa) against Hearst Magazines, the publisher of Esquire Magazine, and one of their writers is still alive after a federal appeals court ruled that parts of it have merit.

California Congressman Devon Nunes filed the suit in Federal District Court in Sioux City over what his lawsuit contends was a “Hit Piece” authored by Esquire writer Ryan Lizza prior to the 2018 congressional elections.

According to the complaint, Nunes asserted that the article, which was entitled, “Devin Nunes Family Farm Is Hiding A Politically Explosive Secret,” was “sensational and scandalous.”

The article at the heart of the lawsuit was published in September 2018, and in the words of the lawsuit complaint, the defendants “knowingly and recklessly injured Nunes’ reputation with a scandalous hit piece that intentionally disparaged Nunes and his family.” The filing also accused Nunes of “dishonesty, deceit, conspiracy and unethical practices, and severely impugned Nunes’ integrity and skills as a United States Congressman.”

The article attempted to paint a negative image of Nunes and indicated that there was allegedly a scandal due to Nunes’ family’s move to Sibley from California a decade earlier, and that Nunes’ family members allegedly knowingly employed undocumented workers.

The suit was dismissed in August, 2020. But the 8th Circuit Court Of Appeals has ruled there are parts of the suit that deserve to be reconsidered.

The three-judge appeals court panel ruled unanimously that the Federal District Court was right to dismiss the claim that the story defamed Nunes by alleging he used his position as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Two other decisions were reversed.

The Federal District Court said that Nunes’ claim that the allegation that the Nunes family employed undocumented workers amounted to “defamation by implication” was not substantiated. They said, “no reasonable reader” could make that conclusion. But the appeals court disagreed.

The appeals court also said that the allegation that Lizza was trying to get more people to read his article when he tweeted about it in 2019 has merit, and amounts to republication. They wrote, “The complaint here adequately alleges that Lizza intended to reach and actually reached a new audience by publishing a tweet about Nunes and a link to the article.” The judge writing the opinion stated, “In November 2019, Lizza was on notice of the article’s alleged defamatory implication by virtue of this lawsuit. The complaint alleges that he then consciously presented the material to a new audience by encouraging readers to peruse his ‘strange tale’ about ‘immigration policy,’ and promoting that ‘I’ve got a story for you.’ Under those circumstances, the complaint sufficiently alleges that Lizza republished the article after he knew that the Congressman denied knowledge of undocumented labor on the farm or participation in any conspiracy to hide it.”

The court sent the case back to the Federal District Court for further proceedings on Nunes’ claims of defamation by implication and republication.

There’s another case in federal court filed by the Nunes family, alleging that Lizza defamed them as well. All claims except for the one in which they allege that Lizza and his publisher defamed them by saying they knowingly employed undocumented workers, were dismissed. The trial on that lone claim is scheduled for February of next year.

Northwest Iowa — While alfalfa may be about ready to cut, one northwest Iowa expert says that depending on your plans for next year, making hay may not be the best course of action right now.

Iowa State University Extension Agronomist Joel De Jong tells us that if your intent is to keep the alfalfa and harvest hay from it again next year, it might be best to hold off on the last cutting for a while.

Waiting on cutting alfalfa shouldn’t be much of a problem for area farmers, most of whom are busy getting ready for soybean and corn harvest at this point.

Lebanon, Iowa (western Sioux County) — A milestone was reached in northwest Iowa this week in the construction of the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System. Troy Larson, the project’s executive director, says the final section of pipe between Beresford, South Dakota, and Sioux Center was laid this week.

Larson says there’s still a lot of work to do before water is flowing through that pipe.

Larson says they still have a few more member cities to bring online.

Larson tells us about the line connecting Hull and Sheldon.

He tells us that while Sheldon getting water is a few years away yet, they are getting things ready in the Sheldon area.

For clarification purposes, water going to Sibley will come off of the Worthington branch, which is separate from the Sheldon branch.

Larson says they are also watching the U.S. House of Representatives closely, as the infrastructure bill that they are considering contains the remaining federal funding that Lewis & Clark needs to complete the base system — $132 million.

Larson tells us that the Lewis & Clark board is already planning for expansion from 45 million gallons per day to 60 million gallons. He says the proposed expansion will involve expanding the water treatment plant, adding more pumps to existing pump stations, adding two more pump stations, adding more wells in the same area, and adding more lime drying beds.

First developed in 1989, the water system is a partnership of cities and rural water districts in Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota. It uses some 340 miles of underground pipe to move treated water to communities from wells near the Missouri River, south of Vermillion, South Dakota.

Photo caption(left to right): L&C Executive Director Troy Larson, Hull Councilman Eric Rankin, Hull City Administrator and L&C Director Jim Collins, Sioux Center Assistant Utilities Manager Adam Fedders, Sioux Center Water Department Supervisor Harlan Kruid, Sioux Center City Manager Scott Wynja, Sioux Center Mayor Dave Krahling and Sioux Center Utilities Manager and L&C Chairman Murray Hulstein.

Des Moines, Iowa — The redistricting plan the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency presented to Iowa lawmakers Thursday morning would expand the fourth congressional district, which is represented by Congressman Randy Feenstra of Hull, from 39 to 44 counties.

Feenstra plans to seek reelection in 2022 and he lives in the proposed fourth congressional district. It would include cities like Sioux City, Fort Dodge and Mason City — which Feenstra currently represents, but the contours change as the proposed district flows to the south. Council Bluffs and Sidney on the far southwest corner of the state would be included, but Ames — which Feenstra current represents — is NOT included.

The proposed fourth district would still be a Republican-dominated area, with just under a quarter of voters registered as Democrats compared to more than 45 percent of voters being registered Republicans.

Donald Trump won the 44 counties that would be included in the proposed fourth congressional district by a more than 30 percent margin.

Here is what the proposed redistricting of Iowa would look like…..

 

 

September 16, 2021 - 2:10 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — A new report finds Iowa’s adult obesity rate rose significantly from 2019 to 2020. The study by the non-profit Trust for America’s Health found 36-percent of adult Iowans were considered obese last year, putting Iowa among 16 states with a rate above 35-percent.

The Trust’s Dara Lieberman says the shift in many people’s daily routines and a reported decrease in physical activity during the pandemic may have contributed to the increase.

Lieberman says obesity is linked to an increased risk for many conditions like diabetes, heart disease and even getting severely ill from COVID-19. She says obesity rates differed along racial lines due to social and economic factors, with black Iowans having higher rates than white and Latino Iowans.

Iowa is tied with Delaware for the seventh highest obesity rate in the country. Lieberman says lawmakers need to push for more resources to be invested in combating obesity.

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa Supreme Court has set December 1st as the deadline for Iowa lawmakers to approve new boundaries for Iowa congressional and legislative districts.

The Legislative Services Agency will release new maps Thursday, part of the once-every-ten-year process of redrawing congressional and legislative district lines based on new Census data. That data showing shifts in Iowa’s population didn’t get delivered until August — four months late — making it impossible to meet the September 15th constitutional deadline for having a redistricting plan approved. Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Christensen has issued an order that sets December 1st as the new deadline.

The chief justice says Iowa’s redistricting law has been recognized as the nation’s gold standard and has been studied and praised by redistricting commissions in other states. Christensen’s order cited the strict criteria the Legislative Services Agency uses to reconfigure the districts as she granted the legislative branch permission to proceed with the process that has been used since 1981.

Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver of Ankeny says he appreciates the Supreme Court’s work in helping to maintain Iowa’s nationally recognized redistricting process. Governor Kim Reynolds has set October 5th as the date for legislators to reconvene in special session to vote yes or no on the set of maps that will be released this Thursday.