Statewide Iowa — Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer, thousands of Iowans will be camping and building campfires. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources encourages campers to buy firewood from where they will burn it instead of bringing it from home.

DNR Forest Health Forester Tivon Feeley says moving unseasoned firewood around the state can threaten the health of our forests by spreading insects like emerald ash borer that live in firewood.

EAB is a small, metallic-green, invasive wood-boring beetle native to east Asia that attacks and kills ash trees. It attacks trees of any size, age, or stage of health.

The spread of EAB into uninfected areas has been primarily through people moving firewood from county to county or state to state. These pests don’t move far on their own, but they can travel hundreds of miles in a single day in contaminated firewood, according to Feeley.

Plenty of firewood is available locally near state and county parks. Simply ask a park ranger or campground host for local firewood availability. Make sure to burn all of the firewood at the campsite and not leave it or transport to a new area.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship requires all firewood sold or acquired in Iowa to have the county and state of harvest location on the label of packages and the delivery ticket for bulk firewood.

Find more information about emerald ash borer and the reasons not move firewood online at www.iowadnr.gov/eab.

Des Moines, Iowa — Governor Kim Reynolds says she believes the State of Iowa could use federal pandemic relief money on additional school security measures.

Reynolds says banning semi-automatic weapons like the one used to kill two teachers and 19 students in a Texas school isn’t the cure to mass shootings.

Earlier this spring, Reynolds met with a company that digitizes the layout of schools, so those maps could be used by law enforcement in an active shooter situation. The state may also buy an app that lets students anonymously submit tips that a classmate may be threatening their school.

Reynolds signed a law in 2018 requiring every Iowa school to have a high-quality emergency plan, conduct annual reviews and practice the response to an active shooter. The Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management also conducts threat assessments.

Those could be done over the summer, according to Reynolds. Reynolds says there’s no single answer to what happened in Texas, but the governor says she is concerned by reports the shooter was in the school for an hour before law enforcement intervened.

The Texas shooter shared his plans on social media right before heading to the school and Reynolds says she’s troubled by news he may have indicated at the age of 14 that he’d go into a school with a gun when he was a senior.

Reynolds says the Governor’s School Safety Bureau is submitting applications for federal grants and is coordinating state agency efforts to plan for and respond to threats in Iowa schools.

Statewide Iowa — The first days of the summer travel season arrive this weekend and the Iowa Department of Transportation reminds that despite it being a holiday, drivers need to obey the rules in construction zones.

Pete Hjelmstad , with the DOT’s Mason City office, says even though work crews will likely not be in those areas this weekend, you need to obey the posted speed limits.

Hjelmstad says during this Memorial Day weekend, Iowans need to slow down and focus on driving — and not other things inside the car.

Hjelmstad says you can use the DOT website 511ia.org to find out about where road construction is happening. He adds, most states have their own version of that website.

Statewide Iowa — Boaters on both sides of Iowa need to use caution during the upcoming holiday weekend, but for different reasons. Water levels are expected to rise more than a foot on the Mississippi River due to snowmelt and rains to the north. On the Missouri River, however, DNR fisheries biologist Bryan Hayes says it’s exceptionally dry and the water levels are very low.

Some of the trouble areas in the west include Carter Lake in Pottawattamie County, which is is three feet below crest. The water level at Lake Manawa has been down a few feet all spring. Elsewhere, low levels are reported on Blue Lake in Monona County, DeSoto Bend in Harrison County, Snyder Bend and Browns Lake in Woodbury County, and several others along the Interstate 29 corridor.

The watershed of the Missouri River extends all the way to Montana, with several flood control reservoirs in South Dakota.

Meanwhile, National Weather Service forecasters say the Mississippi River is rising quickly and currents are strong. That waterway is expected to crest at Davenport on Sunday around 13-and-a-half feet, that’s about 18 inches shy of the initial flood stage.

Statewide Iowa — The Iowa Attorney General’s office has launched a series of consumer protection presentations that will visit a dozen Iowa cities over the next month. Al Perales, an investigator in the A.G.’s office, says he’ll be prepared to hear consumer complaints after he outlines some of the most popular scams, like when you get a message from a supposed Facebook friend.

In another popular scam, Perales says you might get a text, email or robocall from someone claiming to be with Amazon, confirming you’ve been sent a high-dollar item.

Elderly Iowans are sometimes targeted in a late-night phone call from someone claiming to be a grandchild who needs bail money, but Perales says Iowans in their teens, 20s and 30s are falling victim to con artists, too.

Perales started the tour in Independence. Other cities on the list include: Eldora, Monticello, Dyersville, Lake View, Grinnell, Creston, Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Atlantic and Tama. For a full schedule, visit:
https://www.iowaattorneygeneral.gov/newsroom/consumer-davenport-atlantic-tama-eldora-monticello-dyersville-lake-view-grinnell-creston-sioux-co?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery. 

May 26, 2022 - 4:06 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — This coming Monday is Memorial Day.

It’s a day set aside to remember the sacrifices of the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Several Memorial Day observances and related events have been planned in our area.

In Sheldon, volunteers are needed to help set up the Sheldon Avenue of Flags for Memorial Day weekend. If you are willing to assist in setting up the flags, please be on the east side of the City Park at 7:00 AM Saturday, May 28th. Volunteers will also be needed to retire the flags on Monday, May 30th at 5:30 PM. The actual observance will be presented by the Sheldon American Legion McGlothan-Cowie Post 145 at the Sheldon High School Auditorium at 10 a.m. on Memorial Day Monday. If you can’t make it to the service, KIWA will have live video on the KIWA Facebook page. And then volunteers will also be needed to help retire the flags on Memorial Day 5:30 p.m. at the Sheldon City Park. Also, the Sheldon First Christain Reformed Church’s Young People will have a Memorial Day Pancake Breakfast at the Sheldon Christian School gym from 7:00-10:00 a.m. It’s open to the public and free will donations will be accepted. They’ll serve pancakes, eggs, sausage, and beverages. The proceeds raised will go towards their service project.

The Hartley American Legion Post #288 will take care of the Memorial Day Service there. It will be at 9:30 a.m. on Monday at the Pleasant View Cemetery.

In Sanborn, the observance will be at 10 a.m. at the Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn Middle School in Sanborn. Speakers will include Merne Haak, Fred Anema, and Dan Donovan. Music will be provided by the HMS Middle School Chorus and Sanborn Christian School students will also do a reading.

In Ashton, the Ashton Legion and Town & Country will present the events. They’ll start with coffee & rolls at the Legion from 9 to 9:30 a.m. The service will be from 9:30 to 10:30, with the cemetery service from 10:30 to 11. After the cemetery service they invite you back to the Legion for a lunch from 11 to 1. Freewill donations will be accepted for the pork loin meal.

American Legion Post 470 in Melvin invites everyone to observe Memorial Day services at Baker cemetery two miles east and two miles north of Melvin, beginning at 10:30 AM, Monday, May 30, 2022. Those attending are urged to bring lawn chairs for their comfort. In case of inclement weather, the ceremonies will be held in the American Legion Community Center in Melvin.

In Ocheyedan, there will be a pancake breakfast on Memorial Day from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. at the Ocheyedan City Park. Pancakes, sausage, fresh fruit, and drinks will be served for a freewill donation. It’s sponsored by the Gems & Cadets of the Ocheyedan Christain Reformed Church.

In Sibley, their observance will be at 11:00 a.m. at Holman Township Cemetery. The special speaker will be Retired Army Command Sergent Major Gary Handeland. Music will be provided by the Sibley/Ocheyedan High School Band. In case of rain the program will be in the Sibley Legion Building.

The Boyden Memorial Day Program will be held on Monday, May 30 at 9:30 a.m. at the Demco Community Center. The guest speaker will be Jordan Helming. Music will be provided by the Godtland family. Poppies will be available at local businesses and before the service. The donations collected for the poppies will be used for area veterans in need.

The Hawarden, Ireton, and Lebanon Christian Reformed Churches will host a Memorial Day worship service at the Oak Grove Park, north of Hawarden on Sunday, May 29, at 10 AM. Those attending are asked to bring lawn chairs. This year’s speaker is Chaplain Major Corey Van Sloten. A free meal will be served following the service. In case of rain, the event will be held at the Hawarden Community Center.

In Orange City, the program will be on Monday at 9:30 a.m. at their West Lawn Cemetery. The speaker will be Air Force veteran Kyle Korver. There will be parking available south of the memorial. Some seating will be available, but bring your lawn chairs. In case of rain, the service will be moved to the Orange City First Reformed Church.

There are several services and activities in Sioux Center, starting with a Sunday evening service at 7 p.m. at Central Reformed Church. Corey Van Sloten and Jordan Helming will conduct the service. On Monday, it will start with the VFW Bike Decorating Contest at the Kinsey Elementary parking lot. Judging is at 8:30 a.m. with prizes, then kids can join the parade, which will line up at 9 a.m. and start at 9:15 a.m. from the Kinsey Elementary parking lot to Memory Gardens Cemetery. The 9:30 service will follow, with special music including the Sioux Center High School Music Department and speaker Pastor Tyler Stauffer, an Army National Guard Chaplain. In case of rain, the service will move to the Centre Mall.

The Doon activities will start with veterans meeting at 8:45 to march, accompanied by the Central Lyon 7-8 Band. Reverend John Vermeer of the Doon United Reformed Chruch will be the special speaker. The Central Lyon 7-8 Band will also perform. If it rains, the service is moved to the Doon Community Center (former school).

In George the program will be at 10 a.m. at the George-Little Rock High SchoolPastor Jesse Sternke fo First Baptist Memorial Church is the featured speaker. The George-Little Rock High School Band will provide music. A service at Evergreen Lawn Cemetery will follow, as will a short service at the George Good Samaritan Center.

The Rock Rapids observance will be at Riverview Cemetery at 10:00 a.m. Noelle Bonjour will be the speaker. The rain location is the Forster Community Center in Rock Rapids.

Statewide Iowa — The last bill to clear the legislature this year gives Iowa’s insurance commissioner authority to collect more data about companies called pharmacy benefit managers.

Critics say PBMs are driving small-town pharmacies out of business, while the industry says PBMs are helping to control prescription drug costs. Pharmacy Benefit Managers are companies hired to administer prescription drug benefits provided by large employers, insurance companies and Medicare Part D. Two months ago, the Iowa House unanimously voted for a series of safeguards for pharmacies and consumers. This week Iowa Senate voted to scale some of that back. For instance, Republican Senator Mike Klimesh of Spillville says the bill no longer ensures any Iowa pharmacy can apply to be part of networks that serve customers with prescription drug insurance.

Representative Brian Best, a Republican from Carroll, says more must be done to expose the secretive conduct of PBMs.

Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver says a nationwide policy would be better, but congress has been unable to act, so lawmakers in states like Iowa are trying to come up with solutions.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, pharmacy benefit managers process about 75 percent of all prescriptions filled in the United States. All but four states have passed laws that regulate PBMs in some fashion.

May 26, 2022 - 9:58 am - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration predicts dry conditions will continue for western Iowa and expand eastward. Meteorologist Adam Hartman authored the report.

La Niña weather conditions are a climate pattern that produces drier days. United States Ag Department meteorologist, Brad Rippey, says the weather’s impact on crops depends largely on the timing of the heat waves.

Much of the northwest region of the state is already experiencing abnormally dry conditions. Woodbury, Plymouth and Monona counties face severe drought.

Northwest Iowa — The Iowa Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau, along with the Iowa State Patrol reports that traffic fatality numbers for 2022 are already alarmingly high.

Iowa State Patrol Trooper Kevin Krull says 109 people have lost their lives in traffic crashes so far in 2022, which is an increase over the average year.

Northwest Iowa’s State Patrol District 6, which is comprised of Lyon, Sioux, O’Brien, Osceola, Dickinson, Clay, Emmet and Palo Alto counties, has seen a number of fatalities so far this year that comes awfully close to those seen for an entire average YEAR.

Trooper Krull says there are simple ways to help you avoid being involved in a crash.

The upcoming Memorial Day Weekend is one of the busiest on Iowa roadways, and Krull says law enforcement officers statewide will be out in large numbers this weekend, in an effort to keep people safe on the road.

And, he says, if your weekend celebration involves adult beverages, please arrange for a designated driver before the celebration begins.

Trooper Krull offers some final thoughts.

Drive safely this holiday weekend and avoid seeing those red and blue flashing lights in your rearview mirror.

 

Des Moines, Iowa — Governor Reynolds has ordered all flags in Iowa to fly at half-staff immediately through sunset on Saturday, May 28, 2022, in honor and remembrance of the victims in the tragic shooting on Tuesday at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Gov. Reynolds says, “My heart breaks for all those affected by the tragic and senseless shooting in Uvalde. Kevin and I join with Iowans in praying for all the parents, families, students, and staff involved. No parent or child should ever have to face this unimaginable tragedy.”

The governor’s order is issued in conjunction with President Biden’s proclamation to lower all United States flags to half-staff for the same length of time.

In his proclamation, Biden called the incident “senseless acts of violence.” In his remarks about the incident, Biden asked the nation to pray for strength for the victims’ parents and siblings — strength in the darkness they feel right now.

Governor Reynolds’ proclamation indicates flags will be at half-staff on the State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol Complex. Flags will also be half-staff on all public buildings, grounds, and facilities throughout the state. President Biden’s proclamation says flags will be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions.

Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties, and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flags at half-staff for the same length of time.