June 18, 2021 - 4:01 pm - Posted in News

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Northwest Iowa — The new map from the U-S Drought Monitor shows worsening conditions across Iowa.

Only five percent of the state is shown as having normal conditions, all in the southeast, while drought gained more ground practically everywhere else. Parts of eastern and far southwestern Iowa are in the abnormally dry category, but the majority of the state’s in drought.

A week ago, 56-percent of Iowa was in moderate to severe drought, now, it’s 76-percent. Severe drought covers about 40 of the state’s 99 counties, including virtually all of northern Iowa and much of the central region.

According to the National Weather Service, highs in northwest Iowa are forecast to stay in the 80s for the next six days, with one exception. Monday, a reprieve from the heat is forecast, with a high only around 70. On Thursday the mercury will rise into the lower 90s

At this point, the weather service says it looks like we’ll have a chance for showers this Saturday night and Sunday, with a 70 percent chance on Saturday night and a 60 percent chance on Sunday.

The six-to-ten-day forecast is calling for normal temperatures and normal precipitation.

June 18, 2021 - 3:52 pm - Posted in News

Washington, D.C. — KIWA had a chance to talk this week to 4th District U.S. Congressman Randy Feenstra about some of the current issues being worked on by those on Capitol Hill.

The Hull Republican told KIWA that, by far, the biggest issue is President Biden’s Budget which, Feenstra says, calls for spending almost twice as much money as the government takes in each year.

Feenstra, who sits on the House Budget Committee, says that creates all kinds of problems.

He says inflation is expected to increase from its current level.

And, he says, the administration wants to pay for the extra spending  with Capital Gains taxes, a move Feenstra says would be devastating to farmers.

Feenstra is in his first term representing Iowa’s 4th Congressional District in the nation’s capitol. He was elected this past November, beating Democrat JD Scholten in the general election, after winning a five-way primary in which he defeated incumbent Representative Steve King.

June 18, 2021 - 11:02 am - Posted in News

Des Moines, Iowa — Republican Governor Kim Reynolds has signed legislation that establishes tougher penalties for rioting and protests that block pedestrian or vehicle traffic.

The law also provides new legal protection to police, so they cannot be sued for most on-duty actions.

Republican legislatures in other states have passed similar bills this year. Iowa’s new law makes rioting a felony and someone convicted of unlawful assembly could be sentenced to up to two years in prison. Reynolds says amid calls to “defund the police,” this bill takes just the opposite approach.

Nearly all Democrats in the legislature voted against the measure, arguing the penalties in the bill were too harsh and that the GOP had turned its back on racial justice efforts. Representative Ruth Ann Gaines of Des Moines, a member of the House Black Caucus, says the bill sends the wrong message to people of color and young people.

Representative Ross Wilburn of Ames, the first black Iowan to be chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, says the governor’s approval of this bill is a giant step backwards.

Reynolds had asked the Republican led legislature to include proposals to track data from traffic stops and ban racial profiling in the bill, but those were left out. Reynolds says she will offer a stand alone bill in 2022 to accomplish those goals.

Democrats say they doubt Reynolds can convince her fellow Republicans to pass that bill. Governors have 30 days after the legislature concludes to sign or veto bills. Reynolds took final action on a few remaining bills Thursday, including one that provides state funding for police department equipment.

Statewide Iowa — A bill that became law this week increases the state tax credit for volunteer firefighters from 100 to 250 dollars.

Another approved by the governor last week will, for the first time, let voters approve a property tax levy to support the operations of a local fire department. About 90 percent of the firefighters in Iowa are volunteers and Iowa Firefighters Association president Nick Riley of Traer says legislators recognized volunteer firefighters took on new risks during the pandemic as emergency responders, transporting COVID patients to hospitals.

Riley says the association is hoping to take another step in 2022 and get legislative approval of a pension fund that volunteer firefighters could contribute to. Riley says the Iowa Firefighters Association has found a financial institution that will manage it.

Riley, like many, has a family history in the profession. His dad was a firefighter for 33 years in Mount Pleasant. His brother served for 15 years and Riley has been a firefighter for the past 12 years. The Iowa Association of Firefighters represents 15-thousand volunteer and career firefighters.

June 17, 2021 - 4:17 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has released their weekly fishing report for northwest Iowa. This weekly fishing report is compiled from information gathered from local bait shops, angler creel surveys and county and state parks staff. You can check the activity of your favorite lake or stretch of river, including which species are being caught, a rating of the bite (slow, fair, good or excellent), as well as a hot bait or lure pattern.

Arrowhead Lake
Black Crappie – Fair: Try minnows on a small jig fished in deeper water near structure. Bluegill – Fair: Look for bluegills nesting along shore in areas 2-6 feet deep. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Try a variety of bass baits along weed edges.

Black Hawk Lake
Water temperature is in the low 80’s. Lake level is about 9 inches below the crest of the spillway. Black Crappie – Fair. Some black crappie are still being picked up along Ice House Point near woody structure and from the fish house. Bluegill – Slow. Walleye – Fair: Walleye bite has slowed with the heat. Use a twister thrown from shore or a leech or live minnow fished under a bobber along Ice House Point, the north shore and along shore near the outlet. Largemouth Bass – Good: Try traditional bass baits fished along shore in areas with rocks or vegetation or along docks.

Brushy Creek Lake
Water levels are near the crest of the spillway. Yellow Perch – Fair: Use a small jig and crawler or minnow under a bobber along shore or drifted near structure in 10-15 feet of water. Bluegill – Fair: Look for bluegills nesting up in near shore areas. Walleye – Fair: Use a live minnow or leech fished near rock and woody structure. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Try weedless lures along vegetation edges and traditional bass lures anywhere with woody structure.

Crawford Creek Impoundment
Water temperature is around 80 degrees. Water clarity is good. Bluegill – Fair: Bluegills up to 9 inches are on nests along shore in 1-4 feet of water. Largemouth Bass – Fair: Try weedless lures along vegetation edges.

Storm Lake (incl Little Storm Lake)
Channel Catfish – Good: Use cut bait or troll crankbaits along shore; catfish are spawning. Walleye – Fair: Try trolling crankbaits and spinners with crawlers along the dredge cuts during mid-day. If fishing from shore, try a leech fished under a bobber in areas with a rocky substrate in the evening or after dusk. White Bass – Fair: Troll along the dredge cuts with crankbaits and spinners with crawlers. Anglers are also picking up fish from shore with crawlers fished under a bobber.

Swan Lake (Carroll County)
Water temperatures is in the low 80’s. Bluegill: Fair: Fish are 7- to 8-inches. Use a small jig fished under a bobber near shore. Black Crappie: Fair: Fish are 6- to 10-inches. Most have moved off shore. Largemouth Bass: Fair.

Water temperatures are in the low to mid 80’s in most district lakes. For more information, contact the Black Hawk District office at 712-657-2638.

Beeds Lake
Black Crappie – Slow: Try a small minnow or tube jig fished from the causeway. Best bite is early morning. Yellow Bass – Fair: Drift fish a tube jig. Bluegill – Good: Use a small piece of crawler fished under a bobber near shore.

Briggs Woods Lake
Water temperature is in the low 70’s. Bluegill – Good: Bluegills are on the beds near shore. Try a small piece of crawler or jig in 2-3 feet of water. Largemouth Bass – Fair.

Clear Lake
Water temperature is in the lower 80’s. Bluegill – Good: Try a small piece of crawler below a bobber in open areas of vegetation near shore. Walleye – Fair: Use a jig tipped with a minnow or crawler fished near vegetation on the north shore. Also try slip bobber fishing a leech on the rock reefs. Shore anglers are having success fishing minnows from docks. Best bite is early morning. Yellow Bass – Slow: Use a small jig tipped with cut bait fished in the open areas of the vegetation. Best bite is early morning.

Crystal Lake
Black Crappie – Fair: Try a small minnow or tube jig fished on the outside edge of the vegetation or along the old road bed. Bluegill – Fair: Use a piece of crawler under a bobber fished near the vegetation edge. Largemouth Bass – Fair.

Lake Smith
Anglers are catching crappies and bluegills along the shoreline rocks. Black Crappie – Fair. Bluegill – Fair. Channel Catfish – Slow: Try a crawler fished near the rocky shore by the outlet.

Lower Pine Lake
Largemouth Bass – Fair: Bass are biting on a variety of baits. Try fishing near the woody habitat. Bluegill – Good: Use a small piece of crawler under a bobber near shore.

Upper Pine Lake
Black Crappie – Fair: Try small jigs or a minnow fished near the downed trees. Morning bite is best. Bluegill – Good: Use a small piece of crawler under a bobber near shore. If you don’t get a bite right away, try slowly reeling in your bobber.

For information on the lakes and rivers in north central Iowa, contact the Clear Lake Fish and Wildlife office at 641-357-3517.

East Okoboji Lake
The water temperature is 79 degrees. The curlyleaf pondweed has started to die back allowing for easier fishing and promoting native aquatic vegetation to grow. Leeches or worms with a slip bobber are a simple way to get some success out fishing with kids. Try this setup in about 8 feet or less of water. The current water temperature is 60 degrees. Black Crappie – Fair: Try fishing close to docks and hoists. Trolling weed lines has been successful for many anglers. Crappie are hard to target specifically, but can be caught mixed with other panfish. Bluegill – Fair: Bluegill are started to move off their beds out of the shallows. Leeches or worms and a simple bobber setup work well. Pumpkinseed – Good: Fun and easier to catch from most docks. Use a small hook, bobber and piece of worm.

Lost Island Lake
Anglers have had consistent success with yellow perch and a few other species. Yellow Perch – Good. Bluegill – Fair. Black Crappie – Fair. Walleye – Fair.

Minnewashta Lake
Panfishing has been good for anglers trolling weedlines, as well as fishing docks and hoists near shore. Black Crappie – Fair: A nice crappie bite can be found with a little movement around the lake. Bluegill – Fair. Pumpkinseed – Good.

Silver Lake (Dickinson)
Silver Lake is starting to green up due to an algae bloom. Walleye – Fair.

Spirit Lake
The lake has started to green up significantly due to an algae bloom. The walleye bite has been hit-or-miss most nights. The day bite has been fair to poor unless you’re right on top of them. Bluegill are starting to sit on beds. The water temperature is 79 degrees. Bluegill are moving off their beds to deeper water. Yellow Perch – Fair: Bites from morning till 11:00 and mid-afternoon have been seen. Depths vary depending on the time of day. Walleye – Fair: Bite is hit-or-miss at dusk. Use slip bobbers along weed edges.

West Okoboji Lake
The water temperature is 77 degrees. Try fishing for panfish in 8 feet or less and around docks and hoists. Anglers slowly trolling weedlines have been successful catching a variety of species. Bluegill – Fair: Bluegill are starting to be found in shallower water as they move off their beds. Leeches or worms and a simple bobber setup work well. Black Crappie – Fair: Hard to target specifically, but crappie can be caught while picking through other panfish.

The day bite trolling for walleye in the area has been very slow. The panfish/perch bite has been very good lately. The extended forecast calls for continued warm temperatures with highs in the 70’s and 80’s. Water temperatures have risen significantly with most in the 70’s to 80’s. This quick increase has been tough on fish that are already stressed due to spawning. This has caused noticeable mortality of some fish. For current conditions, call the Spirit Lake District Office at 712-336-1840.

June 17, 2021 - 3:42 pm - Posted in News

Ashton, Iowa — A machine shed was damaged in a fire on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, near Ashton.

According to Ashton Fire Training Officer John Corbett, about 4:40 p.m., the Ashton Fire Department was called to the report of a structure fire at 5457 250th Street, three miles east of the south side of Ashton, a mile south, and a half of a mile east of Ashton.

The fire officer says they found that the resident had knocked most of the fire down already by the time they arrived on the scene. He says they did take a line off the truck and made sure everything was out.

Training Officer Corbett says no injuries were reported.

He tells us the Melvin Fire Department was called for mutual aid, as Ashton didn’t have very many firefighters available at the time of the fire.

He says the cause of the fire is undetermined.

Training Officer Corbett reports that there was minor damage.

He says the firefighters who responded were on the scene under an hour.

June 16, 2021 - 3:56 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — After last year’s pandemic-related cancellations, all of Iowa’s 100 county fairs are a go in 2021 — and five will be held this month.

Tom Barnes is executive director of the Association of Iowa Fairs.

Barnes says the curveball of last year’s pandemic prompted fair managers to improvise. For example, many staged competitions for the livestock 4-H and F-F-A members raised last year.

Barnes is also secretary of the Howard County Fair, which starts next week. Barnes says after years of emphasizing concerns about the spread of diseases among livestock, county fairs are being proactive about the human side as well.

The Wapello and Worth County fairs start this Wednesday, June 16th. The Linn, Jefferson, and Howard County Fairs begin on June 23rd. Iowa has 99 counties, but 100 county fairs since Pottawattamie County holds two — one in Council Bluffs and the other in Avoca.

In our area, the fairs start with the Sioux County Fair, July 12-15. The day after that one starts, the Osceola County Fair starts. It will run July 13-18. The very next day, the Lyon County fair begins, and will run July 19-22. Two days later, it will be time for the O’Brien County Fair, which will run July 24-29.

Sheldon, Iowa — Northwest Iowa Community College has been ranked number 6 in “Value College’s Best Online Community Colleges In The Country.”

Value Colleges is an independent online guide to the best values in undergraduate and graduate education, featuring only fully accredited institutions that have proven their value for graduates on the job and on the job market. Value Colleges rankings are based on verified data from sources including IPEDS and Niche. Programs are ranked according to factors including cost and student satisfaction, so students can feel certain their choice of program will have a positive impact on their career.

Northwest Iowa Community College is the only Iowa school to crack the Top 10 in Value College’s rankings, and one of just four in the state to make the top 50 in the United States. The others on the list, in alphabetical order, are Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, Iowa Lakes Community College at Estherville, and Western Iowa Tech in Sioux City.

According to the editors at Value Colleges, the US economy has changed in major ways in the last couple of decades, with manufacturing and industrial jobs giving way to a professional and technical workforce, and community colleges have been the key force in educating and preparing working adults for the new world of work. The editors say that for working adults already in a career, online community college degree programs are the most important innovation of the century.

Sioux Center, Iowa — A chance for beef producers to learn, connect with others, and have a great meal is coming up in Sioux Center.

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Beef Specialist Beth Doran says after a year off due to COVID, they are back this year, but the forum is going to be a little different, she says.

Doran gives us the lowdown on the PM part of the program.

She says registration is necessary. Go to www.iowabeefcenter.org/news/FeedlotForum2021.html for more information. She says you can register online or download the form and mail it in. It will be $25 per person, including a $10 beef certificate and a meal, which will be ribeye steak sandwiches and trimmings. The deadline is June 21. Call the Sioux County Extension office for assistance or more information at (712) 737-4230

June 15, 2021 - 3:16 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — Iowa State University Extension crop specialist, Joel DeJong, says northwest Iowa crops are showing signs of stress from the dry conditions. He says they need around 25 inches of moisture during the crop development stage.

DeJong says stress is already showing up in the corn leaves.

He says the rolling has been evident the last week in the afternoons and some mornings during the mid-90 degree days. DeJong says the humidity that we try to avoid is a good thing out in the field.

De Jong says if the issue continues, farmers may see a drastic yield loss. The corn ear now is starting to fill in rows.

DeJong says the next thirty days will be critical to the corn development as the corn begins to pollinate. He says soybeans are also showing some signs of stress, but soybeans have a way to delay the need for moisture until later in the year.