Northwest Iowa — If you’re part of an Iowa family whose children receive free or reduced-price lunches from school, you’ve probably received or will soon receive a P-EBT card with some unexpected benefits from the government.

According to the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, the federal Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act allows states to issue emergency food assistance benefits for Summer 2022 for School-Aged Children.

Officials tell us the Summer 2022 for School Aged Children program provides $391 per child who was in grades K-12 during the 21-22 school year. Additional information, including eligibility details, can be found online. They tell us benefits are being issued to eligible children on new EBT cards to be mailed by the end of November.

Janee Harvey, HHS’ Division Administrator of Adult, Child, and Family Services says “High food costs have affected every Iowan, and we hear every day how low-income parents continue to struggle to meet their children’s nutritional needs. These additional benefits will make it a little bit easier for parents to make ends meet and provide healthy, and nutritious meals for their children.”

Some families have said the literature accompanying the cards is confusing and looks like it wasn’t changed from when similar cards were sent out after schools were closed due to COVID-19 in 2020. The literature says “The money on this card is to be used to purchase food due to the extra food cost you had when schools were closed.”

For more information, you can visit the comprehensive P-EBT FAQ documents, available here.

Northwest Iowa — Thanksgiving is coming up and the December holidays aren’t too far away. With people meeting up more, there are bound to be more people on the roads. And the more people that are on the roads, the more accidents there are.

That’s always bad news, but Iowa State Patrol Trooper Kevin Krull explains it’s especially bad this year, when we find our fatality numbers higher than normal.

Krull works out of Post 6 in Spencer. He says the fatality numbers are higher this year in our area too. Post 6 covers eight counties.

Krull tells us what officials think is causing the higher numbers.

Another thing Krull says people need to do is to avoid the knee-jerk reaction of whipping the wheel to the left if they happen to drop off onto the shoulder. He says to slow down first, then ease back onto the road. Another instinctive reaction is to veer if you see a deer. Krull says that’s also a bad idea. Brake, hard if you have to. And even if you hit the deer, you’re more likely to remain uninjured than if you were to veer for the deer and end up flying into the ditch at highway speed.

Des Moines, Iowa — We’re still in the early stages of adding it to the Iowa Constitution, but a gun rights amendment appears to have passed at this week’s election. It’s the first time that’s happened since 2010, when the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund was created.

The text of the amendment reads:

“The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”

Richard Rogers of the Iowa Firearms Coalition says gun rights advocates began lobbying for it 12 years ago after they realized Iowa is one of only six states without state-level constitutional protection of the right to keep and bear arms. Supporters had been on-track to put the measure on the ballot in 2020. An amendment needs to start by passing both chambers of the Iowa Legislature in two separate, two-year General Assembly calendars before they can be put to the public. The Secretary of State’s office erred when it neglected to inform the public that a resolution regarding the proposed amendment passed in 2018, which meant it couldn’t go on the 2020 ballot.

The amendment says any gun restrictions have to be judged by a legal standard called “strict scrutiny,” which legal experts tell us is the most demanding test.

Critics say the new amendment will make it nearly impossible to pass new gun safety measures in Iowa.

KIWA Radio asked the Iowa Secretary of State’s office what happens next, and they told us they are still reviewing everything and how it all works, but assuming there are no issues with the election results, the amendment will be written into the 2023 Iowa Code.

They tell us that all the checks and balances have to happen first, such as counties certifying the election, and the State Board of Canvassers certifying all the results in early December. A date for that statewide certification will be set once all county boards of supervisors certify county results.

The amendment just passed will be the 49th amendment to the Iowa Constitution.

November 10, 2022 - 4:15 pm - Posted in News

Northwest Iowa — This Thursday was Winter Weather Awareness Day in Iowa.

We had a chance to talk with meteorologist Matthew Dux with the National Weather Service office in Sioux Falls, and he tells us what the National Weather Service wants us to keep in mind.

Dux says if you’ve weathered a northwest Iowa winter, their products will be familiar to you.

Dux reminds us that when they issue a blizzard warning, there may or may not be snow falling. He says the criteria for a blizzard warning are winds of 35 miles per hour or greater and visibility of a quarter of a mile or less.

Iowa State Patrol Trooper Kevin Krull tells us some of the things motorists should keep in mind in regard to winter driving.

Krull says in the winter time it’s a good idea to have a full tank of fuel. He says there are other things to remember as well.

Trooper Krull tells us what to include in a winter-survival kit.

He also has some advice for us if you get stranded in the winter.

Sibley, Iowa — Citizens of Osceola County will soon be paying a tax to go toward Emergency Medical Services. A new law recently went into effect, making this possible, and Osceola County voters approved levying the tax at the polls on Tuesday by 65 percent. As a new tax, it needed at least 60 percent to pass.

Osceola County EMS Director Sande Smith tells us what she thought of the news.

She tells us what will happen next.

Smith says their main problem right now is recruiting people to be EMTs. She gives us her ideas about how the money should be spent.

She says the money is really going to help out Osceola County EMS, but the big problem is still finding people who want to take the course and be a part of the team. Smith says perhaps they need to advertise it as a job with an incentive. She says training is already paid for.

Northwest Iowa — The burning bans issued in September for O’Brien, Osceola, and Sioux counties have been lifted.

Even after the recent rains, to be sure, conditions are still dry. The latest USDA crop report says 85 percent of topsoil in the northwest region is rated “short” or “very short” of moisture, with only 15 percent adequate and 0 percent surplus.

But the emergency officials in the counties and the State Fire Marshal’s office have determined that enough risk has been eliminated that the burning bans could be lifted. O’Brien County’s ban was lifted at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday night. Osceola’s was lifted as of 9 o’clock Wednesday morning, and Sioux’s was lifted as of noon on Wednesday.

Burning bans are put in place to prohibit open burning in unincorporated areas when the fire marshal finds that conditions are such that open burning constitutes a danger to life or property.

What we commonly call a “burning ban” should really be called an “open burning ban,” as certain kinds of fires are permitted. Sioux County Emergency Management Director Nate Huizenga says fires in barbeque grills, covered fire pits, barrels covered by a mesh screen, and incinerators are all OK. Plus, you can also get a permit to do open burning during a burning ban if officials believe the risk is low enough and other conditions are met.

Again, the burning bans in Sioux, O’Brien, and Osceola counties have been lifted. Emergency officials, however, would still like you to call your county sheriff’s office to advise them when you are going to be doing some burning to eliminate sending fire departments to false fire calls from the public.

Sibley, Iowa– A Hartley man and a Sioux Center man were both taken to the hospital after an accident near Sibley on Friday, November 4, 2022.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office has just released information that states that at about 4:20 p.m. that day, 24-year-old Ethan Adams of Hartley was driving a 2014 Chevy pickup southbound on Highway 59, five miles east and five south of Sibley. They tell us that 84-year-old Arlon Sandbulte of Sioux Center was eastbound on A34 in a 2022 Lincoln SUV.

The report says that Sandbulte stopped and proceeded through the intersection but failed to see the Adams pickup. Adams’ pickup struck the Sandbulte SUV on the driver’s side and came to rest in the east ditch. The pickup came to rest on the highway.

The Sibley Ambulance took both Adams and Sandbulte to Osceola Regional Health Center Hospital in Sibley.

The vehicles sustained an estimated $10,000 in damage, each.

Sandbulte was charged with failure to yield from a stop sign.

The report says the Melvin Fire Department also assisted on the scene.

November 7, 2022 - 6:20 pm - Posted in News

May City, Iowa — A May City man faces a felony charge in regard to the alleged sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult.

According to a criminal complaint filed by an Osceola County Sheriff’s Deputy with the county clerk of court’s office, 42-year-old Steven Eugene Hattig of May City was arrested on Thursday, November 3rd.

The deputy’s narrative says the deputy was investigating an alleged assault between the victim and Hattig when the victim stated that they were sexually assaulted by Hattig on multiple occasions.

The complaint states the victim is a person suffering from a mental defect or incapacity which precludes giving consent.

Hattig was charged with Third-Degree Sexual Abuse, a class C felony. At last report, no court dates had yet been set in the case.

November 4, 2022 - 2:45 pm - Posted in News

Harris, Iowa– A semi-trailer on the ground, used for storage was destroyed in a fire on Thursday, November 3, 2022, near Harris.

According to Ocheyedan Fire Chief Dan Hartwig, at about 12:10 p.m., the Harris and Ocheyedan fire departments were called to the report of a trailer fire at 1588 White Avenue, a mile south of the west side of Harris or four miles east of Ocheyedan.

The chief says the fire department saw lots of smoke as they approached the scene. He says they cooled the area but let the trailer burn out. He says there were tires in the fire which changed their approach somewhat. He says they also found a skunk on fire. It’s not known exactly how the fire started, but there was an old burn pile nearby. They don’t know if that was stoaked up in the wind and blew embers in the direction of the trailer or if the skunk was somehow involved.

Hartwig says no injuries were reported.

Chief Hartwig reports that the trailer and its contents were totaled.

He says the firefighters who responded were on the scene for about an hour and a half.

November 3, 2022 - 5:06 pm - Posted in News

Ashton, Iowa– A Moville man and two passengers in his vehicle were taken to the hospital after an accident near Ashton on Thursday, November 3, 2022.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office reports that at about 7:10 a.m., 35-year-old Donald Hobbs of Moville was driving a 2002 Chevy pickup eastbound on 230th Street, a mile and a half east of Ashton. They tell us that Hobbs failed to realize there was a curve at the intersection of Olive Avenue and 230th Street, and was going too fast to make the curve and over-corrected and lost control of the vehicle, which started sliding sideways, then entered the east ditch of Olive Avenue and rolled onto its side after hitting the east bank of the ditch

The Osceola County EMS took Hobbs and two passengers, 27-year-old Jose Gutierres Lopez of Cherokee and 23-year-old Juan Manuel of Sioux City to Osceola Regional Health Center Hospital.

Hobbs’s Chevy pickup sustained $5000 in damages, which was enough to total the vehicle.

Hobbs was charged with failure to maintain control.