Statewide Iowa — In an attempt to slow the increasing number of traffic fatalities, a multi-agency, multi-state traffic enforcement project is being conducted this weekend.

Iowa State Patrol Trooper Kevin Krull says the Mother’s Day Weekend is traditionally one of the deadliest weekends on the highway.

Trooper Krull says motorists will see a large law enforcement presence on the roads this weekend.

Krull reminds you to slow down, leave a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead, allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, slow down and move over for vehicles on the side of the road, put your phone down and concentrate on your number one job when behind the wheel……driving.

 

Des Moines, Iowa — Three projects in the KIWA listening area are among downtown housing projects in 61 Iowa communities selected to receive nearly $20-million in money from the State of Iowa.

According to the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the state funds will help create 466 new homes for Iowans. Awards were made through the Downtown Housing Grant program, which provides support for downtown revitalization through new housing opportunities in communities with populations of 30,000 or below.

In our area, an Upper Story Conversion project at 204 1st Avenue in downtown Rock Rapids will receive $300,000. An Upper Story Conversion project at 1523 Main Street in Rock Valley also received $300,000, as did an Upper Story Conversion at 248 9th Street in Sibley, according to state officials. The IEDC says the projects will create three new apartment units in each of the three communities.

Officials say the program had $20 million available for awards and received 94 applications requesting $31 million in funding. Projects were scored on a competitive basis on criteria including project appropriateness, funding and partnerships, impact on housing in the community and population size.

You may recall that the Sheldon City Council recently approved the application for a similar grant for development of three upstairs apartments at 321 9th Street. Sheldon Development Director Curt Strouth tells KIWA that, while the Sheldon application was for the same type of housing as the grants approved for Rock Rapids, Rock Valley and Sibley, the Sheldon application is for a different program with criteria and funding separate from these other grants. He says Sheldon’s application is still being considered, with no decision rendered yet.

Washington, DC — A book has been written about the pandemic and how people in the Iowa Great Lakes area responded to it. And a few comic panels have been released that tell the main idea of the book.

Dr. Emily Mendenhall tells us about her book, Unmasked: COVID, Community, and the Case of Okoboji.

She tells us about the recently released comic panels that illustrate the themes of the book.

Dr. Mendenhall tells us how you can get the book and see the comics.

Click here for the comics in the journal Sapians. She tells us why she wrote the book.

Click here to buy the book or audiobook.

May 4, 2022 - 2:46 pm - Posted in News

Statewide Iowa — Iowa will receive more than one million dollars as part of a multi-state settlement with TurboTax.

The Iowa Attorney General’s office says TurboTax has agreed to pay the states involved $141 million following claims the company got people to pay for tax preparation services that should have been free.

More than 33,000 Iowans who used the service from 2016 through 2018 are eligible for a direct payment of approximately $30 for each year that they paid for filing services.

If you are one of the people involved — you will automatically receive a notice and a check by mail.

Sibley, Iowa — A Spencer man has been convicted and sentenced in Osceola County District Court in connection with a case that dates back to December of 2020.

According to court records, 34-year-old Jordan Walbaum was convicted and sentenced on Monday, May 2nd, on one count of 2nd Degree Theft, which is a Class D Felony. In addition to finding Walbaum guilty, court records indicate the judge in the case also dismissed an additional two felony and two misdemeanor charges against Walbaum.

The judge sentenced Walbaum to up to 5-years in prison on the charge, which will be served concurrently with a 5-year sentence he received in Clay County last year on another 2nd Degree Theft charge.

In addition, the Osceola County conviction carries a $260.00 fine and 15% crime services surcharge, court costs, legal defense expenses, crime victim assistance costs, any required contribution to a local anticrime organization and restitution to the medical assistance program, according to authorities.

Statewide Iowa — The cool and wet weather has delayed planting in the state. The USDA crop report shows nine percent of corn has been planted. That is 11 days behind last year and nine days behind the five-year average. Four percent of soybeans are in the ground, which is nine days behind last year and five days behind average.

State climatologist Justin Glisan says there’s no short-term indication the cool, wet weather is going to end.

He says it could take some time before we dry out.

Planting last year moved ahead quickly in part because it was a lot drier, and the dry conditions got worse as the year moved on. Glisan says the wet days now do have an upside.

He says there’s still a strong La Nina signal that could lead to warmer drier conditions.

Western Iowa has been the driest area of the state and the crop report showed farmers in the western one-third of Iowa had almost four days suitable for fieldwork and made more planting progress than any other area of the state.

May 3, 2022 - 4:26 pm - Posted in News

Okoboji, Iowa — It’s almost time to fish for walleye again in the Iowa Great Lakes.

The Iowa Great Lakes Chamber of Commerce tells us that each year the Iowa Great Lakes Area kicks off walleye season with the Iowa Great Lakes Area Walleye Weekend tournament put on by the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. Ten walleye are tagged and released into the chain of Iowa Great Lakes. Starting at midnight on Saturday, May 7th you can “cast” your chance at catching one of these ten tagged walleye, which are worth $40,000.

The chamber tells us that there are many other chances to win prizes all weekend long – from the largest fish categories to the raffle prizes at the awards luncheon.

They say the weekend’s tournament ends at 11:59 a.m. on Sunday, May 8th.

Chamber officials encourage people to sign up for the extended contest giving you a chance to catch one of the remaining tagged walleye from 12:00pm Sunday, May 8th to 11:59pm on Wednesday, August 31st. The first 3 tagged walleye caught during the extended contest are paid out a percentage of the registration fees all summer long.

While the walleye season on most Iowa lakes and rivers is continuous, it’s a little different in the Iowa Great Lakes. On West Okoboji Lake, East Okoboji Lake, and Spirit Lake, the season opens this year on May 7, 2022 and closes on February 14, 2023.

Spencer, Iowa — War is a difficult subject to talk about, and especially difficult with children.

Seasons Center for Behavioral Health will be hosting free virtual training on how to approach the conversation about war with children. Seasons Center officials tell us the training will be held on Tuesday, May 10th from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Seasons Center experts say that when conflict or war makes the headlines, it can cause feelings of fear, anger, sadness, and anxiety. Children look to parents, caregivers, and the adults in their lives for safety and security – even more so in times of crisis. They tell us the training will provide skills, strategies, and tips on how to answer questions and talk about war with children.

Seasons Center’s Veterans Specialist, Nikki Orr, PsyD, will lead the training and provide insights on how to help kids navigate these uncertain times. Nikki is a combat veteran of Desert Storm with two tours in Iraq who retired from the military in November 2019 after 30 years of service. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, a Master of Arts in Psychology, with a specialization in Criminalistics and Justice Studies, and a Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology. She has extensive experience working with veterans, military families, adolescents, and children.

Online registration can be found at https://bit.ly/3LgJPd8. Registration links can also be found on the Events page of the Seasons Center website (www.seasonscenter.org) or on the Seasons Center Facebook Events page.

Tea, South Dakota — Progress continues on the pipeline to bring Missouri River aquifer water to northwest Iowa communities.

The Lewis & Clark Regional Water System is already serving several South Dakota and Minnesota systems, and two Iowa connections, both for Rock Rapids (whose water system sells water to Lyon & Sioux Rural Water as well). But the communities of Sheldon, Sibley, Hull, and Sioux Center are still not receiving water. On the upside, funding seems to be coming in at an appropriate pace to complete the project within the next few years.

The system has 32 miles of 16-inch diameter pipe left to construct for the Madison, South Dakota service line. Ten miles of 16-inch diameter pipe were previously constructed; five miles on the south end and five miles on the north end. These remaining 32 miles in the middle start just west of Crooks and head north.

On April 28 the Board of Directors awarded a $16-and-a-half million contract to Halme Construction of Lake Norden, SD to construct the southern 16 miles of 16-inch diameter PVC pipe.

Lewis & Clark Executive Director Troy Larson says that the low bid was unfortunately $4 million more than what was included in their original budget, but was not surprising for all the reasons we hear about every day. He says they expect these budget-busting bids to be “the new abnormal for the foreseeable future.”

In late May, bids will be opened for the final 16 miles of the Madison service line.

In late June, it is anticipated bids will be opened for 17 miles of 16-inch diameter pipe between Hull and Sheldon. Later this year contracts will also be awarded for a one million gallon storage reservoir east of Madison and a meter building at Sheldon. Larson says these are the last pieces of infrastructure needed in order to deliver water to Madison and Sheldon respectively.

Omaha, Nebraska — A monthly survey of supply managers and business leaders in Iowa and eight other states finds the economies in Iowa — and the Midwest — slowed during April.

Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the regional economy is still in the “healthy” category but dropped from being considered “very strong” in March. Goss says much of the blame goes to supply chain disruptions.

The prices consumers are paying for most goods remain high and the survey results indicate things likely won’t be improving anytime soon.

Long-term interest rates will likely be going up a full percentage point, Goss predicts, which will have far-reaching ripple effects.

The survey shows Iowa’s Business Conditions Index for April sank to 69.8 from 75.6 in March, again on a zero-to-100 scale. For the nine-state region, the overall index showed a “still healthy” 65.9 for April, down from March’s “very strong” rating of 71.3.