Lyon County, Iowa — Weather facts, community announcements, church announcements, menus, school activities, and more.

Heard on KIWA-AM 1550 every weekday morning at 9:00 AM, and available here for 24 hours afterwards. (Friday edition is available until Monday edition is uploaded.)

As reported by KIWA News Director and Rock Rapids resident Scott Van Aartsen

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March 27, 2017 - 1:32 pm - Posted in News

WeaverLogoSheldon, Iowa — A Sheldon woman has announced her candidacy for the Democrat nomination for the right to challenge 4th District Republican U.S. Representative Steve King in the 2018 general election.

Democrat Kim Weaver of Sheldon made the announcement Sunday on national television.  Earlier this month, she announced that she would formally declare her candidacy if she was able to raise $100-thousand by September of this year.  In the three weeks since making that announcement, the Weaver campaign raised more than $150-thousand from over 6-thousand individual donations, and received the high-profile endorsement of former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

Weaver ran against King in the 2016 general election, but failed to unseat the long-time representative.

Weaver is a Des Moines native, who graduated from Roosevelt High School. She then graduated from Iowa State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Communications. A single mom, she works as an advocate for seniors in nursing homes, assisted living programs, and residential care facilities, overseeing a territory that includes thirteen counties and 109 care providers in Northwest Iowa.

Weaver has served as the Democratic Chair for O’Brien County since 2012.

unemploymentDes Moines, Iowa — It’s crowded at the top this time. The latest unemployment figures have been released and three of our four northwest Iowa counties are in the top five for lowest unemployment rates.

The latest county figures to be released are from January of this year. The lowest seasonally-unadjusted county unemployment rate in the state was Story county, with 2.3 percent. Tied for second-lowest were Lyon and Mitchell counties at 2.6%. Plymouth, Dallas, and Carroll were tied for third at 2.7%. Osceola was tied for fourth at 2.8% with Greene, Johnson, and Taylor. Sioux had 3.0% and was tied for fifth place with Boone and Buena Vista counties. O’Brien was not in the top five but was in the top ten. O’Brien County had 3.4% unemployment and was tied with Decatur and Shelby counties for eighth place.

Lyon County unemployment is up four-tenths of a percent from the previous month. Osceola is down three-tenths of a percent. Sioux County unemployment is up six-tenths of a percent, and O’Brien County unemployment is up three-tenths of a percent. Iowa Department of Labor officials remind us that these figures are not adjusted for seasonal work so those who work in farming, construction, and outdoor entertainment industries, and others for whom there is less work in the winter could be included in the “unemployed” category even though they may be back to work in the spring and summer.

Meanwhile statewide, more Iowans went off the unemployment rolls in February as the rate dropped for the fifth straight month to three-point-two percent. Iowa Workforce Development spokesman, Cory Kelly, says the state is pushing toward full employment — but that number is not exactly known.

Full employment means most of the people who want a job have one and those who don’t are in transition between jobs. Kelly says they don’t know if the unemployment rate has hit bottom yet.

The rate was three-point-eight percent last February. He says the private sector led the move that saw some three-thousand jobs created in February.

The construction industry added 16-hundred jobs last month and Kelly says the weather continues to be a big positive for the industry.

He says the leisure and hospitality sector was one area that lost jobs.

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 53-thousand-600 in February from 56-thousand-900 in January. The total number of working Iowans increased to one-million-639-thousand-700 in February. This figure was 27-hundred higher than January and 19-hundred higher than one year ago.

February 2017 numbers

Visit for more information about current and historical data, labor force data, nonfarm employment, hours and earnings, and jobless benefits by county.

March 27, 2017 - 9:53 am - Posted in News

cowsLyon County, Iowa — The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office investigated a car versus cow accident on Friday, March 24th.

The Sheriff’s Office reports that 18-year-old Haleigh Kruger of Rock Rapids was westbound on 260th Street in a 1995 Chevrolet Blazer. According to the report, a cow entered the roadway, and Kruger’s vehicle struck the cow which was owned by Elwyn Hoogendoorn.

The Blazer was a total loss. Hoogendoorn took care of the cow.

No injuries were reported.

March 22, 2017 - 1:42 pm - Posted in News

Lyon County Sheriff Car Door 60-8Doon, Iowa — Charges have now been filed in a drug case in Doon.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that they filed charges on three people this week, and one person when a search warrant was carried out earlier this month.

Deputies say they carried out the search warrant at 110 Fifth Avenue in Doon on March 5th. Deputies arrested 28-year-old Anthony Espinoza at that time on an outstanding arrest warrant and also charged him with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

They say they found numerous drugs and drug-related items and seized them during the search.

The Sheriff’s Office reports that on Monday, March 21, 2017, as a result of further investigation following the search, 23-year-old Katrina Spencer and 22-year-old Natasha Walling, both of Doon, were arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, a serious misdemeanor, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a simple misdemeanor.

Deputies also arrested 21-year-old Tyler Espinoza of Doon and charged him with a drug tax stamp violation, a class D felony; three counts of possession of a controlled substance, all serious misdemeanors, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a simple misdemeanor.

According to court records, Tyler Espinoza faces a preliminary hearing on April 3rd, with a non-jury trial in August.

March 21, 2017 - 10:41 am - Posted in News

Steve Barber GLR SuptGeorge, Iowa — The George/Little Rock Community School District is in search of a new superintendent of schools.

That comes after current superintendent Steve Barber tendered his resignation at the last regular meeting of the George/Little Rock School Board. Barber says he’s accepted another position.

Mr. Barber tells us about the search to find his replacement.

He tells us about the timeline and what’s going to happen next.

He says the board is giving potential candidates about a month to apply.

Barber says while it will be a good change for him, there’s a special place in his heart for George/Little Rock.

He says the new superintendent will start July 1st, and Barber would be happy to work with the new person through the transition.

Lyon Courthouse Lion EntranceRock Rapids, Iowa — The pretrial conference for a man facing a laundry list of charges after a pursuit in Rock Rapids last November has been continued. It was to have been last week in Lyon County District Court.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office says that on Tuesday, November 22, 2016, they responded to a suspicious vehicle parked on the side of the road near the Highway 75 and 220th St intersection, six miles south of Rock Rapids’ south side. As a Lyon County deputy arrived in the area the vehicle left the scene. It was allegedly observed traveling at a high rate of speed and passing in a prohibited area. They report that the deputy activated his emergency lights and siren in an attempt to stop the vehicle. Sheriff’s officials say the vehicle continued traveling at a high rate of speed and passed vehicles in prohibited areas. They tell us that another Lyon County deputy deployed his spike strips on the south edge of Rock Rapids city limits. The vehicle struck the spike strips and continued into the city at a high rate of speed, again allegedly passing in a prohibited area. They say the vehicle attempted to turn westbound on Highway 9 but was unable to make the turn as all four tires had been deflated by the spike strips. The driver, identified as 21-year-old Bayron Revolorio Garcia, was arrested.

Revolorio Garcia was charged with class D felony counts of eluding and forgery; as well as Identity Theft, an aggravated misdemeanor; first offense OWI, a serious misdemeanor; and simple misdemeanor counts of:

* Possession of drug paraphernalia
* Failure to have a valid drivers license
* Operation without registration
* Violation of financial liability coverage
* Four separate counts of speeding
* Four counts of prohibited passing
* Failure to slow down/move over for certain vehicles
* Failure to yield to emergency vehicles
* Reckless driving

The new date for the pretrial conference and a hearing is this coming Monday, March 20th. At last report, Revolorio Garcia’s jury trial was still scheduled for Tuesday, April 4, 2017.

WL schoolInwood, Iowa — A group of concerned parents and community members attended a special meeting of the West Lyon School Board Monday night, March 13th to voice their concerns about student safety after an incident involving threatening text messages.

The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reported on March 3rd that one of their deputies was dispatched to the West Lyon School on the request of a parent who told the deputy that a boy who was a student there had been sending threatening text messages to his juvenile daughter, who was also a student. They report that the Deputy spoke with several school employees, students, and parents at that time. The boy was cited into juvenile court for 1st Degree Harassment.

WL meetingBut the group of parents gathered at the school Monday night said that was not enough for them to feel safe sending their kids to West Lyon. They believe that the school administration erred by not doing anything about the situation at the time that they were made aware. High School Principal Doug Jiskoot says that he was made aware of the situation via a third party and did not have access to the actual text messages that were sent. He says he found out about the situation at the end of a school day and would have dealt with it the next day, but he had to attend a meeting out of town.

The girl’s parents say that their daughter texted the boy asking where he got her number and the boy replied with something like, “I got it from [another student]. I was looking for girls to kill, or I mean talk to.”

They say that when they called the school about the situation they were told that the administration felt that the student didn’t have the ability to carry out the threat. They were told that the student would be out of school for at least a week.

Another parent said that her daughter was ridiculed by fellow students for reporting the incident. This parent called for a reporting policy to be put in place, and for an independent investigation of school administrators.

Other parents indicated that bullying was commonplace at West Lyon. One parent stated that her son was bullied and was afraid to come back to school for months. One parent of a minority student said, “There is a lot of bullying in this school.” She stated that her student was often told to, “Go back to your country.”

Principal Jiskoot said that safety is their number one priority at West Lyon. He even stated, “I would give my life for our students.” He said that any school administration has to deal with, “juvenile minds that say things off the cuff.”

Jiskoot did say that he apologized for mistakes he made, and he said that they understand that changes need to be made. Jiskoot also admitted that they did not have a perfect school, but told the group about a recent survey of students, which indicated that 99 percent of students felt safe at West Lyon and a large majority indicated they cared about their school.

At the end of the meeting, school board president Scott Lee assured the group that this was being looked into and policy changes were being considered. He said, “This is not over. Your concerns are being heard.”

March 13, 2017 - 9:26 am - Posted in News

ambulance caduceus_SVADell Rapids, South Dakota — A George man was seriously injured in a crash near Dell Rapids, SD yesterday.

The South Dakota Highway Patrol says 22-year-old Brenden Reifers of George was northbound on Interstate 29 near mile marker 99 yesterday afternoon in a 2003 Honda. They say he lost control of the vehicle, which rolled into the oncoming lane of I-29.

They say an ambulance took him to the Dell Rapids Hospital and that he was the only one in the vehicle.

They also say charges are pending.

March 11, 2017 - 8:34 am - Posted in News

Sheriff car rear genericO’Brien County, Iowa — Three people have been arrested and face several charges after a burglary investigation and search in Gaza.

According to the O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office, their office became involved in a burglary investigation on Thursday, March 9th, that began in Lyon County, which involved numerous stolen firearms. Deputies obtained a search warrant for the property at 6116 433rd St, Primghar, which is in the village of Gaza.

That afternoon, about 5:15 p.m., the sheriff’s office says an officer with the Sanborn Police Department located a suspect vehicle that was involved in the Sheriff’s Office burglary investigation. They say the Sanborn officer stopped the vehicle and obtained the driver’s license of James Skoglund from the driver when Skoglund fled the area and officers pursued. Officers say the pursuit ended when they apprehended Skoglund in a field south of the Hartley ethanol plant. Also in the suspect vehicle was Maggie Marie Johnson also of Gaza.

The sheriff’s office says:
Skoglund was arrested and was charged with:

  • Eluding, an aggravated misdemeanor.
  • Speeding, a simple misdemeanor.
  • Stop Sign Violation, a simple misdemeanor.
  • Possession of Controlled Substance 2nd Offense (Methamphetamine), an aggravated misdemeanor.
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, a simple misdemeanor.

Arrest warrants were later issued for Johnson on charges of:

  • Possession of Controlled Substance (Methamphetamine)
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Later that night, about 9:15 p.m. the report says the O’Brien County and Lyon County Sheriff’s Offices executed a search warrant at the James Skoglund residence in Gaza. They say several stolen firearms from the Lyon County burglaries were recovered from the home along with ammunition. Evidence of illegal controlled substances was observed at the home, and a second search warrant was obtained for the drugs. The sheriff’s office says methamphetamine, marijuana, illegal prescription drugs, LSD, and drug paraphernalia were all seized.

The O’Brien County Deputies say they were near completion of the search when a suspect in the burglary investigation walked through the home. An O’Brien County Deputy approached him and attempted to get identification from him when he fled on foot. They say the suspect resisted arrest and a physical confrontation ensued. The suspect was eventually taken into custody and was transported to the O’Brien County Jail.

Deputies say they then found a vehicle with Alabama plates on it that had been parked about a block from the Skogland home in Gaza. The deputies continued the investigation and found the vehicle had been stolen in Sibley.

The suspect was identified as Mason Alan Vandenbrink. Vandenbrink was arrested on three outstanding arrest warrants:

  • Probation violation, a Lyon county warrant.
  • Two counts of Criminal Mischief 2nd Degree, a Lyon county warrant
  • Operation of a motor vehicle without owner’s consent, an Osceola county warrant.

Vandenbrink was also charged with numerous “new” charges by the O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office:

  • Interference with Official Acts- (Causing Bodily Injury)
  • Operation of a motor vehicle without owner’s consent
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia
  • Possession of Controlled Substance, LSD
  • Drug Tax Stamp Violations

The O’Brien County Sheriff’s Office reports that the next day, Maggie Johnson came to their facility about property that had been seized from the pursuit the day before. Johnson was arrested on the two arrest warrants.

In addition, they say Johnson was being processed at the O’Brien County Jail when another half an ounce of methamphetamine was allegedly discovered in her purse. Johnson was then charged with a second possession of methamphetamine charge.

The investigation continues says the sheriff’s office, and they say further arrests are pending.

March 10, 2017 - 3:51 pm - Posted in News

Blood Run Pitted BoulderLarchwood, Iowa — State officials say we’re still in the early stages of naming an area in western Lyon County a state park.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources Parks Bureau Chief Todd Coffelt says while a cultural landscape master plan was unveiled last summer with the help of Native Americans and experts in several fields, we’re still in the first phase of the plan.

He says the Gitchie Manitou area made up the far northern part of the Blood Run plan.

Coffelt says they are doing some other background work to build up interest in the area.

Coffelt tells us that due to the fact that much of the land involved in the master plan is still privately held, a ceremony designating the area as a state park is probably years in the future. However, he says they do have other options, including a “conservation easement” which would allow the conservation of the area while it is still privately-held. He says he doesn’t think the state park designation is “going to happen overnight”. He says their number one priority is to protect the resources that exist.