Five Fire Departments Battle Rural Hawarden Blaze; Outbuilding Destroyed

An outbuilding, a truck, and a tractor on a farm southeast of Hawarden were destroyed in a fire on Thursday night (1/12), and volunteers from five fire departments fought the fire.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office released a report about the fire. They say they were alerted just before 3:30 Thursday afternoon. The fire occurred at 1717 460th Street, two miles southeast of Hawarden.

The report says workers at the farm told authorities that the fire seemed to start under the front of a diesel Ford F800 service truck they use on the farm. They were trying to get a tractor started to pull the burning truck out before it spread to the building but were not able to get anything started.

The fire fully engulfed the outbuilding containing the truck. The building also housed a tractor and other items. It was considered a total loss.

The Hawarden Fire Chief has contacted the State Fire Marshal to help determine the cause of the fire. At this time the Fire Chief doesn’t believe it’s suspicious.

The Hawarden Fire Department, Hawarden Ambulance, Ireton Fire, Akron Fire, Hudson Fire, Alcester Fire, and the Sioux Center Rehab Trailer all responded to the call.

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director

Local Telephone Rates May Increase

A proposal before the Federal Communications Commission could cause substantial rate increases for customers of small, independent telephone companies.

The proposal would do away with the USF, or Universal Service Fund, a revenue source designed to keep rates affordable for customers of those small rural companies. Dave Raak of Hospers Telephone Company explains.

Raak says the USF has allowed companies like Hospers Telephone to maintain rates at affordable levels.

Raak says there are approximately 150 small, independent phone companies in Iowa alone, whose customers would be adversely impacted by the termination of the USF.

By Tom Traughber
News Reporter

Northwest Iowa Development 2012 Partner Meeting

More than 100 people were on hand Thursday noon for the 2012 Partner Meeting for Northwest Iowa Development, a partnership of economic development agencies in Lyon, Osceola, O’Brien, Sioux, Plymouth and Cherokee Counties.

Their job, in a nutshell, is to sell northwest Iowa to prospective businesses and industries looking for a place to locate, as well as assisting current business and manufacturing concerns in their continued success and expansion.

The featured speaker at Thursday’s luncheon meeting was Debi Durham, the Director of the new Iowa Economic Development Authority, an organization born by the desire of Governor Branstad to recreate the Department of Economic Development from a strictly state agency into a public/private partnership to increase it’s effectiveness. Durham told the group that the Economic Progress Partnership is made up of the Development Authority which is the public component, and the Iowa Innovation Corporation made up of innovators in the private sector.

Durham briefly outlined a list of priorities and goals in the area of economic development that had been put forth by Governor Branstad. Among those goals is a 25% increase in family income for Iowans. A goal, she said, that will be dependant on not just additional jobs in Iowa, but quality, high-paying jobs. She also talked briefly about what the state is doing to further the cause of economic development in Iowa, including international trade.

The Northwest Iowa Development Partner Meeting was held at the Lifelong Learning and Recreation Center on the campus of Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon.

For more information on Northwest Iowa Development, you can visit their website at

Primghar Couple Face Drug Charges

A Primghar couple face drug charges following a raid on their rural Primghar residence Wednesday.

O’Brien County Sheriff Mike Anderson tells KIWA that his office received information regarding drugs at a rural Primghar residence. That information led to the issuance of a search warrant that was served at the rural home of Roger Vanden Brink.

Deputies recovered what they believed to be a controlled substance during the incident. Charged with Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia are 45 year old Roger Dean Vanden Brink, and 37 year old Lana Faye Vanden Brink.

Both were booked into the O’Brien County Jail, and later released after posting bond. They will appear in court at a later date.

Sheldon Native To Be Featured On Mayo Clinic Program On KIWA

A Sheldon native is being featured on a national medical program that is airing around the country.

“Medical Edge Weekend” is a program that airs weekly on KIWA and KIWA-FM on Sunday mornings, shortly after 7 AM. The program is a weekly one-hour radio program that talks about health and medical information on interesting topics from Mayo Clinic specialists.

This coming Sunday, January 15, the program will feature Mayo Clinic cardiologist, and Sheldon native, Dr. Michael Ackerman, talking about Long QT Syndrome. Long QT syndrome is a heart rhythm condition caused by abnormalities in your heart’s electrical system, says Dr. Ackerman.

The condition is called “Long QT Syndrome” because of the appearances of the electrocardiogram, on which the interval between the Q and the T waves is elongated. Dr. Ackerman’s work has been with the genetic causes of Long QT, and developing tests that help to diagnose the problem, which is diagnosed most frequently in children and young adults.

Again the program will air shortly after 7 AM this Sunday morning on KIWA.

Watch a YouTube video of Dr. Ackerman explaining one of the genetic tests for Long QT Syndrome below.

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director

The day after the program airs on KIWA, it will be posted here for you to hear.

Audit At CCE Schools Shows Displaced Funding

An audit has revealed a lot of displaced funding at Clay-Central/Everly Schools.

The displaced funds include over $41,000 in improper purchases on a credit card used by former Superintendent Monte Montgomery, plus $55,000 worth of unsupported purchases made with credit cards used by Montgomery and former business manager Donna Ott.

There were also over $153,000 in Medicaid reimbursements that were not applied for.

Charges are pending with the Clay County Attorney’s office.

A state financial audit is coming up as well.

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director