The Past Week’s Frigid Conditions A Good Reminder About Frostbite

Northwest Iowa — The low temperatures and wind chills we experienced this past week are a reminder that frostbite is a serious matter and under subzero conditions it can quickly occur. Floyd Valley Hospital emergency room coordinator, Mary Jo Clark, says you will probably not even realize you have frostbite while you are still outside.
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(as she says) “When you get inside, that’s when you start to rewarm and you start to have more problems. You may notice some pain, tingling, that kind of stuff. That’s actually good, that means that you haven’t destroyed any nerve endings or done too much permanent damage,” Clark says. “The important thing is, don’t rub.”

One day this past week, winds at the hospital in Le Mars were 12 to 18 miles-an-hour with the temperature at six below zero. Clark says under those conditions it would take about 30 minutes for exposed skin to freeze.

(as she says)”That is to freeze, so before then is where you are going to get your frostbite. Now if the wind speeds do pick up, lets say they get up to 35 miles-an-hour with a negative six degrees, it will take 10 minutes for exposed skin to freeze,” Clark says.

Clark says the Floyd Valley hospital has already treated several cases of frostbite this winter, including this past week. She says if you need to be outside, then you should bundle up, and limit your time outdoors. She says a person’s face, nose, ears, fingers and toes are usually the first areas to suffer from frostbite. And you should be cautious if you believe you have suffered frost bite.

(as she says)”The important thing is don’t rub…I know it’s a human instinct to rub your hands or your toes, don’t do that,” Clark says. “What we recommend is do warm tub or a warm sink of water and put your hands or your feet in there and slowly warm them up. Not hot, warm water and then don’t rub. And then just gradually wring them up until they aren’t tingling or having any pain.”

The Floyd Valley nurse says if you notice blisters, or some whitish color or crystalizing of the skin, you should go to the hospital for immediate care.

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Smart Choice Health Insurance Workshops Planned In Northwest Iowa

Primghar, Iowa — Iowa State University Extension and Outreach is again helping people figure out their options in regard to health insurance.
smart choice isu
We had a chance to talk with Family Management Specialist Jan Monahan, who says this year, under the Affordable Care Act, everyone must enroll in a health plan, or face a tax. She says she’s encountered people in several situations.

She says they are offering several workshops in the coming weeks, with three of them nearby.

She says they won’t tell you what option to choose, but hopefully the information they provide will steer you in the right direction.

Again, the nearby workshops, called “Smart Choice” seminars, will be at the Sibley Public Library Friday, January 16th; February 2nd at the ISU Extension and Outreach office in Primghar; and at the Spirit Lake Public Library on January 29th.

  • January 16 10:00 – 12:00 p.m. – Sibley Library, 406 9th Street. Snow date: 1/23, call (712) 754-3648
  • January 19  6:00 – 8:00 p.m. – Online, pre-register at
  • January 29  1:00 – 3:00 p.m. –  Spirit Lake Library, 702 16th Street. Pre-registration required. Snow date: 1/30, call (712) 336-3488
  • February 2  1:00 – 3:00 p.m. – Primghar, 340 2nd St SE. Pre-registration required. Snow date: 2/3, call (712) 957-5045

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Rock Valley Fire Department Saves Machine Shed, Equipment

Rock Valley, Iowa — A six-month-old machine shed was damaged in a fire on Thursday, January 8, 2015 near Rock Valley, but although there was lots of farm equipment in the building, none of it was damaged.
RVFD Rock Valley Fire
According to Rock Valley Fire Chief John Wallenburg, about 7:25 PM, the Rock Valley Fire Department was called to the report of machine shed fire at the home of Les Van Grootheest at 2756 330th Street, two miles south and two and a half east of Rock Valley.

The chief says that when the fire trucks arrived, fire fighters saw smoke coming from the large machine shed. He said that near the walkthrough door, the exterior tin of the building was glowing red. He says they tore off the interior tin and spray foam insulation to get to the hot spot, which turned out to be electrical wiring arcing. He says they made sure the power was off, and didn’t even have to use any water. The chief says Van Grootheest knew there was something wrong when he tried to switch on the lights and they wouldn’t stay on, and he smelled smoke.

Wallenburg reports that there were no injuries to people, pets, or livestock.

He says he called for water from the Hull and Sioux Center Fire Departments, but as it turned out, they didn’t need it.

He says the cause of the fire was electrical in nature.

Chief Wallenburg reports that there was not substantial damage. He says it will take some re-wiring and they’ll have to fix the wall and insulation.

He says crews were on scene two hours.

Wallenburg says it could have been much worse if they had needed to use water, as it was very cold. He says the new shed was also full of equipment, the worth of which he estimated at over a million dollars.

Sheldon Doctor Advises To Get Flu Shot, Practice Proper Hand Hygiene To Avoid Flu

Sheldon, Iowa — Many cases of the flu are being reported in northwest Iowa, and the normal way most people avoid the flu is not working as well as was hoped.
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We had a chance to visit with Dr. Amy Badberg at Sanford Sheldon Hospital. She tells us that the flu vaccine does not work as well against the “A” strain of the flu virus this year, so they have some suggestions.

The Iowa Department of Health clarifies that all three of the flu strains currently circulating are covered by this year’s vaccine, although some of the A(H3N2) viruses may only be partially covered in the vaccine. Dr. Badberg says that although the flu season is in full swing, it’s not too late to receive a flu vaccination, and they still recommend that you do if you haven’t yet, as even if you get the type of flu that’s not fully covered, you may have the flu for a shorter amount of time, or have fewer symptoms.

Dr. Badberg says that when it comes to treating those that already have the flu, their hands are tied.

She tells us what to do if you think you have the flu.

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Here’s some more information about the flu from the Iowa Department of Public Health.

In addition to vaccination, IDPH recommends the Three Cs for preventing flu illness: Clean your hands frequently; Cover coughs and sneezes; and Confine germs by staying home when ill. “We certainly understand that keeping an ill child home from school or daycare puts a burden on working parents who have to adjust their work schedule to be home as well,” said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk. “But the risk of severe illness is very real. Even if you think your child can ‘stick it out’ for the school day, it’s important to remember that other children in the classroom may be at risk for serious complications from the flu and your child could spread the virus to them. This includes children with weakened immune systems or chronic conditions.”

IDPH continues to receive reports of influenza-related hospitalizations and outbreaks. IDPH has confirmed two influenza-related deaths in children (age 0-17). A third pediatric death is under investigation. People at high risk for serious flu complications include: people with underlying chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, or neurological conditions; pregnant women; those younger than 5 years or older than 65 years of age; or anyone with a weakened immune system. A full list of high risk factors is available at


Antivirals drugs are a second line of defense to treat flu illness. People at high risk should take antiviral medications for the treatment of influenza illness if they have been prescribed. It’s important to contact your health care provider right away if you or your child shows symptoms of the flu, since antivirals work best if given within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion
  • Body aches


Illness typically lasts two to seven days. The flu is a respiratory illness caused by viruses. The flu comes on suddenly and may cause severe illness or even death. The “stomach bug,” which causes diarrhea and vomiting, is not caused by the influenza virus but usually by norovirus; thus, the flu vaccine will not protect you against this illness.

The flu season typically peaks in February and can last as late as May. To learn more about influenza in Iowa, visit Contact your health care provider or local health department to find out where the vaccine is available in your community or use the Flu Vaccine Finder at

Two Sioux Falls Men Arrested, Charged With March Burglary In Little Rock

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Two Sioux Falls men have been charged in a burglary case in Little Rock from back in March of 2014.
Little Rock Water Tower- WINTER-300
The Lyon County Sheriff’s Department reports that they charged 30-year-old Nathan Bradley Perkins and 19-year-old Jared Christian Gates, both of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with 3rd degree burglary, a Class D Felony; and 4th degree criminal mischief, a Serious Misdemeanor.

The two are accused of burglarizing the Bucksaw Bar in Little Rock, Iowa on March 14, 2014.

Both men are currently in the Minnehaha County Jail in Sioux Falls on separate charges.

Nine Arrested On Drug-Related Charges In Orange City

Orange City, Iowa — Nine people, seven of them from Orange City have been arrested and charged with drug-related offenses.
Sioux Sheriff Car 84-
The Sioux County Sheriff’s office reports that in the 1 AM hour on Wednesday, January 7, their deputies carried out a search warrant following a drug investigation at an apartment on Fourth Street SE in Orange City.

Upon further investigation, deputies found marijuana, cocaine, acid paper, THC wax and drug paraphernalia.

Elizabeth Winship, age 18, of St. John, IN, Zacariah Wothe, age 21, of Le Mars, IA, Chance Wetter, age 19, Kevin Moore, age 21, Trey Beltman, age 19, Sierra Johnson age 20, Cody Langel, age 19, Samantha Van Grouw, age 18, and Sarah Eubank, age 21, all of Orange City, were arrested and charged with possession of controlled substances and possession of drug paraphernalia.