ISU Students To Help With Lyon County Projects

Rock Rapids, Iowa — Lyon County is going to be getting some free help with several projects from college students at Iowa State University.
Lyon County Seal
Lyon County Economic Development Director Steve Simons tells us more.


He says 27 senior and graduate students from ISU are taking part. The first phase of the class is for them to travel to Lyon County and visit with residents, business people and tour the area, says Simons.

They will view several attractions in the county including Gitchie Manitou, Blood Run, Lake Pahoja, the Depot Museum, Island Park, Rapid Speedway, Murals, Rapids Theatre, Locker Park, and several more.

Simons says the next steps will be a video conference on February 27 with their ideas for stakeholders to view and give feedback. A video conference mid-design review will be held the week of March 30. The students will return April 27 for final presentations.

Simons says Lyon County will be the focus of their work Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons for the entire semester.

Simons says that he’s looking forward to working with the students.


Simons invites everyone to the stakeholder sessions, Sunday evening at 6:30 PM at Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort, Monday morning at 10 AM at Forster Community Center in Rock Rapids, and Monday afternoon at 1:30 PM at the George Community Center.

Sunday, January 25

  • 1 PM                Arrive and check in at Grand Falls
  • 1:45 PM            Bus trip to Gitchie Manitou, Blood Run, Lake Pahoja Recreation Area, Calico Skies Vineyard and Winery, Inwood (downtown, pool and park), West Lyon and Larchwood (downtown, park, golf). Return to hotel at 5 p.m.
  • 5:30 PM       Dinner for students
  • 6:30-8:00            Stakeholder session 1 (LCED and others in meeting room/refreshments/cookies)

Monday, January 26

  • 7 PM                Check out and Breakfast at Grand Falls
  • 8-10:00 AM     Bus to Rock Rapids – drive through Lester (Gerber Strawberries) on the way and tour Rock Rapids (downtown, LCHS Museum, Island Park, Raceway and Fairgrounds, country club, Central Lyon, Courthouse, Murals, pool, Kids Club, Rapids Theater, etc.
  • 10:00-11:30   Stakeholder session 2 at Forster Community Center
  • 11:30-12:30   Lunch at Pizza Ranch Rock Rapids
  • 12:30 PM       Bus trip to George and tour George – Locker Park, downtown,trail, pool, campground, GLR School.
  • 1:30-3:30 PM   Stakeholder session 3 at George Community Center
  • 4:00 PM            Depart for ISU (box lunches Pizza Ranch)

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December Iowa Milk Production Numbers Are In

Washington, DC — Milk production in Iowa during December 2014 totaled 404 million pounds, up 5 percent from usda_logoDecember 2013 according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service – Milk Production report.

The average number of milk cows during December, at 209,000 head, was up 2,000 from last month, and 3,000 more than a year ago. Monthly production per cow averaged 1,935 pounds in December 2014, up 65 pounds from last December. This is tied with 2012 for the highest December milk per cow for Iowa on record, and is the highest December milk production since 1967.

Milk production in the 23 major States during December totaled 16.2 billion pounds, up 3.2 percent from December 2013. November revised production at 15.5 billion pounds, was up 3.5 percent from November 2013. The November revision represented an increase of 12 million pounds or 0.1 percent from last month’s preliminary production estimate.

Production per cow in the 23 major States averaged 1,886 pounds for December, 35 pounds above December 2013. This is the highest production per cow for the month of December since the 23 State series began in 2003.

The number of milk cows on farms in the 23 major States for December, was 8.61 million head, 107,000 head more than December 2013, and 16,000 head more than November 2014.

Milk production in the United States during the October – December quarter totaled 50.9 billion pounds, up 3.4 percent from the October – December quarter last year.

The average number of milk cows in the United States during the quarter was 9.28 million head, 16,000 head more than the July – September quarter, and 83,000 head more than the same period last year.

The entire report can be viewed by clicking here.


UPDATE – AUDIO: Measles In Region

Orange City, Iowa – Measles. It’s a disease that hasn’t been on the radar for several decades in the developed world, thanks to immunizations. However it appears to be making a comeback in some areas.

The Nebraska Department of Public Health has announced that an individual with measles spent time while contagious in several public locations in Blair and Omaha, Nebraska between January 11 and January 15, 2015. The South Dakota Department of Public Health reports 13 confirmed cases of measles in the Mitchell, South Dakota area. Additionally, more than 50 people from six states are reported to have measles as part of an ongoing outbreak linked to an amusement park in California.

Community Health Partners in Orange City says that there is reasonable potential for measles to spread to Iowa. Nurse practitioner Robin Van Zandbergen suggests everyone check their immunization records.


Individuals who need vaccine can contact their usual health care or vaccine provider. Van Zandbergen says that if you were born after 1957 and had your two doses of MMR vaccine, even if it was decades ago, you should be safe.


Measles is a very serious, highly contagious viral disease transmitted from one person to another by airborne and droplet spread. It is characterized by high fever, cough, runny nose, watery eyes – followed by a rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. This serious illness causes permanent brain damage or death in 1-3 out of every 1,000 patients.

  • More than 95% of people who receive one dose of MMR will develop immunity.
  • The 2nd dose of MMR boosts immunity to 99% in the majority of people.

She says that somewhat counter-intuitively, if you think you have measles or have reason to believe that you’ve been exposed to the measles virus – they do NOT want you to see your doctor in a doctor’s office or clinic.


If you have questions or need additional information contact your local health department.

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State Leaders Continue To Discuss School Start Dates

Des Moines, Iowa — Iowa schools may be forced to start school this fall the week of September 1st — or they may not.
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Iowa law says school should start in the week in which September 1st falls. To deviate from that requires a waiver. But the Iowa Department of Education has been issuing waivers to almost all districts that ask for one.

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad urged Iowa Education Director Brad Buck to inform school leaders in December that the Department of Education would no longer automatically issue waivers to districts that wanted to start early, and that’s what Buck did. He indicated that earlier start dates would only be considered if a district could prove “significant negative educational impact,” by starting later.

Now, however, there are bills in both houses of the legislature that would restore the power of school districts to start early. And Branstad has indicated that he is willing to reach a compromise on the issue to come up with something that will benefit schools.

At this point it remains to be seen what the final outcome will be, and schools in northwest Iowa are waiting on the verdict.

Radio Iowa assisted with this story.


Grand Falls Casino Pays Penalty For Gambling Violation

Larchwood, Iowa — The Grand Falls Casino agreed to a 20-thousand dollar fine on Thursday for an illegal gambling violation at the facility near Larchwood. Iowa Racing and Gaming administrator, Brian Ohorilko, explained the situation to the Racing and Gaming Commission.
Grand Falls Roulette

(as he says)”We had a minor on December 14th enter the gaming floor unchallenged, was on the gaming floor for 30 minutes and had gambled,” Ohorilko says.

Casino general manager, Sharon Hasselhoff, apologized to the commission.


(as she says)”We take it very seriously, we did not I-D this guest as we should have,” Hasselhoff says. “Simply, there’s no excuse. We did not do our job.”

Hasselhoff says they have taken steps to ensure this does not happen again.


(as she says)”Since this incident, we have had significant re-training with our employees, reminding them of the importance of their job,” Hasselhoff says. She says 127 employees in security, table games and food and beverage areas went through I-D checking and training to check for intoxication since the incident.

She says they stressed during the training the importance of always following through and the consequences for the facility if they let someone in without checking their I-D.


(as she says)”Again, we’re very sorry that this happened and are using it as a retraining lesson for our employees,” Hasselhoff says.

Gaming administrator Ohorilko says the 20-thousand dollar penalty is standard for underage gambling violations. He says Grand Falls has a very good record and has not had any other recent violations.

Story from Radio Iowa

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Hawarden Teen Faces Marijuana Charges

Akron, Iowa — A Hawarden teen was arrested on drug charges in Akron recently.
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The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office reports that on Saturday, January 17th, one of their deputies arrested 18-year-old Benjamin Gallaugher of Hawarden. Gallaugher had been a passenger in a vehicle that was stopped in Akron for a traffic violation.

During the investigation, Gallaugher was found to be in possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

He was charged with possession of a controlled substance, marijuana, a serious misdemeanor; and possession of drug paraphernalia, a simple misdemeanor.

Gallaugher was transported to the Plymouth County Jail and held on $1,000 bond.