Man Taken To Hospital After Semi Accident

Carmel, Iowa — An Orange City man was taken to the hospital after an accident near Carmel on Wednesday morning, December 16th, 2015.
Sioux Center Ambulance
The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that shortly after 6:30 AM, 64-year-old Richard Lichtsinn of Orange City was driving a 2003 Peterbilt semi‐tractor pulling a tank trailer loaded with ethanol westbound on 360th Street, about four miles northwest of Sioux Center, when he lost control of the semi, which entered the north ditch. The truck and trailer rolled onto its side.

The Sioux Center Ambulance transported Lichtsinn to the Sioux Center Health hospital.

They say the 2003 Peterbilt and trailer sustained about $25,000 in damage.

The Sheriff’s Office says the Sioux Center Fire Department, Sioux Center Ambulance crew and the Iowa State Patrol assisted them on the scene.

They report that due to the accident, 360th Street — that’s B30 — was closed for nearly eight hours. Sioux County Chief Deputy Nate Huizenga says the ethanol had to be transferred to another tanker.

Area Gas Prices Dropping In Time For Christmas

gas pumpNorthwest Iowa — A near-record number of travelers will be on the highways this Christmas holiday, due in part to falling retail gasoline prices.  It will cost less to fill up this Christmas than last year, according to the AAA.

The national average for a gallon of unleaded 10% ethanol blend in $2.01 per gallon, while prices here in northwest Iowa are even below that level.

In a brief survey of area gasoline prices Wednesday morning, we discovered the price of unleaded 10% ethanol blend ranged from a low of $1.85 in Rock Rapids to an area high of $1.99 in the Alton/Orange City area.

Prices by area town are as follows:  Sheldon, $1.89 a gallon; Sanborn $1.95; Alton/Orange City $1.99; Rock Rapids $1.85; Hull $1.89; Sibley $1.94; and George $1.89.

So, at least for motorists, it looks like it will be a very Merry Christmas.

Several Factors Causing Big Drop In Propane Prices

propane tank lidNorthwest Iowa — Northwest Iowa farmers are struggling with low commodity prices, but they’re catching a big break right now on propane. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported last week that propane prices in the Midwest have dropped to their lowest level in a decade.

E-I-A economist Sean Hill says prices across the region are down around 15 percent from a year ago. Possibly the biggest factor is the weather.

In Iowa, propane prices are averaging around $1 per gallon. Last year at this time, prices were hovering around $1.60 per gallon. Hill says another reason for the decline is crude oil prices are at significantly lower levels compared to the last five years.

Then, there’s the overall supply and demand picture, according to Hill.

Propane inventories in the Midwest are 11-percent higher than last year, according to the EIA. About 15-percent of Iowa’s households are heated with LP.

Holiday Travel Forecast Says Roads Will Be Record-Level Busy

AAA LogoNorthwest Iowa — Almost one in every three Iowans is expected to take a trip for the year-end holidays, according to a survey.

Gail Weinholzer, spokeswoman for Triple-A Iowa, says if the weather isn’t too frightful, a record number of people will be on the nation’s roads and bustling through airports, train stations and bus depots.

She says the boost in holiday travel is being driven by continued improvement in the labor market, rising incomes and low prices, including gasoline prices, which remain well below last year’s levels.

Gasoline prices in Iowa have been steadily dropping for several weeks and now are averaging just under two-dollars a gallon statewide. While many Iowans will be taking buses, boats or planes to their holiday destinations, she says most of us will be on the road.

Triple-A says airfares for the top flight routes are six-percent lower this holiday season, car rental rates are up three-percent from a year ago, while lodging at most of the nicer hotels is up between four and 11-percent.

Presidential Candidates Coming To Our Area

Northwest Iowa — Two presidential candidates are coming to northwest Iowa on Thursday, December 17th and Friday, December 18th.
white house._sxc
Governor Mike Huckabee will be at Maintainer Custom Bodies, Inc. in Rock Rapids on Thursday from 2:45 to 4:15 PM. The business is located at 909 South East Street or K52 in Rock Rapids. At 4:45 PM, he’ll make an appearance at Sioux Center restaurant Sioux County Livestock Company at 1386 South Main Avenue. Other stops for Governor Huckabee will be in Estherville, Emmetsburg, Algona, Laurens, Storm Lake, and Sac City.

Dr. Ben Carson will speak at 6:30 PM Thursday at the airport in Spencer. That event was postponed from a date in November due to winter weather. Friday, Carson will speak at 3:00 PM at DeWitt Library at Northwestern College at 107 Seventh Street Southwest in Orange City. Dr. Carson will also make stops in Storm Lake and Sioux City.

Farmers Need To Prepare For New Pork Industry Audit

Cherokee, Iowa — Area pork producers need to prepare for a new way of doing business.
hogs pigs behind hog wire -- from ISU extension
Pork producers today need to participate in an audit program called the Common Swine Industry Audit. According to the National Pork Board, the goal of the common audit process is to provide the consumer greater assurance of the care taken by farmers and pork processors to improve animal well-being and food safety.

We talked to Iowa State University Extension Swine Specialist Dave Stender. He says that years ago, it was just assumed that every pork producer took good care of his hogs. But a number of years ago, people started wanting more proof about how hogs are treated before they become pork.

So, says Stender, the industry came up with a common audit. They say they’re going to be starting those audits early in 2016.

The audit is currently available to the public and packer-employed auditors are already using the audit system.

Stender says producers need to know that the common audit is actually going to happen, and that they need to be prepared for it. He says the National Pork Board has several resources available on their web site.

Stender says the audit is fairly all-encompassing. He says ISU Extension is also planning some workshops to help producers prepare for an audit.

Call your local county Extension and Outreach office to find out when the next workshops are scheduled. Visit Click on “Locate a county office” to find the office nearest you.

Stender says the workshops will start already in January and there will be a workshop about every four to five weeks all through the summer.