Home News Wednesday News, March 8th

Wednesday News, March 8th


Police Department Conducted A.L.I.C.E. Training With City Employees

(Le Mars) — Columbine High School…Virginia Tech…San Bernadino…Aurora, Colorado Cineplex, and Sandy Hook Elementary School. Each of these locations were the site of an active shooter or shooters, that walked into a facility and
started firing shots randomly, injuring and killing several dozen innocent people. Unfortunately, the mentioned scenario is becoming an all too common occurrence that we see on national news reports. The Le Mars Police Department wants to make certain if such an incident were to ever happen in Le Mars, people would know what to do. That is the reason why the Le Mars Police Department conducted an A.L.I.C.E. training session with city hall and library employees Tuesday afternoon. The training happened in the city council chambers. ALICE
stands for Alert…Lockdown…Inform…Counter…and Evaculate. The training session, according to Le Mars Police Chief Stuart Dekkenga, is to help empower
people if they are ever involved in a threatening situation.


Dekkenga says people’s first reaction when they hear gun shots is to get down, but he says that may not be the best option.

During the training session, city employees were exposed to different scenarios when an unsuspecting intruder would enter the building and start shooting at people. Real guns with blanks, or an air gun that appeared to look real, and sounded like actual ammunition being fired was used in the training scenarios.
The Le Mars Police Chief suggests people need to use anything available to defend themselves against an active threat.

Dekkenga says the Le Mars Police Department has conducted the ALICE training for schools, businesses, and industries. He says an active shooting situation may happen at anyplace, and at anytime.

Dekkenga says people should think about the possible scenario, just as they do with a fire drill.

The Le Mars Police Chief suggests people should be prepared, which he calls a “constant state of awareness”. During the training exercise, a Le Mars Police officer shot off a few rounds of blank ammunition, but it wasn’t until about the
third shot rang out that the city employees began to realize what was happening.

The Le Mars Police Department explained to the group that depending on where the incident may occur, and where the police are located within the city limits at the time of the incident, it may take at least ten minutes to respond.


City Council Decides To Keep Downtown Traffic Signal Lights

(Le Mars) — The Le Mars city council has voted to keep the traffic signal lights located at Plymouth Street and 1st Avenue West, as well as the traffic signal light located on Central Avenue and 1st Street North. Nearly a dozen people had gathered in the council chambers to see how the city council would
vote on the controversial topic. Some of the council members had stated they had heard many comments from their constituents regarding the issue. During the
same resolution, the council also approved spending money to acquire a new set of traffic control lights, in the event if either one of the lights at the downtown intersections would fail. City administrator Scott Langel informed the council members that the model of traffic control lights currently being used at
the two down town intersections are no longer being manufactured.




Strong Winds Make For Challenging Times For Fire Departments

(Le Mars) — The last two days have produced winds that were of speeds measuring 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph. The strong winds prompted the National Weather Services to issue a wind advisory for all of northwest Iowa. The strong winds,
dry conditions, and low humidity levels also make for favorable conditions for grass fires. Hinton, Akron, and Le Mars Fire Departments all responded to grass fires on Tuesday. Fortunately, for all three fire departments, those fires were
small and were able to be controlled and contained rather quickly.
Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says this time of year is always challenging for area fire departments.

Due to the dry conditions, several counties in southeast Iowa have declared a burn ban. Schipper says if conditions continue, he says it could be possible to see a state-wide burn ban.

Schipper says fire will create its own winds which only compounds the situation.

Schipper says if you had a brush pile fire burning several days ago, you may want to check it again. He says the strong winds will often rekindle the embers causing for a larger fire to occur.

Tornadoes Hit Iowa 

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) – The National Weather Service in Davenport has confirmed three injuries and 80 homes damaged in Muscatine from a tornado that traveled nearly two miles as a line of severe storms moved across the state.
An EF2 tornado with winds peaking at 115 miles per hour struck at around 10 p.m. Monday.
The Muscatine Journal reports (http://bit.ly/2myDv8j ) a chimney crashed through the roof of the Wesley United Methodist Church destroying the church
pipe organ.
Another EF2 tornado swept along 25 miles through Blue Grass, northwest Davenport and Eldridge damaging a home, farm buildings, trees and power poles.
Earlier in the evening a tornado with 90-mile-per-hour winds destroyed farm buildings and trees near Bernard in Eastern Iowa.
Another suspected tornado damaged a school in Seymour in south-central Iowa.


State Representatives Pass “Stand Your Ground” Gun Bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa House has approved a sweeping gun bill that includes a stand-your-ground provision and allows citizens to sue local governments that impose weapons restrictions.
The Republican-controlled chamber voted 58-39 Tuesday along mostly party lines. The bill now heads to the GOP-majority Senate, where it has support.
The legislation would allow people to use deadly force anywhere if they believe such force was necessary to avoid injury or risk to one’s life or safety. Similar legislation in other states has gained national attention over its effect on gun-related violence.
The bill would make several other changes to Iowa’s gun laws. It would allow children under age 14 to use handguns with parental supervision and allow weapons on the Capitol grounds.


Investigation Report Issued On Glenwood Resource Center 

GLENWOOD, Iowa (AP) – An investigation of verbal and physical abuse at the Glenwood State Resource Center finds employees were poorly trained and lacked supervision, leading some staffers to mistreat residents with severe intellectual disabilities and for other workers to not report the abuse.
The Joint Commission Resources consulting company wrote a 34-page report after the state hired the company to investigate the causes of abuse at the center, which houses more than 200 residents.
Thirteen staff members quit or were fired over the allegations, and six face criminal charges.
The Iowa Department of Human Services released the report, labeled “confidential,” Monday in response to an open-records request by The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/2n1wRoS ).
A department spokeswoman says her agency spent up to $65,000 to commission the report because it wants to understand and fix problems at the facility.