Firefighters Have Busy Weekend
(Orange City) –It’s been a busy weekend for northwest Iowa fire departments. Firefighters from four communities responded to a house fire reported Saturday evening shortly after 10:00 p.m. The fire was at 505 Zuider Zee Drive S.E. in Orange City. According to Orange City Fire Chief, Denny Vander Wel, the fire
was strange and unique. He says there was extensive smoke damage inside the home, but at the time of arrival, there were no flames visible.
Firefighters indicated several items of furniture and fixtures had been burnt, or had melted. Firefighters say the family was fortunate not to have arrived home at the time of the fire, as it would have produced a back-draft effect.
Vander Wel says a small electrical extension cord is the likely cause of the fire.
The Orange City fire chief says the interior of the home is totally destroyed. He says the house is no longer able to be lived in.
Alton, Sioux Center and Le Mars Fire Departments were called for mutual aid. The Orange City Ambulance and the Orange City Police also responded to the scene.
Fire Departments Respond To Field Fires
(Sioux Center) — Saturday afternoon several fire departments responded to a large grass field fire near Sioux Center. The Rock Valley and Hawarden Fire Departments also responded to the field fire, with Hudson,South Dakota on stand-by. Sioux Center Firefighter Matt Van Roekel says Saturday’s winds
helped fan the flames and allowed the fire to quickly spread.
The Sioux Center firefighter says the strong winds with speeds up to 25 mph made it difficult to get the blaze under control. He thanks local farmers for their assistance in battling the fire.
Le Mars Fire Department Responds To Field Fire
(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Fire Department also had to respond to a field fire that occurred Saturday afternoon. The fire was located northwest of Le Mars at 25291 160th Street. The fire was reported at about 3:00 p.m. Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says the fire originated from a burn pit, but the 30 mph gusts of
winds carried embers into a nearby cornstalk field, igniting the cornstalks.
Schipper believes that approximately three acres were burnt. He says firefighters had to use at least 1,000 gallons of water in order to bring the fire under control.
Bridge Repair Scheduled For 320th Street
(Le Mars) — Plymouth County Secondary Roads Department has announced beginning today, and continuing through September 1st, 320th Street from Lynx Avenue and
county road K-49 will be closed for a bridge replacement.
Park Lane To Delay Closure
(Le Mars) — Le Mars city officials have changed the dates for Park Lane to be closed for a paving overlay project. Originally, the city had announced the street that goes through Municipal Park was to be closed between May 16th and May 26th. The new dates for the road to be closed will be Monday, May 22nd
through Wednesday, May 31st.
Yanney Speaks At Museum’s Annual Meeting
(Le Mars) — Last Thursday evening, the Plymouth County Historical Museum held its annual meeting. Charese Yanney of Sioux City was the featured speaker.
Yanney is a member of the state’s transportation board of directors, as well as the former economic development board known as “Vision Iowa”, now known as “Enhance Iowa.” Yanney began her address by complimenting the Plymouth County
Historical Museum and the people that support it.
Yanney talked about the economic development board that she is a member, known as “Enhance Iowa” which she says offers grants to organizations and communities to help with the funding for “Quality of Life” projects. She urged the people
of Le Mars and Plymouth County to apply for such grants.
Yanney says communities need to find ways to keep manufacturing jobs within a community, and she says the “Quality of Life” projects will help keep people, as well as attract new business opportunities. She cited Aalf’s Manufacturing and
Harker’s as two businesses that are no longer within the Siouxland area. She says we need to figure out ways to keep our “home-grown” businesses. Yanney encourages Le Mars to take advantage of the grant funds available through the
Yanney also serves on the state’s transportation board, and was asked about the completion date of the four-lane Highway 20.
Yanney says Highway 20 wouldn’t have been able to get started if it were not for the increase in the fuels tax.
The museum presented a certificate of appreciation to out-going director and long-time volunteer, Dale Donlin.
Museum administrator Judy Bowman also acknowledged the hours of dedicated service as exhibited by the many museum’s
volunteers. Certificates of appreciation were given to those people who had begun volunteering during this past year.
Museum Volunteers: First year volunteers were recognized during the museum’s annual meeting. (Left to Right) Angel Anderson, Mary and Jim Rolfes, Jeanetta Kelly, and Lori Luense. Below are long-time veteran volunteers of the museum. (left to right) Doris Haage, Margaret Henrich, Norma Martfield, Julie Leaverton, Shirley Burkhart, Delores Burkhart, Zach Burkhart, and Dave Burkhart.
Northey and Clovis Being Considered For USDA Positions
(Des Moines) — The Cedar Rapids Gazette is reporting that Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has been appointed to a position in the U-S Department of Agriculture by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Northey, a Spirit Lake farmer in his third term as state agriculture secretary will be the new
undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation. The position includes overseeing the Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. A replacement will be appointed by the governor. Northey responded to the news with a posting on his Facebook page by saying,”I appreciate the kind comments and support from so many friends here in Iowa and across the country as news has circulated recently about a possible role for me at USDA. The appointment process can take time to unfold and it is
important not to be over presumptive. I hope you will all understand that I cannot confirm anything or make any formal comment about the rumored appointment at USDA. I look forward to communicating about that more openly at the
appropriate time. As I have said many times, I love my job as Iowa Secretary of Agriculture and I am anxious to support the President, Secretary Perdue, and USDA’s mission in whatever role I am in – either within USDA or outside.
Another person thought to be given a high position with the U-S Department of Agriculture is Plymouth County’s own Dr. Sam Clovis. Clovis, from rural Hinton and a professor with Morningside College and former radio talk show host is
rumored to be the undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics. Clovis, who assisted with the Trump campaign, was appointed to be a senior White House adviser to the Department of Agriculture in January.
Branstad Ready To Become Ambassador To China
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – As Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad prepares to step down from office, he’s highlighted his administration’s successes in recent years.
That includes a low unemployment rate, multi-billion dollar private-sector investments and a slate of workforce initiatives. The results are more mixed when considering four goals he promised when returning to office in 2011. Data
shows many remain unfinished as he heads out.
The objectives by 2016 were 200,000 new jobs, a 15 percent reduction in the cost of government, 25 percent increase in family incomes and having the nation’s best schools.
Ben Hammes, a spokesman for Branstad, says the governor would argue “substantial” progress has been made in all areas.
Branstad is expected to resign soon to become ambassador to China. A Senate vote could happen as early as this week.