City Establishes Rules For Fireworks Sales and Discharge
(Le Mars) — Now that the Iowa legislature has passed the fireworks bill and Governor Terry Branstad has signed the bill into law, many Iowa counties and municipalities are scrambling to set up zoning ordinances for designated areas for sales and for the discharge of fireworks. Le Mars Fire Chief Dave
Schipper met with both the Le Mars City Council and the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to inform them about the rules associated with the state fireworks bill. Schipper says local communities may be able to dictate whether
or not fireworks can be discharged, but according to the state law, they cannot prevent the sale of fireworks.
Schipper says the city’s public safety committee has discussed the issue of fireworks, and have the approval from the city council and city administration.
He says fireworks will be allowed to be sold within the city of Le Mars, but the sale of fireworks will need to follow the ordinances already in place.
Schipper says the law has established the dates and times fireworks will be allowed to be discharged. He talks about those dates and times leading up to and immediately following Independence Day.
Schipper says the law also allows for fireworks sales and discharge around the time we ring in a new year.
The Le Mars Fire Chief says the fine for shooting fireworks beyond the designated dates and times could cost you as much as $250.
Le Mars Police Involved With Stand-off
(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Police Department responded to a complaint Monday evening at about 10:10 p.m. that three male subjects in the 100 block of Central Avenue Northwest of Le Mars, were displaying handguns in a threatening manner.
The victim was traveling in a vehicle at that location when he was approached in an aggressive manner by the three suspects, who produced handguns as the victim sped away. Le Mars Police Officers responded and observed the subjects matching
the suspect descriptions. Before these subjects could be approached by officers, they entered the residence at 135 1st Avenue northwest in Le Mars.
Officers then approached the residence and repeatedly attempted to get these individuals to come to the door without success. Officers also observed what appeared to be an illegal firearm inside the residence.
Captain Tim Hop of the Le Mars Police Department says he was notified by night shift duty officers of the incident at about 10:30 p.m.
Police officers then set up a perimeter around the residence and a search warrant for the residence was obtained. The joint Special Response Team or known as the SRT team was called to assist with securing the residence before the search warrant would be implemented. Continuous attempts were made to
communicate with the suspects inside the residence but were unsuccessful. At approximately 2:15 a.m. Tuesday morning, the joint SRT team forced entry to the residence and four suspects were then found and taken into custody. Once the residence was secured, officers were able to conduct the search warrant. Law
enforcement officers recovered six firearms from the residence including two semi-automatic “assault” rifles, a short-barreled shotgun, two semi-automatic pistols, a revolver and various rounds of ammunition. Two of the firearms were later confirmed as stolen from locations outside Plymouth County. A few
items of drug paraphernalia were also seized.
The suspects taken into custody at the residence and their charges include: 21- year old Victor Guadalupe Villareal of 135 1st Avenue Northwest of Le Mars.
He was charged with possession of an offensive weapon, a class D felony, and two counts of possession of stolen firearms another class D felony. The other three suspects are all juvenile males ages 16, 15, and 14 and all showing Sioux City
addresses. All three juveniles were charged with: aggravated assault, possession of an offensive weapon, two counts of possession of stolen firearms, and providing police officers with false information. The 15 year old was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. The 16 year old and the 15 year old were already listed in the nationwide computer system as missing persons.
Captain Hop says the individual that was arrested was not known to police for having previous incidents.
Hop says so far, the suspects have not been cooperative with law enforcement officials. He says at this time it is unknown as to what were the intentions of the suspects and why they had an arsenal of weapons.
Hop says it was shortly after 11:00 p.m. when members of the SRT team were notified. Hop says the SRT team consists of members of the Le Mars Police Department, Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office and Sioux County Sheriff’s Office.
Fortunately, no shots were fired, and the incident was resolved with arrests that were made at about 2:15 a.m. Hop says a few of the neighbors to the residence in question were evacuated for their safety, but by 3:00 p.m. the incident was resolved and those families were allowed back into their homes.
The Le Mars Police Department was assisted by the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, Le Mars Ambulance Service and the Le Mars Fire Department. The Le Mars Police Department continues to investigate the incident.
Good Samaritan Care Center Preparing For “Spring Fling”
(Le Mars) — The Good Samaritan Care Center will be holding its annual “Spring Fling” fund raiser this coming Thursday evening at the upper level of the Le Mars Convention Center. Darci Athens is the Resource Director with Good Samaritan. She explains the evening’s agenda.
Athens says this year’s event is for both men and women. She says the fashion show will feature local men and women models and they will display clothing items from local clothing stores.
The Good Samaritan representative says they hope to have a larger attendance than previous years, which is one reason why the event is scheduled for the evening, as opposed to the morning, as was the case in previous years.
Following the fashion show, Athens says there will be items available for an auction.
Athens says tickets to the event are still available, and they are selling at $45. For more information about the Good Samaritan Spring Fling, you can call the Good Samaritan Care Center at 546-4101.
Northey Speaks About Possible Position With USDA
(Storm Lake) — Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey was in northwest Iowa on Tuesday visiting a biodiesel production facility, and a small fertilizer and crop protection products facility. KLEM news visited with Northey at the Smokin
Hereford B-B-Q restaurant in Storm Lake, the home of the best burger in Iowa as named by the Iowa Beef Industry Council. A lot of speculation believes Northey will be asked to serve in a high ranking position with the U-S Department of Agriculture. Northey was asked, if in fact, he has been tapped for a high
position with the U-S Department of Agriculture.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has been re-organizing the Department of Agriculture. If Northey is asked to serve with the newly re-organized government agency it probably will be as the Under-secretary for Farm Services Agency, Risk Management, and Natural Resources and Conservation Services. A position that Northey says he would feel comfortable in leading.
Northey says there is some momentum in the direction of naming him to an U-S-D-A position. He says he has met with Secretary Perdue on a few occasions.
However, he isn’t certain as to when a formal announcement will be made.
Substitute Teacher Sentenced For 10 Years
IDA GROVE, Iowa (AP) – A former substitute teacher and coach has been given 10 years in prison for having sexual relationships with students at two northwest Iowa high schools.
Online court records say 33-year-old John Tietsort, of Battle Creek, was sentenced Monday. He’d pleaded guilty in Ida County District Court to two counts of sexual exploitation by a school employee.
Prosecutors say Tietsort had a sexual relationship October 2015 through June 2016 with an 18-year-old female student at Odebolt-Arthur and Battle Creek-Ida Grove High School, where Tietsort was a substitute teacher and assistant football coach. Prosecutors also say Tietsort had a sexual relationship last year with a 17-year-old female student from Maple Valley-
Anthon Oto High School, where Tietsort also was a substitute teacher.
Reporter Violates “No Video Recording” Court Order
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A reporter is facing the threat of jail after allegedly violating an order not to take video of “The Bachelor” star Chris Soules appearing in court in his hit-and-run case. Prosecutors are pursuing contempt of court proceedings against KWWL reporter Elizabeth Amanieh in what
could be the first such case against an Iowa journalist in decades. They say she violated a judge’s directive by using her cellphone to record last month’s hearing, which her station later aired.
University Officials Release Cause Of Death For Student
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say an 18-year-old student who collapsed in a University of Iowa residence hall died of drug intoxication and complications from a heart condition.
Sean Wu, of Cedar Rapids, was pronounced dead April 8 at a hospital. A witness told authorities that he saw Wu suddenly tense up at Daum Residence Hall “as if he were having a seizure and collapsed.”
The Johnson County medical examiner’s office says the drug Ecstasy was in Wu’s body. The synthetic drug can induce euphoria and increase the heart rate.
Wu’s family also says he was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease when he was 6, a condition that causes inflammation of some blood vessels.
The university says its investigation of Wu’s death is continuing.
Arson Blamed For Fatal Fire
GUTHRIE CENTER, Iowa (AP) – Investigators say arson was the cause of a house fire in central Iowa that killed two girls and severely injured their uncle.
Law enforcement officials said Wednesday that the girls, who were cousins, have been identified as 16-year-old Shakiah Cockerham and 12-year-old Melanie “Paige” Exline, both of Guthrie Center.
Their uncle, 54 year old William Long III, suffered severe burns to his upper body in the Monday afternoon fire and was flown to an Omaha, Nebraska, hospital, where he remained Wednesday. The girls’ 74-year-old grandmother, Shirley Exline, suffered minor injuries.
The Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office found arson to be the fire’s cause, and a criminal investigation has begun Guthrie Center is about 50 miles west of Des Moines.
Resource Centers Terminate Additional Employees
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – State officials say three workers at institutions for people with severe intellectual disabilities have been fired or resigned after allegations they mistreated residents, the latest in a series of problems at the centers.
The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/2qrOfXE ) reports that two employees were fired from the Glenwood Resource Center and another resigned after being suspended at the Woodward Resource Center.
Inspectors wrote that one of the Glenwood workers used a spoon to smear food on a resident’s face. The other worker who was let go told that employee to “knock it off” and helped the resident, but didn’t immediately report the abuse as required by law.
Records show the Woodward worker resigned amid an investigation into allegations that he verbally and sexually abused a resident and verbally abused two others.