Fire Department Responds To Grain Dryer Fire
(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was called to Agri-Center’s second unit at 224 2nd Avenue Northeast for a grain dryer fire. The alarm was sounded at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday evening. Smoke was visible coming from the grain dryer when firefighters arrived on the scene. Fire Chief Dave Schipper says employees of the grain elevator and storage company reported smelling something hot and notified the fire department.
Schipper says fortunately, there was very little grain that was damaged from the fire. He says fire crews were able to act quickly and help extinguish the hot spot, before it engulfed into flames.
Firefighters were on the scene for an hour and a half. Chief Schipper says crews monitored the situation overnight, and will check it again this morning.
There were no injuries with the incident, and no grain handling facilities were damaged.
Woodbury County Supervisor Notifies Sioux Rivers Board That Woodbury Will Pull Out From Regional Agreement
(Le Mars) — As a follow-up to Monday’s Sioux Rivers meeting, when the board of directors voted 2 to 1 against acknowledging Woodbury County’s desire to leave the regional mental health program, Woodbury County Board of Supervisors chairman, Matthew Ung, sent an email on Tuesday to the Sioux Rivers CEO, Shane Walter, and to the other governance board members that per the resolution adopted on October 3rd, by Woodbury County Board of Supervisors, Woodbury County will depart from the Sioux Rivers Mental Health Region as of the end of the fiscal year, June 30th, 2018. Mark Loutsch of Le Mars, serves as the chairman of the Sioux Rivers Mental Health Region. He says he is disappointed in Woodbury County’s decision not to negotiate the differences, but not surprised.
Many people who depend upon funding for mental health services are left wondering if some of those services may go away as a result of Woodbury County splitting off from the three-county region? Loutsch says those people should not worry, as the needed mental health services will still be provided.
Loutsch says those individuals that depend on the crisis center that is located in Woodbury County, shouldn’t worry, as he believes Sioux and Plymouth Counties may need to implement contracted services from Woodbury County.
Supervisors Approve Emergency Management Resolution
(Le Mars) — The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution submitted by Plymouth County Emergency Management Director, Duane Walhof to apply for a grant through the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Walhof informed the county supervisors that several counties have grouped together to implement the emergency management plans. The grant would be in the amount of $120,000 with the federal and state government covering 75 percent of the cost, with the five participating counties needing to fund the remaining 25 percent. Walhof explained to the county board of supervisors the cost for the five participating counties would equal $30,005 with each county would be responsible for roughly $6,000.
Primebank Announces Pumpkin Decorating Contest Winners
(Le Mars) — An ice cream cone, a peacock, a turkey dinner, and Oscar the Grouch, were this year’s winners of the Primebank Pumpkin Decorating Contest. Several employees of Primebank participated in the annual contest, and bank customers were encouraged to cast their vote for their favorite pumpkin. In addition to the general public’s comments, the decorated pumpkins were also judged by five people consisting of city staff and local media. Unfortunately, two of the winning pumpkin entries were not able to survive through the entire length of the contest. The pumpkins either fell over, or deteriorated.
Winner of the “People’s Choice” Favorite Decorated Pumpkin created by Erica Kellen.
Judge’s Choice Winning Pumpkin was created by Kim Becker.
Primebank Winning Pumpkin Creations from left to right include: Erica Kellen, Ann Wilken, Jordan Sitzmann, and Kim Becker.
New Iowa State University President Says University Will Take Lead In Agricultural Research, Innovation, and Technology
(Ames) — The Iowa Board of Regents last week named its new president for Iowa State University. The 16th president to lead the land grant university is new to the position, but not new to the university. Wendy Wintersteen, the former Dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences was named as the president for Iowa State University. But some people may remember when Wintersteen was known as the “bug lady” as she was the head of the entomology department and shared advice with farmers about crop destroying pests. Wintersteen began the interview by sharing her goals as the new president for the university.
Another goal for Wintersteen is to have Iowa State be a leader for innovative research. She says research will lead to economic development for the state.
Wintersteen says agriculture will continue to witness technological changes for the years ahead, and she says it is important that Iowa State be out front with agricultural advancements that will benefit all those involved with agriculture.
Wintersteen will assume the presidential duties on November 20th.
Medicaid Insurance Company Announces It Will Leave Iowa Coverage Program
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – One of three private insurance companies that help run Iowa’s Medicaid program plans to withdraw in a month.
The Iowa Department of Human Services announced Tuesday that AmeriHealth Caritas will end its Medicaid coverage at the end of November. The state agency also announced it would spend more money as part of new contracts with the remaining companies, Amerigroup and UnitedHealthcare.
DHS described the additional spending as a 3.3 percent rate increase, but officials did not provide more specifics. Department director Jerry Foxhoven says the extra spending will be funded through existing agency dollars.
The move means about 215,000 Iowans enrolled in the health care program for poor and disabled people will transfer to the remaining companies. DHS then plans to hire another company to offer coverage beginning next summer.
Dairy Farm Manure Spill Responsible For Fish Kill
NEW VIENNA, Iowa (AP) – Authorities are blaming a manure runoff from a dairy farm for killing about 60,000 fish in eastern Iowa. The fish kill was reported Oct. 9 in two creeks in Dyersville. The farm is about 3 miles east of New Vienna. The Iowa Natural Resources Department has issued a notice of violation and is expected to seek restitution for the fish, including minnows, white suckers and creek chubs.
Midwest Economy Showing Some Improvement
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – A monthly survey of business leaders suggests economic conditions continue to improve for nine Midwest and Plains states.
A report released Wednesday says the Mid-America Business Conditions Index rose to 58.8 in October from 58.2 in September. The August figure was 57.5.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he says national and regional indices indicate the manufacturing sector is expanding at a very healthy pace.
The survey results are compiled into a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth in that factor. A score below that suggests decline.
The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
Des Moines Teacher To Lose Teaching License
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Officials say a former Des Moines teacher and basketball coach will lose his teaching license for a year for wrongly operating outside of district oversight two bank accounts with more than $1.8 million in deposits.
The Des Moines Register reports that Chris Cundiff also will receive a written reprimand for violating the state ethics code, which prohibits the misuse of public funds and property.
A state audit released in January found hundreds of thousands of dollars of improper and undocumented spending that raised questions about whether donations, fundraising proceeds and player contributions were properly used at Roosevelt High School.
Auditors say Cundiff transferred some of the money into his personal bank account and bought gifts for athletes and coaches.
He resigned in June 2015.