Rural Merrill House Catches On Fire
(Merrill) — A rural Merrill house had caught on fire early Tuesday morning, causing the family of four to evacuate. Both the Merrill and the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Departments responded to 22971 Impala Avenue, about three miles west of Merrill. Fire was reported at about 12:50 a.m. Plymouth County Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron Luesink was on patrol duty when he drove by the home located near county road C-44 and Impala Avenue and saw smoke coming from the roof of the ranch style home.
Merrill Fire Chief Jacob Conley says the fire started at the chimney.
Conley says the damage to the home was mainly confined to the attic and roof of the structure.
Conley says the family was fortunate to wake up since the house was not equipped with any smoke detectors.
Firefighters were on the scene for approximately two and a half hours. Assisting at the scene were the Merrill Ambulance and the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office.
Supervisors To Hear Report About Source Water Protection Project
(Le Mars) — Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will hear a report about the Source Water Protection Project located near Kingsley, during their weekly meeting scheduled for today at the Plymouth County Courthouse Board Room. Bridget Durst with the Conservation District of Iowa will submit that report. In addition, the county governing board will hear from Michael Maloney as he discusses refinancing bonds. The supervisors may take action regarding the issue.
Absentee Ballots Now Available For Special State Senate Election
(Le Mars) — Absentee ballots for the special election for the State Senate District 3 are now available at the Plymouth County Auditor’s office at the Plymouth County Courthouse. The election is scheduled for December 12th. The last day to request an absentee ballot to be mailed out is Friday, December 8th. The Auditor’s office will be open on Saturday, December 9th from 8:00AM-4:00P.M. for absentee voting as well. The last day to vote absentee in the Auditor’s office is Monday, December 11th from 8:00AM to 5:00PM. The candidates seeking the office of State Senate include Republican Jim Carlin of Sioux City, and Democrat Todd Wendt of Le Mars.
Dreckman Memorial Fund Assists Gehlen Catholic Families
(Le Mars) — Christmas is a time of giving & receiving of gifts.
For the 8th consecutive year in a row, the family of the late Tim Dreckman (’73) is helping families with the gift of Catholic education by offsetting the parental investments (tuition) of 4 families this December in appreciation for their gifts of time & talents to Gehlen Catholic School.
Tim Dreckman, was a product of Catholic education. He unexpectedly died at the young age of 52 in February of 2007.
To ensure Tim’s legacy lived on, Barb & their children established the Tim Dreckman Memorial Fund in 2009.
The Tim Dreckman Memorial Fund encompasses several areas.
• Each August, every new family who enrolls their child(ren) at Gehlen Catholic receive some of the needed school supplies to get started as way of ensuring “All Are Welcome”;• New students also receive a gift certificate to the Bird House to help with the purchase of a dress code shirt; & • Each Christmas season, families are surprised with full or partial payment towards their December tuition payment.
To be eligible for the financial assistance, families must meet the following criteria, Barb explained:• 2 or more children enrolled at Gehlen Catholic, with at least 1 child in elementary; • Have a child receiving services from 1 or more of the following including Title I Reading; Success Center; ESL; tutoring; before & after school help; Occupational, Speech, &/or Physical Therapy; Counseling; Physician diagnosis; medication management; etc. due to 1 or more learning difficulties, including but not limited to visual, auditory, or other related impairments; &/or• Major life changing event; &• Every parent who is applying must volunteer a minimum of 5 hours/year (married couples must volunteer a minimum of 10 hours/year) in the school, Church, &/or community.
In October, families submitted an application. To protect the applicant’s anonymity, each family was assigned a number by the Development Office. The recipients were selected by the Tim Dreckman Memorial Fund. The Development staff notified families, on behalf of the fund, after Thanksgiving with their early “Christmas present.”
This year alone, the Tim Dreckman Memorial Fund assisted 50 new students with school supplies & dress code items from the Bird House, plus 10 students from 4 families with their December tuition payment. Each student received $200 on average towards their tuition.
As Barb & her children look at the impact of their husband’s & father’s fund, to date, they were overwhelmed. The Tim Dreckman Memorial Fund has:• Assisted at least 250 students with school supplies & gift certificates to the Bird House;• Invested $3,000 in equipment for the 2nd preschool classroom;• Awarded $18,922.84 to 123 of the 216 students whose families applied for the financial assistance; • For a grand total of $26,851.13.
Barb & their family are excited by the dedication of the Gehlen Catholic family. Barb said, “Today’s parents are much like our parents, as well as Tim & I. They want to give their children a good basis in life & to serve others. We all know life isn’t perfect. We are all worried about helping one another & yet we refuse to ask for help during our own challenging times. The Tim Dreckman Memorial Fund is blessed to assist these selfless anonymous families, who are facing difficulties, by offsetting their tuition this Christmas season.”
Barb & the Dreckman children concluded, “We thank everyone for their donations throughout the years to the Tim Dreckman Memorial Fund in helping to assist families with their struggles.”
Individuals & businesses can make a simple tax-deductible gift of $20 or more for school supplies &/or tuition assistance to help families in upcoming school years & Christmas seasons. Donations should be sent to the Tim Dreckman Memorial Fund % Gehlen Catholic School.
Le Mars Arts Center Assisting Organizations To Raise Money With Christmas Decorations
(Le Mars) -– The Le Mars Arts Center is hosting an event at Sugar –N- Spice in downtown Le Mars in hopes to raise money for the Christian Needs Center project Coats for Kids on December 1, and again on December 2nd at St John’s Lutheran Church to raise money for a youth trip in 2018. Kids and Adults are invited in to each location to purchase and paint a special holiday ornament for themselves or to give as a gift. A portion of each ornament purchased will be given to organization of their choice. Ornaments will then be fired at the LeMars Arts Center and returned for pickup by December 9.
To raise money, several small bisque ornaments will be available to glaze and requests for personalization can be made for each ornament. Once a customer purchases these pieces, they will paint them; the Arts Center will glaze & fire them and return them to the location in which they were painted for customers to pick up. Bisque pieces include angels, paw prints, snow globes, Christmas trees and wreaths, snowflakes, reindeer, snowmen and many more.
Ornaments will be painted onsite with a special paint referred to as glaze. This paint is user friendly and easy to clean off from kids, clothes or furniture. At ornament turn in, participants will have the opportunity to request personalization with names or dates. For the cost of the ornament they paint, participants will be supporting the Le Mars Arts Center as well as fund raising for their cause, and creating a wonderful ornament and a fun memory for themselves at the event.
The Le Mars Arts Center is looking forward to having pottery painting as a mobile event and the ability to help other organizations raise funds without having to sell anything door to door or food related. This is a 1 day event where everyone is doing an activity, making memories, sharing in the fun and has a personalized keep sake ornament at the end.
Bodies Identified From Missouri Valley Fatal Fire
MISSOURI VALLEY, Iowa (AP) – An official and relatives have identified two people whose bodies were found in a fire-damaged building in western Iowa.
The bodies were found Thursday after firefighters extinguished a fire in a business in downtown Missouri Valley. The building also contained an apartment.
On Monday, relatives told the Daily Nonpareil newspaper the bodies were 44-year-old Stacy Larsen and 44-year-old Chad Stevens. John Kraemer, director of forensic operations with the Iowa Medical Examiner’s Office, confirmed their identities.
Kraemer says they died from smoke inhalation and injuries from the fire.
The fire was reported around 7:45 a.m. Thursday at CTI Electronics.
Missouri Valley police say the fire’s cause hasn’t been determined and there was “no information to indicate anything suspicious or that foul play was involved.”
Final Crop Progress Report Shows Corn Harvest Nearly Completed
DES MOINES – The final Iowa Crop Progress and Condition report of the 2017 growing season has been released by the USDA National Agricultural Statistical Service.
“Harvest season is now drawing to a close with 96 percent of corn now in the bin, according to Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig. Naig says, “The good weather this past week has also allowed farmers to do fall field work and other activities on the farm,” Naig says, “Overall, many farmers have reported better than expected yields, despite the challenges of the growing season. Dry weather, particularly in southern Iowa, stressed crops and did negatively impact yields in some areas.”
According to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Activities for the week included harvesting, baling corn stalks, tiling, terracing, hauling and spreading manure, and applying fertilizers.
Corn for grain harvested was nearly complete at 96 percent, 8 days behind the 5-year average. Only southwest and south central Iowa have over 5 percent of their corn for grain crop remaining to be harvested. Moisture content of corn being harvested for grain averaged 17 percent.
Topsoil moisture levels rated 4 percent very short, 14 percent short, 80 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 7 percent very short, 19 percent short, 72 percent adequate and 2 percent surplus.
Livestock conditions were reported as good with little stress. Cattle continued to graze in harvested corn and soybean fields with some hay starting to be fed.
Northey Requests Additional Funding For Preventing Animal Diseases
DES MOINES – During budget negotiations with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey requested an additional $150,000 for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s Animal Industry Bureau to provide additional support for preparations for and potentially responding to a foreign animal disease outbreak. Northey also requested continued funding to support the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program and the Agriculture Drainage Well Closure Program.
Northey requested an additional $150,000 for the Department’s Animal Industry Bureau for foreign animal disease outbreak response preparation. The Department received $100,000 in funding starting this fiscal year to support preparations for a foreign animal disease outbreak and a portion of that funding was used to hire a new Emergency Management Veterinarian. The additional funds would be used to accelerate work on emergency response plans, organize disease response exercises and expand coordination efforts with industry partners.
“Due to the challenging budget situation, we have put forward a lean budget proposal with the only request for additional funding being a $150,000 increase for our foreign animal disease response planning efforts. Northey says he believesit is important the state continue to invest in priority areas, including taking steps to better protect our state’s vitally important animal industry.”
Northey also requested continued funding of $10.575 million to support the Iowa Water Quality Initiative in the next fiscal year and also highlighted his support for identifying a long-term source of funding for the state’s water quality efforts. Different water quality funding approaches passed both the Iowa House and Iowa Senate last session, but the legislature was not able to reach final agreement on a funding plan.
In the meeting with Reynolds, Northey also requested $1.875 million in continued funding to support the closure of Agriculture Drainage Wells (ADWs). Of the 300 registered ADWs in Iowa, 18 remain to be closed at an estimated cost of $5.625 million. This level of funding over the next three years would allow all of the remaining ADWs to be closed.
The Department requested continued funding for the Iowa Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program. The Department has received $3 million annually to offer cost-share grants for the installation of E85 dispensers, blender pumps, biodiesel dispensers, and biodiesel storage facilities. Since 2007, the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Program has provided more than $33 million to fuel retailers for infrastructure that give customers additional access to renewable fuels. This includes 309 projects installing E85 or ethanol blender pumps and 413 projects installing biodiesel pumps or storage tanks.
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State To Again Operate Medicaid Program For Some Patients
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa’s Medicaid program will provide some patients with coverage under an old state-run system rather than the current privatized setup involving insurance companies. The Des Moines Register reported Monday the Iowa Department of Human Services will resume direct oversight of benefits for roughly 10,000 Medicaid members who tried to switch coverage to the private insurance company Amerigroup. Amerigroup said recently it wasn’t adding new patients. It’s unclear how long affected patients will receive coverage through the so-called fee-for-service model. The state used the reimbursement payment system before it privatized in 2016. Amerigroup and UnitedHealthcare are the remaining insurance companies in Iowa running the health care program for poor and disabled people. Another company, AmeriHealth Caritas, will stop coverage in the state at the end of the month. UnitedHealthcare is expected to take the bulk of AmeriHealth Caritas patients. That’s now expected to total a little over 190,000 Medicaid members. —
Actor Alec Baldwin Appears At Democratic Fund Raiser
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Alec Baldwin is rallying Iowa Democrats with a mixture of his Donald Trump impression and advice of a serious political activist headlining a party fundraiser in Des Moines. The actor, who won an Emmy for his portrayal of Trump on “Saturday Night Live”, is entertaining 2,000 party faithful, first posing as a professor of the defunct Trump University, offering courses such as “political science fiction.” Joking about Democrats’ annual Jefferson-Jackson banquets, so-named for past Democratic presidents, Baldwin, in his award-winning impression, says “Jefferson-Jackson was a great man.” More seriously, Baldwin is urging the party in a state under Republican control to work harder than 2016, when Trump carried Iowa. He left the crowd cheering on their feet by tweaking Trump’s slogan to, “Let’s make America America again!”