Home News Wednesday News, May 30th

Wednesday News, May 30th


Grain Elevator Explosion At South Sioux City

(So. Sioux City) — One person was injured following a grain elevator explosion at South Sioux City Tuesday afternoon.  South Sioux City Police Chief Ed Mahon says the explosion happened at about 12:55 p.m.  at the Anderson Grain Elevator at 2415 4th Avenue.

A gaping hole was blown into the top and the side of the structure and homes located to the east of the building were evacuated because of the threat of collapse and a possible second explosion while the gas lines were still active.  Chief Mahon says none of the employees working sustained any serious injuries.

The name of the injured employee has not yet been released.  Mahon says responders were concerned about the building potentially collapsing.

Firefighters from South Sioux City, Dakota City, Homer, and Winnebago responded to the scene, along with several law enforcement agencies to help barricade and monitor nearby streets.

(photos contributed.)



Area Fire Departments Now Equipped With Pet Oxygen Mask Kits

(Le Mars) — Each of the community fire departments within Plymouth County are now equipped with a pet oxygen masks kit, thanks to the efforts of a Le Mars Community Middle School 7th grader. Last evening, Brooklyn Bockelmann distributed a pet oxygen masks kit to the Oyens, Hinton, Kingsley, Merrill,
Remsen, and Le Mars fire departments. Representatives of the Akron Fire Department were not able to attend the program. Bockelmann says she loves animals, and got the idea after reading a news article from California.

Bockelman raised nearly one thousand dollars within a month to help finance the pet oxygen kits. Most of that money was raised during a Middle School dance.

Bockelmann says before starting her fund raising campaign, she checked with Le Mars Assistant Fire Chief Mike Wise to inquire if the local fire departments had such equipment. She soon learned that although it was on their list of items to acquire, none of the county fire departments had a pet oxygen masks.  The masks will be used to help revive pets that fall victim to fires and smoke inhalation. Bockelmann says each kit has three different masks.

Bockelmann set up a Go-fund-me account online, as well as a local bank account to accept donations. She will be attending the upcoming Woofstock program on Saturday at the Plymouth County Historical Museum selling small paw print chocolates and paw-printed wrists bands. Her next goal is to raise enough
money so every fire department in Iowa can be equipped with a pet oxygen mask kit.



Fireworks Go On Sale On Friday, June 1st

(Le Mars) — The sale of fireworks can begin on Friday, June 1st, and according to Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper, the state law provides for the sale of fireworks from either a permanent structure, or from a temporary structure.

Schipper says the Holzman fireworks sale site falls under the county jurisdiction and is not within the Le Mars city limits. Schipper says the Le Mars zoning code ordinance does not allow for temporary structures to market fireworks.

Over 30 different Iowa communities have issued ordinances, banning the discharge of fireworks. One community to ban fireworks is Spencer, which perhaps is not a surprise given the fact that in 1931 Spencer lost its entire downtown business district due to use of fireworks. Schipper says Le Mars
will follow the Iowa law.

Schipper says he is hopeful everyone will follow the law.

The Le Mars Fire Chief believes the state legislature may have underestimated the backlash from the public regarding the use of fireworks in Iowa.

Schipper says you need to be over the age of 18 to purchase fireworks, and to be over 18, or have adult supervision to discharge fireworks. Schipper says the state’s firefighters associations, among others, were against the sale and discharge of fireworks in Iowa. He says one criteria the firefighters
association would have preferred would be to have a smaller window of time for the sale and discharge of fireworks.



Polk County Insurance Agent Given Two Years Probation For Fraud

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A former insurance agent in Polk County accused of fraud has been given two years of probation.
Court records show 39-year-old Nicholas Menough, of Grimes, last week pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft, identity theft and fraudulent practice.
He also was given a suspended prison sentence of six years and was told to pay restitution. The amount’s not yet been determined.
Prosecutors say Menough falsified insurance policy applications and altered financial documents related to the sale of insurance policies.
Prosecutors say the scheme reaped him more than $10,000 in advance commission payments and bonuses.



State Marks Fifth Anniversary of “Nutrient Reduction Strategy”

(Boone) — There was a gathering in Boone County Tuesday to mark the five-year anniversary of the State of Iowa’s “nutrient reduction strategy.”  The Nutrient Reduction Strategy is aimed at getting Iowa farmers to voluntarily take steps to reduce farm chemical runoff into Iowa waterways. Jim Gulliford (GULL-ih-ford) is an E-P-A administrator based in Kansas City.
“It’s a dynamic plan. It’s changing,” Gulliford said. “It’s getting better and it’s working…to address the big challenge of nutrient enrichment in Iowa’s waters…all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.” The state’s “nutrient reduction strategy” is an effort to avoid federal regulation of nitrogen and phosphorus, two chemicals used to boost crop production. Critics say a “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico is caused by farm chemicals washing down the Mississippi River. There’s still a long list of “impaired” Iowa waterways that are less than desirable for drinking, fishing or swimming. But state officials say the past five years have been productive as real-life demonstration projects are showing results, plus Iowa farmers have spent millions of dollars of their own money on water quality measures in their fields.
“We have much more to do, but I know that we’re on the right track.”  That’s Mike Naig (NEGG, rhymes with “egg”), Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture. He says it’s time to “scale up” the effort.
“We have worked hard over the last five years to build the knowledge base and secure the funding needed to move from a demonstration phase to an implementation phase of this project,” Naig says.

In her first official bill-signing this past January, Governor Kim Reynolds approved spending more than 280 million in state funds over the next 12 years on water quality measures.
“Using the science-backed Nutrient Reduction Strategy as our roadmap, we’re going to continue charging forward with our efforts,” Reynolds says.

Reynolds emphasizes that water quality initiatives are underway in urban settings, too, as industries and municipalities upgrade waste water treatment systems. Bill Ehm (like the letter “M”) of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says new equipment is being installed to monitor nitrate and phosphorus levels in Iowa surface waters.
“When the strategy started, we had eight real-time sensors for nitrate. Today, in this state, we have 70,” Ehm said. “That is thought to be approximately one-third of all the real-time nitrate sensors nationwide.”

Ehm says there have been no sensors to check for phosphorus levels in Iowa waterways, but two dozen are being deployed this year and will start providing phosphorus readings in 2019.



Newton Man Dies From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

NEWTON, Iowa (AP) – Authorities say a man has been found dead in a central Iowa apartment building that had high levels of carbon monoxide.
Firefighters evacuated the Meadowbrook Apartments in Newton on Monday after several high readings were recorded. The man’s body was found in the apartment with the highest level of carbon monoxide. Newton Fire Chief Jarrod Wellik says the cause of the man’s death will be determined by an autopsy.
Welliks says no one else was treated for carbon monoxide poisoning. The cause of the gas buildup was unclear.
The man’s name hasn’t been released.



Reported Child Abuse Cases On The Increase For Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Officials say publicity around high-profile child abuse cases in Iowa has caused a surge in such reports.
The Des Moines Register reports that confirmed child abuse cases in Iowa increased 26 percent, from almost 8,900 in 2016 to more than 11,200 last year. Child protection workers found more cases of sexual abuse, physical abuse, neglect and drug-affected children.
Lawmakers say they believe media coverage of the starvation deaths of Natalie Finn in 2016 and Sabrina Ray in 2017 increased public awareness of the issue. The state’s child abuse hotline received more calls following media coverage of the deaths.
Republican Rep. Bobby Kaufmann says the higher abuse numbers released this month indicate a need for more resources.
Gov. Kim Reynolds cut $4.3 million in March from the Department of Human Services, which oversees child protection.