Home News Friday News, June 22nd – Updated

Friday News, June 22nd – Updated


Area Rivers Beginning To Recede

(Le Mars) — The area rivers are beginning to recede. Those are the comments from local authorities as they continue to monitor the flooding waters involving the Floyd, Big Sioux, and the Rock Rivers. Last evening, many residents of Rock Valley were evacuated from their homes as the flood waters kept getting higher. Mayor Kevin Van Otterloo has declared a state of
emergency for the city of Rock Valley. In a release, Van Otterloo said “despite the best efforts of the 400 plus volunteers on Thursday evening, we were not able to hold the water back. The flood is responsible for the derailment of a Burlington Northern Sante Fe train near the Lyon County – Sioux County border near the community of Doon. A total of 35 tanker rail cars carrying oil have left the tracks. Reports of some of the derailed tankers are leaking. Plymouth County Emergency Management Director, Duane Walhof says most of the rivers are showing signs of dropping from their previous levels.

Walhof says there probably won’t be a need to conduct any sandbagging for Le Mars and Merrill.

The Plymouth County Emergency Management Director says the Big Sioux River between Hawarden and Akron is also showing signs of receding, though he admits it may be difficult to get into South Dakota.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has declared several counties as disaster areas, but Walhof says he doesn’t plan to submit any paperwork for a similar designation for Plymouth County.

Walhof says he has been in contact with his colleagues to the north of us, and explains their situation.



DNR Monitoring Flooding Waters With Waste Run-off

SPENCER, Iowa (AP) – Days of heavy rain is causing wastewater runoff from some cities and livestock facilities in northwest and north-central Iowa and threatens to shut down some municipal water wells.
Ken Hessenius is supervisor of the Iowa Department of Natural
Resources’ Spencer field office. He says, so far, cities have able to meet the demand for safe drinking water. But flooding is causing many cities to prepare to shut down some of their wells if needed. The city of Sheldon has taken four drinking water wells offline, but the city is still able to supply residents with water from unaffected wells.
The DNR is also receiving reports that cities can’t keep up with the inflow of water into wastewater treatment plants, so the cities are discharging untreated or partially treated wastewater.



Northwestern College Greatest Benefactor Passes Away

(Orange City) — Northwestern College’s greatest benefactor, Jack DeWitt of Holland, Michigan, has passed away. College officials say DeWitt died early Friday morning, June 22nd at the age of 75 after a battle with brain cancer.
Jack DeWitt, along with his wife, Mary, have given more than $10 million to the Orange City-based college. There are several campus buildings named in their honor, including the Jack and Mary DeWitt Dining Center, dedicated in 1993; the Jack and Mary DeWitt Learning Commons, dedicated in 2013; and the
Jack and Mary DeWitt Family Science Center, scheduled to be dedicated on September 28th, 2018. The DeWitt’s $6 million naming gift for the new science building, announced in April, is the largest single gift in Northwestern’s history.

Jack DeWitt served on Northwestern’s Board of Trustees from 1987 to 1995 and again from 1998 to 2003. His involvement with Northwestern was inspired by his parents, Marv and Jerene, who donated more than $7 million to the college. Marv DeWitt got involved with Northwestern College in 1978 at the
encouragement of his Reformed church pastor. He served on Northwestern’s Board of Trustees for nine years and was one of the leaders in convincing the college to move ahead with the construction of the chapel and music facility in the mid-1980s despite the nation’s farm crisis.
Northwestern College President, Greg Christy says, “we are deeply saddened by Jack DeWitt’s passing. The impact that he, Mary and their family have had on Northwestern is tangible and immense. No other family has given so generously to our work of empowering students to follow Christ and pursue God’s redeeming work in the world. Jack and Mary have given generously, promoted us enthusiastically and provided endless encouragement. We are tremendously grateful for their commitment to Jesus Christ and their leadership and sacrifice, and we pray for comfort for all of Jack’s family, employees and countless friends.”



Carter Lake Woman Sentenced For Contributing To Opioid Death

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – Another person has been sentenced in connection with the distribution of a powerful synthetic opioid that led to the death of a Council Bluffs man.
Federal prosecutors say 24-year-old Amalia Pandis, of Carter Lake, was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute fentanyl that caused death.
Pandis was also ordered to serve five years’ supervised release once she’s out of prison.
Prosecutors say Pandis was part of a drug trafficking ring
responsible for obtained fentanyl from a source in China and selling it western Iowa and eastern Nebraska.
The investigation into the group began in June 2015, when police were called to a Carter Lake home and found the body of 20-year-old Diego Lemus.
Police learned a second man had been hospitalized for a fentanyl overdose.



Des Moines Diocese Says Grants Were Legal

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Roman Catholic Diocese of Des Moines has concluded that it was legal for Polk County to grant $844,000 to nine area Catholic schools.
On Wednesday Bishop Richard Pates told The Des Moines Register there is “a legitimate question of legality” regarding publicly financed grants used to buy technology equipment for the nine Catholic schools and one Christian academy in 2012 and 2013.
Several Catholic school supporters had formed a new Iowa corporation called Education for the 21st Century to apply for and receive the county grants. The group is now defunct.
The diocese said Thursday that “providing this form of support that does not directly advance religion is entirely consistent with the law.”
Iowa state officials have said they won’t challenge Polk County’s
decision to provide the grants.



Iowa Supreme Court Refuses Case Regarding Livestock Production

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Three Iowa families who say the stench from two hog farms makes it difficult for them to emerge from their homes won’t get immediate help from the Iowa Supreme Court, which reversed a lower court decision that found a law protecting producers was unconstitutional.
The court ruled Friday that Iowa’s right-to-farm law was constitutional in its aim, but it upheld a previous ruling that says the protection for producers can be overcome by showing “sustained significant hardship” and meeting other conditions.
The Wapello County neighbors will return to a lower court to determine if their case meets those requirements.
Justice Bruce Zager wrote in the opinion that all 50 states have similar right-to-farm laws and the law wasn’t clearly unconstitutional because it seeks to promote the development of animal agriculture.