Fire Damages Alton Farm Equipment Dealer
(Alton) — Fire broke out early Wednesday morning at an Alton farm equipment dealership prompting five different community fire departments to respond.
The fire was reported at about 3:20 a.m. at the Hawk and Company Ag. The five fire departments responding to the alarm included Alton, Orange City, Sioux Center, Hospers and Granville. Sioux County Deputy Sheriff Nate Huizenga arrived at the scene about a half hour after it was first detected.
Firefighters were still battling the blaze as of 6:00 a.m. this morning. It is not yet known as to how the fire may have started, but speculation is that it may have started in the service repair area of the farm dealership.
Huizenga offers an explanation of the agriculture business that caught on fire.
Huizenga says the early morning rain may have been more of a nuisance than benefit for the firefighters.
Officials believe several thousands of dollars of damage has occurred with the fire. The fire remains under investigation.
Gehlen Holds Send-off For Mission Honduras
(Le Mars) — Forty people boarded a bus in Le Mars Tuesday afternoon with the final destination of Honduras. It’s all part of the Gehlen Catholic Mission Honduras. Carolyn Bickford is the coordinator for the Mission Honduras program. She says the group that left on Tuesday makes for the 43rd mission trip to the Central American nation. A send-off ceremony was
held at the Gehlen Catholic school. She says more than a thousand people have participated in the Mission Honduras program. Bickford explains what the mission’s focus is for this year.
As Bickford mentioned the missionaries will construct three homes while in Honduras. She says there is an application process involved as to which families are fortunate enough to get a home.
Bickford says the homes are simple structures, but without plumbing or electricity.
The Mission Honduras coordinator says the families may sleep seven people inside the two small bedrooms. She says the Honduran families conduct their cooking and washing outside.
Bickford says the new homes will be painted. Bickford says the lumber and other materials are purchased in Honduras, however the hardware is often brought along with the mission group from the United States. Bickford says the Honduran people are eternally grateful for their new home, and a ceremony is held when the home is ready to be turned over to the family.
The Mission Honduras group will return to Le Mars on Friday, March 22nd. In a future news update, we will visit with Bruce Kellen who is an eight-time participant of the Gehlen Catholic Mission Honduras program. We will learn why he has chosen to return to Honduras, and what he has learned on each of his journeys to Honduras.
Le Mars Community Sets Calendar For 2019-2020 School Year
(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Community Board of Education has approved the calendar for the 2019-2020 school year. Registration will be held August 2nd and on August 5th. The first day for classes is scheduled for Friday, August 23rd. Students will be in class for a total of 288.5 hours for the first quarter, which is scheduled to conclude on October 25th. Barring any
weather-related dismissals, the second quarter will conclude on Wednesday, January 14th, and students will have completed 293 hours. St. Patrick’s Day 2020 is scheduled to be the final day for the third quarter with students having 280 hours of education. The school district’s scheduled last day is set for Thursday, May 21st. The students will have accumulated a total of 1,147 hours. State law requires a total of 1,080 accumulated hours of
study. Thanksgiving vacation will consist of Thursday, November 28th and Friday, November 29th. Winter Vacation will begin on December 23rd and continue through January 1st with students returning to school on Thursday, January 2nd. Spring vacation is scheduled to occur April 10th through the 13th. Commencement is scheduled for Sunday, May 17th.
Supervisor Approve Construction Contract With IDOT
(Le Mars) — The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors, acting as the Plymouth County Drainage Board, approved an agreement with the Iowa Department of Transportation regarding construction of Highway 75 from Hinton to the Plymouth County – Woodbury County line. At issue, was the concern as to whether the work by the Iowa Department of Transportation would help alleviate rainwater that has collected in nearby landowner’s
property, and properly drain. Another concern by the property owners that appeared at the county supervisor meeting was if the right-of-way land acquired by the Iowa Department of Transportation would also serve later as a proposed bicycle recreational trail? Organizers with the proposed Ply-wood recreational trail have indicated an interest in a trail extending from Le Mars to Sioux City, connecting Merrill and Hinton. One proposed trail would run parallel to Highway 75. Shane Tymkowicz appeared at the supervisor meeting to answer questions from the county governing board, as well as from the property owners in attendance. Tymkowicz says the IDOT
won’t guarantee that area land will be completely drained of standing water, but he did indicate they hope to lower the elevation drainage area by about seven inches. As for whether or not the current plans will include a future bicycle trail as being proposed by the Ply-wood Trail Committee, Tymkowicz
says the current plan does not include a recreational trail to be part of the transportation’s access of right-of-way property to improve Highway 75 between Hinton and the county line, near Sioux City.
Supervisors Approve Construction Bid For Paving Project
(Le Mars) — In other action by the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors, they approved a bid submitted by the Godberson-Smith Construction Company of Ida Grove to pave 150th Street between Highway 60 to Marble Avenue. The mile and a quarter will pass by the county sanitary landfill. The bid was for a little more than $927,000.
Moderate Flooding Is Likely For Northwest Iowa
(Le Mars) — Plymouth County is under a flood watch for the next few days.
But over the long term, flooding may exists between now through the month of May according to a meteorologist with the National Weather Services. Mike Gillispie serves as the hydrologist with the weather services. He says the chances are high that we would see some moderate flooding with the Big
Sioux, Little Sioux, Rock and Floyd Rivers.
Gillispie says the Rock River should encounter only moderate flooding.
Gillispie says if ice jams were to occur on the rivers, that would make the flooding chances even greater.
The weather official says the Big Sioux River should also see only moderate flooding. He says a lot will also depend upon how much more moisture the snow pack can absorb.
The weather official says until the ground begins to thaw, flooding will be a concern. He says even after the ground thaws out, flooding may occur due to the fact the ground is already saturated with moisture.
Jeneary Manages Bill During House Session
(Des Moines) — On Monday, Rep. Tom Jeneary (R-Le Mars) successfully managed his first bill in the Iowa House, passing House File 487 following floor debate.
House File 487 prohibits local authorities from denying an application for a Nationwide Public Safety Broadband Network tower.
The bill passed on a bipartisan vote of 74-20 and now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Iowa State Patrol Warns Google Of Possible Attack
ADAIR, Iowa (AP) – An Iowa State Patrol trooper is being hailed for good police work in warning California law officers about a possible threat to Google headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Mountain View, California, police say 33-year-old Kyle Long, of Waterville, Maine, was upset because his YouTube channel had been shut down. He allegedly told his hometown police that he’d get violent if his Google confrontation didn’t go well. Google owns YouTube.
Mountain View police arrested Long on Sunday on suspicion of making criminal threats. It’s unclear whether he has an attorney.
Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Nathan Ludwig told Des Moines television station KCCI that trooper Ryan Zenor talked to Long on Friday while Long’s car was being towed from a ditch he’d slid into along Interstate 80 about 53 miles (86 kilometers) west of Des Moines. Ludwig says Zenor grew suspicious as Long talked about his plan to pitch an idea to Google executives.
Ludwig says Zenor called the Mountain View police after his encounter with Long, shared his concerns and told them Long was headed their way.
Clarke County Attorney Pleads Guilty To OWI
OSCEOLA, Iowa (AP) – A former southern Iowa county attorney has pleaded guilty to drunken driving.
Clarke County court records say 43-year-old Michelle Rivera, of Osceola, entered the plea last week after making a deal with prosecutors. She’d been arrested Dec. 14.
Her plea agreement calls for 365 days in jail with all but two days suspended, a $1,250 fine and two years of probation. Prosecutors would drop another charge in return. The agreement isn’t binding on the judge. Her sentencing is scheduled for March 22.
Rivera lost her re-election bid in November after she was arrested in October on suspicion of being drunk on the job in a Clarke County courtroom. A sheriff’s deputy said in a criminal complaint that he noticed Rivera “slurring her words and stumbling on her feet” in the Osceola courtroom. She was charged with public intoxication.
Rivera eventually pleaded guilty and was fined $65.