Firefighters Respond To Early Morning Fire
(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was called to an early morning fire that was reported by a neighbor. The fire was located at 1225 6th Avenue southeast. Fire chief Dave Schipper says the home was a ranch-style, split-level home that had its deck on fire. The fire was reported at around 4:34 a.m.
Schipper says firefighters were fortunate that they were able to contain the fire to the deck and it did not extend to the home.
Schipper says he is ruling the fire as an accidental start.
Le Mars Resident Addresses City Council And Has Concerns About Fireworks Debris
(Le Mars) — During the Le Mars city council meeting held Tuesday, council members heard from Deb Maejers speak about her concerns with neighborhood fireworks. Maejers informed council members she had a lot of debris scattered in her yard from a neighborhood home two houses away that was discharging fireworks. She presented the city council with a bag containing the fireworks debris that had fallen in her yard. Maejers says there was only one home in her neighborhood that was discharging fireworks. She says she appreciates the city council taking action last year and limiting the time frame of three days surrounding Independence Day to discharge the fireworks. However, Maejers says especially on Saturday, the fireworks were non-stop for several hours. Fire Chief Dave Schipper and Assistant Police Chief Justin Daale were called to the podium by the city council to offer a report about the fireworks situation. Both Schipper and Daale said they did receive a few complaints, but over-all, people of Le Mars followed the rules by ending the discharge fireworks at 11:00 p.m.
Food Banks Still Seeing A Big Demand For Food Products
(Le Mars) — Since the start of the COVID-19 virus, there has been a great demand for food products at local food banks and food pantries. Linda Scheid serves as the Executive Director of the Food Bank of Siouxland and she says the demand for food products set an all-time record in March.
Scheid says although the demand for food remains high, it has come down but only slightly.
The food bank official says people may have the wrong idea that food donations are not needed as much now, but Scheid says nothing could be further from the truth.
Scheid says the food bank is still in need of donations, and sometimes the donations have been hard to obtain.
414 New COVID-19 Cases in Iowa, 7 Deaths
(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Department of Public Health reports seven more people have died from COVID-19, bringing the state death’s toll to 732.
Four-hundred-14 positive tests have been confirmed today for a total of 32-thousand-343 cases since the pandemic began. State health officials say 165 people are hospitalized with coronavirus which is the same number as Tuesday.
Forty-four patients are in intensive care and 23 are on ventilators. More than 28-thousand-868 patients are considered recovered. There are COVID outbreaks in 18 long-term care facilities in Iowa. All residents and staff of the Good Shepherd Health Center in Mason City are being tested after 40
26 Iowa Communities Awarded $100K Catalyst Program Grants
(Des Moines, IA) — Twenty-six Iowa communities have won 100-thousand-dollar grants from the Iowa Economic Development Authority to improve buildings. Jim Thompson oversees what’s called the Catalyst program. He says Catalyst grants are primarily for buildings that are underutilized that
need a new life. This is the third year for these grants. He says 40 percent of every funding cycle is reserved for communities less than 15-hundred in population, and it really preserves the activity for small towns.
Thompson says they had 73 applications for this year’s funding and they are scored on project impact, appropriateness, funding, and incorporation of sustainability/smart growth principles. The grant is in most cases is less than half the project – but it is money to get things started.
Many of 8200 Absentee Ballots in Woodbury County Election Were Cast in Spring
(Sioux City, IA) — Many of the nearly 82-hundred absentee ballots cast in Tuesday’s special election in Woodbury County were cast in the spring. The election was originally set for April 14th, but was rescheduled to July 7th because of the pandemic. Woodbury County Auditor Pat Gill says several hundred people who cast an absentee ballot showed up at their local polling
place yesterday. Gill said a lot of them were not too happy and had a hard time believing they had already cast their ballot in the election. Gill’s office received around ten-thousand requests for absentee ballots and about eight-thousand were mailed in before the secretary of state decided on March 20th that the election should be pushed back. Voters who would not believe
they had already cast an absentee ballot were allowed to cast a provisional ballot or go to the county auditor’s office to check the record of their absentee vote.
Iowa Public Universities Look To Help International Students
(Des Moines, IA) — Public universities in Iowa are studying how to help international students who could be affected by a federal rule issued this week. Those students would be sent to their home countries if they are attending online-only classes due to the coronavirus pandemic. Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen has called the federal decision
“unwise.” She is pushing for a flexible “hybrid” course load for those students so they wouldn’t be affected. The University of Iowa is seeking guidance due to its plan to move exclusively online after Thanksgiving. The University of Northern Iowa says it is in contact with its international students as it looks for options.
Lawsuit Accused 2 Meatpacking Companies Of Failing To Prioritize Worker Safety
(Washington, DC) — A racial discrimination lawsuit has been filed against two major meatpacking companies for allegedly failing to prioritize worker safety during the coronavirus pandemic. J-B-S U-S-A and Tyson Foods are accused of racial discrimination. The suit has been filed on behalf of thousands of minority workers affected by the virus. The U-S Department of
Agriculture is being asked to suspend millions of dollars in financial assistance set aside for the two corporations. They are accused of creating working conditions and long shifts which contributed to COVID-19 outbreaks at processing facilities across the country, including Iowa.