Sunday News, October 4
Fire Department Responds To Garage Fire
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department responded to an early morning garage fire located at 36593 140th Street, about four miles north of Le Mars. The fire was reported at about 3:10 a.m. Upon arrival fire fighters found a single stall detached garage that was fully engulfed. The heat from the fire had started to melt the siding on the nearby house, and also had broken out windows on a nearby storage building. Fire fighters cooled down the house and the storage building and then proceeded to extinguish the garage fire. The garage, a vehicle inside the garage, and all other contents in the garage was listed as a total loss. Fire fighters were able to save the house and the other storage buildings on the property. Fire fighters were on the scene for 1 1/2 hours. The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was assisted at the scene by the Oyens Fire Department, the Plymouth County Sheriffs Office, North West REC, and Campbell's Electric. There were no injuries and damage is estimated at over $20,000. An investigation into the cause of the fire was conducted. Fire Chief Dave Schipper determined the cause was accidental with the most probable cause of the fire being an electrical equipment malfunction with wiring in a car that was parked in the garage just prior to the fire occurring.
Branstad Uses Executive Privilege To Create Anti-Bullying Provision
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad's executive order to create an office for bullying prevention in schools bypasses failed legislative action on the issue, but the Sept. 28 move raises questions about how the small office will tackle major problems.
Alan Heisterkamp is the director of the Center for Violence Prevention at the University of Northern Iowa, which will manage the Governor's Office for Bullying Prevention.
The center has an operating budget of about $160,000, though it's seeking $250,000 in state money. It's unclear how much the center will spend on bullying-prevention training for Iowa's school districts and other anti-bullying initiatives.
Some legislators and anti-bullying activists say a law is still needed to codify the executive order's intent.
MidAmerican Energy Investigates Natural Gas Odors
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - MidAmerican Energy officials say they believe too much odorant added to a natural gas line caused more than 100 people to reports the smell in their Des Moines homes.
The reports were made Friday morning. MidAmerican spokeswoman Ruth Comer says crews were sent out to resolve the issue. She also noted that Friday was likely the first time residents were turning on their furnace for this season.
She says if a line hasn't been in use for a while, the odorant can build up.
Natural gas does not have an odor, so gas companies add the odorant to allow people to detect a dangerous leak.
Comer says residents were not in any danger from the smell.
Animal Organizations Want Dog Breeder To Be Inspected
DOWS, Iowa (AP) - Two Iowa animal welfare groups are asking the state and local law enforcement for help in inspecting a Dow dog breeder's operation.
But breeder Randy Stoen tells Des Moines television station KCCI that he's "got nothing to hide."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture found Stoen in violation of animal care and welfare standards in March and May.
The Animal Rescue League of Iowa and Iowa Friends of Companion Animals have, for the first time, filed a joint request for Stoen's operation to be inspected.
The groups say Stoen has refused to allow inspectors on the property and has previously threatened USDA inspectors.
Stoen tells KCCI that he has a problem with only one inspector and is not trying to keep all inspectors off his property.
Students Construct Sod Home
CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) - Some northern Iowa high students are learning all about pioneer life by spending class time outdoors on school grounds building a 19th century sod house.
The Mason City Globe Gazette reports that a Charles City High School American humanities class has been working on the sod house for the past two weeks.
Teacher Rob Pittman says it's a great chance for the kids to experience project-based learning.
Once completed, the house will have a working chimney and a sod roof.
The sod house will be the focal point of a field trip for Charles City fourth-graders next week. The students will give presentations on 19th century living during the field trip