Thursday News, April 10
Le Mars Fire Department Responds To A Tractor Fire
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department responded to another fire Monday afternoon at about 1:45 p.m. This time it was a farm tractor that caught fire. The John Deere 4230 is owned by Mark Nilles, and was on the road pulling two gravity flow wagons filled with corn when it became engulfed in flames. Preliminary investigation points to the tractor's starter as a possible cause for the fire. Fire officials were able to salvage the engine of the tractor, but the cab and its contents, were destroyed. The fire was reported on 200th Street, west of Wells Corporate offices, about two miles west of Le Mars. Fire officials were on the scene for about a half an hour.
Akron Fire Department Battles Grass Fire
(Akron) -- The Akron Fire Department was called to action yesterday afternoon when a control grass fire was threatening a nearby building. That call came in at 3:20 p.m. Fire officials responded to 14896 County Road C-16. Fire officials were on the scene for less than an hour.
City Officials To Work On 6th Avenue Southwest
(Le Mars) -- Le Mars City officials have announced that 6th Avenue southwest between 18th Street and 24th Street will be closed on Thursday while crews install a new water main. Gayle Sitzmann, city water superintendent says 6th Avenue will re-open at the end of the day.
George City Officials Cancel Council Meeting After Gun Ban Appears On Agenda
GEORGE, Iowa (AP) - Officials in the northwest Iowa community of George cancelled a City Council meeting after a clerk mistakenly placed a proposed gun ban on the agenda.
The agenda for Wednesday's City Council meeting included a proposal to ban firearms on public property.
The item led a gun rights group to post an item on Facebook, urging residents to protest the proposal.
City Attorney Dan DeKoter says the matter was a mistake.
City officials had discussed whether to control guns on city property after a man displayed a weapon in the public library. However, DeKoter says a new city clerk mistakenly listed the ban on the council agenda and published it in the newspaper without consulting the mayor or council.
Officials opted to cancel the meeting.
Iowa State University Cancels VEISHEA Celebration
AMES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa State University's president has halted a popular annual celebration after a rowdy crowd caused damage near the school that hurt one student and led to the arrest of two people.
University President Steven Leath said at a news conference that Veishea, an annual multi-day celebration on campus, would be canceled after 5 p.m. Wednesday. Officials have not decided whether to hold it again in future years.
The university says one student was seriously injured after a crowd disturbance near the campus late Tuesday, in which people overturned cars and threw rocks at officers. Police Cmdr. Geoff Huff says people knocked down two light poles, striking the student who was badly hurt. The school has not identified the student.
Police told The Associated Press that the crowd dispersed early Wednesday.
Senate Approves Funding For More Pre-Schools
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A plan to enroll more 4-year-olds in preschools across the state continues to move through the Iowa Senate.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the legislation Wednesday, 15-to-5. It is now eligible for floor debate.
The bill attempts to expand the Iowa Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program, established in 2007 to fund preschool for 4-year-olds. Under the bill, Iowa school districts that expand existing programs or initiate a new program would receive more funding as an incentive. These additional funds would be offered for three years starting in 2015.
Senator Brian Schoenjahn, an Arlington Democrat, says the intent is to serve as many 4-year-olds in the state as possible.
Republican Senator Jake Chapman of Adel opposed the legislation, though he says he's willing to keep working to improve the bill.
Care Center Fined For Numerous Violations
ACKLEY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa inspectors have cited a care center after incidents in which residents weren't properly supervised.
State inspectors cited the Presbyterian Village in Ackley.
In one, a resident with dementia left the home during the early hours of February 4th and was found outside later with a 78.3 degree temperature.
In another incident, residents with Alzheimer's engaged in sex.
Lesser violations related to no cups or water pitchers in residents' rooms.
The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals in March issued a $10,000 fine for the more serious violations and $500 fine for the others.
The larger fine was suspended because federal officials intervened and ordered a $9,750 fine.
Presbyterian Village administrator Julie Hinders says the citations are serious, but the center offers good care.
Former DCI Agent Now Private Investigator
FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - The veteran Iowa investigator fired after reporting Gov. Terry Branstad's speeding SUV is going into business as a private investigator.
Former Division of Criminal Investigation agent Larry Hedlund said Wednesday he's obtained his private investigator's license and founded Hedlund Investigations. His business card touts 25 years of experience and a motto of, "truth, trust and tenacity." He envisions investigating everything from unsolved homicides to potential wrongful convictions and police misconduct.
Hedlund continues to sue his former superiors for wrongful termination. He alleges that he was removed from duty and fired in retaliation for initiating a pursuit in which a vehicle carrying Branstad was clocked traveling 84 mph but not stopped.
The 56-year-old Hedlund says he believes he has "something to offer attorneys or anybody that might need a private investigator."