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Thursday News, August 29

Rescue Units Rehearse Ammonia Leak Drill

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was called to Dean's Foods last evening for an ammonia leak.  That call came in at about 6:30 p.m.  It was reported that a man was down at the milk processing facility and had fallen victim to inhaling ammonia as a leak had occurred from an Ammonia truck.  Employees of the Dean's Food plant were evacuated from the facility...the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department, along with the Le Mars Ambulance and the Le Mars Police Department responded to Dean's Foods. Businesses located within a three city block radius of Dean's Foods were informed of the potential danger.  Plymouth County Sheriff's Office, Plymouth County Communications and Plymouth County Emergency Management Services were also called to the scene, as was the Sioux City Fire Department's Haz Mat team.  It could have been a scary scenario, and it would be, if it was real.  But fortunately, it was only a drill.  The mentioned entities participated in a mock simulated ammonia leak drill Wednesday evening.  Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says rehearsing an ammonia leak drill is good for everyone.

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Schipper says practicing such drills allows everyone to learn, and to be better prepared if such an emergency were to actually happen.

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The Le Mars Fire Chief had another trick up his sleeve with regards to the simulated drill.  He wanted to see how his fire and rescue crew would react to an emergency decontamination situation.

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Dean's Food's Plant Manager, Jarrod Otta explains why the milk company cooperates on such simulated drills.

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The Sioux City Fire Department's Haz Mat team was on the scene, equipped with air detector monitors to help calculate how much ammonia may have entered the atmosphere, as well as how large of an area would need to be evacuated.  Le Mars Police Chief Stuart Dekkenga says such a drill helps the police department plan for the unexpected.

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The drill lasted for about two and a half hours.

 

Le Mars Police Promote Officers

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Police Department has promoted two of its officers.  Sergeant Tim Hop has been promoted to the rank of Captain.  Senior officer Robert Bendlin has been promoted to the rank of Sergeant.  The promotions fill a gap in the rank structure left by the retirement of Captain Dennis Folkema which was nearly a year ago.

 

Gehlen Catholic Receives $125,000 Gift From Gehlen Endowment

(Le Mars) -- Gehlen Catholic Schools received a check Wednesday amounting to $125,000.  The money is from the Gehlen Catholic Endowment Fund and from the Eva Waite estate.  Chuck Kellen serves as the Gehlen Catholic Endowment chairman.  He presented the check to Father Kevin Richter, and to Gehlen principals Jeff Ahlesh and Lorie Nussbaum.  The school will utilize the Endowment Fund’s gifts to meet the unfunded tuition assistance needs for the 2013-2014 school year.  During the 2012-2013 school year, tuition assistance needs had grown by more than 100%.  Since the Gehlen Catholic Schools Endowment Fund’s inception 26 years ago, the Endowment Fund alone had contributed $1,564,772.00 to the school (not including Wednesday's gift. 
As the Endowment Fund’s trustees look to the future, they hope the Endowment Fund will continue to grow and assist in offsetting parental and parish investments to the school by 10% - 20% annually.

 

Medical Professionals Testify On Video Conference Abortion

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Medical professionals and advocates have lined up to testify on
whether Iowa should bar the practice of distributing abortion-inducing pills via a video-conferencing system.
The Iowa Board of Medicine held the public hearing Wednesday in Des Moines.  Activists are seeking to halt a long-distance video system used by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. It lets doctors deliver pills to patients in clinics around Iowa after a video consultation.
Doctor Thomas Ross, who works for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, says patients get
the same level of care as those he sees in person. But West Des Moines Dr. Gregory McKernan, who opposes abortion, says he thinks the doctor should have to be present.

 

Animal Rights Groups Sue EPA

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Environmental and animal welfare groups are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, alleging the federal agency unlawfully scrapped a rule that would have authorized the EPA to collect information from large-scale livestock confinement farms.
The EPA dropped the rule in July 2012, saying it would get farm locations, waste
management practices and number of animals on the properties from state and federal agencies.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Washington and claims that the EPA lacks the rational
basis required by law to withdraw the rule. It also says the information is critical to enforcing the federal Clean Water Act.
The EPA didn't respond to messages.
The plaintiffs are The Center for Food Safety, Environmental Integrity Project, Food & Water Watch, The Humane Society and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement.

 

Waverly Man Involved In Grain Bin Accident

WAVERLY, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a northeast Iowa man has been hospitalized following a grain bin accident.
The Bremer County Sheriff's Office says 54-year-old Mark Mueller of Waverly fell about 40 feet Wednesday from a grain bin. Additional information has not been released about the circumstances of the accident.
Mueller sustained several injuries and was transported to a nearby hospital.
Additional information about Mueller's condition is not available.


Des Moines Home Catches Fire From Cigarette Igniting Oxygen Tank

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a person who was smoking a cigarette while on a home oxygen tank caused an apartment fire in Des Moines.
Des Moines firefighters say two residents suffered smoke inhalation during the Tuesday night fire. The individual smoking the cigarette also suffered burns and was transported to a hospital burn unit.
The fire was contained to one apartment and was extinguished by the building's sprinkler
system. Damage to the building is estimated at $20,000.
This is the city's third fire this year that's related to someone smoking while on home oxygen.



 

 

   

Wednesday Afternoon News, August 28

Senator Grassley Visits Le Mars

(Le Mars) -- U-S Senator Chuck Grassley has been visiting several Iowa communities during
the August Congressional Recess and this morning, Grassley made a stop here at the "Ice
Cream Capital"  The Republican Senator held a town hall meeting at the Floyd Valley
Hospital Conference Room.  Nearly 60 people gathered at the town hall meeting to ask the
Senator questions ranging from the Federal Budget, to the Affordable Health Care Act, to
farm legislation involving the Country of Origin Labeling and the pending farm bill, as
well as the U-S position on foreign policy, with specific questions about the present
situation in Syria. Grassley answered questions for about an hour.
The U-S Senator says the questions asked in Le Mars were similar to those he has answered
at other town hall meetings.
Afterwards, Grassley spoke to KLEM news and offered his thoughts about the Affordable
Health Care Act, sometimes referred to as "Obamacare".

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Tomorrow, we will hear additional comments made by Senator Grassley.
Following his Le Mars visit, Grassley will make a visit at Link Manufacturing in Sioux Center. Later in the day, Grassley will visit Rock Rapids, Sibley, and Spirit Lake.


Gehlen Endowment Contributes $125,000 To Gehlen Schools

(Le Mars) -- Gehlen Catholic Schools received a check Wednesday amounting to $125,000.  The money is from the Gehlen Catholic Endowment Fund and from the Eva Waite estate.  Chuck Kellen serves as the Gehlen Catholic Endowment chairman.  He presented the check to Father Kevin Richter, and to Gehlen principals Jeff Ahlesh and Lorie Nussbaum.  The school will
utilize the Endowment Fund’s gifts to meet the unfunded tuition assistance needs for the
2013-2014 school year.  During the 2012-2013 school year, tuition assistance needs had
grown by more than 100%.  Since the Gehlen Catholic Schools Endowment Fund’s inception 26 years ago, the Endowment Fund alone had contributed $1,564,772.00 to the school (not
including Wednesday's gift. 
As the Endowment Fund’s trustees look to the future, they hope the Endowment Fund will
continue to grow and assist in offsetting parental and parish investments to the school by 10% - 20% annually.

 

Dolph Selected As Chamber's "Employee Of The Month"

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Chamber of Commerce recognized the August "Employee of the Month" at the same time of the ribbon cutting ceremonies for the Education Station.  Lori Dolph is the store manager of the Le Mars' Education Station location.  She started as a seasonal employee but after just two years of employment, she has moved up to the store full-time manager position.  John MacGregor, the store's owner and general manager says "as The Education Station continues to grow and expand its workforce Lori is always ready and willing to help in these efforts.
Lori is a quick learner, has great attention to detail and does whatever it takes to get
the job done, and done right the first time.  From handling dozens and dozens of phone
calls each day to keeping multiple employees on task Lori is one of the single greatest assets to The Education Station.  Without Lori the current growth of The Education Station would not have been possible".  Our congratulations extend to Lori Dolph as the August Employee of the Month.

 

Branstad Rejects Bids For Fiber Optic Network

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad says the state will reject bids for the Iowa Communications Network.
Branstad says Wednesday that the bids for the statewide fiber-optic network do not reflect
the value of the system. Both bids came from the West Des Moines-based Iowa Network Services.
The Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission voted earlier this summer to reject
the bids.
The network provides phone, video, data and internet services to schools, hospitals,
libraries and government agencies across the state. It is currently an independent agency
within the state government.


Attorney General Request Judge To Dismiss Case

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Attorney General's Office is asking a judge to dismiss a legal action that claims officials violated the law when they shared a confidential report about an agent's firing with an outside investigator.
State lawyers say the petition by former Division of Criminal Investigation agent Larry Hedlund is "unprecedented and meritless" and would have far-reaching effects on the government's ability to share information with outside experts if successful.
At issue is the state's decision to give a 500-page investigative report about Hedlund to
attorney Louis Lavorato, who was appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad to investigate Hedlund's
retaliation claims. Hedlund claims he was fired for complaining about the governor's
speeding SUV.
Hedlund filed the petition earlier this month claiming the report was a confidential
document, and sharing it was illegal.

 

 

   

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