Tuesday News, November 25
Wells Blue Bunny North Ice Cream Plant Has Electrical Fire
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was called to the Wells Blue Bunny north ice cream plant last evening at about 11:30 p.m. for what turned out to be an electrical fire. Fire Chief Dave Schipper explains what occurred.
Schipper says the ice cream plant had sustained an electrical fire, but it wasn't near the construction area of the plant's expansion.
Fire officials were on the scene for a little more than an hour. All 142 Wells employees at the plant were evacuated safely, accounted for and moved to a separate location immediately without any injuries. Both the Merrill and the Orange City Fire Department was called to offer assistance. Also at the scene were the Le Mars Police Department and the Le Mars Ambulance. A statement from Wells Enterprises says efforts are underway to determine the exact cause of the fire and to begin clean-up effots, which will be completed allowing for the plant to resume operations Tuesday evening.
Supervisors To Take The Week Off
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will not be meeting this week, and the County Courthouse along with the Annex are scheduled to be closed both Thursday and Friday of this week in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday. All county and state offices will be closed.
School Board Learns How Lab Tops Are Being Utilized In School District Classrooms
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education was given a demonstration on how teachers in the district are utilizing new computer laptops and computer software in order to better educate the students. The teachers showed the school board how the new technology allows for an interactive teaching method, and the computer programs makes the lessons enjoyable, which encourages the students to want to challenge themselves. The teachers reported to the school board that the computer programs make for an easier and faster assessments on the student's educational progress.
Chamber And Extension To Host Business Builder Session
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County ISU Extension and the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Main Street program will host a luncheon on Monday, December 8, 2014. The seminar will begin at 12:00 noon at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor - 2nd Floor. Featured speaker will be Le Mars City Administrator Scott Langel.
This new series of educational opportunities is offered by the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Main Street program and the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Plymouth County. The series offers five lunch and learn sessions a year and one major workshop. The program features a local or regional speaker every two months.
Cost is $15.00 a person - reservations are required. Call Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce 546-8821 or the Plymouth County Extension 546-7835. Reservations must be made by Wednesday, December 3rd. The area public, business, industry and community leaders are invited to attend the one hour lunch and learn. Food will be prepared by Timmy’s Catering
For more information contact the Le Mars Chamber 546-8821 or Plymouth County Extension 546-7835.
Accident Victims Still Hospitalized
SLOAN, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say three people remain hospitalized following a two-car collision that killed five people near Sloan.
The Iowa State Patrol says 70-year-old Larry Malone and 37-year-old Jessica Malone are being treated at Mercy Medical Center Sioux City. Fifty-three-year-old Shishay Gidey is at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha.
Gidey was traveling on Highway 141 on Saturday. Authorities say Gidey overcorrected the vehicle, causing it to enter the opposite lane and collide with a car driven by Larry Malone.
Gidey's passengers; 46-year-old Kibrom Gebremicael; 34-year-old Yohanes Tesfamariam; and 60-year-old Bahta Gebremedhen, died in the crash. Two of Larry Malone's passengers; 80-year-old Donna Timm and 70-year-old Myrna Malone, were also killed.
The crash remains under investigation.
Many People Can't Afford Heating Utility Bills
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Even as costs decline, many Iowa residents are having trouble paying their heating bills.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration says Midwest consumers could see their bills decrease up to 38 percent depending on the fuel used to heat their homes.
Many Iowa residents are still struggling based on notices provided to the state's utilities board through Nov. 1. About 16,000 homes across the state didn't have heat when cold temperatures hit the state last week.
Jerry McKim, who oversees a state heating assistance program for low income residents, says many families are still working to pay off bills from last year.
Last year's winter was particularly harsh for Iowa residents, with the average temperature during December, January and February being 14.7 degrees.
Hagel Resigns From Pentagon
(Washington) -- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has resigned from President Barack Obama's Cabinet.
Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, has served as Pentagon chief since early 2013 when he succeeeded Leon Panetta.
A senior defense official said that Hagel had submitted his resignation letter to Obama on this morning and the president accepted it.
Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King says Hagel and the president appear to have been at odds over handling military policy in the middle east:
Hagel was the third person to serve as President Obama's defense secretary following Robert Gates and Panetta.
King says there has been a pattern of politics in defense briefings since President Obama took office:
King says it appears that Hagel and Obama could no longer tolerate each other.
Hagel has agreed to remain in office until his successor is confirmed by the Senate.
Branstad Pardons Turkeys
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has pardoned two turkeys as part of a Thanksgiving tradition.
Branstad read an official proclamation Monday for the pardon of the birds, named Cranberry and Cinnamon, at Terrace Hill.
Officials say the turkeys, from a farm near Ellsworth, will now live at Living History Farms in Urbandale instead of possibly becoming cold cuts.
Branstad has been pardoning turkeys around Thanksgiving for years. Monday's ceremony included his grandchildren.
Cost Of Providing A Thanksgiving Meal Still A Bargain
(Des Moines) -- The cost of providing a Thanksgiving meal is holding nearly steady, according to research conducted by the American Farm Bureau Federation. Dave Miller serves as the Director of research and commodity services for the Iowa Farm Bureau. He says people can still serve a dinner for ten at a bargain price.
As you might imagine, the turkey is the highest priced item for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
The Iowa Farm Bureau official says the cost for the traditional Thanksgiving meal hasn't changed too much in the last four years.
Miller says in comparison to the cost of the meal from a year ago, there are items that are higher priced, and some that lower.
Miller says Farm Bureau has studied the same items and ingredients for each year since the farm organization decided to track the cost of a Thanksgiving meal.
The survey shows the cost of the Thanksgiving meal is cheapest within the midwestern states, and more expensive on both coasts.