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Saturday News, March 21

Grass Fires Break Out In Northwest Iowa

(Ireton) -- Several grass fires occured on Friday.  Near Ireton, five different fire departments responded to a major field fire near Highway 10 and Dipper Avenue.  Officials say it was a controlled burn that got out of control.  Ireton Fire Chief Richard Steckelberg talks about the blaze. 
 
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The fire was first reported at 10:30 p.m. and Fire fighters were on the scene for more than two hours. 

Merrill And Hinton Fight Corn Field Fire

(Merrill) -- Both the Merrill and Hnton Fire Departments responded to a corn field fire Friday afternoon at about 12:40 p.m.  The fire was located near 280th Street and Key Avenue. Eric Weber, a captain with the Merrill Fire Department says the fire was located in an isolated portion of the field.

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Lost in the fire was an all terrain vehicle that fire fighters believe was the cause of the field fire. In addition to the ATV, nearly ten acres of ground had burned.  Muddy conditions made it somewhat difficult for fire officials to get access to the fire.

 

Le Mars Fire Department Responds To Three Fire Calls

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire Department responded to three fire calls on Friday.  The first was a pile of brush and small limbs.  The owner was unaware of the declared burn ban for Plymouth County. Two of the fires happened Friday afternoon within 45 minutes of each other.  The first fire was a grass fire located on the north end of the county, and the second was an outdoor recreational fire pit that was burning.

 

Two Southwestern Iowa Teens Charged With Arson

TABOR, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say two 14-year-old boys have been arrested in connection with a fire that destroyed a southwestern Iowa home.
The teens were charged with first-degree arson and are being held in the Council Bluffs Juvenile Detention Center. They are accused of starting several fires that ravaged a Tabor home March 15.
Investigators say the fire began on the front porch and moved onto the roof. Sheriff Kevin Aistrope says the boys likely used an aerosol device to set the fires, but that they had no intention of destroying the house.
Authorities say one of the teens lived in the house. Investigators say they believe the boys caused the fire because they were the last at the home and reported it to authorities.

 

Feenstra Calls For Economic Boycott Against Des Moines

(Des Moines) -- State Senator Randy Feenstra of Hull is advocating an economic boycott against Des Moines.  Feenstra says it is in retaliation of the Des Moines Water Works filing a lawsuit against Buena Vista, Sac, and Calhoun counties for high levels of nitrates found in the drinking water system.  Feenstra, a republican, says there are farmers from across the state that bring a lot of business to Des Moines.

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Governor Terry Branstad and Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey have also criticized Des Moines Water Works, claiming voluntary efforts to reduce nitrate levels will improve water quality. Feenstra believes, over the past decade, "giant steps" have been taken to cleanup Iowa's waterways

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Leaders of Des Moines Water Works claim the nitrates spilling into the Raccoon River in northwest Iowa are threatening central Iowa's drinking water supply and driving up the cost to remove pollutants.

 

Transportation Official Talks About Highway 20

(Sioux City) -- Now that the increase of the fuel tax has been implemented, state transportation officials say additional road construction projects have been added.  Dakin Schultz, is the District 3 Transportion Planner.  He says a priority has now been placed on Highway 20.

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Schultz says work on Highway 20 between Moville and Correctionville has been making great progress.

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The Iowa DOT official says the Transportion Commission has approved the completion of a four-lane Highway 20 from Sioux City to Dubuque within the next few years.

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Fort Dodge Church Is Demolished

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - One of the oldest churches in Fort Dodge, Iowa, has been demolished.
The Messenger reports that demolition of the Full Gospel Lighthouse Church began last week. The church has a cornerstone dated 1903. Crews were instructed to demolish the building because of problems with the foundation.
Monte Pringle has ties to the church dating to 1971. He asked for and received the cross on the steeple from the construction workers. Pringle's sisters- and brother-in-laws were married in the church.  He was also given one of the stained glass windows.
He plans to display the cross and window at Lighthouse Ministries, where his brother-in-law preaches.
One construction worker says the crew had mixed feelings about demolishing the structure. The crew plans to give bricks to people who attended the church.

 

Iowa City Pastor De-ported To Honduras

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa City pastor arrested on immigration charges 17 years after being convicted of drunken driving has been deported to Honduras.
David Leopold, an attorney for 41-year-old Max Villatoro, shared an email with The Associated Press from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that confirms Villatoro was removed from the U.S. on Friday and had arrived in Honduras.
Villatoro was among more than 2,000 people arrested this month as part of a five-day nationwide operation targeting convicted criminals living in the country illegally. A 1998 drunken driving conviction classified Villatoro as a priority.
Supporters of the longtime pastor and father of four collected more than 25,000 signatures asking for his release.
Villatoro's wife, Gloria, says her husband called her from the airport Friday morning, telling her he was boarding a plane.

 

Former Mail Carrier Given Probation

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former Des Moines mail carrier has been sentenced to a year's probation for throwing 63 pieces of mail off a bridge last May instead of delivering it.
Court documents show 29-year-old Shayne L. Lovelady agreed to plead guilty in January to desertion of mails.
Prosecutors say Lovelady was a rural mail carrier on a route for the U.S. Postal Service's South Des Moines post office last May 19 when he decided to toss the letters.
A postal service spokesman says they were all later found and delivered. Lovelady was fired last July.
He didn't immediately reply to an email message Friday and his telephone number was disconnected.
He faced up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine but a judge on Friday gave him probation.

 

Metal Band Member Charged With Stabbing

CLIVE, Iowa (AP) - Police say Slipknot guitarist Mickael Thomson has been charged in Iowa after a fight with his brother earlier this month in which Thomson was stabbed.
Clive Police Department Chief Michael Venema said Friday an investigation found both 41-year-old Thomson and his brother, 35-year-old Andrew Thomson, were responsible for the March 11th assault that hospitalized the pair. Both have been charged with disorderly conduct by fighting. They're scheduled to appear in court March 30th.
Venema says the fight started inside Mickael Thomson's home and moved outside, where the altercation became physical. Mickael Thomson sustained a stab wound to the back of his head. The brothers were taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
The metal band Slipknot formed in the 1990s in Des Moines.

 

 





 

 

 

 

 

   

Friday News, March 20

Roadwork To Begin On Monday For Highway 140

(Le Mars) -- Beginning Monday, Iowa Highway 140 will be reduced to one lane of traffic between County road C-70 and Iowa Highway 3.  Roadway crews are scheduled to widen and resurface the stretch of highway between Kingsley and Remsen.  A pilot car will be in operation with single lane traffic, alternating directions.  There will be width limit of 13 feet. Road work crews will be  working on Highway 140 from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Saturdays.  The road work is expected to continue until September 30th.

 

Gehlen Receives $500 Grant For Chromebooks

(Le Mars) -- Gehlen Catholic School was recently awarded a $500 grant from Catholic United Financial Sales Representative, Mr. David Schonardt.  Father Kevin Richter, president of Gehlen schools accepted the check this past Tuesday.

The grant will be used to purchase additional Chromebooks for the Technology Department.  Gehlen Catholic Technology Director, Mrs. Lori Schuch, stated in the fall of 2013, Gehlen Catholic became a Google School based upon recommendations from the Technology and Academic Subcommittees.  Google Schools utilize Google resources, SMART Boards, Chromebooks, and other technological resources.  Students work independently and together, engage with their peers in groups, participate in direction instruction from their teachers, use Chromebooks for research, writing, and posting assignments. 

Google Schools provide the technological resources to overcome the financial, academic, behavioral, social, and language barriers facing at-risk students.  It also incorporates Core Curriculum mandates including 21st Century skills as well as Differentiated Instruction techniques. 

Currently, Gehlen Catholic has 270 at-risk students in preschool to 12th grade. 

 

Le Mars Community Middle School To Hold Annual Carnival 

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Middle School will host its annual carnival this evening beginning at 6:30 p.m.  Steve Shanks serves as the Middle School principal.  He says both Middle School gyms will be used for the fundraising event.  Shanks says the carnival is the only fund raising event for the Middle School.

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This year marks the 38th year for the annual carnival, and Shanks says the money collected usually is between $3000 and $5000.  He talks about how the school utilized last year's revenue.

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Shanks calls the games associated with the carnival as "old school" traditional carnival games.

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The Middle School principal explains people can vote with their money to choose  which faculty or administration member will have the opportunity to pucker up for the pig.

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Shanks urges people to enter the building using "Door B" next to the flag pole on the east side of the school.

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Man Gets Hand Trapped Under Car

 HUMBOLDT, Iowa (AP) - A northern Iowa sheriff says a man hacked away at his fingers in a desperate bid to free his trapped hand from beneath a vehicle.
     Michael Bohan got a flat tire Tuesday while on his rural Humboldt mail route and planned to take care of it the next day. His brother-in-law Dave Holst spotted Bohan's vehicle Wednesday and soon saw that the vehicle had fallen off jacks and that Bohan was trapped, his left hand stuck in a wheel mechanism. 
     Rescue crews were called, and they freed Bohan.
     Humboldt County Sheriff Dean Kruger confirmed that Bohan had been using a pocketknife to cut off fingers so he could get free. Bohan says he's not sure whether any of Bohan's fingers were completely severed.
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Former Texas Governor Perry Visits Iowa Again

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is touting his record of tax cuts and job creation during a return trip to Iowa.
     The Republican appeared Thursday at an event sponsored by a county GOP organization held in suburban Des Moines. He said that wage growth has slowed over the past decade and argued that lowering taxes, limiting business regulation and improving educational attainment would help reverse that trend.
     Perry has not declared his 2016 plans, but he has already hired five Iowa staffers and has made numerous visits to the state over the past year as he considers a presidential bid.
     Perry has been trying to avoid missteps he made during the 2012 presidential race, when he finished fifth in the Iowa caucuses and quit the race two weeks later.

 

Senate Approves Bill That Would Change Deadline For Absentee Ballots

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Senate panel has approved a bill that would change the deadline for when most people in Iowa would need to submit absentee ballots, though some lawmakers say they will introduce changes to the House-backed legislation.
     A State Government subcommittee approved the bill Thursday. It heads to the full committee for consideration.
     The bill would require that absentee ballots be received by a county auditor's office before polls close on Election Day. Current law requires the ballots be postmarked no later than the day before Election Day.
   Critics say the bill, which passed recently in the House, would disenfranchise voters. Supporters say the current system needs to be fixed because some post offices are failing to properly postmark.
     Some Democrats say the bill needs changes to advance in the Senate.

 

DHS Director Gets Grilled By Legislators Regarding Closure Of Mental Health Institutes

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The head of the Iowa Department of Human Services is defending the decision to close two state mental health facilities and switch the state's Medicaid program to private management.
     DHS Director Charles Palmer told the Senate Human Resources Committee on Thursday that the department was facing budget shortfalls when he recommended closing the facilities in Clarinda and Mount Pleasant. He says despite complaints about space, patients will be able to seek treatment elsewhere.
     Palmer says the plan to switch Medicaid to managed care will also improve care to patients, which include the poor and individuals with disabilities.
     The Democratic-controlled Senate must confirm Palmer's appointment for him to continue on the job.
     Some lawmakers expressed reservations about the upcoming changes. Palmer says he's committed to working with lawmakers on their concerns.




   

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