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Thursday Afternoon News, April 10

Fire Departments Respond To Three Grass/Field Fires Within 35 minutes

(Le Mars) -- Within a time span of nearly a half an hour, the Le Mars, Merrill, and Hinton Fire Departments were called to three separate grass/field fires.  The first call came at about 11:30 a.m. and was located at the intersection of 240th Street and Lake Avenue, about four miles south of Le Mars.  Approximately 30 acres of grassland and timber areas had burned during that fire.  It is suspected the fire was started from a discarded cigarette.  Fire officials were barely able to extinguish the blaze when the Hinton Fire Department was called at 12:03 p.m. and had to leave the first scene to go fight a grass fire located at the intersection of County roads C-60 and K-30.  Meanwhile, about five minutes later, both the Le Mars and Merrill Fire Departments and Akron and Hinton Fire Departments were called to a third grass fire on the opposite side of their fire districts, located at county roads C-38 and K-22, about six miles west of Merrill.  The fire located at Lake Avenue and 240th Street had approached a home, coming within a distance of nearly fifty feet of threatening the house.  Fire officials were able to control the blaze before it reached the home. The third grass fire at C-38 and K-22 also had threaten a rural home, having come within just a few feet of the house.  That fire had destroyed more than five acres of corn stubble.  It was the result of a controlled burn that got out of control.  Fire officials have said if rain doesn't arrive by this weekend, than it is likely a burn ban may be issued for Plymouth County.

 

Clark Elementary Third Graders Honored By Fire Department

(Le Mars) -- Two third grade girls from Clark Elementary were honored this afternoon during an assembly program by the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department.  Fire Chief Dave Schipper and Assistant Chief Mike Wise presented certificates of "Fire Department's Students Of the Year".  The two girls noticed smoke emitting from a garage last week when they were walking home from school.  The girls knew to tell an adult and call 9-1-1.

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Fire chief Schipper complimented all the Clark elementary school children for being good students, and presented the certificates of honor to Emily Peters and Allison Lane.

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Emily Peters explains their actions from that day.

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Allison Lane shares her feelings about seeing a neighborhood garage on fire.

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The two girls admitted being surprised to be honored by the local fire department, and as for being honored in front of their school mates, both girls summarize their feelings.

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Still Too Cool To Do Much Field Work

(Le Mars) -- The calendar may indicate to farmers that its time to start spring field work, however, cool conditions still exist.  Iowa State University extension crops specialist, Joel DeJong says farmers should not worry about getting into the fields just yet.

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DeJong says he has noticed several farmers applying anhydrous ammonia, or spreading manure on the fields, in preparation for tillage.

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DeJong believes fields are still generally too wet to do much tillage.  He cautions farmers to wait for warmer weather, so to not have soil compaction.

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Grassley Fears A Minimum Wage Increase Will Mean Higher Unemployment

(Washington) -- Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says the Obama Administration is pushing hard for Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour before taking the summer recess.  However, Grassley told reporters, it is likely if the minimum wage is increased, the nation's unemployment rate will go higher, simply because many small business operators won't be able to afford the higher wages and keep all employees.  Grassley says young people will be especially hit hard.

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Grassley says there are some Republican Senators who may support an increase in the minimum wage, if small businesses are protected, and if the proposed amount would be less than ten dollars an hour.

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However, Grassley believes the Democrats are pushing this agenda to protect themselves from backlash of the president's troubled healthcare plan.

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Schultz Says He Will Return Unused Money

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz plans to return more than $200,000 to the state in unspent money from his budget. He says his ongoing efforts to reduce costs in his office resulted in less spending than his predecessors.
Schultz says finding efficiencies in technology, reducing staff, and consolidating management positions, allows him to return the money in July.
Schultz has been criticized by Democrats and voting rights advocates for paying the Iowa Division of Criminal investigation $250,000 over two years to investigate voter fraud. The money came from a federal grant designed to improve voting.
A spokesman for Schultz says the $200,000 is the current fiscal year savings but will continue in lower expenditures in future years.
Schultz, a Republican, is leaving after one term to run for Congress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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."

 

 


 
 

 

 

 

 

 

   

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