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.
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.
Emily Peters explains their actions from that day.
Allison Lane shares her feelings about seeing a neighborhood garage on fire.
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.
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.
DeJong says he has noticed several farmers applying anhydrous ammonia, or spreading manure on the fields, in preparation for tillage.
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.
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.
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.
However, Grassley believes the Democrats are pushing this agenda to protect themselves from backlash of the president's troubled healthcare plan.
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.