Friday News, November 22
Le Mars Fire Department Fight Attic House Fire
(Le Mars) -- Shortly after 5:00 p.m. last evening, the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was dispatched to 320 5th Street SE for a possible house fire. Upon arrival, heavy smoke was found throughout the attic of the home. Firefighters made entry into the home and accessed the attic through the attached garage. The smoke was ventilated from the home with a large positive pressure ventilation fan. Firefighters did have to remove part of a ceiling located in a breezeway between the garage and the home itself to remove burning insulation. There were individuals at the home at the time of the fire and all were unharmed. Fire and smoke damage was limited to the attic area.
The cause of the fire was determined to be an electrical equipment malfunction in the attic that ignited insulation and a wood rafter. Firefighters were on scene for approximately one hour. The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was assisted at the scene by the Le Mars Police Department, Plymouth County Sheriff's Office and Campbell's Electric.
Three Orange City Fire Fighters Injured While Fighting House Fire
(Orange City) -- Three Orange City fire fighters were injured Thursday while battling a house fire. Sioux County deputies said in a news release that the Orange City Fire Department responded to a house fire on the 800 block of Arizona Avenue at about 2:05 p.m. Crews found a fire in the attic they believe resulted from a malfunctioning electric radiant heat system. The three firefighters who were injured were treated at and released from the Orange City hospital Damage to the house was estimated at $200,000.
Local Food Banks See Additional Need
(Le Mars) -- For many people the holidays are centered around food. A big family meal, a seasonal pie or your favorite cookies that only grandma makes best. But for some, food is a burden that is especially heavy this time of year.
The Christian Needs Center in Le Mars provides food and clothing to those in need. Center Coordinator Barb Waltz says they're optimistic that they'll be able to provide the families they serve through the continued generosity of Le Mars residents.
With the coming of the cold weather, Waltz explains that the food need has changed.
Fresh fruit and meat are not something the pantry can accept, so shelf stable items like canned tuna, salmon, chicken and fruits are needed. Juices are needed as well. Donations have picked up recently, but Waltz says more are needed to sustain the pantry for the next year.
Demand has doubled compared to this same time last year at the Christian Needs Center. Rejoice Christian Church has a food pantry in conjunction with the Siouxland Food Bank, and Pastor Tony De La Rosa says that he has noticed an increase in their distrubution as well.
Because of Rejoice's connection with The Siouxland Food Bank, it's not food that they are short of, it's the funds to buy that food. Food is distributed the 3rd Wednesday of every month at Rejoice Christian Church, with a smaller pantry that is open the first and fourth Wednesday of each month, as well as Saturday mornings.
Ethanol Industry Holds Rally
(Nevada) -- Several farmers, politicians, and ethanol industry leaders will be in Nevada, Iowa today for a rally to show support for the corn-based fuel. Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency lowered the gallons of ethanol nearly 3 billion gallons from the amounts of biofuels blended into gasoline in 2014 as part of the Renewable Fuels Standard. Ethanol leaders say the federal agency is caving in to the wishes of the petrolieum industry. Governor Branstad, Senator Chuck Grassley, Congressman Steve King, and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey are all scheduled to appear at the rally being held at the Lincolnway Energy plant at Nevada.
Branstad says the reduction negatively impacts thousands of jobs in Iowa, the leading ethanol producer and top grower of corn, which is used in most of the nation's ethanol.
The Lincolnway Energy plant is equipped to process grain corn or corn stalks and stover into ethanol.
Judge Dismisses Charges Against Teacher
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - A judge has dismissed exploitation charges against a former Waterloo teacher accused of engaging in inappropriate behavior with students.
A short trial this week for 56-year-old Larry Twigg concluded Thursday after Judge James Coil ruled that the alleged actions did not amount to a criminal offense. He dismissed one charge Wednesday and another Thursday.
The charges were in connection with Twigg's conduct with a student in 2009. Coil ruled, among other issues, that the 18-year-old had graduated school.
Twigg was convicted in May of five misdemeanor counts of lascivious conduct with a minor in a separate case. Prosecutors say he coerced a 17-year-old student to do several bizarre acts in 2009 and 2010. He has appealed the conviction and is currently free on bond.
DNR Investigates Wastewater Discharge Into Raccoon River
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials are investigating a wastewater discharge into an unnamed tributary of the Raccoon River in central Iowa.
The state Department of Natural Resources says the discharge was verified Thursday following a report the day before. It's unknown how long the discharge has been going on.
DNR officials say the discharge is coming from The Park at Southern Hills Townhomes and Condominiums in Des Moines. It's less than two miles from where the stream enters the Raccoon River. That's also close to Des Moines Water Works.
The property owners have been instructed to hire a contractor to the stop the discharge, which DNR officials estimate is between 5 to 10 gallons per minute.