Friday News, March 13
Fire Destroys Hog Barn
(Le Mars) -- Fire fighters from four communities responded to a hog barn that caught on fire overnight. Le Mars, Merrill, Hinton and Oyens were called at about 2:40 a.m. and still remain at the scene, at a hog barn located about six miles south of Le Mars on County road K-49. Fortunately, there were no hogs in the facility during the fire as owner Joe Kessnich says he recently transported his hogs to market within the past week. The structure which measures 50 feet by 160 feet is listed as a total loss. Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says the fire is thought to have started in the office area.
Schipper says the building was already showing signs of weakness when fire fighters arrived on scene.
Joe Kessenich says he had internal alarms that alerted him of possible troubles.
Schipper estimates the fire was burning for perhaps 45 minutes before fire fighters were notified. He figures more than 10,000 gallons of water was used to battle the blaze. The fire remains under investigation and at this point in time, Schipper says he doesn't know the cause of the fire.
Farmers Getting Ready To Begin Spring Field Work
(Le Mars) -- The spring-like weather of this past week has many farmers anxious to begin field work. Iowa State University Extension Crops Specialist Joel DeJong says even though we have had temperatures in the 60's and 70's, he believes there is still some frost to be found in our fields.
Despite the fact we have not had a large snowfall this winter, DeJong says soil moisture levels are, for the most part, adequate to begin spring field work.
DeJong says last fall many farmers were unable to complete their field manure applications, and he hopes this spring, conditions will allow farmers to get caught up.
Grassley Blames Obama Administration For Ferguson Civil Unrest
(Washington) -- U-S Senator Chuck Grassley blames the Obama Administration and the Justice Department for the civil unrest and troubles found in Ferguson, Missouri. This, after two police officers were shot Wednesday evening during a protest at the Fergusson Police headquarters. The incident is the latest in a series of protests and riots after a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed African-American male following a burglary of a convenience store. Grassley told KLEM news during his weekly news conference the federal government should have done things differently to help settle emotional racial tensions.
Next week, the U-S Senate has scheduled to vote on the Attorney General nominee, Loretta Lynch. Grassley, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, believes she is well qualified to be the next Attorney General, however, he says he will vote against Lynch.
Storm Lake Teen Arrested For Making Threats
STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - A Storm Lake city official says a high school student is facing charges after he tried to hit another student and said he would come back to school with a gun to end an argument.
Public Safety Director Mark Prosser says the 16-year-old was arrested at his home and is charged with multiple felonies, including making terroristic threats and assault.
Officials say the teenager was restrained after attempting to assault the other student on Thursday, but later broke free. He also is suspected of hitting a teacher with a chair.
Officials were unsure if the suspect left the school afterward. The high school and a neighboring community college were placed on a brief lockdown as a precautionary measure.
House Passes Bill To Have Women View Ultrasound Before Deciding To Have Abortion
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A bill that would require women in Iowa to have an ultrasound before an abortion has passed in the House after several hours of debate, but it's unlikely the legislation will advance in the Senate.
The House voted 57-39 Thursday for the bill, which would require a physician to perform an ultrasound on a woman and offer her a description and image of the ultrasound. A physician not complying with the requirement could face fines.
The bill led to hours of debate on the House floor, including the introduction of dozens of proposed changes to the bill. Democrats repeatedly criticized the legislation, while some Republicans said it would give a woman complete information before an abortion.
It's unlikely the Democratic-controlled Senate will approve the bill.
Fantasy Sports Bill Is Passed By Senate
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Senate has passed a bill that would allow a person in Iowa to win money in fantasy sports contests.
The Senate voted 32-16 to approve the bill Thursday. It now heads to the House, where lawmakers are considering a similar bill.
Current law allows people in Iowa to participate in fantasy sports contests, but they can't win prizes. This bill would allow winnings.
Fantasy sports contests typically let participants build teams online that compete against other user-generated teams.
A similar bill failed in the Senate last year. Democratic Senator Jeff Danielson, chairman of the state government committee, says the bill would align with laws in over 40 other states.
Some lawmakers expressed concern about the out-of-state companies running fantasy sports contests and the amount of money they may collect.
Ames Woman Selected To Lead Council Bluffs Iowa National Guard Unit
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - A woman from Ames has been promoted to become the first woman in a management position for the Iowa Army National Guard's unit in Council Bluffs.
The Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil reports Lieutenant Alishia Bauman was promoted to captain last month, making her the first female primary staff officer in the history of the Council Bluffs unit. Bauman began training earlier this week at Camp Dodge, north of Des Moines.
Major James Avrams, the officer in charge of the Council Bluffs armory, says Bauman proved she's capable of taking on the new role throughout her seven years in the Guard. He says having Bauman in a managerial role "brings a different perspective to an army infantry battalion."
Bauman says the promotion has been both a thrill and an honor.