Wednesday Afternoon News, April 2
Third Grade Girls Credited For Saving Garage On Fire
(Le Mars) -- Two third grade girls coming home from Clark Elementary school are credited with saving a garage from burning. The girls, Allison Lane and Emily Peters, noticed some smoke coming from a garage. The girls went inside a home and told an adult about the fire who then dialed 9-1-1. Fire fighters were dispatched to 228 1st Avenue Northwest.
Initially, it was thought a tire was on fire, but upon arrival, fire fighters noticed a trash can and dried leaves were also on fire and had spread to the garage door frame. The fire was quickly extinguished. The cause of the fire was improperly discarded smoking material that ignited the dried leaves and had spread to the tire and the garage. A cigarette was found in the debris. Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper is thankful for the girls' quick action, saying they are the reason the garage was saved.
Le Mars Woman Reports To Authorities For Hit And Run Incident
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Le Mars woman wanted in a fatal 2012 hit-and-run crash in Sioux City has turned herself in to authorities. 43-year-old Victoria Lynette Ernst turned herself in Tuesday to the Woodbury County Sheriff's Office and was arrested. Authorities say she posted bond for $75,000 bail and was released from the county jail by late Tuesday afternoon. Ernst is charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident in the September 2012 death of 22-year-old Lance Knudsen. Knudsen was found lying in a Sioux City street with head injuries and later died.
City Council Discuss Proposed City Code Changes
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars City Council addressed the proposed city code ordinances during its meeting on Tuesday. Scott Langel, city administrator says the council must conduct three readings of the proposed ordinances before they can become part of the city code.
The city council held the first of three readings during Tuesday's council meeting. Langel says the second and third readings are scheduled for April 15th and May 6th. Council members shared some comments regarding the proposed ordinances, focussing on the winter parking proposal, and the removal of dead and/or diseased trees.
CBDG Architech To Meet With Business Owners
(Le Mars) -- The city heard an update regarding the Community Block Development Grant for the historical renovation of the downtown district. City administrator Scott Langel says Peter Franks, the archetech of the project, has scheduled meetings to address building owners and the general public's questions.
The city administrator says the archetech will also meet on an individual basis with each participating building owner.
Langel offered an update on the project's progress for the city council.
Langel says the city is still eligible for the $500,000 grant despite having fewer businesses participate as was first expected.
Auditions Scheduled "For A Few Good Men"
(Le Mars) -- Auditions for "A Few Good Men" the next community theater play will be held Sunday and Monday, April 13th and 14th at 7:00 p.m. at the Postal Playhouse. The story is a play by Aaron Sorkin and it involves military lawyers at a court-martial hearing who uncover a high-level conspiracy in the course of defending their clients, United States Marines accused of murder. The play involves 13 men characters and one woman role. Performance dates will be late May and early June.
Blacklisted State Employee Speaks Out
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A spokesman says Iowa's executive branch no longer tells fired workers when they are added to the state's "do-not-rehire list" and waits to break the bad news only if they ever apply for another state job.
Department of Administrative Services spokesman Caleb Hunter said Wednesday the change came in response to administrative law judges who ruled that state officials don't have the legal authority to issue blanket employment bans against fired workers. Instead, those judges ruled that state officials can disqualify applicants on a case-by-case basis based on previous firings.
Instead of ending the practice of barring some ex-employees for life, Hunter says the department limited how it notifies those affected.
The department previously notified employees at the time of their firings that they were barred from future state employment.
Federal Investigators Look At Burned Younkers Building
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Federal investigators have gotten their first look inside a downtown Des Moines building gutted by fire over the weekend.
Investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were in the building's west side on Tuesday.
That section of the building was not as badly damaged as the east portion, where flames consumed entire floors.
ATF spokesman John Hamm says investigators are looking for spots that might have burned hotter than others and indications of how the fire burned and what might have caused it.
The 115-year-old Younkers building was in the midst of a $36 million housing project renovation when it was consumed by fire early Saturday. It had been vacant since 2005.
High School Students Get "Hands On" Expereince At Data Center
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Council Bluffs students are getting hands-on experience working at a data center operated by the school district.
The Council Bluffs Community School District unveiled the data center Tuesday night at Abraham Lincoln High School.
Students who are enrolled in the district's Emerging Technologies Academy monitor and make repairs when needed to servers at the data center, which is used to store medical research data.
Google and Echo Group, a Council Bluffs electrical supplier, gave financial and technical support as part of the estimated $67,000 project. It took about six months to build the data center.
Chris Russell, an operations manager at Google's data center in Council Bluffs, says the new facility exposes students to real work experiences and gets them interested in technology careers.