Thursday News, February 12
Fire Department Responds To Grass Fire
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department along with the Merrill Fire Department responded to a grass fire Wednesday afternoon located about five miles west of Le Mars on county road C-38. The fire was reported at about 12:50 p.m. Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says he believes the fire perhaps started as a result of someone disgarding a cigarette. The strong northwest winds aided the blaze, burning a stretch of grass measuring approximately 550 feet along the road's shoulder. Snow in the ditches prevented the fire from spreading into the ditch. Fire officials were able to quickly extinguish the grass fire as they were on the scene for approximately 20 minutes.
Sioux City Woman Killed In Auto Accident
(Sioux City) -- Sioux City Police are investigating a fatal accident involving a 64 year old Sioux City woman. At about 2:25 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, police and rescue units responded to a single vehicle accident at the intersection of Military Road and George Street. The operator of the vehicle was the only occupant and had to be extracted from the vehicle by the Sioux City Fire Department. According to the traffic accident reports, the vehicle was traveling east on Military Road and struck a curb just prior to the intersection of George Street. The vehicle crossed the intersection and struck a cement retaining wall on the southeast corner of the intersection. Police say speed of the vehicle appears to be a factor in the severity of the accident. The cause of the accident remains under investigation, and authorities have not yet released the name of the accident victim.
Man Pleads Guilty To Eluding Police And Drug Possession
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A 31-year-old man has pleaded guilty in Woodbury County District Court to leading police on a high-speed chase and possessing drugs in October.
Chad Hughes of Pender, Nebraska, was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in prison.
He was charged with eluding, operating while intoxicated and possession of a controlled substance.
As part of his plea agreement, a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia and other traffic offenses were dropped.
Court documents state Hughes led police on a chase on U.S. Highway 75. Police were able to stop Hughes. He then fled his vehicle into a cornfield and was tracked down with the help of a police dog.
Floyd Valley Hospital Construction Making Progress
(Le Mars) -- If you haven't driven past the Floyd Valley Hospital lately, you have no doubt missed seeing the progress being made on the new north addition expansion. Contractor crews have erected steel beams giving viewers a sense of the frame for the new addition. Hospital administrator Mike Donlin says he sees progress everyday.
Donlin says although contractors have been progressing on the work with the new north addition, the construction pace is still somewhat behind schedule.
The hospital administrator says he recently was away from Le Mars for a couple of weeks and was surprised at the construction progress upon his return.
Legislators Undecided On School Start Date
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawmakers are differing greatly over bills that would decide when fall classes can start for Iowa school districts.
A Senate education committee on Wednesday approved a bill that would give control to school districts. Lawmakers on a House education committee later approved a bill that would require classes to start on or after Aug. 23, with a stipulation that school districts cannot seek a waiver to begin sooner.
Both the full Senate and House will now be able to debate the bills.
The school start issue emerged as a top issue for the Legislature after state education officials said they would stop issuing automatic waivers that allowed districts to start early. District leaders say they need to cater to students. Tourism officials argue the early start hurts businesses.
Senate Panel Gives Approval For 10 Cent Per Gallon Fuel Tax
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Senate panel has given preliminary approval to a bill to raise Iowa's fuel tax to pay for road improvements.
The bill, which got subcommittee support Wednesday, would raise the state fuel tax by 10 cents. That would provide about $215 million annually for Iowa's network of bridges and roads, many of which are in disrepair.
Similar proposals have failed to advance in past years, but Gov. Terry Branstad and legislative leaders have been vocal this year about raising money for infrastructure needs.
Iowa's fuel tax is now 22 cents per gallon for gasoline, including fees. It hasn't been raised since 1989.
Organizations advocating for construction companies and truck drivers favor the legislation. Opposing the effort are anti-tax groups and advocates for truck stops.
Family Dog Finds Owner In Hospital
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A family says a dog that ran away from home was found inside a Cedar Rapids hospital where her owner was staying at.
Nancy Franck was at Mercy Medical Center following a surgery.
Last Saturday, her husband discovered their miniature schnauzer Sissy was gone from their residence, which is at least 15 blocks away from the hospital.
A hospital security guard used Sissy's tags to call Franck's husband, Dale. He said Sissy was on a mission to see her mom but simply couldn't find the right elevator to take.
The family is still perplexed on how Sissy sniffed her way to the hospital. But they think she might've knew her way around from car trips in dropping Nancy Franck off for work next door.