Monday News, March 30
Hargens Awarded The "Fire Fighter Of The Year"
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department held its annual banquet and awards program Saturday evening at the Willow Creek Golf Course country club. Fire Chief Dave Schipper presented the "Fire Fighter of the Year" award to Michael Hargens. Hargens had a 100 percent attendance for the Le Mars Fire Department's training sessions, having attended all 39 sessions in 2014. Schipper said of Hargens that he was also able to respond to a majority of calls. Other awards that were presented included the Chief's Award to Assistant Fire Chief Mike Wise, who was able to take over many tasks during Schipper's absents. Both Wise and retired Captain Doug Harms were presented the "Fire Investigator's Bar" for having completed training in fire investigation. Retired Captain Doug Harm was also presented a special recognition award for his long term commitment to the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department. Harms retired due to a medical condition. An award of appreciation was presented to Kellen Excavation. Kellen Excavation provided several abandoned wrecked cars for the Fire and Rescue Department's use during special training for extrication purposes. Kellen Excavation also assisted the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department during a rural fire call when a 100 year old Cottonwood tree had caught on fire and threaten to fall on a building. The crew from Kellen Excavation arrived on the scene and carefully cut down the tree, while still on fire, saving the building from being damaged. The attending banquet crowd enjoyed the hilarious stories and observations of comedian Rex Havens as he shared with the 135 people the comical differences between men and women. At the conclusion of the evening, the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was called to assist the Oyens Fire Department at a residence with a high level of carbon monoxide.
Judge Overturns Sentence To Akron Man For Threatening White House
LE MARS, Iowa (AP) - A judge has overturned the conviction of a man found guilty of threatening to blow up the White house.
On Friday Judge Steven Andreasen granted a motion by the attorney for 37-year-old Jeremy Hebert, of Akron, saying the evidence didn't support the jury's guilty verdict rendered on Feb. 18.
However, Andreasen sentenced Hebert to five years in prison for three counts of felonious assault. Those sentences are to be served at the same time. He was also given suspended fines of $750 for each count of assault.
Authorities say that when Hebert was arrested at his home on Nov. 20, he threatened to kill each of the three officers present.
Le Mars Community School Board To Meet Tonight
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School Board will convene for a meeting later this evening at the Education Service Center beginning at 7:30 p.m. The school board will take a few minutes to discuss the National Association of School Boards annual convention which was held last week at Nashville, Tennessee. The board of education will discuss an upcoming training seminar entitled "Strategic Board Governance - The Time Is Now". That seminar will be held in Sheldon on April 21st. The local community school board has scheduled some time on its agenda to discuss the annual foundation banquet to recognize excellence in the school district. That banquet will be held on April 29th at 6:30 p.m. in the lower level of the Convention Center. Tonight, the school board will discuss the superintendent's progress on the goals established as part of the superintendent's evaluation process. The school board will also act upon three resignations. The Le Mars Community School Board is expected to discuss and act upon the budget estimate, as well as a resolution of intent to continue utilizing the Instructional Support Levy.
CF Industries On Pace With Fertilizer Expansion Project
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - The construction of a giant $2 billion fertilizer plant remains on schedule in northwest Iowa, but the project is nearing its busiest phase when roughly 2,200 workers will be employed on the job.
Construction of the new CF Industries plant is entering its second year, but it remains on track for completion in 2016.
Nick DeRoos, who is overseeing the expansion project, says the construction work slowed over the winter because of the snow, wind and freezing temperatures, but activity is picking up.
Two dozen cranes are in use at the site this month. The biggest one can lift as much as 1,000 tons 350 feet in the air.
Will Lawmakers Contribute To Health Insurance?
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - With many state workers poised to soon make monthly health care contributions for the first time, will Iowa lawmakers follow suit?
Under a recent arbitration award, workers in the largest state employees' union will have to start making a monthly contribution of at least $20 to their health benefits starting in January. This will be a shift for the majority of the 19,000 state workers represented by Local 61 the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
Lawmakers in the part-time General Assembly can get plans that don't require a monthly payment. Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen says he'd like to change that. But Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal was less forthcoming on whether he will consider such a change.
Health Officials Ask That You "Rethink Your Drink"
(Des Moines) -- Almost one in every three Iowans is obese, according to the latest rankings, and what we're drinking can be just as fattening as what we're eating. Carol Voss, a registered dietician and a nutritionist with the Iowa Department of Public Health, says just one 12-ounce soda contains around 150 calories and 40 grams of sugar, which in itself is more than the daily recommendation. It's much worse for the 20-ounce pops.