Saturday News, March 21
Grass Fires Break Out In Northwest Iowa
(Ireton) -- Several grass fires occured on Friday. Near Ireton, five different fire departments responded to a major field fire near Highway 10 and Dipper Avenue. Officials say it was a controlled burn that got out of control. Ireton Fire Chief Richard Steckelberg talks about the blaze.
The fire was first reported at 10:30 p.m. and Fire fighters were on the scene for more than two hours.
Merrill And Hinton Fight Corn Field Fire
(Merrill) -- Both the Merrill and Hnton Fire Departments responded to a corn field fire Friday afternoon at about 12:40 p.m. The fire was located near 280th Street and Key Avenue. Eric Weber, a captain with the Merrill Fire Department says the fire was located in an isolated portion of the field.
Lost in the fire was an all terrain vehicle that fire fighters believe was the cause of the field fire. In addition to the ATV, nearly ten acres of ground had burned. Muddy conditions made it somewhat difficult for fire officials to get access to the fire.
Le Mars Fire Department Responds To Three Fire Calls
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire Department responded to three fire calls on Friday. The first was a pile of brush and small limbs. The owner was unaware of the declared burn ban for Plymouth County. Two of the fires happened Friday afternoon within 45 minutes of each other. The first fire was a grass fire located on the north end of the county, and the second was an outdoor recreational fire pit that was burning.
Two Southwestern Iowa Teens Charged With Arson
TABOR, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say two 14-year-old boys have been arrested in connection with a fire that destroyed a southwestern Iowa home.
The teens were charged with first-degree arson and are being held in the Council Bluffs Juvenile Detention Center. They are accused of starting several fires that ravaged a Tabor home March 15.
Investigators say the fire began on the front porch and moved onto the roof. Sheriff Kevin Aistrope says the boys likely used an aerosol device to set the fires, but that they had no intention of destroying the house.
Authorities say one of the teens lived in the house. Investigators say they believe the boys caused the fire because they were the last at the home and reported it to authorities.
Feenstra Calls For Economic Boycott Against Des Moines
(Des Moines) -- State Senator Randy Feenstra of Hull is advocating an economic boycott against Des Moines. Feenstra says it is in retaliation of the Des Moines Water Works filing a lawsuit against Buena Vista, Sac, and Calhoun counties for high levels of nitrates found in the drinking water system. Feenstra, a republican, says there are farmers from across the state that bring a lot of business to Des Moines.
Governor Terry Branstad and Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey have also criticized Des Moines Water Works, claiming voluntary efforts to reduce nitrate levels will improve water quality. Feenstra believes, over the past decade, "giant steps" have been taken to cleanup Iowa's waterways
Leaders of Des Moines Water Works claim the nitrates spilling into the Raccoon River in northwest Iowa are threatening central Iowa's drinking water supply and driving up the cost to remove pollutants.
Transportation Official Talks About Highway 20
(Sioux City) -- Now that the increase of the fuel tax has been implemented, state transportation officials say additional road construction projects have been added. Dakin Schultz, is the District 3 Transportion Planner. He says a priority has now been placed on Highway 20.
Schultz says work on Highway 20 between Moville and Correctionville has been making great progress.
The Iowa DOT official says the Transportion Commission has approved the completion of a four-lane Highway 20 from Sioux City to Dubuque within the next few years.
Fort Dodge Church Is Demolished
FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) - One of the oldest churches in Fort Dodge, Iowa, has been demolished.
The Messenger reports that demolition of the Full Gospel Lighthouse Church began last week. The church has a cornerstone dated 1903. Crews were instructed to demolish the building because of problems with the foundation.
Monte Pringle has ties to the church dating to 1971. He asked for and received the cross on the steeple from the construction workers. Pringle's sisters- and brother-in-laws were married in the church. He was also given one of the stained glass windows.
He plans to display the cross and window at Lighthouse Ministries, where his brother-in-law preaches.
One construction worker says the crew had mixed feelings about demolishing the structure. The crew plans to give bricks to people who attended the church.
Iowa City Pastor De-ported To Honduras
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa City pastor arrested on immigration charges 17 years after being convicted of drunken driving has been deported to Honduras.
David Leopold, an attorney for 41-year-old Max Villatoro, shared an email with The Associated Press from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that confirms Villatoro was removed from the U.S. on Friday and had arrived in Honduras.
Villatoro was among more than 2,000 people arrested this month as part of a five-day nationwide operation targeting convicted criminals living in the country illegally. A 1998 drunken driving conviction classified Villatoro as a priority.
Supporters of the longtime pastor and father of four collected more than 25,000 signatures asking for his release.
Villatoro's wife, Gloria, says her husband called her from the airport Friday morning, telling her he was boarding a plane.
Former Mail Carrier Given Probation
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A former Des Moines mail carrier has been sentenced to a year's probation for throwing 63 pieces of mail off a bridge last May instead of delivering it.
Court documents show 29-year-old Shayne L. Lovelady agreed to plead guilty in January to desertion of mails.
Prosecutors say Lovelady was a rural mail carrier on a route for the U.S. Postal Service's South Des Moines post office last May 19 when he decided to toss the letters.
A postal service spokesman says they were all later found and delivered. Lovelady was fired last July.
He didn't immediately reply to an email message Friday and his telephone number was disconnected.
He faced up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine but a judge on Friday gave him probation.
Metal Band Member Charged With Stabbing
CLIVE, Iowa (AP) - Police say Slipknot guitarist Mickael Thomson has been charged in Iowa after a fight with his brother earlier this month in which Thomson was stabbed.
Clive Police Department Chief Michael Venema said Friday an investigation found both 41-year-old Thomson and his brother, 35-year-old Andrew Thomson, were responsible for the March 11th assault that hospitalized the pair. Both have been charged with disorderly conduct by fighting. They're scheduled to appear in court March 30th.
Venema says the fight started inside Mickael Thomson's home and moved outside, where the altercation became physical. Mickael Thomson sustained a stab wound to the back of his head. The brothers were taken to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
The metal band Slipknot formed in the 1990s in Des Moines.