(REMSEN)–A Remsen-based communication business will invest millions of dollars in new technology for customers.
WesTel Systems this week announced customers in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska will have more efficient call switching when a new central office technology is completed.
Dacia Bolton Bates of WesTel said one of the new features offers customers an option of managing parts of their WesTel services over a website.
Bolton Bates explained another benefit of the central office switching change will be seen in WesTel energy use.
Customers in Alton and Marcus will be the first in the WesTel Systems to have increased Internet speeds through “Fiber to the Home.”
WesTel is reinvesting funds and isn’t borrowing for the five-and-a-half million dollar improvements.
Customer survey work in Alton and Marcus will begin this year with construction in 2011.
WesTel Systems provides telephone, high-speed Internet, cable TV, computer sales and repair, networking and website hosting services for communities in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska.
Fund drive donations enhance equipment
(LE MARS)–Dollars donated to the Le Mars Fire-Rescue Department’s annual fund drive this summer are improving life safety for fire fighters and citizens.
To show the value of the donations during a quarterly meeting Wednesday night, members of the Le Mars Fire-Rescue Department displayed the department’s new equipment and clothing.
Rescue equipment and ropes, technology for training and reports, and a portable water holding tank for rural fires are among the items added or replaced.
Fire-Rescue Chief David Schipper thanked those who’ve given to the annual fund drive explaining the generosity of donors is very much appreciated.
Fire-rescue equipment is specialized and that adds to the cost of ordinary items such as a fan. Fire-Rescue volunteers use a positive pressure fan to ventilate smoke. Traditional fire fighting tools like an axe were also purchased with fund drive donations.
Hazardous materials equipment and a new thermal imaging camera are at the top of the list of items fire fighters would like to add. The thermal imaging camera helps fire fighters to see through smoke and locate heat sources.
The department added a camera, which can help find people still inside buildings during a fire, several years ago. The camera’s technology today allows fire fighters to know the actual temperature of fires and other information to protect them and aid in rescues. The price tag for the camera is 27-thousand dollars.
The fund drive began in June and donations may be mailed at any time to Le Mars Fire-Rescue at P-O Box 35 in Le Mars. Donations are only used in the operations budget.
Schipper said someone may also choose to donate funds for a specific item.
Health Fair draws all ages
(LE MARS)–The Le Mars Convention Center was all a-buzz with area residents attending the Well Aware Community Health Fair Wednesday hosted by Floyd Valley Hospital and Wells’ Dairy. Event organizer Kari Daale said the fair has been held in Le Mars for the last 6 years. Daale says people like the Well Aware Community Health Fair because it’s a one-stop shop.
Exhibitor Sandy Norby from Le Mars Physical Therapy was there to show the community the different types of programs their office offers. Norby says that now more than ever, it’s important for communities to come together to talk about health.
Le Mars resident Iris Hemmingson attended the fair yesterday. She was happy to be there to support the efforts for Floyd Valley Hospital.
Iris added that events like the Well Aware Fair are important for every community.
(News report by Angela Drake, KLEM News)
Bones are found near Sioux City
(LE MARS)–A discovery of what are believed to be human bones near Sioux City is being investigated.
A contractor working at a home two miles north of Sioux City in Plymouth County unearthed the bones while installing water lines Tuesday morning. The bones were first thought to be those of an animal.
Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo issued written information Wednesday afternoon that the contractor called law enforcement about 10:15 Tuesday morning after a lower jaw bone was exposed by workers.
Plymouth County Medical Examiner Dr. Sheila Holcomb and pathologist Dr. Thomas Carroll assessed what had been found at the excavation area.
The State Medical Examiner’s office has been involved in excavation of the area where the bones were located. The sheriff stated more work is anticipated in recovering the remains at 32594 Fox Avenue.
According to the sheriff, information about the age, sex, race, cause or manner of death has been not been determined.
The sheriff’s office is being assisted by Sioux City Police, the Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office, Plymouth County Conservation, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, the state Medical Examiner’s office and the Plymouth County Attorney’s office.
Iowa justices defend same-sex marriage ruling
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) Two Iowa Supreme Court judges defended their ruling in a same-sex marriage case and say opponents are wrong to claim the court was obligated to refer the issue to the state Legislature.
Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justice David Baker on Wednesday told the editorial board at The Gazette in Cedar Rapids that opponents misinterpret the Iowa Constitution when they argue the court was wrong in 2009 when it struck down a state law that banned marriage by same-sex couples. Some opponents contend the court was obligated to send the matter back to the Legislature.
Baker says the court would have overstepped its role if it told another branch of government to take up the issue.
Ternus says the checks and balances inherent in separate branches of government must be preserved.
Miller, Findley clash in attorney general debate
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller argued in a debate with Republican challenger Brenna Findley that he has kept his office above partisanship.
Miller told an audience at the University of Iowa law school on Wednesday that Findley was driven by ideology. Before running for attorney general, she was an aide to conservative Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King.
But Findley says she’d run the office more like a law firm, and she criticized Miller for not challenging the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. She also says he should try to block federal health care reforms.
Voters will choose between the two in the Nov. 2 general election.
Nonprofit wants Iowa center for homeless veterans
KNOXVILLE, Iowa (AP) A nonprofit group wants to turn a vacant former veterans hospital in central Iowa into a national center for homeless veterans.
Retired Army Reserve officer and former Reserve Officers Association head Bob Krause says the Knoxville facility would house at least 400 homeless veterans. The Des Moines Register reports that Krause says veterans from across the country could come to the proposed “National Veterans Recovery Center.”
Krause says veterans would receive two years of federally subsidized treatment and education. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has said it wants to lease the facility.
Knoxville Mayor Donald Zouette says he supports Krause’s idea but wants to hear more details.
Knoxville is about 35 miles southeast of Des Moines.
293,000 absentee ballots requested in Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Voting in Iowa is off to a record pace for the November general election.
Iowa Secretary of State Michael Mauro said Wednesday that so far more than 293,000 Iowans have requested absentee ballots, the majority via mail. Mauro says more military and overseas voters have requested ballots than did four years ago. He also says more Iowans have requested absentee ballots this year than who early voted in 2002 or 2006.
The Iowa Secretary of State’s office reminds voters that they can cast early ballots until the day before Nov. 2 election. They also can cast early ballots by mail. Iowa teen pleads guilty to killing friend
INDIANOLA, Iowa (AP) A 15-year-old Indianola boy has pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the June shooting death of one of his 16-year-old friends.
The teen will stay in a residential treatment facility until he is 18 as part of a plea agreement in the death of James Doyle. The Des Moines Register reports the teen’s father was away on a camping trip when the boys started playing with a shotgun.
Police say the teen fired a round, striking Doyle during an argument. The teen who fired the deadly round was 14 at the time of the shooting.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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