Firefighters Respond To House Fire
(Le Mars) — Le Mars firefighters responded to house fire Thursday evening.
The call came in at about 6:45 p.m. from a two-story home located on the corner of 2nd Avenue Southwest and 4th Street Southwest, diagonally across from the Plymouth County Historical Museum. When firefighters arrived at the scene, smoke could be seen coming from the structure. Apparently, some trash
had caught on fire, but was thrown outside and quickly extinguished. Minimal damage had occurred inside the home, and fire officials used fans to remove the smoke from the home. Firefighters were on the scene for about 20 minutes. There were no injuries.
Gehlen Catholic Announces Plan To Expand Lunch Room Facilities
(Le Mars) — Gehlen Catholic officials announced on Thursday a construction expansion project that will cost around $1.8 million dollars. Gehlen plans to add to their existing lunch room cafeteria and kitchen area. Andy Schmidt serves as the president of the Gehlen Catholic School Board. He says nearly one-third of the expected costs for construction has already been raised.
Schmidt says the expansion is needed since there has not been any modifications to the kitchen and cafeteria area since the early 1950s.
Schmidt says he wasn’t certain of the exact square footage, but says the expansion will nearly double the size of the present lunch room facilities.
The Gehlen Catholic school board president says the expansion will consist of adding space to the existing lunch room and going east.
A news release issued by Gehlen Catholic says the addition will not only mean more space, but it will include air conditioning for the kitchen and cafeteria area, designated concession stand room, allergen room for food safety, reliable kitchen equipment, and a redesigned trophy and awards case.
Schmidt says construction is expected to start in May, shortly after classes have been dismissed, with completion of the project to be around January of 2022. Anyone wanting to contribute to the capital project is urged to contact Amy Jungers, Gehlen Catholic Development Director.
City Council Discusses RAGBRAI
(Le Mars) — Le Mars city council again discussed RAGBRAI during its Tuesday meeting. Over the weekend, the Des Moines Register announced its route for 2021. Le Mars was again selected to start the cross-state bicycle ride. Council members were given an update pertaining to the bicycle ride by City Administrator Jason Vacura. Vacura informed the council he spoke with five other over-night host communities and inquired about their thoughts of hosting RAGBRAI. Vacura says the other communities share the same thoughts and concerns as does Le Mars.
Vacura says RAGBRAI officials held a recent zoom meeting with the overnight host communities and offered some updated information. The city administrator says RAGBRAI officials indicated registration is up for this year’s ride. He says RAGBRAI officials have made some suggestions as to how they may address the COVID-19 virus situation.
Vacura says RAGBRAI officials will be working with the Iowa Department of Public Health. Vacura went on to mention other measures RAGBRAI officials are considering.
Council members asked about the so-called “Bandits” or bicyclists that don’t register with RAGBRAI, but participate on the cross-state ride. Vacura says RAGBRAI officials have established March 15th as the deadline for whether they proceed with this year’s ride, or to again cancel the event. Councilman Clark Goodchild reminded the council the decision should not rest with the city officials. He says the city council wasn’t involved with the original decision to host the event, and it may need to be deferred to the Le Mars RAGBRAI hosting committee. Mayor Dick Kirchoff says the city offices fielded several questions from regional media asking if Le Mars was backing out of RAGBRAI? Kirchoff settled the rumors, and says Le Mars is still wanting to host RAGBRAI.
Vacura says RAGBRAI intends to have each overnight host community sign an agreement. Vacura and city attorney Mike Murphy say this is new for RAGBRAI. Vacura says he has yet to receive the agreement, and doesn’t know what it will contain.
Governor’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board Submits Report
(Des Moines) — Governor Kim Reynolds Economic Recovery Advisory Board presented their proposal during the governor’s news conference held Thursday morning. Reynolds says Iowans have always been able to “turn obstacles into opportunities” and that served as a theme and mission for the Economic Recovery Advisory Board. The 15-member board consisted of leaders from Iowa’s business community. The Economic Recovery Advisory Board was chaired by Ruan’s C-E-O Ben McLean. McLean says the governor challenged the board to find ways to create jobs, streghten the Iowa economy, and make Iowa a better place to live for all Iowans. McLean says the governor appointed board is making 18 recommendations, with the focus on the following themes.
McLean says there were many suggestions the evolved not only from the advisory board, but also from the more than 350 volunteers who submitted ideas for consideration. The Ruan Company C-E-O highlighted three specific suggestions during the governor’s news conference.
McLean says one effort to attract and retain people to Iowa is to improve on offering additional affordable housing.
McLean says another area that needs improvement is the state’s childcare system.
The chairman of the Governor’s Economic Recovery Board says for all the recommendations to happen, it cannot be based on a political agenda, but says it is an Iowa solution, based upon the suggestions of many.
To view the Governor’s Economic Recovery Board Report, you can visit the website: governor.iowa.gov/gerab-report.
KMEG-TV Switches Channels
SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Effective Thursday, February 4th, 2021, Siouxland’s CBS affiliate (formerly known as KMEG 14) will be moving its signal to a new home on a new antenna.
CBS 14 will technically move to a new frequency, channel 44.3, a sub-channel of KPTH-TV.
In addition, several sub-channels formerly found under the KPTH and KMEG signals will change frequencies as well.
Cable and satellite viewers will not be affected.
Viewers who receive their television signal over the air via antenna will need to re-scan with their television’s built-in tuner. Re-scanning is simple and requires no additional services or equipment.
More information can be found at www.fcc.gov/rescan
Remember to Rescan
If you receive digital TV over-the-air with an antenna, you should periodically rescan to update the channels you receive. While some boxes do this automatically, you may need to select “scan” or “auto-tune” from the TV or converter box control menu to start the scanning process.
www.fcc.gov, or by calling 1-800-CALL-FCC.
The new lineup of channels will be as follows:
FOX 44 on channel 44.1
My Net & TBD on channel 44.2
CBS 14 on channel 44.3
DABL on channel 14.1
Charge! on channel 14.2
Comet on channel 14.3
Stadium on channel 14.4.
Multiple Vehicle Crash Closes I-80 During Blizzard
(Newton, IA) — Crashes that eventually totaled some 40 cars and trucks forced the Iowa State Patrol to close Interstate 80 between Newton and Colfax early Thursday afternoon. Two state troopers were on the scene, helping with some of the first wrecks and both of their patrol cars got crushed as vehicles rammed into them. Patrol Sergeant Alex Dinkla says most of the vehicles involved were commercial trucks, going too fast to be able to stop. No one was killed, but some drivers were seriously injured. No troopers were among the injured.
House Democrat Leader Calls Again For Online Work
(Des Moines, IA) — Seven House Democrats say they are staying away from the Iowa state Capitol for COVID-19-related reasons. That’s prompted House Democratic Leader Todd Prichard of Charles City to again ask Republicans who control House rules to let legislators go online to participate in committee work. Prichard says the move would allow members of the public participate in the process and be heard at the committee and as well as keep people safe. House Speaker Pat Grassley says proper precautions are being taken inside the Capitol and staying away from the building is a personal choice. Grassley says if we’re going to be expecting teachers, factory workers and grocery store workers to go to their jobs then there is an expectation that legislatures should be doing the same thing.
Prison Populations Remain High Despite Efforts To Reduce Capacity
(Des Moines, IA) — Iowa’s prisons remain an average of eight percent over their capacity despite efforts by the Department of Corrections and the court system to limit capacity to prevent COVID outbreaks. Department Director, Beth Skinner, says infection rates among prisoners appear to be slowing. She says there are currently 33 positive cases statewide across nine prisons. A total of 18 prisoners have died from COVID. Advocates warn there are still too many people behind bars — including some 300 who are over the age of 65. More than 44-hundred prisoners and 680 staff members have tested positive.
State Seeking Proposals For Vaccination Scheduling System
(Des Moines, IA) — Governor Kim Reynolds is asking developers to submit proposals to the state to develop a one-stop-shop where you can get information and be matched with COVID vaccine providers near you. About 70-thousand Iowans have now received both doses of the vaccine — and nearly 137-thousand others have gotten the first dose. Iowa ranks 3rd lowest among the states in the percentage of residents that have been vaccinated. Reynolds says the state is making progress, but she recognizes that the vaccine process isn’t as fast or as easy as many would like. Reynolds didn’t give a date, but she’s expecting a “quick turn-around” for the creation of a centralized, statewide system to schedule appointments.
Iowa Part of Multi-State Settlement On Opioid Abuse
(Des Moines, IA) — Iowa will receive a share of a multi-million dollar settlement with consulting firm McKinsey & Company for the firm’s role in fueling the opioid epidemic. Attorney General Tom Miller says the company was a major consultant for Perdue Pharma and others and was advising them how to aggressively market opioids and got doctors to write more prescriptions. He says pain killers were once only prescribed when needed — but the aggressive marketing efforts of McKinsey changed that. Iowa is receiving more than four-point-six million dollars of the 575 million dollar settlement that includes 47 other states. Miller says the money will be used to help fight the opioid epidemic.
Cedar Falls Civil Rights Commission Member Resigns
(Cedar Falls, IA) — Another member of the Cedar Falls Human Rights Commission has resigned amid concerns about its direction. Evan Renfro resigned just two weeks after he was appointed to the board. The board’s chair stepped down last weekend after serving on the commission for 17 years. Renfro’s resignation letter describes the board as totally dysfunctional and unable to address “real issues of racism” in the city. The turmoil comes after city officials ’changed the boards mission from investigating discrimination allegations to focusing on outreach and education.