Home News Tuesday Afternoon News, February 16th

Tuesday Afternoon News, February 16th


Firefighters Respond To Vehicle Fire

(Le Mars) — At around 12:00 noon, Tuesday, the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department were summoned to 421 2nd Avenue NW where a car on a trailer had caught on fire.  Fire Chief Dave Schipper says the owners were wanting to remove the gasoline tank from the older vehicle when sparks from the cutting torch had ignited some gasoline fumes inside the tank, causing the entire vehicle to be engulfed in flames.  Firefighters were able to quickly put the flames out, but not before the fire had caused considerable damage to the car.  There were no injuries, and firefighters were able to extinguish the flames fairly quickly , but were at the scene for about 20 minutes.




Rural Electrical Cooperatives Trying To Keep The Power On For Member Customers During Extreme Cold Wave

(Orange City) — Some Rural Electric Cooperatives throughout Iowa have had to implement short-term roll-over blackouts due to the high demand for power during these extreme cold temperatures. However, North West REC has been
fortunate, so far, not to see a need to implement short-term blackouts.
North West REC serves rural customers in Sioux, O’Brien, Ida, and Plymouth Counties. Lyle Korver is the executive director and C-E-O for North West REC, and explains the situation involves the wind turbines that generate electricity are not able to operate during these extreme cold temperatures, as well as a high demand and short-term shortage for natural gas to generate power. He says North West Rural Electrical Cooperative has been able to reduce the demand, and thus keeping power supplied to their customers.

Korver says the “Switch Makes Cents” program has been in effect for the past 30 years. He says it is designed to help reduce the peak times for electricity demand.

The North West REC official says he doesn’t anticipate any additional problems after today, since the weather forecast is calling for warmer temperatures.




NIPCO Power System Impacts Due to Energy Emergency Declaration

(Le Mars, Iowa) Due to unprecedented electric load demand in the central US, Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative (NIPCO) is working with its regional transmission operator, Southwest Power Pool (SPP), to shed load in its western Iowa service territory.

SPP issued unprecedented Emergency Energy Alerts (EEA) Level 3 to its member utilities on Monday and Tuesday, calling for high levels of electric load reduction/curtailment to match available supply. With the extremely frigid weather that has impacted large regions of the nation over several days, electric demand (mostly due to electric heat) has reached historic highs. To put it simply, there is not enough available generation/supply to meet this high electric demand.

Utilities that are members of the Southwest Power Pool, including local electric distribution cooperatives served by Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative (NIPCO), must shed specific amounts of electric load at specific times to maintain a safe and functional electric grid. RTOs have authority to manage the supply on behalf of their member utilities in order to properly manage supply and demand on a regional level. The SPP rotating outages that are affecting some Iowans are part of a larger electric load management effort that is impacting several states in the Midwest.

NIPCO is urging all electric consumers to practice energy conservation measures in the critical hours ahead to mitigate the risk of unplanned power outages during this unprecedented time of increased demand due to widespread, extreme, and prolonged arctic weather conditions. Turn down heat, refrain from or delay use of large appliances, and turn off any unnecessary lights. All electric cooperative consumers in our region, including those in central and western Iowa, are affected by Energy Emergency Alert Declarations. As energy conditions adjust, NIPCO, along our primary power providers, Basin Electric Power Cooperative and Western Area Power Administration, will continue to monitor and respond to serve our western Iowa communities safely and reliably.

To stay on top of this event as well as NIPCO’s current status during this time, please refer to our dedicated news page: https://www.nipco.coop/news-and-events/news/energy-emergency-declarations-issued-nipco-service-territory-affected

Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative (NIPCO) is a generation and transmission electric cooperative supplying wholesale electric power to 7 distribution cooperatives covering 6,500 square miles in western Iowa. These distribution cooperatives supply retail power to over 30,000 members/consumers. NIPCO serves these customers with over 900 miles of 69kV transmission line and 81 distribution substations. Incorporated in 1949 and headquartered in Le Mars, Iowa, NIPCO is a Touchstone Energy® electric cooperative and a member of Basin Electric Power Cooperative. Our website is www.nipco.coop. Find us on Facebook at Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative.




Extreme Cold Temperatures Cause Two Water Main Breaks

(Le Mars) — These extreme cold conditions can often times mean water mains will freeze, resulting in a water main ruptures. Rich Sudtelgte is the superintendent for the city water department, and says his crew were called twice during the past few days to repair broken water mains.

Sudtelgte says the extreme cold temperatures also caused his equipment to break down while the city water crews were trying to repair the frozen water main.

The city water department official talks about the second water main break that needed to be repaired on Monday evening.

Sudtelgte says with both repairs, perhaps as many as 40 different residents were without water for a few hours. Sudtelgte says with both broken water mains measured four inches diameter. It is not just during the extreme cold conditions when water mains rupture. The city water official says the water mains may break when the weather begins to warm up.

Sudtelgte shared his appreciation and complimented city workers for their dedication to respond in the middle of the night and to brave the cold weather elements to make the necessary repairs.




Iowa Lawmakers Consider Internet Speed Standards For Broadband Grants

(Des Moines, IA) — Iowa lawmakers are considering what may be required of companies applying for state money to extend broadband internet service to areas where it’s not available. Governor Reynolds called for 450-million dollars in grants over three years, but only for companies offering download and upload speeds of 100 megabits per second. Doug Struyk of Mediacom said during a Senate subcommittee hearing that Mediacom’s speeds fall below that standard, so the company wouldn’t be able to get state grants to extend its fiber network. Tim Fencl of the Danville Mutual Telephone Company says it’s
less expensive to build a higher speed broadband network now, rather than build a lower speed network that has to be upgraded several times. He said, “100 by 100 megabits per second is critical for any business, homeowner, students and more so now that we’re doing Zoom and those types of things.”
The Iowa Business Council, the Iowa Chamber Alliance and other groups support setting the higher internet speed standard for state broadband grants.




Two Workers Injured in Explosion/ Fire at Agri Star Plant in Postville

(Postville, IA) — Authorities are investigating an explosion and fire at a plant in northeast Iowa Monday afternoon that left two people injured.
Postville police say a leaking propane cylinder at the Agri Star plant exploded, blowing off part of the roof and wall. Two men in the room were taken to an area hospital with serious injuries. Firefighters determined the tank was damaged by a forklift before the explosion and fire. No other injuries were reported.




Some People Upset Over Dog Freezing to Death in Decatur County

(Davis City, IA) – – An animal rescue group is calling for charges against the owner of a dog that froze to death in Decatur County Monday. Tracy Hill of Animal Alliance Rescue Shelter says a neighbor took pictures of the dog outside its home in Davis City. Hill says there should be some type of citation because she claims there was definitely animal neglect. She says
owners need to have adequate shelter against the elements. The dogs owner reportedly said it was an outside hunting dog and he didn’t think it would die. Hill and others say they’re upset that authorities are allowing the owner to keep his other dog.




UI Women’s Swimming and Diving Won’t Be Cut This Year

(Iowa City, IA) — The University of Iowa will not be eliminating women’s swimming and diving after all. The program was set to be cut at the end of the season due to financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A federal judge blocked U-I cutting the program after a Title Nine complaint
was filed by four women’s swimmers last year.