Home News Wednesday Afternoon News, February 17th

Wednesday Afternoon News, February 17th


Two-Vehicle Accident Occurs Wednesday Morning Near Merrill

(Merrill) — Emergency units responded to the scene of a two-vehicle accident that happened this morning at about 8:45 a.m. on Highway 75 at the northern edge of Merrill. Two people were injured in the collision and were transported by ambulance to the Floyd Valley Healthcare. Officials at the scene categorized both injured victims as having non-life threatening injuries. The northbound lane of Highway 75 was down to one-lane of travel
while authorities worked the accident scene. Responding to the accident were the Merrill Fire Department, Merrill Ambulance, Merrill Police Department, Le Mars Ambulance, Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department, Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office, and the Iowa D-O-T Road Maintenance. The Plymouth County Sheriff’s
Office will be conducting the investigation of the accident.




Authorities Identify Fatal Accident Victim From Monday’s Highway 3 Accident Near Remsen

(Le Mars) — Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office has released the identity of the fatal traffic accident that occurred Monday afternoon on Highway 3 and Highway 140 intersection, just east of Remsen. 19-year old Hannah Tjernagle of Orange City was heading southbound on County Road L-14 approaching the
Highway 3 intersection. For reasons unknown, the Tjernagle vehicle failed to stop for the stop sign. The vehicle then struck the middle of a semi-truck and trailer. The Tjernagle vehicle came to rest in the south ditch of Highway 3. As a result of the accident, 19-year old Hanna Tjernagle was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The vehicle she was operating was listed as a total loss. The owner and operator of the Peterbilt semi pulling a utility box trailer, 68-year old Randy Laube of Boone, Iowa, was westbound on Highway 3. Laube was not injured in the crash, and the semi trailer sustained approximately $50,000 in damage. Highway 3 east of Remsen
was closed for approximately three hours while law enforcement worked the crash scene. The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Remsen Ambulance, Remsen Fire Department, Remsen Police Department, Iowa State
Patrol, Iowa DOT Motor Vehicle Enforcement, Iowa DOT Road Maintence, and Stockton Towing. The crash remains under investigation by the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office/Le Mars Police Department Accident investigation team with assistance from the Iowa State Patrol.




Reynolds Says Iowa To Get More COVID-19 Vaccines

(Des Moines) — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds gave some reassurance to Iowans during her news conference that the state would be getting an increase supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses. Reynolds says the state’s recovery from COVID-19 continues to move in a positive manner on all fronts. Reynolds says that 87
of the state’s 99 counties have a 14-day positivity rate of below ten percent. The governor says outbreaks in Iowa’s long-term nursing care facilities are down, as also are the number of COVID patients at Iowa’s hospitals. She says hospitalizations have dropped more than 85 percent since their peak in November. The governor says Iowa has administered nearly a half a million doses of the 615,100 doses allocated for the “Hawkeye State.”
Governor Reynolds addressed the situation involving the five counties that didn’t use all of its vaccine allotment last week.

Reynolds says officials should find a way to administer the vaccine allocations in a better timely manner.

The five Iowa counties that did not administer all of its vaccine dosages include: Buchanan, Poweshiek, Washington, Chickasaw, and Hancock.




Utilities Board Chair Explains Why Power Companies Needed To Implement Short-term Roll-over Blackouts

(Des Moines) — Iowa Utilities Board Chair, Geri Huser, attended Governor Reynolds’ news conference on Wednesday to offer an explanation, as well as an update involving the current situation where some electrical cooperatives and energy companies have been forced to implement roll-over blackouts during the extreme cold conditions. Huser says in part, the problem lies with the high demand for natural gas and the temporary shortage of the distribution of the natural gas used to power generators for electricity. Huser says for the last couple of weeks the Iowa Utilities Board has monitored the situation.

Huser says the extreme cold temperatures have adversely affected the Midwest, but also the southern states where much of the natural gas originates to help generate power.

Huser says Iowa’s largest power companies were not affected by the problem, and were able to deliver power to its customers without interruption.




State Monitoring Energy Supply Situation

(Des Moines, IA) — Governor Kim Reynolds met with the Iowa Utilities Board Tuesday to discuss natural gas supplies and the power grid in Iowa as severe weather has caused problems across the country. Some western Iowa utilities that are part of the Southwest Power Pool that covers 14 states implemented
temporary electric outages to balance supply with demand. The governor says this is uncharted territory and she warns natural gas prices are going to skyrocket. MidAmerican, Alliant Energy, and Black Hills Energy are the largest utilities operating in the state and each notified the Iowa Utilities Board they have enough natural gas and electricity to meet customer demand.




Lawmakers Consider A One Bathroom Rule For Bars And Restaurants

(Des Moines IA) — State lawmakers are discussing how many bathrooms should be required in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol. Current law requires establishments that serve beer, wine, and liquor to have bathrooms for both men and women. A bill that’s cleared a House subcommittee would require just
one bathroom for all patrons. Representative Cherielynn
Westrich, a Republican from Ottumwa, says she understands the state grants waivers for taverns, bars, and restaurants that have just one toilet, but the bill makes that policy permanent. Bill backers say entrepreneurs may not know they can apply for a waiver from the two-bathroom rule and that may be keeping some Iowans from opening a bar or a restaurant with a bar menu.




Victim Identified in Prestage Foods Stabbing

(Eagle Grove, IA) — The victim of a fatal stabbing at the Prestage Foods plant in Eagle Grove Tuesday has been identified by the Iowa D-C-I. Deputies say 50-year-old Wayne Smith of Fort Dodge was found stabbed to death inside the locker room of the pork processing plant. Deputies arrested 26-year-old
Lukouxs Brown of Fort Dodge and charged him with first-degree murder in Smith’s death. Investigators say the two men knew each other — but they are still trying to determine the exact nature of their relationship. Brown is being held in the Wright County Jail with a court appearance scheduled for
today (Wednesday).





Davenport Man Accused Of Killing Mother

(Davenport, IA) — An eastern Iowa man is charged in the murder of his mother. Davenport police were called to an apartment north of the downtown on Tuesday afternoon to investigate a report of a suspicious death. Officers found the body of 77-year-old Dianne Rupp in an apartment. It’s unclear how she may have died. Police arrested Rupp’s son, initially on charges of interference with official acts and possession of a controlled substance.
Later, 53-year-old Andrew Rupp was charged with first-degree murder. He’s being held in the Scott County Jail.