Home News Friday News, March 26th

Friday News, March 26th


Firefighters Respond To House Fire At Seney

(Le Mars) — Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department responded to a call of a house on fire in Seney last evening. The fire was reported at about 8:25 p.m. Fire Chief Dave Schipper says after hearing the call, he was worried about what could have been happening. Fortunately, when firefighters arrived on scene there were no visible flames.

Schipper says the fire was caused by an overload of electrical units to one outlet.

The Le Mars Fire Chief says there wasn’t much damage from the fire, but he reminds people not to overload extension cords or have multiple electrical units powered by one outlet.

Firefighters were on the scene for approximately a half an hour. There were no injuries.

(Photo contributed.)



Former Sioux Center Grain Cooperative GM Sentenced to Federal Prison

(Cedar Rapids, IA) — The former general manager of a Sioux Center grain co-op will spend three months in federal prison for his role in a grain-blending scheme. The U-S Attorney’s Office says 76-year-old Kenneth Ehrp of Dakota Dunes, South Dakota was Wednesday sentenced after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit a prohibited grain practice. Prosecutors say Ehrp admitted that he and former manager Calvin Diehl and others added lower value oats to thousands of bushels of soybeans and sold the mixture as soybeans. Ehrp’s sentence includes a 50-thousand-dollar fine. Diehl also received a three-month prison sentence last month.




Iowa Agriculture Secretary Speaks Of Value Of Agriculture At Sioux Center Event

(Sioux Center) — Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig spoke at Sioux Center Thursday before a luncheon crowd to talk about Iowa agriculture. The event was in recognition of National Agriculture Week and was hosted by the Sioux Center Chamber of Commerce. Naig noted that it was appropriate for him to speak in Sioux County during National Agriculture Week since Sioux County ranks first in the state with many farm products.

The Iowa Agriculture Secretary also spoke about the importance agriculture has on the state’s economy.

Naig says he is optimistic about the outlook for Iowa’s agricultural economy, but that is not to say farmers won’t encounter some challenges this year.

Naig concluded his comments saying that people should not take agriculture for granted.




Prisoners Charged With Killing Corrections Staff Spent Time In Woodbury County Jail

(Sioux City) — The two prisoners charged in the murders of the nurse and corrections guard at the Anamosa State Prison this week were both formerly jailed in Woodbury County.  Chief Deputy Tony Wingert of the Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office says what happen in Anamosa this week is a grim reminder to jail staff that deal with dangerous inmates every day.

The two prisoners, 28-year old Michael Dutcher of Sioux City, and 39-year old Thomas Woodard of Union, Nebraska; both served some time in the Woodbury County Jail for various theft and robbery charges.  Wingert remembers Dutcher was not easy to deal with while he was in the Woodbury County jail.

Dutcher and Woodard are being accused of striking both prison guard Robert McFarland, and nurse Lorena Schultze in the head with a hammer in the escape attempt from the Anamosa prison.  Wingert says Dutcher was sometimes armed in his criminal activities northwest Iowa.

The two prisoners now face two counts of first-degree murder, attempted murder, and second-degree kidnapping.




Floyd Valley To Have Vaccination Clinics Open To All People

(Le Mars) — As directed by the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), Floyd Valley Healthcare has moved through all of the required tiers for vaccination. We will now open up clinics to anyone 18 years of age or older that would like to be vaccinated for COVID-19 regardless of county of residence. Appointments are required and can be made by clicking the scheduling link on FloydValley.org. If you do not have internet access, you may call 712.546.3646. Please bring a form of ID such as a driver’s license and your insurance information as there will be an administration fee, which is covered by most insurance providers.

Those vaccinated will be required to remain for 15 minutes of observation after receiving the vaccine, with 30 minutes of observation being recommended for patients who have experienced a severe allergic reaction in the past, such as to oral medications, foods, bees, etc. Due to social distancing concerns and potential adverse reactions with this new vaccine, we are discouraging all staff from one entity or facility to receive the vaccine at once, but spreading vaccinations for your staff through the various clinic times.

The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine is not currently recommended in:

· Individuals under 18

· Individuals with a known history of a severe allergic reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) to any component of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine (see Full EUA Prescribing Information at https://www.modernatx.com/covid19vaccine-eua/ ).

· Individuals with a severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic, etc.) to any prior vaccine or other SC/IM/IV injection. However, if individuals experienced a less severe reaction vaccine is recommended.




Street Closure Scheduled For Repairs

(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Street Department will be closing 11th Street Southwest beginning Friday, March 26th at 1:00 p.m. The street will be closed from Central Avenue South and continue west on 11th Street at about 300 feet. City street crews will be conducting some street repairs, as well as rebuilding the two storm sewer intakes. City officials expect the street closure will be at least 14 days with weather permitting.




Weather Official Says Flash Flooding Can Be Deadly

(Sioux Falls) — We conclude our special series of reports with today’s focus on flash flooding. Meteorologist Peter Rogers with the National Weather Services at Sioux Falls says flash flooding can often prove to be deadly.

Rogers says driving can be especially dangerous when you come upon a flash flood situation. He says the slogan “Turn Around and Don’t Drown” was created to alert motorists of the potential dangers with flash flooding.

Rogers says night-time drive also poses an extra potential dangerous risk with flash flooding.

The National Weather Services official says when flash flooding occurs, you need to seek higher ground as quickly as possible. Rogers says people need to be aware of potential dam breaks, or earthen berms breaching which also leads to massive amounts of water, as well as when rivers and streams overflow causing flooding conditions.




US House Of Representatives To Meet Monday To Consider Iowa Election Case

(Washington, DC) — The U-S House of Representatives Committee on Administration will meet Monday to consider the challenge to the election results in Iowa’s Second Congressional District. A recount showed Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks won by just six votes over Democrat Rita Hart. The Hart campaign alleges 22 ballots that should have been counted — but weren’t — would have changed the final result. No decision is expected Monday. Republicans claimed Democrats are trying to steal the seat. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi maintains she’s just following the fair and legal process for reviewing a contested election. She says if she wanted to be unfair, she wouldn’t have seated the Republican from Iowa.




Reynolds Claims Democrats Are Trying to Federalize Elections

(Des Moines, IA) — Governor Kim Reynolds says the outcome of Iowa’s contested second congressional district race could be a harbinger of efforts to federalize U-S elections. At Iowa G-O-P headquarters this (Thursday) morning, Reynolds again blasted Democrat Rita Hart for asking a U-S House committee to review ballots cast in her six-vote loss to Republican Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks. Reynold said, “If Democrats get their way and H-R 1 becomes law, if that happens, then state election law everywhere will be wiped away.” House Democrats passed House Resolution 1 and, among other things, it seeks to bar states from limiting the ability to vote by mail. Hart’s campaign has identified 22 legally cast ballots that it says were not counted. Attorney Marc Elias said, “these are actual people who live in Iowa’s second congressional district who had their right to vote denied due to problems with the election administration or election judge error.”




Iowa Man Makes Federal Court Appearance In District Of Columbia

(Washington, DC) — An Iowa man charged for his actions during the January 6th Capitol Hill riots has made a federal court appearance in Washington. Doug Jensen was at a status hearing Thursday. Jensen faces seven charges, including disrupting the orderly conduct of government business, violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, and obstructing a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder. Federal prosecutors accused Jensen of possessing a knife during the riots. He remains in federal custody while waiting for his next hearing scheduled for May 6th.




Iowa House Approves New Route For Charter Schools

(Des Moines, IA) — A bill passed by Republicans in the Iowa House would set up a new pathway for establishing a publicly-funded charter school. Representative Skyler Wheeler of Orange City said, “we are simply advocating for a proven education option to be made a little bit easier, so parents and students can continue to search to ensure they get the best education setting for them.” If it becomes law, a so-called “founding group” could apply to the State Board of Education to start a charter school. Taxpayer funding for Iowa students in public districts who enroll in a charter school would shift over to the charter. Democratic Representative Chris Hall from Sioux City says charter schools cannot charge tuition, so Iowa taxpayers could end up paying to education out-of-state students who enroll. The bill now goes to the Senate.




Iowa’s Drought Picture Improving

(Des Moines, IA) — The drought situation is improving in Iowa. The latest U-S Drought Monitor shows about 25-percent of the state either abnormally dry or in drought. Conditions have been steadily improving thanks to recent rains. The driest conditions continue to be in northwest Iowa. Several northwest Iowa counties are in either extreme or severe drought. It’s abnormally dry in northern and west-central Iowa.




Illinois Man Free On Bail For Murder Charge Causes Fatal Crash In Cedar Rapids

(Cedar Rapids, IA) — Cedar Rapids police have arrested an Illinois man for causing a fatal crash on Interstate 380 earlier this month. Thirty-four-year-old Tyler Lee was out of bail for a murder charge at the time of the wreck. Lee was driving a pickup truck that slammed into an S-U-V the morning of March 7th. He was traveling southbound in the northbound lanes. Twenty-four-year-old S-U-V passenger David Phuong Nguyen was killed. The Illinois murder charge against Lee stems from a May 2017 shooting that left 38-year-old Christopher Peters dead.




Iowa State Patrol: Stolen Vehicle Pursuit Topped 150 MPH

(Cambridge, IA) — A Des Moines driver faces multiple charges after leading the Iowa State Patrol on a stolen vehicle pursuit that troopers say topped 150 miles-an-hour. Things started in Ankeny when a trooper clocked a Maserati going 97 on Interstate 35. The driver refused to stop. He led officers from several law enforcement agencies on a chase lasting nearly two hours and passing through four counties. The pursuit ended when the Maserati was found hidden behind a building on a vacant farm near Cambridge in Story County. Driver John Burgoyne, 43, and a passenger were still inside the car. Burgoyne is accused of renting the vehicle and failing to return it. The passenger’s name hasn’t been released.




Trial Begins For Suspect in Fatal July 2020 Shooting in Dubuque

(Dubuque, IA) — Trial is underway in Dubuque County for a man accused in a deadly shooting last summer. Twenty-five-year-old Deonte Ellison is charged with the first-degree murder of 25-year-old Curtis Smothers in July. Dubuque police say traffic camera video shows Ellison pull a gun from his waistband and shoot Smothers following an argument. Ellison was arrested two weeks later in Michigan. His attorneys are claiming that he shot Smothers in self-defense.