Wayne Schipper Given Oath Of Office As New City Council Member
(Le Mars) — A new city council member was given the oath of office and sworn into duty this morning.
Wayne Schipper, the city’s retired fire and rescue chief, will assume the duties of a city council member and will represent the people in Ward 3. Mayor Pro-tem and council member Rex Knapp conducted the oath of office ceremonies. Schipper was appointed to the position by the city council. He will take over the vacated position left by former council member, Ken Nelson. Nelson has recently moved to another home that is not located within the third ward, and therefore needed to resign from the city council. Schipper is a member of the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission. Schipper will serve the remaining four months on Nelson’s term.
Local World War II Veteran Honored With Airplane Ride
(Le Mars) — A World War II veteran from Le Mars was honored Wednesday morning by participating on a flight aboard a bi-plane from the World War II era. It was all part of what is known as “Dream Flight” and 96-year old Navy veteran William “Bill” Reuter was the honoree. Reuter resides at the Le Mars Accura nursing care center. Accura officials learned about the “Dream Flight” and contacted officials to offer the local veteran a ride of his life. Darryl Fisher is the founder and president of the “Dream Flight” organization. He says they want to honor the “greatest generation.”
Fisher says those first 25 flights were so successful that his wife suggested they continue to provide flights to World War II veterans.
Reuter was assisted in getting into the open cockpit airplane. Prior to departure, Reuter was showing the attending crowd “thumbs up”. Approximately 30 different people consisting of family and friends were at the Le Mars Municipal Airport waving American flags as Reuter was about to take flight. Fisher says the bi-plane used for the “Dream Flights” was used back in the era to help train pilots.
Fisher says the Dream Flight caters to World War II veterans of all military branches. He says this month is a special time for Dream Flight honorees.
The actual flight was about 20 minutes as the “Dream Flight” plane circled Le Mars. Upon landing at the Le Mars airport, Reuter was seen having a broad smile on his face. The U-S Navy electrician that was stationed on an aircraft carrier in the south Pacific says he enjoyed the flight.
Reuter was presented a cap signed by the pilot that expressed appreciation for Reuter’s service to our country. Reuter joined other Dream Flight honorees by signing his autograph on the tail of the plane. Mary Ellensohn of Le Mars is a daughter to Reuter. She says her family is appreciative of the opportunity awarded to her father, but she wasn’t aware of her father’s honor and Wednesday’s event until just last week.
Ellensohn says her father served in the U-S Navy from 1943 until 1946 and he didn’t speak much about his time in the Navy during World War 2 until the children were adults.
Ellensohn says her father entered the Navy between his junior and senior year of high school at St. Joseph’s, now the present day Gehlen Catholic school. She says a Catholic nun sent correspondence to Reuter so he had the opportunity to finish his high school education.
Iowa Senator Confirms State Residents Who Contacted Her Office Have Been Evacuated
(Washington, DC) — U-S Senator Joni Ernst says she has confirmed that the few dozen Iowans who were in Afghanistan — and who had contacted her office for assistance – have been evacuated. The Iowa Republican says some may not have been back in the U-S by last weekend, “but they were out of Afghanistan, so we knew they were safe.” Ernst says. Ernst and her staff are still working on behalf of other Afghans who’ve received or applied for Special Immigrant Visas because they or a family member worked with the U-S military or the federal government. She says the U-S really needs consular activities in Afghanistan and “that collapsed.”
Man Accused Of Placing Pipe Bombs Intended To Damage Vehicle
(Ankeny, IA) — The man accused of putting pipe bombs outside an Ankeny home last June tells investigators he intended to damage a vehicle parked there. Chad Williams is charged with making a destructive device, possessing a destructive device, and possessing a firearm. Williams says he put the pipe bombs near his former girlfriend’s home because the man dating her sister was lying about his military service. When a search warrant was executed at Williams’ home, police found bomb-making materials and methamphetamine. He told authorities he had done a background check on the man he was targeting and found he was an “ex-convict” pretending to have military experience. His defense attorney has asked that he be placed in the V-A’s residential program for mental health and substance abuse treatment.
El Salvador National Accused Of Snatching Teenager Girl, Groping Her
(Cedar Falls, IA) — A 45-year-old El Salvador national is accused of abducting a 16-year-old babysitter two years ago, forcing her into his Cedar Falls home, and groping her. Saul Santos Vasquez Martinez has been sentenced to up to 25 years in prison. He was convicted of second-degree kidnapping and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse. The case made headlines in July 2019. Martinez was reportedly in the country illegally. He claimed he was innocent during last week’s sentencing hearing – even though he was identified in court by the victim. Police say he had admitted some of his actions when they interviewed him.
State Panel Approves Plans For North Liberty Hospital
(Des Moines, IA) — The State Health Facilities Council has reversed its vote of six months ago and approved a plan for the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to build a 230 million dollar hospital in North Liberty. The four to one vote Tuesday reversed the denial of the plan in February. The administrators at other hospitals in the area say plans for the new facility will move beyond specialty care and take away their patients. An official says more than 70 percent of U-I-H-C patients come from outside Johnson and Linn counties. He says 68 hundred patients travel outside of Iowa every year for care that U-I-H-C can provide.
DPS Investigating Deadly Jones County Police Shooting at Fire Scene
(Martelle, IA) — The Iowa Department of Public Safety is investigating the fatal law enforcement shooting of a suspect at the scene of a fire in Jones County. Deputies called to a large structure fire Tuesday night in Martelle encountered a man with a knife. Investigators say the suspect did not obey orders to drop the knife and several officers fired non-lethal and lethal rounds. The man died of gunshot wounds at the scene. Two Jones County sheriff’s deputies, three Anamosa police officers and a Linn County deputy have been placed on leave. The man killed hasn’t been identified. The Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office ins investigating the cause of the fire.
Reynolds Issues Disaster Declarations For Kossuth and Mitchell Counties
(Des Moines, IA) — Governor Kim Reynolds is making two more Iowa counties eligible for state disaster assistance. Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for Kossuth and Mitchell counties Tuesday in response to severe storms last week. The governor earlier issued proclamations for 13 other counties. The move activates the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program and the Disaster Case Management Program. Grants of up to five-thousand dollars are available for home and vehicle repairs, replacement of clothing and food, and temporary housing costs. The Disaster Case Management Program addresses serious needs related to disaster-related hardship, injury, or adverse conditions. Iowa residents impacted by severe weather should report damage to to local and state officials.
No Change in Unemployment Insurance Tax Rates For 2022
(Des Moines, IA) — Unemployment insurance tax rates for employers will remain the same in Iowa in 2022. Governor Reynolds’ office says tax rates used to fund unemployment benefits will be unchanged for the fifth straight year. Reynolds is using 490-million dollars in COVID relief funds to support the unemployment trust fund. Iowa Workforce Development director Beth Townsend said this makes it easier for Iowa companies to hire and keeps Iowa competitive for employers.
Iowa DNR Warns Paddlers to Avoid Swollen Rivers
(Des Moines, IA) — The Department of Natural Resources is urging paddlers to keep off Iowa’s swollen rivers and streams. Some rivers are already dangerously high and have swift currents. D-N-R Rivers Program coordinator Todd Robertson says we encourage all paddlers, especially new and inexperienced paddlers, to stay on lakes and flat-water while the rivers are high due to heavy rain. Robertson warns that swollen rivers are super powerful and have unpredictable current along with tons of wood debris coming downstream.