Home News Thursday Afternoon News, September 2nd

Thursday Afternoon News, September 2nd


Fire and Rescue Department Issues August Monthly Report

(Le Mars) — The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department has issued its August monthly report.  During the month of August, firefighters were called to nine fires, they performed 16 rescues, conducted eleven investigations, five times the fire and rescue department had a request for service, and they provided mutual aid to Akron.  As for the EMS side, the ambulance responded to 77 9-1-1 calls and had 45 transfers.  The total number of calls for the month of August equaled 164 calls. Fire and Rescue Chief Dave Schipper reports that all fire trucks passed its annual pumping tests for insurance purposes.




Candidates Seeking Elected Office Are Announced

(Le Mars) — Candidates seeking elected office have until September 16th to formally file nomination petition papers.  However, Plymouth County Elections Officer Cheri Nitzschke sent a preliminary listing of those people that have already submitted their nomination papers.  In Le Mars, so far only one person has submitted papers for  running for mayor.  Insurance agent Rob Bixenman has submitted his nomination papers. Mayor Dick Kirchoff had announced earlier in the year he does not plan to seek re-election.  As for city council positions, there are currently two people that have submitted their nomination papers for Ward One.  Ken Nelson and Brian Bruns are both interested in the position.  Bruns is an employee at Kemp’s milk processing facility. You may recall Ken Nelson, a longtime city council member had represented the people in Ward 3.  In July, Nelson needed to resign his position on the city council since he had moved from Ward 3 to now Ward 1.  The At-large city council position is up for grabs since Rex Knapp announced he would not seek re-election.  City Councilman Clark Goodchild has decided he intends to run as a candidate for the At-large position instead of just Ward 1 where he currently represents the residents of that district.  As of this date, there are no candidates that have filed nomination papers for Ward 3.  Wayne Schipper was appointed to fill the vacancy in Ward 3, but has said he wishes to only serve the remaining four months of the original term vacated by Ken Nelson.  Kelli Flack has already turned in her nomination papers seeking election to the Floyd Valley Healthcare Board of Trustees.  Flack was appointed by the hospital trustees to fill the term of former trustee director, Bill Young after Young decided to retire from the hospital board.  As for school board positions, Dr. Steven Webner, school superintendent of the Le Mars Community School District says that so far two people have indicated an interest in pursuing a position for District 1.  Todd Lancaster represents district one and had announced that he will not be seeking re-election.  The two candidates, so far, include Ashley Knapp and Mary Milder.  Webner says there have not been anybody that has filed nomination petition papers in District 2 and District 4.  Currently, Scott Kommes and Dave Miller hold those positions, and both have said they do not intend to seek re-election.  District 5 is also open.  Jill Feuerhelm took over the school board position when Mackenzie Lang had moved from the rural region to now residing in town.  Webner says although Feuerhelm has yet to formally submit her nomination papers, she has indicated an interest in running for the school board position.




Assistant County Attorney Takes Oath Of Office

(Le Mars) — Plymouth County has a new Assistant County Attorney.  Jennifer Gieselman (Geese-el-man) was sworn in by Judge Daniel Vakulskas today on Thursday, September 2, 2021, as an Assistant County Attorney with the Plymouth County Attorney’s Office.  Ms. Gieselman is a Sioux City native, completed her undergraduate degrees at the University of South Dakota in Political Science and Spanish with a minor in International Studies.  She then worked for Senator Grassley for approximately three years before attending University of Iowa Law School.  Following law school she served as a law clerk for the Judges in the Fourth Judicial District in Iowa.  Following her clerkship, she chose prosecution having seen the various areas of law practice during her experience as a law clerk and began working in 2019 as a prosecutor in the Muscatine County Attorney’s Office.  Ms. Gieselman also serves as a 1st Lieutenant in the Iowa National Guard as a Judge Advocate.  The Plymouth County Attorney’s Office is excited to have such an excellent candidate accept the position of the new Assistant County Attorney.




State Public Health Officials To Report COVID Data Three Times A Week

(Des Moines) — The Iowa Department of Public Health is shifting from weekly to Monday, Wednesday and Friday updates of Covid related information on hospitalizations, testing data and deaths of Iowans from Covid. Kelly Garcia is the agency’s acting director.

Garcia calls it a refresh. The dashboard highlights how many hospital patients with Covid have not been vaccinated. Today’s number — 90 percent of all Iowa hospital patients with the virus have not gotten a Covid shot. In July, the department had shifted to reporting this kind of information once a week.

The information about Covid-related hospitalizations that will be posted tomorrow (Friday) and three times a week thereafter will be raw data. It will be confirmed by public health department staff and a weekly report will be posted in a different spot on the state website. As of last night, 524 patients in Iowa hospitals had Covid. The latest information on Covid cases statewide shows that in the past week, 22 percent of the Iowans who got a positive result from a Covid test were under the age of 18. Garcia along with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds emphasized the point for all Iowans to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus and its variants.




Man’s Body Discovered Near Water Park in Ottumwa

(Ottumwa, IA)  —  Authorities in southeast Iowa are investigating the discovery of a body near a water park in Ottumwa.  Police say a man walking around the lagoon next to the Beach Ottumwa Wednesday afternoon thought he saw a person in the water on the other side.  The man then determined it was a dead man face down in the water.  Officers say there was no apparent trauma to the body.  The Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office is doing an autopsy.  His name hasn’t been released.




Reynolds Issues Disaster Proclamation For 2 Additional Counties

(Des Moines, IA)  —  Two additional Iowa counties impacted by severe weather are now eligible for state assistance.  Governor Kim Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for Worth and Pocahontas counties Wednesday afternoon.  Fifteen other counties are under disaster proclamations due to severe thunderstorms last week.  The Individual Assistance Grant Program and Disaster Case Management Program are now available for Worth and Pocahontas counties.  Affected residents should report their damage right away.




Transition For Success Act Passes House Armed Services Committee

(Washington, DC)  —  A bill that would provide in-demand skills and employment assistance for National Guard and Reserve members is advancing in the U-S House.  Congresswoman Cindy Axne says the Transition for Success Act was approved this morning (Thursday) by the House Armed Services Committee, and is included in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2022.  It calls for Guard and Reserve members to receive the training within 180 days of returning to civilian life.  Axne says “employers want to hire our veterans, and veterans want employment where their skills and service is valued. This legislation helps make that happen.”  The Department of Defense currently only offers the SkillBridge program to active duty service members.




Teen Charged in Des Moines Shooting That Left 1 Dead, 2 Wounded

(Des Moines, IA)  —  A 17-year-old boy is now charged in a shooting in Des Moines Monday night that left man dead and two victims wounded.  Officers say 17-year-old Danil Deng is facing one count of first-degree murder, two counts of attempted murder and carrying weapons, in adult court.   Forty-year-old Frederick McCuller the Second was killed and two other men suffered non-life threatening injuries.  Investigators say Deng was in possession of the handgun used in the shootings when he was arrested Wednesday.




Ernst Sends Letter To Biden Administration With Questions About Afghanistan

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), the first female combat veteran elected to the U.S. Senate, today joined her colleagues in pressing the Biden Administration on details regarding the status and recovery methods of American citizens, green card holders, and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants in Afghanistan, including what measures the administration is taking to keep these people safe until they can get out of Afghanistan.

In a letter to President Biden, Ernst and her colleagues write, “We write regarding the humanitarian crisis created by your withdrawal of the United States from Afghanistan, and the safety and well-being of our fellow countrymen and allies that you left behind.”

They go on to say, “Our immediate priority is the safety and well-being of American citizens, permanent residents, and allies who were left behind in Afghanistan. We are also concerned by reports that ineligible individuals, including Afghans with ties to terrorist organizations or serious, violent criminals, were evacuated alongside innocent refugee families.”

The senators are requesting detailed answers to the following questions:

1.      How many American citizens does the administration believe to remain in Afghanistan?

2.      How many green-card holders does the administration believe to remain in Afghanistan?

3.      How many SIV applicants remain in Afghanistan?

4.      According to your administration, more than 50% of evacuated Afghans were not SIV applicants or their families. Of the more than 57,000 Afghans who are not American citizens, green-card holders, or SIV applicants or their families, how many had no pending immigration application or status with the United States prior to being airlifted?