Home News Thursday News, January 20th

Thursday News, January 20th


Le Mars Chamber of Commerce To Hold Awards Banquet

(Le Mars) — Tonight, the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual banquet and awards program, as we will learn the recipients of the “Citizen of the Year”, and the “Business of the Year.”  The Chamber of Commerce program will acknowledge those individuals that received the “Employee Of the Month” honors, as well as the “Boss of the Quarter.”  The United Way will recognize its Volunteer of the Year, as will the Chamber of Commerce Mainstreet organization will acknowledge the “Mainstreet Volunteer.”  This year’s key-note address will be offered by Gus Gustafson, who will give an inspirational message to the attendees.  The event will get started at 5:30 p.m. and will be held at the Le Mars Convention Center.




Sioux County Fire Departments Battle Two Fires

(Hull) — Sioux County firefighters were busy on Wednesday and early Thursday morning, battling two fires.  The Cooperative Farmers Elevator grain dryer at Rock Valley caught on fire and was reported to have happen Wednesday afternoon. Rock Valley Fire Chief, Brent Eshuis says the fire was reported at around 3:30 p.m.

Eshuis says the grain dryer was new and was being used for the first time.  He says the grain dryer contained about 4,000 bushels of corn, but he doesn’t believe that much corn was damaged.  Offering mutual aid and other assistance were the Hull Fire Department and the Sioux Center Fire Department.  Eshuis says the grain elevator employees along with the Rock Valley Police Department also assisted at the scene.  Eshuis says he is not certain as to what caused the fire to start.  The Rock Valley fire chief says firefighters only saw some smoke, and never saw any flames.  Eshuis categorized the fire as being “very minimal.”  Eshuis says firefighters were on the scene for about two hours.

The second fire involved a house in Hull that caught on fire.  The house fire was reported at around 3:15 a.m. this Thursday morning.  Hull Fire Chief Ron Hoksbergen says when fire officials had arrived on the scene, the home was totally engulfed with flames.

Hoksbergen says the ranch-style home will probably be listed as a total loss.  The Hull Fire Chief says there was nobody at the home at the time it was on fire.  As with the grain dryer fire earlier, it was the Hull Fire Department, Rock Valley Fire Department, and the Sioux Center Fire Department that responded to the scene.  Hoksbergen says it appears the fire may have started in the garage area, and then swept through the home.  He says the contents within the garage, including vehicles, tools, and small machines and equipment looks to be lost.

Hoksbergen says firefighters were able to leave the scene between 6:30 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. indicating they were at the house fire for nearly four hours.  Hoksbergen says the state fire marshal has been notified, and the fire scene remains under investigation.  Hoksbergen says he doesn’t know what may have caused the fire, or the origin of the fire.  The Hull Fire Chief says there were no injuries with the fire.




Reynolds Says She Hopes Senate President Misspoke About Teachers

(Des Moines, IA)  —  Governor Kim Reynolds says there are a few “bad actors” in any industry, but she disagrees with a general assessment that the media and Iowa teachers are pursuing a sinister agenda.  Republican Senate President Jake Chapman used the phrase “sinister agenda” during his opening speech last week. Chapman said, “the attack on our children is no longer hidden…We have some teachers who are disguising sexually obscene material as desired subject matter and profess it as artistic and literary in value.”  Reynolds has proposed that when parents raise concerns about books they consider to be “X-rated,” administrators and school boards must respond within 30 days and, if they don’t, the state Board of Education will.  The governor’s also distancing herself from Chapman’s remarks.  Reynolds said, “I’m not going to take any ownership of that. I hope he just misspoke, and he’ll correct that.”  Reynolds pointed to her support of teacher leadership programs and the one-thousand-dollar retention bonus for teachers she just announced last week.




Wastewater Discharged From Tyson Foods in Storm Lake

(Storm Lake, IA)  —  The Iowa D-N-R is investigating wastewater discharge from a Tyson Foods plant in Storm Lake.  Officials say wastewater flowed into a storm sewer early this (Wednesday) morning and the likely cause was a pump failure.  Tyson staff began pumping up the estimated 16-thousand-500 gallons from a detention basin a block north of Storm Lake.  The D-N-R says a small amount of wastewater reached the lake.  Staff said they do not expect environmental issues.  Officials are monitoring the cleanup.




Governor Tests Negative For COVID, Has Bad Cold

(Des Moines, IA)  —  Iowa’s governor says she’s recovering from a bad cold that caused her to miss public events last Thursday and Friday.  Governor Kim Reynolds told reporters today (Wednesday) “It’s not Covid. I tested again this morning, so we’ll continue to monitor that.”  Reynolds took a Covid test last Thursday that came back negative as well.  She says she probably picked up the cold from the nursing home where her mother is being cared for.  The latest data from the Iowa Department of Public Health show 61 percent of patients in Iowa hospitals were admitted for treatment of Covid.  All Iowa hospital patients are screened for COVID and about a thousand patients have tested positive for the virus.




Rally Held Inside Iowa Capitol Opposing Removal Of Media From Senate Floor

(Des Moines, IA)  —  The League of Women Voters of Iowa held a rally inside the state Capitol Wednesday to speak out against the removal of the media from the Iowa Senate floor. Organization president, Terese (tuh-REECE) Grant, says the League wants the press to have direct access to legislators so that all Iowans have the most accurate information about the actions and decisions that are made on a daily basis in the Iowa Senate. Reporters now have to look on from the upper gallery. The House G-O-P leaders allow reporters and photographers in the areas called “press benches” on the House floor. A spokesman for Senate Republicans says the proliferation of non-traditional media and First Amendment concerns make it difficult for the Senate to define media access, so journalists are no longer allowed in workspaces on the Senate floor.




Lawmaker Decides Now Is Not The Time To Change Eminent Domain Rules

(Des Moines, IA)  —  The chairman of an Iowa House committee says after careful consideration, he’s decided now is not the time to change state law governing when a property may be seized for pipelines. Republican Representative Bobby Kaufmann said last week that he was trying to craft a bill to require that a large percentage of landowners agree to a carbon pipeline before state regulators could approve the seizure of the remaining property through eminent domain. Kaufmann said Wednesday rushing eminent domain changes through the legislature this year would send the wrong message to businesses who have already signed easements for carbon pipelines and landowners still considering contracts.




Senate Considers Bill On Exemptions From Vaccines During Public Health Emergencies

(Des Moines, IA)  —  The Iowa Senate is considering a bill that would prevent local schools or communities from requiring additional vaccines – like the one for COVID-19.  The legislation would allow families to continue to claim medical and religious exemptions during a public health emergency.  Currently, the exemptions exist but they can be canceled by the Iowa Board of Health during a statewide emergency.  Iowa Public Radio reports the Senate bill would leave the exemptions in place even during a pandemic.




Wisconsin Man Accused Of Killing Girlfriend, Shooting At Daughter, Arrested In Waterloo

(Waterloo, IA)  —  An eight-hour standoff that started early Wednesday morning finally ended with a suspected killer from Wisconsin taken into custody.  Authorities say 47-year-old Simone Hughes killed his girlfriend and wounded his 14-year-old daughter in Milwaukee two weeks ago.  Waterloo police surrounded a home starting at 1:30 a-m in sub-zero temperatures.  The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports Hughes finally came out and was taken to a hospital for evaluation.  In Milwaukee, he faces a charge of first-degree intentional homicide and a second charge of attempted first-degree intentional homicide.




Cedar Rapids Man Sentenced to 140 Years For Child Porn and Exploitation

(Cedar Rapids, IA)  —  An eastern Iowa man will spend 140 years in federal prison on child pornography charges.  The U-S Attorney’s Office says a jury found 39-year-old Nathan Nosley of Cedar Rapids guilty of sexual exploitation of children, distribution of child pornography, receipt of child pornography, three counts of possession of child pornography, and accessing child pornography.  Evidence at his trial showed that, between 2018 and 2020, Nosley persuaded two girls to produce and send him pornographic images of themselves — and also distributed child pornography to others.   The evidence also showed that Nosley had previously abused a seven-year-old-girl.  He was also ordered to make 12-thousand dollars in restitution to four victims.




Grassley Says Federal Government’s Distribution Of Masks For COVID May Be Too Little And Too Late

(Washington) — The federal government plans to distribute 400-million free face masks, in addition to millions more COVID-19 test kits, ideas Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says are good but may be too little, too late. The N-95 masks are said to offer better protection than cloth coverings and they’ll be passed out, three per adult, at pharmacies and health centers. Grassley says that will likely take a few weeks.

The government website to order the free COVID test kits crashed on Tuesday after being overloaded by heavy demand.

The test kits will be sent out in packages of four tests each, one package per household. Grassley says the logistics of labeling, mailing out and delivering millions of test kits over the next few weeks presents its own set of problems.

To request a test kit, sign up at the website COVID-tests-dot-gov (covidtests.gov). The N-95 masks are coming from the Strategic National Stockpile and the White House says this will be the largest deployment of personal protective equipment in the nation’s history.