Home News Monday News, February 14th

Monday News, February 14th


Bridge Is Closed Due To Fire Beneath The Bridge

(Le Mars) — A popular entrance to Le Mars is now closed following a fire that was reported beneath the bridge that crosses the Floyd River on the southern edge of town.  Fire officials were notified of the fire under the bridge at the Exit 116  and 24th Street S.W. from Highway 75 at about 10:11 p.m. Saturday evening.  The exit is near the Wells Enterprises corporate offices.  City street officials closed the highway at the bridge following the fire.  Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper called the incident, “a mess.”  Schipper says the fire was an accidental fire that was started when a homeless individual, living under the bridge, began a fire to cook and to stay warm.  The fire had quickly spread and engulfed the individual’s belongings, and then to the rubber expansion joint between the bridge and the pavement.

Le Mars Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte issued the following news release relating to the incident.

On February 12, 2022 at approximately 10:20 PM a Le Mars Police Officer noticed smoke and fire coming from underneath the Business 75 bridge between 24th St and exit 116 of US Highway #75. Le Mars Fire and Rescue extinguished the fire which was started underneath the bridge trusses. The fire remains under investigation. Due to safety precautions the bridge will remain closed until such time it is inspected and cleared for safe travel. Detour routes have been established and the public is encouraged to use exit 118 as their primary access to Le Mars.



Fire and Rescue Department Respond To Additional Weekend Fires

(Le Mars) — Le Mars firefighters were also called to a grass fire that had occurred at the city’s gun range Sunday afternoon.  The gun range is located on the northwest edge of town.  Apparently, a berm had caught on fire.


(Merrill) — Firefighters from Merrill, Hinton, and Le Mars responded to a garage fire that was reported Friday evening.  The fire was reported in the rural area of Merrill.  Unfortunately, the garage, and all of its contents, including vehicles were destroyed.  However, firefighters were able to save the home and they were successful in stopping the blaze from spreading to nearby fuel tanks.




Le Mars Community Board Of Education To Convene Monday Evening

(Le Mars) — Le Mars Community Board of Education will convene for its monthly meeting this evening, beginning at 6:00 p.m.   The school board will begin by holding a public hearing regarding the renovation project involving the Middle School restrooms and east entrance.  The school board will review the submitted bids and take action on awarding the successful bidder.  The school board will hear reports submitted by each of the building principals.  The Board of Education will hear a presentation from Emily Pick, Lori Carter, Elizabeth Anderson, and Cliff Collins, regarding the Le Mars Community High School Math Intervention Program.  The school board will discuss its recent trip to Des Moines as a lobbying effort to state lawmakers.  The board of education will act on the submitted resignations and contracts.  The school board will also consider approval of specifications and bidding procedures for securing one (1) 72 passenger school bus and two (2) large SUVs for 2022-2023.  Curriculum Director, Rachel Leavitt will present and ask for the Board’s consideration of the district’s modified supplemental aid request to the Department of Management for drop-out prevention programming.  The school board will enter into closed session to evaluate the performance of School Superintendent, Dr. Steven Webner.  They will remain in closed session to discuss and negotiate the collective bargaining strategy.




Floyd Valley Healthcare Named Top 100 Critical Access Hospital

(Le Mars) – Floyd Valley Healthcare in Le Mars, has announced it has been recognized as a 2022 Top 100 Critical Access Hospital. Compiled by The Chartis Center for Rural Health, this annual recognition program honors outstanding performance among the nation’s rural hospitals based on the results of the Chartis Rural Hospital Performance INDEX™.


We are honored to be listed among the Top 100 Critical Access Hospital (CAH) in the US,” stated Dustin Wright, CEO.  “There are 1,353 CAHs in the US and 82 in Iowa.  We share this distinction with only 19 other Iowa facilities.  Our caring team has always served our communities with respect, compassion and service excellence, we believe this has been even more evident during the last two years.  We are proud of the work we do and even more proud to provide our communities with nationally recognized care.”

“Despite unprecedented adversity rural providers continue to display resiliency and a steadfast commitment to their communities,” said Michael Topchik, National Leader, The Chartis Center for Rural Health. “Honoring the Top 100 is one of the highpoints of our year. We are delighted to recognize the exceptional performance and innovation of this year’s recipients, particularly in light of the extraordinary challenges facing America’s rural health safety net.”

Over the course of the last 12 years, the INDEX has established itself as the industry’s most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural hospital performance. Leveraging publicly available data, the INDEX is trusted by rural hospitals, health systems with rural footprints, hospital associations and state offices of rural health across the country to measure and monitor performance across a variety of areas impacting hospital operations and finance.

 Floyd Valley Healthcare  

Floyd Valley Healthcare has had a rich history of serving the healthcare needs of people in Plymouth County and the surrounding communities. Floyd Valley Healthcare is licensed by the State of Iowa, affiliated with the Avera System of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and is a member of the Iowa and American Hospital Associations.  For more information, visit FloydValley.org.




Supreme Court Rules That Trial May Proceed Without Defendant

(Des Moines, IA) — The Iowa Supreme Court says if you can’t show up to your trial for a misdemeanor — the trial can go on without you. The case involved Randall Hurlbut of Le Mars, man who was convicted after being charged with driving while intoxicated when he didn’t show up for his trial in February 2020. He told his lawyer he couldn’t get a ride. The Supreme Court ruling says a misdemeanor defendant who knows his trial date yet deliberately chooses without good cause, to remain absent from his trial cannot then cry foul when the court follows through with the trial.




Compromise Bill Reached on Mobile Home Protections

(Des Moines, IA) — Lawmakers working on protections for mobile home residents say they have reached a bipartisan compromise. The bill would require notices of rent and utility increases be provided sooner and it would offer some protections from retaliation by mobile home park owners. It would not limit rent hikes. Republican Representative Brian Lohse  of Bondurant says he’d hoped for more — but this version has the support of mobile home park owners and is likely to pass the House. Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls of Coralville says there are several good things in this legislation — and a lot of good things that are not — which he says is the nature of compromise.




Bill Would Require Standards for School Bible Courses

(Des Moines, IA) — A bill that directs the Iowa Board of Education to adopt standards for public high school courses on the Bible has cleared a Senate subcommittee. Republican Senator Jeff Taylor of Sioux Center is a co-sponsor and says public schools wouldn’t be required to offer a Bible course, but it could become an option as a social studies elective if school boards approve. A lobbyist for the Iowa State Education Association says some schools are already offering classes on world religions, including Christianity. The bill is eligible for a vote in the Senate Education Committee and must clear that committee by Friday to remain eligible for debate in the full Senate.




Dubuque County Treasurer Resigns After Arrest

(Dubuque, IA) –– The Dubuque County Treasurer has resigned after being arrested in a prostitution sting. Sixty-year-old Randy Wedewer of Epworth was among eleven men arrested last week at a Dubuque hotel. Police say the men responded to social media posts from police who were posing as sex workers. The Dubuque County Board of Supervisors appointed Wedewer as county treasurer in early January to replace the county’s long-time treasurer who retired. Wedewer had worked in the Dubuque County Treasurer’s office for 33 years. He submitted his resignation on Friday.