Home News Friday News, February 18th

Friday News, February 18th


Fire And Rescue Department Respond To Grass Ditch Fire

(Le Mars) — Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department responded to a ditch grass fire Thursday afternoon.  The call came in at about 3:20 p.m.  The fire was located on 180th Street at the 34000 block, and it was spreading to a nearby field.  This is just east of Plymouth Street southeast and 14th Avenue southeast.  Fire Chief Dave Schipper says upon arrival firefighters had approximately 500 feet of ditch on fire and spreading into a corn stubble field.

Firefighters were able to stop the fire using 1100 gallons of water and three vehicles.

Schipper says it may seem odd to have a ditch/grass/field fire in February, but with the lack of moisture and the high winds lately, conditions are really dry and prime for fires.

(photo contributed)




Water Department To Close Industrial Road Next Week

(Le Mars) –– Le Mars city water department has announced it will be closing Industrial Road at the intersection of Industrial Road and 18th Street Southwest during the week of February 24th through March 2nd.  Water Department Superintendent, Rich Sudtelgte says the road will be closed three different times for up to four hours each time the road will be closed.  Sudtelgte says additional updates with specific times will be shared with the public next week.




Taylor’s Eminent Domain Bill Fails To Garner Support

(Des Moines) — A bill that was introduced by Republican State Senator Jeff Taylor of Sioux Center calling for the Iowa Utilities Board not to grant eminent domain rights to private companies wanting to install pipelines across Iowa to transport carbon dioxide from ethanol plants has failed to move out of the Senate Commerce Committee. Taylor explains the purpose behind the his bill.

A subcommittee held a hearing on Taylor’s bill earlier this week, and the hearing garnered a lot of attention with several farmers and landowners testifying in favor of the bill and against the pipeline companies from using eminent domain powers.

Taylor says he was disappointed the bill couldn’t garner enough support from other Republican state senators.  He tells of why the bill was pulled from the Commerce committee agenda.

Taylor says he knows a lot of people is disappointed, frustrated, and outright angry with how the bill was handled.

Today, Friday, February 18th is the first “funnel” deadline for the Iowa legislature, meaning any introduced legislation to be considered had to have moved through the committee level before today’s date.




Governor Signs School Funding Bill

(Des Moines, IA) — Governor Kim Reynolds has signed the first bill into law from this session of the Iowa Legislature. Reynolds signed the bill which provides Iowa school districts a two-and-a-half percent increase in funding for each student in the next budget year. The plan Republicans backed gives schools an estimated 159 million dollars in new money. Democrats say that isn’t enough money, and sought to raise school funding by 300 million dollars this year.




Private Scholarship Plan Kept Alive By House Speaker

(Des Moines, IA) — The governor’s plan for state-funded private school scholarships remains eligible for debate as House Speaker Pat Grassley used his authority to shift the bill to another House committee. The bill as currently written did not have enough support among Republicans on the House Education Committee, dooming its chances of clearing the panel by today’s (Friday’s) deadline for a committee vote. Grassley has reassigned the bill to the House Appropriations Committee, where all bills are eligible for a vote at any time. He says they want to have further discussions and see if there is a way to get the support needed.




Senate Leader Say Tax Credits Part Of Corporate Tax Discussion

(Des Moines, IA) — Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver says tax credits are a part of the discussion as Senate Republicans press to cut the corporate income tax rate. A new report shows the State of Iowa issued nearly 44 million dollars worth of tax refunds last year to corporations claiming a tax credit for research activities. Whitver says if the state is going to give out all these tax credits and exemptions then they can’t get the rate low enough. He says they want to balance that, so the state is more competitive.




Iowa Congresswoman:  President Needs To Keep The Pressure On Russia

(Washington, DC)  —  Congresswoman Ashley Hinson says the president needs to keep the pressure on Russia.  There are mixed reports about Russian troops being pulled away. from the Ukraine border.  The Iowa Republican says President Biden must make it clear to President Putin there will be severe consequences if Russia invades.  Hinson says threatening to use sanctions isn’t enough.  She warns continuing to project weakness will “embolden our enemies.”




Iowa House Committee Approves Legislation Standardizing Election Rules

(Des Moines, IA)  —  A committee in the Iowa House has approved legislation standardizing rules for election recounts.  A co-author of the bill, Republican Representative Bobby Kaufmann, says it also bans outside money for influencing public elections and ensures that the voter I-D loop is closed.  Kaufmann says all 99 Iowa counties would conduct recounts the same way.  His legislation would require Iowans casting an early ballot to put their voter I-D number or driver’s license number on the outside of the absentee ballot envelope.




Newton School Bus Driver Fired After Surprise Failure Of Drug Test

(Newton, IA)  —  A longtime bus driver for the Newton Community School District says it was a complete surprise when she failed a drug test after a minor accident.  Seventy-six-year-old Peg Esperanza was fired.  She says she was shocked to learn that C-B-D oil used for her arthritis triggered the positive test result for drugs.  Esperanza says she started using the product a couple of months ago, saying it helped her on the job.  She drove children with special needs to and from school.  Now, she says she will have to move from the Newton area because she can’t afford her apartment anymore.