Home News Wednesday News, March 2nd

Wednesday News, March 2nd


Le Mars Fire And Rescue Respond To Grass Fire On Hwy 60

(Le Mars) — Le Mars Fire and Rescue responded to a grass fire on Highway 60 approximately 6 and a half miles northeast of Le Mars.  The fire was reported at about 1:30 p.m. alongside the northbound lanes of traffic between the highway and the railroad.  Fire Chief Dave Schipper says a cargo trailer that was being towed behind a pickup truck came unhitched which caused the fire.

Schipper says due to the extremely dry conditions the fire had spread quickly.

Plymouth County’s burn ban went into effect at 12:00 noon on Tuesday, March 1st.  Schipper says the ban forbids any brush pile burning, or controlled burns on grass areas, but people are still able to enjoy their backyard barbecue on their grill.

Only a handful of counties in Iowa has issued burn bans, but Schipper believes more counties will be added to the list if the dry conditions persist.

Schipper says the only way for the burn ban to be lifted is if Plymouth County receives sufficient amounts of moisture either with rain or snow, or a combination of both forms of precipitation.




City Finance Director Receives Chamber’s “Employee Of The Month” Award

(Le Mars) — The city’s financial director was the latest person to be recognized as the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce’s “Employee of the Month.”  Jacob Widman was given the honor just prior to the start of the city council meeting.  Widman was nominated by city administrator, Jason Vacura.  The nomination reads: ” Jacob Widman is currently the City of LeMars Finance and HR Director. He has not only excelled in both jobs duties asked of him by the job description but has willingly gone above and beyond when needed. He even took on the title and duties of City Clerk when Bev Langel retired after 41 years of service.

Northwest Bank official Brad Cave (right) presents the Chamber of Commerce “Employee Of The Month” award to City Finance Director Jacob Widman (left). 

Since Jacob’s hiring in December 2019, he has had to grasp the nuances of City budgeting. Jacob was asked to do this in a short time and staff and Council members have all been highly impressed with his abilities. Much, if not all, of the budget preparation falls on his shoulders and he has shown that he is more than capable of bearing that weight.

Jacob also had to take over HR and insurance duties when he came to the City. Both areas were unfamiliar to him in the beginning. He has not only grasped them with confidence, but SURPRISE, he has excelled!

The City of LeMars is fortunate to have this very smart and talented person on staff, who always displays a nice and positive attitude toward fellow employees. Jacob is someone who does not complain about workloads, maybe to his wife Amber, but we have not heard any complaints from him. He is very pleasant to work with and is friendly, kind and generous.

Jacob has become a significant member of the administrative team for the City of LeMars.”  On Monday, the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce recognized Libby Peters with Life Skills Training Center as the February “Employee of the Month.”




Voters In Remsen-Union And Akron-Westfield Approve School District’s Measures For Facility Maintenance

(Le Mars) — Voters in the Remsen-Union school district approved the measure allowing for the collection of the one-cent sales tax for improvements to the school district’s facilities.  243 people cast their ballots with 140 people voting yes, or 57.61 percent compared to 103 people, or 42.39 percent, voting against the measure.  With the passage of the vote, Remsen-Union school district will continue to collect the penny state sales tax through the year of 2049.  Akron-Westfield also held a special election on Tuesday involving the PPEL tax. PPEL is based upon property tax assessment.  A total of 240 people voted with 65 percent, or 156 people voting in favor of the measure, and 35 percent, or 84 people voting against the measure.  Both measures utilize funds to help with maintenance and upgrades to a school district’s facilities.




Police Department Investigating Two Separate Accidents From Monday

(Le Mars) — Le Mars Police are investigating two separate accidents that occurred on Monday.  The first accident happened on Central Avenue at approximately 2:05 p.m.  97 year old Ruth Barker of Le Mars was backing out from a parking spot in the 10 block of Central Avenue, when apparently instead of stepping on the brake, she instead stepped on the accelerator pedal, and crossed Central Avenue striking another vehicle that were legally parked on the opposite side of Central Avenue. There was a chain reaction when the second vehicle slid from the impact and hit a third vehicle that was also legally parked.  There were no injuries either to the driver Ruth Barker, or the passenger.  There was nobody in either of the other two parked vehicles that were across the street.



(Le Mars) —  The second accident happened at about 7:05 at the intersection of Highway 75 and County Road C-38 near NIPCO offices.  30 year old, Kaleb Hendricksen of Aurelia was driving a Ford pickup truck towing a flatbed trailer and was heading eastbound on C-38 when he failed to yield to a van heading northbound on Highway 75.  The Chrysler van was driven by 36-year old Trent Brown of Le Mars.  According to the traffic accident report, Brown had tried to avoid hitting the Hendricksen pickup, but was unable to do so.   All parties refused medical treatment.  The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was summoned to the accident scene.  Hendricksen was cited for failing to stop at a posted stop sign.

Accident images courtesy of the Le Mars Police Department.




Knights Of Columbus To Hold Ash Wednesday Fish Fry

(Le Mars) — Today is Ash Wednesday which means several fish fries from various organizations will take place.  The Le Mars chapter of the Knights of Columbus will hold their annual fish fry this evening.  Justin Freking serves as the president of the local Knights of Columbus chapter.  He says, this year, due to some inside renovations to the Knight of Columbus hall, the K-C’s will only hold a drive thru for the fish fry.

Come Friday, both the Knights of Columbus and the Le Mars Eagles Club will be holding fish fry.  The Eagles will have both take out as well as sit down serving.




Governor Reynolds Delivers Republican Response To State Of The Union Address

(Des Moines) — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds delivered the Republican response last evening following President Biden’s “State of the Union” address.  Reynolds says with the Biden Administration, it feels as though the nation has stepped back in time to the 70’s and early 80″s, the last time the United States saw this type of inflation rates.  Reynolds says President Biden has failed in leadership with foreign relations, and at home.

(photo contributed.)

She said the answer to inflation was less government action and cutting taxes. Reynolds also criticized the President’s foreign policy and said his actions before the Russian invasion were “too little too late.”




Democrats Respond to Governor

(Des Moines, IA) — State Democrats say Iowa’s Republican governor should have thanked President Biden for the federal pandemic relief in her response to the State of the Union. Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls (Walls) of Coralville says the governor tries to take credit for a lot of the work that the Biden Administration has done when it comes to doling those federal dollars out to various agencies and organizations across our state. House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst (KON-first) of Windsor Heights says Reynolds should have talked about unity during a moment of global crisis.




February Saw Less Snow Than Normal in Most Areas

(Undated) — State climatologist Justin Glisan says February had much less snow than normal. He says western Iowa was the driest part of the state and anywhere from eight to ten inches below average. Eastern and into central and north-central Iowa were anywhere from four to eight inches below average. Only the far southeastern tip of the state was above average for snowfall during February. Glisan says Iowa had a statewide average of 21 degrees in February, which is three degrees colder than normal.




Iowa House Targets “Nuisance” Bars

(Des Moines, IA) — A bill designed to shut down bars more quickly that are deemed a public safety nuisance has cleared the Iowa House. Republican Representative Ross Paustian (PAHSS-tee-un, first syllable rhymes with “loss”) of Walcott says the bill is a response to incidents in Davenport, Des Moines and Council Bluffs. He specifically cited an incident at a bar in downtown Davenport that had more than two thousand calls for police and extra patrols between 2017 and 2019. The bill establishes a legal process for city and county officials to immediately get a district court order to yank a bar’s liquor license if there have been frequent riots, fights, or gunfire at the business. Losing that liquor license effectively closes the bar. Under current law, an Iowa bar that loses its liquor license can remain open during the appeals process.