Home News Thursday News, March 17th

Thursday News, March 17th


Police Department Uses Video Simulator Technology For Training

(Le Mars) — Le Mars Police Department has been using a new training tool that assists officers to help them make correct split-second decisions while on patrol.  Known as the MILO, it is a video screen simulator that can place an officer in various different scenarios, or it can be used as a target shooting range.  Le Mars Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte says the video simulator can help with de-escalation of a situation, or even help an officer’s target marksmanship.  Instead of using actual live ammunition, officers use a gun equipped with a laser to indicate where the shots are targeted.  Vande Vegte tells why the local police department made the investment for the training simulator.

The interactive realistic simulator may compare to a large video game with an image projected on to a screen that covers an entire wall.  The room at the police station is only used for the video simulator training.

Assistant Police Chief, Justin Daale says officers are encouraged to train with the video simulator at least once a month.

Daale says deputies from the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office have used the simulator for training, as has the Combined Emergency Rescue Team or CERT, the tactical unit that consists of Le Mars Police, Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office, Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, Cherokee Police and Cherokee Sheriff’s Office.  The Assistant Police Chief says in the future, the Le Mars Police Department may invite officers from other smaller communities to assist with their training using the simulator.  Chief Vande Vegte says the program is not always to use lethal weapons, but to learn ways to de-escalate the scenario.

Daale says the simulator may not be just for police officers, but businesses can utilize the technology to help calm down an angry and irate customer.

Vande Vegte says the police department may work with the Le Mars Community Theater from the Postal Playhouse to create additional video scenarios that can be used for additional training purposes.




Law Enforcement To Step Up Patrol Presence During St. Patrick’s Day And Through The Weekend

(Le Mars) — St. Patrick’s Day is a day known for celebrations and parades, and the Iowa State Patrol wants to be sure you celebrate responsibly.  Law enforcement officials will be stepping up their patrol presence during St. Patrick’s Day and throughout the weekend.

That’s Iowa State Patrol trooper Kari Yaneff.  She says although St. Patrick’s Day is not an official holiday, it never-the-less sees its share of intoxicated drivers on the roadways.

Yaneff says with the warmer temperatures, and parades, they anticipate more people to be on the streets, and highways throughout the entire weekend.




County Supervisors Approve Contractor Bids For Culvert Installation Projects

(Le Mars) — Plymouth County Board of Supervisors approved the contractor bids for three separate culvert projects on Tuesday during their regular weekly meeting.  Four different contractors submitted bids on all three culvert projects with the same contractor having the lowest bid on each of the three projects.  Richards Construction from Sac City was approved by the county governing board to perform all three culvert installation projects.  The first project involves a culvert installation in the northwest corner of the county on Fir Avenue and near county road C-12.  The bids had ranged from a high of $445,562 to the successful bid of $375,806.75. with an estimate listed at $400,735.  The second culvert project is a mile south of Craig located on 120th Street.  Richards Construction, again was the successful bidder with a submitted bid of $183,413.60.  The estimate for that project was at $193,931.  The third culvert project will be located in northeast area of Plymouth County near county road C-16 and Shamrock Avenue.  The successful bid was submitted by Richards Construction with a bid of $176,032 and 95 cents with an engineering estimate of $183,979 and 50 cents.




State To Invest $100M In Air Transportation System

(Des Moines, IA)  —  The eight commercial airports in Iowa are eligible for 100-million dollars in funding to support modernization and expansion projects.  The money could be used for terminal construction and renovations, new parking structures, and new hangars.  The money is coming from the federal American Rescue Plan and will be administered by the Iowa Department of Transportation.  Governor Kim Reynolds says Iowa’s airports are “essential for state tourism, business growth and development, and economic prosperity.”




Iowa Chief Economist Worried Most By Inflation, Ukraine Invasion

(Des Moines, IA)  —  Iowa’s chief economist warns that as the recovery picks up steam there are still potential pitfalls ahead.  Robin Anderson says she’s worried the most about inflation and the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  Those two things will impact food and gas prices for everyone.  Anderson calls that a real risk as the job market moves forward – both nationally and in Iowa.  She says the most recent jobs report shows the state’s manufacturing sector bounced back in January.  Anderson says the move by the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates probably won’t have much of an impact on the job market.




Waterloo Woman Will Spend 6 Months In Prison For Buying Gun For Her Friend

(Cedar Rapids, IA)  —  A 21-year-old Waterloo woman will spend six months in prison for buying a gun for her friends.  Destiny Harrington pleaded guilty to making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm.  The plea was entered last November.  Federal prosecutors say Harrington told the business she was buying the gun for herself in August 2021.  She was actually buying it for a friend who was prohibited from possessing guns because he was a felon.  Less than 48 hours later the handgun was used to shoot someone to death.




Firefighter Injured While Battling Large Grass Fire In Sergeant Bluff Tuesday

(Sergeant Bluff, IA)  —  A Sergeant Bluff firefighter was injured while battling a large grass fire near Interstate 29 Tuesday afternoon.  K-M-E-G T-V reports the victim was treated on the scene.  Law enforcement officials say they evacuated the Woodford Mobile Home Park due to the heavy smoke and the proximity of the flames.  Emergency responders were called to the location at about 3:30 p-m.  The cause of the fire is still being investigated.  Sergeant Bluff Fire Chief Anthony Gaul is reminding people of the dangers of open fires.  He says thousands of dollars of property in the county have been burned over the past two or three weeks.




Debate On COVID Vaccine Ban Derailed

(Des Moines, IA) — Twelve House Republicans joined with Democrats in voting against even starting debate on a plan to ban COVID vaccine requirements in businesses, schools, and government agencies.  The proposal would prohibit hiring and firing decisions that are based on an employee’s COVID vaccination status unless federal regulations require it. And half of a 50-thousand-dollar state fine for a COVID-related firing would be paid to the fired employee. A spokesperson for G-O-P leaders says there was an understanding that 51 Republicans would vote to start debate on that plan, but when votes were cast, there were only 48.




Sioux City Man Returns to Prison for Selling Unregulated ED Drugs

(Sioux City, IA) — For the second time in over a decade, a Sioux City man is going to prison for selling unapproved versions of drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction. Sixty-one-year-old David Kempema was sentenced to 18 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to selling misbranded drugs with the intent to defraud. Information from his plea agreement showed Kempema ordered pills from India or Germany that contained the same active ingredients as Viagra and Cialis. He placed ads in men’s restrooms in businesses along Interstate 29, advertising the pills as “dietary supplements” called “Supermale” and “All Natural Male.” Kempema had reached another plea agreement for doing about the same thing back in 2011 and was sentenced back then to 60 days in jail.




Mammoth Tooth Found in Sheldon

(Sheldon, IA) — An engineering contractor working on a lift station project for the city of Sheldon found something unexpected. It was a woolly mammoth tooth unearthed after recent digging. The tooth was on property owned by Northwest Iowa Community College near the Sheldon Rec Trail, about 800 feet west of the Floyd River. Experts say the tooth, which weighs more than eleven pounds, was likely in the ground since the last glacial maximum which is suspected to have been over 20-thousand years ago.  Northwest Iowa Community College officials say they will retain ownership of the tooth, but will display it at the Sheldon Prairie Museum in Sheldon.