An open burning ban was quickly put in place across Plymouth County, after several dangerous fires broke out on a very windy Saturday.
Le Mars Fire-Rescue Chief Dave Schipper had removed a previous burn ban.
But Weather conditions changed since the end of March.
Schipper says the open burning ban will be in place for some time to come.
Schipper describes what the burn ban means.
Schipper says fighting fires becomes an expensive effort.
That’s why Plymouth County rely on each other to help in an emergency.
There were three major fires in Plymouth County Saturday, north of Le Mars, east of Merrill, and east of Remsen. Two farmsteads were lost, a couple were saved. One grass vehicle was destroyed in one of the field fires, but no injuries or deaths were reported.
The legislature has sent the governor a bill that would give more medical professionals authority to recommend patients be permitted to park in handicapped spaces. Under the bill, licensed physical therapists and occupational therapists would be able to recommend the Iowa D-O-T issue license plates for Iowans with permanent disabilities or permits that hang on a rear view mirror for those with temporary disabilities. This is the bill’s sponsor, Representative Dennis Bush of Cherokee.
Bush says under current law it’s only doctors, physicians assistants and nurse practitioners who can recommend Iowans with a disability get special parking privileges.
The bill also lets health care professionals in other states issue the recommendations to the Iowa D-O-T for plates or temporary permits that allow a vehicle to park in designated handicapped spaces. The bill passed the House unanimously in February and the Senate gave it unanimous approval Monday.
KINGSLEY MAN SENTENCED
A Kingsley man was sentenced in Sioux County Monday on burglary and assault charges.
Sioux County Attorney Thomas Kunstle says 52 year old Troy D. Bainbridge was sentenced to up to ten years in prison. As part of a plea agreement, the prison term was suspended, and Bainbridge was ordered to 180 days in jail. After serving 90 days, he will serve 90 days on work release.
Bainbridge was involved in a burglary of an Orange City residence last September 19. He threatened the resident with a handgun before leaving the home without firing a shot. Three others in the residence cooperated with officers, leading to Bainbridge’s arrest. Five charges were lodged against him, including Burglary, Assault while participating in a felony, and Going Armed with Intent. Bainbridge was arrested on January 8 for violating a no contact order, after sending a threatening text message to one of the victims of the burglary.
As part of the plea agreement, Bainbridge was fined 15-thousand dollars, and was placed on probation for up to 3 years.
APARTMENT FIRE DEATH
One person was killed in an apartment fire in Sheldon, in O’Brien County. Firefighters from three area departments were called out before One A-M Monday morning for a structure fire in the central part of town. The identity of the victim has not been released, pending positive identification and notification of next of kin.
Crews have been working to clean up and investigate what appears to be a diesel spill at or near a state park in northwest Iowa. Trapper’s Bay State Park sits along the north shore of Silver Lake. Dickinson County Emergency Management director Mike Ehret says someone passing by noticed a shine on top of the water of Silver Lake and the smell of fuel. The spill was reported late last week. An official with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the investigation isn’t done, but the spill may have happened when an above ground storage tank was overfilled. Silver Lake has more than nine and a half miles of shoreline and covers more than a thousand acres. Trapper’s Bay State Park was established in 1933 and has a picnic shelter that’s on the National Register of Historic Places.
LA NINA STRENGTHENS
The climate-driving weather system known as La Nina may be sticking around still longer, impacting how Iowa’s weather evolves well past summer. Meteorologist Dennis Todey, director of the U-S-D-A’s Midwest Climate Hub in Ames, says the experts had expected La Nina to fade this spring. Instead, it’s “strengthened in certain ways.” Todey says the forecasting models for the next several months show a tendency toward above-normal temperatures and a lack of rain. A La Nina event occurs when Pacific Ocean surface temperatures cool, and it influences weather across North America.
Gasoline prices remain about 20-cents a gallon shy of their all-time high in Iowa. Meredith Mitts, spokeswoman for Triple-A-Iowa, says prices at the pump appear to have stabilized.
The statewide average is three-84 a gallon and Mitts doubts prices will drop dramatically anytime soon.
The start of the summer travel season is still several weeks away but Mitts says it’s a safe bet prices will rise around the big holidays like Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day.
Given the current statewide average of three-84 a gallon, that price is more than a dollar higher than Iowa’s average a year ago of two-78. Iowa’s highest-ever average of four-oh-two a gallon was set in July of 2008.