Home News Thursday News, June 30

Thursday News, June 30



A fire caught on the balcony of a Merrill apartment building this afternoon.  Merrill Fire Department and Le Mars Fire and Rescue responded to 3rd St north in Merrill, where a lit cigarette caused a fire to start on the balcony.  Damage was minimal, and no one was hurt.


A family from the Ukraine will be among the special guests at the July 4 celebration in Le Mars.
Judy Bowman of the Plymouth County Historical Museum says Alex and Natalai Turkinov of Sioux City will be in the parade Monday.

The Turkinovs will also have an opportunity to speak during the celebration.

Their presentation will cover recent events in that country, whose army is still contending with Russia in their homeland.

The Plymouth County Historical Museum is the sponsor for the 4th of July celebration in Le Mars. The day will feature a parade, a luncheon, activities at the Historical Museum, a watermelon feed, a concert by the municipal band, and the Skyshow fireworks display to top off the day’s events.


The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office will be hosting a National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) Basic School Resource Officer training course this summer. Sioux County School Resource Officer Waylon Pollema is part of the Iowa S-R-O Association and he looks forward to the training.

Sioux Center is considering adding an S-R-O and Pollema says that’s another reason he thought it would be good to have the training in the area. The course is a forty-hour block of instruction designed for law enforcement officers and school safety professionals working with school administrators. Pollema says role of an SRO has three directives.

The second is teacher & law related education which Pollema says is when officers come into the classroom and help in the class with whatever the teacher wants. Pollema says the third part of the triad is the most important, and his personal favorite, counseling students. With school shootings in the news recently, Pollema says S-R-Os play a role, but the majority of planning for serious situations like that start at the local level.

Pollema says NASRO provides top-notch training in all three of those concepts. The training course will be held August 8th-12th at the new Sioux Center Community High School.



It was described as a large, fast-moving, dangerous fire. A fire broke out at Van’s Sanitation in Le Mars yesterday afternoon.
Le Mars Fire-Rescue Chief Dave Schipper said the fire originated in a loaded semi-trailer parked outside the building at a loading dock. It’s origin was a lithium battery in the trailer that exploded due to overheating. The fire spread from the trailer to inside the recycling center by a strong south wind. It ignited several bales of recycled materials inside the building. At first, employees tried to fight the blaze, but the fire department was quickly called in. Firemen and Van’s Sanitation Employees removed the bales, cleared loose materials, and tore apart the trailer in order to extinguish the fire. Schipper said three water lines on the ground and two aerial streams knocked down the flames. The fire was under control within 45 minutes, but fire crews were on the scene for three hours. One employee suffered minor burins in the initial stages of the fire, and several firemen were checked because of the hot and windy conditions prevalent during the fire. Damages from the fire are still being assessed.


Governor Kim Reynolds says she has to pursue legal options on two abortion-related laws that were challenged in court before deciding whether to call legislators back in special session to pass abortion restrictions. Reynolds signed a bill into law in 2018 that would forbid abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually the sixth week of a pregnancy, but it never took effect due to a court injunction. She’s asking the courts to remove that block. She’s also asking the Iowa Supreme Court to revise its recent ruling that upheld a 24-week waiting period for abortions. Reynolds is making the legal argument that the U-S Supreme Court’s ruling that overturned Roe-V-Wade should make it more difficult to challenge Iowa laws that restrict abortion in the future.



The City of Le Mars has established a narrow window where residents can shoot off fireworks.  Fire Chief Dave Schipper says that decision was made just a few years ago.

There is a new wrinkle in the fireworks law, and it’s a change that Chief Schipper fought against.

Schipper says the rules change handcuffs the city in terms of where temporary fireworks stands are placed in Le Mars.

Schipper has some advice for people shooting off their own fireworks.  Keep them on your own property – keep your fireworks separated – have water or an extinguisher handy – don’t throw hot remnants in the trash – be courteous of your neighbors and pets – pick up your debris when finished – Shoot your fireworks always under adult supervision.


The City of Le Mars has announced the hire of a Community Economic Development Director. He is Mark Gaul, who currently serves in the same capacity for the city of Orange City.
City Manager Jason Vacura says Gaul will help with planning, and oversight of existing and future residential, commercial, and industrial growth. The city council recently approved a new development plan which brings community development solely under city control. Previously, development was under the umbrella of the Chamber of Commerce and the Le Mars Business Initiative Corporation. A Le Mars native, Gaul was economic development director for Orange City for the past nine years. He will begin his work in Le Mars on July 25.



One person was injured Tuesday, in a two vehicle crash four miles east of Hawarden.  The Sioux County Sheriffs Department says a Jeep and a semi collided at the intersection of Iowa Highway 10 and Coolidge avenue around 5 pm.  One of the drivers, 20 year old Yazmin Topete, was injured in the accident, and was transported to the Hawarden Hospital for treatment.  The driver of the semi, 29 year old Brandon Dekkers of Ireton, was not hurt, but was cited for failure to yield from the stop sign at the intersection.  Topete was also cited for not having a valid drivers license.

Hawarden Fire and Ambulance assisted the Sheriffs Department at the scene.



Democratic gubernatorial candidate Deidre DeJear (DEED-ruh deh-JEER) says her Republican opponent’s legal push to revive a six week abortion ban shows Governor Reynolds is determined to stand against the will of the vast majority of Iowans.  During an appearance in Sioux City just before Reynolds made her announcement, DeJear denounced last Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v Wade.

DeJear says reproductive rights will be a centerpiece of her campaign.

In a written statement released last (Tuesday) night, said instead of focusing on abortion restrictions, it’s time for a governor who instead will address pressing issues like education, healthcare, housing and the workforce shortage.