Home News Friday News, July 8

Friday News, July 8



The Plymouth County Sheriffs Department this morning released the name of the victim of a single vehicle accident that occurred Thursday morning. 46 year old Matthew P Howell of Le Mars died of injuries suffered in the accident. The Sheriffs Department says Howell was the lone occupant in the vehicle. He apparently lost control while driving north on county road K64, east of Le Mars. The vehicle went into a ditch, rolled several times, and came to a rest on a fence line. Howell was fatally injured in the crash.



Four months ago, Merrill Fire and Rescue lost a key piece of firefighting equipment to a massive field fire east of town. It will soon be replaced.
Fire and Rescue Chief Jacob Conley says insurance coverage will replace the destroyed brush truck and some of its equipment.

Not all of their equipment is installed on the new vehicle.

Considering current economic conditions, replacement went quickly

Not all the replacement costs are covered. Conley figures they have to make up 25 to 30 thousand dollars on their own. They want to calculate a precise need before their fall fundraiser.

Conley says one of their two brush trucks was destroyed in a fast-moving field fire east of Merrill on April 23.

The two firemen in the truck escaped unhurt. Conley says the department’s two brush trucks fill an important role in their service area.

The Merrill Fire and Rescue covers the community of Merrill, and about 100 square miles of rural Plymouth County.


A Sioux Center man was arrested early this morning in Plymouth on an outstanding warrant.
51 year old Stephen Eric Vangrouw was arrested 3 am today. The warrant is for failure to appear for a hearing on an original charge of violation of probation and possession of marijuana 3rd offense.



The Midwest Drought monitor shows extreme drought has expanded slightly in northwest Iowa, now covering nearly all of Plymouth County, half of Woodbury County, and now half of Cherokee County. Thunderstorms brought locally heavy rainfall and drought relief to parts of the central to northern Great Plains. However, 7-day temperatures averaged above-normal throughout the Great Plains.



The Ida County Sheriff has identified the three adults injured in Wednesday’s explosion and fire at a house near Battle Creek, Iowa. 42 year old Jeremy Bruning, 68-year old Sandra Kay Jepsen and 46 year old Joel Stapleton were the victims inside the house  when the explosion occurred. An unidentified fourth person outside the house helped the three victims. Stapleton was transported to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City. Jepsen and Bruning were transported to Horn Memorial Hospital in Ida Grove. The state fire marshal is conducting an investigation into the cause of the explosion.



The Legislative Services Agency reports that Iowa tax collections for the fiscal year that ended June 30th were up by more than 12 percent.  Final figures could change when accounting records are complete and tax refunds are sent.  That work will be done over the next two-and-a-half months.  The official estimate of state tax revenue for the fiscal year was set in March – at four-point-two percent.  Now, it looks like the actual increase in receipts will be at least twice that much.



The only Democrat in Iowa’s congressional delegation says she’s angry about the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v Wade and Congresswoman Cindy Axne says Democrats at the national level are working to codify abortion rights, but it’s challenging given Senate debate rules.

Axne hosted a roundtable with abortion rights supporters at Planned Parenthood administrative offices in Des Moines this week.

Axne, who is from West Des Moines, is seeking a third term in the U.S. House. Former President Donald Trump has just endorsed Axne’s Republican opponent, Zach Nunn of Bondurant. Trump called Nunn a conservative warrior who will support farmers, cut taxes and protect Second Amendment gun rights.



There’s a new report on so-called green jobs in Iowa.  A consultant for Working-Nation, Paula DiPerna, says Iowa is in a perfect position to succeed and grow in the green economy.  Green jobs are those which directly or indirectly benefit the environment.  DePerna says 13-thousand Iowans now work in the green economy and another 600-thousand Iowans could be reskilled to join it. The report says Iowa workers who get reskilled could see a salary boost of eight- to ten-thousand dollars a year. The report ranks Iowa number-one in the nation for the amount of its electricity produced by clean power — at 58-percent.



The Iowa DNR says June’s precipitation was 1.51 inches below normal statewide.  June is Iowa’s wettest month, averaging around 5.25 inches.  Last month, it was 3.75 inches.  For the first time since last August, extreme drought conditions were noted in the northwest third of the state, and those conditions were worsening  toward the end of the month.  This is the third consecutive month of below normal rainfall.  Monthly precipitation totals decline in July, August and September.



A group proposing a carbon dioxide pipeline to service ethanol plants in eastern Iowa has asked state regulators for a public meeting schedule. Wolf Carbon Solutions proposes a pipeline running across 5 eastern Iowa counties into a line extending into Illinois. The Iowa Utilities Board is considering the request for public meetings on the proposal that would be held in September. The I-U-B is already in the process of looking at two other proposed pipelines. Summit Carbon Solutions proposes a CO-2 pipeline through Iowa to North Dakota.  Texas-based navigator is proposing a pipeline through four northeast Iowa counties.