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News for Friday, July 15

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SHOTS FIRED – UPDATE

LE MARS DEATH INVESTIGATION

Le Mars Police and the State Department of Criminal Investigation are looking into an incident last night that resulted in a suspect taking his own life.
In a press release, Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte says officers were serving a search warrant at 1215 7th Ave SE in reference to an investigation. After they knocked on the door, a male suspect fired several rounds at the officers. One of those rounds went into a neighbors’s home, lodging in a bedroom headboard. The officers retreated, and set up a security perimeter around the residence. The Combined Emergency Response team, made up of members of Le Mars Police, the Plymouth County Sheriffs Department, and surrounding counties and Cherokee Police, was activated. There followed several failed attempts to make contact with the suspect. The Response Team entered the residence around 3 am this morning, and found the suspect deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The DCI is investigating the incident.

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Gun shots were fired from a residence at 1215 7th Avenue South east in Le Mars last evening around 9:30 p.m. Le Mars Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte says officers attempted to serve a search warrant at that address.  They heard shots fired inside, and breaking glass.  A safety perimeter was set around the home.  One resident reported a bullet had entered their home, striking a piece of furniture. Chief Vande Vegte would not disclose any injuries that may have occurred.  The joint Emergency Response team was called in.  Vande Vegte says there is no danger to the public at this time, but the incident remains under investigation.

 

DROUGHT PICTURE

The latest Drought Monitor map shows drought conditions in northwest Iowa are still rated severe to extreme. That is unchanged from last week’s report. A week of heavy rainfall has improved the rest of Iowa’s drought picture. An active weather pattern over much of the Midwest and Southeast brought with it ample rain over many areas, with some places recording more than 5 inches for the week. Widespread precipitation over the region helped to stave off much expansion and intensification of drought in the region.Just over 45 percent of the state has some level of drought. That’s an improvement of five percent in just one week.

 

HOT, DRY AUGUST

The long-range forecasts are calling for hot and dry conditions to persist likely into August for Iowa and the rest of the Missouri River basin. Meteorologist Doug Kluck, the climate services director for the Central Region of the National Weather Service, says the outlook for the next month shows plenty of summertime heat for much of the nation’s midsection.

While large sections of Iowa have seen a few plentiful rain showers in recent days, Kluck says less precipitation is expected going forward over the next month.

He says the forecast models point to a slightly-elevated chance for below-normal precipitation for Iowa and the region. The U-S Army Corps of Engineers is predicting runoff into the Missouri River system will be far below-normal through the end of the year.

 

RED FLAG LAW
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is calling on the Iowa Legislature to support a “red flag” law that he says would help reduce gun violence. Red flag laws involve reporting concerns to the police who can temporarily take a gun away from someone. Miller, a Democrat, says such laws work and that Iowa should take advantage of 750 million dollars allocated to states to develop and implement red-flag laws. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, a Republican, says adding another law doesn’t end the problem. She points out that Illinois has a red flag law in place and people were still killed by a gunman in the July Fourth Highland Park shooting.

 

LE MARS EXPLOSION

Cleanup continued at the site of a house explosion in Le Mars Wednesday morning.  Debris was spread over several blocks from the house on the corner of 3rd St SW and 4th Ave SW.  Fire Chief Dave Schipper says the explosion was ruled accidental.  There was a natural gas buildup in the basement of the house.  The landlord, Bill Anthony, was lighting a gas furnace, when the explosion occurred.  Anthony was badly burned, and is in a Lincoln, Nebraska burn unit.  The occupants of the home, Jeff and Laura Dimmick, received injuries in the explosion.  They were treated at Floyd Valley Hospital in Le Mars and released.  A GoFundMe page has been set up for the Dimmicks.  Two houses were destroyed in the explosion.  The area was blocked off while the rubble of the homes were removed.  Both homes were rental properties owned by Anthony.

IDA COUNTY EXPLOSION

We now know what caused an explosion at an Ida County residence on July Sixth. An investigation by the Fire Marshal and the Ida County Sheriff’s Department determined that the blast at a home near Battle Creek was caused by an underground gas leak in the liquid propane line. The explosion injured three people who were inside the home at the time. No updates are available on the condition of those victims.

 

SBA LOANS

Small businesses in 12 northwest Iowa counties are now eligible to apply for low‑interest federal disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.  These loans offset economic losses because of reduced revenues caused by drought in Cherokee and O’Brien counties that began July 5, 2022.  Small businesses in nine surrounding counties, including Plymouth, Sioux, and Woodbury counties are eligible.

Small nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred.

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications.

 

MED TRUCK

The second of three mobile medical simulation training trucks created for Iowa is now in service in Sioux City.  Sioux City Fire rescue training officer, Terry Ragaller, says they are putting it to use right away to train area first responders on trauma and medical conditions that may occur during RAGBRAI.

The first truck was delivered in June to Iowa City and the U-I College of Nursing. The program is funded with an eight-million-dollar grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust. Brian Rechkemm is the program coordinator for the medical truck, and says they include three mannequins —  an infant and an adult male and female — that are used to train in the treatment of  all manner of injuries

Rechkemm says they can provide a realistic look at any number of emergency situations.

The lasted truck will cover the western third of Iowa and will be housed at the Sioux City Rire Rescue Training Center. The third truck will cover central Iowa and will be headquartered in Des Moines when it is ready in the fall.

 

ERNST VISIT

U-S Senator Joni Ernst is wrapping up a two-day visit to the country’s southern border with Mexico today.  The Iowa Republican joined Texas Republican Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz for a visit to the region.  Ernst and five other senators took part in a night tour of the border area with law enforcement, an aerial border tour with U-S Customs and Border Protection, and they will meet with local landowners to discuss the impact of open border policies.