Monday Afternoon News, October 7
Climatologist Comments On October Tornadoes
(Le Mars) -- Nine tornadoes were spotted in Northeast Nebraska and Northwest Iowa on Friday evening. One of which touched down in Plymouth County about ten miles west of Le Mars. But how common is it to have tornadoes in October? State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says Iowa has had tornadoes in October, but it doesn't happen that often.
The state climatologist says despite the tornadoes that did damage on Friday, this year has been a low year for the number of tornadoes in Iowa.
Fire Department Educates Children On Fire Safety
(Le Mars) -- This week is Fire Prevention Week, and the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department will spend a lot of time educating students about the dangers of fires. Fire officials will either visit each school, or host students at the fire station. Fire Chief Dave Schipper says the focus this year is on kitchen fires and he shares some startling statistics.
Schipper says this is a good time to check smoke detectors, and he says fire prevention education efforts have already begun. He knows the message has been getting through to the students from the comments he hears.
The Le Mars Fire Department was recently honored with an award, in part, because of its fire prevention efforts. The Le Mars Fire Chief says the prevention education program was started long before he became chief, and he credits the fire department and community for having a low number of fires.
Close to 500 people attended the pancake breakfast held on Sunday at the Le Mars fire station. It is an annual event to help kick off the awareness of fire prevention week.
Fire Officials Investigate Cause Of Garage Fire
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities are investigating the cause of a fire that engulfed two home garages in Des Moines.
The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/1co60ut ) crews extinguished the fire Monday morning on the 800 block of Buchanan Street. A plume of dark smoke was visible from nearby Interstate Highway 235.
Fire officials say they responded first to a report of a garage fire. A second garage was engulfed by the time they arrived. Both garages were destroyed and some power lines were affected.
No injuries have been reported.
Red Oak Bar Destroyed By Fire
RED OAK, Iowa (AP) - Firefighters from several departments have joined forces to battle a blaze in downtown Red Oak.
The fire was reported about 12:30 a.m. Monday at the old Pit Stop Bar. No injuries have been reported.
Firefighters were extra cautious because of concerns that the building's roof would collapse.
The fire cause is being investigated.
Despite Government Shutdown Guard Returns To Work
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa National Guard has recalled nearly all of the full-time federal technicians who were furloughed by the partial government shutdown.
The Guard said Monday that the employees are returning to work because of an interpretation of a law called the Pay Our Military Act.
More than 1,000 employees were furloughed on Oct. 1. Most are federal technicians that are uniformed members of the Guard.
Five federal technicians will remain furloughed. More than 15 other employees will continue to be temporarily laid off. And nearly 100 more employees are scheduled to be temporarily laid off beginning Oct. 18.
Officials say more than 2,000 full-time Guard employees remain on duty.
West Des Moines Is A "Connected City"
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - West Des Moines is the third city in Iowa and the 12th nationwide to be designated as a connected community for its efforts to increase high speed internet connectivity.
Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday that West Des Moines has joined Indianola and Webster City in Iowa to earn the designation.
Communities must demonstrate adequate broadband availability, speed, competition, and broadband use. When a community excels in these areas, it is qualified to be a Connected Certified Community. The program is part of an initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
West Des Moines Mayor Steve Gaer says improved internet and other city-led changes have generated more than $25 million in private investment and it's growing. He says it proves the private sector will make investments if local government helps.
License Plates To Be Revealed
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - The ownership of Gov. Terry Branstad's state vehicle and others in his security detail will no longer be a mystery to curious law enforcement officials.
An Iowa Department of Public Safety spokesman said Monday that license plates for Branstad's Chevy Tahoe and 13 others in its fleet have been added to computerized files.
Before, anyone who ran the plates through police databases learned that the registration information wasn't on record. That status meant that cities who operate traffic cameras would not give them tickets and officers who otherwise needed to check them were left in the dark.
Now, such inquiries will show the vehicles are registered to Iowa DPS.
Sgt. Scott Bright says the information has also been added for unmarked vehicles driven by captains, and more changes are likely.
School Bus Accident
VAN HORNE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a school bus landed nose first in a ditch following a morning crash in eastern Iowa, but no one was seriously injured.
The Benton County school bus collided with another vehicle Monday morning on a rural road south of Van Horne. The impact knocked the bus into the side of the road.
Both drivers were taken to a local hospital, but their injuries did not appear to be serious. A disabled student on board the bus was securely strapped into place and did not appear to be injured.
A crane later removed the bus from the ditch.
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