Thursday Afternoon News, January 9
Truck Fire At New Wastewater Treatment Plant
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department responded to a straight truck that caught on fire at the construction site of the new Le Mars wastewater treatment facility located at 30979 Highway 3. The fire was reported at about 10:45 a.m. Thursday morning. The truck is owned by Mongan Painting and Sandblasting of Cherokee. When fire officials arrived on the scene, the truck was fully engulfed. The fire was contained primarily to the engine and cab of the truck. The truck's cargo unit was carrying an industrial air compressor that was not affected by the fire. The cab of the truck is considered a total loss. An electrical equipment malfunction in a power supply line in the engine compartment that supplied the compressor unit with power failed or arced causing the fire.
The fire remains under investigation. There were no injuries. Fire officials were on the scene for about a half an hour.
Historical Preservation Commission Elects New Officers
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Historic Preservation Commission met this morning and elected new officers for 2014. Dennis Hill was elected to again serve as chairman of the historical preservation commission. Linda Mayrose was elected to be vice chair, and Kay Luckett will assume the duties of secretary. The commission discussed the progress that is being made with the community development block grant. Mary Reynolds reported to the group that the city of Le Mars is assuming the lead role on the project. The organization also mentioned that additional tenants are living in the upstairs quarters of many of the downtown historic buildings. The Le Mars Historic Preservation Commission discussed applying for different grants, including Paint Iowa Beautiful, sponsored by Diamond Vogel paint company of Orange City. The group also talked about the success of the calendar featuring historic photos of various downtown buildings. The Le Mars Historical Preservation Commission hopes to be able to host a Tour of Homes in May. People interested in opening their home for display should contact Linda Mayrose.
State Fair Board Reverses Early Decision To Use Tickets For Concessions
(Le Mars) -- This past week the Iowa State Fair initially proposed the idea to have fairgoers purchase tickets for concessions rather than to use cash. However, the fair board received hundreds, if not thousands, of comments against the decision to implement a cashless fair for concessions. Iowa Governor Terry Branstad even got involved by urging the state fair board to reconsider its decision. State Fair Board director, Dave Hoffman of Merrill, says the latest decision is the fair will not implement such a program.
Hoffman says he told the fair board president he had nightmares about the new program. The state fair board director says the reason for the cashless program was to assist the concessioners.
Hoffman denies the idea the fair board rolled out the cashless program to make the concessioners more accountable for the state fair's share of sales. Hoffman says there are several other large venues, such as the Texas State Fair that have switched to the "cashless" method for concessions. But ultimately, Hoffman believes the right decision was made.
Schultz Says He Will Run For Congress
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Republican Secretary of State Matt Schultz is running for U.S. Rep. Tom Latham's House seat in Iowa's 3rd Congressional District.
Schultz announced his campaign Thursday in Council Bluffs where he used to serve on the City Council.
Since he was elected secretary of state in 2010, Schultz has pushed for a state voter ID law and focused on combatting voter fraud. He recently came under scrutiny over whether his use of federal money for voter-fraud investigations is proper.
Schultz is expected to be a formidable candidate for the seat that Latham unexpectedly decided to vacate at the end of his 10th term.
Last week, Republican David Young abandoned a U.S. Senate campaign to run for Latham's seat. Democratic former state Sen. Staci Appel, of Ackworth, announced her candidacy last year.
Jacobs Says He Has Raised $400,000 For Senate Campaign
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican Senate candidate Mark Jacobs says he raised $400,000 from donors last year, but the former energy executive won't reveal if he has put his own cash into his campaign account.
The Jacobs campaign announced Thursday that Jacobs had collected $400,000 during the fourth quarter of 2013. A campaign aide declined to detail Jacobs' contributors or say if Jacobs had made any additional personal contributions. That information will be available after campaign finance reports are filed later this month.
Jacobs, an Iowa native, formerly served as chief executive officer of Texas-based Reliant Energy. He has great personal wealth but hasn't disclosed whether he plans to spend his own money on his campaign.
Jacobs is one of several candidates seeking Iowa's open U.S. Senate seat in 2014.
Director For Public Health Resigns
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says the director of the Iowa Department of Public Health has resigned.
Branstad announced the resignation of Mariannette Miller-Meeks on Thursday.
Miller-Meeks, an Ottumwa ophthalmologist and Republican who twice ran unsuccessfully for Congress in Iowa's 2nd Congressional District, recently was criticized for comments she made at an October event that were highlighted in a Lee newspaper story about food aid. In those remark, Miller-Meeks inaccurately stated that the top item bought with food stamps in Iowa is Mountain Dew.
The statement isn't true and an agency spokeswoman later said "she regrets that she miscommunicated the information."
Miller-Meeks says she will explore job opportunities, as well as a potential third congressional run. She says she chose to leave and that she and the governor are on good terms.
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