Wednesday News, June 3
Le Mars Fire Department Gets New Fire Truck
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department has a new fire truck to help with their arsenal of fire fighting equipment. Fire Chief Dave Schipper says the truck is known as a "Quint" which provides several features of many trucks built into one rig.
Schipper says it is advisable to replace trucks, or at the least, place them on reserve status every 20 to 25 years.
Some people may wonder why the city needs a new fire truck, but Chief Schipper explains the city is growing, both with its industries and with its residential areas, and the city's fire department needs to stay ahead of the city's growth.
The Le Mars Fire Chief says the new fire truck will be the first to respond for many of the city's emergencies.
Schipper says another feature on the new truck is its ability to carry foam for petroleum or chemical based fires.
The local fire department exhibited the new fire truck to the mayor and city council during their Tuesday meeting. The truck was built by Smeal Company based in Synder, Nebraska. Prior to the time Le Mars was able to have possession of the new truck, it was used by the Smeal Company at fire department conventions and trade shows.
Fireworks Show To Be Featured On Sunday, July 5th
(Le Mars) -- It was announced during the Tuesday city council meeting that the traditional fireworks show will be held on Sunday, July 5th, instead of Saturday, July 4th. City officials say by holding the fireworks show on Sunday evening, it will allow a better opportunity to hire a professional pyrotechnican. There are few professional pyrotechnicans available on July 4th since several other communities are also celebrating independence day with fireworks. Also, it was noted additional fire fighters personnel are available on Sunday evening rather than on Saturday. City officials also thought that by having the fireworks show on Sunday evening, more Le Mars citizens will have a chance to celebrate with family and friends elsewhere on Saturday, but still be able to return home on Sunday and enjoy the Le Mars fireworks show.
City Council Discusses Noise Complaints
(Le Mars) -- City Council members discussed the town's noise ordinance during its regular meeting on Tuesday. The city had received 23 complaints about the loud level of noise from residents from various locations within the city. The complaints were regarding an outdoor concert and fundraiser held at the Mr. P's Sport's Bar and Grill on Friday, May 29th. Police Chief Stuart Dekkenga reported to the city council that his department responded twice to the event, and had advised the organizers of the multiple complaints. During the discussion, Dekkenga says it is a balancing act between following up on the complaints, and allowing the entity to continue with its fundraising activity. The city council took no action on the issue, but merely discussed the situation.
Supervisors Tell Mike's Saloon And Steakhouse To Improve Septic Issues
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors heard from the owner of Mike's Saloon and Steakhouse during its regular weekly meeting. The restaurant is located near the southern border of Plymouth County, on county road K-22 as you first approach Sioux City. At issue is a complaint that had been filed against the restaurant and night club regarding its sewage disposal. Before the county board of supervisors were going to offer approval of the establishment's liquor license, they wanted some assurance from the owner that he was taking positive actions to remedy his sewage issues, and resolve the complaint filed against him. Brett Bagley appeared before the supervisors along with his 90 year old mother, who has been the owner for the last 30 years. Bagley told the supervisors he has been taking several steps to correct his septic problems, and he thought it would resolve the issues and the complaints filed by his neighbors. The supervisors granted a new liquor license to Mike's Saloon with the condition that he has 60 days to have an inspector check out his improvements to his septic system, and he must present evidence to the county supervisors that everything is working properly.
MidAmerican Announces Hike In Electric Rates
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Many Iowans can expect higher electric bills soon, thanks to higher summer temperatures and higher rates being charged by MidAmerican Energy.
The Des Moines-based utility is notifying customers their bills will likely climb during the summer months of June, July, August and September.
MidAmerican Energy spokeswoman Ruth Comer says summer rates are higher "because our cost to produce electricity increases ... as demand increases."
In addition, MidAmerican is raising its base rate this month by 3.5 percent, thanks to Iowa regulators who approved three years of rate increases.
Last year's 3.6 percent annual average increase didn't become effective until September. Comer says the average annual increase next year will be 3.3 percent.
Lawmakers Back In Des Moines To Finish Up With Work
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa lawmakers have returned to the state Capitol as they move closer to shutting down the 2015 session
The full membership of the House and Senate reported for duty Tuesday, as lawmakers work to wrap up the 2015 legislative session. Both sides started voting on budget bills, with a judicial branch budget winning approval in both chambers.
House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, a Republican from Hiawatha, said lawmakers "should be able to get this done this week."
Under a compromise financial plan revealed Monday, the state will spend about $7.3 billion for the upcoming fiscal year. The tentative deal includes $7.168 billion in ongoing spending, plus an additional $125 million in one-time expenses.
Lawmakers cannot adjourn without a budget agreement for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Legislators Hope To Finish Education Funding Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers in the Republican-led Iowa House have approved a small funding increase for the school year that starts in the fall of 2016, but the move is not expected to win favor in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
The House on Tuesday approved a plan that would provide about $125 million in new dollars in that year, with some of the money going to a teacher leadership program. But Democrats said the funding level was inadequate. Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal said his members would not consider the proposal.
The Legislature is supposed to approve school funding levels more than a year before the academic year starts, but they often fail to meet that requirement.
Lawmakers have reached a tentative agreement on funding for the coming school year.
World Pork Expo Begins In Des Moines
(Des Moines) -- Pork producers from around the globe will convene in Des Moines, Iowa for the next three days to attend the 27th annual World Pork Expo. The World Pork Expo features the largest pork industry trade show and exhibition. Dave Warner serves as the Director of Communications for the National Pork Producers Council. He says this year's show will feature more than 400 industry trade exhibitors, and international visitors from more than 40 different countries, which is up from previous years.
Warner says the pork producer will gain knowledge at the World Pork Expo, but he says the pork exhibition also offers plenty of opportunities of information for the consumer. Starting with samples of bar-b-qued pork.
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is scheduled to address pork producers at a luncheon scheduled for today (Wednesday).