Saturday News, October 13
City Tree Disposal Site Catches On Fire
(Le Mars) -- Fire fighters worked through the night battling a fire at the City's Tree, Leaf, and Grass disposal site located on the west side of town near the Riverview ball parks. The call came in at about 7:24 p.m. and it wasn't long before the entire area of dry tree limbs and the leaf pile was fully engulfed with an inferno, creating one giant bon fire. The fire glowed during the evening darkness and could be seen for several miles. Fire chief Dave Schipper says their first concern were the mobile homes just west of the scene.
Schipper says the next goal of the fire officials were to contain the fire, knowing they would not be able to extinguish the blaze.
The Le Mars Fire chief suspects the fire may have started as a result of ashes being dumped at the site.
The Le Mars Fire Chief says they were fortunate in several ways. One was the fact the wind was blowing from the right direction, and second, the fire was isolated, and third, there was a fire hydrant within close proximity allowing fire officials to tap into the city water supply.
Schipper anticipates the fire will continue to burn and smolder for several days. Due to that fire, Le Mars mayor, Dick Kirchoff has closed the area until further notice. Residents with grass clippings, leaves, or tree limbs will have to dispose them at the Plymouth County Landfill.
Clinton Campaigns In Sioux City For Vilsack
(Sioux City) -- An estimated crowd of around a thousand people gathered outdoors on historic 4th Street in Sioux City Friday evening to hear Former President Bill Clinton. President Clinton came to Sioux City to campaign for Democratic 4th District Congressional candidate Christie Vilsack. Clinton says the election pitting Vilsack against Republican Congressman Steve King isn't simply Democrat versus Republican, it's about ideology.
The Former President spoke for about a half hour on a chilly evening, with much of his speech about the philosophical differences between the candidates.
The Sioux City speech capped off a cross country day of campaigning for Clinton, who earlier in the day spoke in Indiana and Michigan.
Fort Atkinson Man Charged With Tax Fraud
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A northeast Iowa man has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison for submitting two false claims to the IRS seeking over $100,000 in tax refunds.
The U.S. attorney's office says 43-year-old Gene Jirak, of Fort Atkinson, was sentenced on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Cedar Rapids. He was convicted of several charges, including submitting false claims for tax refunds and mail fraud.
Prosecutors say Jirak devised a scheme by filing two tax returns claiming he was entitled in each return to a refund of over $50,000. Authorities say Jirak filed the first tax return as an
amended joint return, using his ex-wife's name and Social Security number and forging her signature.
Jirak was released on bond and is to surrender to the U.S. Marshal on Nov. 5.
Arkansas Woman Charged With Sex Trafficking Ring
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - An Arkansas woman has pleaded guilty to helping run a violent nationwide sex trafficking ring that solicited customers for prostitutes as young as age 17.
Brittany Lawson, of Hot Springs, Arkansas pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking in federal court in Council Bluffs.
She faces a lengthy prison term when she is sentenced because the charge carries a maximum of life in prison. But prosecutors agreed any recommended sentence should be shortened because she was under the coercion of co-defendant Johnelle Bell, described as a violent New Jersey pimp and mastermind of the ring.
Bell has pleaded not guilty and faces trial next month.
Lawson admitted that she posted ads on backpage.com soliciting customers in Iowa and elsewhere, recruited prostitutes, secured rental cars and rented motel rooms.