Tuesday Afternoon News, March 17
Five Fire Departments Respond To Grass Fire
(Le Mars) -- Another major grass fire occured on Monday afternoon near Kingsley. Kingsley Fire Chief Scott Bohle says the fire department actually had two separate fires. The first happened at about 1:15 when a fence line fire got out of control. Bohle says a tractor was lost in that fire. Kingsley Fire Department was called to a second grass fire two hours later that was a controlled burn that got out of control. Bohle says fire fighters encountered some difficulty in fighting the blaze.
Bohle says the grass fire destroyed a large area in southeastern Plymouth County.
Bohle says the Kingsley Fire Department had to call for backup assistance from neighboring towns.
The Kingsley Fire Chief says in addition to the muddy conditions, the strong winds were also a major factor in yesterday's efforts to extinguish the grass fire.
As a result of the many grass fires, the Plymouth County Fire Departments requested from the State Fire Marshal to issue a burn ban for Plymouth County. The burn ban will take effect Wednesday morning at 8:00 a.m.
Transportation Officials Tell Cities Remove The Traffic Cameras
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State transportation officials have ordered the removal of some traffic cameras operated by cities on state supervised roadways.
The Iowa Department of Transportation on Tuesday released evaluations on speed and red-light cameras that six cities operate on state roads. DOT officials want to remove cameras at ten locations - out of 34 locations total throughout the state. Cameras at one of those targeted locations had already been deactivated due to construction.
This was the first oversight action since the DOT implemented rules dictating where and why cameras can be installed along state roads and requiring local jurisdictions to submit annual reports justifying camera placement.
Local agencies must show cameras are targeting "high-crash or high-risk locations." They have 30 days to comply with or appeal the DOT ruling.
Iowa's Unemployment Rate Falls
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new report shows Iowa's unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent in January from 4.3 percent in December.
Iowa Workforce Development said in the report released Tuesday that the rate is one-fifth of a point below the January 2014 rate of 4.4 percent. The new Iowa figure places the state below the national jobless rate of 5.7 percent in January.
The report also shows Iowa added 3,100 nonfarm jobs from December to January, with the state's trade, transportation and utilities sector alone gaining 2,200 jobs. Professional and business services saw an increase of 1,800 jobs across the state, but a loss of 1,300 positions in education and health services offset some employment advances.
Since January 2014, Iowa added 24,800 jobs, led by the state's construction sector with 6,500 new positions.