Thursday, October 23, 2014
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Friday News, October 3

American Legion Hall Reports Smoke

(Le Mars) -- Shortly after 2:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon, the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was called to the American Legion hall located on the 100 Block of Plymouth Street southwest.  When fire officials arrived on the scene, smoke was seen coming from inside the structure. A wood countertop board was placed on top of a flat iron grill earlier in the day and it appears that the grill was inadvertently turned on by a knob getting bumped.   The wood countertop board smoldered and eventually caught fire.   The fire was discovered by individuals who were going to use the kitchen when they opened the back door to enter the building.  They notified the Fire Department and they extinguished the fire just prior to the arrival of the Fire Department.   There was no damage to the building except for the piece of movable countertop. There were no injuries and firefighters were on the scene for just under 45 minutes.   Patrons were allowed back into the building and the facility is open and in operation.


Fire Department Educates More Than 500 School Children During Fire Prevention Week

(Le Mars) -- Next week is National Fire Prevention Week and the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department will take the time to visit with many people about  the dangers of fire.  Some people may not realize just how busy is the volunteer fire department.  Chief Dave Schipper runs through the statistics.

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According to Fire Chief Dave Schipper, fire officials will visit with over 500 students of elementary and pre-school age in the coming days.

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Schipper says the local fire department also spends a great deal of time teaching employees of various businesses about fire safety.

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The Le Mars Fire Chief believes the educational efforts for children have paid off in terms of fewer child-related fires in Le Mars.

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Ernst To Visit Le Mars

(Le Mars) -- Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst has scheduled a stop in Le Mars as part of her 99-county bus tour prior to the election.  Ernst, who hails from Red Oak, Iowa will meet with Plymouth County residents at the Pizza Ranch restaurant scheduled for today (Friday, October 3rd) at 11:30 a.m.  This will mark Ernst second visit to the "Ice Cream Capital of the World".  The last time she was in Le Mars was nearly a year ago.  Following her Le Mars visit, Ernst will travel to Orange City, Rock Rapids, Sibley, and end up at Sheldon for the Northwest Iowa Republican Rally, where Texas Governor Rick Perry has been invited to speak.


Michele Berkenpas Chosen As School District's "Employee Of the Month"

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School has announced that Michelle Berkenpas as the School District's "Employee of the Month".  Michelle Berkenpas is a teacher associate at the Alternative High School.  Donna Stevenson submitted the nomination and indicated Michele Berkenpas is one of the hardest, most conscientious associates that she has worked with during her teaching career.  Stevenson says of Berkenpas, "When things get a bit 'hairy' she handles the situation with confidence and patience.  Michele is always putting the student first and makes very good judgment calls."  She loves the students she works with, plus the other students in the classroom.  She was a great partner to teacher with - always loyal and always positive.


Rayhons Pleads Not Guilty To Sexual Abuse

 GARNER, Iowa (AP) - Republican State Rep. Henry Rayhons has waived his right to a speedy trial in the case of a felony sex abuse charge against him.
     Officials have accused the 78-year-old Rayhons, of Garner, of having sexual contact in May with his wife, Donna Rayhons, while she was a resident of a care center and not able to give consent. Donna Rayhons died in early August.
     Henry Rayhons has pleaded not guilty to third-degree sexual abuse. A trial date has not yet been set. 
     Rayhons represents the 8th District in the state House, which covers part of north-central Iowa. He won the GOP nomination to seek re-election but withdrew from the race.


Toddler Falls From Second Story Window

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (AP) - A Clear Lake toddler is recovering from minor injuries after falling from a second-story window.
     Police say that the girl climbed onto the back of a couch in her family's apartment and pushed out a window screen, falling about 15 feet to the ground. The girl was taken to a local hospital, treated and released.
     Police say the live-in boyfriend of the toddler's mother - who was out - was babysitting the girl at the time of the accident.
     Police say the investigation continues, and that charges could be filed.


Two Ankeny Teens Charged With Arson

ANKENY, Iowa (AP) - Ankeny police have charged two teenagers with felony arson counts who they say set cars on fire and recorded the crimes on a cellphone. 
     Police said Thursday that the 15- and 16-year-old boys were each charged with two counts of second-degree arson. They are being held in a juvenile detention facility. 
     A Dodge Stratus parked in front of a home was fully engulfed on Sept. 23. A fire in a Crown Victoria was extinguished before the car was totaled on Sept. 25. 
     Police say one of the teens recorded both crimes on his cellphone and audio suggests the teens were trying to blow up the vehicles. 
     The Associated Press generally does not identify juveniles accused of crimes.


Iowa Deer Shown To Have Disease

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials say it's too early to tell whether a degenerative neurological disease that affects deer is spreading in Iowa.
     The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship released statistics Thursday that show more than 280 quarantined deer in north-central Iowa tested positive for chronic wasting disease. The animals were killed in August as part of a scheduled depopulation.
     Kevin Baskins, a spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources, says there's no indication the disease is spreading. Officials will increase their testing of harvested deer in that area to determine that.
     Baskins says the case in Cerro Gordo County is the largest number of captive deer with the disease recorded in the state. Officials announced in April that one wild deer in Iowa had tested positive for the disease.




Thursday News, October 2

Granville Woman Charged With Making A False Report

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County authorities have arrested a Granville woman on a charge of making a false report to law enforcement officials.  21 year old Samantha Humphrey was taken into custody on Wednesday following a two-month investigation.  On July 25th, Humphrey contacted Floyd Valley Hospital and reported that she had been sexually assaulted while walking on a walking trail. The Le Mars Police Department was initially contacted and learned that the alleged assault had taken place in Plymouth County at Hillview Park, of rural Hinton.  The Plymouth County Sheriff's office, along with Plymouth County Conservation Officers investigated the circumstances and location of the alleged assault.  Approximately a month later, the investigation revealed that it was believed that no assault had taken place and that Humphrey had made a false report to law enforcement and the other agencies.  Humphrey has been charged with making a false report to law enforcement which is a serious misdemeanor.  She has been given a court date and was released from jail.


Maurice Woman Dies From Motor Vehicle Accident

(Maurice) -- A Maurice woman has died as a result of a traffic accident that happened at about 8:00 a.m. Wednesday morning on Highway 75.  49 year old Lisa Opheim was heading east on 4th Street when she stopped at a stop sign at Highway 75, then drove onto Highway 75 where she was struck by a semi-truck. Opheim was pronounced dead at the scene by the Sioux County Medical Examiner. The driver of the semi truck was 22 year old Mark Schmith of Hawarden.  He was traveling southbound on Highway 75 hauling a loaded feed trailer.  The Sioux County Sheriff's office was assisted by the Iowa State Patrol, Maurice Fire Department, Maurice First Responders, and the Sioux Center Fire Department and Sioux Center Ambulance.


Le Mars Fire And Rescue Department Releases September Report

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department has released its September monthly report.  The local fire brigade responded to a total of 40 calls in September, with eight fire calls, three rescue calls, twice the Le Mars Fire Department offered mutual aid to Sioux Center and to Ireton, and the Le Mars Fire Department had 19 requests for services.  During September, both Fire Chief Dave Schipper and Assistant Chief Mike Wise attended fire investigation training at West Des Moines to keep up National Fire Investigator Certifications.  The fire department provided fire extinguisher training to 209 BoDeans employees, and nine members of the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department attended the annual State Fire Convention in Grinnell, Iowa to accept Life Safety aCheivement award on behalf of the city and the Fire and Rescue Department.  Next week is National Fire Prevention Week, and the fire department would like to extend an invitation to the general public to attend its annual fire prevention pancake breakfast to be held this coming Sunday morning at fire station number 1 located at 1st Avenue Southwest.


Fire Department Called To Help With Malfunctioning Stove

(Le Mars) -- Speaking about the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department, they were called to 1251 Remer Drive on Wednesday afternoon when apparently, the resident of the home had a malfunctioning stove.  The stove had gotten so hot that it started to melt the backside of the stove.  Fire Chief Dave Schipper says the control board was hot and started to melt the control switches.  Fire officials were able to cut the power to the stove and pull it away from the kitchen wall before it had a chance to ignite the wall.  Fire officials were able to stop it from becoming a very serious situation.  Fire officials were on the scene for nearly a half an hour.


Hinton Fire Department Responds To Truck That Lost Its Fuel Tank

(Hinton) --  The Hinton Fire Department was called to respond to a truck traveling on Highway 75 when the truck had lost its gas tank and was leaking fuel.  The Hinton Fire Department responded to the scene at about 6:00 p.m. last evening.  Fire officials were on the scene for approximately 45 minutes.


Teen Charged With Murder Of Foster Brother Claims Insanity Plea

 LOGAN, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa teen charged with murdering his 5-year-old foster brother plans to use an insanity defense when his case goes to trial this month. 
     Court documents filed in September indicate the defense plans for 18-year-old Cody Metzker-Madsen, who was declared competent to stand trial in April. He is charged with first-degree murder in the August 2013 death of Dominic Elkins.
     Metzker-Madsen pleaded not guilty to the charge and opted to have his case decided by a judge.
     Authorities say Elkins was killed while the boys were playing outdoors at their home near Logan, in western Iowa. He died as a result of blunt-force head injuries and drowning.
     Psychology experts who examined the teen say he has developmental problems. Metzker-Madsen's mother used methamphetamine while she was pregnant with him.


Deloitte Consulting Firm To Release Efficiency Study To Regents

AMES, Iowa (AP) - A consultant is expected to release plans detailing how Iowa's three public universities could cut costs by restructuring how employees perform routine administrative functions.
     Deloitte Consulting LLP is expected to tell the Iowa Board of Regents about potential changes to streamline human resources, information technology and financial operations.
     The plans are expected to lead to job cuts over time, but also potentially save millions of dollars.
     More details are expected to be released Thursday, when the regents meet at Iowa State University in Ames. Regents are expected to discuss the proposals, but not take any action on them. They say they will gather feedback from employees before voting on whether to implement changes next month.
     The regents hired Deloitte to look for ways to run the universities more efficiently.


Audit Finds Mahaska County Soil And Water Conservation Office Mishandled Funds

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A state audit of the Mahaska County Soil and Water Conservation District office alleges more than $279,000 was improperly taken and cash not properly deposited by a former secretary over seven years.
     Iowa Auditor Mary Mosiman says in a report released Wednesday her office investigated financial irregularities at the request of state agriculture department officials.
     The audit shows cash withdrawn from commission accounts numerous times from 2006 to 2013 by Jessica Strasser, the former office secretary who resigned in August 2013.
     Strasser took responsibility in a letter to the commission, blaming the stress of raising two children and working two jobs while her husband, an Iowa National Guard officer, was repeatedly deployed to active duty.
     No charges have been filed.


Charges Dropped In Council Bluffs Teen Death After School Fight

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a male student will not be charged in connection with a fight at a western Iowa high school that led to the death of a 17-year-old student.
     Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber said at a Wednesday news conference that the 16-year-old student used legally justifiable force in responding to a fight initiated by Dakota Escritt.
     Wilber said Dakota died days after a September 25th fight at Abraham Lincoln High School in Council Bluffs. An autopsy shows he had bleeding in the brain caused by a fractured skull. His head hit the school floor after the other student punched Dakota.
     The student was initially charged with assault in the case. That charge has been dropped.


Iowa State University Student Found Dead In Apartment

AMES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa State University student has been found dead in her apartment on campus, but authorities say no foul play is suspected.
     University police say the woman was found unresponsive Tuesday night in a University Village apartment on the Ames campus. Authorities and medical personnel responded to the scene but the woman was pronounced dead.
     Police say a resident reported finding the woman inside the locked apartment. No foul play is suspected, but additional information is not available.
     The student's name has not been released pending family notification.


New Law Enforcement Center To Hold Both Men And Women

GLENWOOD, Iowa (AP) - Officials in western Iowa say a new law enforcement center will house both men and women.
     Mills County Sheriff Eugene Goos says the facility has the capacity to separate the inmates. It can house up to 45 inmates.
     The  new facility in Glenwood will mean less female inmates at the Adams County jail in Corning, where they're often held after a transfer. County officials say that will result in savings of between $2,000 and $6,000 each month.
     Federal prison inmates can be held at the law enforcement center. It will also house the Mills County Sheriff's Office.




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