Monday News, August 4
Weekend House Fire
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was on the scene of a house fire located at 16123 Hickory Avenue, nearly 11 miles west of town. The fire was reported Sunday evening at about 6:11 p.m. Fire officials were on the scene for more than three hours battling the blaze. The home is owned by Joe and Lisa Lehner. Fire Chief Dave Schipper says smoke could be seen soon after leaving Le Mars.
The home is adjacent to a country church, which allowed firefighters a staging area for their trucks and to shuttle water. Schipper describes the tactics used to fight the fire.
The flames were so hot and intense that it started to melt two vehicles that were at least 20 feet away from the main fire.
The family was operating their grill inside the garage and Schipper believes the grill was responsible for the blaze that destroyed the garage, breezeway, and kitchen area of the house.
The Le Mars Fire Chief says this fire started in the garage area, and he explains why garage fires are often times the worst type of fires.
There were no injuries related to the fire, but as Fire chief Schipper explains, two pet cats did perish in the fire. Schipper says many of the family's belongings that were inside cabinets, dresser drawers, and closets, were able to be salvaged, although it did sustained heavy smoke damage. Schipper estimates the damage at more than $100,000 and says the home may be listed as a total loss. The Le Mars Fire-Rescue Department was assisted at the scene by the Akron Fire Department, Le Mars Ambulance, Plymouth County Emergency Management, REC., and the American Red Cross.
Fire Department Issues Monthly Report
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department has issued its monthly report for July. The fire department had a total of 32 calls for the month, with nine being fire calls, three rescue calls, five investigations, and two mutual aid calls to assist Akron. The fire department also had 13 requests for services. An interesting statistic provided by Fire Chief Dave Schipper says 16 fire fighters donated a total of 111 hours and $4956 worth of time and expense to assist with the Plymouth County Fair.
(Le Mars) -- A two vehicle accident happened at about 4:00 p.m. Saturday at the junction of Highways 140 and County Road C-38 causing multiple injuries. An SUV pulling a boat appears to have been going southbound on Highway 140 when it collided with another sport utility vehicle heading east. The accident is being investigated by the Plymouth County Sheriff's office. Responding to the scene were the Remsen Fire and Rescue Department, Remsen Ambulance, Kingsley Ambulance, Marcus Ambulance, Iowa Highway Patrol, Cherokee County Sheriff's office, and the Plymouth County Sheriff's office. Names of the accident victims, and the specific details of the accident have not yet been released.
Sex Offender Leaves Work Release Program
CHEROKEE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities in northwest Iowa are searching for a man who absconded from a sex offender transition release program.
The Iowa Department of Human Services says 42-year-old Cory West did not return from his place of employment and was last seen in the Storm Lake area. Authorities say he absconded early Sunday.
West was ordered into a civil commitment program at the Cherokee Mental Health Institute in 2011, and became eligible for the transition release program in fall of 2013.
The program provides long-term inpatient treatment for violent sexual predators that have served their prison terms but are considered likely to commit further offenses.
Branstad Undecided On Oil Pipeline
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Texas company seeking to run an underground oil pipeline through Iowa has a laborious approval process to get through before it can start digging.
Energy Transfer Partners LP is behind the project, which would carry crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota to Illinois, cutting diagonally through 17 Iowa counties along the way. The pipeline would use a 30-inch diameter pipe to carry at least 320,000 barrels a day.
The company says the pipeline would allow them to transport oil more safely than by trucks or rail, but environmental activists are already aggressively campaigning against the project and calling on Governor Terry Branstad to oppose it.
Branstad says he hasn't made a decision about whether he would support the project.
Brandstad To Speak At Teacher Summitt
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Governor Terry Branstad will be talking to educators from around the state about the importance of taking on leadership roles.
Branstad will give opening remarks Monday at the state-sponsored Iowa Teacher and Principal Leadership Symposium. This event will be held in Ankeny and is the second such summit. More than 450 teachers, principals and other educators are expected to attend.
Speakers throughout the daylong event include teachers and students from Iowa schools, as well as international experts.
In 2013, Branstad signed a new education law that provides funding to offer extra compensation to teachers who take on leadership and mentoring roles.
Clear Lake Boating Accident
CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Four people were hospitalized and six others were injured after an early morning boating accident on Clear Lake.
The Mason City Globe Gazette reports that authorities were called to the northern Iowa lake shortly after 2 a.m. Sunday.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says a 2000 Cobalt boat operated by 28-year-old Andrew Nicholas, of Clear Lake, struck a public dock.
Authorities say two 23-year-old victims, Nicholas and Taylor Olson of Clear Lake, were taken by ambulance to a hospital for treatment. Two others, 22-year-old Erinn Heine and 23-year-old Michael Holmes of Clear Lake, were driven to the hospital in private vehicles. Heine, Holmes and Taylor Olson were treated and released. Information about Nicholas Holmes wasn't available.
The Iowa DNR and the Cerro Gordo County Sheriff's office are investigating.
Four Boys Killed In An All Terrain Utiliity Vehicle Accident
EPWORTH, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have identified the four boys killed in a crash near the eastern Iowa city of Epworth.
The Dubuque County Sheriff's office released the names Sunday.
Those killed were 14-year-old Sean Kenneally of Peosta; 14-year-old Mitchell Kluesner of Epworth; 14-year-old Nicholas Kramer of Dyersville; and 14-year-old Bryce Wilwert of Epworth.
Authorities say the boys were in a John Deere Gator utility vehicle that collided with a pickup pulling stock trailer. Authorities say the pickup driver, 24-year-old Joe Connelly of Holy Cross, failed to stop at a stop sign.
The pickup had two passengers. Authorities say 25-year-old Joe Lucas, of Epworth, was in stable condition at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Elissa Ericson, 21, of Cedar Rapids, was treated for minor injuries.