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Tuesday News, November 25

Wells Blue Bunny North Ice Cream Plant Has Electrical Fire

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was called to the Wells Blue Bunny north ice cream plant last evening at about 11:30 p.m. for what turned out to be an electrical fire.  Fire Chief Dave Schipper explains what occurred.

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Schipper says the ice cream plant had sustained an electrical fire, but it wasn't near the construction area of the plant's expansion.

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Fire officials were on the scene for a little more than an hour.  All 142 Wells employees at the plant were evacuated safely, accounted for and moved to a separate location immediately without any injuries.  Both the Merrill and the Orange City Fire Department was called to offer assistance.  Also at the scene were the Le Mars Police Department and the Le Mars Ambulance.  A statement from Wells Enterprises says efforts are underway to determine the exact cause of the fire and to begin clean-up effots, which will be completed allowing for the plant to resume operations Tuesday evening.

Supervisors To Take The Week Off 

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will not be meeting this week, and the County Courthouse along with the Annex are scheduled to be closed both Thursday and Friday of this week in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.  All county and state offices will be closed.

 

School Board Learns How  Lab Tops Are Being Utilized In School District Classrooms

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education was given a demonstration on how teachers in the district are utilizing new computer laptops and computer software in order to better educate the students.  The teachers showed the school board how the new technology allows for an interactive teaching method, and the computer programs makes the lessons enjoyable, which encourages the students to want to challenge themselves.  The teachers reported to the school board that the computer programs make for an easier and faster assessments on the student's educational progress.

 

Chamber And Extension To Host Business Builder Session

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County ISU Extension and the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Main Street program will host a luncheon on Monday, December 8, 2014.   The seminar will begin at 12:00 noon at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor - 2nd Floor. Featured speaker will be Le Mars City Administrator Scott Langel.
This new series of educational opportunities is offered by the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Main Street program and the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Plymouth County. The series offers five lunch and learn sessions a year and one major workshop. The program features a local or regional speaker every two months.
Cost is $15.00 a person - reservations are required. Call Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce 546-8821 or the Plymouth County Extension 546-7835. Reservations must be made by Wednesday, December 3rd. The area public, business, industry and community leaders are invited to attend the one hour lunch and learn. Food will be prepared by Timmy’s Catering
For more information contact the Le Mars Chamber 546-8821 or Plymouth County Extension 546-7835.

 

Accident Victims Still Hospitalized

 SLOAN, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say three people remain hospitalized following a two-car collision that killed five people near Sloan.
     The Iowa State Patrol says 70-year-old Larry Malone and 37-year-old Jessica Malone are being treated at Mercy Medical Center Sioux City.  Fifty-three-year-old Shishay Gidey is at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha.
     Gidey was traveling on Highway 141 on Saturday. Authorities say Gidey overcorrected the vehicle, causing it to enter the opposite lane and collide with a car driven by Larry Malone.
     Gidey's passengers; 46-year-old Kibrom Gebremicael; 34-year-old Yohanes Tesfamariam; and 60-year-old Bahta Gebremedhen, died in the crash. Two of Larry Malone's passengers; 80-year-old Donna Timm and 70-year-old Myrna Malone, were also killed.
     The crash remains under investigation.
     ---

 

Many People Can't Afford Heating Utility Bills

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Even as costs decline, many Iowa residents are having trouble paying their heating bills.
     The U.S. Energy Information Administration says Midwest consumers could see their bills decrease up to 38 percent depending on the fuel used to heat their homes.
     Many Iowa residents are still struggling based on notices provided to the state's utilities board through Nov. 1. About 16,000 homes across the state didn't have heat when cold temperatures hit the state last week.
     Jerry McKim, who oversees a state heating assistance program for low income residents, says many families are still working to pay off bills from last year.
     Last year's winter was particularly harsh for Iowa residents, with the average temperature during December, January and February being 14.7 degrees.

 

Hagel Resigns From Pentagon

(Washington) -- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has resigned from President Barack Obama's Cabinet.
      Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, has served as Pentagon chief since early 2013 when he succeeeded Leon Panetta.
      A senior defense official said that Hagel had submitted his resignation letter to Obama on this morning and the president accepted it.      

      Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King says Hagel and the president appear to have been at odds over handling military policy in the middle east:

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     Hagel was the third person to serve as President Obama's defense secretary following Robert Gates and Panetta.
     King says there has been a pattern of politics in defense briefings since President Obama took office:

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    King says it appears that Hagel and Obama could no longer tolerate each other.
    Hagel has agreed to remain in office until his successor is confirmed by the Senate.

 

Branstad Pardons Turkeys

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has pardoned two turkeys as part of a Thanksgiving tradition.
     Branstad read an official proclamation Monday for the pardon of the birds, named Cranberry and Cinnamon, at Terrace Hill.
     Officials say the turkeys, from a farm near Ellsworth, will now live at Living History Farms in Urbandale instead of possibly becoming cold cuts.
     Branstad has been pardoning turkeys around Thanksgiving for years. Monday's ceremony included his grandchildren.

 

Cost Of Providing A Thanksgiving Meal Still A Bargain

(Des Moines) -- The cost of providing a Thanksgiving meal is holding nearly steady, according to research conducted by the American Farm Bureau Federation.  Dave Miller serves as the Director of research and commodity services for the Iowa Farm Bureau.  He says people can still serve a dinner for ten at a bargain price.

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As you might imagine, the turkey is the highest priced item for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

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The Iowa Farm Bureau official says the cost for the traditional Thanksgiving meal hasn't changed too much in the last four years.

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Miller says in comparison to the cost of the meal from a year ago, there are items that are higher priced, and some that lower.

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Miller says Farm Bureau has studied the same items and ingredients for each year since the farm organization decided to track the cost of a Thanksgiving meal.

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The survey shows the cost of the Thanksgiving meal is cheapest within the midwestern states, and more expensive on both coasts.



 

 





   

Monday News, November 24

Tragic Accident Claims Five Lives

 SLOAN, Iowa (AP) - Five people have been killed and three others taken to a hospital in serious condition after a head-on crash east of Sloan.
     Woodbury County Sheriff Dave Drew says the accident happened about 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Highway 141 and Eastland Avenue. Drew says a white Chevy Trailblazer, operated by 33 year old Shishay Gidey of Sioux City was westbound on Highway 141 when the driver veered onto the gravel and overcorrected, causing them to lose control and crash into an eastbound black GMC pickup truck being driven by 70 year old Larry Malone of Des Moines. Shortly after the collision, the Trailblazer started on fire. Sheriff Drew says there were four occupants in each vehicle.  The collision resulted in the deaths of three occupants of the Trailblazer. KIBROM GE-BREM-ICHAEL, AGE 46, FROM SIOUX CITY. YOHANES TES-FAM-ARIAM, AGE 34, FROM SIOUX CITY. BAHTA GE-BRE-MEDHEN, AGE 60, SIOUX CITY.
TWO OCCUPANTS DIED IN THE SIERRA PICK-UP. MYRNA MALONE, AGE 70, FROM DES MOINES, IOWA AND DONNA TIMM, AGE 80, FROM UTE, IOWA.
THE DRIVER OF THE TRAILBLAZER WAS INITALLY TRANSPORTED TO MERCY HOSPITAL IN SIOUX CITY BY MERCY AIR CARE. HE WAS LATER TAKEN TO OMAHA, NEBRASKA FOR SPECIALIZED CARE. HIS CONDITION IS UNKNOWN.THE DRIVER OF THE SIERRA PICK-UP WAS TRANSPORTED TO MERCY MEDICAL CENTER ALONG WITH JESSICA MALONE OF DES MOINES, IOWA. THEIR CONDITIONS ARE UNKNOWN.
      Drew said road conditions were not a factor in the crash.
 Responding to that tragic accident were the Iowa Highway Patrol, Woodbury County Sheriff's Office, MEDICAL RESPONSE INCLUDED, SLOAN FIRE AND RESCUE, SALIX AMBULANCE, HORNICK FIRST RESPONDERS, SMITHLAND FIRST RESPONDERS, OTO AMBULANCE, SGT. BLUFF AMBULANCE, HEALY WORKS FIRE DEPARTMENT, MERCY AIR CARE, AND AN AIR AMBULANCE FROM OMAHA, NEBRASKA THAT WAS LATER GROUNDED DUE TO WEATHER. THE IOWA DOT ASSISTED WITH RE-ROUTING AS THE CRASH BLOCKED BOTH LANES OF TRAFFIC TILL THE HIGHWAY RE-OPENED Saturday evening at 10:30 p.m.     An investigation is ongoing.

 

Sioux City Could See A Winter Wonderland Park

  SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Residents in northwestern Iowa could soon have their own winter wonderland.
     The Sioux City Council will consider on Monday a $2.3 million proposal for a winter recreational project at the city's new Cone Park.
     The Sioux City Journal reports that the project would be built on city-owned land next to the IBP Ice Center and Lewis and Clark Park in Morningside.
     A recommendation based on a recent community survey says the park could include such features as hills for sledding and tubing, trails for cross-country skiing and warm-weather hiking, tow ropes, an outdoor ice skating rink and a warming house.
     The recommendation also suggests the city charge an admission fees, provide concessions and equipment rentals and make the park available for private rentals year-round.

 

Hy-Vee Donates To Children's Hospital

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Grocery store chain Hy-Vee has donated $500,000 for the construction of the University of Iowa Children's Hospital.
     The university's foundation tells the Iowa City Press-Citizen that the donation pushed fundraising efforts over the $29 million mark.
     The university and foundation are working to raise $50 million in private donations for the new $292 million, 480,000 square-foot, pediatric hospital, which is scheduled to open in 2016. The fundraising effort is part of the foundation's "For Iowa, Forever More" campaign to raise $1.7 billion. Foundation officials report that larger campaign already has raised more than $1.37 billion, or about 80 percent of its goal.

 

Study Shows Black Iowa Youth More Likely To Be Suspended From School

 IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A study says black youth in Iowa are nearly five times more likely to be suspended from school and to be arrested by police than whites.
     An advisory committee for Iowa's court system says in the report that "disproportionate minority contact" with the juvenile justice system is a major problem that needs to be addressed.
     District Judge Duane Hoffmeyer of Sioux City, who chaired the committee, says schools, law enforcement agencies and judges all need to make reforms.
     The report calls on Governor Terry Branstad and state leaders to host a summit to bring attention to the disparities, and to take several actions over the next five years.
     Recommendations include adopting more training on racial bias and new screening tools to recommend punishments for juvenile offenders.

 

Police Chief On Administrative Leave After Passing Stopped School Bus

 FAYETTE, Iowa (AP) - A northeast Iowa police chief remains on leave after he was ticketed for passing a stopped school bus.
     Fayette Mayor Andrew Wenthe told the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that Police Chief Brad Alan Gardner is on administrative leave.
     Gardner was ticketed earlier this month after a bus driver for North Fayette Valley School District reported the chief went around his bus while it was stopped and disabled students were getting off the bus.
     The Fayette City Council may discuss Gardner's actions at a special meeting on Monday.

 

Farmers And Landowners Oppose Proposed Electrical Transmission Line

 WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - A proposed 500-mile transmission line to carry electricity from wind turbines in northwest Iowa to customers in Illinois is encountering significant resistance from farmers and other landowners across the state.
     The proposed Rock Island Clean Line would cross 16 Iowa counties and 1,540 different properties.
     A group of more than 1,000 landowners in the region has organized the Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance to oppose the project.
     Houston-based Clean Line Energy Partners is proposing the transmission line. The company's Beth Conley says even though Iowa won't receive energy from the line, the state will receive an economic boost from the $7 billion investment.
     And Conley says the amount the company is offering landowners for easements is a reasonable amount.

 

Democrats Try To Regroup After Election Defeat

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - After a bruising midterm election where they lost a competitive Senate race and emerged with just one of four congressional seats, Iowa Democrats are trying to regroup. 
     The recent results mean that Iowa will no longer have a congressional delegation evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. The retirement of longtime Sen. Tom Harkin creates a leadership void. And despite a significant voter outreach effort, many Democrats stayed home this year, suggesting the party's message was lacking.
     State Sen. Janet Peterson, a Democrat from Des Moines, says the party is in a "rebuilding mode."
     Democrats did maintain control by a narrow margin in the Iowa Senate, while Republicans expanded their majority in the Iowa House.



 



  

 

 


 

   

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