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Thursday News, April 30

West Side Home Catches On Fire

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department responded to a structure fire located on the west side of town last evening.  The alarm came in at about 7:30 p.m. at 312 7th Avenue southwest.  When fire officials arrived on the scene, the backside of the home was engulfed.  Fire Chief Dave Schipper.

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When fire officials arrived on the scene, the doors were locked and a vehicle was parked in the driveway, and fire fighters were not certain if anyone was home at the time of the blaze.

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Fire officials searched the interior of the home and determined that no one was home at the time of the fire, and that the inside of the home had suffered only light smoke damage.  Schipper says since fire fighters were already at the fire station for their weekly training session, the response time was short.

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Schipper estimates nearly $3000 of damage occurred to the home.  He says several neighbors were using garden hoses and spraying water on the fire prior to the fire department's arrival, helping to fight the fire.

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Schipper says the cause of the fire looks to be accidental, with the most probable cause for the fire was improperly discarded smoking materials. Cigarette butts in a plastic bucket located on the back deck of the home burnt through the plastic bucket and through the wood deck and landed on the ground below.  The Le Mars Fire Chief says debris consisting of dried leaves and twigs beneath the wood deck had ignited, causing the fire to spread quickly to the underside of the deck and up the rear of the home, burning the vinyl siding on the backside of the home.  Fire fighters were on the scene for about an hour.

 

 

 

Le Mars Community School Foundation Honors Teachers, Staff, And Students

(Le Mars) -- Last evening the Le Mars Community School Foundation and Alumni Association honored teachers, alumni, and current students at the awards banquet. Faculty and staff that were selected as "Employees of the Month" were officially recognized.  They included Kluckhohn Kindergarten teacher Rachel Harris, Middle School Math Instructor Bill Magnussen, Alternative High School teacher Julie Theisen, Clark Teacher Associate Gretchen Utesch, Alternative High School Teacher Associate Michele Berkenpas, High School Teacher Associate Jennifer Hauser, High School Special Education teacher Emily Klingbeil, High School Custodian Brian Orban, Retired Director of Maintenance Duane Schettler, Middle School Administrative Assistant Amy Bergquist, and Franklin Fourth Grade teacher Jan Hansen.  Also honored during last evening's award ceremony were those faculty and staff that have devoted 25 years to the Le Mars Community School District.  They included: Lyn Candor, Michelle Gaes, Debra Richarz, Verle Matzdorff, and Julie Theisen.  Nine students of the Class of 2015 were recognized as being the academic top five percent.  They include Emily Ahlers, David Barker, Jayme Kelly, Brett Marek, Ellen Meis, Peter Meis, Allison Perera, Dayton Rand, and Michael Scheitler.  The Decades of Excellence Crystal Bell was presented to this year's "Teacher of the Year", Kim Rohrs a Transitional Kindergarten teacher at Kluckhohn Elementary.  In her acceptance speech, Rohrs thanked the school for the honor and echoed Hillary Clinton by saying it takes a village to educate students.  The Distinguished Alumnus was awarded to Dr. Tom Starzl from the Class of 1944, but unfortunately due to health concerns, Dr. Starzl was unable to attend the awards banquet.

 

 

 

Driver Falls Asleep Causes Two Vehicle Accident

(Hinton) -- A driver who apparently fell asleep at the wheel was the cause of a two vehicle  accident that was reported at about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday near Hinton. 54 year old Bradley Holder of Hinton says he fell asleep when he was traveling on county road K-22 heading north when his vehicle left the road and struck the bridge approach.  He then re-entered traffic spinning around and going backwards into traffic.  The second vehicle, which was being driven by 22 year old Jessica Lueck of Sioux City, was heading southbound on county road K-22 entering the bridge when Holder's vehicle entered the path.  Lueck struck the rear of Holder's vehicle and both cars came to rest on the bridge blocking the roadway.  The Hinton Fire and Ambulance service and the Iowa State Patrol assisted with the scene.

 

 

 

30 Law Enforcement Agencies Participate In "Operation Blue Fog" - 73 Arrested

(Sioux City) -- During the month of April, members of the Tri-State Drug Task Force, in conjunction with over 30 other law enforcement entities participated in Operation Blue Fog.  The crackdown resulted in the arrest of 73 individuals and the issuance of 19 citations to others in connection with street level drug crimes.  The agencies involved consisted of local, county, state, and federal officials from the tri-state area, including officials from the Winnebago and Omaha Nations.  The project concentrated its efforts in the tri-state region and focused on the counties of Woodbury, Dakota, Union, Plymouth, Sioux, and Monona, as well as the tribal lands of the Omaha and Winnebago Nations.  Numerous operations were conducted including seven search warrants.  A significant amount of illegal and other items were seized as evidence.  Included in the seizure were over nine pounds of marijuana, 4.75 ounce of crystal methamphetamines, prescription medications including narcotics and anti-depressants, THC edibles and a wide array of drug paraphernalia.  Numerous additional arrests are pending. Due to the nature of these types of investigations, no further details will be released on individual cases.

 

 

 

 

More Iowa Poultry Farms Infected By Bird Flu

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State agriculture officials say the deadly bird flu virus is suspected on two more Iowa chicken farms and two more turkey operations.

Officials say initial tests indicate the virus on two turkey farms in Buena Vista County. One has 50,000 birds and the count on the other farm is still pending. A chicken farm in that county with 63,000 laying hens also tested positive.

Tests also returned positive on a chicken breeder farm with 19,000 birds in Kossuth County.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory in Ames will run additional tests to confirm.

That lab Wednesday confirmed the virus on farms in Sioux, O'Brien and Osceola counties with nearly 6 million chickens.

The new cases bring to 10 million the Iowa birds that have either been or will be euthanized.

 

 

 

Water Fowl Deaths Reported Near Mississippi River

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials say bird flu isn't suspected in the deaths of hundreds of waterfowl collected in the Mississippi River near northeastern Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday that four types of waterfowl are being tested to determine cause of death, but that officials don't suspect the virus is to blame.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awaits the test results from the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin after the waterfowl were collected in the Upper Mississippi River last week.

A DNR news release says the majority of birds were American coot and lesser scaup. Bluewing teal and canvasbacks were also found.

The DNR says this is the sixth time since 2001 that waterfowl have died in droves. Trematodes, a parasitic flatworm, were responsible each time prior.

 

 

 

DNR Investigates Pollution Release

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials say bird flu isn't suspected in the deaths of hundreds of waterfowl collected in the Mississippi River near northeastern Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday that four types of waterfowl are being tested to determine cause of death, but that officials don't suspect the virus is to blame.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awaits the test results from the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin after the waterfowl were collected in the Upper Mississippi River last week.

A DNR news release says the majority of birds were American coot and lesser scaup. Bluewing teal and canvasbacks were also found.

The DNR says this is the sixth time since 2001 that waterfowl have died in droves. Trematodes, a parasitic flatworm, were responsible each time prior.

 

 

 

Senate Passes Budget Bills

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Democratic-majority Senate has approved a series of spending bills, including a plan that would provide more higher education funding than desired by the Republican-controlled House.

In a 26-24 vote Wednesday, the Senate backed an education budget bill that would spend about $1 billion on state universities, community colleges and other programs, like early childhood education. Gov. Terry Branstad has proposed a similar spending level.

Senator Brian Schoenjahn, an Arlington Democrat, says the funding would support a third year of public university tuition freezes.

The Senate bill allocates about $48 million more than House Republicans say they want to spend. House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, a Republican from Hiawatha, contends schools could still freeze tuition if it was a priority.

By midweek, most budget bills had started moving through the Legislature.

 

 

 

Woman Ordered To Pay Back Money To Girl Scouts

OSAGE, Iowa (AP) - A judge in Mitchell County has ordered a 38-year-old Osage woman to pay back the more than $1,400 she stole from her Girl Scout troop.

Jennifer Nilges was sentenced earlier this month for theft. In addition to the order for restitution, Nilges was fined $625 and sentenced to 10 days in jail. She was given credit for time already served.

Nilges pleaded guilty after prosecutors lowered the charge and dropped another. Prosecutors say Nilges stole the money from the troop's account from the end of January through the first week of February.

 

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Wednesday Afternoon News, April 29

Dog Flu Detected In Sioux City

(Sioux City) -- The dog flu is causing concern for pet owners in the Sioux City area.  One case has been confirmed locally so far, but the city is taking that case seriously and has closed the dog park located in Bacon Creek Park from now until at least May 6.   Dr. Jeff Bottger of Art and Science Pet Services in Sioux City says the canine flu symptoms are similar to those when humans get the flu.

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Dr. Bottger says the flu, known as H3-N2, is of greater concern to pets that may have other medical issues.

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People can't catch the flu from their dog, but Dr. Bottger says a pet owner could pass the virus on to their pet.

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And he recommends keeping your dog away from other dogs.

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Bottger says your dog will need plenty of bed rest if it becomes sick and it will take a week to ten days for the virus to run its course.

 

 

 

Pierson Woman Sentenced To Two Years Of Prison For Living With Sex Offender

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Pierson woman has been given two years in prison for living with a registered sex offender and leaving her 6-year-old sons with him.

36-year-old Jill Black had pleaded guilty to two counts of misdemeanor child endangerment. A charge of child endangerment filed in a separate case was dismissed in exchange for Black's plea. Black was charged in that case with smoking methamphetamine in the presence of her infant daughter in their Pierson home last fall.

Court documents say Black left her twin sons on Jan. 2 with a man she knew was a registered sex offender and had done so before. Officers say Black and her children had lived with the man at a Sioux City home for about two months.

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Hy-Vee Recalls Pasta Salad

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Hy-Vee Inc. says it is recalling Hy-Vee Summer Fresh Pasta because of a potential listeria contamination.

The West Des Moines-based grocer said Tuesday that the company has learned that frozen vegetables in the salad could be contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.

The company sold the salad from April 9 to April 27. Hy-Vee has pulled the salad from stores in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota.

Hy-Vee says people who bought the pasta salad between those dates should dispose of it or return it for a refund.

The company says there are no known listeria infections linked to the recall.

Listeria generally only affects the elderly, people with compromised immune systems and pregnant women. It can cause fever, muscle aches, gastrointestinal symptoms and even death.

 

 

Iowa DNR Investigates Fertilizer And Ammonia Release

RED OAK, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says it is investigating reports of fertilizer and ammonia released near Red Oak.

Nachurs Alpine Solutions on Tuesday reported that an unknown amount of fertilizer had been released, prompting Red Oak officials to close a floodgate to prevent chemicals from entering the Nishnabotna River.

Jessica Montana, environmental program supervisor with the DNR, tells the Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil (http://bit.ly/1DBQpiR ) that the fertilizer didn't reach the river but may have spread to a small tributary. She says a broken storm water basin at Nachurs may have caused the leak.

A second, separate report indicated an unknown amount of ammonia had also been identified Tuesday in Red Oak. The source hasn't yet been located and remains under investigation.

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Storm Lake Man Pleas Not Guilty To Having Home-made Bombs

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - A 28-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to possessing explosive devices after officers who broke up a fight in March at a Storm Lake residence found homemade bombs.

An attorney for Dion Caldwell, of Storm Lake, declined to comment Wednesday on the plea to possession of explosive or incendiary device with intent to use it to commit a public offense. A trial date has not yet been scheduled.

Caldwell entered his plea Monday.

Officers responded March 11 to a report about a fight and arrested three people on charges related to the altercation. Caldwell was arrested after officers reported that they found bombs inside the home.

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Grenade Found In Iowa City

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Police say an old grenade has been taken away for destruction after it was found at a private residence in Iowa City.

The Johnson County bomb squad was dispatched Tuesday afternoon after someone cleaning the residence found the grenade in a storage room.

Iowa City Police Department Sgt. Chris Akers speculated that the grenade had been brought back after World War I as a souvenir.

Akers says the bomb squad took away the grenade to safely destroy it.

 

 

Northwood Evacuated Due To Gas Leak

NORTHWOOD, Iowa (AP) - People evacuated in a portion of a northern Iowa town because of a gas leak at a county courthouse have been permitted to return to the area.

The Mason City Globe Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/1bUrYI3 ) the gas leak occurred Wednesday morning at the Worth County Courthouse in Northwood. Worth County Auditor Jacki Backhaus says the courthouse, an elementary school and nearby businesses were evacuated, as well as residents in the area.

Backhaus says the leak was caused by workers who were trying to install fiber-optic cables and hit a gas line near the courthouse. She says the building has since reopened.

A dispatcher with the sheriff's office says evacuation was recommended but had not been deemed mandatory.

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Page 18 of 1329

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