Tuesday Afternoon News, September 18
Update On the Hinton Car-Train Accident
(Hinton) -- Another car and train collision occurred last evening. This time it was at County Road C-60 and Highway 75 at the intersection in the middle of Hinton. Hinton Police Chief Chris Conlon says that 23 year old Nathan Plendl of Kingsley was driving a pick up truck and went around the railroad crossing gates when the collision occurred.
Three people were inside the Plendl vehicle with two seriously injured including Plendl. Conlon did not have the name of the second victim, but said both parties were transported to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City. The third victim was injured but was not transported to a hospital. The third victim indicated he would seek medical attention on his own. Conlon says another vehicle driven by 71 year old Charles Beck sustained damage. Beck's vehicle had stopped legally at the train crossing when the Plendl vehicle passed him and after being hit by the train spun around and struck the Beck vehicle. Beck was not injured. The train involved in the collision was a southbound Union Pacific train. Conlon says the cross arm standard was damaged as a result of the collision and Union Pacific officials are at the scene today making the necessary repairs.
Travelers Using Highway 3 Must Detour...Again
(Le Mars) -- Motorists that use Highway 3 west are once again being inconvenienced with another traffic detour. This time it involves the railroad crossing at West Le Mars. Iowa Department of Transportation District Engineer Tony Lazarowicz says the detour is considered a short-time detour.
Lazarowicz isn't sure as to what improvements the railroad is doing at that crossing.
Law Enforcement Agencies Aware of Suspicious Vehicles Around Children
(Le Mars) -- There have been numerous reports within northwest Iowa of a suspicious vehicle or vehicles that have been seen at various locations near school children. Although no abductions have taken place, parents, teachers, and local law enforcement agenies are on the alert. Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo says local community residents have been watching for suspicious activity.
Reports of suspicious vehicles and suspicious activities have been reported in Sioux City, Clay County, Dickinson County, Lyon County, and the most recent occurance this past Saturday near Rock Valley in Sioux County. Van Otterloo doesn't believe the incidents are connected, but he reminds parents to communicate with their children.
Van Otterloo says the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children offers many tips for youngsters to know what to do for going to and from school. He says some simple tips is to check first with their parents, walk with other friends, and yell out "No"! if someone tries to touch them.
Many people wonder why amber alerts are not always issued when such incidents happen. The missing cousins from near Waterloo did not have an amber alert. Le Mars Police Chief Stewart Dekkenga says there has to be certain criteria met before an amber alert is issued.
Dekkenga reminds parents to talk to their children about how to act when strangers approach them. He also asks parents to contact the local law enforcement agencies immediately upon any suspicious activity, and not to wait.
Sioux City Council Approves First Reading Forbidding People to Feed Wildlife
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Council members in Sioux City have taken their first step toward barring people from feeding deer and wild turkeys inside the city.
The City Council voted 5-0 for the proposed ordinance on Monday. Two more readings and council votes are required before it becomes law.
Assistant City Attorney Connie Anstey says the measure is meant to reduce traffic accidents and damage to plants caused by the wild animals.
People who feed turkey and deer would be subject to a municipal infraction with a fine of at least $65 or be charged with a simple misdemeanor with a fine up to $100.
The ordinance would not penalize people who have gardens or trees that produce fruits, nuts or vegetables such as apples, carrots and acorns.
Audit Shows Missing Funds From Blencoe's City Account
BLENCOE, Iowa (AP) - A state audit shows poor record-keeping at the western Iowa city of Blencoe has led to a loss of more than $71,000 in property taxes and unsupported spending of city money.
Former city clerk Kym Harris served from January 2008 until she resigned last September after the city discovered financial reports hadn't been filed. The city couldn't collect property taxes for the
fiscal year that ended in June.
Harris told the Omaha World Herald in January she was going through cancer treatments and things were in turmoil.
She did not immediately return a call.
The audit, released Tuesday by State Auditor David Vaudt, found just over $2,400 of unsupported expenditures and more than $300 of improper reimbursements to Harris.
Blencoe, population 225, is 45 miles south of Sioux City.
Siemens Lays Off 600+ Employees
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A wind energy equipment manufacturer says it will lay off 615 workers in Iowa, Kansas and Florida in part because Congress has not renewed a tax credit for wind energy.
Siemens Energy Inc. says it told workers the news Tuesday at plants in Fort Madison, Iowa; Hutchinson, Kan., and Orlando, Fla.
The biggest cuts will come in Fort Madison, where 407 workers at a wind turbine blade factory will be out of work. About 220 workers there will be retained.
The company blamed difficult market conditions due to lack of congressional action on a wind energy tax credit as well as increased use of natural gas-fired power plants and an overall
In a statement, Siemens says the industry is seeing a significant drop in new wind turbine orders.