Thursday News, August 29
Rescue Units Rehearse Ammonia Leak Drill
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was called to Dean's Foods last evening for an ammonia leak. That call came in at about 6:30 p.m. It was reported that a man was down at the milk processing facility and had fallen victim to inhaling ammonia as a leak had occurred from an Ammonia truck. Employees of the Dean's Food plant were evacuated from the facility...the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department, along with the Le Mars Ambulance and the Le Mars Police Department responded to Dean's Foods. Businesses located within a three city block radius of Dean's Foods were informed of the potential danger. Plymouth County Sheriff's Office, Plymouth County Communications and Plymouth County Emergency Management Services were also called to the scene, as was the Sioux City Fire Department's Haz Mat team. It could have been a scary scenario, and it would be, if it was real. But fortunately, it was only a drill. The mentioned entities participated in a mock simulated ammonia leak drill Wednesday evening. Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says rehearsing an ammonia leak drill is good for everyone.
Schipper says practicing such drills allows everyone to learn, and to be better prepared if such an emergency were to actually happen.
The Le Mars Fire Chief had another trick up his sleeve with regards to the simulated drill. He wanted to see how his fire and rescue crew would react to an emergency decontamination situation.
Dean's Food's Plant Manager, Jarrod Otta explains why the milk company cooperates on such simulated drills.
The Sioux City Fire Department's Haz Mat team was on the scene, equipped with air detector monitors to help calculate how much ammonia may have entered the atmosphere, as well as how large of an area would need to be evacuated. Le Mars Police Chief Stuart Dekkenga says such a drill helps the police department plan for the unexpected.
The drill lasted for about two and a half hours.
Le Mars Police Promote Officers
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Police Department has promoted two of its officers. Sergeant Tim Hop has been promoted to the rank of Captain. Senior officer Robert Bendlin has been promoted to the rank of Sergeant. The promotions fill a gap in the rank structure left by the retirement of Captain Dennis Folkema which was nearly a year ago.
Gehlen Catholic Receives $125,000 Gift From Gehlen Endowment
(Le Mars) -- Gehlen Catholic Schools received a check Wednesday amounting to $125,000. The money is from the Gehlen Catholic Endowment Fund and from the Eva Waite estate. Chuck Kellen serves as the Gehlen Catholic Endowment chairman. He presented the check to Father Kevin Richter, and to Gehlen principals Jeff Ahlesh and Lorie Nussbaum. The school will utilize the Endowment Fund’s gifts to meet the unfunded tuition assistance needs for the 2013-2014 school year. During the 2012-2013 school year, tuition assistance needs had grown by more than 100%. Since the Gehlen Catholic Schools Endowment Fund’s inception 26 years ago, the Endowment Fund alone had contributed $1,564,772.00 to the school (not including Wednesday's gift.
As the Endowment Fund’s trustees look to the future, they hope the Endowment Fund will continue to grow and assist in offsetting parental and parish investments to the school by 10% - 20% annually.
Medical Professionals Testify On Video Conference Abortion
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Medical professionals and advocates have lined up to testify on
whether Iowa should bar the practice of distributing abortion-inducing pills via a video-conferencing system.
The Iowa Board of Medicine held the public hearing Wednesday in Des Moines. Activists are seeking to halt a long-distance video system used by Planned Parenthood of the Heartland. It lets doctors deliver pills to patients in clinics around Iowa after a video consultation.
Doctor Thomas Ross, who works for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, says patients get
the same level of care as those he sees in person. But West Des Moines Dr. Gregory McKernan, who opposes abortion, says he thinks the doctor should have to be present.
Animal Rights Groups Sue EPA
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Environmental and animal welfare groups are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, alleging the federal agency unlawfully scrapped a rule that would have authorized the EPA to collect information from large-scale livestock confinement farms.
The EPA dropped the rule in July 2012, saying it would get farm locations, waste
management practices and number of animals on the properties from state and federal agencies.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Washington and claims that the EPA lacks the rational
basis required by law to withdraw the rule. It also says the information is critical to enforcing the federal Clean Water Act.
The EPA didn't respond to messages.
The plaintiffs are The Center for Food Safety, Environmental Integrity Project, Food & Water Watch, The Humane Society and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement.
Waverly Man Involved In Grain Bin Accident
WAVERLY, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a northeast Iowa man has been hospitalized following a grain bin accident.
The Bremer County Sheriff's Office says 54-year-old Mark Mueller of Waverly fell about 40 feet Wednesday from a grain bin. Additional information has not been released about the circumstances of the accident.
Mueller sustained several injuries and was transported to a nearby hospital.
Additional information about Mueller's condition is not available.
Des Moines Home Catches Fire From Cigarette Igniting Oxygen Tank
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Authorities say a person who was smoking a cigarette while on a home oxygen tank caused an apartment fire in Des Moines.
Des Moines firefighters say two residents suffered smoke inhalation during the Tuesday night fire. The individual smoking the cigarette also suffered burns and was transported to a hospital burn unit.
The fire was contained to one apartment and was extinguished by the building's sprinkler
system. Damage to the building is estimated at $20,000.
This is the city's third fire this year that's related to someone smoking while on home oxygen.