Monday News, January 14
Life Saving Helmet Presented To Soldier
(Le Mars) -- An Alton, Iowa National Guard soldier based out of the 113th Calvary Squadron, Charlie Company from Le Mars was presented on Saturday afternoon the helmet that saved his life. While on tour in Afghanistan, on May 28, 2011, Specialist Tom Albers, 23, was conducting a dismounted joint presence patrol with his team in Afghanistan's Kafshan Valley, Parwan province when he and his fellow troops came under fire. A bullet hit his helmet, but fortunately, for Albers, did not hit his head. Albers recalls the incident.
Albers admits he was stunned for a few moments. He says he was able to take cover and quickly realized there was no blood and in fact he was able to continue the mission.
Specialist Albers describes his helmet after taking a round.
Once enemy fire subsided and they began pulling out. Albers finally realized the seriousness of what just happened. He was evacuated, with his only injury being a small burn mark across the top of his head. His helmet was sent to Program Executive Office based in Fort Belvoir, Virginia for analysis. Program Executive Office has been dedicated to developing, producing, fielding and sustaining virtually everything a soldier wears, carries, and operates. Saturday, the helmet was returned to Albers by Command Sgt. Major Emmett Maunakea with PEO, encased in a presentation case with a plaque, during a ceremony at the Le Mars armory.
Le Mars School Board To Review Security Issues
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School Board is scheduled to meet this evening to discuss school security. Dr. Todd Wendt, superintendent of schools will report comments, suggestions, and concerns expressed by parents, staff, and community members regarding school security and discuss in general terms of the district emergency plan. The school board is expected to discuss legislative issues as it discusses the Plymouth County Schools Legislative Forum scheduled for February 2nd. Assistant Superintendent, Steve Webner will review the Iowa Assessment Tests with the school board.
Legislative Forum Draws Nearly 20 People
(Le Mars) -- Nearly 20 people attended a legislative forum Saturday morning at Le Mars to hear the comments of state lawmakers Bill Anderson and Chuck Soderberg prior to the start of the general session that opens today. The group offered comments of their own regarding particular issues. City, County, and School officials along with concerned citizens discussed the state's budget, road and bridge funding, regulations, and even the state's role in the pending Affordable Healthcare Act, sometimes referred to as Obamacare. But for Shirley Schroeder, the president of the Remsen-Union school board, she is concerned about education reform and allowable growth funding for schools.
Schroeder offered some advice to the lawmakers when dealing with educational issues.
Dr. Mark Stelzer, a member of the Le Mars Community School Board echoed Schroeder's sentiment.
Legislators Differ On What To Do With Surplus Of Funds
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - After years of cutting the budget, the legislative session that beings Monday will offer lawmaker a new challenge - what to do with a $1 billion surplus?
Dave Roederer, the top budget aide to Gov. Terry Branstad, credits the surplus to spending cuts and conservative budgeting, as well as healthy tax revenues.
Branstad will release his budget plans Tuesday and is expected to announce plans to invest in education and cut commercial property taxes.
Some Republicans lawmakers also argue reductions to the income tax should be part of any tax package
Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, of Council Bluffs, says Democrats would support some tax cuts, but they also want to see more spending on programs such as adult education and job training.
Some Democrats also want to expand Medicaid.
Onawa Casino Reopens
ONAWA, Iowa (AP) - Nebraska's Omaha Tribe has reopened its flood-damaged Iowa casino under a new name and with plans for a new building.
The Blackbird Bend Casino greeted old and new customers when it reopened its doors Saturday. It was known as CasinOmaha when it was shut down by Missouri River flooding in June 2011.
Blackbird Bend is temporarily located in the old restaurant of CasinOmaha.
A new building will be built just southeast of the old casino and will be built six feet higher in case of future flooding.
The new casino will have more than 150 employees. Construction is scheduled to begin in March and take about 13 months.
The casino is situated near Onawa, between Omaha, Neb., and Sioux City.
Three Die In Perry Creek Accident
(Sioux City) -- Sioux City Police are investigating an accident that occurred shortly after 3:00 a.m. Sunday morning. A vehicle traveling west on 35th street in Sioux City ran the stop sign at the intersection of 35th and Douglas Street. The vehicle continued down on 35th Street and crossed Grandview Blvd. The vehicle then drove through a residence yard into the Perry Creek and came to rest on its roof partially submerged in Perry Creek. There were five occupants in the vehicle and two were able to escape the vehicle after entering the water. Three other individuals were extracted by rescue personnel and taken to both hospitals where they were pronounced dead. The accident is still under investigation. The victims' names have not been released.
SUV Runs Up On A Porch Of A Des Moines Home
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Des Moines police say a drunk driver rammed his sport utility vehicle into the porch of a Des Moines home.
Twenty-eight-year-old Andrew William McAninch was arrested early Saturday on suspicion of driving while drunk.
Police reports say McAninch had a blood alcohol level of .188 - more than twice Iowa's legal driving limit of .08 - when he crashed into the house around 2 a.m. No one was hurt.
Neighborhood residents say McAninch also clipped a gas line in the course of the crash. Authorities were able to quickly contain the gas leak.
School Bus Crashes In Northeast Iowa
POSTVILLE, Iowa (AP) - A school bus crash in the northeast corner of Iowa sends the driver and six students to the hospital for treatment of injures.
The Allamakee County Sheriff's Office says the crash happened around 7:15 a.m. Friday when the bus slid through an intersection, into a ditch and down an embankment.
The driver told authorities that ice on the road caused the crash.
The sheriff's office says the six students and driver were taken to Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon, where they were treated for minor injuries and released.
The accident remains under investigation.
Illinois Man Dies After Falling Through Ice
SABULA, Iowa (AP) - An Illinois man is dead and his teenage son injured after falling through the ice of an eastern Iowa lake.
The accident happened just before 5 p.m. Friday. Jackson County Sheriff's officials say 65-year-old Ronald Kerkhoff, of German Valley, Illinois and his son, 18-year-old Jacob Kerkhoff, had been ice fishing on South Sabula Lake when they fell through.
Rescue crews pulled the men from the lake and took them to a hospital in Clinton, where the older man died. Jacob Kerkhoff was treated for his injuries and released.