Monday News, May 13
Fire Department Responds to House Arson Fire
(Le Mars) -- Fire officials responded to a house fire last evening at 36 3rd Avenue Northeast. The alarm was reported shortly after 9:00 p.m. When fire officials arrived on the scene, smoke could be seen coming from the building. Five different people were renting and living at the home at the time. Each were able to escape the house fire with no injuries. Fire Chief Dave Schipper says fire crews were able to contain the fire within a few minutes.
The fire did an estimated $10,000 worth of damage. The origin of the fire was confined to a small bathroom located on the main floor. However, the fire chief says the cause of the fire was determined to be arson.
The Le Mars Police have charged 29 year old Sarah Smith with first degree arson, a class B felony. Smith was arrested Sunday evening and taken to the Plymouth County jail. Assisting at the scene were the Le Mars Police Department, Le Mars Ambulance, MidAmerican Energy and the American Red Cross.
Hinton Fire Department Fights Grass Fire
(Hinton) -- The Hinton Fire Department was called to fight a grass fire on Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. That fire was reported at 32278 Indigo Road. Officials were on the scene for about a half an hour.
Oyens Fire Department Battles Grass/Field Fire
(Oyens) -- Oyens fire officials also were called on Sunday to fight a grass fire located at the range. The fire was reported at about 12:30 p.m. Fire officials were able to contain the fire within a half an hour.
Akron Fire and Rescue Unit Helps Auto Accident
(Akron) -- The Akron Fire Department was called upon Sunday to assist with an auto accident that occurred at the intersection of County road C-16 and Diamond Avenue. The accident involved one vehicle and it happened at about 9:30 p.m. No other details are known at this time about that accident.
Le Mars School Board To Discuss Affordable Health Care Program
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education is scheduled to meet this evening at the Education Service Center. The local school board is expected to discuss the upcoming senior awards night, commencement, and the employee recognition coffees. Superintendent of schools Dr. Todd Wendt will also discuss with the board information regarding the implications of the Affordable Health Care Act and how the district can comply with the requirements. The board is expected to act upon three resignation requests. The school board will hear from Assistant Superintendent Steve Webner and two faculty members discuss a professional development class and its component of the district's comprehensive professional development plan.
Galva Man Tries To Evade Police On Chase
ONAWA, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa man is facing charges after trying to evade police at speeds up to 120 mph.
The chase happened on Friday afternoon when the Ida County Sheriff's Department tried to stop 28-year-old Barry Young of Galva.
Authorities say Young fled south on Highway 175 and drove erratically while as many as six police cars pursued him. Young is suspected of stealing packages off the front porches of homes.
The Iowa State Patrol says Young drove across a farm field and through a fence surrounding a cell phone tower during the chase.
Young was arrested a few miles east of Onawa.
Young faces a felony charge of eluding arrest, several drug charges and numerous traffic violations.
Morningside College Plans Expansion
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Morningside College in Sioux City is investing $13 million in a new classroom building.
The project will be the first new academic building on its Sioux City campus since the early 1970s.
Morningside is also planning to renovate the Hickman-Johnson-Furrow Learning Center on campus. The work is scheduled to be ready by the fall of 2014.
The projects are part of a $50 million campaign of upgrades at Morningside. School officials say they have already raised $30 million.
Morningside Chairman Mike Bennett says the rest of the money will support the library portion of the school's planned academic village.
Lawmakers Say School Bus Inspections Need To Change
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Most Iowa lawmakers agree that changes need to be made to the state's system for inspecting school buses, but it's unlikely a bill will pass this year because lawmakers can't agree on what should be done.
A bill that would help close loopholes in the inspection system by requiring buses with serious problems to be re-inspected before returning to service passed the Iowa Senate on a 46-2 vote.
Some lawmakers now want to shift bus inspections out of the Education Department and into the state Transportation Department.
Republican Rep. Kevin Koester, of Ankeny, says school buses should get the same inspections commercial vehicles receive.
But former lawmaker Mike Cormack, who works for the Education Department, says moving the inspections would only delay needed improvements.
Spencer Man Found Guilty Of Beating
SPENCER, Iowa (AP) - A 21-year-old Spencer man has been sentenced to 45 years in prison for fatally beating another man during a burglary in northwest Iowa.
Sioux City television station KTIV reports that Christopher Fitzpatrick was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter, first-degree robbery and conspiracy to deliver
Police say they found 59-year old Edward Kitto badly beaten in the backyard of a Spencer home on Aug. 27. Kitto died at a Sioux Falls, S.D., hospital on Sept. 8.
Fitzpatrick had been charged with first-degree murder and had faced life in prison before taking a deal from prosecutors. As part of the deal, Fitzpatrick admitted in court to hitting Kitto and
stealing money from the man's wallet.
A second suspect, 21-year old Cody Millard of Spencer, is awaiting trial.
MidAmerican Energy Wants To Raise Rates
DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - MidAmerican Energy Co. is seeking permission from the Iowa Utilities Board to increase electricity rates, saying it's the first base-rate increase the utility has sought since 1995.
If approved, the rate would go into effect in August. MidAmerican says the increase would cost the average residential customer an additional $2.73 a month in 2013 and continue to rise over the next few years. By 2016, the average residential customer would be paying about $8 more a month than the current rate.
MidAmerican spokeswoman Tina Potthoff says the rate increase request is not related to the utility's announcement Wednesday of a $1.9 billion wind energy project.