Thursday News, May 21
Le Mars Ambulance Celebrates 40 Years Of Service
(Le Mars) -- This week is National EMT-First Responder Recognition Week and the Le Mars Ambulance Service will celebrate 40 years of existence with a Chamber After 5 event scheduled for Thursday evening. The event will be held at Fire Station #2 located on 12th Street southeast. Bill Rosacker, the director of the Le Mars Ambulance Service reviews Thursday evening's events, including the start of a new program.
Rosacker says the Le Mars Ambulance Services responds to three times as many calls today, compared to when the city ambulance service started 40 years ago.
The Le Mars Ambulance Service is fortunate to have 26 volunteers. Rosacker says by having that many volunteers, the city is saving money.
As some smaller communities find it more difficult to find and retain volunteers to operate a community ambulance service, Le Mars is finding itself in a position to cover a larger territory.
Rosacker says the state is aware of the problem and is trying to find a suitable solution to fully staff and equip the smaller towns with an ambulance service. Rosacker admits stricter bureaucratic regulations may have discouraged people from volunteering as an Emergency Medical Technician or Paramedic.
Former Fire Chief Remembers How City Ambulance Service Started
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Ambulance service has been active for 40 years, and former Le Mars Fire Chief Wayne Schipper remembers its beginnings. Schipper says it was the responsibility of the fire department to operate the rescue squad. However, the ambulance service was originally operated by a local funeral director.
Schipper says in 1972 the state organized a pilot program involving the training of Emergency Medical Technicians, and he says Plymouth county was one of the first in the state to adopt the concept.
Schipper says it was 1974 when Gary Johnson informed the city of Le Mars that he would be ending his ambulance service in 1975. At that time Don Paulin was the mayor of Le Mars and he formed a committee to see how the city might be able to operate the ambulance service. Schipper says the city's residents at that time were in favor of having the city manage the ambulance services, and properly train its volunteers. He talks about the early years when the city ambulance service was getting started.
Schipper says through out the history of the Le Mars Ambulance Service, there have been several good, dedicated, people willing to volunteer their time to serve the medical and rescue needs of the community.
The Le Mars Ambulance Service is celebrating its 40 years of existence with an open house this evening beginning at 5:00 p.m.
Legislators Still Negotiating School Funding Budget
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Many schools, including Le Mars Community, will dismiss classes for the summer tomorrow, and yet school administration officials and teachers have not been able to sign contracts because everyone is still waiting on the state legislature to approve a school funding budget. As lawmakers struggle to resolve the state budget, a new conflict has sprung up about how much new money to give schools in the 2016-2017 school year.
The Appropriations Committee in the Republican-led House on Wednesday approved a plan that would provide about $125 million in new dollars in that year, with some of the money going to a teacher leadership program. But Democrats say the funding level is inadequate.
Republicans had previously supported spending more money, but Representative Chuck Soderberg, a Republican from Le Mars, said they didn't want to "overcommit and under-deliver."
The Republican-controlled House and Democratic-majority Senate are still at odds over how much new money to provide in the upcoming school year, with Democrats wanting to offer more than Republicans.
Bird Flu Continues To Strike Iowa Poultry Farms
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa agriculture officials say tests on two new turkey farms indicate presence of the bird flu raising the number of cases to 62.
The sixth turkey farm in Sac County and the first case in Calhoun County were added Wednesday to the state's list of contaminated farms on which all birds will be euthanized if the virus is confirmed. The number of turkeys on each farm was not immediately released.
Calhoun County becomes the 15th Iowa County to have bird flu cases reported.
Samples will be sent to a U.S. Department of Agriculture lab in Ames for confirmation of the H5N2 virus.
The USDA says confirmed outbreaks have claimed nearly 40 million birds in 15 states since early March, mostly in Minnesota and Iowa.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A Sioux City man accused of burglary and possessing synthetic marijuana has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.
19-year-old Javen Mobley pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary, and in a separate case, possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance.
Authorities say Mobley admitted breaking into a house Sept. 1 to steal items, and other people he was with started a fire. Mobley had been charged with second-degree arson in connection to the fire, but the charge was dismissed as part of his plea agreement.
According to court documents, Mobley was arrested in April during a traffic stop when police found six plastic bags containing synthetic marijuana. The documents say Mobley told officers he was on his way to deliver the substance to a woman.
House Approves Fireworks Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa House has approved a measure that would legalize the sales of more kinds of fireworks.
The measure passed on a 53-43 vote late Wednesday night. It now heads to the Senate, where a similar bill is being considered.
Under the proposal, retailers could sell firecrackers, Roman candles and other fireworks. Currently the state allows sales only of sparklers and snakes. The bill would take effect Dec. 1, 2015, too late for July Fourth this year.