Monday News, July 20th
Sheriff's Deputies and Police Departments Involved In High Speed Chase
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Sheriff's Deputies and the Le Mars Police Department were involved with a high speed chase early Saturday morning that started in Sioux City and ended at a rural Plymouth County hog confinement facility. Authorities were chasing a white Ford Ranger pickup truck with Nebraska license plates. Woodbury County authorities notified Plymouth County of the chase. Sioux City Police stopped once the suspect crossed over from Woodbury County to Plymouth County. The suspect vehicle was traveling northbound on the southbound lanes of Highway 75 near Hinton. Plymouth County sheriff's deputies observed the vehicle on the south edge of Hinton. The vehicle was speeding and was traveling all over the road. Le Mars Police were called and requested to set up stop sticks between Merrill and Le Mars. Lights and sirens were activated in an attempt to stop the vehicle south of Merrill at which time the pick up truck attempted to flee. The vehicle continued northbound on Highway 75 and it did run over the stop sticks. By the time the suspect vehicle reached Highway 75 and county road C-38, its tires had begun falling apart. The vehicle continued north on Highway 75, then followed Highway 60 from Le Mars. By this time the vehicle had lost three of its tires and was running on the rims. The vehicle continued to flee from officers. The vehicle continued north on Highway 60 until county road K-64 where it had turned south. The driver of the vehicle continually threw items of clothing at the pursuing officers. The report says the driver also made several offensive hand gestures directed at the pursuing officers, while being chased. The vehicle continued heading south on K-64 and failing to stop at a stop sign at K-64 and Highway 3. The vehicle continued heading south and failing to stop at a second stop sign located at K-64 and C-38. The pursuit continued to the 2300 block of K-64 when the suspect stopped his vehicle and started running on foot east into a hog confinement area. Deputies were able to catch the suspect not far from where he had stopped. The suspect was identified as Michael Derby, age 33 of South Sioux City, Nebraska. He was charged with two counts of speeding, two stop sign violations, felony eluding, (a class D felony) and operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a third offense. As of Monday, he was still in the Plymouth County jail on a $5,000 bond. The sheriff's department was assisted by the Le Mars Police Department, Iowa State Patrol, Orange City Police, and the Kingsley Police Department.
RAGBRAI Rolls Into Kingsley
(Kingsley) -- The first bicycle was seen before 5:00 a.m. but by 8:00 a.m. thousands of bicycle riders from all parts of the world had entered the first town on the cross state journey of RAGBRAI. Kingsley welcomed the bikers with open arms, and with plenty of food for the riders. More than 20 food vendors had set up on 2nd Street with the smell of hamburgers on the grill flowing from the food stand operated by the United Methodist Church of Kingsley, luring the hungry bike riders. Area residents were seated in their lawn chairs greeting the bikers as they passed through the town of 1400.
Two women from the Chicago area were seen taking photographs of a four-wheel drive Case-IH tractor with tracks, that was parked on Kingsley's Main Street. One of which climbed up to the cab area and asked her friend to snap a photo. Their conversation was overheard by KLEM news.
The first bike rider exclaimed, "Look at the size of this thing!"
The second bike rider, asked "What is it?"
The first woman responded by saying "I think its a tractor".
KLEM news visited with four people from Michigan who were riding on RAGBRAI. Two of which were veterans of the annual bike ride across Iowa, and the other two were new to the adventure.
Rick from Fremont, Michigan is on his very first RAGBRAI ride. He says his good friend talked him into riding his bicycle across the state of Iowa. Rick's first observation from the first day of riding is Iowa is not as flat as he had imagined. Jeannine White hails from Musgekgon, Michigan and is on her sixth RAGBRAI ride. She says she returns because of the people.
Randy White, also from Musgekgon has traveled across the state of Iowa nine different times on RAGBRAI. Randy echoes his wife's comments about riding on RAGBRAI to meet new people.
The entourage from Michigan say they prefer camping at the host towns for their over-night accommodations, as opposed to staying with host families that open their homes to the bike riders.
Rich Steinhart makes the fourth person on the Michigan riding group. The Spring Lake, Michigan resident is making his first journey across Iowa, and like Rick, he too was talked into riding across the Hawkeye state by Randy White.
The self-described "virgin" bike rider says he is looking forward to eating the good food that is available at each of the small towns.
Steinhart says while visiting Kingsley, he enjoyed a breakfast consisting of scrambled eggs and hash brown potatoes, along with a banana and a bottled water. In his words, he was "good to go" until Washta and Quimby.
Wisconsin Bike Couple Injured When A Car Struck Their Tandem Bicycle
(Sioux City) -- Two people riding a tandem bicycle will not be able to enjoy the ride across Iowa as they were struck by a car in Sioux City. The bicyclists, were Bruce and Barbara Blair of Hudson, Wisconsin. The two were traveling northbound on Hamilton Blvd when a car driven by Charryse Chaves was driving westbound on W. 7th Street approaching Hamilton Blvd. Chavez failed to obey a police officer directing traffic at the intersection and entered the intersection and struck the tandem bicycle. Chavez left the scene, but was stopped a short distance away. The Blairs sustained what is believed to be non-life threatening injuries. The injured riders were transported to Mercy hospital. 36 year old Chavez was charged with an OWI, the second offense, no insurance, and failure to obey a police officer. Barbara Blair was treated and released, but her husband Bruce remains in stable condition.
Strong Winds Blow Down Trees In Le Mars
(Le Mars) -- Strong winds of up to 50 mph swept through Le Mars late Friday evening and into Saturday morning causing several branches to fall from trees. On Central Avenue, a large portion of a tree had fallen blocking the street. City crews and members of the fire department worked into the evening moving the tree out from the street.
Fire Department To Hold Fund Raiser Benefit For Doug Harms
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department are wanting to help one of their own. The fire department will be hosting a "Fill the Boot" fundraising benefit for Doug Harms. The benefit is scheduled for Wednesday evening, June 22, and will be held at Fire Station number 1. Harms served the city as a fire fighter for 27 and a half years, before having to step down due to medical heart conditions. Harms was a captain with the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department. Now, recently he has been diagnosed with having cancer and has been taking treatments. Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper explains the goal behind the fundraiser benefit.
Schipper says the goal is to raise at least $10,000 to help defray the medical expenses for Doug Harms. The Le Mars Fire chief says many other fire departments are stepping up to help Harms.
Schipper says the fire department has already received several checks from people who want to help, but are unable to attend the fundraiser.
Poultry Producers Have Questions After Bird Flu
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The poultry farmers who lost millions of chickens and turkeys to the bird flu this spring are facing an uncertain future.
The farmers aren't sure when federal officials will allow them to start rebuilding their flocks or whether enough birds will be available.
Dave Rettig is president of Rembrandt Foods in Spirit Lake, Iowa, which lost 8 million egg-laying hens. Rettig says the disease decimated the egg industry and who knows if it will return in the fall when birds migrate again.
Rettig says it will take at least a year or two for the industry to rebuild flocks, and he's not sure when his business will be allowed to resume.
Million Dollar Bond Set For Man Accused Of 1995 Murder
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A $1 million cash bond has been set for an Iowa man charged in a 1995 homicide.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports 54-year-old Steven John Klein appeared before a judge Saturday morning - one day after his arrest in Muscatine.
Authorities say Klein is responsible for the death of 38-year-old Susan Kersten, who he was romantically linked to.
Kersten's charred remains were found inside her burning vehicle in a field near an Iowa highway in September 1995. Her death was initially believed to be accidental, but an autopsy determined she died of blunt force trauma to the head sustained before the fire.
Authorities have not yet said what let to Klein's arrest.
Iowa's Highest Point To Hold Convention
SIBLEY, Iowa (AP) - The highest point in Iowa will be celebrated later this week.
Members of the Highpointers Club will gather at Hawkeye Point for a convention that starts on Thursday and runs through Saturday.
The highest point in the state is 1,670 feet above sea level, and it is about 4 miles north of the town of Sibley, Iowa.
The Highpointers Club works to mark the highest point in every state.
Seven years ago, the Merrill and Donna Sterler family donated 1.6 acres to Osceola County to mark the high point and preserve public access.
On a clear day, the site offers views of Iowa, Minnesota and perhaps South Dakota.