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Tuesday News, November 27

Fire Destroys Le Mars Apartment Complex

(Le Mars) -- Twelve people are now without a home as a fire destroyed a victorian style home converted to apartments.  Fire broke out at about 12:40 p.m. Monday afternoon with smoke
that could be seen for several blocks.  The structure is located at 335 3rd Avenue S.E. and sits across the street from the Franklin Elementary School.  Le Mars and Merrill Fire Departments responded to the blaze with additional support from Orange City aerial truck.  It was four hours before fire officials were able to control the blaze.  Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says the fire forced fire officials to take a "defensive" move to contain the fire.
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The building was listed as a total loss with damages expected to exceed $100,000. Schipper says all the tenants were able to escape the blaze and there were no injuries.  Schipper says he had concerns about neighboring homes and he made the decision to battle the blaze from the top - down.
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Fire officials were able to rescue a cat from the burning structure. The cause of the fire is uncertain and is under investigation. Assisting with the fire was the Merrill and Orange City Fire Departments, Plymouth County Sheriff's office, Le Mars Police, Le Mars Water Department, Le Mars Ambulance, Iowa State Patrol, and the City of Le Mars Street Department.

County Supervisors Expected To Approve County Employee Bargaining Agreements

(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are expected to approve the County's secondary road employee bargaining agreement, as well as the Sheriff's employee bargaining unit during today's weekly scheduled meeting.  Both agreements are for a three year term.

School Board Approves Student-Teacher Program With USD

(Le Mars) -- During last evening's Le Mars Community School Board meeting, the board approved an agreement with the University of South Dakota for a student teacher program.  The agreement will go from July 1, 2013 until June 30, 2017.  The school board also heard a report from the school district's activities directors as they reported to the board how effective the new administrative structure was performing.  The activities directors were assigned new responsibilities three years ago due to budget cuts.

Proposal Calls For Additional Schools For Blind and Deaf

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) - A committee has decided to recommend Iowa provide education services for blind and deaf students at existing campuses in Vinton and Council Bluffs and three new sites in a
regional system.
The proposal will be forwarded to the Iowa Board of Regents. A board vote isn't expected
until February.
The proposal will cost $3.2 million more than current spending to serve the deaf and blind students. But School for the Deaf Superintendent Patrick Clancy says the extra cost would be shared
by various entities, including local school districts.
The regents charged the committee to review the effectiveness and efficiency of the services.
The state serves about 500 students who are blind or visually impaired. It serves about 1,500 students who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Des Moines Set For Bullying Seminar

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Department of Education says nearly 1,200 students, educators and parents are expected to attend a daylong anti-bullying summit.
The Governor's Bullying Prevention Summit will begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines.
Speakers include Paul Gausman, superintendent of Sioux City schools, and author Rosalind Wiseman.
The event is sold out but the summit will be streamed live over the Internet at


Iowa Tops The Nation With Graduation Rate

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Department of Education says Iowa had the nation's top graduation rate in the 2010 school year, with about 88 percent of students graduating.
The Des Moines Register reports the figure narrowly beat Wisconsin's 87 percent rate.
Nevada had the lowest rate, with 62 percent graduation, just ahead of New Mexico's 63 percent rate.
The 2010-2011 academic year was the first time all states used uniform standards to measure the number of students who graduated.
Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass commended educators for the high graduation rate but noted in a statement Monday that low income students, non-native English speakers and
those with special needs performed at a lower level than other students.

Des Moines School Board Considering Hiring A Lobbyist

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Des Moines school board has scheduled a vote on whether to hire its own lobbyist and raise the district's influence in the state Capitol hallways and meeting rooms.
The Des Moines Register says ( ) the board is expected to vote on the proposal Tuesday. The district would be the first in the state to have its own lobbyist, if the measure were to pass.
The Des Moines district is a founding member of the Urban Education Network and would continue to be active with its lobbying efforts.
District spokesman Phil Roeder says having a lobbyist of its own would let the board focus the lobbyist's efforts on issues the board considers to be the most important.
A lobbying firm likely will cost between $15,000 and $30,000 a year.




Monday News, November 26

Le Mars School Board To Meet Monday Evening

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education is scheduled to meet this evening and on their agenda is a report delivered by the three activities directors.  The board will also discuss the recent State School Board Convention, and they will discuss the upcoming Chamber of Commerce legislative luncheon and the AEA legislative forum.


ATV Accident Kills West Bend Man

WEST BEND, Iowa (AP) - One man has died and another has been seriously injured after an all-terrain vehicle hit a tree in northern Iowa's West Bend.
The Palo Alto County Sheriff's Department says that the crash happened Wednesday night. Killed in the crash was 51-year-old Glenn Gearhart, of West Bend.
The injured person, identified only as a 28-year-old, was initially treated at Palo Alto County Hospital in Emmetsburg, then flown to an unidentified hospital.
Sheriff deputies report that the accident occurred on private property.

Council Bluffs Man Dies In Auto Accident

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - A 42-year-old Nebraska man has died after his pickup crashed into a light pole and rolled in western Iowa.
Christopher Thacker, of Bellevue, Neb., crashed early Saturday at the intersection of Interstates 29 and 80 in Council Bluffs.
Police says Thacker was thrown from the truck and pronounced dead at the scene.
Police say Thacker was the only person in the truck, and no one else was injured.


Tractor Roll Over Kills Cambridge Man

CAMBRIDGE, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have identified a man killed and a 9-year-old girl injured when a tractor they were on rolled in central Iowa this weekend.
The accident happened Saturday morning near Cambridge.
Story County Sheriff's Capt. Barry Thomas says 42-year-old Noel Shepley was pronounced dead at the scene. Shepley's 9-year-old daughter, who was also riding the older-model tractor, was pinned
and had to be freed when deputies arrived.
Thomas says an autopsy has been scheduled for Shepley.
Thomas says Shepley's daughter was conscious and alert as the tractor was pulled off. She was flown to Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines with injuries not considered to be life-threatening.
Preliminary reports show the tractor's tires may have dropped off the road, causing it to roll.

Motorcycle Accident Claims Cedar Rapids Life

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - A motorcyclist is dead after his bike collided with a car this week in eastern Iowa.
That crash happened Thursday afternoon in Cedar Rapids.
Investigators say the motorcycle was traveling south when it collided with a car traveling north.
The driver of the motorcycle was flown to St. Luke's Hospital, where he later died.
Police have not yet released the motorcyclist's name.


Thanksgiving Weekend The Time To Select A Christmas Tree

(Hawarden) -- In addition to purchasing Christmas gifts following the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, many people get into the Holiday mood by selecting a Christmas tree.   Robin Miller of the T & S Christmas Tree farm of Hawarden says this past weekend is the busiest weekend for Christmas tree sales.
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Miller says firs seem to be the most popular tree for Christmas, but they are also the most expensive.
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Miller says caring for Christmas trees is a year-round project and she says due to this summer's drought she spent a good deal of time watering her Christmas trees.

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The Christmas Tree grower says consumers can cut their own tree, or pick one that has already been cut.


Fort Madison Hotel Burns in Fire

FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) - An historic Fort Madison hotel building has burned to the ground, and the flames claimed two businesses housed in the building.
Davenport television station KWQC reports ( that the fire broke out around 4 a.m. Saturday, and flames quickly engulfed the old Metropolitan Hotel, which housed a book store and
a computer repair company.
It took two hours for nearly 40 firefighters from four fire departments to get the fire under control. Firefighters kept the flames from spreading to nearby buildings.
Investigators expect to begin searching for the cause of the fire on Monday.


Fire Destroys Mason City Home

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) - No injuries have been reported from a fire in Mason City.
Authorities say firetrucks were dispatched to a house about 10:45 p.m. Sunday. Arriving firefighters say a garage there was engulfed by flames that had spread to part of the house. Backyard
items also were aflame.
The fire cause is being investigated. It's unclear whether anyone was at the home when the fire broke out.


Salvation Army Reports Stolen Kettle

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Salvation Army in Des Moines says someone stole one of the Red Kettles it uses to collect donations.
The Red Kettle and its stand were taken from a Walmart Supercenter in West Des Moines sometime after 6 p.m. Friday, during a shift when the kettle wasn't staffed with a bell ringer. They
kettle contained an unknown amount of money.
Another Red Kettle and stand were taken from a HyVee store in southern Des Moines about a week ago, but in that incident the kettle was empty.
The Salvation Army says the replacement and shipping costs for one Red Kettle is nearly $300.
Anyone who may have witnessed the Friday theft is asked to call West Des Moines police.
The Red Kettle campaign runs from November 9th through December 24th.


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