Wednesday Afternoon News, March 4
Fire Department Investigates Odor At Mobile Home
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was called to Armel Acres mobile home park in Le Mars at about 7:15 a.m.this morning to investigate a strange odor. Fire fighters found two issues of concern at the home at 1 Cherry Street. Inside the home, an overhead light fixture had gotten too hot creating an odor, plus fire fighters detected a small gas leak outside the home. Mid-American Energy officials were notified of the gas leak. Fire officials were able to quickly resolve the light fixture concern and were on scene for less than 20 minutes.
Archie's Waeside Awarded National Honor
(Le Mars) -- A local steakhouse has been nationally recgonized for its good food and longevity. In May, Archie's Waeside will be honored with the James Beard Foundation "American Classic" award. Owner, Bob Rand, says it is quite the honor for a Le Mars restaurant to be one of five recognized nationally.
Rand says Archie's is being honored, in part, for its long-term comittment in the restauarant business.
Rand explains how Archie's was selected for the national food honor.
The steakhouse owner claims it is the comittment of the people, both the employees and the guests, that makes the local eatery so special.
On Friday, March 13th, a film production crew will be shooting video for the award presentation, and Rand wishes to invite the folks from Le Mars to dine at Archie's that evening.
Bergquist Presented School District's " Employee Of The Month"
(Le Mars) -- A middle school secretary has been honored by the Le Mars Community School District as this month's "Employee of the Month". Amy Bergquist has been employed with the school district for 16 years. She was presented the award Wednesday morning. The nomination says Amy Bergquist does everything for the middle school. She understands that the kids come first and she is very positive and helpful towards all students. Amy has a positive attitude and works incredibly hard. She is a great problem solver, whether it is a Powerschool state reporting problem, or a snag dealing with the middle school carnival. Amy stays calm and and finds a solution. She is a professional and knowledgeable and she does an amazing job. Our congratulations go to Amy Bergquist for being named as the Le Mars Community School District's "Employee of the Month."
Ice Cream Days Receives Funding From Hotel-Motel Tax
(Le Mars) -- Ice Cream Days won't occur for another three months, but it is the benefactor of funds collected through the Hotel-Motel tax. The week-long local festival will receive $7000 to help with parade entries, entertainment and various other activities for the 2015 Ice Cream Days scheduled for June 17 through 20th. Sue Butcher is with the Le Mars Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Ice Cream Days committee. She says the Ice Cream Days committee is excited to receive the special tax funds. "Ice Cream Days increases tourism by bringing out-of-town visitors and former residents into Le Mars as family activities are planned around the occasion". She says "numerous local people also take part in the wide variety of entertainment offered during the four days." Butcher says it is an opportunity to showcase several areas of our community". Ice Cream Days was one of 11 applicants receiving funding this year. Funding recommendations of the Convention and Visitors Bureau Advisory Board were approved by the Le Mars City Council.
Lawsuit Filed Against Bishop Heelan Is Dismissed
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A religious discrimination lawsuit filed against Sioux City's Bishop Heelan Catholic school system has been dismissed.
The ruling filed last week, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jon Scoles said David Newbrough couldn't proceed on his claim that the system fired him because he wasn't Roman Catholic. Newbrough was the system's chief financial officer.
The lawsuit also said he was relieved of his duties as a volunteer basketball scorekeeper at Heelan High School in retaliation for filing a claim with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.
The judge says the system's actions were protected under a federal law exemption that lets religious organizations discriminate on religious grounds in their employment practices.
Humboldt Votes To Continue Tax Levy
HUMBOLDT, Iowa (AP) - Residents of the northern Iowa city of Humboldt have voted to keep paying a nearly 30-year-old law enforcement levy after an examination found no proof the issue had ever been put to a vote.
Residents approved the levy Tuesday by a vote of 146 to 70.
The issue arose in September when the Iowa Department of Management sought details about the levy. Humboldt looked through paperwork and couldn't find any documentation voters had approved the levy. City Administrator Aaron Burnett says the levy appeared to first show up on the 1986 budget, when it was list as an "other" revenue source.
Official approval of the levy means residents will continue paying the fee, which this year is $1.13 per $1,000 of taxable property value.
House Panel Approves Bill Requiring Doctors To Show Ultrasound Image Before Abortion
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A House panel has approved a bill that would require a physician to offer an ultrasound image to a woman seeking an abortion in Iowa.
Members of a human resources subcommittee approved the bill Wednesday. It heads to a full committee for consideration, where it will need to advance by Friday to beat a procedural deadline in the Legislature.
The bill would require a physician to perform an ultrasound on a woman and give her an opportunity to view an image of the fetus. The woman would be given the option of hearing a description of the ultrasound image and the potential heartbeat of the fetus. Physicians could face jail time and fines if they didn't comply.
It's unlikely the bill will advance in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Yankton Motel Fire Still Unsolved One Year Later
YANKTON, S.D. (AP) - Federal authorities say they're still seeking tips from the public a year after an arson fire destroyed a Yankton motel.
The March 4, 2014, blaze destroyed the center of the Colonial Inn Motel and caused heavy smoke damage throughout. The loss was estimated at about half a million dollars.
After the fire, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives released a photo of a suspect and posted a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.
ATF spokesman Robert Schmidt tells the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan (http://bit.ly/1Egu40h ) that some tips have come in but authorities are still looking for more help from the public.
Motel owner Dennis Berkland says he has no plans to rebuild.
Man Says He Is No Hero After Saving Neighbor's Life From Fire
NORTH LIBERTY, Iowa (AP) - A man who helped his neighbor escape flames that destroyed a mobile home in eastern Iowa says he's no hero.
Jerry McBride Jr. says he merely answered a call of duty in aiding 71-year-old Fred Steven.
Steven says he awoke from a nap Monday afternoon to find that tubes from his oxygen tank were on fire inside his North Liberty home. Oxygen tanks began exploding by the time he reached a doorway.
McBride says he found Steven just outside the home, with his coat aflame. McBride says he used his body to shield Steven from the flaming home, pulled off Steven's coat and then helped him get away from the intense heat and other danger.
Neither man was injured. Fire officials are investigating the fire cause.
University Of Iowa Power Plant
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - University of Iowa officials are ready to begin planning a steam production plant on the west side of the school's campus.
Officials have asked the Iowa state Board of Regents for permission to begin planning the $75 million production plant that will be adjacent to the school's new backup power facility.
University interim senior vice president Rod Lehnertz says that construction will likely take two years, and that the facility should be operational in four years.
The plant would be fueled by natural gas, but the building site allows the use of biofuel sources that would transport to the facility by rail.
Officials estimate that the proposed facility initially will be capable of delivering 150,000 pounds per hour of steam, and could be expanded up to 300,000 pounds per hour.