Monday News, March 9
Le Mars Police Involved With Car Chase
(Le Mars) -- Late Friday night into early Saturday morning, Le Mars Police was involved in a pursuit. At around 12:11 a.m. a Le Mars police officer was attempting to stop a vehicle for speeding. The vehicle actually did stop at Lincoln and 6th Avenue southwest, but as the officer was getting out of his squad car the suspect fled. After a short pursuit, the vehicle was finally stopped in the alley of the 300 block of Central Avenue Southeast. 24 year old Alex Watterson of Alton, Iowa was placed under arrest. Watterson was charged with eluding law enforcement, an aggravated misdemeanor, second offense for operating while intoxicated another aggravated misdemeanor, and failure to obey a stop sign. He was also held at the Plymouth County jail on several warrants issued out of Sioux County. Le Mars Police were assisted in the matter by the Plymouth County Sheriff's Department.
Jet Blue Airliner Makes Emergency Stop At Gateway Sioux City Airport
(Sioux City) -- A Jet Blue passenger airliner enroute from New York City to San Francisco made an emergency landing in at Sioux Gateway Airport Sunday evening.
Authorities say the co-pilot of the plane became ill and passed out during the cross country flight.
Upon landing in Sioux City, the man was transported to Mercy Medical Center.
Passengers on the airliner were brought into Sioux Gateway’s terminal until another plane could be sent to complete their journey to the west coast. The flight of the Airbus A-321 carrying 159 passengers and six crew members originated at John F. Kennedy Airport.
That plane was expected to arrive sometime after midnight and the airline’s website stated the passengers should be in San Francisco by 4:20am.
Le Mars Community School Board To Convene This Evening
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community Board of Education are scheduled to convene this evening. The school board will discuss the recent school legislative forum which featured legislators Chuck Soderberg and Bill Anderson. The school board will likely discuss the upcoming Spring Workshop as sponsored by the Iowa Association of School Boards. That workshop is scheduled for April 21st and will be held in Sheldon. The Le Mars Community School Board will discuss the annual Foundation Banquet which will be held on April 29th at the Le Mars Convention Center. Superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt will present a preliminary fiscal year budget to the school board. A final budget will not be determined until the state legislature decides how much money will be allocated to school districts.
State Legislature Still Undecided On School Funding
(Le Mars) -- School officials are anxiously awaiting to see what will be the amount of money to be allocated to school districts. The state legislature is split between the HOuse wanting to offer schools about $100 million, or a 1.25 percent increase from last year, and the State Senate that approved a $200 million plan, or a four percent increase. Le Mars State Representative Chuck Soderberg serves as the chair of the House Appropriations committee and has been selected to serve on the conference committee. He says although there have been meetings between the House and the Senate, there has not been any compromise reached on school funding.
School officials have told legislators that in order to avoid cuts in programs and staff, the Senate version of education spending would be needed. However, House legislators contend the state doesn't have the available money to match the Senate's spending level. Soderberg explains the differences between the bills.
Soderberg says he has asked Senate Democrats where they intend to get the money to fund the schools at a four percent increase, and he says their answer is "we don't know".
Iowa Agriculture Summit Attracts Potential Presidential Candidates
(Des Moines) -- The first Iowa Agriculture Summit was held in Des Moines on Saturday, and ethanol was topic that was discussed by several potential presidential candidates. Radio Iowa's Kay Henderson reports.
75 mph Speed Limit Bill Fails To Move Beyond Funnel Deadline
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa drivers will stay out of the fast lane for now, after lawmakers did not advance a bill that would have boosted the speed limit on interstate highways, bringing it in line with many nearby states.
The bill sought to raise the speed limit on interstate highways to 75 miles per hour, up from the current limit of 70. It died in the state Senate several days ago, amid questions about the safety ramifications.
That means Iowa drivers will continue at slower speeds than those behind the wheel in many nearby states. Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota all have speed limits of 75.
Iowa's interstate highway speed limit was last increased in 2005, up from 65.
Three Fishermen Fall Through Ice And Died
CRESTON, Iowa (AP) - Three Iowa fishermen died this weekend after falling through the ice on a farm pond in Union County.
The Creston News Advertiser reports 71-year-old Earl Burkhalter, 73-year-old Charles Critz and 68-year-old James Oshel all died Saturday. They were from Creston.
Creston Fire Chief Todd Jackson says the men went ice fishing Saturday afternoon and failed to return. Rescuers were called to the farm shortly after 8 p.m.
Authorities found fishing equipment sitting on the pond's ice near a hole.
The men were all rescued from the lake within an hour. Parmedics tried to revive the men who were flown to hospitals, but the men died.
Iowa officials say ice fishing conditions are deteriorating across the state because of recent warm weather. So fishermen should test the ice often.
Iwo Jima Veteran To Return To Famous WWII Battleground
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Later this month, a 90-year-old Iowa veteran will have the chance to return to the volcanic beaches of Iwo Jima where he fought with the Marines during World War II.
Frank Pontisso will be part of one of the final groups of veterans returning to the tiny Pacific island.
Pontisso says he wants to visit certain parts of the island, such as the spot where he say a friend killed or the place where his arm was injured.
Pontisso says he witnessed the historic flag raising on the island that became one of the war's most iconic images, but he also lost the lower part of his right arm to a mortar blast.
Decorah Eaglit Dies From Electrocution
DECORAH, Iowa (AP) - A nonprofit has announced that a Decorah eaglet died after being electrocuted last week.
The Raptor Resource Project said Sunday the bird, called Four, was found lying underneath a utility pole between Keota and Harper in rural Keokuk County.
The organization says she was the fourth eaglet from Decorah known to have died from electrocution. Two eagles hatched in 2012 died after being shocked that same year. Another eagle of the 2014 Decorah eagle group died in July.
A consultant told the group the pole where Four was found is unsafe and suggested improvements to it. The nonprofit has forwarded the suggestions to a utility company and is waiting for a response.
The Raptor Resource Project specializes in the preservations of falcons, eagles, ospreys, hawks and owls.