Friday News, October 3
American Legion Hall Reports Smoke
(Le Mars) -- Shortly after 2:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon, the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department was called to the American Legion hall located on the 100 Block of Plymouth Street southwest. When fire officials arrived on the scene, smoke was seen coming from inside the structure. A wood countertop board was placed on top of a flat iron grill earlier in the day and it appears that the grill was inadvertently turned on by a knob getting bumped. The wood countertop board smoldered and eventually caught fire. The fire was discovered by individuals who were going to use the kitchen when they opened the back door to enter the building. They notified the Fire Department and they extinguished the fire just prior to the arrival of the Fire Department. There was no damage to the building except for the piece of movable countertop. There were no injuries and firefighters were on the scene for just under 45 minutes. Patrons were allowed back into the building and the facility is open and in operation.
Fire Department Educates More Than 500 School Children During Fire Prevention Week
(Le Mars) -- Next week is National Fire Prevention Week and the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department will take the time to visit with many people about the dangers of fire. Some people may not realize just how busy is the volunteer fire department. Chief Dave Schipper runs through the statistics.
According to Fire Chief Dave Schipper, fire officials will visit with over 500 students of elementary and pre-school age in the coming days.
Schipper says the local fire department also spends a great deal of time teaching employees of various businesses about fire safety.
The Le Mars Fire Chief believes the educational efforts for children have paid off in terms of fewer child-related fires in Le Mars.
Ernst To Visit Le Mars
(Le Mars) -- Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst has scheduled a stop in Le Mars as part of her 99-county bus tour prior to the election. Ernst, who hails from Red Oak, Iowa will meet with Plymouth County residents at the Pizza Ranch restaurant scheduled for today (Friday, October 3rd) at 11:30 a.m. This will mark Ernst second visit to the "Ice Cream Capital of the World". The last time she was in Le Mars was nearly a year ago. Following her Le Mars visit, Ernst will travel to Orange City, Rock Rapids, Sibley, and end up at Sheldon for the Northwest Iowa Republican Rally, where Texas Governor Rick Perry has been invited to speak.
Michele Berkenpas Chosen As School District's "Employee Of the Month"
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School has announced that Michelle Berkenpas as the School District's "Employee of the Month". Michelle Berkenpas is a teacher associate at the Alternative High School. Donna Stevenson submitted the nomination and indicated Michele Berkenpas is one of the hardest, most conscientious associates that she has worked with during her teaching career. Stevenson says of Berkenpas, "When things get a bit 'hairy' she handles the situation with confidence and patience. Michele is always putting the student first and makes very good judgment calls." She loves the students she works with, plus the other students in the classroom. She was a great partner to teacher with - always loyal and always positive.
Rayhons Pleads Not Guilty To Sexual Abuse
GARNER, Iowa (AP) - Republican State Rep. Henry Rayhons has waived his right to a speedy trial in the case of a felony sex abuse charge against him.
Officials have accused the 78-year-old Rayhons, of Garner, of having sexual contact in May with his wife, Donna Rayhons, while she was a resident of a care center and not able to give consent. Donna Rayhons died in early August.
Henry Rayhons has pleaded not guilty to third-degree sexual abuse. A trial date has not yet been set.
Rayhons represents the 8th District in the state House, which covers part of north-central Iowa. He won the GOP nomination to seek re-election but withdrew from the race.
Toddler Falls From Second Story Window
CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (AP) - A Clear Lake toddler is recovering from minor injuries after falling from a second-story window.
Police say that the girl climbed onto the back of a couch in her family's apartment and pushed out a window screen, falling about 15 feet to the ground. The girl was taken to a local hospital, treated and released.
Police say the live-in boyfriend of the toddler's mother - who was out - was babysitting the girl at the time of the accident.
Police say the investigation continues, and that charges could be filed.
Two Ankeny Teens Charged With Arson
ANKENY, Iowa (AP) - Ankeny police have charged two teenagers with felony arson counts who they say set cars on fire and recorded the crimes on a cellphone.
Police said Thursday that the 15- and 16-year-old boys were each charged with two counts of second-degree arson. They are being held in a juvenile detention facility.
A Dodge Stratus parked in front of a home was fully engulfed on Sept. 23. A fire in a Crown Victoria was extinguished before the car was totaled on Sept. 25.
Police say one of the teens recorded both crimes on his cellphone and audio suggests the teens were trying to blow up the vehicles.
The Associated Press generally does not identify juveniles accused of crimes.
Iowa Deer Shown To Have Disease
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials say it's too early to tell whether a degenerative neurological disease that affects deer is spreading in Iowa.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship released statistics Thursday that show more than 280 quarantined deer in north-central Iowa tested positive for chronic wasting disease. The animals were killed in August as part of a scheduled depopulation.
Kevin Baskins, a spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources, says there's no indication the disease is spreading. Officials will increase their testing of harvested deer in that area to determine that.
Baskins says the case in Cerro Gordo County is the largest number of captive deer with the disease recorded in the state. Officials announced in April that one wild deer in Iowa had tested positive for the disease.