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Tuesday News, August 26

Le Mars Fire Department Honored With Life Safety Achievement Award

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department has learned that it will receive the 2013 Life Safety Achievement Award.  The award will be given to the Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department on September 6, 2014 at the Annual Iowa Firefighters Convention which is being hosted in Grinnell, Iowa this year.  This award is presented by the National Association of State Fire Marshals and the Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company.   Since 1994 the Life Safety Achievement Award has recognized Fire Departments throughout the United States for outstanding fire safety statistics and effective fire prevention programs during the preceding calendar year.
In recognition of these pro-active fire prevention efforts aimed at improving a community’s fire and life safety behaviors, a Fire Department may be eligible for the LSA award.

Criteria:
 Zero fire deaths or a 10% reduction in fire deaths from the previous year.
 Department shall have an active fire prevention program in place.
 Dedicated commitment to fire prevention activities (financially and in-kind)
 Evidence that fire prevention efforts are making a positive difference in the community.

Le Mars Fire-Rescue was awarded this achievement award for several reasons. 
First, Le Mars had zero fire deaths in 2013.  Second, Le Mars has a fire prevention program that is funded by business and individual donations which provides hand-outs and literature to over 1500 students annually.  Third, the Le Mars Fire-Rescue Department speaks to over 450 children each year about fire safety during fire prevention week in October.  Lastly, Le Mars was able to show how the program is working by awarding student of the year awards to two young girls who saw a fire on their way home from school and new exactly what to do and the fire was put out quickly by firefighters before it could spread.  This is the second year in a row that the Le Mars Fire-Rescue Department has received this award.  Le Mars Fire-Rescue was one of only nine Fire Departments in Iowa to receive this award in 2012.

 

Supervisors To Have The Week Off

(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will be taking the week off as there will not be a weekly meeting scheduled for today, due to the lack of agenda items.

 

New Playground Equipment In Place

(Le Mars) -- Over the summer, contractors assembled new playground equipment at each of the three Le Mars Community elementary schools.  Now that school has started, Scott Parry, the principal at Kluckholn Elementary says the new playground equipment is in place and is being used by the students. 

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The new playground equipment had a price tag of close to $360,000, but was partially financed through fund raiser efforts by the Le Mars Parent-Teacher-Organization, and other community civic organizations. Franklin and Clark school principal Floyd Athay says there is money left over to add more items.

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The old playground equipment was constructed from wood and steel and Athay says it had simply worn out.  The new playground equipment is constructed from durable plastic.

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Parry says the new playground equipment is handicapped accessible and meets the safety requirements.

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And what about the elementary students?  What do they think of the new playground equipment?

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Farm Progress Show Begins Today

(Boone) -- Farmers from across the midwest will be heading to Boone, Iowa for the next three days in order to attend the Farm Progress Show.  The exhibition has been referred to as a "farmer's supermarket" showing the latest in agricultural technology.  The show features the major names associated with farming from equipment to seed companies.  Vince Kurtz with the Iowa Highway Patrol says the farm show is likely to create some traffic jams. 

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Three Commodity Organizations Form Water Alliance

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Three Iowa farm trade groups have formed an organization called the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance to push farmers harder on the implementation of farm practices designed to clean Iowa's water. The group's goal is to get more farmers to participate in the state's Nutrient Reduction Strategy, a voluntary program initiated Gov. Terry Branstad's administration.
     Environmental groups including Iowa Citizens for Community improvement want measurable and enforceable standards. They say the new alliance will do little to improve Iowa water. Iowa CCI says it's a corporate public relations campaign that won't change a thing.
     Branstad announced the creation of the alliance Monday with officials from Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association.
     The soybean group's CEO Kirk Leeds is board chairman of the nonprofit alliance.

 

More Parents Refusing To Vaccinate Children

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are concerned over the increase in parents choosing not to vaccinate their children.
    Parents received vaccination exemptions in the 2012-13 school year for nearly 8,000 children. That's more than triple the number from 12 years ago.
     While the figure represents less than 2 percent of all Iowa children, health leaders say they're worried about the rise in unvaccinated children.
     Polk County's public health director Rick Kozin says some parents might not realize that unvaccinated children could lead to a disease outbreak in schools.
     Iowa laws allow two kinds of exemptions for medical or religions reasons. Some children have to avoid vaccinations for medical reasons such as allergies.

 

State Senate Government Oversight Committee To Question Workforce Officials

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Senate Government Oversight Committee is calling to testify under oath a number of judges that decide Iowa unemployment cases as part of its investigation into alleged abuse of power at Iowa Workforce Development.
     Former Chief Administrative Law Judge Joe Walsh is the first witness to appear Tuesday. He's filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the state claiming IWD Director Teresa Wahlert laid him off after he opposed her efforts to change his job to a political appointment and to favor employers over workers in unemployment decisions.
     The committee has for months been investigating allegations of a hostile work environment at state agencies, questionable hiring practices and misallocation of funds in Gov. Terry Branstad's administration.
     Branstad, a Republican, says the committee run by Senate Democrats is motivated by politics.

 

U of I Student Appeared To Have Overdose Symptoms 

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a University of Iowa student found disoriented at a residence hall appeared to be experiencing overdose symptoms.
     Dan Stepleton with the Iowa Department of Public Safety's Division of Narcotics Enforcement says  officers found suspicious items in the student's dorm room at Slater Hall. He added that some items are believed to be used in drug manufacturing, but he did not elaborate.
     Officials responded to Slater Hall on Sunday night after the student was reported disoriented in the lobby. School officials say the 500-person residence hall was evacuated after staff reported chemicals and other suspicious items in the student's dorm room. Residents returned to their dorms before midnight.
     The student was hospitalized. An update on the student's condition was not available Monday.
     ---

 

U of I Student Sexually Assaulted

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A University of Iowa student says she was sexually assaulted in a residence hall just a few days before the start of the fall semester.
     The female student told officials she was the victim of nonconsensual sexual contact by an acquaintance in a residence hall Friday. The student contacted officials Sunday.
     UI spokesman Tom Moore says the student has decided not to file a police report at this time.
     The school issued a "timely warning" Monday about the incident. They issued more than a dozen during the last academic school year. UI President Sally Mason released a six-point plan in February aimed at combating sexual assault.
 

 

 


 

 

 



   

Monday Afternoon News, August 25

School Board To Discuss District Goals

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Community School Board is scheduled to meet this evening.  The local board of education will review the goals for the school district as defined by the District Learning and Instructional Impact Team.  The school board will be introduced to the new teachers and administrators on Monday, September 8th during an evening program.  The school board will consider bidding procedures and specifications for the purchase of two new school buses. 

 

Sioux City Inmate Escapes Work Release

 SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - An inmate has escaped from a work release facility in Sioux City.
      The state Department of Corrections says 22-year-old Melvin William Spencer III was placed on escape status Sunday after he failed to return from a furlough. Additional information about the furlough was not released.
     Spencer was serving a seven-year sentence for convictions of intimidation with a dangerous weapon and carrying weapons. He began his sentence in 2012 and was transferred to work release in June.

 

Two Teens Die From Weekend Accident

WALL LAKE, Iowa (AP) - Two teenagers have died and another hospitalized after a collision in western Iowa's Sac County.
     The accident occurred around 1 a.m. Saturday at a rural intersection about four miles south-southeast of Wall Lake. 
     Authorities say a car driven by 16-year-old Bailey Jacobsen collided with a pickup driven by 17-year-old Trevor Feauto. Jacobsen was pronounced dead at the scene, as was a passenger in her car, 16-year-old Lindsey Quirk. Both teens were from Wall Lake. Feauto was taken to a hospital.
     The collision is being investigated.

 

Employers To Pay Less Unemployment Taxes

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says Iowa employers will pay less in unemployment taxes in 2015.
     Branstad announced Monday the average unemployment tax rate will drop from 1.6 percent this year to 1.2 percent next year. That means thousands of employers will save money.
     Branstad credited a growing economy and job creation efforts. He says less people are seeking unemployment benefits.
     The Iowa Senate Government Oversight Committee will meet this week to review the management of the state's workforce agency, which oversees unemployment benefits. Internal agency emails provided to the committee show that earlier this year, the agency provided unemployment benefits to some people who didn't seek them and staff was urged to stay quiet about what had happened. 
     Branstad says Iowa Workforce Development Director Teresa Wahlert has his full support.

 

Emerald Ash Borer Found In Story County

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Officials say the destructive emerald ash borer has been confirmed in central Iowa's Story County.
     The state Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship said Monday that the latest infestation means 13 counties have confirmed cases of the insect, which destroys the ash tree species over a period of years. 
     Officials say two of the beetle's larvae were found by a homeowner in Story City. 
     A statewide quarantine was issued in early February. It restricts the movement of hardwood firewood, ash logs, wood chips and ash tree nursery stock out of Iowa into nonquarantined areas of other states.

 

Clarinda Academy Fails To Educate Special Needs Students

 CLARINDA, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials say Clarinda Academy has continually failed to provide adequate schooling to its special education students.
     The Iowa Department of Education says the private academy for troubled youths uses a "cut-and-paste, one-size-fits-all" approach to treatment and teaching of special education students.
     The state has ordered the academy to make improvements and offer additional educational services to children who were ill-served by its practices within the past 14 months.
     The department investigated and issued a report last week, following a complaint filed in June by Disability Rights Iowa.
     The academy didn't respond to attempts to seek comment.
     ---

 

Motorcycle Crashes Following High Speed Chase

  READLYN, Iowa (AP) - A motorcyclist in northeast Iowa faces several charges in connection to a speeding pursuit that ended with a damaged squad car.
     The Bremer County Sheriff's Office said Monday that 20-year-old Alexander Carl Buss, of Tripoli, has been charged with several counts including eluding police, excessive speed and driving on the wrong side of the highway. Court records do not list an attorney.
     Authorities say a deputy tried to stop Buss on Friday as he rode his motorcycle near the community of Readlyn. The motorcycle was clocked at 82 mph in a 55 zone.
     Buss is accused of accelerating his motorcycle to excess speeds of 130 mph. It eventually crashed into a squad car owned by Tripoli police.
     Buss was treated for non-life-threatening injuries. No one else was hurt.

 

Clive Man Charged With Murder

  CLIVE, Iowa (AP) - A Clive man has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a 21-year-old whose body was found near a recreational trail.
     Police say 49-year-old Stephen Jonas was arrested Sunday night following a second interview about the death of Zachary Michael Paulsen. Paulsen's body was found Saturday morning near the Clive Greenbelt Trail, lying against a fence.
     Clive Police Chief Michael Venema said in a news release that Jonas told authorities he had a physical altercation with Paulsen. Police say Jonas told them he caused Paulsen's death.
     Jonas is being held at the Polk County Jail on a $500,000 bond. Court records do not list an attorney.
     An autopsy will be performed on Paulsen to determine his cause of death.

 

Oelwein Mayor Resigns Amid Sexual Allegations

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A northeast Iowa mayor, charged with sexually abusing two young girls, has resigned.
     The Oelwein city attorney says Mayor Jason Manus resigned Friday effective immediately.
     City Attorney Ron Vanveldhuizen says the City Council is expected to accept the resignation Monday night.
     Mayor Pro-tem Peggy Sherrets will conduct the meeting.
     Manus, who is 36, is accused of sexually abusing two girls, ages 9 and 14, in 2010. He faces five counts of second-degree sexual abuse. He was arrested on Aug. 11, posted bond on Wednesday and was released from jail.
     The City Council may call a special election or could fill the vacancy by appointment which gives the public an opportunity to petition for a special election under Iowa law.
     Manus did not immediately return a call.

 

More Parents Refuse To Have Children Vaccinated

  DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials are concerned over the increase in parents choosing not to vaccinate their children.
     Parents received vaccination exemptions in the 2012-13 school year for nearly 8,000 children. That's more than triple the number from 12 years ago.
     While the figure represents less than 2 percent of all Iowa children, health leaders say they're worried about the rise in unvaccinated children.
     Polk County's public health director Rick Kozin says some parents might not realize that unvaccinated children could lead to a disease outbreak in schools.
     Iowa laws allow two kinds of exemptions for medical or religions reasons. Some children have to avoid vaccinations for medical reasons such as allergies.
 

 

 
 

 



   

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