Thursday News, December 18
Fire Department Responds To Carbon Monoxide Alarm
(Le Mars) -- This time of year when we want to keep the cold weather outside and the warmth inside, can, at times prove to be deadly. Carbon Monoxide poisoning can occur when our homes are shut tight, and we are operating gas fueled furnaces, fire places, water heaters, or other gas appliances. Improper ventilation or faulty equipment can cause high levels of carbon monoxide within a few hours. The Le Mars Fire and Rescue Department responded to a carbon monoxide alarm at 610 Greenwood Street Wednesday evening. Upon arrival, fire fighters were able to determine the carbon monoxide level to be at 55 parts per million. Le Mars Fire Chief Dave Schipper says any level above 35 parts per million over an eight hour time period can be deadly. Schipper says carbon monoxide is referred to as "the silent killer."
Schipper says the fire department has responded to seven carbon monoxide related calls since October. He says the colorless and odorless gas moves through a home much the same way as smoke.
The residents were fortunate to have a detector that sounded and alerted them of the dangers. Schipper says the cause was a faulty furnace. He says the levels detected in the home, may cause people to get a headache, feeling tired or nauseaed. Extended exposure to carbon monoxide can kill.
During the winter cold months, many people start their cars while still inside their garage. Schipper says that is a bad idea, even if you open the garage door.
The affected family evacuated the home and did go to Floyd Valley Hospital for observation. Schipper says they stayed with friends overnight. Schipper advises people to purchase carbon monoxide detectors, which are similar in size and costs to smoke detectors.
Woman Hits Floyd Valley Hospital With Car
(Le Mars) -- Shortly before 3:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon an elderly woman driving a 2013 GMC Terrain hit the front of Floyd Valley Hospital near the entrance. Officials believe the elderly woman, identified as Pat Hawkins was attempting to park at a handicapped reserved parking stall, when she mistakenly stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake causing the vehicle to hit the building. Le Mars Fire Department and Le Mars Ambulance was called to the scene to help extricate the woman from the vehicle. Fire and hospital officials needed to cut a portion of an evergreen tree in order to gain access to the vehicle. The woman was placed on a stretcher and ambulance crew members then transported her inside the hospital for observation. The hospital entrance had minimal damage, while the vehicle's front end suffered extensive damage. The accident remains under investigation by the Le Mars Police Department.
Voters May Be Able To Register Online
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Voting rights advocates say a proposed rule that would allow Iowans to register to vote online would exclude anyone without a driver's license or state-issued ID and must be fixed.
The Iowa Voter Registration Commission is moving forward on the rule that would allow Iowans to register to vote online in addition to the paper registration process.
Commissioner Charlie Smithson says it's a great step that benefits 94 percent of Iowans with minimal cost.
A public hearing is scheduled for Dec. 30.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa and other organizations say the proposal excludes about 145,000 Iowans eligible to vote but without a driver's license or state-issued ID.
A state association of county election officials plans to ask the Legislature for a law that improves upon the rule.
Democrat Organizers Encouraging Senator Warren To Run For President
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Liberal activists eager to draft Senator Elizabeth Warren into a run for president are bringing their effort to Iowa, the pivotal early-voting state.
They'll find there's already a well-established organizing effort in place in Iowa - for Hillary Rodham Clinton.
MoveOn.org will hold a meeting Wednesday evening in Des Moines as part of their new "Run Warren Run" campaign. The group is trying to persuade Warren to seek the Democratic nomination in 2016, even though the Massachusetts senator has repeatedly said she is not running.
Brad Anderson, a Democratic consultant who was state director for President Barack Obama in 2012, says Warren's statements have not gone unnoticed in Iowa.
Prosecutors Give Up On Death Penalty For Woman Convicted Of Abetting With Murders
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Federal prosecutors are giving up their long pursuit of the death penalty against a woman convicted of helping kill five people in 1993.
The government said in a court filing Wednesday that it will no longer seek to execute Angela Johnson. Johnson is expected to be sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Johnson has been convicted of five counts of aiding and abetting murder in one of the most heinous crime sprees in Iowa history. Prosecutors say Johnson and her boyfriend, methamphetamine kingpin Dustin Honken, killed three adults and two children.
She was sentenced to death following a 2005 trial, making her the first woman on federal death row in decades. But a judge in 2012 ordered Johnson a new sentencing hearing after finding flaws with her defense team.
Obama Commutes Iowan Witih Drug Charges
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Muscatine woman is one of eight drug convicts whose prison time has been cut short by President Barack Obama.
Obama announced Wednesday that Jennifer Regenos' 20-year prison sentence has been commuted to expire in April. She was sentenced in 2002 on a conviction of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.
The president also pardoned 12 convicts for a variety of offenses.
The commutations are the first issued under new guidelines designed to cut costs by reducing the nation's bulging prison population and grant leniency to nonviolent drug offenders sentenced to double-digit terms. Inmates must meet certain requirements, particularly serving a sentence that, if imposed today, would be substantially shorter than what they were given at the time.
Food Pantries Given Grants
AMES, Iowa (AP) - Three Iowa food pantries are among 75 across the country that will receive $20,000 grants from Walmart to help pay for renovations and new equipment.
The Iowa organizations receiving the grants are the Good Samaritan Food Pantry in Adel, Food at First in Ames and Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank in Mason City.
The winning pantries were selected by a vote on Walmart's website over the past two weeks.
The grants will help pay for renovations and purchases such as new refrigerators, ovens, storage units and refrigerated trucks.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says as of last year, 49 million people in the U.S. lived in food-insecure households. Of those people, nearly 16 million are children.