Tuesday News, April 23
Northern Natural Gas and DeRocher Construction Reach Settlement
HINTON, Iowa (AP) - A construction company and a natural gas pipeline owner have settled a lawsuit filed after a northwest Iowa pipeline explosion nearly a year ago.
Omaha, Neb.-based Northern Natural Gas Co. had sued DeRocher Construction, of Le Mars, for negligence. Northern sought more than $439,000 in damages.
Officials say the April 25 blast near Hinton occurred after two DeRocher workers who were using machinery to install drainage tile struck the underground pipeline, rupturing it. They ran and escaped
fatal injury before it erupted into a fireball.
The Iowa Attorney General's Office in August fined DeRocher $20,000 for failing to call Iowa One Call to have underground utility lines located before digging.
The companies have delayed court proceedings while final settlement details are worked out. Spokesmen for both companies declined to comment.
Supervisors To Meet Today
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to meet this morning at the Courthouse Board Room. The supervisors have a light agenda for this week. They will hear from Assistant County engineer Terry Marienau as they approve a contract for a culvert project and to give approval to the Cherokee Rural Water Association to place a waterline.
Merrill Road Construction Project To Start
(Le Mars) -- Road construction near Merrill is scheduled to begin today and is expected to continue through the end of June. County engineer Tom Rohe says the paving projects will be one of the major construction projects scheduled for this year.
Rohe says it is not just the county that is conducting road construction around Merrill, the state transportation department will also be performing work through Merrill.
Detours will start today, and they will be from the intersection of county road K-42/C-38 north to Highway 3, then east on Highway 3 to Key Avenue, then south on Key Avenue to C-38. Another road slated to be closed beginning today is 190th Street from County road K-42 to Juniper Avenue. That road is scheduled to be closed for four days for a bridge project repair.
Today Is Teal Tie Tuesday Awareness For Sexual Assault
(Le Mars) -- April is Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Awareness Month and today is Teal Tie Tuesday. Cathy Van Mannen of the Council for Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence explains.
Dordt College To Expand Science Center
(Sioux Center) -- The Dordt College Board of Trustees has given a green light to the first phase of a major Science and Technology Center expansion at Dordt College. In an April 18th meeting, board member approved a Spring 2013 groundbreaking, signaling confidence in the college's plans and fundraising progress for the project. Dordt College has tentatively scheduled May 13th for the ground breaking ceremony. In recent years, the growth in enrollment in Dordt's natural science division has outpaced the increase in enrollment in the other two academic divisions. Students in the sciences also have had a remarkable record of success, with pass rates in the top tier nationally on the Fundamentals of Engineering exam and the nursing NCLEX exam, along with four in five pre-med students being accepted into medical school compared to one in three nationally. College officials say the comprehensive remodeling of the current structure will provide a better building layout, allow for further growth, and connect the science department to other academic areas on campus for more collaboration across disciplines. Dordt has raised $8 million of the needed $12 million for the first phase.
Iowa State Seed Science Center Launches Symposium
AMES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa State University Seed Science Center is launching a symposium to examine the changes in plant seed science and technology over the past 30 years.
The event begins Tuesday evening from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Seed Science Center with a celebration of the contributions of Leroy Everson, former director of the ISU Seed Laboratory. Colleagues,
students, faculty, and staff who worked with Everson are invited to attend. Speakers will highlight his contributions to Iowa State University and the seed industry.
The Leroy and Barbara Everson Seed & Biosafety Symposium is scheduled for Wednesday at the Gateway Hotel and Conference Center in Ames. It is funded by a contribution from Everson's family.
Speakers will include international experts in seed research, crop science, and agronomy.
Suspicious Packages Located At Postal Offices
AMES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have given the all-clear at an Ames post office where a suspicious suitcase was reported.
Officials determined Monday afternoon that the suitcase did not pose a threat. It was found in
the lobby earlier in the day.
Authorities in Iowa City also cleared their investigation Monday into a suspicious package reported by a mail services employee for the University of Iowa Health Care.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports a bomb squad determined the package was safe. It contained a box of tea, some ginger and a greeting card.
Officials in both Ames and Iowa City say they continue to investigate the circumstances behind the reports.
U of I Students & Faculty To Receive Training To Prevent Suicides
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - University of Iowa students and employees will have access to additional training and counseling under a federal grant designed to prevent suicides.
The university announced details Monday of a three-year, $271,000 grant, which is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The project will be led by university counseling service director Sam Cochran.
One initiative will encourage students and faculty to go through a brief, online training that shows how to learn about identifying and approaching struggling students.
More in-depth training options will also be available, including a six-week program for students in which they can become part of a new support network.
The Crisis Center of Johnson County will also expand its Crisis Chat program, which allows community members to talk with trained counselors online.
Police Use Cigarettes To End Standoff
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Police say they used a pack of cigarettes to end a 30-hour standoff in Des Moines.
Police used a stun gun to gain custody of 53-year-old Michael Reed. He was arrested Monday.
The Des Moines Register reports police lured Reed outside of his home when he asked for a pack of cigarettes. They used the stun gun after he stepped on the porch to retrieve them.
Police had been sent to the home Saturday afternoon to investigate a property dispute. They reported being shot at by an occupant, and they fired back. No injuries were reported.
Reed is also known as Micky King, an Elvis Presley impersonator.
He remains in custody. Online court records don't list the name of his attorney.