Friday News, January 9
Blizzard Conditions Hit Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A cold front entering northern Iowa is packing wind gusts of up to 50 miles per hour.
The National Weather Service says a portion of the state is under a blizzard warning until Friday. They include Sioux City, Fort Dodge, Mason City and Waterloo.
While snowfall totals should remain around an inch or less, officials say blowing snow with gusts of up to 50 miles per hour will reduce driving visibility in some areas to a quarter mile or less. Meteorologist Craig Cogil says drivers should be careful.
Wind chills of 20 to 30 degrees below zero are expected in northern and central Iowa Thursday night into Friday.
Republican Party Officials Tell Iowa That Straw Poll Is Acceptable
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The head of the Iowa Republican Party says holding a straw poll is permissible under new Republican National Committee rules.
Jeff Kaufmann released a statement Thursday saying he has met with top party officials in Washington. He said those discussions made it "crystal clear" that a straw poll does not violate any RNC rules.
Critics of the poll, traditionally held in Ames the summer before a contested caucus, had questioned if the event could jeopardize Iowa's early voting status.
The committee that governs the state party will meet Saturday to vote on holding a straw poll this year.
The RNC provided an advisory opinion to Kaufmann saying the poll does not appear to violate any rules, but that the party should make clear that the event is "unofficial and unscientific."
Wisconsin Governor Contemplating To Run For President
MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker says he's praying over whether to run for president in 2016 as he hires a senior adviser, plans a trip to Iowa in a couple weeks and expects to form an organization to raise and spend money on the exploratory effort.
Walker said Thursday that his hiring of experienced presidential adviser Rick Wiley doesn't mean he's decided to enter the race. But he says Wiley will help him to seriously study whether to run.
Walker also says in coming weeks he will form a political action committee or something similar to raise and spend money on a potential presidential run.
Walker later this month also plans to attend a conservative political event in Iowa that's also attracting a host of other potential candidates.
Southwest Iowa Fertilizer Plant Explodes, Killing One Employee
CRESTON, Iowa (AP) - The manager of a fertilizer plant in southern Iowa says an employee has died following an explosion at the facility.
Bill Clem, plant manager of Green Valley Chemical in Creston, says the explosion Thursday morning killed an employee and injured at least two people. He called those injuries non-life-threatening, but he did not elaborate. He also would not say if the injured are employees.
Clem said he could not immediately provide any further details about the circumstances of the explosion.
Lee Freeman with the Creston Fire Department says officials responded to a medical call from the plant around 11 a.m. He says there was a report of an explosion, but he did not have additional information.
A website for the plant says it produces agricultural fertilizer and anhydrous ammonia.
Des Moines Water Works To Sue Sac, Buena Vista, and Calhoun Counties
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Des Moines Water Works board has voted unanimously to sue three northern Iowa counties, holding them responsible for the high nitrate levels the in rivers the utility uses for source water.
The five-member board says it will file a notice of intent to sue Calhoun, Buena Vista and Sac counties because they oversee 10 drainage districts that were designed to move water out of farm fields downstream. The suit will allege with water the drainage districts move contaminants like nitrate that Water Works must remove when the levels exceed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limits.
A notice of intent will be Friday which informs the county supervisors and state officials that a lawsuit will be filed in 60 days.
The process is laid out in the federal Clean Water Act.
Propane Prices Falling From A Year Ago
(Des Moines) -- Iowans are enduring extremely cold temperatures lately, but there's encouraging news for those who use propane to heat their homes. Harold Hommes (HOME-us), a fuels analyst with the Iowa Department of Agriculture, says prices are falling.
Hommes is hopeful the cost of propane will remain steady for the rest of the winter.
A year ago, prices spiked within a matter of days, shooting from under two-dollars a gallon to nearly five-dollars.
Auditions For Community Play "Boeing...Boeing" Scheduled For Monday And Tuesday
(Le Mars) -- With an emphasis on "community", the Le Mars Community Theater is kicking off its 2015 season with a comedy called "Boeing...Boeing" by Mark Camoletti. Auditions for the show will take place this coming Monday and Tuesday nights, January 12th and January 13th starting at 7:00 p.m. at the LCT Postal Playhouse. Why the emphasis on community? Because without new faces on stage and behind the scenes, community theater just wouldn't be possible. Director Larry Brangwin tells us a little about the plot of the upcoming show.
That's right! Three fiancees, all airline hostesses. One is Italian, one German, and the other is American. At any given time, the pilot, Bernard, hosts these lovly ladies for lay-overs in his Parisian home, until unexpected schedule changes bring all three to Paris, and to Bernard's apartment at the same time. Brangwin explains the characters involved in this comedic farce.
You can imagine how silly the situation becomes. Throw in a maid who is trying to hide each hostess from the other, and the cast is complete. If you are interested in getting involved on the Le Mars Community Theater stage, for the March performances of "Boeing...Boeing", auditions are being held Monday, January 12th and Tuesday, January 13th from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Postal Playhouse. Now is also the time to get your seasons tickets for the 2015 season at the playhouse. The four shows planned for this year are "Boeing...Boeing", "Calendar Girls", the musical "Mame", and the thriller, "Wait Until Dark". For details, leave a message at the playhouse, or visit www.lemarscomtheater.org