Wednesday News, June 24
Plymouth County Secondary Roads Department To Close 260th Street
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County Secondary Roads Department is closing 260th Street from Sunset Avenue to Tamarack Avenue beginning today. That stretch of road is expected to remain closed until at least mid-July. County work crews are replacing a wooden bridge with a culvert pipe.
Branstad Declares Emergency For Southern Iowa Counties
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has issued a disaster proclamation for four Iowa counties affected by recent severe weather.
Branstad issued the proclamation Tuesday for Davis, Humboldt, Monroe and Wright counties. The areas were affected by severe weather Monday.
The proclamation allows officials to use state resources to help affected people. It includes an assistance program that provides grants of up to $5,000 for certain households needing food, clothing and temporary housing.
In Monroe County in southern Iowa, a tornado ripped into a grocery store and nearby homes Monday.
Marcus Cleaning Up After Monday Morning Storms
(Marcus) -- The town of Marcus also suffered some damage due to the strong winds from Monday morning. Gary Huseman serves as the mayor of Marcus. He says numerous trees and homes were damaged.
Husman says at least ten homes have been damaged by the strong winds, and he wonders if possibly a small tornado may have hit his community.
The Marcus mayor says he is proud of the response by his towns people, and for the number of volunteers that came to help with the clean up of the debris.
Husman says at every corner there would be at least ten to twenty people helping. He estimates more than 100 people came to the rescue of Marcus. The mayor says the damage was mainly confined to the eastern portion of the small town. He says there were no businesses that suffered any major damage from the Monday morning strong winds.
Weather Officials Confirm Tornado Hit Albia
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado damaged homes and a grocery store in southern Iowa.
Meteorologist Craig Cogil says the tornado received an EF-3 rating after peak winds were estimated at 142 mph near a damaged house in Lovilia on Monday night.
The tornado developed in Marion County and briefly moved through Lucas County before ending in Monroe County, where the house was located. The tornado had wind speeds of 103 mph when it later ripped into a grocery store in Albia.
About 40 to 50 people in the Hy-Vee store took shelter inside as the storm shattered store windows. Homes in the area lost roofs and windows.
No injuries have been reported.
Sioux City Council Approves Land Sale For New Pork Processing Plant
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Sioux City officials have approved a land sale for a planned $264 million pork processing plant.
The City Council unanimously voted Monday to finalize the transfer of a nearly 245-acre lot at the Bridgeport West Industrial Park.
The 600,000-square-foot plant is expected to employ around 1,100 workers. The joint venture between Kansas-based Seaboard Foods and Missouri-based Triumph Foods is anticipated to open in 2017.
Seaboard Foods President and CEO Terry Holton says the hiring process already has begun for management positions.
City officials in May announced plans to bring the plant to Sioux City. The facility will be designed with technologies to mitigate odor and will have the capacity to slaughter 10,000 to 12,000 hogs per day.
Sioux City Woman Stabbed To Death
(Sioux City) -- A Sioux City woman is dead and a suspect is in custody following a fatal stabbing early Tuesday morning on Sioux City's Westside. Police responded to a 9-1-1 call from 521 West 16th Street at 12:47 a.m. where they discovered the body of a female victim. Sioux City police have identified the woman as 43 year old Cornelia A. Stead of Sioux City. Witnesses identified the suspect as 35 year old Isack Mahad Abdinur, who police say is a Somali transient. A Police K-9 tracked down Abdinur in a near-by garage where he was apprehended. Court documents say Abdinur had an argument with Stead, who had locked herself in a bedroom to escape. Abindur allegedly then forced open the door and attacked Stead, first punching her in the face several times, and then stabbing her with a kitchen knife, resulting in her death. Police say the couple were romantically involved. Abdinur is being held in Woodbury County jail on a 1st degree murder charge. His bond has been set at one million dollars, and he has been appointed a public defender as his attorney.
Food Supplier Files Lawsuit Against Egg Company
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A food supplier has filed a lawsuit alleging an Iowa farm breached an egg supply contract after its parent company lost millions of chickens to bird flu.
Michael Foods Egg Products Co. filed a complaint in federal court in Des Moines on Monday alleging Hawkeye Pride Egg Farms is violating a January 2014 contract.
Michael Foods is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based cereal-maker Post Holdings Inc. It claims it's suffering irreparable harm.
The company primarily sells liquid and precooked egg products. Its attorney declined to comment Tuesday on the lawsuit.
Hawkeye Pride is a division of Sioux Center-based Center Fresh Group, which owns egg farms that lost 5.5 million hens to bird flu. A spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit, and an attorney did not return a message.
Committee Suggest Adding Computer Science To STEM
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A computer science committee has recommended to Gov. Terry Branstad's STEM Advisory Council that Iowa high school students should have to complete computer science coursework to graduate.
The STEM Support of Computer Science working group made the recommendation Tuesday. Group co-chairs Mark Gruwell and Ann Watts discussed a list of recommendations to integrate computer science into Iowa schools, including an endorsement to recognize teachers and technology professors qualified to teach courses.
The STEM council will have to vote on the recommendations before they can be presented to the governor's office. STEM Council's executive director Jeff Weld said the group will vote in September. A change would need legislative approval.
The governor's STEM Advisory Council focuses on developing initiatives around science, technology, engineering and math education.
Lawmakers Still Trying To Keep Mount Pleasant Mental Health Facility Open
MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (AP) - A handful of Iowa lawmakers have reiterated their support for keeping open a state mental health facility in Mount Pleasant.
Democratic Sen. Rich Taylor and Republican Rep. Dave Heaton made remarks Tuesday at the Mount Pleasant Mental Health Institute in support of keeping the facility open with state dollars. The lawmakers, both of Mount Pleasant, were joined by Democratic Sen. Amanda Ragan, of Mason City, and local leaders.
The facility's future became uncertain this year after Gov. Terry Branstad's budget proposal removed funding for it and the state mental health facility in Clarinda.
Lawmakers eventually approved legislation that would keep Mount Pleasant open and would seek a private provider to run Clarinda.
Lawmakers Tuesday urged Branstad to approve the legislation. Branstad's spokesman says the governor will make a decision soon.
Authorities Identify Man Found In Iowa River
HILLS, Iowa (AP) - Authorities have identified a man found dead in the Iowa River.
Johnson County Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek says in a news release Tuesday that 41-year-old Shawn L. Warrington was recovered from the water on June 17. Authorities described him as homeless.
People fishing in the river near Hills contacted authorities after seeing a pair of pants and boots protruding from a brush pile.
The cause of death remains under investigation, but foul play is not suspected at this time.