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Friday News, December 21

Thousands of Iowans Still Without Power

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Tens of thousands of Iowans have had their electric power restored following a winter storm that dropped more than a foot of snow in the Des Moines area.
But MidAmerican Energy reports that nearly 9,500 customers - most of them in Des Moines - were still without power Friday morning.
At the height of the storm that swept into Iowa early Thursday, more than 34, 000 customers were without electricity, including more than 32,000 in the Des Moines area.

 

Transportation Officials Still Trying To Clear Roads

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa officials say snow plow operators will be out Friday morning continuing to clear roads affected by a major storm this week.
The state Department of Transportation says nearly 450 snow plows and other removal equipment is helping clear crash scenes and vehicles blocking roadways on the interstate system.
The agency says travel is not expected to significantly improve until later Friday.
At least 80 crashes were reported Thursday throughout the state. Officials also say drivers on a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 80 were stuck Thursday night. A 25-car pileup on Interstate 35 in northern Iowa killed two people and injured seven.
A major snow storm hit most of Iowa Wednesday night into Thursday. The National Weather Service says more than a foot of snow hit the Des Moines area.


Hillview Sledding and Tubing Hill Hopes To Open Soon

(Hinton) -- Now that we have had our first major snow, and given the fact schools will be dismissing for Christmas break, you would think it would be the perfect opportunity to go sledding.  However, Dennis Sohl, Executive Director with the Plymouth County Conservation Board says, not so fast.  The Conservation Board oversees the county parks, including the popular sledding and tubing hill, Hillview Recreation Center located just west of Hinton.
Listen to

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Sohl hopes we can get more snow, as he would like to see the tubing hill open the day after Christmas.
Listen to

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


The Conservation Official explains how much snow is needed for safe sledding and tubing.
Listen to

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.



Sohl says once the tubing and sledding hill are able to be open, he says the public will notice some improvements at the hill, including new warming huts, electrical outlets, and more seating away from the wind.

 

Harkin Says Social Security Should Not Be Cut

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin says President Barack Obama should not include cuts to Social Security in any agreement to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.
Harkin told reporters Wednesday that Social Security benefits should not be cut to reduce the nation's budget deficit since the program is funded separately. He says Obama should stand firm
because "the vast majority of the American people are on our side on this."
In negotiations with House Speaker John Boehner, Obama has agreed to adopt a method of calculating inflation that would slow the growth of Social Security benefits.
Harkin says he's concerned that Obama has also proposed raising taxes on incomes over $400,000, instead of the $250,000 level he campaigned on. Harkin says voters gave Obama a mandate for the
$250,000 level.

 

Harkin Turns Down Senate Appropriations Chair

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - U.S. Senator Tom Harkin says he declined an opportunity to become chairman of the prestigious Senate Appropriations Committee because he wants to keep working on health care and retirement issues.
Harkin told reporters Thursday that he loves chairing the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee and would continue in that position. The Democrat says he wants to ensure the success
of President Barack Obama's health care law, and to push for a new nationwide pension program to help retirees.
The opportunity to chair Appropriations came to Harkin after the death of Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii because of the Senate's seniority rules. The job went first to Senator Patrick Leahy of
Vermont and then to Harkin. Both declined.
Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland will become the committee's next chair.

 

Iowa State University Hires Woman For Engineering Dean

AMES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa State University says it has hired the dean of engineering from Mississippi State University to fill the same position at ISU.
Sara Rajala (RYE-ah-lah) will begin work on the Ames campus April 1. The university made the announcement Thursday.
Rajala has been engineering dean at Mississippi State since 2008. There she is credited with raising more than $30 million in private gifts and revising the strategic plan for the college of
engineering.
She succeeds Jonathan Wickert, who was promoted in July to senior vice president and provost at Iowa State.

 

Bankers Say Rising Commodity Prices and Lower Fuel Costs Are Helping Businesses

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A new survey of rural bankers shows that rising commodity prices and lower energy costs are helping businesses in Midwestern states and the northern Plains.
The Rural Mainstreet Index released Thursday climbed in December, the fourth straight month of growth. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey from Omaha, Nebraska
says the reading is the healthiest recorded since June 2007.
The survey showed increases in bank borrowing to purchase farmland and equipment, and rising farmland prices. The December hiring index rose half a point, to 53.5. The home-sales index
slipped in December, to 61.3 from November's 62.0.
The index ranges from 0 to 100, with 50 representing "growth neutral." It's based on a survey of rural bankers in the Dakotas, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Iowa and
Minnesota.


   

Thursday Afternoon News, December 20

Plymouth County Authorities Apprehend Sioux City Man For Drugs

(Le Mars) -- On Wednesday at approximately 2:00PM, Plymouth County deputies were dispatched to the area on Hwy 75 for a possible domestic assault in progress on the side of the road.  Upon arriving in the area, deputies could not locate the vehicle in question.  Deputies located a subject walking/hitchhiking south on Hwy 75.  When the deputy stopped to make contact with this subject, the subject ran on foot and ultimately ran into a field on the west side of Hwy 75 were he was taken into custody.

When the subject was taken into custody, it was learned that he was carrying a substance believed to be marijuana, packaging material and other drug paraphernalia.  It was also learned from a citizen driving by that the subject had thrown an item as he ran from the roadway.

When the deputy went to retrieve the item that had been thrown, the subject again tried to flee the area on foot.  The subject was identified as 17 year old Antonio Mosaquites, of Sioux City.  Mosaquites was taken to the Plymouth County Law Enforcement Center and then to the YES center in Cherokee. 

Mosaquites was charged with possession with intent to deliver marijuana, Class D Felony,
failure to affix drug tax stamp, Class D Felony, Escape from custody, Class D Felony, Possession of marijuana, Serious Misdemeanor, and Possession of drug paraphernalia, Simple Misdemeanor       

Plymouth County was assisted at the scene by the Le Mars, Merrill, Hinton Police Departments, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa DOT Enforcement and Plymouth County Conservation.

 

Iowa National Guard Troops Called To Help With Blizzard

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa National Guard has sent 80 troops statewide to help rescue drivers stranded by a major snow storm.
The troops have been deployed in Humvee vehicles that can handle heavy snow. They are working alongside state transportation officials and the Iowa State Patrol.
At least one rescue happened Wednesday night in eastern Iowa.
The National Weather Service says more than a foot of snow is expected in some areas of the state. Transportation officials are warning drivers to stay off all roads until midnight.
---

 

Drivers Told To Stay Off Roads

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Highway officials in Iowa are warning drivers to stay off all roads until midnight.
The state Department of Transportation says it is extending a Wednesday night warning issued to drivers. It was set to expire Thursday at noon.
Annette Dunn, a spokeswoman with the DOT's Iowa Highway Division, says there are numerous car accidents along state highways with one confirmed reported fatality. She says officials are on the scene of a multiple car accident on Interstate 35 near Clarion.
Dunn says some people may be tempted to drive because it's daylight. But she says people need to stay off the roads, including secondary ones, as poor visibility, blowing and snow drifts
continue.

 

Truckers Stranded on I-80

NEWTON, Iowa (AP) - Dozens of truckers are stranded in central Iowa after eastbound lanes of Interstate 80 have become completely blocked because of snow-related accidents.
About 30 truckers are waiting out the weather by drinking coffee at Love's Travel Stops and Country Store just off the interstate in Newton, and many more are sitting and sleeping in their trucks in the packed parking lot.
Clerk Tammy Roush said the stranded drivers started arriving last night and their numbers are growing Thursday because of a major accident near Grinnell, 18 miles east of there.
The Iowa State Patrol says eastbound lanes of the interstate are impassable after an accident involving several semi-tractor trailers.
Roush says a trooper who stopped at the store told her that 8 trucks had jackknifed, and the road was closed.

 

25 Vehicles Involved In An Accident On I-35

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Authorities say a part of Interstate 35 in northern Iowa is closed as troopers respond to an accident involving 25 vehicles.
The Iowa State Patrol says the crash happened Thursday morning along the southbound lanes near Clarion. At least one person has died.
Authorities say preliminary information indicates poor visibility caused the accident. Drivers were unable to see vehicles that had slowed or stopped, causing a chain reaction of crashes.
An Iowa Highway Division spokeswoman says there is no additional information available about other injuries.
Officials are advising drivers to stay off roads in Iowa until midnight due to a major snow storm. They say visibility in northern Iowa and along other rural roadways are near zero.

 

Hillview Sledding Hill Still Not Open...Yet

(Hinton) -- Now that we have had our first major snow, and given the fact schools will be dismissing for Christmas break, you would think it would be the perfect opportunity to go sledding.  However, Dennis Sohl, Executive Director with the Plymouth County Conservation Board says, not so fast.  The Conservation Board oversees the county parks, including the popular sledding and tubing hill, Hillview Recreation Center located just west of Hinton.
Listen to

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.



Sohl hopes we can get more snow, as he would like to see the tubing hill open the day after Christmas.
Listen to

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


The Conservation Official explains how much snow is needed for safe sledding and tubing.
Listen to

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.



Sohl says once the tubing and sledding hill are able to be open, he says the public will notice some improvements at the hill, including new warming huts, electrical outlets, and more seating away from the wind.

 

 

   

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