Saturday News, November 21
Many Roads Still Snow And Ice Covered
(Le Mars) -- People across northwest Iowa, and the upper Midwest are digging themselves out from under the ten inch blanket of snow that fell yesterday, causing several vehicles to go into the ditch and several accidents that were reported. Plymouth County Sheriff's Department reports at least 15 vehicles that went into the ditch. The latest from the Iowa Department of Transportation shows all roads in northern Iowa are snow covered and ice packed. Interstate 29, U-S Highways 75, 71, 20, 18, and 59, and state highways 60, 3, 12, and 9 have both lanes completely covered. Travel is still not suggested.
Sioux Center Without Power And Water
(Sioux Center) -- Sioux Center Municipal Utilities west substation sustained damage early Saturday morning. Local and regional utility crews are working diligently to safely restore power. The damage is significant so isolating and rerouting power is a fairly complex challenge. Officials expect that many in the community will have power restored sometime Saturday afternoon or evening. However, there is a smaller core part of the community that may be without power for several days. A water main was also impacted and all Sioux Center residents are encouraged to limit the use of water. The American Red Cross is setting up an emergency shelter in the Sioux Center Community High School gymnasium at 550 9th Street NE. There will be cots and food available. The cause of the substation damage is undetermined at this time. At this point officials are concentrating on restoring power and the safety of the community.
Hillview Sledding And Tubing Hill Not Ready To Open
(Hinton) -- With the fresh snow, and it being the weekend, many children may want to take advantage of the situation and go sledding. However, the sledding hill located at the Hillview Recreational Area west of Hinton will not be open this weekend. Plymouth County Conservation Director Nick Beeck says the season officially begins on December 1st.
Beeck appeared before the county supervisors this past week to submit the Conservation Board's annual report. He says revenue was generally higher in most categories as people are taking the time to discover the outdoors.
Plymouth County's newest conservation park, River's Bend, located near Akron next to the Big Sioux River is making progress towards its development. The county acquired the land through a land swap program.
Police Search For Missing Child During Snow Storm
(Le Mars) -- Le Mars Police and the Le Mars Fire Department had some anxious moments yesterday afternoon as they were searching for a missing eight year old boy. The public was asked to help locate the lost child. At about 3:30 p.m. the child in question was located. Le Mars Police Sergeant Jay King says the child was found safe at a home near his neighborhood.
King says there wasn't ever any thoughts of the child being abducted, just simply not accounted for. He says there were several people searching the area for the boy.
AGP To Expand Biodiesel Production Facilities At Sergeant Bluff
(Sergeant Bluff) -- A soybean processing cooperative is wanting to expand its biodiesel operations. Ag Processing Incorporated has announced it will move forward on a major expansion of the company's biodiesel production facility near Sergeant Bluff. AGP currently operates a 30 million gallon biodiesel production facility at that location. Keith Spackler, Chief Executive Officer, for AGP says "biodiesel is an important component of our integrated soybean processing platform". Spackler says, "this expansion reflects our commitment to the biodiesel industry and soybean farmers as we continue to invest in this important value-added market". The expansion of biodiesel production capacity is complementary to plans announced earlier in the year to build soybean oil refining capacity at the site. Cal Meyer, Chief Operating Officer with the cooperative says, "Biodiesel is a premium advanced biofuel and has led directly to higher soybean prices and jobs in rural communities. Our announced project at Sergeant Bluff will do the same for the Siouxland region and beyond". Company officials noted that final construction decisions are contingent on completion of agreements with state and local officials.
Iowa's Unemployment Rate Drops
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped slightly to 3.5 percent in October.
Iowa Workforce Development announced Friday that the rate was down from 3.6 percent in September.
The October rate compares to 4.3 percent a year ago and an October national rate of 5 percent.
The agency says the number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 60,300 in October from 61,400 in September. The number of Iowa residents with jobs climbed to 1.64 million in October, up about 4,000 from September.
Iowa's unemployment rate ranked sixth lowest in the nation. The rate was higher than the neighboring states of Nebraska and South Dakota but lower than Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri.
Operation Christmas Child's Collection Underway In Des Moines
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Families, churches and groups in Des Moines will be doing more that preparing for Thanksgiving this weekend. They'll also be helping pack gifts for Operation Christmas Child's National Collection Week.
The effort began on earlier in the week and wraps up on Monday.
Collection points around the city are receiving colorfully wrapped shoe box-sized gifts packed by local residents. The project hopes to collect enough gifts this year to reach more than 11 million children, including those in the Des Moines area.
Since 1993, the nationwide project has delivered gifts to more than 124 million children in over 150 countries and territories.
Brown And Black Political Forum Cancelled
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Republican Party of Iowa has canceled its plan to host a forum featuring presidential candidates that would have focused on minority communities.
The party said Friday it canceled its Iowa Brown and Black Forum on December 3rd at Drake University due to "unresolved scheduling conflicts." Additional information was not released.
A similar forum by the Iowa Democratic Party is still scheduled on January 11th at Drake. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley are set to appear.
The Iowa Brown and Black Forum, advertised as the country's oldest continuous presidential forum focused on minority issues, has featured one event since it was first held in 1984. It has predominantly featured Democratic presidential candidates.
This year would have marked the launch of a forum for each party.