Wednesday Afternoon News, April 17
Early Morning Rain, Sleet, and Snow Causes Numerous Accidents
(Le Mars) -- Plymouth County authorities have had a busy morning with numerous vehicles involved in accidents and going into the ditch as a result of the rain, sleet, ice and snow that fell this morning. Plymouth County Communications Director Kurt Hatting describes the busy morning.
Hatting says all the action had taken place for a time period of two hours while we were experiencing the adverse weather.
City Council Hears About Red, White, & Blue Mud Run
(Le Mars) -- The City Council heard from Le Mars Police Officer Jay King as he discussed the first Red, White, and Blue Mud Run scheduled for June 1st in Le Mars. King says the Mud Run is a combination of an obstacle course and endurance test. Already more than 120 competitors have indicated an interest in participating, and King anticipates perhaps 200 or more. The event is being organized by the Le Mars Police Officer Association, Fire Department Association and First Responders. King says the event will follow the Floyd River and the hiking and bike trails along the west side of town.
Contestants will climb walls, crawl under barbed wire, jump over logs, and cross other various obstacles, including going through mud holes. King says similar events have proven to be very popular across the nation.
Fire Department Responds To Grass Fire
(Le Mars) -- Both the Le Mars Fire Department and the Maurice Fire Department responded to
a grass fire last evening that was started as a result of a Burlington Northern - Santa Fe Train creating sparks. Fire officials were called to the scene at about 6:30 p.m. and remained on the scene for an hour. The fire was along the railroad tracks near 100th Street, located in the northern section of the county. An area about the size of a city block had burned before the fire was brought under control.
Buena Vista College Student Arrested For Explosive Device
STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) - A college student has been accused of making a homemade explosive device that detonated at his university campus in northwest Iowa. Authorities say no one was injured.
The Storm Lake Police Department arrested 21 year-old Matthew Hanson, of Villisca, on Tuesday after the device detonated Monday night at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake.
Police allege Hanson made the device with a flameless heater and glass bottle. The device detonated about 10 feet from a residence hall.
Officials say the incident is not linked to explosions Monday at the Boston Marathon.
Hanson is charged with possession of an explosive device and reckless use of an explosive device. He is being held at the Buena Vista County Jail on a $3,000 bond.
Records do not list an attorney for Hanson.
Suspicious Packages Sent To U.S. Senate
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Sen. Charles Grassley says he has confidence in security at the Capitol complex as authorities take precautions after letters containing a possible poison were addressed to a fellow senator and President Barack Obama.
The Hart Senate Office Building, which houses the offices of senators including Grassley's, was locked down briefly Wednesday as authorities investigated suspicious packages.
Grassley, who was in the Capitol for Senate debate, says his staff told him police swarmed the Hart Senate Office Building, keeping anyone from entering the building. Workers had been told to
stay in their offices.
The FBI says a substance in letters sent to President Barack Obama and Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker have preliminarily tested positive for ricin, a potentially fatal poison. Both letters were
intercepted at off-site mail facilities.
State Senator Says Homosexual Lifestyles Present Health Risk
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Republican senator from northern Iowa says homosexual lifestyles pose a health risk to him and his family in comments that drew a sharp rebuke from an openly gay Democratic
Sen. Dennis Guth, of Klemme, spoke Wednesday on the Senate floor. He says the media has "bamboozled" the public into a growing acceptance of gay relationships and argues his family faces
"multiple health risks" because of sexually transmitted infections he says are associated with a gay lifestyle.
Guth's comments were quickly condemned by Sen. Matt McCoy, of Des Moines, who says Guth was using "warmed over rhetoric that has been invented by the Christian-right extremist groups." McCoy says being gay is not a choice, but "you certainly can choose to be ignorant."
Branstad Comments On China Trip
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad says his trade trip to China has been "extremely productive."
Branstad spoke with reporters via conference call Wednesday morning. He says he has been promoting trade between Iowa and China during meetings with top officials and business leaders in four cities.
Branstad met with Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jeen ping) on Monday. He says the conversation was "warm and cordial."
The group is scheduled to return Thursday.
Branstad's ties to Xi date back to a 1985 diplomatic trip that Xi took to Iowa, during Branstad's first stint as governor. Xi returned to Iowa in February 2012 for stops in Muscatine and the Des Moines area.