June 26 news

WINDOM – A man who died Tuesday in a head-on collision west of Windom has been identified as Jason Steffes, 39, of Balaton. According to the Minnesota State Patrol, Cody Falk, age 24, of St James was driving a 2011 Ford Superduty east on Hwy 62 when he collided with the 2008 Ford Taurus of Steffes in the westbound lane. When authorities arrived, Steffes was found dead at the scene. Falk and a passenger, 20-year-old Nathan Gisch of Mountain Lake, were transported by ambulance to the hospital in Windom, both with non-life threatening injuries.

DOON, Iowa – In Iowa, authorities are still investigating a fatal crash that took place Monday near Doon between two semis. The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office states Steven McKee, age 56, of Ashton, Iowa was driving a 1996 Freightliner semi tractor and trailer eastbound on County Road A52 toward the intersection of Highway 75. At the same time, Danny Rude, age 57, of Sioux City, Iowa was driving a 2003 Peterbuilt semi tractor and trailer southbound on Highway 75 toward the intersection with County Road A52.

Upon approaching the intersection with Highway 75, McKee failed to stop at the intersection for the stop sign. The front of the semi tractor that McKee was driving collided broadside into the semi tractor and trailer driven by Rude. Both semi tractors and trailers came to rest in the ditch southeast of the intersection.

McKee was pronounced dead at the scene. Rude was transported by ambulance to the hospital in Rock Rapids where he was treated for minor injuries and released.

WORTHINGTON - Due to a miscommunication in the FEMA offices, approximately $110,000 in city and county staff hours from the ice storm clean-up will not be covered by FEMA as expected. The entities had been told regular staff hours used for debris removal would be reimbursable, but are now learning otherwise. The issue has gained attention through the state, and in Washington, D.C., as well.

Kris Eide, Director of Minnesota Homeland Security and Emergency Management, has sent a letter to lodge an official complaint against FEMA, expressing her surprise and disappointment. Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, as well as Rep. Tim Walz, sent a joint letter to Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and William Craig Fugate, Administrator for FEMA. It states they are troubled to learn a key provision in the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act has not yet been implemented and is impacting federal reimbursement for clean-up activities in Minnesota.

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) — The Department of Natural Resources says a mechanical failure at a meatpacking plant caused thousands of gallons of wastewater to pour into Storm Lake in northwest Iowa.
The DNR said Tuesday the problem was noticed Monday night when employees of Tyson Fresh Meats discovered wastewater coming out of the ground outside a lift station. Workers determined a joint on the piping had failed. The wastewater reached a storm sewer that empties into the lake near Awaysis Beach. The city of Storm Lake posted warnings, discouraging swimming until Friday. After discovering the discharge, Tyson and city officials worked to divert other wastewater to the city’s sanitary sewer system.

LUVERNE — The Council for Arts and Humanities in Rock County is seeking entries for its annual Carnegie Cultural Center Photo Contest. This year’s theme is the Elements of Design. The photos will be displayed during the month of October. Entries are due Sept. 26 and are broken into three age categories: Adult, young adult (ages 13 to 18) and youth (ages 12 and younger); and three photo categories: Line, texture or repetition. All photos must be mounted and ready to hang.

There is an entry fee for each photo, with cash prizes awarded to winners in each age and photo category. For more information and registration information, contact the Carnegie Cultural Center in Luverne at (507) 283-8294.

LUVERNE — Blue Mounds State Park near Luverne will host a Minnesota Master Naturalist volunteer training from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays from Aug. 6 through Oct. 15. Two Saturday field trips will be on Sept. 7 and 28.

Master Naturalist volunteers complete a 40-hour hands-on class with expert instructors and fellow learners studying natural history, environmental interpretation and conservation stewardship. Final certification comes with the completion of 40 hours of volunteer service. The program offers three classes that correspond to Minnesota’s three major ecosystems, “Big Woods, Big Rivers,” “Prairies and Potholes” and “Northwoods, Great Lakes.”

The class will cover the natural and cultural history of the Prairies and Potholes region. There is a cost for the class; scholarships are available. Register on-line at www.MinnesotaMasterNaturalist.org, call 1.888.241.4532, or e-mail info@minnesotamasternaturalist.org. The program is sponsored by University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

BOONE, Iowa - The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says it’s found additional evidence of zebra mussels in East Lake Okoboji.

Kim Bogenschutz, the DNR’s Aquatic Invasive Species Program Director, says a mid-June sample from the lake revealed four zebra mussel veligers, which is the larval stage. She expects the number will increase in the July sampling, with warmer water temperatures. Bogenschutz says all lakes in the Iowa Great Lakes chain are being sampled monthly.

Zebra mussels are filter feeders that attach to underwater surfaces. They can interfere with aquatic food chains, kill native mussels and clog water intakes. There’s no way to get rid of them once they’ve infected a lake or river.

It is illegal to possess or transport prohibited aquatic invasive species such as zebra mussels in Iowa. And beginning July 1st boaters will be required to drain all water from boats and equipment before leaving a body of water and keep drain plugs removed or open during transport.

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