June 28 news

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - Iowa DNR officials say water samples taken following a wastewater discharge to Big Spirit Lake on Wednesday indicate that the impact to the water body appears to be minimal. DNR Environmental Specialist Bryon Whiting says the results from several e-coli samples have been examined, with some elevated levels near the storm sewer outlet, but he notes that those levels drop off rapidly about 200 feet away from the storm sewer outfall. Another sample from Orleans Beach near the spillway appears to be close to normal.

More test results are expected on Friday morning. In the meantime, it is suggested that people avoid the affected areas for another day or two. The spill on Wednesday reportedly discharged about 21,000 gallons of untreated water though a storm sewer into Big Spirit Lake.
ALPHA - Several people were injured in a two-vehicle accident at 11:53 a.m. Wednesday along Interstate 90 north of Alpha. According to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, the mishap occurred on County Road 29 and the off ramp for Interstate 90, just north of Alpha.

A 2013 Ford Explorer driven by 32-year-old Mark Passer of San Diego was traveling eastbound on the off ramp at a stop sign. A 2003 semi-tractor trailer, owned by Michael Bettin of Fairmont and driven by 28-year-old James Ihle of Blue Earth was traveling south on County Road 29. According to the report, the Passer vehicle pulled out in front of the semi-tractor and was struck on the driver’s side.

Passer, his wife, Mary Passer and three children were transported by the Jackson Ambulance Department to Sanford Jackson Medical Center. Mark Passer was airlifted to a Sioux Falls Hospital. Mary Passer and the children were treated and released with minor injuries. Ihle was uninjured.

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa – The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant Thursdays at the residence of Jeffrey Todd Benson, age 51, at 909 South Marshall Street. The search was part of an on-going investigation into incidents occurring at the residence from late May to the present date. Benson was charged with three counts of Sexual Abuse in the 3rd Degree, all Class C Felonies.

ST. PAUL — Minnesota joins a nationwide effort to stop people from boating under the influence during the week of the Independence Day holiday.

The effort is called "Operation Dry Water" and enforces zero tolerance for intoxicated boaters. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and a number of other law enforcement will increase patrols on Minnesota rivers to educate boaters on safety requirements.

According to the DNR, alcohol is a factor in a third of Minnesota boating accidents. The DNR encourages boaters to call 911 if they encounter an intoxicated boater.

The penalties for Boating While Intoxicated are the same as for drunk driving. DNR officials say that violators are given a citation and will see a hike in their insurance bill.

MINNESOTA - Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak on Thursday announced that he would officiate 40 same-sex wedding ceremonies at City Hall beginning just after midnight Aug. 1. At a news conference, he introduced the first two couples that he will wed: Margaret Miles and Cathy ten Broeke; and Al Giraud and Jeff Isaacson. He tweeted “After Aug 1, I will have married more people than Liz Taylor.”

The Minnesota Legislature this year legalized gay marriage in the state, effective Aug. 1. And the state is now preparing for gay wedding tourism.

The mayor’s announcement fell one day after two landmark Supreme Court decisions handed significant victories to advocates of gay marriage. Minnesota cheered and celebrated while critics said they would continue their battle.

MINNESOTA - One of the kids on the 1990s television show “Saved by the Bell” is going to do some grown-up comedy in Albert Lea. Dustin Diamond, who first played Samuel “Screech” Powers on the Saturday morning NBC teen sitcom from 1989-1993 and reprised the role for two spinoffs, will be coming to the Land Between the Lakes Event Center in Albert Lea July 25 to do stand-up comedy.

Tickets for the show are $25, and $35 for a meet-and-greet with Diamond. The show is suggested for mature audiences only.

In addition to his stand-up comedy, Diamond has appeared in several television shows and films over the years.

Most notably, he played himself in the David Spade comedy “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star,” and competed in the reality TV shows “Celebrity Fit Club” and “Celebrity Boxing 2.”

WASHINGTON - The contentious bipartisan effort to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws achieved a decisive victory Thursday when the Senate approved legislation that would allow millions of illegal immigrants the chance to live legally in the United States and to eventually become U.S. citizens.

The 1,200-page bill, which now faces a stern test in the Republican-controlled House, carries a $50 billion price tag. It would double the number of U.S. Border Patrol agents along the southern border and require the construction of 700 miles of fencing there. It also would place new burdens on employers, who would be required to check the legal status of all job applicants using the government’s E-Verify system.

Senators approved the plan 68 to 32, capping more than six months of negotiations that began behind closed doors and concluded with almost a month of debate on the Senate floor. Fourteen Republicans voted with every member of the Senate Democratic caucus to approve the bill — an impressive bipartisan margin in a chamber that has become sharply partisan.

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