January 21 news

LAKE WILSON – Once again, blowing snow and high winds caused whiteout conditions throughout the area on Monday, causing several vehicle crashes. On Highway 30 in Murray County, 19-year-old Alexis Esmay of Slayton was eastbound driving a 1999 Chevy Malibu at approximately 4 p.m. when she lost control and entered the ditch, rolling the vehicle. She suffered non-life threatening injuries and was taken to the Murray County Medical Center, according to the Minnesota State Patrol.

LUVERNE – In Rock County at approximately 6:30 p.m., Kongpang Chomnirath, age 53, of Worthington, was eastbound on I-90 in a 2006 Toyota Tundra when she lost control, entered the south ditch and rolled. She and her passenger, 20-year-old Ryan Chomnirath of Worthington, were taken to Sanford Luverne Hospital, both with non-life threatening injuries.

WORTHINGTON — Social Media Breakfast Rural Connection – Worthington is meeting at 8 a.m. Wednesday at the computer lab on the campus of Minnesota West Community and Technical College, 1450 College Way, Worthington. This month’s topic is Linkedin. The event is free, but pre-registration is required. To register, contact Julie Foote at jfoote@mvtvwireless.com or Lori Henning at lori@2smartwomen.com.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa – The 34th annual University of Okoboji Winter Games takes place this weekend, with both indoor and outdoor activities to please everyone. New events this year include turkey bowling and Sled Head Breakfast at the Lake Okoboji United Methodist Camp, a family-friendly fishing outing and an indoor children’s carnival.

For those interested in becoming a piece of living art, the seventh annual People Project will be in the form of a bison. They are hoping to draw at least 200 hundred participants, who are encouraged to wear dark colors this year. Once everyone is in place, aerial photographs will be taken of the image.

The annual Winter Games draws an estimated 30,000 people to town each year at the end of January, nearly quadrupling the population of the communities that make up the Iowa Great Lakes. A complete schedule of the University of Okoboji Winter Games, as well as registration information for some of the activities, can be found online at www.uofowintergames.com.

Many of the events throughout the weekend are fundraisers, with at least 20 non-profit organizations benefiting from the Winter Games.

PIPESTONE – A $38,000 grant from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund will hopefully save a piece of southwest Minnesota history. The grant, which comes through the Minnesota Historical Society, will be used to begin the process of saving the superintendent’s residence of the former Pipestone Indian Boarding School, a building listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

With funds from the grant, projects to stabilize and preserve the building’s exterior can be prioritized, immediate concerns for the interior can be assessed and a hazardous substances study can get underway.

Constructed in 1907 from Sioux quartzite, the superintendent’s residence in Pipestone is what’s left of a boarding school campus that once contained over 60 buildings and as many as 400 students. Minnesota West Community and Technical college purchased the residence with the remains of the boarding school in 1976. The college transferred the residence about a decade ago to the nonprofit Keepers of the Sacred Tradition of Pipemaking in Pipestone. In August 2013, the Keeper’s transferred the building to the Shrine Association. That transfer was facilitated by the Friends of the Former Pipestone Indian Boarding School, a group of Pipestone citizens that also applied for the grant on behalf of the Shrine Association.

The long-term goal is to rehabilitate the building for use as an interpretive center or museum, preserving the building’s architectural integrity while telling the story of the historical and cultural significance of the Pipestone Indian Boarding School and its association with the neighboring Pipestone National Monument.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - A house fire temporarily forced a Spirit Lake family from their home over the weekend. Spirit Lake Fire Chief Pat Daly says firefighters were called to 1502 Memphis Avenue lot 29 around 8 p.m. Friday after getting a report of a structure fire. Upon arriving he says firefighters found a fire burning heavily in a bedroom. He says firefighters quickly put out the blaze and manage to contain it to the bedroom of the home.

No injuries were reported, but extensive damage was reported. Daly says it's believed the fire was caused by an electrical problem.

SPENCER, IA - Authorities in northwest Iowa say no crime was involved in the death of a 15-month-old child.

Spencer Police Chief Mark Lawson says investigators and doctors found no evidence of foul play. The exact cause of death has not been determined.

Paramedics were called to a home in Spencer on Friday evening, and the child was taken to a hospital. The little boy died at the hospital.

OMAHA, Neb. – In Nebraska, Omaha authorities confirm two people died and 10 others were seriously hurt in an explosion and partial building collapse at an animal feed processing plant Monday morning.

Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine says he's been notified about two deaths in Monday's explosion. It's unclear if the death toll will rise as crews sift through the rubble of the International Nutrition plant.

Interim Omaha Fire Chief Bernie Kanger says the search is progressing slowly because the structure is unsafe. He doesn't believe anyone remaining inside is alive. But officials haven't said how many people didn't make it out.

Thirty-eight people were working. Officials say two died, 10 were hospitalized and seven were hurt but refused treatment. They have not said how many of the 19 others escaped.

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