June 17 news

WORTHINGTON – According to the Minnesota Department of Transportation website 511mn.org, a variety of highways and roads are still closed this morning due to flooding. Motorists are asked to use extreme caution when traveling and to respect any barriers in place.

Several roads closed during yesterday’s storms have re-opened. Two were for semis that had blown over in the heavy wind gusts. The Minnesota State Patrol and MnDot had closed a section of I-90 between Luverne and Magnolia after a semi tipped on its side at about 3:14 p.m. Brian Niehus, 41, of Pipestone, had been travelling westbound in a 2010 Peterbilt when he lost control in the wind and rolled. He was taken to the Luverne Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

About an hour later, a semi westbound on Minnesota 60 west of Brewster was caught in a heavy gust of wind and blew over, landing on a Honda that was also westbound. A Worthington man in the Honda, Armando Nava, age 41, received non-life threatening injuries, while the semi driver, 25-year-old Collin Powell of San Tan Valley, Arizona, was uninjured.

Road closures still continue throughout the tri-state area. Check the MnDot website before traveling and proceed with caution.

When a road is closed it is illegal to travel in that area. Motorists can be fined up to $1,000 and/or 90 days in jail. In addition, if travelers need to be rescued from a closed road, other expenses and penalties will apply.

ROCK RAPIDS, IA - Residents in flooded areas of Rock Rapids and Rock Valley, Iowa, were being evacuated Monday night due to heavy flooding in the area and concerns that the Rock River would continue to rise. In Rock Rapids, people in certain areas were urged to seek shelter on higher ground. A shelter was established at the Rock Rapids Community Center. In Rock Valley, residents who live north of 17th Street between 19th and Main Street were urged to seek higher ground. A shelter was available at the Faith Reformed Church in Rock Valley.

MINNESOTA - Gov. Mark Dayton had planned to visit Luverne and Edgerton in southwestern Minnesota Monday afternoon, but put off that trip until Friday because of the threat of more severe weather in that area. Instead, he spoke to local officials by phone Monday, hosting a conference call with Luverne Mayor Pat Baustian, Rock County Emergency Management Director Kyle Oldre, Edgerton City Development Coordinator Ross Brands, Pipestone County Emergency Management Director Steve Ewing and Rock County Board of Commissioners Chair Stan Williamson.

During the call, local officials described damage to local residences, farms, roads, and other local infrastructure. Governor Dayton expressed his plans to meet in-person with local officials on Friday to further-assess flood damage in the region, and discuss how the state may provide assistance to area communities.

Public Safety Commissioner Mona Dohman and Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Kris Eide pledged state support with the help of the State Emergency Operations Center to provide assistance to local emergency response officials. Eide discussed the newly-enacted disaster assistance fund, and the process for applying for a Gubernatorial Disaster Declaration from the state.

SPIRIT LAKE, Iowa - A report released by the State Auditor's Office into Dickinson County's finances show the county had local tax revenue of $47.1 million for the year that ended June 30, 2013. The report says nearly $39 million of that was forwarded to townships, school districts, cities, and other taxing entities in the county. A little more than $8.2 million was retained by the county for its operations, a 7.5% increase over the previous year.

Expenses for county operations for the year ending June 30th totaled more than $13.6 million, a decrease of 3.8% over the previous year. Of that, a little more than $3.5 million was for roads and transportation; $2.33 million was for county environment and education and $2.27 million for public safety and legal services.

ROCK RAPIDS, Iowa — Two Rock Rapids men have been arrested recently in connection with a fight that took place in late April. The Lyon County Sheriff’s Office reports that they arrested 33-year-old Jose Solis and 24-year-old Cody Zimbelman, both of Rock Rapids on Friday, June 13, 2014. Both Zimbelman and Solis were charged with Serious Assault, which is a Serious Misdemeanor.

The arrests stem from a call of a fight early on April 27th. The Sheriff’s Office reports that they were called at about 3 AM to the 100 block of South Lincoln Street in Rock Rapids.

No charges were filed at the time of the incident, as officers investigated the altercation. Both Solis and Zimbelman were released from jail on signature bonds.

PILGER, Neb. — A powerful storm with tornadoes ripped through northeast Nebraska on Monday, destroying more than half of the tiny town of Pilger, killing a 5-year-old child and injuring at least 19 people, hospital and emergency officials said.

The National Weather Service said dual twisters touched down within roughly a mile of each other. Emergency crews and residents spent the evening sorting through demolished homes and businesses in the community of about 350, roughly 100 miles northwest of Omaha.

Victims were taken to three regional hospitals, and at least one had died from unspecified injuries, hospital officials said.

Jodi Richey, a spokeswoman for Faith Regional Health Services in nearby Norfolk, said one person died and 16 others were being treated at the hospital. Hospital officials initially described those patients as being in critical condition, but said later that some had been released after treatment.

The Stanton County Sheriff's Office confirmed late Monday that the person killed was a 5-year-old child. It didn't specify the child's gender.

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