January 27 news

WORTHINGTON - Winds howling up to 60 miles per hour whipped up fresh snow Sunday, closing highways in southwest and central Minnesota and causing hundreds of school closings amid a new round of bone-chilling cold. More than one area lost electricity Sunday evening, due to the blizzard.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation and the State Patrol closed highways across the state, pulling plows and shutting traffic gates by 5:30 p.m. Hotels filled up quickly, prompting some towns to open shelters, including one in Brewster and another in Cottonwood County. As of 8 a.m., all roads in southwest Minnesota are listed as open on the Minnesota Department of Public Safety website, but some are still in fair to difficult condition; please check www.511mn.org before traveling.

OKOBOJI, Iowa – The official 2014 RAGBRAI route was announced on Saturday at the Iowa Event Center in Des Moines, and officials say this year's route includes a stop in the Iowa Great Lakes, with Okoboji among the towns named as host communities.

The 42nd annual ride will begin in Rock Valley on Sunday, July 20, and will take the 69 mile trek to Okoboji, where riders will spend Sunday night on Monday, July 21. The bicycle route also includes stops in Emmetsburg, Forest City, Mason City, Waverly and Independence before it concludes in the eastern Iowa town of Guttenburg. The 2014 RAGBRAI route will cover a total of 418 miles across the state.

RAGBRAI officials note that The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa is the oldest, largest, and longest bicycle touring event in the world. Thousand of cyclists take part in the annual event, and typically infuse large economic benefits into the host communities each year.

ARNOLD’S PARK, Iowa – At least five snowmobiles and three vehicles went through the ice in northwest Iowa over the weekend.

A driver and passenger were rescued Saturday morning after an SUV broke through on Lake Minnewashta in Arnold’s Park. Two people and their dog crawled out of the Jeep Cherokee as it started to sink and stood on the roof until emergency crews rescued them by airboat, around 10 a.m.

In addition to the SUV, five snowmobiles went into the water off of Fort Dodge Point on West Okoboji Lake, and two vehicles went into the water off of Pillsbury Point. There were no injuries.

In most incidents, the vehicles were trying to cross a pressure ridge, which changes rapidly. The SUV that fell into Lake Minnewashta was driving under a bridge, where ice is typically thinner.

The incident was not related to activities for the University of Okoboji Winter Games, according to Tom Kuhlman, executive vice president of the Iowa Great Lakes Chamber of Commerce. But with visitors in the area who don’t understand the rules of riding on the lakes, accidents are bound to occur, he said.

HARTLEY, Iowa - A petition drive has targeted the Mayor of Hartley after he fired the city's police chief.

The drive began after the Hartley city council earlier this week voted unanimously to affirm Mayor Clayton Pyle's decision to fire Chief Mark Younie.

Jason Kelley of Hartley says he wants nearly 700 people to sign the petition before he submits it to the city council.

Pyle says he fired Younie for his refusal to recognize authority, for a breakdown in communication and for his dissatisfaction with job duties. Younie has denied those points and said he wasn't given proper notice.

Younie and his attorney say they haven't decided whether they'll file a lawsuit over Younie's dismissal.

NEWKIRK, Iowa — A man who eluded Sioux County authorities for nine years was captured after a standoff on Saturday that lasted over two hours.

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports that they have been looking for now-46-year-old Douglas Bobzien of rural Hospers since January 2005. An investigation was started when the sheriff’s office received information that Bobzien was avoiding apprehension for an outstanding Dickinson County felony arrest warrant for forgery.

The sheriff’s office says Bobzien has eluded arrest several times by running from law enforcement officials. They also say that he has received help in avoiding arrest from his girlfriend, 45-year-old Sherri Whelan, also of Hospers.

On Saturday, January 25, at 9:20 a.m., deputies spotted Bobzien and Whelan outside his home at 4090 400th Street — the old school in Newkirk, three miles west of Hospers. When deputies confronted Bobzien, he ran inside the home and a stand-off with law enforcement officials began. Whelan surrendered immediately.

Officers attempted repeatedly to persuade Bobzien into surrendering. He eventually walked out of the home and surrendered. He was arrested without incident about 11:34 a.m., and was additionally charged with Interference With Official Acts. Whelan was charged with accessory after the fact for harboring, aiding and abetting a felon to evade arrest.

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Feel sorry

I feel sorry for what happend on the stand out. Good thing he surrendered or he could have died. - Aldo Disorbo

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