May 9 news

WORTHINGTON - Large hail and isolated tornadoes were reported throughout the area Thursday, with a confirmed tornado near St. James.

The storms in southwest Minnesota produced hail that ranged in size from that of peas to quarters and in some instances even golf balls. The hail fell in Beaver Creek, Edgerton, Windom and Pipestone and many places in between.

PIPESTONE - Pipestone Area Schools is considering spending an estimated $370,000 on new tennis courts later this year to replace courts north of the middle/high school that are no longer usable.

Jim Lentz, PAS superintendent, presented options to finance new tennis courts with capital facilities bonds.

Board members favored financing the tennis courts by borrowing $200,000 over five years and taking the rest from the general fund budget, asking Pipestone Area Community Foundation (PACF) for assistance in covering the cost.

Ed Gustafson, PAS tennis coach, said the PAS tennis teams will play most of their games on the road this season due to the hazardous condition of the courts at the school. The courts have been patched over the years but are now cracked beyond repair and would require resurfacing or new construction.

DES MOINES, Iowa - The State Appeal Board has rejected a $500,000 claim filed by a former resident of the Iowa Juvenile Home.

19-year-old Jessica Turner of Okoboji said the state violated her constitutional rights by inflicting cruel and unusual punishment and denying her due process. She says she spent nine months in isolation at the now-closed home.

The juvenile home came under intense criticism after the Des Moines Register published a series of stories beginning last summer about questionable treatment of teenagers, including use of isolation cells and a lack of educational opportunities. The home was closed in January by order of Governor Terry Branstad.

Turner so far is the only former resident to pursue a claim over the home's use of long-term isolation cells.

SPENCER, Iowa - The execution of a search warrant Tuesday on a residence in Spencer has resulted in the arrest of a man on drug charges. The Clay County Sheriff's Office says the warrant was executed at 508 East 2nd Street. Authorities found what's believed to be methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

39-year-old Benjamin Parker of Spencer was arrested and booked into jail on charges of possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine, with intent to deliver, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

HULL, Iowa — Two Hull teens were arrested on harassment charges after an incident in Hull. The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office reports they investigated a report of harassment at the Casey’s General Store in Hull on Monday, May 5, about 9:15 p.m.

Upon further investigation, deputies determined that two people threatened to commit bodily harm to a person inside the business. As a result of the investigation, deputies arrested 19-year-olds Shane Meerdink and Trey Sandbulte, both of Hull on charges of First Degree Harassment. Harassment in the first degree is an aggravated misdemeanor. According to Sioux County Jail records, bond was set at $2000 for each teen. The records say they were released on bond.

SHELDON, Iowa — The dry weather continues to affect Sheldon’s water supply. Public Works Director Todd Uhl told the city council Tuesday that the shallow well production is down one hundred gallons per minute from this time last year, which is forty percent of their previous normal capacity.

This is expected to drop even further if the area does not begin to experience adequate rainfall to recharge the wells. The problem is compounded by the fact that water usage in Sheldon is now fifty thousand gallons per day higher than it was one year ago. This has forced the city to depend more and more on the deep wells. The deep well aquifer has plenty of water available, but it is not as desirable, because of its hardness. The hard water also causes pumps to wear out faster. Uhl said they have the parts on hand to repair the current deep well pump.

This work will be done as soon as they start pumping from the new deep well, which should be in late June. The new pump will produce 680 gallons of water per minute, and could go up to as much as 940 gallons per minute.

The question remains, “How can the city supply their users with a better quality water?”

City manager Scott Wynja offered four options to the City Council. The first option is to stay with the present situation, but no one seemed to feel that this was acceptable. The second option is to wait for the Lewis and Clark project. He also explained that the city could probably get out of that project by selling their water allotment to one of the other cities. The third option is to buy water from the rural water system, and the fourth would be a reverse osmosis system. One of the problems with reverse osmosis is how to dispose of the waste water it produces, Wynja explained.

After some discussion, Council member Ron Rensink spoke in favor of exploring the rural water possibilities completely. He added that this is quality water and they have plenty of it. Wynja pointed out that the new deep well is buying them time while they research the rural water possibilities. The council then decided that their next step should be to get more information on working with rural water.

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