June 16 news

BIGELOW – The rain caused significant problems over the weekend, but lightening strikes were also an issue. The Bigelow Fire Department was called to a house fire shortly after 8 a.m. Saturday on King Avenue just 4 miles west of town, according to Fire Chief Steve Hohensee.

Lightening had struck the roof of the Scott Peterson home, and when firefighters arrived, fire was in the attic. Hohensee said flames were coming out one side of the house. The Sibley Fire Department was called for mutual aid, then requests were also made for aid from Rushmore and Little Rock.

Hohensee said weather conditions made fighting the fire difficult. The high winds and driving rain were a factor. The heavy firefighting equipment had a tough time maneuvering in the muddy yard. A local farmer brought in a tractor to assist the firefighters.

After the fire was extinguished, Hohensee said the home was severely damaged and the family displaced.

Just as the firefighters were approaching the fire hall, they were called out once again for mutual aid to assist Rushmore with another house fire caused by another lightening strike. The house had a metal cap, so the damage was not as severe.

LUVERNE – I-90 from Luverne to South Dakota finally opened Sunday late afternoon. after being closed to all traffic for many hours due to flooding. The Minnesota State Patrol said more than three feet of water was running over the interstate near the Hills-Beaver Creek exit due to the heavy rains Saturday night.

Heavy rains caused several cars to be stranded on I-90 early Sunday morning before the state patrol closed the road.

The Beaver Creek Volunteer Fire Department responded to calls of several vehicles surrounded by water near the Beaver Creek exit at around 4:15 a.m. When they arrived, crews found two vans and a car stalled in waist-deep water. A fourth car had been swept up against the fence line with the driver still inside.

The Luverne Volunteer Fire Department was called in to help with the rescue. Firefighters were able to free all the cars safely.

Beaver Creek Asst. Fire Chief Chris Harnack says the drivers were unable to see how bad conditions were because it was still dark at the time they became stuck.

LUVERNE - Blue Mounds State Park Manager Chris Ingebretsen says a dike on Blue Mounds Creek gave way Saturday night, leading to a dam becoming overwhelmed on Blue Mounds Lake. Water levels are dropping after the park received 7 inches of rain Saturday night that compromised the structure.

Though the dam held, the river carved a channel to the side and broke through. Water began flowing freely out of Blue Mounds Lake. Ingebretsen says the water levels on the lake will fall significantly due to the breach. The swimming beach at the park is closed until further notice. The campgrounds on the park will remain open, however.

A timeline on when the dam will be repaired has not been set yet.

ROCK RAPIDS Iowa — The Rock River at Rock Rapids has been in flood stage since Sunday morning — but the National Weather Service says the worst is yet to come. In fact, Rock Rapids could see record flooding, according to Lyon County Emergency Management.

Director Arden Kopischke says about 125 volunteers worked hard on Sunday afternoon and evening to fill sandbags to help hold the Rock River at Rock Rapids.

Kopischke says that people living along the Rock River need to be aware that the National Weather Service has predicted the Rock River will rise 10 feet above flood stage. He says that the river will be taking a large amount of water in the next day or so.

The crest is forecast to be 23 feet, about 1 p.m. on Monday. However, the flood doesn’t appear to be following the forecast at this time, and is getting higher faster than anticipated. As of 11:45 p.m. Sunday night, the level was at 22.87 feet.

ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa – On Friday, Tom Clary, owner of Clary Lake Service, joined Arnolds Park Amusement Park General Manager Scott Pyle to announce the opening of a new dock at the State Pier. Pyle said the Board of Directors has been working on the project for several years and approached Clary, who got involved right away.

Clary said the pier is an iconic landmark, and he was glad his company could help the park by providing the dock. The new State Pier dock is 80 ft. long, x 12 ft wide with an aluminum ramp and is accessible for wheelchairs.

PRIMGHAR, Iowa- Plans to build an electric transmission line through several northwest Iowa counties continue to move forward. Beth Conley of the Rock Island Clean Line Project says they've been negotiating easements with landowners along the proposed route through O'Brien, Clay, Palo Alto counties, and counties east of them.

Conley said they have been developing the project for more than three years and have their proposed routs in Iowa, which they have presented to landowners across the state. They have been working to negotiate voluntary easements with the landowners, answering questions and preparing a case for the Iowa Utilities Board.

Conley says the project will transmit wind generated power in northwest Iowa to markets in Illinois and points east. Provided the necessary permits are issued on a timely basis, construction on the project could start in 2016 with completion in 2017 or 2018.

OKOBOJI - Steve Lindeberg has been appointed interim director of the Pearson Lakes Art Center following the recent resignation of Tom Tourville as the center's CEO.

Lindeberg previously served as President of the Pearson Lakes Art Center's board of directors. He relinquished that position to Terry Yarns. Lindeberg says he'll continue to operate his business, Lindeberg Appraisal, with the assistance of his associates.

He will begin his duties as interim director at the PLAC this coming Wednesday, June 18th.

MINNEAPOLIS - Aspiring singers from around the area will be lining up in Minneapolis later this week for a chance to audition for “American Idol.” Minneapolis is the first of several cities that will host live auditions for the show’s upcoming 14th season.
The auditions will be Wednesday at Mariucci Arena on the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota.

The show’s host, Ryan Seacrest, will be there, but the judges — Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick, Jr. and Keith Urban — won’t be joining him. They will come to Minneapolis for the judges’ round at a future date that hasn’t been scheduled yet.

Auditions are open to anybody ages 15 to 28. People can start lining up for the auditions Wednesday at 6 a.m., and the distribution of tickets and wristbands needed to try out for the show will begin at 7 a.m. Contestants will not be allowed to camp out or line up before 6 a.m.

Audition information, including forms and requirements, is available on the American Idol website.

“American Idol” last held auditions in Minneapolis in 2006, when more than 10,000 singers tried out for the show.

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