July 8 news

WORTHINGTON – According to information released Monday by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, a downtown Worthington site is being recommended for placement on the State Superfund Program due to elevated levels of chlorinated volatile organic compounds. Currently a paved lot, the site at 1101 Second Avenue was home to the Exclusive Cleaners from 1969 to 1998 and prior to that housed a gas station.

The site has been under investigation for more than 20 years.

In the last two years, soil gas samples collected from the site show concentrations of the drycleaning solvent perchlorethylene (PCE) exceeding 100 times the MPCA residential intrusion screening value in four of the five samples taken. The solvents can adversely affect health, particularly the immune system of developing fetuses, and may pose risks from long-term exposure.

In 1991 a petroleum leak at the site was discovered. The leak site was closed in 1995, and three years later the Worthington YMCA purchased the property. The building was demolished and a parking lot created at that time.

By getting the site listed on the Superfund and added to Minnesota’s permanent list of priorities, dedicated state funding will target issues at the site, such as researching the extent of vapor intrusion, installing mitigation systems if needed and determining groundwater cleanup actions. Until now, the site has relied on competitive site assessment program funds to investigate the presence of contaminants.

David Moore, project leader for the remediation division of the MPCA, said further mitigation efforts will begin within months.

WORTHINGTON – Minnesota West Community & Technical College will host open house informational sessions about the new Industrial Technology program and scholarships offered through JBS today at the Worthington Campus. Representatives will be available to answer questions and the Industrial Technology program and scholarships that are available through JBS from 10:30 a.m. to noon and from 2:30 p.m.to 4 p.m. in the Student Services Area. For more information or to apply for a scholarship or the Industrial Technology program, contact Marie Johnson at 372-3472 or email her at marie.johnson@mnwest.edu.

JACKSON - The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office responded to a burglar alarm at the Family Dollar in Jackson just after 3a.m. on Saturday morning.

Officers discovered the front door had been shattered. A crow bar was found inside the store which was believed to have been used to break the glass. There were items disturbed near the store safe but nothing was found to be missing.

Anyone with information regarding this break-in is urged to contact the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

GRAETTINGER, Iowa - A house fire in Graettinger early Monday morning claimed the lives of two young children.

The Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a house fire at 204 South Jackson Avenue in Graettinger at about 6:30 a.m.

Officials say 27 year old Stephanie Gaston was able to exit the house but was unable to bring her children to safety. Members of the Graettinger Fire Department entered the smoke-filled house and removed the two children, and Palo Alto County Ambulance personnel along with the firemen began lifesaving measures.

Gaston and her two sons were transported by ambulance to the Palo Alto County Hospital. Gaston was then transported to Iowa City Hospital for her injuries.

Gavin Hasbrouck, age 5 and Collin Reed, age 7, were pronounced dead at the Palo Alto County Hospital.

The Iowa State Fire Marshal's office was called to investigate.

Preliminary investigation indicates the fire had started in the living room. The house received fire and extensive smoke damage. The investigation continues into the cause of the blaze.

SHELDON, Iowa - With the arrival of RAGBRAI riders in the not too distant future, the Sheldon RAGBRAI committee reminds residents along the route to get ready by cleaning up their property. There are also some safety reminders for residents who are greeting the riders.

1. Young children should be discouraged from joining the riders as they come through the town. Many accidents occur every year because young children are inexperienced in riding with large groups
2. Don’t give ‘high fives’ to the riders, this could cause an accident.
3. Don’t spray riders with water unless you ask first.
4. Don’t hand anything to the riders . They can’t carry anything on their bicycles.
There are some extra cautions for rural residents on the RAGBRAI route as well.
1. You will have a hard time crossing the road or getting out of the driveway. Plan accordingly
2. If you invite cyclists on your property, be aware that you could be liable for injuries.
3. For the safety of your pets and riders, keep your pets penned or leashed.
4. Keep children off the road
5. If you offer refreshments, be aware of state food and beverage laws
6. Water stands should be on the right side of the road
7. Be aware that the roads will not be closed to regular traffic.

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