Hawkeye Fans Can Expect Tight Security At Rose Parade And Rose Bowl

valentine rosePasadena, California — If you’re one of the thousands of Iowa Hawkeye football fans who will be heading to California next week, you can expect tight security at the Rose Bowl game and parade.

Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez talked about the increased enforcement for the 127th Rose Parade at a news conference Tuesday.

Dozens of security cameras will be in place as well, according to Chief Sanchez. More than 700,000 people are expected to line the route of the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day morning. The Rose Bowl, featuring Iowa versus Stanford, will kickoff later that afternoon.

Homeland Security Special Agent Mark Selby said that everyone understands the need for the tight security.

Selby says they’ll be deploying an “unprecedented volume of resources and technologies” for both the parade and game.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will patrol the game and parade from the sky. Fans attending the game will be provided with clear bags for their personal belongings as they enter the stadium.

The University of Iowa received over 54,000 ticket requests from fans hoping to attend the game. The Iowa Hawkeyes last played in the Rose Bowl in 1991.

Congress Blocks OSHA From Adding Pricey New Rules On Anhydrous Retailers

grassley-photo-officialNorthwest Iowa — Farm fertilizer retailers in northwest Iowa and nationwide were spared expensive new OSHA regulations by Congressional action in the big budget bill that was passed last week. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the bill included a rider that blocked OSHA from implementing new safety rules on all retailers that sell anhydrous ammonia. Compliance could have cost some retailers up to 60-thousand dollars and forced many of them to stop selling the popular fertilizer.

The proposed rules from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were sparked by an explosion in 2013 at a fertilizer storage and distribution facility in Texas that killed 15 people and injured more than 160.

Officials with the Ag Retailers Association called OSHA a “runaway federal agency” due to the new safety rules it wanted to enforce. Grassley says the regulations OSHA demanded were simply too restrictive and too expensive.

Under the legislation, the ban on OSHA requiring higher safety rules for anhydrous retailers lasts until the end of calendar year 2016.

George Girl Scouts Make Christmas Merrier

George, Iowa — Residents at the Good Samaritan Society Home and a Hope Haven Waiver House, both in George will have a merrier Christmas this year thanks to the local girl scouts.
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According to George-Little Rock Girl Scout Troop Leader Jackie Stettnichs, their scouts raised enough money to give gifts to all of the residents at the two facilities.

She tells us that the group was looking for a Christmas service project.

She says there were 28 residents, and each one received a gift basket. She says the money to buy the gifts came from several places.

She tells us what was in the gift baskets.

This is the second year of the new George-Little Rock Girl Scout Troop, says Stettnichs. She says there was a troop years ago, but it had been several years since there was an active group in George. Stettnichs says she was a girl scout as a girl, and when Dakota Horizons did a presentation in George and said they’d help someone start a troop, she took them up on the offer. Stettnichs has two girls who are part of the local troop.

NCC To Receive Dash Emergency Grant Funds

NCC logo and taglineSheldon, Iowa — Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon will receive $20,000 from the Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation through the Dash Emergency Grant Program.  The Dash program offers emergency grants to students who receive Federal Pell Grants.

Kristi Landis of NCC says these funds will help students with unexpected emergency expenses.

Landis says the Dash Grants will help NCC better serve their students.

Landis emphasized the importance of these grants, saying that an unexpected emergency expense can often derail a student’s career path.

She says that previously, NCC had used funds from other sources to help students through emergency needs, and that the Dash Grant will be a welcome supplement to those other funds.

Great Lakes has awarded $1.5 million in Dash grants to 31 colleges in Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin that have shown an extraordinary commitment to engaging with students who experience a financial crisis. Proof of this commitment is an institutional investment: each college is providing an escalating cash match for student emergency grants, both to meet students’ immediate needs and move toward program sustainability. Over the duration of the grant period, upwards of 4,000 students stand to benefit from the Dash program.

East Students Greeted By “Elf On The Roof”

Elf 1Sheldon, Iowa — “Elf On A Shelf” has become a Christmas tradition over the past few years.  Sheldon East Elementary students were treated to a twist on that theme when they arrived for class this morning.

Elementary Principal Jason Groendyke greeted students as an “Elf On The Shelf, On The School”.  The principal, decked out in an Elf On A Shelf costume was seated on the roof of the school building, above the main entrance, holding a sign that read, “Merry Christmas!  This school is under elf supervision”.

Groendyke says the idea came in the form of a challenge from another Sheldon teacher, that was posted on Facebook.

He says he took the bait, not thinking that a costume would be available.

Groendyke says the reactions of his students when they saw him on the roof made it all worthwhile.

He says he spent half an hour on the school’s roof this morning, which was enough time for his fingers to get cold.

Groendyke says the kids really enjoyed seeing him up there, and he thought it a great way to start their last day before the Christmas break.

The principal says he’s starting to warm up after coming down from his perch, and that when he finishes that he’ll start thinking up a stunt with which he can challenge the fellow teacher who challenged him to perform today’s stunt.

Incidentally, while Groendyke was on top of the school, his office staff and teachers gift-wrapped his office.  From the door, to the desk, to everything in the office got gift-wrapped.  Merry Christmas, Mr. Groendyke.

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Osceola Rec Trails Qualifies For $50,000 Matching Grant

Osceola Rec TrailSibley, Iowa — The Osceola Recreational Trails Association has succeeded in raising a $50,000 match for a Wellmark Foundation Matching Grant that was announced in August.

The grant was awarded in part because the trail system promotes wellness in the community and safe access to schools.  The requirement for receiving the grant funds was that the Rec Trails Association had to raise $50,000 to match the grant amount.

Doris Hoffman is Treasurer for the Osceola Recreational Trails Association, and she tells us that more than just cash could be counted in the local match.

She says the Trails Association only had about 4 months from the time of the grant announcement, in which to come up with the matching funds, and she says they came right down to the wire.

When asked what she had to say to everyone who donated their time, or their money, Hoffman had this to say.

She says the Wellmark Foundation Grant, along with the local matching funds, will go a long way toward expanding the rec trails in Osceola County.