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UPDATE: No one home at the time of total-loss Dakota City house fire

DAKOTA CITY, Neb. | The cause of the Thursday-morning house fire that destroyed a home south of Dakota City is under investigation this afternoon, though the fire is believed to be accidental in nature. 

Clint Rasmussen, the Dakota City Fire Department Chief, said the house, located at Highway 77 and 190th Street, was "definitely a total loss." Most or all of the home's interior is gone, as well as its roof. 

No one was home at the time of the fire, but the owner has been notified of what happened. The fire was first reported by a passerby on Highway 77 around 8:45 a.m. 

"It was going pretty good by the time we got there" with flames already penetrating the roof, Rasmussen said. 

Weather conditions proved a significant challenge for firefighters -- the bitter cold winds were "the biggest challenge of today," causing the flames to quickly engulf the home. 

Fire trucks were still on scene as of 12:30 p.m.

The Dakota City Fire Department was assisted through mutual aid by the South Sioux City and Homer fire departments. 

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DAKOTA CITY, Neb. | A house south of Dakota City appeared to be a complete loss after a Thursday morning house fire. 

The house, located at Highway 77 and 190th Street, was on fire before 9 a.m. Thursday. Much of the house's roof and internal structure appeared to be gone by 10 a.m., and flames could be seen raging inside through a window opening. 

South Sioux City fire chief Clint Merithew said his department sent an engine and four firefighters to the scene. 

Tim Hynds; Sioux City Journal 

Firefighters battle a house fire Thursday morning at 190th Street and Highway 77 in rural Dakota City, Nebraska.

"We were requested out of mutual aid," he said. 

Merithew was unable to comment on the fire itself, including whether the house was occupied at the time. The Dakota City Fire Rescue could not be reached for comment. 

Check siouxcityjournal.com for updates later today. 


Govt-and-politics
Steve King takes part in Trump signing of bill combating opioid trafficking

SIOUX CITY | U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, took part in an Oval Office ceremony Wednesday where President Donald Trump signed a measure aimed at combating nationwide opioid abuse.

The White House invited Iowa's 4th District congressman to the formal signing of H.R. 2142, the International Narcotics Trafficking Emergency Response by Detecting Incoming Contraband with Technology Act, or INTERDICT Act.

King voted for the bipartisan bill, which he said is designed to combat opioid abuse by providing chemical screening devices to U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees. It will reportedly enhance the ability of customs workers to interdict fentanyl, synthetic opioids and other illegal narcotics.

“Everybody worked here well together on a bipartisan piece of legislation that will definitely save lives," King said at the ceremony.

"I wanted to complement you for having a bill signing ceremony here, with the press here to broadcast this out across the country, because the very fact that we are speaking to America, and you are using your voice to speak to America, saves lives starting from this moment."


Crime-and-courts
Drugs suspected cause of Sioux City's first homicide of 2018

SIOUX CITY — Drugs are thought to be the motive behind Sioux City’s first homicide of the year, Sioux City Police said Thursday.

“Right now, at the outset, we don’t know exactly what the motive is (but) we can speculate that the crime is drug related but that is all we will be saying,” said Sgt. Ryan Bertrand.

Bertrand made the comments Thursday during a press conference at police headquarters in response to the shooting death of Javier Cheron of Sioux City.

The 26-year-old succumbed to a single gunshot wound to the upper chest area shortly after 6 p.m. Wednesday evening at Mercy Medical Center.

Bertrand said an associate of Cheron’s, who was interviewed by police, brought him to Mercy and that Cheron was armed when he arrived at the hospital.

Liborio Martinez-Rubio, 60, of Sioux City, was arrested and charged with possession with intent to deliver methamphetamine and six counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Martinez-Rubio, whose bond was set at $500,000, is on a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold and has not been charged in connection with the shooting.

Through their investigation, law enforcement officials determined the shooting likely occurred at a residence at 1609 Jones St. where they obtained a search warrant.

During the search, multiple handguns — two of which were reported stolen — illegal drugs and "several items of interest" were located.

Martinez-Rubio

Bertrand said the department would not elaborate on the relationship between Martinez-Rubio and Cheron, however, they labeled the two as associates.


Tim Hynds Sioux City Journal 

Pedestrians cross Fifth Street early Thursday morning, Jan. 11, 2018, in downtown Sioux City. Early predictions of heavy snowfall fizzled in the metro after forecasts were revised to about an inch of snow. However, heavy winds created low visibility and dangerous wind chills. Sioux City Journal photo by Tim Hynds


Local
Thursday winter storm turned out to be a bust

SIOUX CITY | Initial forecasts that called for blowing snow and reduced visibility on Thursday turned out to be a bit exaggerated. 

Brad Temeyer, a meteorologist with the Sioux Falls National Weather Service, said Sioux City only got about half an inch of snow as of noon on Thursday. Areas to the east of town, which were originally forecast to receive heavier snow, also got about half an inch.

The heavier band of snow, as it would turn out, shifted far eastward -- sparing Siouxland from several inches of snow. 

The wind, however, didn't disappoint. There just wasn't much snow to blow around. 

"We've been gusting pretty consistently at over 40 miles per hour," Temeyer said. 

Friday's high temperature is expected to be around 12 degrees, and another half an inch of snow is expected in the afternoon and evening hours. 

The low temperature Friday night is expected to be about -1 degree. Saturday's high temperature is expected to be around 12 degrees. 


Briefs
Siouxland Community Foundation seeking grant applicants

SIOUX CITY  | The Siouxland Community Foundation is accepting applications for several upcoming grant programs.

The 2018 Fund for Siouxland grant program has an application deadline of Jan. 15. Grant awards generally do not exceed $5,000 and address community needs in the areas of arts and culture, civic affairs, education, health and human services.

Grants are awarded only to nonprofit organizations and units of government within a 50-mile radius of Sioux City. If the applicant is not a 501(c)(3), a Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement form must be completed and signed by the sponsoring 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Several other county endowments and community foundations' grant deadlines are approaching quickly. The Akron Community Foundation application deadline is Feb. 1. Both the Monona County Community Partners Foundation and Ida County Community Betterment Foundation grant application deadlines are March 1. For more information and qualifying criteria for each grant program visit www.siouxlandcommunityfoundation.org, and apply online or contact the Siouxland Community Foundation with any questions at (712) 293-3303.


DDreeszen / Via YouTube 

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.