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Ensuring a safe Halloween
HORLYK: Teal pumpkins signal safety for trick-or-treaters with food allergies

SIOUX CITY | As a young girl growing up in Ankeny, Iowa, Tessa Kleene loved to trick-or-treat with her two sisters every Halloween.

"One year, we went as characters from 'The Wizard of Oz,'" she remembered with a laugh. "One sister was the Tin Man, another sister was the Scarecrow. Me? I was Dorothy." 

Yet Kleene, the registered dietitian for Hy-Vee's Sioux City store at 3301 Gordon Drive, acknowledged some children don't have fond memories of Halloween.

"There are approximately 5.9 million children who have food allergies," she said. "That means one in 13 children will have some sort of food allergy, or about two in every classroom."

According to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), a food allergy is a medical condition in which food triggers a harmful immune response. While more than 170 foods can cause an allergic reaction, milk, eggs, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and crustacean shellfish are the main culprits for food-related allergies in the United States.

"A reaction can range from anything from a rash to the tightening of a throat or, in the most extreme cases, even death," Kleene explained.

This is why she's proud that Hy-Vee stores are participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project, a nationwide awareness campaign started by FARE four years ago.

"We are encouraging people to paint a pumpkin teal and put it on their porch," Kleene said. "This will indicate to trick-or-treaters that safe, non-food treats will be available for kids with allergies."

If a person doesn't want a teal pumpkin, he can simply download a Teal Pumpkin Project logo from, placing it on a window or door.

"This way, kids with food allergies can easily identify which house are safe for them," Kleene said. 

Households participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project are encouraged to have non-food items to hand out to trick-or-treaters. Such treats can be Halloween-themed stickers, stencils, glow sticks or bouncy balls.

"Even a pair of vampire teeth will make a fun item this Halloween," Kleene suggested. 

Indeed, many Hy-Vee stores have shelf space dedicated to participating Teal Pumpkin Project households. A few days before Halloween, the Gordon Drive Hy-Vee still had teal pumpkin painting kits, toys and, yes, plastic vampire teeth.

Plus the store also had a wide assortment of candy.

Kleen said Teal Pumpkin Project households can still pass out candy to trick-or-treaters.

"Sure, just play it safe by keeping food and non-food items in separate containers," she explained. "Them you can give children a choice, or ask if they have food allergies before deciding what to give."

The number of kids experiencing food allergies has been on the rise for years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that food allergies in children has increased 50 percent between 1997 and 2011. Plus the prevalence of peanut or tree nut allergies has more than tripled for U.S. kids between 1997 and 2008.

"The problem is only getting worse," Kleene said. "It's why such awareness programs like the Teal Pumpkin Project are so important.

"After all, Halloween is more about having fun with your friends and family than it is about the candy," she added.

Monday’s Briefing

'Suburbicon' tanks, 'Saw' sequel no. 1

NEW YORK — George Clooney's "Suburbicon" notched one of the most dismal wide-release debuts in recent years on a sluggish pre-Halloween weekend where the horror sequel "Jigsaw" topped all releases despite an underperforming debut.

According to studio estimates Sunday, the eighth "Saw" film landed at No. 1 with $16.3 million in North American ticket sales. That was shy of industry expectations and suggested the revived "Saw" franchise isn't connecting with audiences the way other recent horror entries have.

"Jigsaw" distributor Lionsgate could also claim the No. 2 spot with $10 million in the second week of release for "Tyler Perry's Boo 2! A Madea Halloween."

Debuting on more than 2,000 screens, "Suburbicon" managed just $2.8 million in its opening weekend. Audiences didn't much care for the film, either, giving it a D-minus CinemaScore.

Church to relocate Washington, Lee plaques

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A historic Virginia church is relocating two plaques in its sanctuary honoring George Washington and Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, who worshipped there.

Leaders of Christ Church in Alexandria sent a letter to congregation members Thursday explaining the decision. The leaders wrote that the plaques create a distraction and "may create an obstacle to our identity as a welcoming church."

The Rev. Noelle York-Simmons, rector of the Episcopal church, told The Associated Press Sunday conversations had been going on about the plaques for years. But after white nationalists descended on Charlottesville this summer, she says it was clear the church "needed to address it more quickly."

She says most of the congregation is supportive. Critics have been weighing in on social media, and York-Simmons says she's received hundreds of emails.

— Associated Press

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Native American interpretive area may be developed near Correctionville

SIOUX CITY | People could be peeling off U.S. Highway 20 in years ahead to see a spot near Correctionville, Iowa, where cultural artifacts from indigenous American sites of 1,000 years ago would be highlighted.

There could be an area dedicated to framing how indigenous Americans lived in the bountiful area in the Little Sioux Valley. It is an expanse where farmers for decades have found arrowheads and other artifacts from centuries ago, and the recent discovery of geoglyphs is giving impetus to create an interpretive area.

The work in the area by archeologists turned up more than 15,000 artifacts.

Woodbury County and Correctionville officials are in early planning stages to display or give interpretive summary of the artifacts found over the last few years when the U.S. Highway 20 modernization project cut into lands just west of the Little Sioux River. That spot is up a hill that gives a great vantage to the lush valley where Native Americans lived off the land, buried some descendants and dug out geoglyphs in the shapes of animals.

"It is an area rich with historical artifacts," Woodbury County Conservation Board Director Rick Schneider said.

Trees on 241 acres were planned for removal for the highway project. Once those artifacts were found, the Iowa Department of Transportation plan for the highway west of Correctionville was slightly rerouted.

IDOT Planner Dakin Schultz said no human remains were found, but the highway design from Minnesota Avenue east to Correctionville had to be narrowed to minimize impacts to the site.

Schneider said the geoglyphs are similar but not the same as the Effigy Mounds burial mounds in eastern Iowa near the Mississippi River. He described geoglyphs west of Correctionville that are V-shaped trenches dug in the shape of animals, including one like a buffalo.

Schneider said some burial sites date back 500 to 600 years ago, while IDOT personnel found geoglyphs that were made about 1,200 years ago. Those have not been removed, but are kept in confidential spots, so as not to disturb the items of cultural significance.

The Woodbury County Conservation Board is processing a memorandum of understanding with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation to get assistance in acquiring roughly 90 acres of land, in a timbered area, to protect the cultural resources west of Correctionville.

"The Correctionville community is planning to develop an area to interpret the cultural resources and the Conservation Board would hope to collaborate with the community on this potential attraction," Schneider said.

Correctionville is a town of 821 people in eastern Woodbury County. Correctionville City Clerk Carla Mathers said at this point it is not clear if the city of Correctionville or rather the nonprofit Correctionville Economic Development Corp. will take the lead on any interpretive center in town.

There have been some seminars in recent months on items found through the highway digging, including from a trove of items found on the north side of the highway, Schneider said.

A 2015 program titled "Spirits From Above: Archaeology on the Bluff for Highway 20 Reconstruction" was held in Correctionville. In that session, a research archaeologist with Bear Creed Archaeology of Cresco, Iowa,  presented a slide show on discovered geoglyphs and described the rituals that may have taken place.

"That room was full...It was pretty interesting," Mathers said.

IDOT in September released a video on YouTube titled “Landscapes that Shape Us.”

The video notes that the cultural resources discovery in the Highway 20 expansion project in Woodbury County resulted in government agencies, Native American tribes, historians and archaeologists working together to balance transportation needs while protecting cultural resources and the integrity of the land.

Schneider said the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation will hold the land with historical artifacts while the county seeks grants to purchase the properties. He expects that grant to arrive in 2018.