CLEAR LAKE | Heads bobbed, toes tapped and hands clapped Thursday afternoon as nostalgic '50s rock 'n' roll covers filled the E.B. Stillman Auditorium at Clear Lake Middle School for the Winter School Dance Party.
More than 300 middle-schoolers and adults attended the concert featuring live entertainment from "Buddy's Buddies," affiliated musicians from all over the world who performed an impromptu set list of Buddy Holly hits and other popular rock 'n' roll tunes.
“It’s a great opportunity for our kids,” said Clear Lake Superintendent Doug Gee, who stood in the auditorium for his second Winter School Dance Party experience.
The concert was one of two held this week in conjunction with the annual Winter Dance Party hosted by the Surf Ballroom & Museum to commemorate rock 'n' legends Holly, J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Ritchie Valens’ last performance in Clear Lake.
The three — along with pilot Roger Peterson — died in a plane crash Feb. 3, 1959, about 5 miles north of Clear Lake.
Richie Lee, a musician and regular contributor to “Buddy’s Buddies,” paused in the middle of the set to acknowledge the contributions of Tommy Allsup, Billy Corston and Jerry Dwyer, who have died in recent years.
“They’ll always be part of this, so we want to thank them,” he said.
Dwyer was on duty at the Mason City Municipal Airport early Feb. 3, 1959, when the plane carrying Holly, Richardson and Valens took off and crashed in a field a few minutes later. He owned the plane and found the wreckage the next day.
Since 2002, “Buddy’s Buddies” has performed at the E.B. Stillman Auditorium to help keep the musical legacy alive for another generation of students, said Paul King, of England, who created the musical group.
"I just like it," he said, looking into the auditorium where students could be seen standing, clapping and singing along to the music. "It's so fun."
About an hour into the concert, "Buddy's Buddies" slowed it down with a nod to Don McLean’s "American Pie," that contains the line, “The day the music died,” referring to the deaths of Holly, Richardson and Valens, before singing a few of their hits, like "That'll be the Day," "It's so Easy," and "Maybe Baby."
The concerts also featured a '50s costume contest.
The concerts and their $5 admission go to the Winter Dance Party Musical Scholarships and Awards program, which provides scholarships for high school graduates studying music at a college or university.
Since the scholarship fund was established in 1999, it’s awarded more than 80 students scholarships around the country in memory of those killed in the crash.
This year, the fund will award $1,000 scholarships in Garner, Clear Lake, Storm Lake and Lubbock, Texas, King said.
WASHINGTON — Over the strong objections of his own Justice Department, President Donald Trump will clear the way for the publication of a classified memo on the Russia investigation that Republicans say shows improper use of surveillance by the FBI, White House officials said Thursday.
The memo, prepared by Republicans on the House intelligence committee, is said to allege FBI misconduct in the initial stages of its investigation of potential ties between Russia and Trump's 2016 campaign. Trump's Justice Department and Democrats furiously lobbied Trump to stop the release, saying it could harm national security and mislead the public.
A White House official said Congress would probably be informed of the decision today, adding Trump was "OK" with its release. A second White House official said Trump was likely to declassify the congressional memo but the precise method for making it public was still being figured out. The officials were not authorized to be quoted about private deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The FBI's stance means that Trump, by allowing the memo's release, would be openly defying his own FBI director. It also suggests a clear willingness by FBI Director Christopher Wray to challenge a president who just months ago fired his predecessor, James Comey.
Comey weighed in on Twitter Thursday night, writing, "All should appreciate the FBI speaking up. I wish more of our leaders would."
He advised his former colleagues at the FBI to "take heart: American history shows that, in the long run, weasels and liars never hold the field, so long as good people stand up."
The House intelligence panel voted along party lines Monday to put the memo out, giving Trump five days to reject the release under committee rules. But Trump also has the power to declassify the document himself and either release it or hand it to Congress to release. One of the White House officials said the memo would be in "Congress' hands" after Trump declassified it and there were unlikely to be any redactions to the document.
Trump has said he wants the memo released even after the FBI declared Wednesday that it has "grave concerns" about its accuracy. The document was written as part of an effort to reveal what Republicans say are surveillance abuses by the FBI and the Justice Department early in Russia investigation, before special counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to take it over.
Senior FBI officials have also made direct appeals to the White House, warning that it could set a dangerous precedent.
Democrats call the memo an attempt by Republicans to distract attention from the investigation into Russian meddling in the election that sent Trump to the White House. Democrats on the intelligence panel made a last-ditch effort Wednesday evening to stop the release, saying it had been "secretly altered" by the Republicans who wrote it.
California Rep. Adam Schiff said in a letter to the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Republican Devin Nunes of California, that committee Democrats had discovered changes that were made after the vote Monday.
"The White House has therefore been reviewing a document since Monday night that the committee never approved for public release," Schiff said in the letter.
Schiff asked Nunes for another vote on the memo, but Republicans didn't appear to waver. Nunes spokesman Jack Langer said the committee vote was "procedurally sound."
This all comes as special counsel Mueller is investigating whether the Trump campaign improperly coordinated with Russia and whether Trump sought to obstruct the inquiry by, among other actions, firing Comey. Republicans have intensified their pressure on the Justice Department as Mueller's probe has moved closer to Trump's inner circle.
Trump has been telling confidants in recent days that he believes the document will validate his concerns that the FBI and Justice Department conspired against him, according to one outside adviser familiar with those conversations but not authorized to speak publicly about private discussions.
The president also has told allies that he believes the memo bolsters his claim that accusations of collusion between his campaign and Russian officials are false and part of a conspiracy to discredit his election.
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer are pressing Speaker Paul Ryan to stop the release.
Ryan charged that the Democrats were just out for political gain, saying the purpose of the memo is to reveal whether there have been abuses of surveillance laws.
"This memo is not an indictment of the FBI or the Department of Justice, it does not impugn the Mueller investigation or the deputy attorney general," he said, referring to Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller in May.
But Schiff said the opposite Thursday, asserting that Trump is looking for a reason to fire Mueller and Rosenstein. He said he's more worried about Rosenstein because he decides the scope of Mueller's investigation.
"The White House knows it would face a firestorm if it fired Bob Mueller," Schiff said. "What's more effective is to fire Bob Mueller's boss."
SIOUX CITY | Democratic challenger J.D. Scholten outraised eight-term Republican Rep. Steve King and two other candidates running for Iowa's 4th District seat in the most recent quarter.
Scholten, a former professional baseball player from Sioux City, said he raised more than $174,000 for the three-month period ending Dec. 31. King, of Kiron, brought in $87,543, according a report filed with the Federal Election Commission. The reports were due Wednesday.
King's Republican challenger, Cyndi Hanson, of Sioux City, reported campaign receipts of $5,771 for the quarter. Scholten held a hefty advantage over his two Democratic opponents, Leann Jacobsen, of Spencer, who raised $47,430 during the quarter, and John Paschen, of Ames, who had $62,591 in receipts.
Paul Dahl, a bus driver from Webster City, has announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination, but his FEC candidate page showed no financial activity listed.
Scholten's political director Todd Prieb said the fact that Scholten roughly doubled King's money for the most recent quarter shows the 4th District seat is "absolutely in play for 2018."
"At first, our focus was to get out on the road to engage with as many people as possible. At the time, people liked us simply because I wasn’t Steve King. Now we’re seeing the shift to people responding to our message of inclusiveness," Scholten said in a news release.
The campaign noted Scholten had 2,700 individual donors, including contributions from all 39 counties in the district, plus all 50 states.
King's campaign did not reply to an inquiry about the most campaign reports.
In his previous quarterly report, through Sept. 30, Scholten raised $39,756. For the year, he collected about $213,000.
King, who formerly owned an earth moving construction business, edged Scholten for contributions in 2017, finishing with receipts of $246,592.
Jacobsen, a first-term Spencer City Council member. and brought in a combined $92,504 for the year.
"We're very excited to say that the majority of Leann's contributions are from Iowans who live in Iowa and the majority of our contributions are from women. We are really seeing a lot of local grassroots support for our campaign," Jacobsen's campaign manager William McGee said in a statement to the Journal.
Year-end funds raised by Paschen, an Ames pediatrician, were not immediately available.
“To have this level of support for a new candidate is striking, and it shows people are really responding well to John’s message of making healthcare affordable, creating jobs and bringing civility back to the 4th District," Pashen’s campaign manager Ruth Lapointe said in a statement to the Journal.