MASON CITY | North Iowa’s first snowstorm of the year started out icy early Thursday morning.
Rain turned into ice and flurries as temperatures dropped to single digits.
The snow picked up in the late morning in Mason City with heavy winds causing white outs and treacherous road conditions.
Floyd County Sheriff’s Office told Facebook followers that the Avenue of the Saints was 75 percent snow and ice. The department had seen several accidents through the day.
With wind chills at minus 20, it wasn't a fun snow day for kids at home due to school closings. There wasn't enough accumulation to build a proper snowman either. North Iowa schools began cancelling Thursday classes Wednesday night.
Snow totals appeared to fall short of the predicted 3-6 inches. The winter storm warning remained in effect through 6 p.m.
Blowing snow could be a factor on roads through the remainder of the week.
The snow won't be melting any time soon. Temperatures look to stay well below freezing through the weekend.
Friday's forecast high temperature is 6 degrees with a low of minus 8. Wind chill values could be as low as minus 25.
WASHINGTON — In bluntly vulgar language, President Donald Trump questioned Thursday why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and "shithole countries" in Africa rather than places like Norway, as he rejected a bipartisan immigration deal, according to people briefed on the extraordinary Oval Office conversation.
Trump's contemptuous description of an entire continent startled lawmakers in the meeting and immediately revived charges that the president is racist. The White House did not deny his remark but issued a statement saying Trump supports immigration policies that welcome "those who can contribute to our society."
Trump's comments came as two senators presented details of a bipartisan compromise that would extend protections against deportation for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants — and also strengthen border protections as Trump has insisted.
The lawmakers had hoped Trump would back their accord, an agreement among six senators evenly split among Republicans and Democrats, ending a months-long, bitter dispute over protecting the "Dreamers." But the White House later rejected it, plunging the issue back into uncertainty just eight days before a deadline that threatens a government shutdown.
Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate' s No. 2 Democrat, explained that as part of that deal, a lottery for visas that has benefited people from Africa and other nations would be ended, the sources said, though there could be another way for them to apply. Durbin said people would be allowed to stay in the U.S. who fled here after disasters hit their homes in places including El Salvador, Guatemala and Haiti.
Trump specifically questioned why the U.S. would want to admit more people from Haiti. As for Africa, he asked why more people from "shithole countries" should be allowed into the U.S., the sources said.
The president suggested that instead, the U.S. should allow more entrants from countries like Norway. Trump met this week with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
Late Thursday, Trump was pushing for "a Great Wall" and criticizing Democrats' stance on immigration, highlighting the difficulties for any negotiations.
"The Democrats seem intent on having people and drugs pour into our country from the Southern Border, risking thousands of lives in the process. It is my duty to protect the lives and safety of all Americans," he said in a late-night tweet. "We must build a Great Wall ..."
Asked about the earlier remarks insulting other countries, White House spokesman Raj Shah did not deny them.
"Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people," he said.
Trump's remarks were remarkable even by the standards of a president who has been accused by his foes of racist attitudes and has routinely smashed through public decorum that his modern predecessors have generally embraced.
Trump has claimed without evidence that Barack Obama, the nation's first black president, wasn't born in the United States, has said Mexican immigrants were "bringing crime" and were "rapists" and said there were "very fine people on both sides" after violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, left one counter-protester dead.
"Racist," tweeted Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., after Thursday's story broke. But it wasn't just Democrats objecting.
Republican Rep. Mia Love of Utah, the daughter of Haitian immigrants, said Trump's comments were "unkind, divisive, elitist and fly in the face of our nation's values." She said, "This behavior is unacceptable from the leader of our nation" and Trump must apologize to the American people "and the nations he so wantonly maligned."
Trump has called himself the "least racist person that you've ever met." He plans to sign a proclamation today honoring Martin Luther King Day.
Critics also have questioned his mental fitness to serve as president, citing his inability to muster some policy details and his tweets asserting his "nuclear button" is bigger than North Korea's. He responded to such criticism with a recent tweet calling himself "a very stable genius" who is "like, really smart."
The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly describe the conversation. One said lawmakers in the room were taken aback by Trump's remarks.
The Trump administration announced late last year that it would end a temporary residency permit program that allowed nearly 60,000 citizens from Haiti to live and work in the United States following a devastating 2010 earthquake.
Trump has spoken positively about Haitians in public. During a 2016 campaign event in Miami, he said "the Haitian people deserve better" and told the audience of Haitian-Americans he wanted to "be your greatest champion, and I will be your champion."
The agreement that Durbin and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., described to Trump also includes his $1.6 billion request for a first installment on his long-sought border wall, aides familiar with the agreement said. They required anonymity because the agreement is not yet public.
Trump's request covers 74 miles of border wall as part of a 10-year, $18 billion proposal.
Democrats had long vowed they wouldn't fund the wall but are accepting the opening request as part of a broader plan that protects from deportation about 800,000 younger immigrants brought to the country as children and now here illegally.
The deal also would include restrictions on a program allowing immigrants to bring some relatives to the U.S.
In an afternoon of drama and confusing developments, four other GOP lawmakers — including hardliners on immigration — were also in Trump's office for Thursday's meeting, a development sources said Durbin and Graham did not expect. It was unclear why the four Republicans were there, and the session did not produce the results the two senators were hoping for.
"There has not been a deal reached yet," said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. But she added, "We feel like we're close."
The six senators have been meeting for months to find a way to revive protections for young immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children and are here illegally. Trump ended the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program last year but has given Congress until March 5 to find a way to keep it alive.
Federal agencies will run out of money and have to shut down if lawmakers don't pass legislation extending their financing by Jan. 19. Some Democrats are threatening to withhold their votes — which Republicans will need to push that legislation through Congress — unless an immigration accord is reached.
EAGLE GROVE | Before the Forest City and Eagle Grove girls' basketball teams faced off Tuesday night, they spent about two minutes focusing on something more important than high school athletics.
That's because the two teams joined hands and stood together in silence as the national anthem played through the Eagle Grove gym speakers.
Both Forest City girls coach Dusty Meyn and Eagle Grove Superintendent Jess Toliver credited students from both high schools for coordinating the moment of silence, over a month since radio employees' racist comments were streamed online during a Forest City basketball game.
Meyn, now in his ninth year at the helm, applauded kids from both schools for their class.
"They're the youth of tomorrow," he said. "And it shows their maturity and they weren’t affected by a few words that were said."
Misty Morales Padilla, the mother of Nikolas Padilla — one of the Eagle Grove students mentioned by former KIOW employees Orin Harris and Holly Kusserow-Smidt — said it was great to see the two communities come together. She posted a video on Facebook showing the teams standing in a line, joining hands.
As of Thursday afternoon, the video had been viewed nearly 9,000 times.
"It brought the students a little closer even though the FC (Forest City) basketball team had nothing to be ashamed of, it was not them who racially degraded our children," Padilla said in a Facebook message to the Globe Gazette. "Our team did not hold the school or team responsible for what happened!"
Toliver said the decision by both schools was in the works since shortly after the comments were made by Harris and Kusserow-Smidt.
He added the players' actions helped relieve any possible tension in the Eagle Grove gym.
"When the game started, it just took the edge off everything," Toliver said.
Meyn added that after the game, both teams ate pizza paid for by KIOW. He applauded the radio station for helping feed the student athletes.
"Those are long nights and for some of those kids, they’re eating concession stand stuff for supper," Meyn said. "So it’s nice to eat a good meal."
Ultimately, Tuesday night is a good sign for both communities moving forward, Toliver said.
"It just shows really from our standpoint that it was never between schools," he said of the kids' actions. "It’s just that we’re going to play basketball and keep being kids."
MASON CITY | A Mason City man is back in custody after allegedly assaulting the Nora Springs police chief at a hospital just eight days after being sentenced to probation in another case involving assault.
Daniel Ray Tyree, 37, is charged with assault on persons in certain occupations.
Court documents say Tyree put Nora Springs Police Chief Jesse Dugan in a "choke-hold" at Mercy Medical Center-North Iowa about 12:38 p.m. Wednesday, "with the intent to injure or asphyxiate him.”
“The defendant did so by putting his forearms around Chief Dugan's throat and positioning himself behind Chief Dugan,” the criminal complaint said. “Chief Dugan was in his department's full uniform that is clearly marked police.”
Mason City Police Capt. Mike McKelvey said someone was able to intervene and assist Dugan, who did not sustain serious injuries or require hospitalization.
Court documents didn't say why Dugan brought Tyree to the hospital. Dugan didn't immediately respond to a phone message from the Globe Gazette seeking additional details Thursday.
On Jan. 10, Tyree also allegedly admitted to a Mason City police officer that he used methamphetamine and marijuana within the last one to two days, court documents state.
Tyree is currently on probation in a previous case, where he was charged with felony first-degree burglary for breaking into a man's house and jabbing him with a bed rail in September 2016. Court documents say the man sustained two bleeding scratches.
Tyree pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree burglary in October 2017.
Judge Rustin Davenport on Jan. 2 sentenced Tyree to a suspended prison sentence not to exceed 10 years, a suspended fine of $1,000 and four years of probation.
Tyree is being held in the Cerro Gordo County Jail on a $1,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in Cerro Gordo County District Court Jan. 19.