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How 'bout them pineapples: Iconic design returns to Surf Ballroom

CLEAR LAKE — Guests were concerned when the Surf Ballroom and Museum’s iconic pineapples recently went missing.

“For those locally, there were a lot of questions when the wall was a blank canvas over the weekend,” said Executive Director Laurie Lietz.

The pineapples, a symbol of hospitality original to the building, are being repainted as part of a lobby renovation this week.

As layers of paint were peeled off, the original pineapple wall was visible but not restorable. Its update will mimic the original “south seas beach club” design, with a bamboo-like finish and pineapples stenciled in a checkerboard pattern.

The wall has not been redone since the Snyders, of Clear Lake, purchased the venue in the mid-1990s, Lietz said.

Sandra Quintus, owner of Artistic Walls in Ventura, is using stencils to repaint the pineapples. The Snyders previously found the woman who had the pineapple stencils. She helped the family recreate them.

Made from Mylar by a San Diego company, the Surf has one set to use for the renovation and another to save for future fixes.

The pineapples began making an appearance as Quintus and Deb Poland used the stencils and the theorem painting technique, which involves thick brushes and little paint. Quintus said the method allows the faux wood grain to be visible through the paint.

If one rectangular design gets damaged, Quintus said it can be easily repaired without fixing the whole wall.

Gerard Faton, a NIACC exchange student from Benin, West Africa, has also volunteered his time to help paint.

The painters plan to have the wall finished by Friday. A clear, protective coat will be added later.

The project, five years in the making, is costly but Lietz said it’s well worth it because the Surf wants it done correctly. She likes that the non-profit has a local working on the project, both as a neighbor and friend.

The carpet in the lobby has been replaced, blending the original 1940s carpet pattern and the color scheme of the carpet the Snyders put in. Lietz said the Surf also plans to bring back pieces of wicker and bamboo furniture.

“The Snyders put in so much great work,” Lietz said. “We feel that it’s our job, too, to give back and invest in it for the future. “

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Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton waves to delegates before speaking during the final day of the Democratic National Convention Thursday in Philadelphia.

Britt to enforce pit bull ban

BRITT — Pit bulls won’t be allowed in Britt as the City Council has directed law enforcement to enforce existing ordinance that bans the breed.

The council discussed the existing vicious animal ordinance at a meeting earlier this month.

City Administrator/Clerk Shell Anderson said at the July 5 meeting she had gotten questions about pit bulls being allowed in town. Anderson said the city ordinance bans breeds typically identified as pit bulls, but the ordinance wasn’t being enforced.

“If we have an ordinance, we need to enforce it,” council member Curt Gast said.

Gast said he’d only received input about the ordinance from people who didn’t live in Britt.

Mayor Ryan Arndorfer said he’d received emails but “about 20 were from Canada.”

“I feel the ordinance is justified,” Britt Police Chief Dan Cummings said. “I’m aware of two pit bulls in town. I’ve told the owners they are illegal but I haven’t started the process (for removal).”

The majority of the council said the ordinance was needed, but Arndorfer said he was uncomfortable with a breed-specific ordinance. Dogs known as pit bulls shouldn’t be singled out, he said.

Another city official, Library Director Linda Friedow, who trains dogs, said singling out breeds typically called pit bulls isn’t the best ordinance.

Friedow said she helped Fort Dodge write a vicious/dangerous dog ordinance about 30 years ago. Britt will likely need to do DNA testing on dogs if it keeps the breeds specific reference, she said.

Pit bull is not a specific breed but a term used to describe several terriers, including the American Pit Bull Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Cummings said he’s accustomed to enforcing pit bull-related ordinances in other cities. He’s had to use DNA testing twice, and test results showed the dogs were pit bulls. Testing is about $60.

Friedow said there are other dogs that are bred for protection that could be considered dangerous or could bite, but owners are ultimately responsible for a dog’s behavior.

Cummings said pit bulls tend to “bite, bite, bite” when they do bite. “It’s more of an attack,” he said.

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Baby bald eagle healing after rescue from Meservey acreage

RURAL CARROLL COUNTY — A baby bald eagle rescued from a Meservey farm earlier this month is being nursed back to health.

Wright County Conservation captured the young female eagle at the Zieman acreage July 19. It was later taken to Saving Our Avian Resources (SOAR), a non-profit Iowa organization dedicated to saving raptors.

Abby Zieman contacted the organization after the darkly-colored bird acted strangely for several days, sticking close to her home. Although it was too young for signature white plumage, her uncle had correctly identified it as a bald eagle.

SOAR Executive Director Kay Neumann said the eagle was not injured but had parasites and was very thin. The average weight for an eagle her age is 10 to 11 pounds; she weighed 8.5 to 9 pounds.

“We’re not sure exactly what’s going on with her, but she is eating fantastically and progressing nicely,” Neumann said. “It’s still a wait-and-see sort of thing.”

It’s unknown why the eagle, who Neumann estimates is only a few months old, stayed close to the Zieman acreage.

“Birds come from all sorts of situations,” she explained. “It’s like when you have the flu; you really don’t care what’s going on around you.”

It’s possible her nest was located close to the acreage, Neumann added.

But it’s a good sign the raptor — who has been moved to a larger enclosure in Carroll County — is perching and continues to have an appetite.

The organization plans to finish her antibiotics and get her to a normal weight before moving her to a 100-foot flight pen. How soon she is released depends on her condition, Neumann said.

“Hopefully we can get her out before the winter,” she said. “It would be nice to get her back where she came from, because maybe her family is hanging around.”