Archive for  March 31st 2018

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AMES, Iowa  —  Since 2011, the Orange Leaf location in Ames has been serving up frozen yogurt treats with a variety of toppings.

Owner John Shelton noticed that in winter, sales of the product were down compared to during summer, so he came up with a plan to sell mini donuts right alongside the yogurt. The new shop is called Sweet Mini’s Donut Company.

“Just decided that this mini donut concept that we developed would be a good complement to it, it will get morning sales,” said Shelton. “In the winter when it slows down, we can have donut sales pretty much year-round, as it’s not so seasonal.”

Shelton asked the corporate office for his Orange Leaf franchise if that would work.

“I’m in the office fairly often,” said Shelton, who lives near the office in Oklahoma. “I just made the proposal, let me be a guinea pig, let me co-brand this with my Orange Leaf up in Ames, and they said, ‘sure.’”

This is the first Orange Leaf location to attempt a co-branded store to sell donuts and frozen yogurt. Shelton brought in a robot to make the donuts at the rate of 150 dozen per hour. The sweet treats are made on the spot after the order is placed.

“I’ve had a traditional donut store before and it’s a lot of work, you have to be up in the middle of the night, but it’s light, fluffy, and people respond very favorably to it,” said Shelton. “We have over 20 different varieties, different toppings, so each donut has four components: the cake, the icing, the topping, and then the drizzle.”

Shelton hopes to open more mini donut locations.

DES MOINES, Iowa  —  When Tiangong-1 Space Station blasted off seven years ago, Science Center of Iowa Director of Marketing and PR Emilee Richardson says it was a major Chinese accomplishment.

“There have been two missions of Chinese crews that have gone up to the space station, and it was launched in 2011.”

What goes up, must come down, though, and unfortunately in this case nobody can steer it from harm’s way.

Richardson said, “Since 2016, China has actually lost contact with it, so they are no longer able to control the trajectory of the space station.”

Drake University Observatory lecturer Herb Schwartz says experts have nailed down this weekend as the expected time for the nine-ton station’s crash landing.

“Right now, the best estimate we have is somewhere late in the day on April 1st. April Fool’s Day,” he said with a smile.

Determining a location is more difficult and could be anywhere from South Dakota to New Zealand.

Richardson said, “That whole chunk of the middle of the globe is still in the potential impact zone.”

Schwartz added, “As far as the latitude of the earth is concerned, it happens to coincide with Des Moines, Iowa.”

Tiangong-1 is the size of a school bus. While the thought of something that large falling from the sky can be scary, most of the space station won’t reach the earth.

“They figure somewhere between 400-500 pounds of spacecraft may actually make it to the surface,” said Schwartz.

All jokes aside, on April 1st, Iowans should look up.

“As it burns through the atmosphere, you’ll literally see streaks of fire.”

It’s an opportunity sky gazing experts like Richardson say you do not want to miss.

“I’m actually hoping I get to see it. That would be really cool, to be able to see that space craft coming in and see those fireballs in the sky.”

Astronomers believe there is a one in one trillion chance of any human being struck by space debris.