Several large silvery objects in the skies over north-central Iowa had folks mystified, before the Kossuth County Sheriff contacted federal officials to learn they were helium balloons. Sheriff Kevin Van Otterloo said they didn’t have the distinctive shape or look of hot-air balloons so familiar to Iowans, and in light of recent international tensions, he thought it was a poor idea to have unfamiliar craft in the skies. Race spokesman Tom Garrity says 19 balloons from five countries left Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Saturday and brisk winds that pushed them across the Iowa border were promising to send some on into Canada. Garrity says the flight was cleared all the way along its route with the FAA and federal officials. He says they’ve been holding the October Balloon Rally in New Mexico for thirty years. Though he admits seeing strange silver globes in the sky could raise some eyebrows, Garrity adds it’s his state’s way of taking President Bush’s advice to get life back to normal.
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