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KLEM News PM Update December 8, 2010

The house fire was reported about 9:30 at 39697 county road C-70, rural Kingsley.

Hinton and Pierson Fire Departments assisted the Kingsley Department, along with the Plymouth County Sheriff's Department.

Kingsley fire fighters wrapped up the call around noon today.

Other information is not yet available.

Variance group approves sign for new downtown business

(LE MARS)--A sign for a new downtown Le Mars business will extend about ten feet from the building.

The Le Mars Board of Zoning Adjustment Tuesday approved the variance from zoning requirements requested by Wells' Dairy. The dairy will relocate its Ice Cream Parlor and Museum.

The business made the request to allow a sign to project beyond the city requirements which are a maximum of about five feet from a building.

The Board of Zoning Adjustment approval for the variance was unanimous.

The business will celebrate a grand opening at 115 Central Avenue during the 25th anniversary of Ice Cream Days next June.

Bank honors nine-year employee

(LE MARS)--An employee valued for her skills and versatility is being honored by the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce.

Sheri Driver of First National Bank of Le Mars was recognized with the Chamber's "Employee of the Month" award today.

A nomination for Driver describes her as someone who has helped bring success to First National Bank for the past nine years. Besides being loyal, one of the reasons Driver is credited with being an excellent employee is the great impression she makes with customers. She's worked at the Main Bank, South Bank and Motor Bank and even all three locations in one work day.

She's also known for training staff in new services or techniques, giving careful attention to detail and having a positive attitude.

Three charged in O'Brien County vandalism and theft

(PRIMGHAR)--Three people face charges after the O'Brien County Sheriff's office investigated vandalism and theft at rural Hospers on Halloween.

According to the O'Brien County Sheriff's Office, a pickup truck and all-terrain vehicle were damaged and tools were taken from a building. The damage was estimated at six-thousand dollars.

Twenty-four-year-old Jason Kunkel of Sheldon is charged with burglary, criminal mischief and theft. Nineteen-year-old Andrew Shea of Granville and 23-year-old Christopher DeJager are each charged with criminal mischief.

All three are free on bond.

Prosecutor agrees with acquittal in church fire

YANKTON, S.D. (AP) Yankton County's lead prosecutor agrees with the findings of a judge who acquitted a teenager in a Yankton church fire.

State's Attorney Rob Klimisch tells the Press and Dakotan that the investigation into the April 2009 blaze at St. John's Lutheran Church did not yield much evidence to support a conviction.

Judge Arthur Rusch on Monday said he was not convinced the accused 16-year-old boy was guilty. Had he found the boy to be delinquent, the boy could have been imprisoned.

Klimisch says that under different circumstances, his office might not have proceeded with a trial. But he says given the magnitude of the crime, he felt the need to seek a conviction.

The church suffered more than $1 million in damage. It was rebuilt over a year's time.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Ex-Superintendent spent money without authority

ROYAL, Iowa (AP) Clay Central-Everly school district officials say the former superintendent spent thousands of the taxpayers' dollars on himself.

School board president Sue Brugman told The Des Moines Register that Monte Montgomery acknowledged spending at least $25,000 without district authorization.

Montgomery resigned last month as the northwestern Iowa struggled with a projected deficit of around $742,000.

Board members are asking state auditors to help determine how much Montgomery charged to his district credit card.

No criminal charges have been filed.

Montgomery wrote a $25,000 to the district late last week, but it has not been deposited. Brugman says it's uncertain whether that amount would cover Montgomery's personal spending.

There was no answer at a phone listed for Montgomery.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Branstad names leader for Iowa Revenue Department

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Gov.-elect Terry Branstad has selected Courtney Kay-Decker as head of the Iowa Department of Revenue.

A news release from Branstad's transition team says Kay-Decker was a member of the Iowa State Tax Review Board from 2000 through 2007. She was its chairwoman from 2003 until she left the board.

Kay-Decker practices law in Davenport.

The Department of Revenue manages the state's tax collection.

Branstad has announced the selection of several new administration officials this week.

Dave Jamison will head the Iowa Finance Authority; Jodi Tymeson will lead the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs; Todd Schulz will be liaison to the House and Senate; Alicia Freed will be Branstad's executive scheduler; and Jimmy Centers will serve as deputy communications director.

Iowa AG reaches agreement with fundraising group

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A Minnesota fundraising group has agreed to change the way it will raise money in Iowa.

A news release from the office of Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says an agreement has been reached with Public Safety Council, LLP, and Community Safety, LLC, which are based in Minneapolis. Their subcontractor, Safety Services, LLC, and their principals also have agreed to what Miller calls an assurance of voluntary compliance.

Miller says the groups have been making calls on behalf of at least three Iowa law enforcement associations and that several solicitors were ``unfair and deceptive'' on some calls.

The groups denied any wrongdoing or liability.

Among other provisions in the agreement, the fundraisers must provide accurate answers to consumers' questions about how much of their donations go to the recipient organizations.


FEMA rejects Cedar Rapids appeal for disaster aid

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) Federal officials have rejected a Cedar Rapids appeal for $13.3 million in disaster funds for the city's damaged hydroelectric plant at the 5-in-1 bridge.

According to The Gazette, the Federal Emergency Management Agency says the plant wasn't in active use when the June 2008 flooding occurred. FEMA also says city officials are wrong to consider that ``possible plans and possible ideas'' for the plant's future use met FEMA's definition of ``active use.''

FEMA noted that the plant suffered ice damage in January 2007 and that a follow-up engineering study for the city ``focused on the (city's) intent to dispose of the facility.''

Mayor Ron Corbett says the FEMA decision is disappointing but that the city would press forward with its appeal.

Homes on piers touted for Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) A builder and an architect have each come up with a way to build homes in flood-prone neighborhoods above harm's way in Cedar Rapids.

The Gazette says builder Randy Dostal and architect Jim Novak have proposed building homes, and maybe even stores, on pilings or piers, like along coastal regions, rather than on raised foundations.

Dostal says hurricanes aren't so different than floods.

In one of his concepts, Novak uses an elevated walkway to tie together a ``village'' of four small, two-story homes, with each home on a single pier.

City Councilman Chuck Swore says the idea has merit. First, the city's zoning ordinance would have to change to allow pier-built housing, at least in flood-prone areas.

The Cedar River swamped the city in 2008, covering 10 square miles.

Iowa City moves ahead with flood-protection plans

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Despite opposition from some residents on the north side of town, the City Council in Iowa City has decided to accept $15.7 million in federal grant money for three flood-protection levees.

Two would be built on the south side of town.

The one to the north, along the Iowa River, worries residents whose homes would be between the levee and the river.

When the city offered federal buyouts of flood-damaged homes, owners were warned about where new levees would be built.

But one resident, Joel Wilcox, told the City Council at its meeting Tuesday that ``it's starting to feel like the buyout program is being used to bully people.''

Cerro Gordo County to test water wells for arsenic

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) Cerro Gordo County will begin testing private water wells for arsenic.

The county received a $433,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to test 50 private wells twice a year for three years and taking samples from 30 new wells.

The Globe Gazette reports that county health officials will send letters to private well owners in February asking for their participation.

The EPA maximum concentration of arsenic for public water supplies is 10 parts per billion. Sophia Walsh, the project's coordinator, says most wells in the county are below that level.

Arsenic is odorless and tasteless and enters water supplies naturally or through farming and industrial practices. Long-term exposure of higher levels can lead to digestive problems, numbness in the hands and feet, partial paralysis and blindness. It also has been linked to various cancers.

University of Iowa plan targets heavy drinking

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) A three-year plan to try to reduce heavy drinking among University of Iowa students calls for the school to hire an administrator to oversee several anti-drinking initiatives.

The Alcohol Harm Reduction Plan for 2010 to 2013 is the product of a 26-member group that spent months working on the details.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette says the plan calls for more recreation activities, increasing the number of students in Friday classes and a media campaign focused on saving friends from toxic drinking.

The goal is to attract more students who drink little to the university, have heavier drinkers cut back and hold more high-risk drinkers accountable for their behavior.

UI officials want to reduce from 70 percent to 55 percent the number of students who engage in high-risk drinking.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Submit your news release, confidential news tip or news idea by email klemnews@lemarscomm or by calling 712.546.4121 or 712.546.9672 fax.


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