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KLEM AM News Update, December 17th 2010

A State of Iowa snowplow being operated by Vicky Oien, 61, of Sioux City was clearing crossovers in the southbound lane of Highway 75, just south of James, Iowa.  A southbound 2005 Chevrolet pick-up driven by Chance Grady, 19, of Le Mars struck the rear of the plow.  Grady was transported to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City by Siouxland Paramedics.  The accident is under investigation by the Iowa State Patrol, who were assisted by the Plymouth County Sheriff's Office, Hinton police and Hinton Fire and EMS.

 

State Legislators say the Budget is Top Priority 

(Le Mars) The Le Mars Lions and Sertoma Clubs hosted Representative Chuck Soderburg and Senator Randy Feenstra at a "Lunch with Legislators" Wednesday.  The pair was in attendance to talk about some  topics that will be addressed in the new year. Representative Soderburg says that budget issues will be the top priority.

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He said that some of the priorities for cuts from the republican side include considering that state employees pay something for their health care benefits, and taking care of the "phantom employee" issues.

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Representative Soderburg says unemployment issues will also be a point of focus. 

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The change in the states gay marriage laws was brought up in discussion at Wednesday's meeting. Senator Feenstra said he's glad that Iowans will have a chance to vote on the issue.

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The gay marriage issue will not have a chance to be decided by the public until it pass through two consecutive assemblies.

 

First Major Snow Clean-up Went Smoothly

(Le Mars) After the first big snow storm year Saturday, there was a lot of work that needed to be done to clear the streets.

City Administrator Scott Langel says Le Mars residents did a good job letting public works employees get their jobs done over the weekend.

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Langel said that as snow continues to accumulate things could get more difficult for clearing snow.  He recommends a couple things to make everyone's life a little easier.

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He said that those obstructions can cause damage to the city's snow blower . 

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Judge steps down from Iowa retention vote lawsuit

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A Polk County judge has removed himself from hearing a lawsuit seeking to keep three Iowa Supreme Court justices from being tossed from the bench.

District Court Judge Scott Rosenberg recused himself because he was one of 71 lower-court jurists statewide who appeared on the Nov. 2 ballot.

The lawsuit filed this week contends the retention vote in which the three justices were ousted was illegal because their names did not appear on a separate ballot as required by the state constitution.

Rosenberg says in a court filing that he was removing himself to avoid the appearance of ``impropriety, bias or prejudice.''

The case was assigned to Polk County District Judge Michael Huppert, who was last on the ballot in 2008.


Iowa GOP announces date for straw poll, debate

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn says the party will host its presidential straw poll for presidential contenders in August 2011, and this time the party is partnering with Fox News to host a debate just days before the straw poll is held.

Strawn says the straw poll is scheduled for Aug. 13, 2011 at Iowa State University in Ames. The debate is scheduled for Aug. 11 at the university.

The straw poll has become a crucial test of organizational strength in Iowa for presidential contenders, coming just months before Iowa's precinct caucuses launch the presidential nominating season. Critics of the straw poll say it's largely a way for the party to collect money from candidates, and some contenders last time decided not to compete. OBIT-ODELL

 

Iowa TV star, former secretary of state dies

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Mary Jane Neville Chinn Odell, a longtime Des Moines TV personality and former secretary of state, has died.

The Des Moines Register says Odell's family says she died of a sudden illness on Tuesday. She was 87.

Odell was one of the original on-air personalities for KRNT-TV, now KCCI-TV, when the station debuted in 1955.

Odell, an Algona native, worked at KCCI until 1967 when she moved to Chicago and worked at WSNS-TV and WTTW-TV. She returned to Des Moines broadcasting in 1975 and joined Iowa Public Broadcasting Network, now Iowa Public Television.

Odell left IPTV in 1974.

Then Gov. Robert Ray appointed her secretary of state in 1980 to fill a vacancy. She won the post in the 1982 general election. Odell retired from public life in 1987.

MN teen pleads not guilty in clerk killing in Iowa

ALGONA, Iowa (AP) A Minnesota teenager charged with killing two convenience store clerks in northern Iowa has pleaded not guilty to charges in one of the two counties where he's accused of committing the crimes.

Online court records show 17-year-old Michael Swanson, of St. Louis Park, Minn., entered a written plea of not guilty on Thursday to charges of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in Kossuth County. He faces the same charges in Humboldt County.

The Des Moines Register says Swanson's attorney, Charles Kenville, declined to comment on why Swanson pleaded not guilty on Thursday. His arraignment had been set for Monday.

Kenville told the newspaper that Swanson also will plead not guilty to the charges in Kossuth County, where his arraignment is set for Dec. 28.

Study: Power fund generates $100 million a year

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A study claims that the Iowa Power fund is generating more than $100 million annually in economic activity and creating more than 400 jobs a year.

The study by Austin, Tex.-based Impact Data Source was commissioned by the Iowa Office of Energy Independence and released Thursday.

Looking back to 2007 and projecting ahead to 2014, the study finds the power fund is generating an average of $107 million a year and bringing the state $859,000 in tax revenue.

Office of Energy Independence head Roya Stanley says the study shows the benefit of the program, created in 2007 to invest $100 million in alternative energy.

Republicans have called for ending the program.

Tim Albrecht, a spokesman for Gov.-elect Terry Branstad, says the new governor hasn't decided whether to discontinue the effort.


Iowa' nuke power plant gets 20-year extension

PALO, Iowa (AP) Iowa's only nuclear power plant has received a 20-year extension on its operating license.

The original license for the Duane Arnold plant near Pala, northwest of Cedar Rapids, was granted in 1974 and was to expire in 2014.

NextEra Energy Resources, which has a 70 percent stake in the plant, says Thursday that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the extension.

NextEra Energy is a unit of Florida-based power plant operator FPL Group. The Iowa plant is also owned by Central Iowa Power Cooperative and Corn Belt Power Cooperative.

The license extension comes about two years after the companies began the process.

According to the plant's website, it produces about 592 million watts of electricity a year, enough to power 600,000 homes.


Branstad appoints Noble public safety commissioner

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Gov.-elect Terry Branstad has named Republican state Sen. Larry Noble to be commissioner of the Iowa Department of Public Safety.

Noble, an Ankeny Republican, was elected to the state Senate in 2006 and won a second term this year. He is resigning from the Senate effective Friday and a special election will be scheduled to fill his seat. Democrats control the chamber by a 26 to 24 margin.

Noble is a retired Iowa State Patrol trooper and also worked in the Division of Criminal Investigation. During his time with the state patrol, he was assigned to the governor's security detail, offering protection to Branstad during his earlier tenure as governor. He also protected former Gov. Robert Ray.

Branstad announced the appointment Thursday.


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