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KLEM News AM Update December 20, 2010

Floyd Valley Hospital Administrator Mike Donlin says that he gets that question a lot, and he's excited that they're getting closer to an answer.

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Even if they do get people hired in the near future, Donlin explains that the new doctors they're trying to reel in may not start in Le Mars until later in 2011.

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Donlin added that finding those family-practice physicians will continue to be his top priority. The goal is two new hires to replace to docs the recently left Floyd Valley Hospital.  (Angela Drake, KLEM News)

Flood-damaged bridges replaced

(LE MARS) The Le Mars golf course got some updating before the snow fell this winter. City Administrator Scott Langel explains the changes.

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The bridges needed to be replaced due to years of flood damage from Willow Creek. Langel said that concrete work still needs to be done on the approaches. The project will be finished this spring. (Angela Drake, KLEM News) 

Branstad asks Siouxlanders for job creation ideas

(Sioux City)--Governor-elect Branstad intends to hold public hearings around the state over the next few weeks to give Iowans a chance to sound-off about the state budget and other priority issues. The first hearing is scheduled for this morning (Monday) in Sioux City and the focus is on job creation.

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Branstad says he wants to assure Iowans his "door will always be open" to their ideas, and that's why he's holding public forums to review areas of the state budget as well as consider other agenda items.

The Sioux City public meeting is at the Public Library in downtown Sioux City beginning at 10 this morning. The special guest is Debi Durham who Branstad has chosen to head the Iowa Department of Economic Development. Durham is the executive director of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce.

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"We're intending to make dramatic changes and unfortunately we've got a limited amount of time in which to do it," Branstad says. "But we're excited about the opportunity." According to Branstad, there is a "new day" in states across the country, and state budget cuts are at the top of the agenda.

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Later this week, on Thursday, Branstad will hold hearings about ag policy and the state's Medicaid budget, and those events will be open to the public as well. (News report by Radio Iowa) 

Biodiesel plant planned in South Sioux City

SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (AP) Construction is expected to begin this spring on a new biodiesel plant in South Sioux City that will make fuel out of beef tallow.

Associated Press reports that Nature's BioReserves will use tallow leftover from beef processing at nearby Beef Products Incorporated (BPI). The plant will produce 60 million gallons of fuel a year.

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

Iowa group altered documents given to newspaper

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) An attorney for an Iowa school board group has acknowledged documents turned over to the Des Moines Register as part of an open-records request were altered.

Nolden Gentry told the Register that his law firm prepared new documents that omit some information from the Iowa Association of School Boards' financial documents.

In October, the newspaper had requested the publicly funded association's legal bills. When the newspaper questioned the authenticity of the documents, the association acknowledged the alterations.

Association executive director Veronica Stalker says Gentry tried to redact confidential information in copies of the original documents but when that failed, he made altered versions.

The Register has filed a complaint with the state ombudsman.

Lawmakers have launched an investigation into the association after reports of excessive salaries and questionable spending.

Former head of Iowa, US cattleman's groups dies

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) A former president of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association and its national counterpart has died after a two-year battle with cancer.

A family spokeswoman confirmed that Wythe Willey, a native of Jackson County, died Saturday. He was 68.

Willey was a longtime Cedar Rapids lawyer who took over his family's farm near Maquoketa. He served two terms as president of the Iowa Cattlemen's Association in the 1990s and headed the national association in 2002. He was chief of staff for former Gov. Robert Ray from 1970 to 1981 and worked for Sen. Charles Grassley.

Willey is survived by his wife, five children and several grandchildren.

A memorial service is planned for Wednesday in Cedar Rapids.

Chemical fight against shad in Iowa lake working

Branstad plans inaugural events in Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Gov.-elect Terry Branstad will celebrate his inauguration with several privately funded and low-key events.

Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht says organizers want to keep costs down, then transfer money raised for the events to scholarships for high school graduates interested in agriculture and health fields as well as children who have had a parent die on active military duty.

Inaugural events will begin with a Jan. 13 service at St. Ambrose Cathedral in Des Moines, then a reception at the Des Moines Diocese Pastoral Center.

Branstad will take the oath of office the morning of Jan. 14 at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines. A mid-day open house is planned at the governor's mansion, then an open house at the Statehouse.

An inaugural ball is planned that night at Hy-Vee Hall.

Shad destruction is considered a success

KEOSAUQUA, Iowa (AP) A state biologist says efforts to rid Lake Sugema of gizzard shad appears to be working.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources pumped the chemical rotenone into the Van Buren County lake last month in an attempt to kill the destructive shad. Mark Flammang told the Burlington Hawk Eye that so far, the plan is working. A final determination won't be made until at least spring.

Officials have said a low-dose application of the chemical is supposed to create a drawn-out fish kill targeting the gizzard shad. That would spare as many game fish as possible in the southeastern Iowa lake, which contains largemouth bass, bluegill, walleye, muskie, crappies and catfish.

Flammang says some game fish have been lost, but that's better than having to drain the lake.

Iowa trooper lands troubled plane on highway

ATLANTIC, Iowa (AP) An Iowa state trooper landed a troubled patrol plane on a highway west of Guthrie Center, narrowly avoiding a pickup truck.

Trooper Scott Pigsley told radio station KJAN that the single-engine plane experienced engine failure about 3:30 p.m. Saturday near the Audubon-Guthrie County line. So, he says, he was forced to land on state Highway 44.

Pigsley says there were only a few cars on the highway at the time, but the aircraft was close to hitting a pickup head-on. The driver pulled over and offered to help. No injuries were reported, and the airplane was not damaged.

Pigsley, who has 15 years of flying experience, and a state conservation officer were monitoring deer hunters.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the cause of the plane's engine trouble.

1 dead in apartment fire in downtown Marengo

MARENGO, Iowa (AP) An apartment fire in downtown Marengo has left one man dead.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports the fire in the second-floor apartment was called in just after 1 a.m. Sunday. By the time fire crews arrived, flames were shooting through the building's roof.

The victim's name has not been released.

Marengo fire chief Steve Meyer was taken to a hospital after slipping on ice. No other injuries were reported.

The state fire marshal's office is investigating the cause of the blaze.


Iowa hunter hurt by self-inflicted gunshot

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) A Muscatine man was hurt by a self-inflicted gunshot would while hunting deer in Muscatine County.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says 41-year-old Darin Peterson was flown Sunday to an Iowa City hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The department says Peterson was preparing to climb into a tree stand northeast of Muscatine when his gun went off, hitting him in the upper thigh.

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

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