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KLEM News PM Update January 4, 2011

The Le Mars Education Association and a Board of Education negotiating team Monday began talks for the 2011-2012 school year. The first proposal presented to the district included a request for an increase in the basis for teacher pay as chief negotiator and teacher Doug Martin explained.

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The current base pay is $30, 745. The education association bargaining team proposed some wording changes in the contract. They include temporary leaves, preparation time and sick leave benefits.

Martin estimated health insurance costs for the portion paid by the school would increase 100 dollars a month. Actual figures aren't known yet.

Martin summed up the teacher's first proposal to the board team in dollars and cents.

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The Board of Education will make its opening offer to teachers in two weeks at a public meeting at 5pm on January 17th. The meeting is at the Education Service Center.

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Governor Culver makes final stop in Sioux City

(SIOUX CITY)--Northwest Iowans will be part of Governor Chet Culver's "Thank You Iowa" tour this week.

Culver is traveling to eight cities to meet with Iowans and thank them for the opportunity to serve the people of Iowa.

He'll be in Sioux City at the Wilbur Aalfs Library in downtown Sioux City at 11:30 tomorrow morning. Culver begins the morning in Council Bluffs and travels to Mason City after Sioux City.

Mettin pleads guilty; held by Immigration officials

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) A German man who attended Morningside College in Sioux City has pleaded guilty to claiming he was a U.S. so he could vote.

Associated Press reports that Christopher Mettin was sentenced to time already served, which was 52 days, and could be deported.

A charge of falsely claiming he was a U.S. citizen was dropped.

Court records show Mettin, who was 19 when he was arrested last fall, entered the country legally with a student visa to attend Morningside College but the college terminated the visa in October for ``failing to maintain status.''

In September, Mettin checked a box on a voter registration form stating he was a U.S. citizen.

Mettin, who is a German citizen, is in the custody of U.S. immigration officials.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Culver orders $83.7 million spending cut

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Democratic Gov. Chet Culver has ordered $83.7 million in cuts to balance this year's budget, exercising authority given to him last year by the Legislature as it sought to streamline state spending.

Culver did restore some funding to crucial agencies, including the departments of corrections, human services and public safety. Culver says he's using $5 million from the state's cash reserve to restore some of the funding.

The governor says the spending cuts were the final piece of a $300 million package of reductions lawmakers approved during last year's session. Culver says he's directed his staff to meet with Republican Gov.-elect Terry Branstad to discuss the cuts.

Branstad defeated Culver in the November election. He will be sworn in Jan. 14.

Branstad says he's working on preschool plan

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Gov.-elect Terry Branstad said his staff is hammering out details of a plan to expand preschool offerings in Iowa, but he says parents who can afford the programs will be asked to pay for their children.

Branstad discussed preschool education Monday during a meeting with education and budget aides. The education system is one of the biggest parts of the state budget.

During the campaign, the Republican Branstad criticized Democratic Gov. Chet Culver for expanding preschool to most 4-year-olds. Branstad says he supports preschool but that the state couldn't afford the current program.

Branstad added at the meeting that he wants to examine mandates that are required of local districts but not funded by the state. He says those requirements can prove costly to taxpayers.

Schultz sworn in as Iowa secretary of state

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Council Bluffs Republican Matt Schultz has taken the oath of office as Iowa's new secretary of state.

Schultz was sworn in Monday during a brief ceremony at the Statehouse.

He defeated incumbent Democrat Michael Mauro in the November election.

Schultz served on the Council Bluffs City Council before seeking statewide office. In assuming the office, Schultz becomes the state's top election official.

During the campaign, Schultz pledged to use the office as a platform to bolster the state's economic development efforts, saying the mission of the office needed to be expanded.

Cause of deadly Iowa fire may remain mystery

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The cause of a fire that killed three people in a mobile home near Arlington in northeast Iowa may never be solved.

The Des Moines Register reports Iowa Fire Marshal Ray Reynolds says the cause is currently listed as undetermined, but there are at least three possible sources a wood-burning stove, unattended space heaters or smoking materials.

The fire broke out about 4 a.m. Saturday.

Seventy-three-year-old Gerald Rodenberg, and his grandsons, 6-year-old Henry Rodenberg and 5-year-old Ian Rodenberg, died in the blaze. The children's' parents and their 9-year-old son were injured.

Officials say the victims were in two adjacent trailers connected by a covered walkway.

Ex-Iowa football player faces sexual assault trial

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) A former University of Iowa football player is scheduled to stand trial next week on charges that he sexually abused a female athlete in a university dorm room in 2007.

Former Hawkeye Cedric Everson is charged with second-degree sexual abuse in the attack. Prosecutors say Everson had sex with the woman while she was asleep after his teammate, Abe Satterfield, had sex with her.

Satterfield has pleaded guilty to one count of assault with intent to inflict serious injury and agreed to testify against Everson.

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz and several current and former players also are expected to testify in the trial, which begins Jan. 10.

The 21-year-old Everson has pleaded not guilty. His attorney did not return phone messages.

Des Moines police investigate car fires

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Des Moines police are investigating two car fires at an apartment complex that officials say were started by homemade firebombs.

The fires started about 3 a.m. Monday at Deer Ridge Apartments.

Sgt. Jeff Edwards told The Des Moines Register that it appears three Molotov cocktails were tossed at the manager's building. They bounced off and started fires on the ground. One of the devices rolled under a car in the parking lot and set it on fire. The fire then spread to another car.

Edwards says a worker was in the manager's building at the time but was not injured. No arrests have been made.

Editor moving from Des Moines to Cincinnati

CINCINNATI (AP) The Cincinnati Enquirer has named Carolyn Washburn, editor of The Des Moines Register, as top editor of the Ohio newspaper.

The Enquirer announced the appointment Monday.

The 48-year-old Washburn has been editor at the Iowa newspaper since 2005. She will be succeeded by Rick Green, editor of The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, Calif.

She succeeds Tom Callinan, who has retired.

All three newspapers are owned by Gannett Co.

Washburn also has been an editor at the Times Union and the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, N.Y., and at the Idaho Statesman. She has been a reporter at the Lansing State Journal in Michigan, USA Today and the Times Union.

The Enquirer has a weekday circulation of about 158,000. The Des Moines Register has a circulation of about 109,000 on weekdays.

(Copyright 2011 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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