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KLEM News AM Update January 5, 2011


Le Mars fire fighters responded to the barn fire at the Gary and Jane Peterson residence, 10 miles south of Le Mars,  at 27962 K-49. Hinton fire fighters were asked to provide water support because Le Mars fire fighters could see heavy smoke from just south of Le Mars.

 According to Le Mars Fire-Rescue Chief David Schipper, a large barn with hay was fully engulfed in flames and the fire was threatening two other storage buildings.  Fire fighters concentrated on saving the other structures and were successful.

The barn and hay are a total loss. The cause of the fire is undetermined. Investigators say it is possible there was a spontaneous combustion with hay that was recently cut and placed in the barn.

Fire fighters used more than 10-thousand gallons of water in fighting the fire for over three hours.

The Le Mars and Hinton fire departments were assisted by Del Kellen Excavating, the Plymouth County Sheriff's office and North West R-E-C.

Mayor: talks with workers aren't successful

(LE MARS)--When contracts talks started between the City of Le Mars and its employee bargaining group, employees asked for a pay increase. The City Council countered with a pay freeze proposal.
Despite ongoing meetings since early November, Mayor Dick Kirchoff says there is not an agreement.

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Kirchoff provided the update at the end of the Council meeting Tuesday afternoon.  PERB referred to by the Mayor is the Public Employment Relations Board. The board appoints a mediator to try to resolve differences. If that is unsuccessful, there can be a process called arbitration. The arbitrator's decision is final and would be the basis for a new contract.

(LE MARS)--Grant request applications for Plymouth County's Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) revenue are available now.

According to Auditor Stacey Feldman, the 2011 applications are available at the Auditor's Office at the Courthouse or on the county's website,

The application deadline is 5pm March 11th. The application and 10 copies are to be submitted to the auditor's office.

The County's Local Option Sales Tax Advisory Board members review applications and make recommendations. The final review and approval is given by the Board of Supervisors.

LOST funds will be available beginning July 1st.

Supervisors Monday re-appointed two members to the advisory board who'd applied for openings. They are Patricia Hansen of Hinton and Blaine Donaldson of Kingsley. There is still an opening in Supervisor Jim Henrich's district. Henrich of Akron said he'd make some contacts because no one had applied for the District 5 advisory board opening. The term is for three years.

Gehlen Catholic plans TK, Kindergarten round-up in March

(LE MARS)--Plans are being made for students who will march to "Pomp and Circumstance" in 2024 and 2025.

Parents of children who will be five years of age by December 31st of this year are invited to an informational meeting February 22nd from 7-8 p-m in the Gehlen Catholic School Library.

Information about the educational opportunities at Gehlen Catholic, the Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten process, financial aid, a tour of classrooms and a time to meet teachers will be offered.  

Round-up for Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten at Gehlen Catholic is scheduled for Friday, March 4th with morning and afternoon sessions.

 Firm fined after deaths at Dakota Dunes

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued six violations against a Nebraska plumbing company in the deaths of two Iowa men attempting to unclog a sewer in South Dakota.

The federal agency on Tuesday issued the violations against Speedy Rooter Inc., of South Sioux City, Neb.

Workers Robert Thompson and Chad Elgert, both of Sioux City, were overcome by fumes in North Sioux City, S.D., last July.

The violations against the company range from failing to develop and implement a confined space permit program to failing to conduct employee training. The proposed penalty totals $94,500.

Tom Deutscher in OSHA's Bismarck, N.D., office says the company ``blatantly disregarded'' safe work practices.

A telephone call to the company Tuesday evening wasn't returned. The company has 15 days to contest the findings.

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

Republicans gain Senate seat

RED OAK, Iowa (AP) Iowa's Senate District 48 seat will remain in Republican hands.

Joni Ernst beat Democrat Ruth Smith on Tuesday in a special election to replace Kim Reynolds, who was elected lieutenant governor.

The Iowa Secretary of State's Office says Ernst won 67 percent of the vote in unofficial returns.

Ernst, of Red Oak, is Montgomery County auditor. Smith, of Lamoni, is a physical therapist and coach.

The district includes seven counties in southern Iowa.

Reynolds, a Republican from Osceola, was elected along with Gov.-elect Terry Branstad.

Democrats hold 26 of 50 seats in the state Senate.

Paulsen vows quick work on budget

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The incoming House speaker says Republicans will immediately begin working on their plan to cut $500 million in state spending over three years and not wait for a budget proposal later in the month from Gov.-elect Terry Branstad.

In an Associated Press interview Tuesday, the new speaker, Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha, says a key House committee will begin debating the spending cuts on Monday, shortly after the Legislature convenes.

Work on the full state budget must wait for Branstad's budget proposal, but Paulsen says there is broad agreement among Republicans to approve the spending cuts. Republicans hold a 20-seat House majority.

Paulsen says voters made clear when they gave Republicans control of the House that they want to focus on cutting taxes and reducing spending.

Iowa evangelical group announces caucus forum

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) An Iowa evangelical Christian group is inviting 13 potential presidential candidates to what likely will be the first caucus forum.

Steve Scheffler, president of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, says the group invited the potential candidates to attend the March 7 forum in West Des Moines.

Invitations were sent to Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, Atlanta radio host Herman Cain, South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and South Dakota Sen. John Thune.

In the invitation, Scheffler notes that 60 percent of 2008 Iowa Republican caucus participants were evangelical Christians.

Branstad names Fandel as education aide

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Gov.-elect Terry Branstad has named the editorial page editor of The Des Moines Register as a special assistant on education issues.

Linda Lantor Fandel has been editorial page editor of the Register since July 2009. Before the Register, she spent more than 20 years covering education in Iowa as a reporter, editorial writer and deputy editorial-page editor.

She graduated from Scripps College/ Claremont Men's College, now Claremont McKenna College, and attended graduate school at Georgetown University. She worked for newspapers in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore before moving to the Register in 1986.

Fandel is a native of Kennewick, Wash.

Service this weekend for former Miami Dolphin Barry Hill

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. (AP) A funeral is planned Saturday for former Iowa State and Miami Dolphins defensive back Barry Hill.

The 57-year-old Hill died last week of complications from pneumonia following surgery. The Dolphins confirmed his death Tuesday.

Hill set Big Eight Conference records at Iowa State for career interceptions (21) and interceptions in a season (nine). He also played basketball for the Cyclones before being drafted by the Dolphins in the fifth round in 1975.

He appeared in 20 games during his two seasons with Miami and blocked a field-goal attempt on the final play to preserve a 14-13 victory over the Denver Broncos.

Injured Canada goose found in West Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) An injured Canada goose has been rescued by the Animal Rescue League of Iowa and taken to a wildlife care center in Ames.

The Animal Rescue League says it received a call Tuesday morning about the injured goose in West Des Moines. It appeared the goose had been hit by a car and had a badly damaged wing.

Officials with the rescue league were able to catch the goose and take it to the organization's Animal Control and Care Center in Des Moines. It was later taken to the Iowa Wildlife Care Facility in Ames.

Cedar Rapids to cut down 300 ash trees

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) Cedar Rapids plans to cut down more than 300 ash trees to head off an infestation of the emerald ash borer.

City officials told The Gazette on Tuesday that the trees will be removed over the next three months. The adult beetles are relatively harmless, but the larvae drill into trees and destroy them.

The insect is native to eastern Asia and was found in the United States near Detroit in 2002. It was found in Allamakee  County in northeast Iowa last year.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources recommends each community determine the health of its ash trees, and if some are dying or in poor condition, to replace them with other varieties.

About three dozen ash trees have already been removed from the Iowa State campus in Ames.

(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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