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KLEM News PM Update January 21,2011

The Plymouth County Sheriff's Office, Mercy Air Care, Le Mars and Merrill Ambulance and Fire Departments responded about 11:30 this morning.

Drivers traveling in that area are asked to slow down due to the snowy surfaces and the emergency personnel.

Two fires during cold conditions

(LE MARS)--Cold weather and two fires at about the same time challenged the Le Mars Fire-Rescue Department early last night.

Fire fighters went to an attic fire in a machine shop at 212 Fourth Avenue Northeast about seven Thursday night. Fire fighters found heavy smoke and some fire in the east end area of the shop owned by Pat Nilles.

According to written information from fire-rescue chief David Schipper, the fire was fought by going into the attic and cutting a hole through the ceiling below the burning area. A support rafter was completely burned in the area of the attic.

The cause of the accidental fire was a vent pipe from an oil burner in the machine shop that ignited blow-in type insulation in the attic area that was against the vent pipe. Damage was limited to the attic area. Fire fighters were out on the call for about two hours.

Fire fighters also went to a basement apartment fire at 115 Third Avenue Northeast. There was light smoke in the apartment caused by a microwave malfunction. There was fire damage to the cord from the microwave and some surrounding combustibles were burned. Damage to the apartment rented by Kayla Ragar was minor and the apartment was vented by fire fighters. The building is owned by Bill Singer of Spirit Lake.

The Merrill department was called initially for the apartment fire because the Le Mars department was out on the attic fire call. However, the department was cancelled.

Three potential presidential candidates agree to FAMiLY Leader lecture series

Three potential Republican presidential candidates have agreed to speak at forums organized by The FAMiLY Leader. The organization is led by the chairman of last fall's successful effort to vote three Iowa Supreme Court justices off the court, northwest Iowan Bob Vander Plaats. One of the forum locations is in Sioux Center.
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum each have agreed to give lectures, answer audience questions and hold news conferences in three different Iowa cities. Vander Plaats of The FAMiLY Leader says his group's "Presidential Election Series" is more about educating than about politicking.
"We think this gives our base of support a real opportunity to be educated with some real national leaders on pro-family policy," Vander Plaats says. Each of those three potential candidate -- over the course of a single day -- has agreed to speak at Dordt College in Sioux Center in the morning; make a midday stop at Pella Christian High School and wind up at the University of Iowa in Iowa City late in the day.
"At each location...the lecture and question-and-answer series will be videotaped and we plan on blasting that message to our some 50,000 email database constituents so they get an opportunity, if they cannot attend, to see these public figures with their pro-family vision," Vander Plaats says. Pawlenty has agreed to appear on February 7th. Bachmann will do the three-stop tour on April 11th and Santorum's scheduled for May 2nd. Vander Plaats says the group intends to have one forum a month, through perhaps October.

Two other potential presidential candidates -- former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Godfather's Pizza C-E-O Herman Cain -- have agreed to do participate in the lecture series, but a date hasn't been set yet for their appearances. Vander Plaats says "conversations continue" with six other potential candidates, and he lists them in this order: former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Indiana Congressman Mike Pence; Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels; Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour; former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and South Dakota Senator John Thune. As for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, a 2008 candidate who is mulling another bid for the White House in 2012, Vander Plaats says "messages have been left" for Romney. (News report by Radio Iowa)


Man convicted in 1997 kidnap, murder

JACKSON, Minn. (AP) A jury in southern Minnesota has convicted a man for his involvement in the kidnapping and murder of a Spencer teenager 14 years ago.

Jurors in Jackson County deliberated for more than three hours Thursday evening before finding Juan Humberto Castillo-Alvarez guilty of aiding and abetting second-degree murder, with and without intent, and felony kidnapping.

Prosecutors alleged members of the Los Crazy Boys gang kidnapped Gregory ``Sky'' Erickson in Spencer and killed him in southwestern Minnesota in 1997 over a $1,400 marijuana debt. Castillo-Alvarez fled to Mexico and was eventually extradited and convicted in 2008. The Iowa Court of Appeals reversed the convictions based on a violation of his right to a speedy trial. Jackson County filed new charges last year.

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

Bettendorf police probe fatal home invasion

BETTENDORF, Iowa (AP) Police are investigating the fatal stabbing of a Bettendorf man.

According to television station WQAD, police were called to the home a little after 11:30 p.m. Thursday. Police say two men forced their way into the home and a fight broke out.

At least two men were injured. One of them later died at a hospital. He is believed to have been one of the men who invaded the home.

At least one other man left the scene and is being sought by police.

Names and other details about the incident have not been released.

4th Iowa slaying suspect arrested in Omaha

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) A fourth suspect in the stabbing death of a Council Bluffs woman has been arrested in Omaha, Neb.

A news release from the Council Bluffs Police Department says 43-year-old Brian Reeves was arrested a little before 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

Police say they also recovered the weapon used to stab to death 39-year-old Tammy Rocha on Jan. 14. A passing motorist found Rocha with several stab wounds. Police say Rocha was outside when stabbed but was able to walk a short distance before collapsing. She died at a hospital.

Three other people have been arrested in her slaying, including Reeves' 22-year-old daughter, Lisa Reeves.

Brian Reeves remains in custody. Online court records don't list his attorney's name. Lisa Reeves' attorney has not returned phone calls from The Associated Press.

Iowa teacher accused of sexually abusing student

MELCHER-DALLAS, Iowa (AP) A 40-year-old teacher has been accused of sexually abusing a student at Melcher-Dallas High School in south-central Iowa.

Court records say the incident occurred in a classroom on Nov. 11 while the girl was working on an extra-credit project.

Records say David Bennett was charged with second-degree sexual abuse after his DNA matched samples taken from the girl.

The schools superintendent says Bennett is on administrative leave. Bennett has been with the district for four years.

Bennett is no longer in custody. He didn't immediately return a call Friday from The Associated Press. Court records don't list his attorney's name.

No injuries in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, bank robbery

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) Police are searching for the man who robbed a bank branch in Cedar Rapids.

Police say the man entered the Wells Fargo branch about 2 p.m. Thursday and demanded money.

The robber didn't show a weapon. He left with an undisclosed amount of cash and no one was hurt.

Woman's death leads to fine for Iowa nursing home

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) The state of Iowa has fined a Davenport nursing home $10,000 in connection with the death of a resident.

Records say 97-year-old Corine Armentrout died less than two weeks after and another resident of the Ridgecrest Village home were injured in a traffic accident on Nov. 19.

According to The Des Moines Register, the van stopped suddenly in traffic, throwing the two residents out of their wheelchairs onto the van floor. The van driver told investigators that he'd failed to buckle their safety belts, although their chairs were securely attached to the van's floor.

The Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals says Armentrout's death 12 days later was attributed to congestive heart failure as a result of a broken leg and blood loss.

Iowa cheerleaders get OK for trip

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) It's off to Florida for a high school cheerleading squad from Dubuque. They will get to compete in a national competition after all.

Dubuque Community School District Superintendent Larie Godinez has granted the Hempstead cheerleaders' request for the trip to Orlando in February.

The Telegraph Herald says Godinez approved the request based on conditions agreed by the coach, which include increased oversight on all aspects of the trip and completion of trip forms as per policy.

Earlier this month, Godinez denied the trip, saying among other reasons, she couldn't support a private competition sponsored by a for-profit company that is not sanctioned.

(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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