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KLEM News AM Update January 22, 2011


State Representative Chuck Soderberg and State Senator Randy Feenstra will discuss issues at the Iowa Statehouse. Soderberg and Feenstra invite the public to attend the meetings and address any issues of concern.

Reporting for the first time this legislative session will begin with a public forum at Akron Jo's Cafe at 8:30 this morning followed by the Hawarden City Hall session at 10 in the morning. They'll be at the Orange City Hall at 11:30 this morning.

The afternoon for Feenstra and Soderberg will begin with a legislative forum at the Maurice Community Center at one followed by the final stop for the day at the Le Mars Public Library at 2:30 Saturday afternoon.

Le Mars man injured in near head-on collision north of Merrill

(MERRILL)--A Le Mars man was injured after his sport utility vehicle collided nearly head-on with a semi-truck about 11:30 Friday morning.

The Plymouth County Sheriff's Office investigated the accident on Highway 75, just north of Merrill.

When emergency responders arrived at the accident both the S-U-V and the semi-truck were disabled in the southbound lane of the Highway.

The S-U-V driver, Timothy Ruhland of Le Mars, was traveling north on Highway 75, lost control on the snow and ice covered roadway and veered into the path of the semi-truck.

Ruhland was trapped in the S-U-V and was extricated by the Merrill Fire Department. Ruhland was flown to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City by Mercy Air Care.

The driver of the semi, Leo Crowell Junior of Lisman, Alabama, was not injured.

The sheriff's office states a preliminary assessment of the accident indicates that road conditions may have been a factor. Traffic was detoured onto county roads while Highway 75 was blocked by the accident and investigators.

The sheriff's office was assisted by Le Mars Ambulance, Merrill Fire and Ambulance, the Iowa State Patrol, Mercy Air Care, Le Mars Police and the Iowa Department of Transportation.

(LE MARS)--Two people were found unresponsive in an apartment in Le Mars early Friday afternoon

Le Mars Police went to 401 Third Avenue Southwest, Apartment 5, just after one o'clock. Officers were asked to check the welfare of two people in the apartment.

Police found two people who were unresponsive. The Le Mars Fire Department checked the apartment for carbon monoxide and the test was negative.

Both people were taken to Floyd Valley Hospital for medical conditions.

The names of those involved were not released by police.

Siouxland man dies in Orange City accident

(ORANGE CITY)--A South Dakota man died in a construction accident just north of Orange City early Friday afternoon.

The Sioux County Sheriff's office reports a co-worker found 46-year-old Andrew Lambert of McCook Lake, South Dakota.

An investigation indicated Lambert was drilling test holes in the ground for Certified Testing Services of Sioux City and became entangled in the auger of the drilling equipment. Lambert was found just after the accident. He was pronounced dead at the scene by Sioux County Medical Examiner Dr. Jonathon Grossman.

The sheriff's office was assisted by Orange City Police and Ambulance Departments, Orange City Fire and Rescue and the Orange City Utilities Department.

Inwood man pleads not guilty to SD bank holdup

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) A northwest Iowa man pleaded not guilty to a federal indictment charging him with robbing a South Dakota bank.

A U.S. Magistrate accepted Jeremy Bullock's plea on Thursday and ordered that he remain in custody without bond.

The Inwood man is accused of using a BB handgun to threaten tellers and steal $7,784 from First Midwest Bank in Centerville on Jan. 4. He was arrested a few hours later.

A federal bank robbery charge carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.

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

Iowa governor, attorney general at odds on reform

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Iowa seems to be sending a conflicting message to Washington about the state's stance on the much-debated health care legislation.

Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, is joining another 25 states in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law. They claim it violates people's rights by forcing them to buy health insurance by 2014 or face penalties.

The Des Moines Register says that Attorney General Tom Miller said Friday that he'd help file an appeals-court brief in favor of the law. Miller, a Democrat, joined eight other attorneys general in filing a ``friend of the court'' brief in a case to be heard by a federal appeals court in Cincinnati.

Miller says health care is a major part of the national economy, which is ``seriously affected'' by uninsured people who need care for illnesses or injuries.

Rep. Bachmann says spending is focus of Iowa visit

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann likely has stirred up more speculation about her political plans with her visit to Iowa, the lead delegate-selection state for the 2012 presidential election.

Bachmann says she visited the state to spread the message that the government must dramatically reduce spending.

The Republican told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Friday that she worries the U.S. could end up bankrupt unless it stops spending more money than it receives in tax revenue.

Bachmann has acknowledged she's considering a presidential run. But the congresswoman also said she's not focused on the White House and instead has come to Iowa to ``set the table on what the big issues are.''

Besides speaking at an event organized by Iowans for Tax Relief, Bachmann met Friday with Iowa Republican leaders, including Gov. Terry Branstad.

No foul play in fire at Iowa sawmill

KALONA, Iowa (AP) An investigation continues into a fire that destroyed a sawmill in eastern Iowa, but authorities say no foul play is suspected.

The fire broke out Thursday morning at Nisly Wood Products in Kalona. No one was hurt.

KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids says Kalona Fire Chief Steve Yotty says the cause may be undetermined because of the extent of the damage, but there is nothing suspicious about the fire.

Trials in Iowa store slayings likely delayed

ALGONA, Iowa (AP) Trials for a Minnesota teen charged in the slaying of two Iowa convenience store clerks will likely be delayed until summer.

The attorney for 17-year-old Michael Swanson filed motions this week waiving Swanson's right to a speedy trial and to extend deadlines for depositions and pre-trial motions.

Swanson, of St. Louis Park, Minn., is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of first-degree robbery in the Nov. 15 shooting deaths of Sheila Myers at a store in Humboldt and Vicki Bowman-Hall, who worked at a store in Algona.

The Des Moines Register says prosecutors won't object to the delay.

Swanson's trial in Myer's death was set for Feb. 16 in Humboldt County. Trial in the death of Bowman-Hall was set for March 1 in Kossuth County.

Parts of I-35 and I-29 to close for snow gate work

AMES, Iowa (AP) The Iowa Department of Transportation says parts of interstates 35 and 29 will be closed next week for work on snow gates.

The agency says northbound lanes of I-35 will be closed overnight on Jan. 26 for work on the snow gate at U.S. Highway 30. The closure will begin at 1 a.m. and the agency says the closure should be brief.

The Iowa DOT also says northbound lanes of I-29 will be closed from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Jan. 28 for work on the snow gate at U.S. Highway 30 near Missouri Valley.

Snow gates can be lowered to restrict travel during severe winter weather.

2 Iowa women sentenced for embezzling millions

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Two Iowa women who pleaded guilty to federal felony charges that they embezzled nearly $6 million from West Des Moines insurer Aviva USA are going to prison.

The Des Moines Register says a judge on Friday sentenced Phyllis Stevens to six years in prison, while her spouse, Marla, was sentenced to just over three years.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Longstaff imposed the sentences after a three-hour hearing in which the women admitted their guilt, but said mental disorders contributed to their crimes.

Longstaff says the amount of money embezzled, plus how the money was spent was key in sending the women to prison.

Phyllis Stevens admitted stealing the money by making fraudulent entries into a computer system at Aviva. Marla Stevens admitted she knew about and participated in the scheme.

Bettendorf police probe fatal home invasion

BETTENDORF, Iowa (AP) Police say a home invasion in Bettendorf where a man was stabbed to death was not a random act of violence.

WQAD-TV reports that police were called to the home a little after 11:30 p.m. Thursday. Police say two men forced their way inside the home, occupied by three men and a woman, and a fight broke out.

At a news conference Friday, Capt. Steve Brauer says one of the men who entered the home suffered multiple wounds, including a stab wound, and later died at a hospital. Police say two other men inside the home were injured, and remain hospitalized.

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

No names have been released.

Iowa City considers closing its smallest school

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Iowa City school officials are considering closing the district's smallest school.

Hills Elementary in the town of Hills, south of Iowa City, has 98 students in kindergarten through sixth grade. That's down from over 200 students a decade ago.

The Gazette says the school board has asked Superintendent Stephen Murley for information, including staffing and operational costs per student.

The Iowa City district has opened four new schools since 2005 and has more than 30 portable classrooms to deal with rapid overall enrollment growth. The district also serves Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty and University Heights.

Board member Gayle Klouda says the other schools could have their boundaries redrawn to increase enrollment, but Hills is separated and changing the boundaries means busing children a greater distance.

(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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