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KLEM News AM Update January 26, 2011

Akron Council Member Chad Erickson explained that a new facility is needed because of the age of the building. The care center was built to be a hospital in 1951 and as of 2013 they will no longer to be able to legally operate in the building they're in because of code violations.  He says that operationally the business is sound.

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Erickson said that estimated cost of the new facility will be 6.2 million dollars with 4.5 to 5 million going toward the building itself.  The land the facility will be built on was donated.  Erickson told the board that the city has 2.2 millions dollars left on their available debt ceiling.  Worst case scenario is that 1.25 mil could come from the city of Akron...

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Fundraising is underway.  Area farmers have donated grain for the project and some have agreed to do that with future crops.  A home that was donated is also for sale and the profits will go toward the facility.  Akron Public Works Director Gary Horton told the board that those elements should bring in about a quarter of a million dollars. A capital campaign is in place as well.

No decision was made by the board concerning the Akron care facility.  The county attorney's office will be following up with liability issues to make sure any money that the county would put toward the facility is a secure investment.

 

(LE MARS) -- Wind and solar energy alternatives are the topics for an upcoming conference hosted by Plymouth County Extension in Region 5. Extension Coordinator Carol Schneider tells us more.

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Bill Haman of the Iowa Energy Center is presenting “Wind Energy Resources in Iowa-The Bolts and Nuts” and “Solar Energy Resources in Iowa-An Alternative to Wind Energy”.  Two wind energy entrepreneurs will also be presenting.  Topics across the entire day include: legal considerations, planning and zoning, financing Iowa’s energy industry, and a utility companies information.
Schneider says the information will be applicable to many people.

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She adds that the timing for this conference is not an accident.  

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The company is Horizon Wind Energy.

The fee to attend the Wind and Solar Energy conference is $35.  Pre-registration is required by February 22nd, and a $10 fee will be added if you decide to register after that date.  To register call ISU Extension at 546-7835.  The conference will be held at the Le Mars Convention Center on March 2 beginning at 9am.

 

(LE MARS)--A balanced budget without an increase in the tax rate. That's the emphasis of the Le Mars Mayor and City Council as they work with city staff to prepare a new city budget proposal.

When the preliminary budget was given to the Council last week, there was a need for more revenue or a reduction of more than 300-thousand dollars to balance the budget. After a workshop Tuesday, Councilmembers indicated they'd made changes that reduced that to 65-thousand dollars.

One of the largest changes was Public Works Superintendent Steve Hansen's recommendation for an equipment change.

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Police Chief Stuart Dekkenga was asked to cut the number of vehicles being replaced by half--from two to one. Dekkenga told the Council he'd argue as strong as he could to replace a retiring officer and keep the department at 14 officers.

At the Mayor's request he'd asked Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo about providing the police position through a contract. He told the Council the cost would be greater than having the city police job filled.

As a cost savings measure, Ambulance Director Bill Rosacker was asked Tuesday to research whether the city could lease rather than buy a new ambulance. .

Leasing is a move the city made a year ago for Public Works Department equipment replacement.

Another Council strategy to save money is spreading costs over two budget years.

The Council resumes budget work during a meeting at noon next Tuesday.


(LE MARS)--An incentive is being offered to recruit a business that repairs electric motors to a location just south of Le Mars.

The offer of a forgivable loan for Northwest Electric is for a relocation to the former Clark Engineering building, near Lake Avenue and Plymouth County Road C-38. The incentive is offered if the company expands its workforce.

The amount of the forgivable loan is 20-thousand dollars. The funds would come from Plymouth County government and be reimbursed from the city of Le Mars and Plymouth County Joint Urban Renewal Tax Increment Financing or TIF revenue.

The terms are a forgivable loan over four years. Operations would start with four employees with a goal of adding three new employees within the first three years. At the Le Mars City Council meeting, Mayor Dick Kirchoff read the criteria to be met.

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Neal Adler of the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce and Le Mars Business Initiative Corporation said Northwest Electric has an operation in Merrill and wasn't recruited to leave the community.


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The incentives were approved unanimously by the City Council and by the majority of the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors.

The Council Tuesday also approved an agreement for improvements to the Lincoln-Lake Avenue intersection, from Fourth Street Southwest to 24th Street Southwest. Bids are to be opened April 19th in Ames.

(SIOUX CITY) If you drive by or live near schools in Sioux City, don't worry if you see heightened police presence, specifically police dogs, around the schools.  The Woodbury County Sheriff's Office Canine Unit will be holding their weekly training in the evening hours at some of the schools from now through the first week in April. 

According to Sgt. Jim Bauerly, the department's canine supervisor, they have done this training for years and in the past it has caused concern amoung area residents that something might be happening in their neighborhood.  Training will be conducted when there are no students in ithe buildings and in cooperation with the Sioux City School System.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich came to Iowa and publicly advocated elimination of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Gingrich, whose name has been mentioned in speculation about 2012 Republican presidential candidates, said the EPA should be replaced with an agency that would work more closely with businesses and seek new ways to use science and technology to protect the environment.

In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press in Des Moines, he argued that the EPA has evolved into an expensive bureaucracy that slows the development of new innovations. Gingrich says he envisions an agency that would consider new ways to develop clean coal and would write regulations allowing the development of smaller nuclear plants.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum says he's in no hurry to decide whether to seek the Republican presidential nomination and might not make up his mind until the summer.

Santorum says he's not getting any pressure from potential rivals, who are also not rushing to jump into the race. He noted that the Republican Party of Iowa's straw poll is scheduled in August, and he might not announce his intentions until a month or two before that event.

He says the delay in candidates entering the race helps lesser-known people like himself because it lets them quietly build ties with activists in key early states, such as Iowa.

Santorum was in Des Moines on Tuesday to speak to the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association.


WEVER, Iowa (AP) Authorities have released the name of a man found dead after a fire destroyed a bar in the southeast Iowa town of Wever.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety says the body of 47-year-old Kenneth Thomas, of Denmark, was found early Monday inside the Green Bay Tap. Officials say an autopsy showed he died of smoke inhalation.

Thomas was the bar's manager and bartender.

Firefighters were called to the tavern about 2:30 a.m. Officials say an overhang on the building fell onto a gas meter causing a natural gas leak that helped fuel the fire for about three hours before crews could turn off the gas.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Wever is about 12 miles southwest of Burlington.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A measure under debate in the Iowa Legislature would expand the circumstances where the use of force in self-defense would be allowed.

Current law says the use of force in self-defense is justified in cases when an armed intruder breaks into a home. The measure being debated by a subcommittee of the House Public Safety Committee would allow the use of force when confronted by an armed intruder in any location where a person has a legal right to be present.

The committee took no action on the measure, and supporters say they will have to make significant changes.

The issue sparks concern because it would, some instances, allow the use of deadly force.


BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) A Burlington man convicted of burning down his house has been given a deferred judgment and placed on probation for three years.

Sixty-six-year-old Kenneth Dix was convicted in December of second-degree arson and first-degree criminal mischief in the October 2009 fire.

The Hawk Eye says Judge John Wright on Monday granted Dix a deferred judgment, which means if he successfully completes his probation the charge will be expunged from his record.

Prosecutors requested the maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Defense attorney Gordon Liles says Dix was not the same man who committed the crime in 2009, citing his mental and substance abuse issues.

If Dix violates probation, the deferred judgment can be revoked and a 10-year prison sentence imposed.

Information from: The Hawk Eye, http://www.thehawkeye.com


CORALVILLE, Iowa (AP) Fire officials say they believe a build-up of methane gas that was ignited by a worker using a torch to melt ice caused an explosion at the Coralville wastewater treatment plant.

Brian Lamansky, the city's wastewater superintendent, was injured on Dec. 27. Fire Chief Dave Stannard says Lamansky was on the roof of a building using a blow torch to melt ice off a roof hatch of a sludge holding facility so workers could empty the tank. The explosion lifted the roof off the tank.

Stannard told the Iowa City Press-Citizen on Tuesday that the city will look into providing better ventilation on the roof to prevent future methane build-up and will explore changing protocol to ensure open flames are not used near the tank.

Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, http://www.press-citizen.com/

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

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