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KLEM News Update February 3, 2011

Forty-five thousand dollars was needed Tuesday for a new balanced budget for day-to-day city operations.

Based on Council direction this week, when a police sergeant retires, the job will be filled as an entry level position. A promotion to sergeant for a senior patrol officer won't be offered. Assistant City Administrator Bill Cole estimated the police  savings at 16-18-thousand dollars and tallied other cuts discussed Tuesday.

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Council Finance Committee member Rex Knapp described the budget proposal as a road map. Knapp used replacing a four-year-old ambulance as an example of a less than complete budget story.
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The Council last month began new budget work with a 300-thousand dollar figure for cuts or additional revenue to achieve the goal of a balanced budget for day-to-day operations. Knapp and the other finance committee member, John Rexwinkel, are watching for state budget cuts that could affect the city.

According to Council Member Delana Ihrke, many of the changes during work on a new budget proposal spread expenses over two budget years.
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The Council will be asked to adopt the budget proposal February 15th with time for comments from the public on March 1st before the Council adopts the estimate as the new budget.

Mediation didn't resolve Council-Employee contract dispute

(LE MARS)--Meeting with a mediator didn't eliminate the differences between the Le Mars City Council and a city employee group.

According to the Iowa Public Employment Relations Board, no contract settlement was reached at mediation January 28th.

Representatives of the City Council and city staff have been meeting with representatives of the Le Mars City Employees Bargaining group since fall.

The Le Mars City Council Tuesday closed a portion of the meeting to the public for discussion of strategy for collective bargaining.

The options for the employees and Council are to continue talks to try to reach an agreement or to request arbitration. Any decision by an arbitrator must be accepted by the employees and city. 

Spring antique event announced by Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce 

(LE MARS) -- If shopping for antiques and flea markets are up your alley, this story is for you. The Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce has announced The Spring Fever Antique Show and Flea Market, to be held at the Le Mars Convention Center April 8th-10th. Antiques will be on display in the upper level of the convention center and the Flea Market will be held on the lower level.

Pam Hutchins and Linda Mayrose are co-chairing the event. Pam said they decided to put the show together because they both enjoy antiques and wanted to fill a need in Le Mars.

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Hutchins says the show kicks off with an early bird antique event on Friday evening.

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Saturday show hours 9am to 5pm and Sunday hours are 10am to 4pm. There is no admission charge on Saturday and Sunday.

There has been a lot of vendor interest so far, with people signed up from Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska.

Those looking to exhibit their wares at the Spring Fever Antique Show and Separate Flea Market can request a contract for registration by calling the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce at 712-546-8821. (Angela Drake, KLEM News)

Peterson plans to retire from court position in Plymouth County

(LE MARS) An employee of the court system in northwest Iowa will be recognized early next month.

Charlene Peterson of Le Mars plans to retire after more than 33 years of work with the court system in Woodbury, Plymouth and Sioux Counties.

According to court administrator Leesa McNeil, to recognize Petersen a public reception will be held at the Plymouth County Courthouse on Wednesday, March 2nd at two in the afternoon.

McNeil credits Peterson with guiding the implementation of the pilot project for the Electronic Data Management System more commonly called a move to paperless filing. The Plymouth County Clerk and the staff in the clerk's office are using the system as one of two locations for the work in the state.

Peterson has worked in the court system in Plymouth and Sioux Counties since being appointed at clerk in 2003. Prior to that she worked in the Woodbury County Clerk of Court's office beginning in 1966. She worked as a deputy clerk starting in April of 1972 in Woodbury County.

The judges in the area that includes Plymouth have selected Craig Jorgensen to serving as the acting Plymouth County Clerk of Court when Peterson retires. A decision about a permanent clerk of court position will be made after a review within the next few months.

Parkin is new associate at real estate firm

(LE MARS)--A lifelong resident of the Le Mars area is a new realtor associate in the office of Linda Mayrose Real Estate in Le Mars.

According to Linda Mayrose, Josh Parkin recently completed his pre-licensing requirements and passed all exams to become a real estate professional.

Parkin and his wife, Dory, an instructor and general manager of the Turn Around Dance Studio in Le Mars, reside in Le Mars.

Parkin has experience in home renovation which Mayrose says will serve his real estate career well.  

Special Olympics gift from Le Mars and other Siouxland businesses

(SIOUX CITY)--Seven area businesses are supporting Special Olympics Iowa by making a gift that will benefit the nearly 800 athletes who participate in Special Olympics and live in northwest Iowa.

Donations were based on the number of Nachos Navidad products sold in the month of December to benefit Special Olympics.

Donations totalling more than 23-hundred dollars were from Taco John's restaurants in Le Mars, Cherokee, Sheldon, Sioux City, Spencer, Spirit Lake and Storm Lake.

Police seek missing items

(LE MARS)--A Le Mars woman is charged with theft after a Le Mars Police investigation.

According to written information from police, Tammy Juzek is charged with possession of prescription medication and theft.

Juzek was arrested at a residence Sunday after police report making a search using a warrant while investigating a stolen purse. The purse was reported missing early Sunday.

The purse and some of the items in it were found while searching the residence. However, police ask anyone who knows anything about three items which were not recovered to contact them. The items include an I-POD touch, ME Verizon cell phone and Olympus Digital Camera.

More courses at Good Samaritan Society-Le Mars

(LE MARS)--Digital technology and music are the latest course offerings for "Senior College" at Good Samaritan Society-Le Mars.

Beginning February 28th, seniors will again be able to take courses in the Education Center at Good Samaritan Society-Le Mars.

The Le Mars center is partnering with Southwest Minnesota State University and Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Marshall, Minnesota to offer the courses for active older adults.

"Living in a Digital World" is a six-session course offered to help students become familiar with the digital tools that are available. They'll also explore the tools to find ways to make their lives richer with the digital technology.

Music from the Big Band Era and Country Music will be presented in "American Music" which is a three-session class.

Course information is available by contacting Good Samaritan Society -Le Mars.

Lesbians denied South Dakota licenses in married names

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) Two Sioux Falls women who were legally married in Iowa are petitioning to change their names after the state of South Dakota refused to issue them driver's licenses in their married names.

A North Sioux City woman who took her wife's name after an Iowa marriage has filed a similar petition. The American Civil Liberties Union is backing both petitions.

South Dakota voters in 2006 passed a constitutional amendment that banned and refused to recognize same-sex marriages and civil unions.

South Dakota Family Policy Council Director Chris Hupke says the driver's license denials are proof that the amendment is being taken seriously by state government.

South Dakota ACLU Director Robert Doody says constitutional amendments prohibiting same-sex marriage are being used to deny people basic rights.

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

Massive storm departs Iowa, massive cleanup ahead

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Road crews prepared to work through the night to clear dozens of state and federal highways shut down by Iowa's blizzard.

The storm that dumped nearly 2 feet of snow on parts of Iowa moved out of the state Wednesday. But bitterly cold temperatures followed. The National Weather Service issued a wind chill advisory for Wednesday night into Thursday, with readings dropping to nearly 30 below zero.

The Iowa State Patrol assisted nearly 300 stranded motorists, including one of their own troopers whose squad car was stuck in the snow.

The National Weather Service in Davenport reported 17.5 inches of snow Wednesday in Keokuk, a city of around 11,000 on the Mississippi River. It was the highest snowfall reported in southeast Iowa, which took the brunt of the storm.

Iowa House backs bill blocking health requirement

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Republican-dominated House has approved a bill its supporters say would exempt Iowans from participating in provisions of federal health care reforms, though Democrats say the state doesn't have the authority to do so.

The House approved the measure Wednesday on a 59-39 vote. It restricts penalties, taxes, fees or fines from being levied against people who don't participate in a health plan, as required under the federal law.

Republican Rep. Lance Horbach, of Tama, says many people think it's their constitutional right to make their own health care decisions. Democrats responded that the bill could undermine health care reform efforts.

It's unlikely the measure would be approved in the Democratically controlled Senate.

Iowa coach puzzled over players' muscle disorder

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz says he remains puzzled about why 13 players were hospitalized with a muscle disorder following intense workouts last month.

Ferentz told reporters on Wednesday his teams had done similar or even tougher workout routines three times before in 2000, 2004 and 2007 without incident.

He says he has no idea why last month's workout apparently gave the players rhabdomyolysis, which releases muscle fibers into the bloodstream and can cause kidney damage. They've all been released from the hospital.

Ferentz says the workouts will not be repeated. But he says he has confidence in Chris Doyle, the Iowa strength and conditioning coach who designed them.

Iowa Senate toughens drunken boating law

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Iowa Senate has approved a measure putting the same blood-alcohol restrictions on boat operators as apply to motor vehicle drivers.

Under the measure, boaters could be cited if they're caught with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 of a percent. That's down from the current 0.10 of a percent.

The Senate approved the measure Wednesday on a 40-9 vote, sending it to the House.

Backers pointed to statistics from 2010 showing five fatalities in boating incidents, with three involving alcohol. Under the measure, a first offense could bring up to 48 hours in jail, a fine of $1,000 and a ban on operating a boat for a year. An alcohol-related incident causing serious injury could bring up to a year in jail, and a fine of up to $7,500.

Iowa regents consider 5 percent tuition increase

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) The Iowa Board of Regents will consider a request from the state's three public universities for a base tuition increase of 5 percent for in-state undergraduate students next year.

The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports the board's office released the 2011-2012 tuition and fee proposal on Wednesday. The regents will consider it during Thursday's meeting in Iowa City.

Tuition and fees combined would increase 4.7 percent for in-state undergraduates at the University of Iowa. The increase would be 7 percent at Iowa State University, and 4.9 percent at the University of Northern Iowa.

The 5 percent increase in base tuition would be higher than the projected increase to the Higher Education Price Index, which is about 2 percent to 4 percent for fiscal 2012. The index measures expected inflation.

Funeral for NE boy who died of meningitis

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) Funeral services will be held on Friday for a 4-year-old Nebraska boy who died after losing his arms and legs to a raging infection.

Josef Parker, of DeWitt in southeast Nebraska, was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis in mid-January. His condition worsened. His mother, Jennifer Parker, has said the infection seriously damaged her son's arms and legs, and they were removed.

Josef died on Jan. 29 at University of Iowa Children's Hospital in Iowa City.

Television station KOLN/KGIN says his funeral will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday at Trinity Lutheran Church in DeWitt.

(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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