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KLEM News Update February 4, 2011

Reverend Kevin Richter, Gehlen Catholic Board President, announced the donation during a Catholic Schools' week Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce coffee Thursday.

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There was applause after Reverend Richter announced the Jim and Joan Sitzmann endowment fund insurance gift of over one-half million dollars.

On behalf of the family, Jim Sitzmann Junior explained their parents' priority.

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Rev. Richter also noted Jim Sitzmann Senior and Joan had regularly contributed to help with Gehlen Catholic tuition assistance and the Endowment Fund.

Also Thursday, he announced the honorees for the Friends of Gehlen Ball will be St. Joseph's parish of Neptune and the former St. Mary's parish of Maurice.

Le Mars Hy-Vee director presents SMART board

(LE MARS)--A tool to help educate students is a gift the new Le Mars Hy-Vee director is giving during his first few months on the job.

Hy-Vee Le Mars store director Peter Streit presented a SMART Board to Gehlen Catholic School Thursday. Streit explained it's the size of a huge chalkboard and interacts with technology.

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Hy-Vee had a contest for shoppers to buy Procter and Gamble and Sara Lee products. An effort led by Lisa Niebuhr and Lori Schuch helped the Le Mars school earned the highest average points score.

Streit began his Hy-Vee career working for the business while he was attended a Catholic High School in Cedar Rapids. Streit said he feels fortunate to work for a company that can give back.

He's the seventh sibling to be in management with Hy-Vee

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Streit said he's excited to be in Le Mars.

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Hy-Vee is giving the SMART Boards to schools as part of the "Smiles for Education" program.

Brad Pick of Primebank Thursday presented the proceeds of the Gehlen Catholic Visa program. Since 2000, Pick explained Primebank has donated a percentage of total purchases using the Gehlen Catholic Visa card.

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Primebank also offers a Le Mars Community School Visa card.

Crime Dusters asks for prescription drug theft tips 

(PAULLINA) A burglary involving prescription drugs is being investigated by Paullina Police and the O'Brien County Sheriff's Office.

The burglary at Barama Drug in Paullina occurred during the early morning hours last Friday (January 28th). A window was broken in the rear of the Paullina pharmacy business to get into the building.

An undetermined amount of prescription drugs was taken in the burglary.

Anyone with information is asked to call the O'Brien County Crime Dusters. The program is offering a cash reward to anyone who provides information on the crime that leads to an arrest and conviction. There's a "Hot Tip" link on the O'Brien County Sheriff's website.

Schools to be joined next year

(UNDATED)--Voters have approved proposals that will turn four western Iowa school districts into two.

The Maple Valley and Anthon-Oto school districts will be joined July 1, 2012, as will the Pocahontas Area and Pomeroy-Palmer districts.

Superintendent Steve Oberg has said no school closures or staff layoffs will occur for Maple Valley or Anthon-Oto.

The Messenger of Fort Dodge says Pomeroy-Palmer's school board has already approved cutting some jobs among nonteachers to address some of the district's financial problems.

Oberg said before the election that state consolidation incentives were making Tuesday a good time for voters' decisions.

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

Judge denies MN teen's motion in Iowa killings

DAKOTA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A Minnesota teen charged with killing two convenience store clerks in Iowa will be tried in adult court in at least one case.

Online court records show a judge denied 17-year-old Michael Swanson's request to transfer his case to juvenile court in Humboldt County.

Swanson, of St. Louis Park, Minn., is charged as an adult with murder and robbery in Kossuth and Humboldt counties. He's accused of killing a clerk in Algona on Nov. 15, then driving to Humboldt and killing another clerk.

The Des Moines Register first reported the judge's decision on Thursday, following a closed hearing.

A telephone call to Swanson's attorney, Charles Kenville, Thursday evening was not returned.

Swanson's trial in Humboldt County is expected this summer. His trial in Kossuth County was reset for July 27.

Some Atlantic parents upset over bullying incident

ATLANTIC, Iowa (AP) — Some parents in Atlantic in southwest Iowa are upset over a bullying incident and want more action taken against the middle school student who was allegedly involved.

KCCI-TV in Des Moines says parents packed the school board meeting Wednesday night to complain about the student, who allegedly stabbed other students with a pencil. The student received an in-school, two-day suspension.

Some parent say the punishment wasn't severe enough.

The school board took the parents' comments under advisement, but took no action.

Superintendent Michael Amstein told KCCI the punishment was appropriate, but officials will take steps to try and not put students in a position so they're at risk.

Funeral for Iowa solder killed in Afghanistan

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Funeral services will be held on Sunday for an Iowa soldier killed in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan.

Twenty-six-year-old Army Spc. Shawn Muhr (MOOR), of Coon Rapids, died Jan. 29. The Department of Defense says he was in a heavy equipment transport vehicle when it was struck by a roadside bomb. Muhr and another soldier were killed.

The Iowa National Guard on Thursday says funeral services will be at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday at Coon Rapids-Bayard High School in Coon Rapids with burial at Union Cemetery. Visitation will be on Saturday at the high school.

Muhr was assigned to the 546th Transportation Company, 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 82n Sustainment Brigade, which is based at Fort Bragg, N.C.

He is survived by his wife and stepson.

Branstad issues disaster declarations for 3 counties

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad has issued disaster proclamations for three Iowa counties to help with snow removal from this week's blizzard.

Branstad on Thursday issued proclamations for Cedar, Dubuque and Scott counties. Spokesman Tim Albrecht says the Iowa Department of Transportation will help the counties get rid of the snow and the state will help with funding.

The blizzard that hit Tuesday and Wednesday dumped nearly 2 feet on snow on parts of Iowa, closing highways, schools and businesses. All Iowa highways opened Thursday after three days of work by road crews to clear hundreds of miles of roads in the southern two-thirds of the state.

Businessman announces campaign to reduce spending

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A wealthy Dallas businessman says he's establishing a campaign-like operation in Iowa to force presidential candidates to pledge to make deep cuts in federal spending.

Michael George announced his plan Thursday at the Iowa Statehouse. He says he will hire veteran Republican strategists Marlys Popma and Dave Funk to serve as advisers. Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn will direct George's campaign in Iowa.

Popma says the group already has five field staffers at work in Iowa and she expects George to spend more than $1 million on the campaign.

George says he wants presidential candidates who come to Iowa to pledge to cut up to $500 billion in waste from the federal budget.

Groups seek more spending on natural resources

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Members of the Iowa Environmental Council and other groups are urging lawmakers to invest in environmental programs to stimulate economic growth.

During Environmental Lobby Day at the Capitol on Thursday, council Executive Director Marian Riggs Gelb sought increased funding for the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and other efforts to preserve soil, water and air quality.

Gelb and others says the state could help the environment and ultimately improve the economy by better protecting its natural resources.

Legislators say any spending proposals will be difficult to push through this year due to an expected shortfall and Republican demands for tax cuts.

Regents say tuition increase tough, but needed

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Board of Regents says the state's three public universities face doing more with less even with a proposed 5 percent increase in tuition for in-state undergraduate students.

The regents are considering the increase at Thursday's meeting in Iowa City.

The Gazette says board President David Mills says the regents don't take lightly the decision to ask students and their families to pay more, but even with the increase, the schools face significant budget cuts.

Tuition and fees combined would increase 4.7 percent at the University of Iowa., 7 percent at Iowa State University and 4.9 percent at the University of Northern Iowa.

University presidents say in light of the state budget cuts and declining state support, the proposed increase is necessary to maintain quality.

Weather Service: Spring flooding likely in Midwest

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The National Weather Service is predicting a high likelihood of significant flooding along much of the upper Mississippi River this spring.

The St. Louis office of the Weather Service released its Spring Flood Outlook, and the concerns are ominous. The Weather Service cites high levels of stream flow, soil moisture and snowpack in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and northern Missouri.

Hydrologist Mark Fuchs says this week's snow storm didn't help. He says towns along the Mississippi from Minnesota south to the St. Louis area could see moderate to major flooding in the spring.

Flooding is considered less likely on the Mississippi south of St. Louis because parts of southern Illinois and southeast Missouri had below average rainfall through 2010.

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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