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KLEM News Update February 8, 2011

The tentative agreement reached by negotiators for the city and the Le Mars City Employees Bargaining group was approved on a 3-to-2 vote by the Le Mars City Council Monday afternoon.

Mayor pro tem Rex Knapp read details of the wage agreement approved by city workers last Thursday. The changes include an hourly pay increase.

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Knapp also said the health insurance contribution by employees was going up.

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Council members Ken Nelson, John Leonard and Knapp voted to approve the contract.

Council member Delana Ihrke voted no. Ihrke expressed her appreciation for the time spent negotiating.

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Before Council member John Rexwinkel voted no, Rexwinkel said he was concerned about the later years of the contract agreement.

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The changes will be used for pay and benefits as of July first.

County Supervisors to act on economic development issues today

(LE MARS)--Changes in Plymouth County's economic development department are part of the agenda for the Board of Supervisors meeting today.

Supervisors plan to reduce the amount of funding for Economic Development in a new budget proposal. The budget begins July first. The county's full time economic development director since March of 2009, Andrea Westergard, cleaned out her Courthouse office last week.

As an old business agenda item, supervisors are asked to act on reduction of the Economic Development position, accept a resignation, and approve severance pay and benefits.

The board is also to approve a loan contract agreement for Mach TIG which plans to sell, service and repair electric motors and controls in the former Clark Engineering building southwest of Le Mars.

Supervisors will meet with the Conference Board of school board members and mayors at one this afternoon for the Assessor's budget. At 2:30 p.m., the board will be part of an informational meeting on commercial property tax laws and processes at Le Mars City Hall.

 Tuesday, February 8, 2011

9:30 AMJim Henrich, Plymouth County Board Chairman
1.Call meeting to order
2.Approve this agenda (Action)
3.Approval of prior Board meeting minutes (Action)
4.Approval of claims and payroll (Signatures)
5.Committee Reports (Discussion)
6. Old Business
A. County Economic Development position
1. Reduction of Economic Development position (Action)
2. Acceptance of resignation (Action)
3. Approval of severance pay & benefits agreement to be paid (Action)
B. Approve loan contract agreement for Mach TIG (Action)
7. New Business
A. Open and review mail/correspondence (Discussion)
B. Open public forum (Informational)

10:15 AMTom Rohe, Plymouth County Engineer
(Action Items)
1.Hungry Canyons Grant Agreement- HC 11-7 Sec 23/26 Hungerford Twp

(Discussion Items)
Questions/Discussion of the Secondary Road Department

(Informational Items)
Update on construction projects

1:00 PMJim Henrich, Chairman of the Plymouth County Assessors Conference Board - 2011-12 Budget (Action)

2:30 PMPlymouth County Board of Supervisors and Plymouth County Assessor - Informational public meeting with
LBIC members to review commercial property tax laws/processes (Located at the Le Mars City Hall CouncilChambers).


Soderberg, Feenstra plan forums Saturday

(LE MARS)--A legislative update is planned Saturday by Senator Randy Feenstra of Hull and Representative Chuck Soderberg of Le Mars.

Soderberg and Feenstra host legislative forums beginning at 9:30 at the Le Mars Public Library. They travel to Orange City for a forum at the City Hall at 11 Saturday morning. The Hawarden City Hall meeting is at one in the afternoon followed by a forum at the Akron Public Library Saturday afternoon at 2:30.

They'll discuss issues concerning the legislative session. The public is invited to attend and address any issues that are of concern.

 Moore, Charles plead guilty to drug conspiracy

(SIOUX CITY) Federal prosecutors say two Sioux City men pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute crack cocaine.

The pleas to drug conspiracy by 32-year-old Kevin Moore and 55-year-old Sidney Charles, both of Sioux City, were in federal court in Sioux City.

Moore was also convicted of distributing, aiding and abetting someone else in distributing crack cocaine near a school or playground. Charles was convicted on two charges of distributing and aiding and abetting someone else in distributing crack cocaine near a school or playground and two charges of possessing crack cocaine with intent to distribute the drug. Moore and Charles had previous drug convictions.

They were charged with drug conspiracy between January and August of last year and accused of getting crack from Omaha sources for distribution to customers in Sioux City.

They are being held for the U-S Marshal's Service until they're sentenced.

Iowa's Clinton County added to disaster list

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A disaster emergency has been declared for another Iowa County following last week's severe weather.

Gov. Terry Branstad's office says Clinton County is the ninth county added to the list for emergency aid.

The proclamation lets state resources be used in storm recovery, including heavy equipment for snow removal.

The blizzard that hit last week dumped nearly 2 feet of snow on parts of Iowa, clogging highways and forcing the closure of schools and businesses. Road crews had to clear hundreds of miles of roads in the southern two-thirds of the state.

Disaster emergency proclamations were issued earlier for Cedar, Delaware, Dubuque, Jackson, Johnson, Jones, Lee and Scott counties.

Iowa appeals court takes up 1996 murder case

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Iowa Court of Appeals will hear arguments in the case of a man convicted of killing a woman during a rolling gunbattle between rival gangs in 1996 in Des Moines.

The Des Moines Register says oral arguments in the case of David Flores are set for March 9.

Flores won a new trial in December 2009. A Polk County judge ruled his attorney was not given a key police report before his trial in the death of Phyllis Davis. The judge also found credible new testimony from a woman who said another man committed the crime.

The state is appealing the judge's decision.

Flores, now 34, was 19 when he was charged with first-degree murder. He is serving a life sentence.

Waterloo woman injured in crash found dead

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) Waterloo police say a woman injured in a traffic accident was found dead in her home.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier says 46-year-old Peggy Shields was a passenger in a two-vehicle collision on Saturday. She was found unresponsive in her home on Sunday.

Capt. Tim Pillack says it's not clear how Shields died, and an autopsy is pending.

Police say after the accident, Shields reported head, neck, shoulder and hip pain. She was taken to a hospital, and later released.

Pillack says a friend noticed Shields was unconscious shortly before 8 p.m. on Sunday. Paramedics were called to her home, and she was later pronounced dead.

Iowa couple sentenced in Florida for fraud

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) Federal prosecutors say an Iowa couple convicted in Florida of bankruptcy and mail fraud are going to prison.

The U.S. attorney's office in Cedar Rapids says Gerald and Fay Schuerer, of Amana, were sentenced Monday in federal court in Pensacola, Fla. They were convicted in November.

Gerald Schuerer was sentenced to more than four years in prison. Fay Schuerer was sentenced to more than two years.

Prosecutors say they made ``sham sales'' of assets to relatives with an understanding they would reacquire the assets after going through bankruptcy. The assets included a vehicle, boats, jewelry and stocks worth more than $350,000.

The couple professed to move to Florida, where bankruptcy exemptions are more liberal, and filed for bankruptcy protection. They moved back to Iowa and got the property back.

Immigrant claims $1M prize in Iowa Lottery game

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) An immigrant who was born in a refugee camp in Thailand has claimed a $1 million prize in an Iowa Lottery instant-scratch game.

The Des Moines Register says Aenoi Phetxoumphone of Webster City, claimed the prize on Monday.

He told reporters at a news conference that he cried when he realized he had won the top prize in the ``Lifetime Riches'' game, which offers $40,000 a year for 25 years.

Phetxoumphone was born to parents who escaped war in Laos. The family initially came to California and he arrived in Iowa 13 years ago. He and his wife have four children.

Phetxoumphone elected to take the lump-sum cash option of $650,000, which netted him $455,000 after federal and state taxes.

Pawlenty opens conservative series in Iowa

PELLA, Iowa (AP) Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty focused on his evangelical background and offered a conservative social message as he opened a lecture series in Iowa.

The series is sponsored by social and religious conservatives who are testing Republican presidential contenders on their views on key issues.

During a meeting Monday in Pella with the Family Leader, Pawlenty stressed his religion, saying it shapes his politics and policies. He spoke about family-centered tax policies and his opposition to gay marriage.

The Family Leader, the former Iowa Family Policy Center, is an important social conservative group. The organization is inviting potential presidential candidates to Iowa, which begins the presidential nominating process. The events will continue through the spring.

After Pella, Pawlenty was in Iowa City and Sioux Center.

Union: Fired Iowa hospital worker denies breach

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) A union president says one of three University of Iowa hospital workers being fired for allegedly breaching the medical records of injured football players is a 26-year employee who claims she did nothing wrong.

John Stellmach leads an AFSCME union representing 2,200 hospital employees. He says one of the three being terminated for allegedly accessing the records of 13 Iowa football players hospitalized with a muscle disorder is a member.

Stellmach says the woman has a spotless disciplinary record during her employment and has been in the health care field for 40 years. He says he feels ``she's getting the shaft'' and he hopes to get her job back.

Stellmach says the woman is accused of viewing unauthorized records for ``a matter of seconds,'' which he called a minor infraction.

Trial set in Iowa embezzlement case

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) A trial is set for a Mason City woman accused of stealing more than $80,000 from the dental office where she worked as an office manager.

The Globe Gazette says 34-year-old Kiki Sue Jutting pleaded not guilty to a first-degree theft charge during an arraignment on Monday in Cerro Gordo County District Court. Her trial is set for May 24.

Jutting is charged with stealing money from Central Park Dentistry. Police say the thefts occurred over several years.

If convicted, Jutting could face up to 10 years in prison.

(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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