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KLEM News AM Update February 10, 2011

Dr. Ellen Aquino of East Virginia Medical School will see patients at Family Medicine Clinics and the hospital beginning in August. She is a family practice physician in Virginia Beach, Virginia who will relocate to Le Mars. The announcement of her plans was made at the Floyd Valley Hospital Board meeting Tuesday night.

Hospital administrator Mike Donlin says a student from the Family Practice Residency Program of the Siouxland Medical Education will spend time in Le Mars.

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Family Medicine Clinics physicians and staff and hospital administration are recruiting physicians to fill opening created when two doctors accepted other jobs.

Siouxland Garden Show features "how to" and speakers

(SOUTH SIOUX CITY) If you think spring just can't get here soon enough, you may want to mark your calendar for the 2011 Siouxland Garden Show March 18th and 19th at the Marina Center in South Sioux City. Woodbury County Extension Horticulturist Mimi Shanahan says there will be an assortment of vendors and a number of "how-to" sessions and speakers.

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Shanahan says that Stacey Hirvela, editor with Martha Stewart Magazine, will be coming to speak on "Gardening for All with All Five Senses."

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Hirvela will be at the show at 2pm both Friday and Saturday.

Some of the "how-to" sessions include: "Cooking with Locally Grown Foods," "Green Roofs for Healthy Cities," along with pruning and gardening in containers.

With rising food prices and unstable economic conditions, gardening has become more common place again, helping to lower the investment in the produce category on supermarket receipts. Shanahan says gardening has increased in popularity for health reasons as well.

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The 2011 Siouxland Garden Show is at the Marina Center in South Sioux City Friday, March 18th from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday, March 19th from 9 to 6. For detailed schedules of speakers and sessions visit: www.extension.iastate.edu/woodbury (Angela Drake, KLEM News)

Grassley announces Van't Hul selection to military academy

(WASHINGTON) A Sioux Center Community High School senior will continue his education at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Senator Chuck Grassley announced the appointment of Colton Van't Hof of Sioux Center. Van't Hof is the son of Randy and Gretchen Van't Hof of Sioux Center.

(Photo courtesy Van't Hof family)

Last fall, Grassley nominated Van't Hof and other young Iowans for appointments to the Naval, Air Force, Military and Merchant Marine academies.

Feenstra proposes HAWK-I change

(DES MOINES)--Democrats on a committee in the Iowa Senate have rejected a bill that would have kicked thousands of children out of the state program that helps parents get insurance for free or at reduced cost. The program's called HAWK-I, which stands for Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa. Senator Randy Feenstra,  a Republican from Hull, manages an insurance company.

 "Over the summer I've had 10 or more clients come to me and say, 'Pull me off my private health care program because I want my kids to go on HAWK-I," Feenstra says. "And the reason, they say, is because HAWK-I gives better benefits." Parents with an annual income up to 300 percent above the poverty level can sign their kids up for HAWK-I, and Feenstra says that means a family of four with an annual income of 66-thousand dollars can qualify. So, he co-sponsored a bill to cut the income eligibility level in half. Democrats brought in people to tell stories about the parents who currently get insurance coverage for their kids through the state program. Carrie Fitzgerald of the Iowa Child and Family Policy Center told legislators HAWK-I is helping many parents who've lost a job in the recession.

 "What we know about those families anecdotally is that those are families who have dropped down, who were at higher income levels," Fitzgerald said. "Both parents were working; everything was going well; someone lost a job; someone lost (health care) coverage." Feenstra said he was was offended by the parade of people Democrats brought in to tout the program.

"If they want to grandstand, I'll grandstand and say, 'Shame on government for putting out a program that is taking people out of the private sector and pushing then, almost forcing them into a government program,'" Feenstra said. According to Feenstra, he's heard of mothers who've quit working so their children can qualify for insurance coverage through HAWK-I and he filed the bill to reduce income eligibility guidelines to make a statement. (News Report by Radio Iowa.

Stone convicted for meth conspiracy

(SIOUX CITY)--A Siouxland man will be sentenced in federal court in Sioux City for pleading guilty to making meth.

According to the U-S attorney's office, 33-year-old Earl Alexander Stone of Cherokee and Laurens was convicted for conspiring to make and distribute meth within 1000 feet of the Laurens-Marathon Elementary School.

He was also convicted of distributing and possessing pseudoephedrine with intent to make meth.

Stone was charged after a search was made of his Laurens residence in April of 2009. He was accused of drug crimes between February of 2009 and March of last year. 

Nebraska man may plea to charges in cyclists' deaths

LOGAN, Iowa (AP) A hearing is scheduled for a 22-year-old Nebraska man charged with vehicular homicide in a crash that killed four motorcyclists on Interstate 29 in western Iowa.

Online court records for Harrison County show a plea hearing is Thursday for Andrew Schlichtemeier of Murray, Neb. Iowa authorities say he was drunk when he swerved into oncoming traffic last August near Little Sioux, killing four men who were returning from the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D.

Court records show Schlichtemeier has agreed to plead guilty to four charges of vehicular homicide. A written plea agreement was submitted on Jan. 31.

Each of the vehicular homicide charges carries a 25-year sentence. If a judge accepts the prosecutors' recommendation, Schlichtemeier will be sentenced to 50 years in prison.

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

Wind Farm project awarded loan guarentee

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) Basin Electric Power Cooperative has received a $204 million federal loan guarantee for the 108-turbine PrairieWinds wind farm it is developing in southeast South Dakota.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said its loan guarantee covers 60 percent of the $340 million cost.

Basin Electric will own and operate 101 turbines. A public investor group called Wind Partners will own seven others.

Basin Electric spokesman Daryl Hill said that the turbines should be on line in late February or March. The electricity will flow into the Western Area Power Administration grid.

The project encompasses 37,000 acres north of White Lake.

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

Iowa lawmaker blocks marriage measure

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A key lawmaker says he will block a measure that would allow people to deny goods and services to others because they disagree with their marriage.

Republican Rep. Richard Anderson, of Clarinda, announced Wednesday he won't allow debate on the measure, which was aimed at same-sex couples but would have allowed anyone to deny goods and services because of religious objections. As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Anderson has broad authority to decide what issues are debated by their panels.

It is one of two measures dealing with same-sex marriage in the Legislature. The House has approved a resolution calling for a statewide vote on amending the constitution to ban gay marriage. Senate leaders have said they will not debate that issue this year or next.

Democrats back $10 million solar, wind power plan

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Legislative Democrats have unveiled a $10 million package that would give incentives for installation of small solar and wind energy systems at homes and businesses.

The plan announced Wednesday would give consumers rebates for installing the alternative energy systems. Homeowners could get rebates of as much as $3,000 and businesses could receive up to $15,000.

Democrats say the measure they will introduce would provide $4 million to homeowners, which is enough for 1,300 projects. The $6 million for businesses would pay for 400 projects.

They say the incentives would be added to the 30 percent federal tax credit given for such projects.

MN teen to use insanity defense in Iowa killings

ALGONA, Iowa (AP) A Minnesota teenager charged with killing two convenience store clerks in Iowa plans to use the insanity defense.

The Des Moines Register on Wednesday says the insanity defense is in court documents filed in Kossuth County.

Seventeen-year-old Michael 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.

Swanson's attorney, Charles Kenville, asked a Kossuth County judge to combine the murder trials, set for this summer. Kenville withdrew a motion to transfer the Kossuth County case to juvenile court. A judge denied a request to transfer the case in Humboldt county to juvenile court.

Kenville declined to comment on the filings.

Woman gets prison in Council Bluffs-Omaha sex ring

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) A third person convicted in a sex-trafficking conspiracy in Iowa and Nebraska has been sentenced to prison.

A sentencing report filed in U.S. District Court of Southern Iowa says 23-year-old Katherine Heredia of Omaha, Neb., was ordered to serve three years in prison. She pleaded guilty last year to one count of sex trafficking.

Earlier this week, 32-year-old Merrideth Crane-Horton of Omaha was given 17.5 years. Her husband, 35-year-old Edwin ``Nate'' Horton, was given more than 14.5 years.

Heredia's husband, 21-year-old Ramon, is to be sentenced April 11.

Investigators say the four ran the sex ring from August 2007 to June 2010 in Council Bluffs and across the Missouri River in Omaha. Prostitutes included a teenage girl.

Des Moines man convicted in sex abuse case

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A Polk County jury has convicted a man of sexually assaulting a woman who died before she could testify against him.

KCCI-TV in Des Moines says a jury on Wednesday convicted Jack Hays of three counts of second-degree sexual abuse and one count of first-degree burglary.

Iowa's online court system doesn't show a sentencing date.

Hayes, a convicted sex offender, was accused of breaking into the home of Frances Brazzle and sexually assaulting her in September 2009.

Brazzle went public with the attack. She was expected to testify against Hays, but she died last February.

Her husband, Christopher, found her unresponsive when he returned from a shopping trip. Police said she suffered from several health issues, and there were no obvious signs of foul play, forced entry or attempted suicide.

Iowa man pleads guilty in crash that injured girl

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A Des Moines man accused of running over a teenager at a city park last year has pleaded guilty to four charges, including being under the influence of marijuana.

Fifty-five-year-old Joel Simpson was charged with hitting 14-year-old Melissa Ann Robinson, of Des Moines, on June 6 in Union Park. The car dragged Robinson for 75 feet. She was severely injured.

The Des Moines Register says Simpson pleaded guilty on Wednesday in Polk County District Court to serious injury by vehicle by operating while under the influence of a controlled substance, third offense operating under the influence of alcohol or drug, and two counts of driving while barred as a habitual offender.

He could face up to 14 years in prison. Sentencing is set for March 11.

Dubuque city councilman dies of cancer

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) Dubuque City Councilman Dirk Voetberg, who represented the city for a span of more than 15 years, has died of cancer.

The city says Voetberg died Tuesday night after battling acute leukemia since last July. He was 62.

Voetberg was first elected to the council in 1987 and served three terms before leaving in 2000. He was elected again in 2007 and was in the final year of his four-year term.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

(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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