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KLEM News Update February 11, 2011

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This year's event is Wednesday, March 16th, on the Upper Level of the Le Mars Convention Center. It starts at 9:30 with the Chamber Coffee, hosted by Plymouth County Farm Bureau. The morning speaker is Greg Brandt, president of Nor-Am Cold Storage. Lang says the second speaker is Steven Kopperud.

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Tickets for the Annual Agri-Business luncheon are available at the Le Mars Chamber Office for $10 and include an 11:30 lunch. The event usually wraps up by about 1pm. (Angela Drake, KLEM News)

Rural Iowa loses population

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The 2010 Census shows that the migration from rural Iowa into metropolitan areas of the state is continuing.

Iowa's population rose by 4.1 percent from 2000 to 2010 to just over 3 million people. Census data released Thursday shows much of rural Iowa continues to lose population while metropolitan areas continue to grow, continuing a decades-long trend.

Pocahontas, Sac and Calhoun counties saw the greatest loss while Dallas County, which includes parts of suburban Des Moines, saw the most growth at more than 62 percent.

Population in three of the state's largest cities grew between 2000 and 2010. Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport all experienced growth, while Sioux City and Waterloo lost population.

Cedar Rapids saw the highest growth rate at 4.6 percent despite record flooding in 2008.

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

 Air Guard missions include Australia

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Iowa Air National Guard is sending about 125 airmen to Australia for a three-week training mission with the Royal Australian Air Force.

The mission, known ``Sentry Down Under,'' will include members of the 185th Air Refueling Wing in Sioux City. Guard spokesman Col. Greg Hapgood says the aircraft will include KC-135 air refueling tankers. The Des Moines Air Guard group is also going on the mission.

Hapgood says this is the first time the Iowa National Guard has participated in the coalition exercise.

The Iowa airmen will begin leaving on Sunday and will be stationed at RAAF Base Williamtown in New South Wales.

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

Iowa House GOP backs $6 billion budget

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) House Republicans have proposed a $6 billion state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

That would be $347 million less than the state is spending this year.

The spending plan is about $162 million less than one proposed by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and $388 million less than what Democrats who hold a majority in the Senate are supporting.

House Speaker Kraig Paulsen says the plan calls for the state to spend about 5.5 percent less next year. That would be less than the state is expected to collect in taxes.

The Republican plan sets the target for state spending. Details of how the state will spend the money will be determined through a series of budget committees in the next few weeks.

Iowa's politics-free redistricting faces test

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) In most states, redistricting is a bare-knuckles, once-a-decade fight in which incumbents use the process to try to solidify their re-election chances and parties scramble for an advantage.

Things are different in Iowa, which uses a panel of two geographers and a lawyer to redraw the maps.

But this year, the state is losing a congressional seat due to the latest U.S. Census numbers. Bruce Cain, a University of California-Berkley political science professor, says that could set off a partisan redistricting battle in the state with the nation's most nonpartisan system.

Iowa isn't the only state that has taken the process out of the hands of the Legislature. In Arizona and California, for example, there is a separate commission that does the work, but those members are appointed by lawmakers.

3 get deferred judgment in UNI tuition fraud case

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) Three people convicted of using false addresses to send their children to the Malcolm Price Laboratory School at the University of Northern Iowa for free have been given a deferred judgment and probation.

Parents Todd and Kristi Eastman and grandparent Connie Bigelow were convicted of tampering with records last month.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier says a judge on Thursday gave them a deferred judgment and a one-year unsupervised probation. A deferred judgment means the charges will be expunged if they abide by the terms of probation.

Prosecutors say they gave false addresses to deceive others and conceal wrongdoing.

Defense attorney David Dutton, who represents the Eastmans and Bigelow, says it was the proper sentence because they didn't harm anyone and only tried to place their children in a better school.

Group offers pro-judge petitions to House speaker

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Supporters of Iowa Supreme Court justices delivered petitions with 3,248 signatures to House Speaker Kraig Paulsen's office urging him to resist efforts to impeach the remaining four judges on the court.

Former Lt. Gov. Sally Pederson led the delegation that delivered the petitions Thursday. Pederson, a Democrat, says backers are continuing to gather support for the justices. They have formed a group called Justice Not Politics.

Paulsen, a Republican from Hiawatha, says he won't use the powers of his office to block the impeachment effort.

Voters in November ousted three justices for their role in a unanimous 2009 decision that legalized gay marriage. Some conservatives in the House say they will push to impeach the remaining four justices, but that effort hasn't progressed during the opening month of the session.

Medal of Honor recipient pursuing school in Colo.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) Officials at Colorado State University aren't commenting on whether the only living recipient of the Medal of Honor plans to study there.

A military spokesman announced this week that Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta will end his Army career in June and move to Fort Collins to pursue his education. It's home to CSU but the Coloradoan reports that school officials say they can't comment on prospective students.

The Iowa native told the Army News Service in January that he was ``looking at hopefully Colorado State.'' He said he was interested in either business or natural resource management.

CSU has been recognized as one of the top military friendly schools in the nation.

Giunta was awarded the medal in November for his courage in a firefight in Afghanistan in 2007.

(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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