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KLEM News AM Update February 16, 2011

 According to Superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt, a number of contractors submitted bids Monday night for the Phase II project which includes classrooms, art, music and athletic facilities.

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The architect's estimate was nine-point-four-million dollars. A Sioux City contractor had the low bid of less than seven million dollars.

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Wendt described bids as significantly lower than the architect's estimate.

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The funds the district will borrow to finance the building project will be repaid from school local option sales tax.

Tentative plans are for groundbreaking in early April.

Budget estimate is set for hearing March 1

 (LE MARS) A budget estimate is set for comments at a Le Mars City Council meeting March 1.

The Council set the hearing date after an update from Assistant City administrator Bill Cole this afternoon. A contract agreement with City of Le Mars employees who are part of a bargaining group is reflected in the latest budget proposal. The total contract settlement amount in the budgets for the city's general fund and water and wastewater budgets is about 33-thousand 600 dollars. Employees will receive a 25 cent an hour pay increase and will contribute more toward the cost of health insurance coverage.

Council members said during the meeting that if federal funds don't come through for a building to house new airport snow removal equipment they won't be held to the 229-thousand dollar project. Engineering for the building project will cost about 42-thousand dollars.

Le Mars Police Chief Stuart Dekkenga reported 65 individuals have used a new program to collect unused medication, including prescription drugs. Le Mars Dare and Le Mars Police began offering the program coordinate by DARE Officer Jay King in May of last year. The medication is incinerated and the last disposal involved two full garbage bags. Dekkenga's report on "Project Safe Meds" was part of an annual report for the Police Department given to the Council.

There weren't any comments on plans to vacate parts of two streets near the Wells' Dairy North Ice Cream Plant. Wells' plans to expand dry ingredient storage and office space on the north side of the plant. The city and Wells' are also working together for a 10-acre land donation by Wells' for a new Public Works Facility near the South Ice Cream Plant.

Efficient treatment of waste was reported by Superintendent Ron Kayser when he reviewed the annual report of the Wastewater Treatment Facility and Collection System. A study being completed by a consultant indicates the need to increase the capacity of the city facility. Sixty-seven percent of the waste in the city is from small business and city residents.

Convention Center renovation plans were not ready for Council consideration.

Recommendations for more than 90-thousand dollars in Hotel Motel Sales Tax were accepted for comments and then action at March first meeting.

Wind energy focus reported by Supervisor Kass

(LE MARS) A Horizon Wind Energy study of some locations in Plymouth County and a March 2nd Wind and Solar Energy Conference hosted by Iowa State University Extension in Plymouth County  are just two examples of alternative energy as an emerging development in the area.

Supervisor Don Kass just attended an American Wind Energy Association conference in Omaha. Kass told supervisors Tuesday there "were a couple of pretty significant things to report on" and offered a Power Point presentation from the meeting.

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Kass attended the conference as part of a move by supervisors to more actively work in economic development in place of a paid county economic development director. The change will be a 50 percent reduction in economic development spending, if the new county budget estimate is adopted. The funding amount proposed is 40-thousand dollars.


Sam Fedele will be in Remsen for  Mid-Sioux's Comedy Night fund raiser

(REMSEN) An organization that helps over 12,000 area individuals each year is holding their annual fund raiser.  Mid-Sioux Opportunity's 9th Annual Comedy Night Fund raiser is coming up Saturday, March 12th.  Executive director Dick Sievers says this year's funny man is Sam Fedele. 

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Fedele is a former business owner and U-S Marine. His diversified background and high energy clean comedy make people across the country laugh.  He has been seen on NBC and Comedy Central.

In addition to the comedy show, the Mid-Sioux fundraiser includes a dinner and a raffle with a 42" flat screen LCD television and a $300 gift certificate to Bridges Bay Resort in Okoboji.  Sievers says all proceeds go directly to support the many programs of the non-profit agency. 

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The Mid-Sioux Opportunity Comedy Night Fund raiser is being held at the Avalon Ballroom in Remsen and begins at 6pm Saturday, March 12th.  Dinner is at 7 and the entertainment begins at 8.  Tickets are available by calling 712-786-2001 or can be purchased at Mrs. B's Convenience Store in Remsen. (News report by Angela Drake, KLEM News)

GOP/Fox Debate at Sioux City's Orpheum in 2012

(SIOUX CITY)--Sioux City will be in the spotlight before the February 6, 2012  Iowa Caucuses. 

Party chair Matt Strawn Tuesday announced the Iowa GOP/FOX News Debate series at Sioux City's historic Orpheum Theatre in 2012.

In a news release, Strawn said no longer will Republicans in Northwest Iowa have to settle for watching high-profile caucus debates hosted hundreds of miles away; they will be active participants in the process.

Chris McGowan of the Siouxland Initiative/Chamber of Commerce issued a statement thanking Strawn and the party for the debate series in Sioux City. McGowan says this brings national and international focus to Sioux City and northwest Iowa as well as the substantial economic impact on the regional economy.

The first ever nationally televised Presidential debate from northwest Iowa is scheduled to be held at the Orpheum the week before the Iowa Caucuses.  Specifics about the debate will be released later.

The first Iowa GOP/Fox News debate will take place on August 11, 2011, two days before the Iowa GOP's Ames Straw Poll.


Parker charges aren't related to standoff

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) A man who held officers at bay for several hours at a Sioux City mobile home park has been arrested on charges unrelated to the standoff.

Twenty-two-year-old Samuel Parker faces charges of burglary and sexual abuse.

According to Associated Press, after peacefully ending his standoff around 4 p.m. Sunday, Parker was taken to a hospital for treatment of an undisclosed medical condition.

It was unclear whether he was armed.

Details of the allegations against him aren't available.

In the fall of 2006, police shot and killed Parker's brother, Ellis Parker, at the same mobile home park. Ellis Parker, armed with a knife, was shot as he approached officers.

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

Hartley farm woman promotes common ground betweeen farmers and consumers

(HARTLEY)--A Hartley farm woman is one of three volunteer spokeswomen for a new education and awareness effort.

Jill Vander Veen describes CommonGround as a grassroots program designed to give farm moms and wives a chance to talk to consumers making the food choices.

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As Vander Veen explains, the farm women are not out to change people's minds about what they choose to eat.

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The Iowa Corn Growers Association and Iowa Soybean Association are working together on the pilot project

Vander Veen is motivated to be part of CommonGround by her belief that there are a lot of people who are misinformed.

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The effort began early this month when the farm women visited with shoppers at a West Des Moines grocery store. From that experience Vander Veen concluded that a lot of people don't think about what they're buying and shoppers who did had good questions for the farm women.

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The effort to showcase what farm families and the consumers of the food they grow have in common is also a pilot project in Nebraska, South Dakota, Kentucky, and Indiana. www.findourcommonground.com

NW Iowa casino to open ahead of schedule


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) A $120 million casino being built just across the South Dakota border in northwest Iowa will open ahead of schedule.

The Grand Falls Casino Resort was slated to open about the Fourth of July. General Manager Sharon Haselhoff said the date is now May 26, just before Memorial Day.

Haselhoff says the structure was enclosed before Thanksgiving and hundreds of workers have been working around the clock.

The resort will feature a 1,200-seat events center and a 100-room hotel. Some rooms will have balconies overlooking a 30-foot waterfall that will flow into a geothermal lake that will heat and cool the resort. There are plans to add a golf course in 2013. The casino will feature 900 slot machines, 24 table games and eight poker tables.

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

SD, Iowa men face child sex trafficking charges


RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) Three men from South Dakota and Iowa face commercial sex trafficking charges after an online sting.

The Rapid City Journal reports that a 31-year-old man and a 53-year-old man from Sioux Falls and a 40-year-old man from Sioux City, Iowa, all could face life in prison if convicted.

The men allegedly responded to an online ad posted as part of an undercover operation by Homeland Security and the South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The Journal reports that the sting was aimed at identifying people who try to buy sex with children.

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

Conservative GOP could prompt some to skip Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Fewer potential presidential candidates are spending this winter in Iowa, home to the nation's first caucuses, and some wonder if the state party's shift to the right could be scaring away some politicians.

White House hopefuls are still visiting Iowa, but less often than in past years. Lesser-known candidates such as former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum have made frequent Iowa stops. But others, such as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, haven't come to Iowa lately.

Campaigning will intensify this spring, but some strategists wonder whether the more moderate contenders will follow the lesson of John McCain, who largely skipped the Iowa caucuses in 2008 and still locked up the Republican Party's nomination in other states.

Cedar Rapids seeks $200 million in state flood aid

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Cedar Rapids is seeking $200 million in long-term state financial aid to help pay the costs of a $375 million flood control project to protect the city from another disaster similar to floods of 2008.

The Des Moines Register says the proposal would essentially provide Cedar Rapids with a $200 million rebate over a period of years on a portion of the future growth of state sales taxes in Linn County.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved plans for a project on the east side of the Cedar River, and the federal government will provide $65 million. City leaders believe it's crucial to protect both sides of the river.

Mayor Ron Corbett, who met with The Register on Tuesday, is hoping lawmakers will address the project.

Former Floyd County paralegal offered job back

CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) Floyd County has offered to rehire a former paralegal who filed a sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation lawsuit against the county.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier says the county extended the offer to Theresa Farmer on Monday. Farmer worked as a paralegal for former County Attorney Jesse Marzen from 2007 to 2009.

The county's attorney, Beth Hansen of Waterloo, says the offer is unconditional and even if Farmer accepts the job she can continue her lawsuit. Hansen says if Farmer rejects the offer the county is willing to pay her $50,000 to settle the lawsuit. If she accepts the job, Farmer would be paid $30,000 plus benefits.

Marzen lost his job when the Iowa Supreme Court suspended his law license for six months.

Iowa gov. earns salary plus pension

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has continued collecting state pension payments as well as his $130,000 annual salary since being sworn in for a fifth term last month.

Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht said Tuesday that the Republican governor has continued receiving a pension of more than $50,000 annually for his prior 26-year tenure as governor, lieutenant governor and lawmaker.

Albrecht says Branstad ``made a significant personal sacrifice'' by stepping down as president of Des Moines University to run for governor. He says the governor earned the pension income.

State Democratic Party spokesman Sam Roecker says Branstad is collecting what amounts to two paychecks and that it is hypocritical given Branstad's plans to lay off public employees, rescind wage increases and end universal preschool.


Police: Iowa college student died of hypothermia

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Authorities say a Luther College student from Ghana found dead on New Year's Day near the campus baseball field died of hypothermia after authorities failed to find him following a 911 call seeking help.

The Decorah Police Department said Tuesday that the death of 24-year-old ``Nabby'' Baffour-Awuah has been ruled accidental by the state medical examiner.

The department said Baffour-Awuah went to a New Year's party on Dec. 31 and had been drinking. He returned to his dormitory building early Jan. 1, but it was locked.

He called 911 about 1:45 a.m. in distress and seeking help, identifying his location as the Luther College campus. Police, campus security and a hospital paramedic searched the area for more than two hours and could not find him.

Body of man reported missing found in Fort Dodge

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) Fort Dodge police say a man reported missing a month ago has been found near a bridge in Fort Dodge.

Authorities say the body of 52-year-old Timothy Larson of Fort Dodge was found about 11 a.m. on Tuesday. An autopsy is pending, but police say no foul play is suspected in Larson's death.

The Messenger newspaper in Fort Dodge says Larson was reported missing by neighbors in his apartment complex on Jan. 18.

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

Submit your news release, photos, 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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