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KLEM News AMUpdate February 18, 2011

The U-S Census Count for 2010 is 9,826..up more than 500 from 10 years ago.

City administrator Scott Langel was asked about his reaction to the upward count during a weekly interview with KLEM News.

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As Langel explained, this is a second decade of growth.

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The higher population numbers do mean more dollars for the city's treasury. Details on upcoming reports.

Celebration for care is February 24th

(LE MARS)--The years of service provided by a an emergency care physician who works at Floyd Valley Hospital will be celebrated next week.

Dr. Keith Garner began providing emergency care through Floyd Valley Hospital's Emergency Department in 1994.

The celebration for Dr. Garner's years of service is Thursday, February 24th in the hospital's lower level Conference Center from two until four.

Variance approved for retail business request

(LE MARS)--A clothing business will be able to open a store in southwest Le Mars.

The Le Mars Board of Zoning Adjustment this week approved a request from United Development Group and Maurices.

The businesses requested a reduction in the setback along Holton Drive. According to Jason Vacura of city of Le Mars Code Enforcement, the reduction of 15 feet was a variance approved by the Board of Adjustment.

The approval would allow a Maurices store to be built on the property which is east of the Wal-Mart Supercenter

Former Westmar University instructor publishes second novel with Russian theme

(LE MARS) A professor of history, a lover of travel and an accomplished novelist. Dr. Kirsten Borg has written her second novel about Russia. Borg lived in Le Mars in the 70's and 80's while teaching political science at Westmar University. While living Le Mars she wrote a political essay about how to fix problems in the United States. Dr. Borg says the piece, entitled "The Place I Call Home," led to a conclusion that would pave the way for future works.

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This fascination began when Cold War propaganda was heavy in the U.S. During that time, Borg attended a Russian Folk concert that piqued her interest in the people of Russia.

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Dr. Kirsten Borg then got involved with the Nuclear Arms Limitation Movement which eventually led her to go over to Russia in 1987, she traveled with the Citizen Diplomat Movement of Iowa. This trip rounded out her love for the people there even more.

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This lead her to write her first Russian novel, a piece of historical fiction called "Rodina," which follows a Russian family from 1861 through World War II. Borg has written another historical novel entitled "The Tsar's Daughter."

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This book, along with Dr. Borg's other works, are available on her web site: (Angela Drake, KLEM News)

Graduation rates are up

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) State education officials say high school graduation rates for the class of 2010 increased over the previous year.

Education Department Director Jason Glass announced Thursday that 88.8 percent of students graduated. That's an increase over the 87.3 percent the previous year.

Glass says all ethnic groups posted an increase in graduation rates except for African-American students, where there was a slight decline.

The biggest gains came among Hispanic students and those with English as a second language. Graduation rates among those students remained less than the overall rate.

The report shows 76.5 percent of Hispanic students graduated from high school, and 72.7 percent of those with English as a second language graduated.

Iowa Senate restores preschool structure

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Senate has approved a measure restoring the structure of a state-run preschool system.

Backers say they later will set aside $70 million for the program, a move that will spark intense bargaining at the Statehouse.

The state has been spending $70 million a year on preschool programs, but when the House debated a larger spending package, it stripped out language authorizing the program. When the Senate debated the same spending package Thursday, it restored language authorizing the state-run preschool.

Gov. Terry Branstad has proposed a $43 million preschool program, with assistance based on the family's income.

The larger spending measure was approved by the Senate on a 48-1 vote.

Midwest, Plains bankers optimistic on economy

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) The outlook for rural areas of 10 Midwest and Plains states remains positive thanks to the improving economy, according to a new survey of bankers.

The overall Rural Mainstreet economic index declined to 55.3 in February from January's 59.3, but the index remains in positive territory above 50, which suggests the economy will expand over the next six months. A score below 50 would suggest the economy will contract.

Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, said the region's economy benefited from the strengthening global economy, a cheap dollar and alternative energy production.

Bankers in rural parts of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are surveyed.

The farmland price index released Thursday remained exceptionally high at 75.9 in February. That's slightly higher than January's 75.4.

Officials say Iowa inmate died of natural causes

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Authorities say an 18-year-old inmate at the Black Hawk County jail in Waterloo died of natural causes.

Justin Johnson, of Waterloo, died Dec. 1 after telling a deputy that he didn't feel well. Johnson was having trouble breathing. He was taken to a hospital where he died.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety says Thursday that the state medical examiner's office determined Johnson died of natural causes. An independent investigation was done by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigations.

The results were forwarded to the Black Hawk County attorney's office. The investigation revealed nothing of a criminal nature, and the county attorney determined no criminal charges were warranted.

Johnson had been in jail since Nov. 9 on an aggravated assault charge.

Police: Teen on hospital ramp had replica rifle

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Authorities say reports of a man with a rifle on top of a University of Iowa parking ramp turned out to be a teenager with a look-alike pellet gun.

UI Police and Johnson County's 911 center received several calls reporting the situation at about 11:17 a.m. on Thursday.

UI police officers responded to the top level of Parking Ramp 4 at UI Hospitals and Clinics and instructed a male matching the description to get on the ground.

The 14-year-old subject attempted to hide the weapon. Officers spoke with the teen and his mother, and determined the weapon was a replica rifle that shoots pellets.

The teen and his mother were visiting a family member at the hospital, and the replica was put away for the remainder of their visit.

Iowa Workforce Development proposes cuts

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Iowa Workforce Development is proposing closing three dozen field offices and cutting 100 jobs to meet Gov. Terry Branstad's proposed budget.

The Des Moines Register says agency Director Teresa Wahlert outlined the plan to a legislative subcommittee on Thursday.

She proposes closing 39 of the 55 state's field offices and maintaining 16 regional offices. She says the state would move computers and other technology from the closing offices to the state's public libraries, where many jobless workers go to look for jobs and write resumes.

In all, about 75 state employment workers would be cut. Nearly 35 positions are vacant.

Wahlert says many of the offices that would close have limited hours and part-time staffs.

Branstad's budget would cut the agency's funding by 6.3 percent to about $15.7 million.

Johnson County Oks gun ban in public buildings

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Johnson County has approved a ban on weapons in county-owned buildings and other facilities following a new state law that gives sheriffs less discretion in denying permits to carry guns.

KGAN-TV in Cedar Rapids says the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the ban Thursday.

Board Chairman Pat Harney says the county isn't trying to take away someone's rights, but it is trying to make a safe environment. Harney says stickers and signs warning of the gun ban will be posted at county-owned buildings, facilities and parks.

The county ban comes two days after Iowa City passed a similar ban on city property.

Some argue firearms have no place in government buildings, but gun rights groups have threatened legal action if local authorities try to limit the scope of the law.

APNewsBreak: U. of Iowa may fire prof over e-mails

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) The University of Iowa has started proceedings that could lead to the firing of a professor accused of sending ``prejudiced, insulting and inflammatory'' e-mails to colleagues, calling them anti-Arab and threatening to embarrass and sue them.

A letter the university sent to radiology professor Malik Juweid says he violated a policy requiring faculty members to show their colleagues respect.

The letter includes excerpts of 27 e-mails Juweid sent over the past year, and Associate Provost Tom Rice says those are just a sample of the e-mails in question. Rice says Juweid subjected colleagues to ``personal vilification and verbal abuse'' and unfairly attacked their character and integrity.

Juweid says he sent the e-mails in frustration and they shouldn't be enough to strip him of tenure, a powerful job protection for professors.

Iowa wrestler defaults rather than face girl

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) An Iowa high school wrestler who was among the favorites to win his weight class has defaulted on his first-round state tournament match rather than face a girl.

Joel Northup, a home-schooled sophomore who was 35-4 wrestling for Linn-Mar High this season, said in a statement Thursday that he doesn't feel it would be right for him to wrestle Cedar Falls freshman Cassy Herkelman.

Herkelman and fellow 112-pounder Ottumwa sophomore Megan Black made history this year by being the first girls to qualify for the tournament. Black was pinned quickly in her opening match.

Northup said in a statement that he has ``tremendous'' respect for the girls' accomplishments, but doesn't feel it's appropriate for boys to engage girls in a combat sport.

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

Submit your news release, photo, 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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