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KLEM News PM Update February 18, 2011

Le Mars Area Dialysis Services Board Chair Randy Reardon says the community, once again, helped to make the fourth annual Valentine's Dance a success.

Reardon explained the funds raised at the dance and any future donations will help pay down loans to begin construction and will also go toward the operational expenses as the center opens.

The 42-inch HDTV raffle winner was Cindy Langel with the Brillance Riccar Vacuum won by Cindy Crowley.

An idea from Becky Klohs of Le Mars to auction homemade pies brought a top bid of one-thousand dollars. The bid was for a Decadent Chocolate Pecan Pie baked by Mary Reynolds of Le Mars.

According to Reardon, the management company for the dialysis service center, Fresenius Medical Care, and the architects are planning the final inspection today. The first patient may be served in early March which will be followed by an open house.

Johnson is School "Employee of the Month"

(LE MARS)--A Le Mars Community School administrator gets top grades from school staff.

High School Principal Larry Johnson's outstanding work is being recognized with the Le Mars Community School's "Employee of the Month" award today.

Johnson is described as positive and upbeat and willing to work with students and teachers to solve the problems as well as support the teachers when needed.

He's credited with being caring about the outcome of the school, being an excellent listener, and treating faculty, staff and students respectfully.

Those who work with or for him nominated Johnson for the school  honor.

(SAC CITY)--Nominations are now being taken for what will be known as Iowa's Best Burger. The statewide contest drew more than 900 entries last year. Michelle Baumhover, consumer marketing director for the Ames-based Beef Industry Council, says they'll take nominations through March 15th.
 "We know that Iowans love burgers and we also know that Iowans have great restaurants in their communities," Baumhover says. "The great thing about burgers is that whether it's a local cafe or a white table cloth restaurant, all of those entities have burgers." To qualify for the title, Baumhover says the burger patty must be 100-percent beef -- for starters.
 "The hamburger is such a clean palate that there's all kinds of sauces and cheeses and breads that can be used that really appeal to a wide range of people," she says. "That's part of this whole contest, to get those restaurants being really creative with burgers that appeal to different kinds of consumers." She says all of the nominees will be narrowed down to just ten finalists for the state title.
The winner will be the subject of a statewide media campaign. The prizes will be awarded in early May.

Last year's winner was the Sac County Cattle Company in Sac City. To nominate a restaurant and vote, visit:

Woodbury County is in "inactive"  ranking

(DES MOINES)  A new federal report praises the people in two eastern Iowa counties for their physical fitness and scolds residents in seven other counties to get off the couch.

The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention measured the leisure time physical activity among adults in every county nationwide from 2004 to '08. Two Iowa counties were the most active -- Johnson and Scott, the homes respectively of Iowa City and Davenport.

More than 81-percent of Johnson County residents reported spending their non-working hours engaged in physical activities or exercise, and it was 79-percent for Scott County. The national average is around 75-percent and seven Iowa counties fell below that rate -- Clayton, Clinton, Crawford, Kossuth, Tama, Webster and Woodbury. (News report by Radio Iowa)

Warm-up eased Iowa flooding threat, experts say

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Experts say the sun and relatively warm winter weather this week has eased but not erased the threat of heavy spring flooding in Iowa.

Most of the snowpack is gone in all but the top third of the state, and the remaining snow there could melt this weekend.

But meteorologists say Iowans are not out of the swampy woods yet: Heavy rains could quickly fill rivers past flood stage. The National Weather Service also says the flooding outlook for eastern Iowa rose slightly the past three weeks, citing the early February blizzard among other reasons.

And ice jams could back up rivers in many areas. One formed Thursday at Water Works Park on the Raccoon River in Des Moines, and others were reported in southwest Iowa

Iowa girl wrestler loses in quarterfinals

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) An Iowa high school wrestler who became the first girl ever to win a state tournament match when her opponent refused to compete against her has lost her next match.

Cedar Falls freshman Cassy Herkelman was beaten by Indianola's Matt Victor in their 112-pound quarterfinals match Friday.

Herkelman had a 20-13 record entering the tournament, but was deprived of the chance to show her skills Thursday when her favored opponent, defaulted rather than wrestle her. Joel Northrup, a sophomore who competes for Linn-Mar High School, says wrestling a girl would conflict with his religious beliefs.

Herkelman and Ottumwa High School sophomore Megan Black are the first two girls to qualify for the tournament in its 85-year history.

Herkelman will compete in the consolation bracket. Black has been eliminated.

Regulator sees no problem with Iowa governor's pay

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) A regulator says she sees no ethical problems in Gov. Terry Branstad collecting both a state pension and $130,000 salary and being shielded from financial penalties under a law he signed in 1992.

Megan Tooker, executive director of the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, says Branstad is being treated the same as all elected officials under the law exempting them from pension penalties when they go back to state service.

Non-elected officials under 65 have retirement benefits cut 50 cents for every dollar they earn over $30,000 when they are re-employed.

Tooker says there is a rule prohibiting executive branch employees from being paid by two agencies unless they disclose that arrangement. She says that doesn't apply in this case because Branstad earned his pension during his earlier service.

Sherrill woman's murder-for-hire trial set

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) A Sherrill woman accused of trying to hire someone to kill her ex-husband has been found competent to stand trial.

Elizabeth Behnke (BANK'-ee) has been scheduled for trial on March 14, charged with attempted murder and solicitation of murder.

According to the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, Behnke had been wrangling with her ex-husband over a child-custody issue. She is accused of trying to hire someone to break into his home and pour homemade poison into a jug of his milk.

The ``hit man'' was an undercover officer.

In court Wednesday, attorneys agreed that two evaluations of Behnke showed she was competent. But her attorney, Steve Hodge, said he might still argue diminished capacity a mental state in which a person is unable to produce the intent to commit a crime.

Body pulled from Mississippi River at Davenport

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) Officials are investigating the death of a man whose body was found near the Mississippi River shoreline in Davenport.

The body was spotted by a passer-by on a bike path just after 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

Police told television station WQAD that some evidence at the scene makes it apparent the man didn't drown and had been in the water for several days. Investigators won't say what leads them to label the man's death as suspicious.

The man's name isn't available yet. An autopsy has been scheduled.

Software company awards $65M grant to Iowa school

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) Iowa Western Community College has announced a donation valued at over $65 million of computer software from Siemens PLM Software to be used to establish a design technology degree program at its campus in Atlantic.

According to the Daily Nonpareil newspaper in Council Bluffs, the degree program, announced Wednesday, will be among the first of its kind at a two-year community college in the country.

Salim Rahimi of Siemens says product lifestyle management technology automates design technology from concept to use. He says it's used to design cars, cameras, cell phones, spill-proof bottles and more. He says Siemens partners with a lot of schools, but the program at Iowa Western is unique because of the collaboration between the college and industries in the area.

Classes are to begin this fall.

Iowa State wins grant for corn and climate study

AMES, Iowa (AP) Iowa State University has won a $20 million grant to conduct and oversee research on how climate affects corn crops.

Iowa State says it will coordinate the work of 42 scientists from 10 universities and two U.S. Department of Agriculture research institutions in nine north-central states.

The five-year project will collect and analyze data from fields that produce nearly 65 percent of the nation's corn.

The researchers will combine field and climate data to formulate models and evaluate crop management practices.

(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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