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KLEM News AM Update February 24, 2011

(LE MARS)--Grant request applications for Plymouth County's Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) revenue are available now.

According to Auditor Stacey Feldman, the 2011 applications are available at the Auditor's Office at the Courthouse or on the county's website,

The application deadline is 5pm March 11th. The application and 10 copies are to be submitted to the auditor's office.

The County's Local Option Sales Tax Advisory Board members review applications and make recommendations. The final review and approval is given by the Board of Supervisors.

LOST funds will be available beginning July 1st.

(LE MARS) Scott and Lisa Pageler are the new owners of Hardware Hank in downtown Le Mars. Lisa says with 2 months under their belts, the new venture is going well so far.

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The hardware store business is new to the Pagelers, but it's a welcome change of pace. Scott was previously on the road a lot working for a mailing company; Lisa owns First Choice Realty in Le Mars. Her work with rental properties brought her to the hardware store quite often, and when they heard the previous owner was looking to sell, they decided it would be for them. They took the store over from Mike Goertel on December 4th.

The Pagelers say they are very much enjoying the customer service aspect of retail.

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They are also happy to be managing the employees that they have at the store.

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Changes are coming to Hardware Hank. The Pagelers have added many cans of Valspar paint to their shelves and Scott says a design area is in the works.

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The store will also be re-arranged to make things easier to find and inventory will be added, especially in the house wares department. The rental department will remain, with many tools available. Weber grills are also ready to go, and even be delivered if needed. Hardware Hank on First Avenue in Le Mars, is open Monday-Friday 8-6, Saturday 8-5 and Sunday 11-4.  (Angela Drake, KLEM News)

(LE MARS)--A Le Mars woman is charged with delivery of marijuana.

Le Mars Police filed the felony drug charge after an investigation that began on February 11th when Police and Le Mars Ambulance responded to a call involving a possible drug overdose. A 17-year-old female was taken to Floyd Valley Hospital for treatment.

At that time, Police report 18-year-old Erica Gengler was charged with operating while drugged, first offense, and taken to the Plymouth County Jail.

On February 18th, Police charged Gengler with delivery of marijuana. She is free on bond. Information about the investigation was released yesterday (Wednesday).

(ORANGE CITY)--Students from a Siouxland college will volunteer at 15 sites during Spring Break.

Four new ministry partners for Northwestern College students, faculty and staff and a new international destination are part of the annual Spring Service Projects. The volunteer work is offered March 5 through March 14.

Spring Service Project members raise their own travel funds. About 200 staff, faculty and students will travel within the United States and abroad.

In the Dominican Republic, students will work with Hope International building the foundations for two new homes and assisting in a health clinic.

In Denver, a team will help a historic church repair its building. Homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrinia will be rebuilt in Gulfport, Mississippi through the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee.

Other projects are in San Antonio, Texas; Nicaragua; Jonesboro, Arkansas; Annville, Kentucky; and Minneapolis.

Hearing set for Iowa woman on federal death row

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A hearing is set next month in federal court in Iowa for the first woman given a federal death sentence since the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976.

Angela Johnson, of Forest City, is challenging her conviction and sentence. Her attorneys claim she was incompetent and had ineffective lawyers.

Court documents in U.S. District Court in Sioux City show Judge Mark Bennett scheduled an evidentiary hearing for March 7.

Johnson was convicted in 2005 in the 1993 drug-related slayings of three adults and two children in northern Iowa. She was sentenced to death in four of the killings and given a life sentence for the fifth. The victims were found buried in shallow graves in 2000.

Johnson's boyfriend, Dustin Honken, also was convicted and received a federal death sentence.

House bill would deny same-sex marriage licenses

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A bill sponsored by six House Republicans would prohibit county recorders from issuing licenses to same-sex couples.

The proposed measure also seeks to prohibit the Iowa Supreme Court from restricting the law if it passes.

The court legalized same-sex marriage in 2009.

One of the bill's sponsors, Rep. Glen Massie of Des Moines, he says his ambition is to advocate Judeo Christian ethics as law.

Democratic Rep. Cindy Winckler of Davenport says the bill would deny access to equal justice and flies in the face of the separate branches of government.

Carolyn Jenison, executive director of One Iowa, the state's largest gay rights advocacy organization, says the measure attempts to strip the Supreme Court's authority and would lead Iowa toward a constitutional crisis.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The repercussions of a state Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa in 2009 are still being felt.

Gov. Terry Branstad on Wednesday appointed judges Edward Mansfield and Bruce Zager and lawyer Thomas Waterman to the state's high court.

Branstad filled three vacancies that were created when voters ousted three justices for their part in a unanimous 2009 ruling permitting marriages among people of the same sex.

Mansfield, of Des Moines, has been a judge on the Iowa Court of Appeals since 2009.

Zager, of Waterloo, has been a district judge since 1999.

Waterman, of Pleasant Valley, has been an attorney since 1984.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The attorney for a Des Moines developer says he has agreed to plead guilty to charges related to whether asbestos was removed illegally during a renovation project at the Equitable Building in downtown Des Moines.

Bob Knapp is charged in an 11-count federal indictment with overseeing the improper removal of asbestos from the building after he purchased it in 2005.

The Des Moines Register says Knapp's attorney, William Kutmus, disclosed the plea agreement in a motion filed Wednesday. In the motion, Kutmus also says Knapp was recently hospitalized with heart issues, and asked the court that Knapp be given more time before entering his plea.

Knapp's trial was set for Feb. 28.

A supervisor on the project, Russell Coco, pleaded guilty to two asbestos-removal charges last week.

DAKOTA CITY, Iowa (AP) A former Humboldt city administrator has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for stealing about $100,000 from a nonprofit group and the city.

Lorie Ricklefs, of Humboldt, pleaded guilty last month in Humboldt County District Court to first-degree theft and felonious misconduct in office. Ricklefs, formerly Lorie Bennett, admitted stealing the money from Mid-Iowa Growth Partnership, a nine-county economic development association, and from the city from April 2007 to May 2010.

The Messenger in Fort Dodge says a judge on Tuesday sentenced Ricklefs to 10 years in prison on the theft charge and five years on the felonious misconduct charge, to run at the same time.

The judge also ordered her to pay restitution of over $94,000 to the nonprofit group and nearly $30,000 to the city.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Anti-tobacco advocates say a new poll shows broad support for their drive to include casinos in Iowa's ban on indoor smoking.

Iowa Tobacco Prevention Alliance spokeswoman Cathy Callaway says the poll released Wednesday showed 63 percent favor extending the smoking ban to cover non-tribal casinos. She says the same survey shows 79 percent support the state's ban on indoor smoking.

The survey was conducted by the respected Des Moines pollster Selzer and Company. It questioned 500 registered voters earlier this month and claims a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.

Ameristar Casino lobbyist Troy Stremming says casinos oppose the smoking ban because businesses should have the right to decide what goes on in their business.

WASHINGTON, Iowa (AP) A 71-year-old Washington man who smothered his wife has been given 50 years in prison.

James Blum was convicted in January of second-degree murder in the slaying of his wife, Patricia Blum, on Jan. 11, 2010. The Washington Evening Journal says James Blum was sentenced on Monday.

Blum also is required to pay $150,000 restitution, about $7,500 in funeral expenses and $3,600 to Washington County for medical expenses.

Prosecutors say Blum smothered his wife on a couch in their home.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A House committee is getting its first look at Gov. Terry Branstad's proposal to change and reduce spending on Iowa's preschool program.

Under Branstad's plan released Wednesday, teachers wouldn't need to be certified, but they would have to get four-year degrees within three years.

The measure lets state education officials set standards for scholarships to parents, but it would provide some assistance to families of four making up to $67,000 annually.

Macedonia Rep. Greg Forristall, who heads the House Education Committee, says his panel will approve the $43 million measure by the end of the week. He predicted House approval by next week.

Ames Sen. Herman Quirmbach, who heads the Senate Education Committee, says he'll work to prevent Branstad from cutting preschool, a program now costing $70 million a year.

HAMPTON, Iowa (AP) A jury has found the former manager of the North Iowa Fairgrounds guilty of misdemeanor theft.

Wanda Kruse, of Rockwell, had been charged with second-degree theft, a felony. Investigators say she had more than $3,000 worth of property at her home, allegedly purchased with fair board money. But the jury decided during seven hours of deliberation on Tuesday that her theft total was no more than $200.

The Mason City Globe Gazette says Judge Stephen Carroll had ruled that the jury couldn't consider evidence regarding Kruse's family members being paid without having worked at the fair.

Kruse had no comment on the verdict, but her attorney, David Laudner, says he and Kruse will be considering post-trial legal options.

Her sentencing is set for March 14.

(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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