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KLEM News AM Update March 16, 2011

Le Mars Fire-Rescue Chief David Schipper says the alarm system alert of fire in the Pride Group facility serving mentally disabled persons was confirmed by a Pride Group staff member.

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The two were safely evacuated. One person was checked at Floyd Valley Hospital.

The fire was in the south, first floor back hallway

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Due to the size of the two-story building and the number of people involved , Schipper says he asked for assistance from the Merrill and Oyens Fire Departments when the fire was first reported.

There were 49 residents and two staff members in the building this morning.

Schipper praised the planning by the Pride Group.

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The cause of the fire is being investigated by the State Fire Marshall's office, Le Mars Police and Le Mars Fire-Rescue.

(LE MARS)--Events at the Le Mars Convention Center will be staged in a new way.

The City is planning improvements at the center where stages are used for everything from business seminars to weddings.

During the Le Mars City Council meeting Tuesday afternoon,  Dave Smetter, Wells' Enterprises Senior Director Corporate Marketing and Communications, presented Wells' support for the stage changes.

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The 10-thousand dollar Wells' donation given to Mayor Dick Kirchoff by Smetter was a surprise to the Mayor and Council.

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Fire Chief Dave Schipper then announced a 10-thousand dollar donation from Wells' to the Fire-Rescue Department.

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The Wells' donation will be used to assist the Fire-Rescue Department in areas such as Haz-Mat.


(LE MARS) Information gathered in the next two weeks may help the Le Mars Community Board of Education decide whether they'll put a program they back into offerings for the coming school year.

Superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt provided this background on Transitional Kindergarten at the Board meeting Monday night.

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Wendt answered board member Scott Kommes' question about student numbers.

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The superintendent said he envisioned changing the Transitional Kindergarten program the district previously offered rather than starting from scratch. The time line for the board's decision is tight. School officials would want to identify students for the program during Kindergarten Roundup.

A report will be given to the Board March 28th.

(LE MARS)--Spring cleanup will begin as early as next month for Le Mars residents.

Assistant City Administrator Bill Cole explains ways to handle landscape waste and items to be thrown away or recycled.

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Cole said recycling of electronics will be offered, too.

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The two days of the week for the recycling of electronics are Friday and Saturday.

(LE MARS) Technology was the focus is presentations a district court judge made at Gehlen Catholic School Tuesday afternoon.

Judge Jeffrey Neary is the presiding judge in Plymouth County who spoke to fourth through 12th grade students yesterday.

His presentation was on social media, cell phones, and other technology issues.

Judge Neary has heard criminal and civil cases for eight years in northwest Iowa. Most recently he has been talking with middle and high schools students about the law, the Constitution and the problems and concerns with social media, cell phones and privacy.

(SIOUX CITY)--Construction season is beginning on Interstate 29 near Sloan and Onawa.

Dean Herbst of the Iowa Department of Transportation say lanes will be restricted on I-29 until fall due to bridge work at the two locations.

Traffic on I-29 south of Sloan is reduced to one lane in both directions from exit 120 to exit 127. Traffic will be in a head-to-head pattern on southbound I-29 while the northbound I-29 bridge at Robinson Ditch is constructed. Completion is slated for October seventh.

Near Onawa, I-29 traffic is reduced to one lane in both directions from exit 105 to exit 112. Traffic will be in a head-to-head pattern on northbound I-29 while the bridge on southbound I-29 over Cleghorn Creek is built. Around mid-summer traffic will be shifted to a head-to-head pattern on southbound I-29 in order to build the northbound I-29 bridge. The work is to be completed by about mid-November.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) About 500 opponents of same-sex marriage rallied at the Iowa Capitol, urging lawmakers to approve a statewide vote on amending the constitution to bay gay marriage.

Tuesday's event was organized by conservative group The Family Leader and featured former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. He refused to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments in the state judicial building. He was removed from office in 2003, when he refused to abide by a federal court order to remove the monument.

Moore called on Iowa residents to stand up for truth and virtue, saying ``what happens in Iowa, the rest of the nation watches.''

Supporters of same-sex marriage also lobbied at the Statehouse. They're pushing lawmakers to keep Iowa's marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour says Iowa will be a key to his strategy if he decides to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

The two-term governor hosted a luncheon Tuesday with the Iowa Federation of Republican Women at the Iowa Capitol.

Barbour says if he seeks the nomination, he'll focus on policy differences Republicans have with President Barack Obama, including cutting spending and not raising taxes.

This is Barbour's second trip in the past month to Iowa, which has the leadoff caucuses for the presidential race. He was in Sioux City on Monday, and will be in Davenport Tuesday evening.

Barbour is expected to announce his candidacy this spring, after the Mississippi Legislature finishes its work.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Iowa Senate has unanimously voted to ban synthetic marijuana, which had been sold in some shops and on the Internet.

The Senate approved the ban Tuesday. Under the bill, it would be a crime to manufacture, deliver or possess the so-called incense called K2 or Spice. Punishment would include up to two years in prison and fines of up to $6,500.

The bill goes to the House, which has passed its own version.

Last year, the state pharmacy board approved an emergency ban, but it will expire unless the Legislature makes it permanent.

The federal Drug Enforcement Agency has outlawed the sale of five chemicals used to make the fake marijuana for at least a year. The action follows reports of bad reactions, including seizures.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A report released Tuesday says construction jobs in Iowa have dropped 19 percent in the past four years.

The report from the Associated General Contractors of America says construction employment in the state fell by 12,400 jobs from January 2007 to the first month of this year.

The Des Moines Register reports that the group says building jobs in Des Moines dropped 29 percent and 16 percent in Cedar Rapids.

The group says construction spending dropped 34 percent nationally from its peak in 2006.


OXFORD JUNCTION, Iowa (AP) The city of Oxford Junction in eastern Iowa is under a boil advisory after a water main broke Tuesday.

City officials are asking residents to boil all water used for drinking or cooking until tests show that it's free from bacterial contamination.

The city lost pressure in its water distribution system following the water main break, leaving open the chance for bacteria to enter the system.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources or city officials will notify residents when the advisory is lifted.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) A former Council Bluffs youth pastor has bonded out of jail, pending further court action on the 60 counts of sexual exploitation filed against him.

Brent Girouex is due back on court April 21.

Pottawattamie County Attorney Matt Wilber told Omaha television station KETV that his office is working with eight people who say they've been victimized by Girouex.

Pastor Lonnie Parton of Victory Fellowship Church says church leaders were stunned when four young men came forward with allegations against Girouex in February. Parton says the church leaders told Girouex to turn himself in. He did so on Feb. 16.

A number listed for Girouex is no longer in service. Online court records don't list his attorney's name.

(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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