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KLEM News PM Update March 16, 2011


Le Mars Police, Le Mars Fire-Rescue and the Iowa State Fire Marshal's office investigated the fire reported at 1240 Lincoln Street Northeast at around 2:30 this morning.

Plymouth County owns the building which is leased to the Pride Group for services to mentally disabled adults

Merrill and Oyens Fire Departments were called to assist the Le Mars Department.


Fire-Rescue Chief David Schipper reports the south hallway of the building sustained heavy smoke and fire damage.

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Damage is currently estimated at 20-thousand dollars.

One person in the building was taken to Floyd Valley Hospital, but did not have fire-related injuries.

According to written information from Le Mars Police, a resident, 20-year-old Zachary Dean Henry, has been charged with arson in the first degree and is accused of intentionally setting the fire in the south end of the building. Henry was taken to the Plymouth County Jail.

There were 49 residents and two staff members in the two-story building. They were all safely evacuated to the Plymouth County Law Enforcement Center building just south of the care facility. The evacuation was for about three hours.


Assisting the Fire-Rescue Department at the fire scene were Le Mars Police, the Plymouth County Sheriff's office, Iowa State Fire Marshal's office, Le Mars Ambulance and Pride Group staff as well as Merrill and Oyens Fire Departments. .

(LE MARS)--A Homer, Nebraska business is the low bidder for improvements to a portion of 12th Street Southeast in Le Mars.

The Le Mars City Council Tuesday agreed to a contract with Steve Harris Construction, subject to a review by the Iowa Department of Transportation. The cost for the reconstruction between Seventh Avenue East and 14th Avenue East is 231-thousand dollars. That's about 86-thousand dollars less than the engineer's estimate. There were five bidders.

The engineer for the project, Bryan Wells, told the Council the lower than expected bid prices were due, in part, to the need for work by local contractors.

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The city public works staff would complete erosion control, seeding and shoulder finishing which is not funded with federal funds of 80 percent of the project cost up to 250-thousand dollars.

Council member Rex Knapp voted no on the action to award the contract. Knapp had earlier asked about the balance in the city's fund for the work and engineering costs. The engineer cost is more than 40-thousand dollars.

YANKTON, S.D. (AP) The Yankton School Board has voted to opt out of the property tax freeze by $4.1 million a year.

Board President Mike Stevens said the district also will have to make spending cuts in the face of declining revenue.

The school's business manager is projecting a $3.2 million budget deficit in the coming school year.

The Press Dakotan reported that it will take at least 598 petition signatures filed within 20 days to force a public vote on the opt out.

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

CAMANCHE, Iowa (AP) Officials say a gas leak forced students and staff members to leave an eastern Iowa school.

Camanche  fire officials say the leak was found in a utility room at Camanche Middle School a little after 10 a.m. Tuesday.

Students were sent to the gymnasium at Camanche High School. Streets near the middle school were closed and Alliant Energy was called.

Television station WQAD says workers had the leak fixed in about 90 minutes.

One person was treated at the scene for a minor medical problem.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) A prosecutor is defending his decision to make a federal case against a former technical college official arrested trying to meet an investigator posing as a 14-year-old girl.

U.S. Attorney Nick Klinefeldt says that preventing child exploitation is a top priority, and the case against Terry Campie showed how local, state and federal authorities can work together successfully.

Campie pleaded guilty Monday to attempting to entice a minor. The former dean of the ITT Tech campus in Cedar Rapids was arrested after he drove to Clinton to meet the girl after sexually explicit chats.

Campie faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. His attorney argues that is excessive given he'd face less time if the case had been handled in state court and there was no girl involved.

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) An Iowa woman who took nearly $1.6 million from her East Dubuque employer must pay it back and spend 25 months in federal prison.

Julie Meyer had pleaded guilty in December to a fraud charge. The Farley woman took the money from Midwest Irrigation over the course of more than seven years.

She was sentenced Monday at U.S. District Court in Rockford. Meyer also must serve three years of supervised release after she leaves prison the first year under home detention.

Meyer had been chief bookkeeper at the company. Midwest Irrigation designs, installs and services commercial, municipal, industrial and residential outdoor irrigation systems.

Prosecutors say she acknowledged using much of the money to pay gambling debts.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) The Linn County auditor wants the state to audit his county.

County Auditor Joel Miller says the county sheriff and recorder have separate, independent accounts that they amass through fines and fees rather than taxes. Miller thinks the accounts aren't legal, and he wants the state auditor to assess the county and determine whether those accounts are permissible.

The county's annual audit found no problems with the county's books. But Miller says that audit didn't say whether those separate accounts were lawful.

The state auditor's office says a decision about a state audit will be made after the office looks over county's annual audit.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) Banks and other providers of mortgages are holding up buyouts of flood-wrecked homes in Cedar Rapids.

Corey Luedeman (LOO'-deh-muhn) is a senior staff attorney at Iowa Legal Aid's Cedar Rapids office who represents several borrowers.

The Gazette of Cedar Rapids says Luedeman's clients and others can't take city buyouts because the lenders won't approve deals that don't pay off the mortgages.

Luedeman says the lenders' foreclosure cases ``don't make sense when there's no house.''

Amy Schirm (shurm) is the city's real estate coordinator for flood acquisitions. She says the city has come upon stalled foreclosures on about three dozen flooded homes of the nearly 1,500 enrolled in its voluntary buyout program.

The 2008 flooding displaced 10,000 residents and ruined thousands of homes and buildings.

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) University of Northern Iowa faculty members are in line for raises of more than 3.5 percent for the next two years after an arbitrator adopted a proposal by their union to end a bargaining impasse.

Arbitrator Stanley Michelstetter II ruled that UNI faculty members will get 2.25 percent salary increases July 1 followed by 1.25 percent hikes Jan. 1. Their salaries will rise by 2.25 percent again in July 2012 and 1.25 percent in January 2013.

The Board of Regents had proposed a raise of 1 percent for the first year followed by 2.5 percent the second year.

Michelstetter says the union's proposal is consistent with raises given to other unionized state employees by outgoing Gov. Chet Culver. He also ordered the union to take concessions in their health benefits.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) People could be playing with a new system when they buy their Iowa Lottery tickets next month.

Officials say their new computer system soon will be in play at 2,400 retail sites, offering speedier service and lower chances of cheating by unscrupulous clerks.

Larry Loss is the lottery's vice president of sales. He told The Des Moines Register that the system will be phased in starting the first week of April, with about 300 sites getting new hardware and software each week until the project is finished.

The software and computers, printers, flat-panel screens and self-serve ticket checking devices are part of a $50.3 million state contract with Scientific Games of Georgia.

(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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