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KLEM News AM Update March 23, 2011


The Le Mars Fire-Rescue Department responded to the fire at the Earl Myers residence at 34 Birch in Armel Acres at 4:15 Tuesday afternoon.

Fire-Rescue Chief David Schipper reports the fire was under the east side of Myer's house. Firefighters put the fire out very quickly and power was disconnected to the home.

Schipper reports some insulation and electrical wiring under the trailer were damaged but the inside of the home did not have any damage.

The most probable cause was an electrical equipment malfunction with wiring and an outlet providing power for heat tape that was in use under the trailer house.

Le Mars Fire-Rescue was assisted by Le Mars Police, MidAmerican Energy and Langel's Electric of Le Mars. The fire-rescue department was out on the call for about one hour.


(LE MARS)--A decision on a grant request for Plymouth County Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) will affect the timing of improvements planned at the Le Mars Convention Center.

City administrator Scott Langel says the city plans about a 100-thousand dollar facelift on the upper level of the Convention Center. 

Langel says a donation of 10-thousand dollars from Wells Enterprises Incorporated will be used toward Convention Center stage improvements.

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You should hear another difference. 

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The former Westmar University Commons cafeteria serving line pieces and ceiling will be changed in the bar area.

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 The city building project is planned this calendar year. A decision on the county Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) grant request is expected prior to July 1.

 (WASHINGTON, D-C)--Eighteen northwest Iowa counties are on Senator Chuck Grassley's list of town meetings.

Grassley will host a town meeting for Plymouth County at the Kingsley Community Center today (Wednesday) from 8-9 in the morning.

(OKOBOJI) The new superintendent of the Okoboji School District has experience in school administration in northwest Iowa.

The Okoboji Board of Education has hired Gary Janssen as Superintendent beginning July 1st. The hiring decision on March 18th included a 123-thousand dollar annual salary.

Janssen is the Superintendent and Junior High Principal at North Tama Community School District in Traer. He worked as assistant superintendent for Le Mars Community and resigned to accept other employment when the position was eliminated due to budget cuts. Janssen was also a principal in the West Sioux Community School District.

(ROCK RAPIDS) A Larchwood woman faces drug charges after a search of a Larchwood apartment.

The Lyon County Sheriff's office released written information Monday about the arrest of 27-year-old Autumn Renee Hooker of Larchwood.

Hooker is charged with felony possession of marijuana with intent to deliver the drug; possession of a controlled substance; and failing to have a drug tax stamp.

Authorities report finding 10 ounces of marijuana during the apartment search on March 14th. She was arrested a week ago and is free on five-thousand dollars bond.

The investigation is ongoing and more charges may be filed.

(SIBLEY)--Two people were injured in a motorcycle accident in near Sibley.

The Osceola County Sheriff's office reports 32-year-old Aaron Schulte of Sibley was driving a bike north on Nettle Avenue, attempting to make a left turn onto 210th Street.

Authorities report the motorcycle spun out on loose gravel causing Schulte to lose control and tip the bike on its left side.

Schulte had incapacitating injuries and was taken to the Osceola Community Hospital. A passenger, 41-year-old April Downey of Sioux Falls had less serious injuries and was also taken to the hospital in Sibley.

Information about the accident last Friday night was released by the Sheriff's office Monday.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Iowa Senate has approved spending an additional $16 million on public defenders this year.

Republican GOP Gov. Terry Branstad supports the measure approved by the Senate on Tuesday, but the proposal is opposed by House Republican leaders unless Democrats agree to create a taxpayer relief fund. That fund would capture surplus money from the state's general fund and spend it on tax relief.

Iowa's indigent defense fund dried up in late February, and the state now owes about $1.5 million to lawyers who represented low-income defendants on the state's behalf.

The Senate voted 36-12 for the extra money. The body had earlier approved the funding in a larger bill on which the House and Senate have been unable to agree.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) Davenport city leaders are promising west-end residents they are doing everything in their power to protect their neighborhood from a potential record-breaking flood, but they are also urging them to be prepared for the worst and help with sandbagging efforts.

Alderman Nate Brown told more than 100 residents packed into a community center the city would not order a mandatory evacuation for the low-lying neighborhood known as the Garden Addition as it did in 1993. But he warned that if they defy directions to leave, residents should be prepared to wait for help should they later need to be rescued.

Public Works Director Mike Clarke said the city is in the process of elevating levees along the neighborhood's Blackhawk Creek, a Mississippi River tributary that floods the area when it overflows.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The value of Iowa farmland is up nearly 20 percent in the past six months, thanks to strong commodity prices, especially in livestock since last fall.

The Des Moines Register reports the survey by the Iowa Farm and Land Chapter of the Realtors Land Institute shows the average value of all tillable cropland as of this month was $5,717 an acre.

That compares to $4,768 in September. The value is up nearly 25 percent from March 2010.

The Realtors' survey tracks with other surveys showing dramatic increases in farmland values boosted by big gains in prices for corn, hogs and cattle.

Troy Louwagie of Hertz Farm Management puts together the twice-annual survey. He says it's the biggest one-year jump since 1978.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Iowa Senate has voted to legalize the hunting of mourning doves.

On a 30-18 vote without debate, senators on Tuesday approved a measure calling for the state Department of Natural Resources to establish a hunting season for the birds.

The issue has come up repeatedly in the Legislature. Lawmakers approved a measure allowing dove hunting in 2001, but it was vetoed by then Gov. Tom Vilsack. He argued that most Iowans wanted a dove hunting ban to remain.

Supporters of the change say 39 other states allow such hunting and that it's a popular sport.

The measure now goes to the House.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) Council Bluffs officials say a sprinkler system saved the Tyson Foods Inc. meatpacking plant after a fire broke out in a room filled with plastic foam flats used to display cuts of meat at the grocery store.

Fire Chief Alan Byers told The Daily Nonpareil of Council Bluffs that the sprinkler system held the fire ``in check'' until firefighters arrived and extinguished it.

The fire was reported shortly after 1 a.m. on Monday. Dozens of workers were evacuated, but no one was hurt.

Byers say the only damages to the building were the loss of the contents of the room, minor structural damage to the ceiling and smoke damage. He says the plant was back in operation later Monday.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Des Moines police say a central Iowa couple have been arrested in the theft of 400 brass water faucets worth $12,000 from the campgrounds at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

Sgt. Chris Scott says detectives arrested Michael Stover and his wife, Elizabeth, of Mingo, on Tuesday. Both are charged with second-degree theft and exercising control over stolen property.

A fairground patrol officer reported the theft to Des Moines police last week. The officer noticed 58 faucets were missing earlier in the month. By last week, it was 400.

The Polk County jail had no information on whether the Stovers have an attorney.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A statue of Iowa native Norman Borlaug will be heading to the nation's capital.

The Iowa Legislature voted Tuesday to send a statue of Borlaug to the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall. Borlaug's statue will replace a statue of Civil War-era Sen. James Harlan.

Borlaug, who is known as the father of the green revolution, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1970 for his work on high-yield, disease resistant crops and his efforts to end world hunger. He also founded the World Food Prize.

Borlaug died in 2009.

Gov. Terry Branstad is scheduled to sign the resolution to send Borlaug's statue to Washington D.C. on Wednesday.

World Food prize officials say a committee will be appointed to raise funds for the statue and commission its construction.

(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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