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KLEM News AM Update April 6, 2011

Curt Ohrlund Tuesday was surprised with the announcement that he is the "Decades of Excellence Crystal Bell" award winner for 2011.

Ohrlund is the High School Band Instructor for the Le Mars Community School district. He's taught at Le Mars Community since 1989.

Parents of his students, Teresa Sauer and Debra Ahlers, nominated Ohrlund for the recognition.

The Decades of Excellence Crystal Bell award is co-sponsored by the Le Mars Community School District Foundation and the Le Mars Community School District Alumni Association.

Ohrlund will be honored for his dedication to the education of young people at the Foundation Banquet Tuesday, April 12th at 6:30 in the evening in the lower level of the Le Mars Convention Center. The public is invited to attend and tickets are available by calling the Superintendent's office.

(LE MARS)--A Le Mars man who was charged after a Le Mars woman reported her 13-year-old daughter had disappeared last October has been sentenced to prison.

Le Mars Police arrested twenty-one-year-old Jordan Wayne Deckert on two charges of felony sexual abuse in the third degree. Deckert was also charged with enticing a minor.

According to court records online, Deckert Monday pled guilty to two felony charges of lascivious acts with a child. The charge of enticing was dismissed.

Judge James Scott sentenced Deckert to serve up to five years in prison for each of the felony convictions and the sentences are to be consecutive for a total of up to 10 years in prison. As a special condition, Deckert must be on parole for 10 years after his sentence and he is required to register as a sex offender. Deckert was prosecuted by County Attorney Darin Raymond.

Deckert is being held in the Plymouth County Jail until he is transferred to a state corrections facility by the Plymouth County Sheriff's Department.

(LE MARS)--Three people will use new Census figures to redraw boundary lines for Plymouth County Supervisor Districts.

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday passed a redistricting motion made by Don Kass.

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Guenthner volunteered to be the third member of the commission which includes one person for each of the major political parties in the county.

Auditor Stacey Feldman told Supervisors the county's 24 986 residents need to be placed in five Supervisor Districts with about five-thousand people in each district.

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The three-member commission will use a map that combines the new Census figures with the county's mapping system. The mapping work is being prepared for the commission by Information Technical Administrator Shawn Olson. The group will also have help from Feldman or a deputy auditor, Cheri Nitzschke.

 (LE MARS)--Another Main Street project is underway in Le Mars.

Kathy Stone has owned Ideal Cleaners in Plymouth Street for about 14 years and decided it was time to update.

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Stone worked with Mary Reynolds of the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Main Street program. Through Reynolds Stone got ideas from Main Street Iowa Design Consultant Tim Reinders.

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Stone explains the changes include a fresh coat of paint on the east wall/drive-up area. The lettering is gone.

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Stone's business offers alterations, dry cleaning, wash and fold, and wedding gown preservation.

Local Option Sales Tax awarded through the Le Mars City Council is one funding source for the Main Street Le Mars program.

(LE MARS)--Weekend fire calls are prompting a few reminders from firefighters.

Le Mars Rescue Chief David Schipper asks rural citizens in Plymouth County to notify the Communication Center when they're conducting a controlled burn. The plans may be reported by calling the sheriff's office at 546-8191.

Also, Schipper reports no burning should be conducted if the wind is above 15 miles an hour. Anyone burning should have a fire extinguisher, hose or other dirt moving equipment such as a tractor and disc available to help control their burning in rural areas.

Within the city of Le Mars, Schipper reminds citizens that burning of leaves, yard waste and garbage is not allowed in city limits.

The city offers a landscape waste collection site without charge each Saturday from 10 a-m to 2 p-m. The site is near the Riverview Ball complex on Highway Three West.

(ALTON) A Remsen man was injured when he lost control of his vehicle two miles east of Alton.

According to the Sioux County Sheriff's office, 20-year-old Jesse Holsinger was traveling east on the Highway 10 early Friday morning. Authorities report Holsinger's vehicle went into the south ditch. He was taken to Floyd Valley Hospital by private vehicle and was treated for injuries that were NOT incapacitating.

The accident is remains under investigation.

A fervent critic of the Iowa Supreme Court's decision on gay marriage suggests the salaries of four of the justices on the court should be cut dramatically, but he's tabled the proposal before a vote could be taken. Representative Dwayne Alons (uh-LAWNZ) spent about five minutes explaining why the justice's salaries should be cut during House debate of the court's overall budget.

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(as said) "Put them on kind of equal footing with the legislature since they want to legislative from the bench," Alons said. The phrase "legislate from the bench" is often used by opponents of the court's ruling which overturned a law legislators passed which had declared the only legally valid marriages in Iowa should be between a man and a woman. Alons suggested the justices should be paid nearly seven-times less than they're paid today -- so they'd earn salaries identical to legislators. After his five-minute explanation, though, Alons tabled his proposal.

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(as said) "Now, hopefully we will have other opportunity and other ideas to look at," Alons said. Three new Republican members of the Iowa House have been drafting articles of impeachment for the four Supreme Court justices, although the chairman of the committee that would examine those articles of impeachment says there's not enough support in the committee to move forward with impeachment. (News report by Radio Iowa)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Gov. Terry Branstad's plan to replace a statewide preschool program with scholarships based on financial need has been tacked on to a $792 million education bill.

The measure, which would fund Iowa's three public universities, community colleges and other areas, was amended Tuesday to include Branstad's preschool plan. The bill was approved by the Republican-controlled House on a vote of 54-42.

Branstad's plan, which would cut preschool funding from $70 million to $43 million, was previously approved by the House but stalled in the Senate, where Democratic leaders are unwilling to accept major cuts to the program.

Rep. Tyler Olson, a Cedar Rapids Democrat, says the preschool plan will have consequences for children in the state.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The House has approved $154 million for the Judicial Branch in the fiscal year beginning July 1 and $157 million for the following year.

The GOP-controlled chamber voted 52-41 Tuesday for the bill.

The funding level is expected to be enough to avoid layoffs and court closures that the court system previously endured after all state agencies were ordered to cut their budgets in the wake of plunging tax revenues.

Court spokesman Steve Davis notes Judicial Branch employee levels have held steady around 1,750 for the past 25 years but case filings have increased 66 percent.

The Democratic-controlled Senate has approved roughly the same amount for the coming fiscal year but is resisting two-year budgeting.

HUMBOLDT, Iowa (AP) An attorney for a Minnesota teenager accused of killing two convenience store clerks in northern Iowa wants a judge to move the first of two trials because of pretrial publicity.

Seventeen-year-old Michael Swanson, of St. Louis Park, Minn., is charged as an adult with murder and robbery in Kossuth and Humboldt counties. He's accused of killing a clerk in Algona on Nov. 15, then driving to Humboldt and killing another clerk.

Swanson's first trial, on the Humboldt County case, is June 20.

The Des Moines Register says Swanson's attorney, Charles Kenville, says in court papers filed Tuesday that the trial should be moved because media coverage has ``created a high degree of prejudice'' against Swanson. Prosecutors agree, and urged the judge to move the trial.

A hearing is April 12.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) Officials say smoking materials tossed in a trash bin caused a house fire in Cedar Rapids early Tuesday.

Three people inside the home escaped the fire that started on the back porch. Authorities say the fire was sparked by improperly discarded smoking materials that ignited combustibles in a plastic trash bin.

Firefighters say the back bedroom of the one-story house and the porch were damaged by the flames, and there was extensive smoke damage throughout the house.

Officials say two residents were awakened by what sounded like hail a little before 1:30 a.m. Tuesday. But there were flames on the back porch. Their bedroom window soon cracked, letting in smoke.

They woke up a roommate in another bedroom, and all three fled out the front door

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Iowa Senate has given final approval to a measure authorizing Gov. Terry Branstad to transfer the money that's needed to pay for lawyers who represent people who can't afford their services.

The Senate approved the measure Tuesday on a voice vote as part of a larger spending package. That package was sent to the governor's desk on a 49-0 vote.

Earlier in the day, the Senate had voted to spend $18 million to pay for those lawyers, but the House rejected that on a voice vote. The House insisted on its version, which allows Branstad to transfer money needed to pay for the lawyers.

Senators said they were reluctantly agreeing because it was the best version they could get.

SIGOURNEY, Iowa (AP) Relatives of a man accused of fatally shooting a sheriff's deputy before officers shot and killed him say he struggled with mental illness for decades.

Authorities say 53-year-old Jeffrey Krier opened fire Monday on three Keokuk County sheriff's officers as they approached his home near Sigourney (SIG'-ohr-nee) in southeast Iowa. Deputy Eric Stein, of What Cheer, was killed.

In a statement on Tuesday, Krier's brother and sister, Sam Krier and Debbie Krier, say he struggled with mental illness for the past 30 years.

They say he was diagnosed as bipolar and had ``tremendous difficulty managing his illness.'' They say he was hospitalized in March for seven days. They also say while their brother's mental illness may have ``contributed to this tragedy,'' it doesn't provide comfort or solace to those affected.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) An Iowa City man suspected of a rash of robberies in eastern Iowa will go on trial this summer on charges that he robbed a business and two banks in the Iowa City area.

Jack Harkless was slated to stand trial this week on second-degree robbery in Johnson County District Court. His trial has been delayed until July 18.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier says police believe Harkless started robbing banks in November 2008, passing notes to tellers in downtown Cedar Falls. Iowa City police arrested Harkless in January 2010 when they noticed a suspicious vehicle shortly before a Rent-A-Center was robbed.

Harkless is suspected of robbing six banks in Cedar Falls and Waterloo, and warrants are pending against him in Black Hawk County.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Key legislative leaders of both parties say they are leaning toward approval of the first proposed map of new legislative and congressional districts drawn by nonpartisan staffers.

House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, a Republican, and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Democrat, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that they are leaning toward approval of the initial map submitted last week.

Paulsen says he was looking for a map that would give him a chance to elect Republicans, and it appears the initial map fits that bill. McCarthy says he's leaning toward approving the initial map because subsequent ones could be much worse.

Public hearings are being conducted this week on the proposed new districts, and the Legislature will vote on the new maps next week.

(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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