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KLEM News AM Update May 6, 2011

The Board of Education considers the tentative new contract agreement with the Le Mars Education Association during a meeting Monday night. If approved, the agreement would be the basis for pay, benefits and other working conditions beginning July 1st.

Superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt's summary to the board indicates the total settlement is a 3.066 percent increase or $330,023.

That includes a $200 increase in the base pay.The total cost of the increase is estimated at 55-thousand 220 dollars.

The proposed base salary of $30,945 would be the amount used for a salary schedule that sets teacher pay based on increases in the number of years of experience in the district and the teacher's additional education.

Wendt's information states the Le Mars Community Education Association recognized the financial condition of the district and accepted a pay freeze for this school year. He also notes that both the board and teachers acknowledged that the financial situation for the school district for 2012-2013 will be more challenging than the next school year.

The board will be asked to increase the contribution toward employee health insurance by 65 dollars a month. The increase is a result of the increase in the premium the district's insurance provider will charge. That cost for all teachers with the coverage is an increase of 110-thousand dollars.

The tentative agreement also provide pay for the school's student newspaper staff position at the same level as yearbook and webpage.

The board has not yet set the pay for employees who are not part of the teachers' bargaining group.

(LE MARS)-Budget disputes are keeping Iowa lawmakers from adjourning.

At this point, lawmakers are a week past their adjournment plans with no agreement that could end the session.

State Representative Chuck Soderberg says the two biggest issues are the type of property tax relief and the budget. Soderberg says how big the new state budget will be is settled.

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Soderberg serves on the Ways and Means committee which he says passed a number of property tax and other tax measures this week.

Soderberg expects to be in Des Moines again Monday.

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Soderberg says property tax relief is something that is necessary, but it is not an absolute necessity for adjournment for this year. But he adds it really does need to be addressed and this year is a good year to do it.

According to Associated Press Thursday afternoon, Republican and Democratic legislative leaders say their differences over a new state budget are getting larger instead of narrowing. The two sides acknowledged today the dispute could go on for weeks or even months.

(LE MARS)-- A trial involving management of the City of Le Mars Willow Creek Golf Course restaurant and bar is delayed until fall.

Mark and Tobi Ellis of Le Mars, in a Plymouth County court case, claim the city breached a contract when their agreement wasn't renewed for 2010.

The city responded to the court case last year denying the Ellis' were in compliance with the city agreement.

Trial was set for May 17th. Judge Jeffrey Neary has granted a request to move the trial date back. The judge's order stated a ruling on a motion in the case is not expected before the trial date.

The trial is now set for October 4th.


JACKSON, Minn. (AP) A Minnesota judge has sentenced a man to 44 years in prison in the kidnapping and killing of a northwest Iowa teenager in 1997.

A Jackson County jury in January convicted Juan Humberto Castillo-Alvarez of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and felony kidnapping.

Castillo-Alvarez was sentenced Thursday to 40 years in prison on the murder charge and four years for kidnapping.

Prosecutors say members of a gang kidnapped Gregory ``Sky'' Erickson in Spencer and killed him in southern Minnesota over a drug debt.

Castillo-Alverez fled to Mexico. He was eventually extradited to Iowa and convicted in 2008. The Iowa Court of Appeals reversed the conviction, saying he was denied a speedy trial. He was sent to Minnesota to face charges in Erickson's death.

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


STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) Police say a Storm Lake teenager faces a charge of making terroristic threats after a bomb threat at a middle school.

The 14-year-old boy is accused in the threat that happened Wednesday morning at Storm Lake Middle School. School administrators were made aware of it at 9:40 a.m.

All students and staff were evacuated, and police were called. A nearby elementary school was locked down.

Officials say the boy has been taken to a youth detention center in Cherokee pending a court date.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) President Barack Obama has issued a disaster declaration for six western Iowa counties damaged by tornadoes and other severe storms last month.

Republican Sen. Charles Grassley says Thursday that the declaration triggers the release of Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to help Iowa recover from the storms on April 9-10.

FEMA will provide assistance to Buena Vista, Cherokee, Ida, Monona, Pocahontas and Sac counties. The agency will help state and local government and certain nonprofits. The money could also be used to rebuild damaged roads and bridges and cover the cost of emergency work and debris removal.

Gov. Terry Branstad asked for declaration on April 26.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul is returning to Iowa next week to open an office for his 2012 campaign and name staff to run his bid for next year's Iowa caucuses.

The 12-term Texas congressman plans to run his Iowa campaign out of an office in Ankeny. Aides say he plans to introduce key Iowa staffers at the office on Tuesday before meeting with lawmakers and Republican officials at the Iowa Capitol.

Paul announced last week in Des Moines he planned to explore a second campaign for the GOP presidential nomination. He was one of five Republicans participating in the first debate of the 2012 campaign in South Carolina on Thursday.

The libertarian Republican's 'money bomb' raised $642,000 this week to jump start his 2012 campaign.

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) Questions are being raised about what appears to be out-of-state roofing contractors applying for Iowa license plates for the vehicles.

The Telegraph Herald in Dubuque says the Dubuque County treasurer's office has reported a few incidents. When the individuals are told they need an Iowa identification card, they apparently visit the Department of Motor Vehicles and return with an ID in hand.

Dena Gray-Fisher of the state transportation department says applicants for a state ID must prove 30-days residency. She says it sounds ``very odd'' if someone is coming to Iowa for a month or two and would go through the effort.

Geoff Greenwood of the attorney general's office says officials have concerns about someone going to extreme lengths to look like a local contractor when they're not.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Iowa State Fair is holding a special tribute to celebrate 100 years of the butter cow.

The fair says Thursday it will display a limited number of concrete cows during this summer's fair and is giving the public a chance to paint them.

Individuals, clubs and companies are invited. Those selected will pick up a cow from the fairgrounds, paint it and return it so it can be displayed during the fair, which runs from Aug. 11-21. After the fair, participants will get to keep their cow. Two sizes are available 24-by-24 inches and 32-by-32 inches.

Butter sculptures have been a popular part of the fair since 1911. Besides the butter cow, sculptors usually whip up another display, ranging from Elvis Presley to the moon landing.

AMES, Iowa (AP) Iowa State says the Big 12 has moved a pair of conference road games next season in hopes of capitalizing on possible T.V. opportunities.

The Cyclones game at Oklahoma has been moved from Nov. 12 to Nov. 26.

Iowa State's game against Kansas State, which was supposed to be played on Nov. 26, will now be on Dec. 3.

The shift gives the Cyclones a pair of byes next season.

Iowa State will have the week before its Big 12 opener with Texas off and won't play the week prior to hosting Oklahoma State.

The moves could benefit the Cyclones, who didn't get a bye week in 2010.

(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.

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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