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KLEM News AM Update May 11, 2011

Engineer Tom Rohe this week will notify residents along County Road C-38 of the road work. The notice will be a letter from the engineer. Knife River is the contractor for the work.

Rohe expects the county to close the road first for the east five miles of the 10-mile project. The work begins at the intersection of County Road K-64 and ends at the Cherokee County line. That first closing will begin around May 31st, subject to weather conditions. The western five miles will be closed a few days after May 31st.

Based on a meeting with the contractor, the paving could begin around June ninth and be completed by the end of June.

The detour will be from the intersection of C-38 and County Road K-49 south to County Road C-44 and east to County Road L-36.

Computer classes draw Adult Ed students

(LE MARS)--Hobby class offerings are popular with Le Mars Community Adult Education students.

Western Iowa Tech and the Le Mars Community School District offer Adult Education with computer classes being the most popular.

Coordinator Lorene Rexwinkel saw higher enrollment in hobby classes for the most recent year. As an example, Rexwinkel says Mah Jongg drew 27 students and will be offered again this fall.

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Rexwinkel told the Le Mars Board of Education last night (Monday night) that a change in 2010-2011 school year classes involved more class size limits.

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One-hundred 79 students enrolled with 22 of the 32 courses offered having enough students to take the class.

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The school district pays tuitions for senior citizens. Sixty-six of the 179 adults were seniors.

Drainage district project draws questions

(WESTFIELD)--A meeting on the Westfield Drainage District is planned next Monday afternoon in Westfield.

Property owners in the Westfield Drainage District, including Westfield residents, will be asked to pay for maintenance work that will be explained at the meeting.

Plymouth County Supervisor Craig Anderson said he thinks some of the property owners are confusing the drainage district board which supervisors serve on with the work of Plymouth County. Anderson Tuesday asked for the documents that created the district to be part of information available at the meeting next week.

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The payment for the drainage district work is a special assessment for each parcel of property. The meeting was discussed during the board of supervisor's agenda time with the county engineer Tuesday.

Le Mars man charged after abuse investigation

(LE MARS)--A Le Mars man faces six charges after Le Mars Police investigated a report of sexual abuse of a child.

According to written information, 49-year-old Myron Jay Kolker was arrested on charges of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse and five charges of indecent contact with a child.

Kolker was taken to the Plymouth County Jail and is free on bond.

Seat belt use in Sioux City changes

(SIOUX CITY) A new survey shows fewer drivers in Sioux City are buckling up.

Volunteers for the police department made seat belt surveys in the downtown and in Morningside near shopping malls.

The total use of seatbelt was 89 percent which was down slightly--one percent--compared to a survey six months ago.

Drivers and passengers most likely to use seat belts in the recent surveys were those in sport utility vehicles and passenger cars. S-U-V seat belt use was 91 percent which was up one percent from six months ago. Passenger car seat belt use was 90 percent which is down two percent from October.

Pickup truck drivers and passengers used seat belts 83 percent of the time which was down one percent.

Officials ID boy who died in NW Iowa trailer fire

MILFORD, Iowa (AP) Officials have released the name of a 2-year-old boy who died when fire swept through a mobile home in Milford in northwest Iowa.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety says Tuesday that firefighters found the body of Dustin Ladehoff inside the trailer on Saturday. Firefighters were called to the Pioneer Trailer Court about 11:20 a.m.

When they arrived, the home was engulfed in flames and firefighters were alerted that a child was still inside. They entered the trailer and recovered the boy's body.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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

Iowa House passes sweeping property tax overhaul

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Iowa House has passed its version of a sweeping measure overhauling the state's property tax system.

The measure goes beyond a proposal by Gov. Terry Branstad to cut commercial property taxes by 40 percent over five years. It also gradually increases the share of local school budgets the state finances over seven years.

When the measure is fully in place it will cost the state roughly $800 million a year.

The House approved its version on a 58-40 vote Tuesday night, returning it to the Senate which has passed a much smaller version. The Senate plan would spend $50 million to ease business property taxes and would focus on small business.

Paul opens Iowa office, says expect decision soon

ANKENY, Iowa (AP) Texas Congressman Ron Paul says he's on the verge of making a decision about seeking the Republican presidential nomination.

As he opened his campaign headquarters in Ankeny on Tuesday, Paul noted he could announce a decision this week.

Paul says if he decides to run, Iowa will be an important state for him. He's says he'll compete in the state's leadoff precinct caucuses as well as an August straw poll in Ames sponsored by the Republican Party of Iowa.

The campaign office in Ankeny, a Des Moines suburb, will be the base for five organizers who will seek support for Paul in all corners of Iowa.

Paul says there's more enthusiasm for his campaign than in the two previous times he's run for president.

FEMA asks for return of disaster aid

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) The Federal Emergency Management Agency is asking thousands of Americans who were victims of natural disasters to return more than $22 million in government aid, acknowledging it mistakenly made payments to many people who were ineligible.

FEMA is required by law to recover improperly spent money, but many of the people who were helped spent the cash years ago. And they don't want to be financially punished because of the agency's errors.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that FEMA is seeking payments from more than 5,500 people who were affected by 129 separate disasters since 2005, including floods, tornados, hurricanes and other calamities from Arkansas to American Samoa.

FEMA is still reviewing records, and more repayment requests could go out soon, including to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Commission names 3 nominees for Iowa appeals court

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Judicial Nominating Commission has selected three nominees to fill a vacancy on the Iowa Court of Appeals and sent the names to Gov. Terry Branstad.

The commission on Tuesday named the finalists from a group of 25 applicants, who were interviewed this week.

The finalists are 49-year-old Susan Christensen, of Harlan, a district associate judge in the Fourth Judicial District; 55-year-old Bruce Kempkes, of Earlham, an assistant attorney general; and 58-year-old Michael Mullins, of Washington, a district judge in Iowa's Eighth Judicial District.

Branstad has 30 days to fill the vacancy, which was created when Edward Mansfield was appointed to the Iowa Supreme Court.

Iowa businessman pleads guilty to wire fraud

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A Pella businessman has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud after acknowledging he took money that was supposed to pay mortgages for his own use.

Franklin R. York entered the plea Tuesday in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Ross Walters in Des Moines.

Prosecutors say York is a former attorney who owned and operated Escrow and Closing Services of Marion County, LLC, which provided real estate closing and refinancing services.

Funds from clients were wired to the firm's escrow account and supposed to be used to pay mortgage balances for sellers and those refinancing their mortgages.

Prosecutors say York received funds to pay 10 mortgages totaling $907,000, but failed to do so.

York is scheduled to be sentenced in August. A number for him in Pella was disconnected.

Search warrants in Iowa real estate agent's death

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Police say four search warrants have been served in the investigation into the death of a real estate agent gunned down in a model townhome in West Des Moines.

Police told The Des Moines Register on Tuesday that all the search warrants have been sealed by a judge and they could not release further details. Lt. Jim Barrett says it's not unusual in a homicide investigation to do multiple search warrants to search for information and property.

Twenty-seven-year-old Ashley Okland, an agent with Iowa Realty Co., died after she was shot twice on April 8 in what police believe was an isolated incident. Police have interviewed about 250 people, but Barrett says there's no further information to report about the case.

Girl dies after being struck by hit-and-run driver

NORTHWOOD, Iowa (AP) Police say a 7-year-old girl was killed by a hit-and-run driver in northern Iowa just as she was getting on her school bus.

Iowa State Patrol officer Mindy Griffin says a Northwood-Kensett bus stopped to pick the girl up Tuesday morning when a pickup truck ignored the bus's stop sign and hit the girl.

The Globe Gazette in Mason City says a male suspect was taken into custody by the Worth County Sheriff's Department about two miles from the accident, which was witnessed by the children already on the bus.

The driver's name has not been released.

Man sentenced for dealing pot in Neb. and Iowa

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) Federal prosecutors say an Omaha man has been sentenced to five years in prison for his role in a conspiracy to distribute over 200 pounds of marijuana in Nebraska and Iowa.

The U.S. attorney's office says 32-year-old Cedric Harris was sentenced on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Omaha.

He was arrested by Omaha police in April 2010 after police were called to his home on a disturbance. U.S. Attorney Deborah Gilg says Harris, who let the officers inside, admitted he had marijuana in his room. Police found 1 .5 pounds of pot and $2,000 in cash.

Officials say Harris admitted to dealing with two other people in distributing over 100 kilograms of marijuana in the two states.

(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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