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KLEM News AM Update May 12, 2011

Severe thunderstorm warnings in Plymouth County were followed by tornado warnings for parts of Sioux and Lyon Counties. Storm spotters reported twisters near Ashton, Sibley and Hawarden. To see storm photos and information about the non-super cell tornadoes www.crh.noaa.gov/fsd/?n=tor2011may11

Be sure to scroll down on the link to see the photos.

As the storm moved into Le Mars, winds toppled power poles. The Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative reported a peak wind gust of 43 miles an hour at six last (Wednesday) night.

According to Fire-Rescue Chief David Schipper, the first power outage in Le Mars affected the southwest area of town.

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Crews from MidAmerican Energy worked to restore power to the downtown area of Le Mars after a utility pole was reported on fire at Central Avenue and Second Street Northeast.

The power outage led to an accidental house fire in southeast Le Mars at 435 Lombardi Road just before midnight. The house is owned and occupied by Marsha Geier. The famly reported the fire when they returned home. Schipper says fire fighters found heavy smoke coming out of the home and saw flames from the roof of the single-story ranch home.

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Food was left on a stove when the power went out. Preliminary damage estimates are 60-thousand to 100-thousand dollars.

Firefighters were out on the call for about three hours. The Fire Rescue Department responded to six calls for service due to the storm. They began with an alarm malfunction when power was interrupted at a business. Another call was a smoke odor that was a grill in a neighborhood. There was also a second report of smoke in an apartment related to a power outage. The tenant in an apartment in downtown Le Mars was cooking when power went out. The person had later fallen asleep and the burnt food smell was reported by a neighbor. Firefighters provided ventillation.

The Le Mars Water Department reports there is the possibility of discolored water in two areas of Le Mars. The first is in the Lombardi Road area where a hydrandt was opened by firefighters due to the house fire. The second area is near Le Mars Community High School where a contractor is installing a new fire hydrant.

Highway 75 lanes reduced between Le Mars and Sioux City

(SIOUX CITY)--Lanes are being restricted on Highway 75 between Le Mars and Sioux City.

Dean Herbst of the Iowa Department of Transportation reports the area affected is on Highway 75 between County Road C-38 and County Road C-80 which is just north of Sioux City.

Road construction work will cause traffic to be restricted to one lane rather than two lanes in each direction. The lane restrictions will be in place when contractors are working on the roadway between seven in the morning and seven at night weekdays and Saturday through mid-June.

Life Skills awards to Kessenichs, Lauritsen

(LE MARS) - Two awards highlight achievement and dedication to individuals with disabilities served by Life Skills Training Center.

The "Client of the Year" for Life Skills is Craig Lauritsen. He received the honor at the Life Skills Training Center annual meeting.

Rhonda Mahan of Life Skills says Lauritsen started training in January of last year. Although he trained in the Life Skills laundry, he has also been a valued member of the self-supported, integrated training crews within the community.

Areas of growth for Lauritsen include social skills, flexibility, and independence. Staff at Life Skills describe him as having excellent attendance, growth in independent decision-making and being reliable with a good attitude.

Many years ago, Arie Bomgaars worked to offer services to persons with disabilities in Plymouth County.

The Arie Bomgaars award was presented to the family of Life Skills client Dennis Kessenich.

Life Skills Executive Director Don Nore says the Kessenich family has always been involved throughout the years and is active with Life Skills. Nore says Stan and Rosalene Kessenich and their families are very deserving of the recognition.

 Branstad says time right for tax fix

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Gov. Terry Branstad says the state this year has the best chance in decades to fix what he sees as a deeply flawed property tax system.

Branstad told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he's working behind the scenes to help resolve differences between the House and Senate on the issue.

He says lawmakers must deal with the property tax issue this year, or Iowans will face tax increases that he describes as massive.

He dismisses worries voiced by local government officials who are concerned that the property tax cut will drain their revenues.

The governor says studies show that local governments will see additional tax revenues despite the cut. He says that's because the tax cut will spur development.

Iowa mom charged in baby son's crash death

VINTON, Iowa (AP) A 37-year-old north-central Iowa mother faces homicide, drunken-driving and child-endangerment charges in the crash death of her 6-month-old son.

The Gazette of Cedar Rapids says Nicole Jacobs, of Kanawha (kuh-NAH'-wah), was arrested Tuesday. A Benton County jailer said Wednesday that Jacobs would be released later in the day, but he had no information on her bail. Court records don't list the name of her attorney.

Authorities say Jacobs was driving her van on Oct. 8 north of Keystone when she lost control of it. Jacobs, her baby son, Lincoln; and two 4-year-old girls were thrown from the vehicle when it ran into a ditch and rolled.

Authorities say the baby died at the scene. The other children were injured. The Benton County Sheriff's Office says none was in a seat restraint.

Colorado to host 3 Medal of Honor recipients, including Iowa native

PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) Three Medal of Honor recipients will be in southern Colorado this week for a rededication ceremony and the unveiling of a portrait of the Iowa man who is the newest recipient of the military's highest honor.

The Pueblo Chieftain reported Wednesday that Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta (JUN'-tah) will attend an unveiling of his portrait on Saturday in Pueblo. He received the honor last year.

In 2007, Giunta pulled a soldier to cover while exposed to enemy fire in Afghanistan. He also shot two insurgents trying to carry away another U.S. soldier.

The Army has said Giunta plans to leave the service in mid-June and move to Fort Collins to pursue his education.

Iowa City residents oppose levee plan

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Residents of an Iowa City street are upset because they could soon be caught between the Iowa River and a proposed 10-foot-high levee.

The city has offered buyouts to the owners of 125 properties along the Iowa River that were damaged in the flooding of 2008. It has also decided to create an earthen levee by elevating Taft Speedway St. and another road to protect the area to the north.

But the Gazette in Cedar Rapids reports that only four of the 13 properties on Taft Speedway St. have been purchased and those left oppose the levee plans.

City council member Regenia Bailey says the city's priority is to use buyouts to remove people from flood-prone area and to try to protect as many people as possible.

Minnesota congresswoman plans May 26 Iowa speech

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is returning to Iowa to headline a Republican Party event in Des Moines this month, as she nears a decision whether to run for president.

Bachmann is weighing a campaign for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. She says she plans to announce whether she'll run by June.

Bachmann has begun lining up supporters and potential campaign staff in Iowa. Iowa is expected to host the leadoff presidential nominating caucuses in February.

She is scheduled to speak at the Polk County Republican Party's annual dinner on May 26, and plans to speak at a GOP event in Scott County on May 27, aides said.

It would be the fourth visit of the year to Iowa this year by the three-term US House member from a Minneapolis suburb.

Arson suspected in apartment blaze

OAKLAND, Iowa (AP) Embers from a suspected arson fire are suspected as the cause of a second fire that destroyed a machine shed used by the Oakland Fire Department.

The Daily Nonpareil is reporting that the shed, an air compressor, two generators and other equipment were destroyed in Monday afternoon's blaze. No injuries were reported.

Damage was estimated at about $100,000.

Assistant Fire Chief Brant Miller says firefighters fought a fire at the nearby Oakland yard waste disposal area on Sunday. He suspects embers from that fire were blown by high winds to the fire department shed about 50 yards away, starting Monday's fire.

The Sunday blaze is being investigated as arson. Miller says the yard waste pile was suspiciously set ablaze another time in the past two months.

Rural Kansas spot searched for missing Iowa woman

According to The Des Moines Register, investigators say Snovelle and Allen met several months ago and have been dating.

(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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