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KLEM News PM Update May 20, 2011

Three of the five council members are elected from wards dividing the city into three areas and two Council members are at-large.

Council members are discussing the city's ward and at-large election method because new ward boundaries are being considered using 2010 Census changes.

Councilman Ken Nelson this week asked if the ward boundary discussion was an appropriate time to consider getting rid of the ward system and going to at-large election for all council members.

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City administrator Scott Langel agreed with Nelson and Council member Rex Knapp that the change could be discussed now.

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Knapp said people don't know the ward boundaries.


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City staff will also research whether the change to all at-large council is allowed in state law. The hearing on the changes in Council boundaries is set for public comment at noon on June 7th at City Hall.

Convention Center improvements are competitive project

(LE MARS)--Stage, sound and bar area improvements are expected in the final two months of this year at a large venue for events in Le Mars.

Convention Visitors Center manager Jessica Lingren told the Council this week about the importance of updates to compete "with other venues as far as amenities."

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Council member Delana Ihrke asked how many phases are ahead for the former Westmar University Commons. Looking ahead, City Administrator Scott Langel said the sound system would need to be replaced and renovations are needed in the lower level.

Questions about any surprises during the planned 100-thousand dollar renovation were answered for Council member Rex Knapp by Langel.

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Langel will keep the Council updated on firm numbers for the project. The Council approved using 50-thousand dollars in income from Tax Incremental Financing for the renovations.

Schneider is museum board president

(LE MARS)--The Plymouth County Historical Museum Board President is a rural Le Mars man.

John Schneider was re-elected to serve as President of the museum board following the annual meeting. Schneider, a livestock and grain producer, is the son of a museum charter member, Sylvia Schneider.

Three outgoing directors receiving recognition and appreciation are Lois Allen of Le Mars, Melvin Brown of Westfield and Anita Delutri of Merrill.

Stuart Fischer of Le Mars is a new board member elected during the annual meeting.

New EMC in Buena Vista County

(STORM LAKE)--The new Buena Vista County Emergency Management Coordinator begins her duties Monday.

Aimee Barritt of Cherokee has been the interim Buena Vista County Emergency Management Coordinator since Robert Christiansen resigned.

Barritt's appointment was announced by Emergency Management Commission chair Jon Kruse.

Kruse says Barritt brings a wealth of experience and training including previous work as Cherokee County Emergency Management Coordinator and Planner for Iowa Homeland Security in Region Three.

She plans to contact city and county agencies within Buena Vista County to get a acquainted with their operations and provide training as it is needed.

APNewsBreak: Aide: Pawlenty running for president

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is running for the GOP presidential nomination and will announce his bid Monday in Iowa.

That's according to an adviser with direct knowledge of the plans. The adviser tells The Associated Press Pawlenty will declare his candidacy at a town hall style event in Des Moines, Iowa. The adviser disclosed the information on condition of anonymity.

Pawlenty will make the announcement in the state with the leadoff nominating caucuses and then head to Florida, New Hampshire, New York and Washington, D.C.

The move was widely expected.

The 50-year-old has been laying the groundwork for a run for more than a year. He took the first step in March by setting up an exploratory committee and he has built campaign operations in several key states.

It's taking longer for more Iowans to find jobs


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Federal figures say it's taking longer for more out-of-work Iowans to find jobs.

According to The Des Moines Register, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics say 34,000 Iowans spent six months or more looking for work last year. That's an increase of 55 percent over 2009. Meanwhile, the number of Iowans looking for work for at least a year more than doubled, to 19,000.

Heidi Shierholz is an economist at the Economic Policy Institute. She says long-term unemployment will remain a problem for Iowa and the rest of the country for five more years.

Federal unemployment insurance extensions expire in December. Iowa workers have 47 weeks of unemployment insurance benefit extensions, in addition to the state's regular 26 weeks.

Iowa City police review board member acquitted

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) A member of the Iowa City police citizens review board says she's pleased by her acquittal, and her attorney says she never would have been charged if she hadn't been critical of the department.

Royceann Porter was found not guilty of a misdemeanor charge of maintaining a disorderly house on Thursday. The charged stemmed from a party in March. Police say Porter didn't try to control the party, which turned violent.

Porter's attorney says police had targeted her because of her criticisms while on the review board.

A Police spokeswoman denied the allegation and says the officers who responded to the party didn't know Porter was on the board.

Iowa school's birthday spankings draw complaints

MOUNT VERNON, Iowa (AP) Authorities are looking into complaints about children being paddled on their birthdays at Washington Elementary School in Mount Vernon.

Some parents have complained to the school district. One of them told Cedar Rapids television station KGAN that the paddlings are ``contrary to a healthy and happy and safe environment.''

Principal Terry Eisenbarth acknowledged the practice in a letter to parents on Monday.

He says the celebrations held at the school included children being tapped or patted on their backsides.

Eisenbarth says the celebrations cultivated relationships with students.

Superintendent Pam Ewell says she's gotten letters in support of Eisenbarth.

Parent Lori Merlak told The Associated Press that she's shocked by the reports of birthday spankings but that Eisenbarth has been ``fabulous to work with.''

Webster City man charged with livestock neglect

WEBSTER CITY, Iowa (AP) A Webster City man has been charged with 22 counts of livestock neglect and 14 counts of failure to dispose of animal carcasses.

KCCI-TV is reporting Friday that eleven head of livestock were taken from a property owned by 56-year-old John Thompson. The animals are being cared for by the Animal Rescue League.

Officials with the Hamilton County sheriff's office says no other information, including the kind of livestock seized, is being released

A man answering the phone at Thompson's residence hung up.

The investigation is continuing.

Mallard post office may close permanently

MALLARD, Iowa (AP) The post office in the small northwest Iowa town of Mallard may close permanently because of broken asbestos floor tiles.

Residents in the Palo Alto County town of about 270 learned of the possible closing of the 40-year-old building during a meeting Wednesday night.

The Messenger in Fort Dodge says the post office closed May 3 at the direction of U.S. Postal Service safety experts. Since then, residents have had to travel six miles to the town of Curlew to pick up their mail.

Postal officials say if the Mallard office closes permanently, new cluster mailboxes will be brought to the city so people don't have to drive so far to their mail. Cluster mailboxes are groups of 16 individual mailboxes mounted on a post.

Gadhafi' son funded Iowa made movie

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A production company behind the making of a film that was partially shot in Des Moines is owned by the son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

KCCI-TV is reporting Friday that Gadhafi's son Saddi Gadhafi's production company funded ``The Experiment.''

Half of the film was shot in a Des Moines warehouse.

A spokesman for Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad says it's another stain on an already tarnished program. He's referring to the troubled tax credit program that came under scrutiny under former Gov. Chet Culver.

The spokesman says it's doubtful the program will make a comeback during Branstad's administration. He says film-making in Iowa is about economic development and not about sending tax dollars overseas to countries that are hostile to the United States.

APNewsBreak: ISU suspended assistant coach 2 games

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Iowa State suspended an assistant men's basketball coach for two games last season because he used his frequent flyer miles to buy a round-trip plane ticket for a player.

According to an Iowa State report submitted to the NCAA and obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request, an assistant under then-coach Greg McDermott used frequent flyer points to provide a player a round-trip flight from Des Moines to Atlanta.

Iowa State says the assistant coach was suspended for two games and received a letter of reprimand.

The infraction occurred in June 2009. It was ruled a secondary violation by the NCAA because it was considered an isolated violation.

The NCAA agreed with Iowa State's self-imposed disciplinary moves and sought no further action.

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

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