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KLEM News PM Update May 27, 2011

According to Dean Herbst of the Iowa Department of Transportation, the first project is two miles south of Merrill, near 250th Street and Jade Avenue.

A culvert will be extended through the existing bridge on the southbound lanes of Highway 75. One southbound lane will be closed.

The highway project is through the city limits of Hinton. The project involves patching of the roadway, followed by milling and resurfacing from the south corporate limits to the north corporate limits of Hinton.

Both projects are to be completed in late July.

Hotel-Motel sales tax revenue funds Ice Cream Days fun

(LE MARS)--The opportunities for a fun summer celebration in Le Mars are being sweetened with grant funds from Le Mars Hotel-Motel Sales Tax.

Ice Cream Days was awarded nine-thousand dollars from the tax paid by those who stay at Le Mars hotels and motels. The money funds parade entries and entertainment.

Ice Cream Days June 15 through June 18th brings out-of-town visitors and former residents to the Ice Cream Capital of the World.

Ice Cream Days was one of 15 applicants receiving Le Mars Hotel-Motel Sales Tax receipts of 40-thousand dollars. Priority is given to projects that encourage growth of tourism to the city of Le Mars.

Mental health funding dispute continues with lawmakers

(UNDATED)--Plymouth County supervisors have taken 100-thousand dollars in property tax funds from the day-to-day county budget and transferred the money to the mental health fund.

They've also put money into a state pool that will bring them 850-thousand dollars next February. Those two steps and possible plans to delay payment of bills for services from the state are measures to cope with mental health funding issues.

Legislation to overhaul Iowa's mental health care system has hit a snag at the statehouse. Republicans are accusing Democrats of making changes to a bi-partisan compromise designed to improve services across the state. House Republican Leader Linda Upmeyer is pointing a finger at Senator Jack Hatch, a Democrat from Des Moines who drafted a huge amendment to the bill. Upmeyer says Hatch did so without input from Republicans.

"That's not the way we wanted to do business on this bill," Upmeyer says. "Everybody was working together and I don’t know what has caused Senator Hatch to decide to do it differently but we’ll see where that ends up."

At least one Republican has written an email message suggesting the bill may be dead for the session. But Senator Hatch says that would leave hundreds of patients and providers in the lurch because the legislature already voted to repeal the state's current mental health system by the year 2013.

"We will not leave this legislative session without passing this bill," Hatch says. "We will not allow 100,000 Iowans to wonder how their mental health services are going to be delivered." Hatch says his amendment which made changes in the bill clarified the future role of state government and counties in delivering and paying for mental health services. (Portions of this news report by Radio Iowa)

Williams to be sentenced for crack cocaine convictions

(SIOUX CITY)--A Sioux City man has been convicted of distributing drugs in Sioux City.

According to the U-S Attorney's office, twenty-two-year-old Billy Dee Williams of Sioux City pled guilty in federal court.

At a plea hearing, prosecutors report Williams admitted to conspiring to distribute more than 112 grams of crack cocaine in Sioux City between January and August of last year. He also pled guilty to distributing crack on two dates in May and August of last year. Both of the crimes were near elementary schools.

Williams is being held for the U-S Marshal's Service until he is sentenced.

Iowa stops fill Pawlenty's Memorial Day calendar

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A week after launching his Republican presidential campaign in Iowa, Tim Pawlenty will be back in the all-important state to campaign on Memorial Day.

The former Minnesota governor is due next Monday at a pancake breakfast, midday meet-and-greet and evening cookout. The respective events are in Waukee, Boone and Ft. Dodge.

Pawlenty spent this Monday in Des Moines, where he became an official candidate for the GOP nomination. Pawlenty has been in the state that holds the nominating contest's first round more than a dozen times since first making presidential moves.

He'll get a sign about whether it's paying off in August when Iowa Republicans hold their closely watched straw poll in Ames.

Bachmann notes `calling' to run for president

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann says she feels a calling to run for president, leaving little question about her intention to seek the Republican nomination.

Speaking Friday during the taping of a public affairs program on Iowa Public Television, Bachmann noted that she has ``had this calling and tugging on (her) heart that this is the right thing to do.''

She earlier announced that she would hold an event next month in Waterloo to make her intentions clear. Bachmann was born in Waterloo and lived there until moving as a child to neighboring Minnesota.

Bachmann says she has been encouraged by strong fundraising and the enthusiastic support that has greeted her in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Waterloo man sentenced for sexually abusing girls

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) A 32-year-old Waterloo man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually abusing 7- and 8-year-old girls.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier is reporting that Marcus Nash pleaded guilty to reduced charges after making a deal with prosecutors.

He was given two 10-year terms, to be served consecutively.

Court records say the 7-year-old girl was abused in 2005. The other girl was sexually abused in parts of 2009 and 2010, when she was 8.

Iowa Braille School ends residential program

VINTON, Iowa (AP) The Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School in Vinton is no longer home to blind and visually impaired students.

The school dates back to 1862. The residential program ended this week with the end of classes. The school had only five residents this school year.

The Gazette of Cedar Rapids is reporting that the campus will remains the administrative home for the statewide system that serves Iowa's blind and visually impaired students.

Closing the residential program was among recommendations on how to better serve the students. The state Board of Regents oversees the Braille School and approved the recommendations from a study committee in August.

Eighteen-year-old Kasey Domer, who lived at the school this past year, says the closing is ``very, very sad, really.''

Des Moines firefighters alarmed by station bedbugs

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Some Des Moines firefighters find themselves in a great battle with a tiny foe: bedbugs.

Fire Capt. Steve Brown told Des Moines television station KCCI that a bedbug-sniffing dog was brought in after the alarm was raised. Bedbugs were found in an office, on two chairs, on stools and on four mattresses at Station No. 4.

Because the firefighters eat and sleep at the station during their 24-hour shifts, they worry about accidentally taking some of the little pests home.

An exterminator has treated the station.

ISU receives $500K gift from Monsanto

AMES, Iowa (AP) Iowa State University is establishing a faculty chair in soybean breeding in its agriculture and life sciences college, thanks to a $500,000 gift from Monsanto.

The university announced the gift on Thursday from the St. Louis-based company that developed Roundup resistant seeds. Officials say in addition to supporting faculty breeding research, the Monsanto Chair will also support graduate students pursing degrees in plant breeding.

Monsanto spokesman Sam Eathington says the company is excited to work with ISU to promote breeding research that can help farmers meet growing global demands and support the development of the industry's future leaders.

Soybean breeding at Iowa State aimed at oil traits has resulted in the release of more than 180 varieties over the years and trained more than 80 graduate students.

(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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