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KLEM News PM Update June 1, 2011

KLEM News asked Pawlenty, who was in Le Mars Tuesday, whether President Obama could be defeated in a re-election bid.

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According to Pawlenty, Obama has broken "most" of the campaign promises he made in the last campaign.

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Pawlenty, a former two-term governor of Minnesota, campaigned in Sioux Center and Le Mars on Tuesday. Pawlenty cancelled an event in Sioux City last night due to the Missouri River flooding, but helped fill sand bags. (Radio Iowa/KLEM News)

Lyon County is trial location for one of convenience store murder cases

ALGONA, Iowa (AP) Trial for a Minnesota teenager charged with killing two convenience store clerks in Iowa has been moved to northwest Iowa.

Michael Swanson, of St. Louis Park, Minn., is charged with first-degree murder and robbery in Kossuth and Humboldt counties. The 18-year-old is accused of killing one clerk in Algona and another clerk in Humboldt on Nov. 15. He is facing separate trials in each slaying.

A judge has granted Swanson's attorney's request to move the Kossuth County case because of pre-trial publicity. The trial, which is scheduled for July 27, has been moved to Rock Rapids.

Swanson's trial on the Humboldt County charges had already been moved to Carroll County. It is set for June 20.

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

Dunes levee work continues

DAKOTA DUNES, S.D. (AP) Trucks have been working through the night hauling dirt to raise levees protecting a southeast South Dakota town from the rising Missouri River.

Many of Dakota Dunes' 2,500 residents are packing up and preparing to leave Wednesday on the suggestion of the governor. Eighty prison inmates and 200 National Guard members are filling sandbags to protect homes.

State spokeswoman Beth Hermanson says officials hope to have most of the levee work done by Saturday in preparation for even higher discharges from the Gavins Point Dam upstream. The Army Corps of Engineers is releasing water through all of the Missouri River dams because of heavy rain and snowmelt.

Hermanson says the narrow streets and traffic congestion in Dakota Dunes are complicating the process of getting dirt trucks to the levees.

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

Nebraska Governor: 500-year flood is brewing, "most devastating" we'll ever see

Evacuations are already underway in low-lying areas of western Iowa and eastern Nebraska as the Missouri River rises. Water levels are expected to hit record highs with huge snowpacks melting up stream and water gushing from reserviors. Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman (HY-nah-mun) took an aerial tour along many miles of the Missouri on Tuesday and says it appears the region is in for a long-lasting disaster.

"This is going to be a 100-year, 500-year flood, there's no question about it," Heineman says. "I'm very concerned it's going to be a very serious situation that we're going to face, along with our neighbors in Iowa and South Dakota. In most of our lifetimes, this is going to be the largest and potentially the most devastating flood that we're ever going to see." Heineman met with leaders in several communities along the swollen Missouri River.

The governor says, "The big concern I think I heard all day long is how much more water is going to occur and flow down the Missouri River over the next two weeks?" Forecasters say the already-high waterway will continue to rise into mid-June, cresting perhaps seven feet over flood stage in many areas. Some fear the flooding will persist well into July. (Radio Iowa news report)

UNI could face fine for crime reporting violations

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Regulators are considering whether to fine the University of Northern Iowa after a review found the school underreported the number of alcohol-related crimes on campus and failed to properly notify students about annual crime statistics.

A U.S. Department of Education review found UNI violated four federal regulations relating to campus safety. The department is considering whether to issue fines, which could run as high as $27,500 per violation.

A spokeswoman says UNI is hoping to avoid punishment since it has corrected the problems to the department's satisfaction.

UNI says it mistakenly reported 40 liquor law violations on campus in 2007, when the correct number was 407. UNI also did not follow correct procedures for letting students and employees know how to review its crime report in 2006 and 2007.

Cedar Rapids fire blamed on child with lighter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) Fire officials say a 7-year-old playing with a lighter started a fire in the basement of a Cedar Rapids house.

A 35-year-old woman was taken to St. Luke's Hospital on Monday night for treatment of possible smoke inhalation. Three children who live in the house were not injured.

A fire department news release says firefighters were sent to the house a little after 8:50 p.m. Firefighters say all four residents were outside the one-story house when the fire trucks arrived.

The department says the flames damaged only the basement, but there was smoke and heat damage to the main floor.

Webster City man dies in SUV-train collision

WEBSTER CITY, Iowa (AP) Authorities say a passenger in a sport utility vehicle died when it was struck by a train in Webster City.

The Des Moines Register is reporting that the SUV left a store parking lot around 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday and entered a crossing, where it was struck by the train.

Iowa troopers say 54-year-old Francisco Huerta-Duran was thrown from the SUV. The Webster City man was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver was identified as 31-year-old Jose Davis-Rivera, also of Webster City. He was flown to Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines.

Troopers say Rivera failed to yield to the train.

It's not clear whether barriers and warning signals were in use.

No one hurt in ceiling collapse at Vernon school

MARION, Iowa (AP) Some middle school students in Marion got an unexpected early start on their summer vacation.

The ceiling in a third-floor classroom at Vernon Middle School fell in Tuesday afternoon.

No one was hurt, because the classroom was empty at the time.

Wednesday was supposed to be the school's last day of classes, but district officials decided to end the school year a day early for Vernon's students. Other district schools will hold classes, however.

The school building is scheduled to be demolished over summer break.

Vandals target Boone County's high bridge

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Vandals are targeting one of Iowa's newest attractions.

KCCI-TV in Des Moines says thieves are stealing LED lights from the High Trestle Bridge. The 13-story bridge spans the Des Moines River in Boone County and links 25 miles of trail running through central Iowa.

So far, a dozen lights have been stolen from the bridge, which opened a month ago.

Andy Hockenson of the Boone County Conservation Board says it appears that someone pried the lights off the bridge. He says the board is considering options to protect the lights, including putting a cage around each fixture. A security camera is also possible.

The bridge officially opened in late April. It's is between Woodward and Madrid (MAD'-rid).

Ex-football star Warner helps out in Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) Cedar Rapids native Kurt Warner returned to his hometown to help build a Habitat for Humanity home.

The Gazette of Cedar Rapids says it was the third year in a row the former pro quarterback and his wife, Brenda, have helped the city recover from the floods of 2008.

The new homeowner in the Czech Village neighborhood will be Amber Titlbach (TIH'-tuhl-bahk), who says she's amazed by all the help.

Brenda Warner talked about her special connection to the people who work with volunteers to build their Habitat homes.

She says that when she met Kurt, she was a single mom on food stamps, living in low-income housing.

Brenda Warner says she's pleased to be helping Titlbach, a single mom, build Titlbach's new home.

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

Submit your news release, photos, 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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