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KLEM News PM Update June 13, 2011

Le Mars Fire-Rescue Chief David Schipper says the fire call was reported to be a grass fire behind the Route 3 Tire business at 301 Business Highway 75 North.

According to the chief, the grass fire at six Saturday evening was from sparks from an electrical problem on the west side of the building.

The building had some black charring on the exterior due to the electrical fire.

Schipper says the probable cause of the fire was an electrical short in the wiring for the new electric utility service to the building for Route Three Tire.

Manager Kent Conover says Route Three Tire is open for business as usual today and has power.

Fire fighters worked with MidAmerican Energy and an electrician while out on the call Saturday evening.

Campgrounds host displaced Siouxlanders

(HINTON)--The campgrounds staff at Hillview Recreation Area near Hinton thinks some campers are there due to flooding in Siouxland.

Conservation Board Director Dennis Sohl has authorized longterm camping by those affected by flooding.

Sohl says the campgrounds were full over the weekend which is pretty unusual.

Some campgrounds are flooded, including the Scenic Park area in South Sioux City.

Sohl expects to know more about the number of campers who may be displaced by flooding if registrations for camping are renewed.

Hamburg levee fails

HAMBURG, Iowa (AP) The National Weather Service says a levee has failed near Hamburg and has issued a flash flood warning for the area.

The weather service warning says the levee failure occurred shortly before 11 a.m. Monday. Hydrologist Dave Pearson says the breach created a 30-foot-wide hole in the northwest Missouri levee that had three partial breaches last week.

Pearson says the floodwater is expected to reach Interstate 29 and the Hamburg area sometime on Tuesday. The town is protected by a secondary levee built last week, but it's not clear yet whether that will hold back the water.

An Army Corps of Engineers spokeswoman would not immediately discuss the report but says a news release is being prepared.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserv

Levee update questions raised by state officials

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) State officials say crews are working to reinforce and patch aging levees as they prepare for a record release of water on the Missouri River.

Speaking Monday at a news conference with Gov. Terry Branstad, Iowa National Guard Adjutant Derek Hill acknowledged officials are worried about the strength of many levees that haven't been updated in years.

He says those levees will be under intense strain as more water from reservoirs upstream is released.

That high water will hit Sioux City on Wednesday and Council Bluffs on Thursday. Gov. Terry Branstad says officials continue to examine the levees, looking for spots where repairs are needed.

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

Cedar Rapids buyouts top 1,000

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) The city of Cedar Rapids has purchased over 1,000 properties that were damaged during the flooding of 2008.

The city announced Monday that it had acquired 1,001 flood-damaged properties through the Voluntary Property Acquisition Program. After the 2008 floods, the city identified 1,300 homes and businesses that were eligible for the buyout program.

The city says more than 320 additional properties are working their way through the program.

So far, more than $60 million has been distributed for the program from FEMA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and local option sales tax revenues.

Applications for the buyout program are due by June 30.

Keokuk woman circulates consolidation petition

KEOKUK, Iowa (AP) A Keokuk woman is circulating a petition hoping to stop a plan to consolidate county offices in Lee County.

The county Board of Supervisors approved a plan to consolidate several county offices to reduce staff and save money, but The Daily Gate City in Keokuk is reporting that Sandy Pollitt wants to stop the plan.

The county has duplicate offices in Fort Madison and Keokuk but the plan would put the treasurer's office and the auditor's office in Fort Madison and the recorder's office and the assessor's office in Keokuk. For residents in the two cities, it could mean traveling an hour round trip to do business with the county.

Pollitt hopes to get 4,000 signatures on her petition and present it to the Board of Supervisors.

Iowa railroad finds switch had been tampered with

MENLO, Iowa (AP) Railroad officials say someone tampered with a switch near Menlo in an effort to derail a train.

Mick Burkart is Iowa Interstate Railroad's chief operating officer. He told Des Moines television station KCCI that the switch box was broken into early Sunday morning. The box sits about a quarter of a mile west of Menlo, which is about 40 miles west of Des Moines.

He says a train went through the area and a crew member noticed there was something wrong with the switch. The dispatch office was notified, and a following train was stopped short of Menlo.

Burkart says the switch tampering would have caused a train to derail.

The FBI is helping the Iowa State Patrol and the Guthrie County Sheriff's Office with the investigation.

New Benton County jail facility opened to public

VINTON, Iowa (AP) Over the next few weeks, the new Benton County law enforcement center in Vinton will fill with deputies, dispatchers and maybe some prisoners.

Flooding destroyed the old facility three years ago.

On Saturday, the $6 million project was put on display for the public.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Ron Buch says board members kept the new facility next to the river but had it built four feet above flood level. He told The Gazette of Cedar Rapids that he's confident the new building will be safe from floodwater.

Boxes and equipment are being moved into the building. Sheriff Randy Forsyth says he expects the moving will be finished within two weeks.

Iowa graveside ceremony honors Civil War soldier

CARLISLE, Iowa (AP) The grave of a Civil War soldier buried in a Carlisle cemetery has been rededicated after the headstone was vandalized.

On Sunday, some of Samuel Thomas' descendants stood at his grave for a special rededication.

Among the mourners was his great-great-great-granddaughter, Claudia Tillman.

Kevin Pearson is a member of the Sons of Union Veterans group. He'd heard about the vandalism, so he asked Tillman whether he could hold a rededication service. Pearson told The Des Moines Tribune that ``the stone had been desecrated, and that's wrong.''

The headstone had been vandalized several times, including once last year.

Thomas served in the 40th Iowa Infantry.

Tillman says it's important that people not forget what the Civil War soldiers went through. She says ``it makes me proud that I had an ancestor who fought in the Civil War.''

(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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