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KLEM News AM Update April 8, 2010

"Challenge of the Future, Promise of the Past" is the theme for the Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative (NIPCO ) annual meeting at the Sioux City Convention Center.

Congressman Steve King will speak about climate change legislation just after the opening of the NIPCO annual meeting

The annual meeting also includes presentations by representatives of NIPCO power suppliers including Basin Electric Power Cooperative and Western Area Power Administration.

Other speakers are from the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives and the Iowa Area Development Group.

NIPCO will honor 10 employees for their years of service.

(SIOUX CITY)--John Morrell employees in Sioux City say the plant will shutdown this week instead of April 20th.

Some workers expect Friday to be the last round of hog processing. Some pork producers have been told there would be no more deliveries to the John Morrell plant in Sioux City after this week.

Whether the plant closes this week or April 20th, the impact in Sioux City from the loss of more than 14-hundred jobs will have an impact in many areas.

Siouxland Community Health Center C-E-O Michelle Stephan says they serve over a thousand patients that use insurance provided by John Morrell.

She says once the workers lose their jobs, they can remain patients and will qualify for a sliding fee scale.

Stephan says reimbursement for those individuals would cost about 400-thousand dollars a year.

The Sioux City plant is owned by Smithfield Foods. A company spokesperson did not respond to a call from KLEM News Wednesday. (Portions of this report courtesy Josie Cooper, KSCJ News/Powell Broadcasting, Sioux City)

(LE MARS)--An employee at the Le Mars Community School District's Merrill elementary school is the district's "Employee of the Month."

Kissinger Elementary custodian Tim Kass of Merrill received the honor yesterday. Kass was nominated by the staff of the Merrill elementary school. The nomination describes Kass as a school employee who cares about the students and the staff and shows that.

Staff members say he doesn't forget what they've asked him to do and handles the custodian's work with a sense of humor and is known as the "go to guy."

Kass is credited with going above and beyond the custodian's job building creative items, adapting furniture and other work for special needs students.

Kass is one of the district's "Employees of the Month" who will be recognized as part of the Annual Foundation Banquet April 20th at the Le Mars Convention Center. Other honors include "Teacher of the Year," 25-year employees, and the top five percent of the 2010 graduating class. The public may attend. Ticket information is available through the Superintendent's office at the Education Service Center.

(ORANGE CITY)--Emergency groups are joining together to serve Sioux County residents.

Sioux County Sheriff Dan Altena Wednesday announced a partnership with the Sioux Center Ambulance, Sioux County Emergency Management and Sioux County Communications that brings the option of more portable emergency equipment to crime scenes and other emergencies.

According to Ryan Dekruyf of the Sioux Center Ambulance, the trailer, a truck to tow the trailer, and an A-T-V are already in use.

Altena says the partnership came about as Sergeant Nate Huizenga of the sheriff's office who is the county's emergency management director worked with the Sioux County Ambulance Association.

The sheriff's office is installing radios, a scanner and lighting in the trailer as part  of  the department's contribution to the joint use.

(SIOUX CITY)--A northwest Iowa man has pleaded guilty on drug charges and may spend the rest of his life in a federal prison.

Thirty-year-old Michael Donald Stevens of Royal has admitted he and others made meth in the home where his three children lived. According to court documents, Stevens admits over 50 grams of meth was made in his Clay County home over a three-year period. This isn't his first brush with the law.

Stevens had a previous meth-related conviction, in Sac County in 2002. He was convicted of delivery of a controlled substance in Buena Vista County in 2003 and again, in early 2005, he was convicted on meth-making charges in Ida County. Stevens faces a sentence of at least 20 years in federal prison, but the judge could sentence him to life behind bars. (News report by Radio Iowa)

YANKTON, S.D. (AP) Members of a city employees' union in Yankton have voted overwhelmingly to approve a contract after almost two years of negotiations with the city.

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local President Beth Parr says the contract has been a hard process but that most employees have kept a positive attitude.

City Manager Doug Russell also says relations between the union and city are good.

Russell says the City Commission could consider approval of the contract as early as Monday.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) A Waterloo man is heading to prison for robbing a convenience store with a military-style rifle last August.

A Black Hawk County judge handed down the sentence Tuesday to 21-year-old Teijae Scott.

Scott was convicted of first-degree robbery during a February trial. Under state law, he will have to serve at least 70 percent of the sentence 17.5 years before he can be considered for parole.

Authorities said Scott plotted to hold up the store with 20-year-old T.J. Marquand and 19-year-old Cody Thomas.

In a separate trial, Thomas said Marquand coerced him to help with the robbery. He also was convicted of robbery and sentenced to 25 years. Marquand pleaded to a reduced charge of first-degree theft and testified for the prosecution during trials of Scott and Thomas.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Gov. Chet Culver says six affordable housing initiatives throughout Iowa will receive a total of more than $2.2 million to preserve and construct affordable housing.

The awards announced Wednesday are made through the Affordable Housing Program

The largest single grant, of $1,15 million, goes to the Affordable Housing Network of Cedar Rapids, for the acquisition and rehabilitation of 25 flood-impacted homes.

Davenport is getting more than $349,000 to assist in the acquisition and rehabilitation of 10 vacant homes.

A grant of $250,000 goes to Iowa City, and the Habitat for Humanity of Marion County is gettting $200,000.

Smaller grants of $150,000 apiece go to Kalona Valley Apartments, Inc., in Kalona and the Northeast Iowa Community Action Corporation for homes in Garnavillo, Oelwein and Tripoli.

OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) Ottumwa's school district has the highest dropout rate in Iowa, something district officials say they are trying to fix.

Superintendent Jon Sheldahl says the district has had a 4.5 percent to 5 percent dropout rate for years. However, the Iowa Department of Education reports the district's dropout rate spiked to 9.31 percent during the 2008-2009 school year.

Sheldahl says he can see how the district ended up with the higher number. He says some students held in the credit recovery program, and thus not officially dropouts, were dropped from the enrollment list last year, inflating the dropout number.

Sheldahl also noted some students who drop out are pulled back in by the district, but drop out again, thus are counted more than once.

Sheldahl says the district is trying to come up with the right programs to get the kids to stay in school.

KEOKUK, Iowa (AP) Residents of Keokuk are receiving new 18-gallon green recycle bins in an effort to encourage more people to recycle.

In distributing the bins, the Great River Regional Waste Authority is also trying to reverse the trend of more refuse going to the transfer station in Keokuk and a landfill in Fort Madison.

Beginning Monday, recyclables not put in bins will not be picked up by the city. However, old garbage cans with ``recycling'' stickers still can be used as backup recycling containers if the new bins are filled up.

Authorities point out that glass, newspapers, magazines, cardboard, junk mail, cans, milk jugs and detergent bottles can be recycled.

However, waxed or plastic coated paper, foil, cellophane, books, school papers, office files, and anything old and brittle will not be accepted.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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