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KLEM News AM Update April 9, 2010

(LE MARS)--A tentative agreement for a new contract between the Le Mars Community School Board of Education and the Le Mars Education Association will be considered by the Board Monday night.

According to information in the board's meeting agenda from Superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt, the one-year contract settlement is a two-point-three percent increase or 259-thousand dollars.

The pay that the teacher's salary is based on would be frozen for the coming school year. The previously bargained step advancement with Phase 1 funds is 140-thousand dollars of the 259-thousand dollar increase.

The other cost of the tentative agreement is 118-thousand dollars for an increase in the school's contribution to employee health insurance. The change is from the current rate of 815 dollars to a new rate of 880 dollars per month or a 65 dollar a month increase.

Changes in the wording of the contract have been negotiated for personal leave; family illness and dependent illness leave; and the evaluation procedures.

(LE MARS)--About 100 soldiers in Troop C based at the National Guard Armory in Le Mars are seeing community support for their service. Veterans, community leaders, Legion Riders and local government leaders were part of a "Community Covenant" ceremony last night. The Troop's First Sergeant says the quality of soldiers in the troop is a reflection of the community. The Troop is being called to active duty in Afghanistan.  District 9 American Legion Commander Jim Rolfes of Le Mars; Le Mars Mayor Dick Kirchoff and the Troop's 1st Sergeant, Scott Dorthout, spoke during the ceremony.

Listen to the ceremony

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(SIOUX CITY)--A Cherokee man will spend more than 10 years in federal prison for a drug conviction.

According to the U-S attorney's office, 27-year-old Robert Joseph Hare pled guilty to conspiring to make and distribute methamphetamine from October of 2005 through February of last year.

Authorities who charged Hare said Hare and others made and distributed 50 grams or more of meth within one-thousand feet of the Cherokee School District Early Childhood Learning Center.

Hare had a previous marijuana distribution conviction in Cherokee County.

A judge Monday sentenced him to more than 12 years in federal prison and 10 years of supervised released after the prison term. He is in the custody of the U-S Marshal's Service until he is taken to a federal prison.

(SIOUX CITY)--Another leak in Sioux City's sanitary sewer system sent untreated wastewater into a storm water system which drains to the Floyd River.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources released written information about the leak reported at 10 Thursday morning.

According to the D-N-R, unlike sanitary sewer systems, stormwater drains receive no treatment before they discharge to a stream or lake. 


(Des Moines)--
The Iowa Tourism Office is launching a nearly one-point-three million dollar ($1.3 million) advertising campaign aimed at Midwest travelers. Kathy Bowermaster helped organize the ad blitz which promotes destinations like the Loess Hills, Okoboji and the Amana Colonies. Around 75 tourist spots are mentioned in the ads.

Bowermaster says every area of the state is represented. Around 550-thousand dollars ($550,000) is being spent on print ads in magazines and newspapers. The 75 communities and tourist stops contribute roughly 200-thousand dollars ($200,000) toward the campaign.

"This really allows us to, first of all, help them extend their spending into markets that they maybe couldn't afford on their own and it also makes our budget go a lot farther," Bowermaster said. Another 750-thousand dollars ($750,000) is being spent on a six-week long television advertising campaign in Chicago and Minneapolis. Those ads will focus on the top tourist spots in seven Iowa cities.

"We've identified that Minnesota and Illinois are our top two out-of-state markets," Bowermaster said. "We have some special funding we receive from the gaming industry to do that regional advertising." State officials claim tourism is a six-point-four billion dollars ($6.4 billion) industry in Iowa that employs 65-thousand (65,000) people and generates more than 303-million dollars ($303 million) in state taxes. (News report courtesy Radio Iowa)

www.TravelIowa.com

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) This week marks the 50th anniversary of a project to replenish Japan's hog population while promoting U.S. grain.

The Iowa hog lift of 1959 followed a typhoon that devastated Japan's hog farms. A U.S. airman from Iowa suggested airlifting hogs from his home state to Japan and the project gained steam.

A Boone corn farmer saw the gesture as a way to introduce U.S. grain to Japan and help build a global market for Iowa grain.

Iowa farmers donated 36 hogs and the Department of Agriculture agreed to ship 60,000 bushels of grain from government stocks.

Only 35 of the hogs survived the trip and today most of Japan's hogs are linked genetically to those Iowa hogs, and Japan now imports more than 16 million metric tons of U.S. feed grains each year.

VAN METER, Iowa (AP) A Des Moines television station has learned that the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation has opened an investigation involving Van Meter Police Chief Michael Merritt.

Officials told KCCI on Thursday that two separate criminal investigations are under way into a job that Merritt has during his off work hours. The job involves inspecting salvaged cars before they can be returned to the roadway.

Officials say the allegations against Merritt include billing more than the state allows and a workers' compensation irregularity.

The Iowa Department of Transportation licenses Merritt and other officers across the state to conduct required inspections called Salvaged Theft Examinations.

Merritt's attorney, Paul Scott, said neither he nor his client had any comment about the case at the moment.

HUDSON, Iowa (AP) The family of young Alexa Tofte say quick thinking by the 8-year-old Hudson girl averted a tragedy over the weekend.

Alexa's grandmother, Karen Parks, was driving her granddaughter to her home in Waterloo for a weekend visit when she began getting shaky, sweating profusely and veering wildly back and forth across U.S. Route 63.

Alexa realized something was wrong, so when her grandmother didn't respond to her pleas, she grabbed the steering wheel herself and pulled the car off the road.

The 67-year-old Parks then passed out from a diabetic coma.

Alexa then took the car keys, ran across a field, climbed a fence and ran down a sidewalk to the house of a friend she remembered from a birthday party. The friend's father then called 911 and got in touch with Alexa's mother.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Corporations and unions must disclose independent campaign spending and identify themselves in their political ads under a measure signed into law by Gov. Chet Culver.

Culver signed the measure Thursday, saying the new rules were a crucial response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that lets corporations and unions spend unlimited money on independent political campaigns.

Legislators originally considered tougher rules that would have required shareholder votes before corporations could spend money on political issues, but they dropped those plans due to concerns that they'd be found unconstitutional.

Supporters of the new law say they're still among the nation's strongest disclosure rules.


OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) Hundreds of supporters for Ottumwa's casino bid greeted members of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission when they arrived to hear the city's pitch for a casino license.

Casino supporters said they came out Wednesday in part to reverse the outcome from the last time the IRGC granted licenses, in 2005. Ottumwa fell one vote short of getting a license.

Others who turned out were motivated by a wide range of factors, including economic development. However, Marcine Coltrain said she attended in order to get one of the 500 vouchers handed backers of the casino. The voucher can be used at the casino if it is built in Ottumwa.

Casino opponents were also present. Phil Griffith says stimulating the economy is a good goal, but putting in a casino is not the way to do it.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A major Des Moines-based magazine publisher is eliminating roughly 20 jobs in what it calls a management realignment to better organize some of its online and offline components.

Company spokesman Art Slusark said the Meredith Corp. will shed a net 20 jobs as some duplicate positions are eliminated and a few new jobs are added.

Meredith publishes Better Homes and Gardens, Parents and Fitness magazines, among other titles, and currently operates more than 40 Web sites.

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

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