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KLEM News Update May 8, 2010

The city council this week directed staff to work on different ideas to fund operations and maintenance of storm water facilities like detention basins and storm sewers. No action was taken on a proposal to increase the monthly charge by $1. City staff asked the council for a rate change because the present fee is falling short of expenses for storm water. The fund has a $450,000 deficit.

City administrator Scott Langel says the funds are used for projects or improvements.

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"The vast majority of the monies go into actual construction projects whereby we're trying to make the storm sewer systems either work better or flow better or take care of problems that have been identified where things are not flowing correctly and causing some localized flooding or something and we try to make improvements to those areas so it doesn't do that again," Langel says.

Options for storm water work discussed this week by the Council included having a residential and a commercial charge or considering the amount of concrete versus grass area.


(LE MARS)--The largest percentage of voters in area counties are registered without a political party affiliation. The numbers mirror the state totals.

Secretary of State Michael Mauro Friday released the latest voter registration total. Of Iowa's two-million voters, 774-thousand are registered without a party designation. That's followed by 711-thousand Democrats and 602-thousand Republicans.

"No Party" is the top voter designation in Woodbury, Plymouth and Cherokee Counties.

About 17-thousand active voters are already registered for the June 8th primary in Plymouth County. The majority, about 36 percent, are those Plymouth County voters who have not designated a political party.

That's true in Woodbury and Cherokee Counties, too. Thirty-seven percent of Cherokee County's registered voters are "No Party" and nearly 37 percent in Woodbury County.

In Sioux County, about 73 percent of the active voters are registered as Republicans.

Voters will need to declare a party affiliation for the June 8th primary.


(LE MARS)--Students from schools in Le Mars were in the top five places for math contests coordinated by the Northwest Area Education Agency (AEA).

The team competition featured 12 math problems from five categories. Le Mars Community Middle School Team A placed fourth in the seventh-grade contest.

Gehlen Catholic seventh graders placed third out of 28 teams. Gehlen Catholic's eighth graders placed 2nd in the team competition out of 31 teams.

Gehlen Catholic seventh grader Derek Bretey finished in first place in the seventh-grade contest.

Le Mars Community eighth grader Adam Friedenbach was the overall champion out of 128 participants.
All three seventh grade Le Mars Community teams placed in the top 10 of the 28 teams competing.

(SIOUX CITY)--Road surface patching work will reduce traffic to one lane on week days on Highway 20 between Correctionville and Holstein.

The Sioux City office of the Iowa Department of Transportation reported the plans in a written news release.

The work will begin on Highway 20 on May 17th and continue until July first, weather permitting.

When the roadway is restricted to one lane, traffic will be assisted through the work area by flaggers and a pilot car.

(SAC CITY)--A rural Sac County man is accused of threatening to kill a woman early Thursday morning.

Thirty-one-year-old Paul Werkmeister is charged with a felony, intimidation with a dangerous weapon, and aggravated domestic assault.

The Sac County sheriff's office received a 9-1-1 call about three Thursday morning from a woman claiming Werkmeister was threatening to kill her with a loaded shotgun.

Authorities found an adult female running down a gravel road with bare feet. Werkmeister came out of the house at 2673 300th Street and was arrested. The sheriff's office seized a 20-gauge shotgun and ammunition. Sac City Police assisted the sheriff's office.

YANKTON, S.D. (AP) The Rev. Dave Gunderson of Yankton is deploying this coming week for a year's mission in Afghanistan.

Gunderson will serve as chaplain with the 196th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, stationed at Camp Phoenix in the capital of Kabul.

Gunderson sees similarities to his pastorate at St. John's Lutheran Church in Yankton. He says he'll be doing many of the things he would do in a regular parish, but in camouflage.

Gunderson joined the South Dakota National Guard in January 1989.

He'll deliver his final pre-deployment sermon this Sunday.

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

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A bipartisan group of politicians are joining construction industry leaders in pushing for additional spending to repair the state's and the nation's tattered infrastructure.

They held a rally Friday on the steps of the Statehouse in Des Moines, saying the effort would not only make desperately needed repairs, but would create new jobs and help turn around the economy.

Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Latham says the investment could create good-paying construction jobs. He was joined by Democratic U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell in pushing Congress to approve a new long-term highway funding plan.

Boswell says Congress can't continue to pay for big programs like highways by simply growing the deficit.

Construction industry officials are calling for a long-term funding source, such as the gas tax, to ensure big projects get done.


JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) Democratic and Republican strategists say staff shake-ups and a campaign finance investigation have left Gov. Chet Culver with a steep hill to climb in his bid for re-election.

Culver lost his chief of staff and campaign manager in recent weeks, but the latest blow came this week when Attorney General Tom Miller called for a special prosecutor to investigate $25,000 in campaign contributions Culver's campaign received from gambling supporters in Fort Dodge.

Democratic strategist Jerry Crawford says Culver's supporters haven't done a good job communicating his message and must improve.

Republican strategist Doug Gross says the last couple of months have caused serious problems for Culver.

The two disagreed over whether Culver can regain his footing as they spoke Friday during a taping of Iowa Public Television's ``Iowa Press'' program.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Iowa Department of Human Services is laying off a total of 88 front line workers at offices and facilities throughout the state.

The workers received their layoff notices Friday.

In an e-mail to department staff Friday morning, DHS Director Charlie Krogmeier said the jobs will be eliminated July 1, but other positions within the department will be available almost right away for most of the people laid off.

Krogmeier added, though, that some workers would have to relocate to a new city to accept a different job within another DHS office.

During the next week, 23 county DHS offices will switch from being open full time to just part-time hours. A third of DHS's 99 county offices were already operating on a part-time basis.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Edward L. Campbell, who formerly headed the Iowa Democratic Party and ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1982, has died at 75.

Campbell, who was state Democratic Party chairman from 1977 to 1982, was the husband of former Iowa Attorney General Bonnie Campbell. Although he had been ill for some time, the cause of his death was not immediately given.

In a statement issued Friday, Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said he is deeply saddened by Campbell's death. Culver says Campbell taught and showed him how one person can make a difference, adding he will be forever grateful for his friendship, guidance and advice.

Campbell was a U.S. Army veteran and a graduate of the University of Iowa.

In 1965 Campbell served as a Special Assistant to Governor Harold Hughes. He helped lead the establishment of Iowa's community colleges.


WAVERLY, Iowa (AP) Bremer County authorities say they have disinterred the remains of homicide victim buried more than 30 years ago to see if technological advances may yield new evidence in her death.

Bremer County Attorney Kasey Wadding says the body of Marie Lisa Peak was disinterred Friday and sent to the State Medical Examiner's office in Ankeny for re-examination.

Peak was 20 years old when her in September of 1976, when her body was discovered in Bremer County just north of Waverly. An autopsy indicated Peak was a victim of sexual assault and died of a broken neck. At the time of her disappearance the Knoxville native had been a journalism student at Wartburg College.

JANESVILLE, Iowa (AP) Authorities in Bremer County have charged a volunteer Janesville firefighter with drunken driving after he allegedly rolled a fire truck while on duty.

The Bremer County Sheriff's Office says 43-year-old David Francis Flood was driving the truck when the accident occurred on March 27 in rural Bremer County.

After an investigation, Flood was charged Thursday with operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

A deputy estimated the damage to the fire truck at around $30,000. No injuries were reported in the incident, and an accident report didn't indicate if anyone was in the vehicle with Flood at the time.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) City officials in Cedar Rapids say the demolition of the former Sinclair meatpacking plant will begin on Monday and is expected to take as long as six months.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is paying the $7.75-million demolition bill, plus another $211,000 for a firm to monitor debris coming from the site for contaminants.

A lingering question at the Sinclair site is the former plant's smokestack. Historical preservationists have said they will work to raise funds to reinforce and preserve the structure, which the city says is leaning and could pose a safety threat to demolition crews.

The D.W. Zinser Co. of nearby Walford won the city contract to perform the Sinclair demolition.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) State and federal funds allocated to help Iowa recover from the worst natural disaster in its history has topped $4 billion.

According to the Rebuild Iowa Office, more than $3.1 billion of Iowa's $4 billion in disaster funds have been approved for use and more than $1.2 billion has been spent.

Rebuild Iowa officials say many disaster assistance programs operate on a reimbursement basis. The method results in a gap between ``spent'' and ``approved'' funds. As projects move toward completion, money is reimbursed.

Rebuild Iowa points out that the buyout of disaster-impacted homes has just gotten underway. Officials say once the buyout process is complete, the state will then see a large increase of funds in the ``spent'' column.

The just-completed Iowa legislative session saw lawmakers approve nearly $65 million in recovery funds for state and community recovery programs.

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

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