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KLEM News AM Update August 18, 2010

(LE MARS)--A bridge to get Le Mars Area Dialysis Services going in Le Mars is how a loan from a Plymouth County program was described Tuesday. 

The Board of Supervisors approved the 250-thousand dollar loan for the new medical service to be provided in downtown Le Mars.

The county revolving loan fund is financed with Local Option Sales Tax. The request came to the board of supervisors because Revolving Loan Committee members said it was outside of the county's guidelines.

Supervisor Gordon Greene abstained from the vote citing the possibility of an ethics conflict because he might be a future dialysis patient and Supervisor Craig Anderson was absent.

The goal of getting rid of water leaks on the third floor of the Courthouse could be met with a nearly 13-thousand dollar expenditure approved Tuesday. The proposal from Nohava Construction of Le Mars involved replacing scuppers, downspouts and gutters to improve drainage.

The Clerk of Court's office has experienced water leaks several times this year.

Council okays work to improve Convention Center heating, cooling

(LE MARS)-About 250-thousand dollars will be invested in energy improvements at the Le Mars Convention Center.

City officials say this is the second time since the city became owner of the campus property after Westmar University closed in 1997 that there have been improvements in the building's energy system.

A recent review indicated the improvement made--a 100-ton chiller-- isn't being utilized efficiently because of the other parts of the Convention Center System.

The Council decided against a second energy grant request to offset some of the city's costs due to the small amount of money the city would actually receive to use for the project.

The Council gave the final approval to a reorganization of the Le Mars Fire Department. The changes suggested by Fire Chief Dave Schipper provide for a large number of officers for the group.

The Council gave the green light to staff decisions for safety improvements at the railroad crossing at the intersection of 18th Street Southwest and Business Highway 75. A Union Pacific train used its emergency brakes when a semi tractor trailer was parked on the tracks, city officials were told.

King:  E-15 needed

(LE MARS)--Congressman Steve King, in Le Mars Tuesday, said he'd raise the maximum blend of ethanol in unleaded gas to 15 percent "in a heart beat."

King said when he first went to Congress there was dialogue and discussion in a bipartisan way on policy.

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King said he'd like to see Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack speak out more vocally for E-15.

Train safety classroom is on the tracks

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(SHELDON)--About 300 people boarded a Union Pacific passenger train in Sheldon last Friday for a safety presentation by Operation Lifesaver. Established in 1972, Operation Lifesaver travels around the country educating people about railroad crossings and right of ways.

Haley Wagner, from Archer IA, was part of a young group of students riding the train from Sheldon to Alton. Her thoughts about the train ride were pretty simple in the beginning.

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The passenger train could only go about 35 miles per hour, but the average freight train gets up to about 55 miles per hour. Bob Resch, manager of Public Safety for Union Pacific, said that a train going 55 takes a long time to stop.

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Research shows that you're 40 times more likely to die in a car train collision than any other collision. According to the DOT there were 12 train related accidents in Plymouth County over the last ten years, with one fatality in 2001.

Resch added that half of fatal train crashes across the nation happen during the day at gated crossings where the gate arm is down. These incidences can be prevented if you stick to the basic rules of railroad crossing safety.

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Following the Operation Life Saver presentation Haley said she learned something.

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She added that if more people heard the safety message they might be more likely pay attention at railroad crossings.

To learn more about Operation Life Saver and Crossing safety visit oli.org. (News report by Angela Drake of KLEM News)

Authorities charge couple with making meth

(LE MARS)--A report of a motorist who needed help led Plymouth County Sheriff's deputies to a meth lab west of Le Mars Monday afternoon.

Forty-two-year-old Paul Anthony Lott and 50-year-old Cheri Rene Lott, both of Oklahoma, are each charged with manufacturing meth, possession of lithium as a precursor for meth, and operating without owner's consent.

The Lotts were in a U-Haul van when deputies went to Highway 3 and the Highway 75 bypass. The call was for a motorist who needed assistance.

The sheriff's office information states the U-Haul van was found to be stolen from Colorado and had a meth lab in the back.

Le Mars Fire Chief David Schipper and Le Mars Firefighters provided assistance to the sheriff's office. The U-Haul was taken to a safe location.


Two technicians cleared the vehicle. Seven fire fighters were at the scene with a fire rig to provide self-contained breathing apparatus equipment and were available for decontamination and neutralizing. The cleanup of chemicals for a meth lab lasted for about three hours.

The Lotts are being held in the Plymouth County Jail.

Northwestern ranked in top 10

(ORANGE CITY)--A Siouxland College is ranked ninth among 95 Midwestern regional colleges in the U-S News Media Group's 2011 edition of its Best Colleges guidebook.

The rankings are published in the September issue of U-S News and World report.

According to Northwestern College, this is the fourth year in a row for the Orange City private college to be in the top 10 of its category .

Northwestern's Dean of Enrollment Services Ron De Jong says it's gratifying that an organization that looks carefully at a number of institutional factors gives this strong endorsement of Northwestern's academic program.

The rankings are based on key measures of quality such as academic reputation; retention; faculty resources; student-faculty ratio and compensation; student selectivity; financial resources; and alumni giving.

Pre-registration deadline for General Election is Oct. 23

(LE MARS)--Voters who are not already registered will find information at the Plymouth County Auditor's office at the Courthouse or online.

Plymouth County Auditor and Commissioner of Elections Stacey Feldman says the last day to pre-register and be eligible to vote November 2nd is Saturday, October 23rd at 5 p.m. in the auditor's office.

The Auditor's Office will be open October 23rd from 8 a-m to 5 p-m.

Voter registration forms are available at the Auditor's office between 8 a-m and 5 p-m Monday through Friday. Voter registration is also available on the Plymouth County government website www.co.plymouth.ia.us under Online Services and choosing county forms. They may be mailed to the Auditor's Office.

Those who contact the Auditor's Office may also receive a voter registration form by mail. The Plymouth County Election Deputy is Cheri Nitzschke.

For more details, check out Election Information on the KLEM web page....www.klem1410.com and look for the information under KLEM Stuff.

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Flooding dilutes untreated waste

(SPENCER)--Raw sewage is still being dumped into the Big Sioux River at Sioux Falls after heavy rain and flooding overwhelmed the system nearly two weeks ago. That waterway flows into the Missouri River at Sioux City, but officials do -not- see a threat to clean water in river cities in Iowa and Nebraska. Ken Hessenius, a regional supervisor with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says flooding is taking care of most of the pollutants.

Hessenius says, "Those sewer systems get so overwhelmed and so surcharged with fresh water mixing with the sewage, we find the actual amount of pollution in those discharges is very, very minimal." He says the sewage is heavily dilulted by the flooding to the extent that a mile downstream from the dumping point, there's no pollution being found in most cases. Hessenius says people always hear to avoid rivers when they're flooding due to dangerous currents and debris. Now, here's another reason why.

 "The river becomes virtually unusable for a lot of uses, particularly canoeing, kayaking, swimming," Hessenius says. "All of those public uses are curtailed or virtually stopped during flooding conditions so what that does do is remove the potential for human contact." Hessenius says the DNR notifies any towns or cities downstream of any wastewater malfunctions that bring this sort of a discharge.

He says facilities are put on notice but even in those cases, they haven't had to change their treatment at all to take care of any additional pollutants. Compounding problems, a sewer line collapsed in Sioux Falls on August 4th, backing up likely a million gallons of sewage, which also had to be dumped into the river.
(News report by Radio Iowa) 

Iowa jury convicts man in girlfriend's death

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A 43-year-old Iowa man has been convicted of first-degree murder in the beating and strangling death of his girlfriend last year in a Des Moines trailer.

A Polk County jury deliberated less than four hours Tuesday before declaring the Des Moines man guilty of killing Melissa Kay Dean when she tried to leave him.

Christopher Michael Phipps showed now emotion as the verdict was read.

No one in the week-long trial disputed that Phipps killed Dean sometime on Sept. 17-18, 2009. The dispute hinged on his level of guilt.

Prosecutors argued he was guilty of first-degree murder, which mandates a life prison sentence; his public defenders pushed for a manslaughter conviction with a lesser sentence.

After she died, prosecutors say Phipps loaded Dean's body into his pickup truck and drove her to a parking lot, where he called police.

Mitchell County considers suit against newspaper

OSAGE, Iowa (AP) The Mitchell County Board of Supervisors has instructed its attorney to research a potential libel lawsuit against the Osage newspaper.

The supervisors went into closed session Tuesday upon the advice of County Attorney Mark Walk and re-opened their regular meeting about five minutes later.

Chairman Joel Voaklander said the board would ask Walk to research ``possible litigation'' against the Press-News and its editor, David Namanny.

In response to a question from the audience, county officials revealed their anger over a column written by Namanny published Aug. 11.

The column about property tax increases opens with the line: ``Looks like it's time to get out the pitchforks and head over to the county courthouse'' but later said he was joking.

Namanny says the column was intended to show how policy makers in Washington, D.C., and the statehouse were actually behind the tax increases.

Ethanol, Kansas co. buys 2 Hawkeye ethanol plants in Iowa

MENLO, Iowa (AP) A Kansas Company is announcing that it will acquire the Hawkeye ethanol plants in Menlo and Shell Rock.

Flint Hills Resources says in a news release Tuesday that it signed an agreement on Monday to purchase the plants in Menlo and Shell Rock from The Royal Bank of Scotland.

The Menlo and Shell Rock ethanol plants opened in 2008. Flint Hills says each plant employs about 50 people and each produces about 110 million gallons of ethanol annually.

The purchase price wasn't disclosed. The deal is expected to close in September.

Flint Hills will conduct a full evaluation of each plant's operations, but the company says it does not anticipate making any immediate changes.

Flint Hills also owns a fuel terminal in Bettendorf and a refinery outside St. Paul, Minn.

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

Branstad: Scrap economic development agency


MARION, Iowa (AP) Former Gov. Terry Branstad wants to scrap the Department of Economic Development and replace it with a public-private partnership that would be run by business professionals.

If he wins election over Democratic Gov. Chet Culver, Branstad says he would get rid of an economic development system that he calls ``an alphabet soup'' with a number of complex programs.

Speaking Tuesday in Marion, Branstad called for the creation of the Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress, overseen by an independent board of directors. State Sen. Kim Reynolds, Branstad's pick for lieutenant governor, would be chairwoman of the board.

The plan follows earlier plans backed by Branstad to cut corporate income taxes in half and make deep reductions in business property taxes.

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

Iowa DNR director to resign to take federal job

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Iowa Department of Natural Resources director Richard Leopold is resigning to take a job with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office in Minnesota.

Leopold will become the Midwest assistant regional director for science applications, with a tentative start date of Sept. 12. He had been state DNR director since January 2007.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius says Leopold's background with conservation agencies and nongovernment groups made him right for the job.

Leopold says he's been negotiating with federal officials for eight months.

His departure got mixed reviews, with The Nature Conservancy praising him but Sen. Dennis Black of Lynnville saying Leopold didn't reach out enough to farm groups or the Legislature.

Sheriff: Gas apparently killed couple in Iowa well

COON RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) Authorities have released the names of a rural western Iowa couple who died after they apparently were overcome by gas in a water well.

Guthrie County Sheriff Marty Arganbright identifies the victims as 36-year-old Jamie Eyberg  and his 34-year-old wife, Ann Eyberg.

The sheriff says Jamie Eyberg was doing work on the well on the couple's rural Coon Rapids farm on Saturday when he apparently was overcome by gas. Ann Eyberg found her husband unresponsive in the 6-foot-deep well, called 911, then apparently went into the well to help him and also was overcome.

Jamie Eyberg was pronounced dead at St. Anthony Regional Hospital. His wife later died at a Des Moines hospital.

The sheriff says authorities don't know the type of gas yet.

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

Submit your news release, confidential news tip or news idea by email klemnews@lemarscomm.net, by calling 712.546.4121 or 712.546.9672 fax.




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