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KLEM News AM Update September 15, 2010

(LE MARS)--Le Mars Community School officials say new information on tax rates in Plymouth County and Lakes Conference schools show the Le Mars district is second lowest.

Property tax payments for the first half of total taxes due are to be paid by the end of this month.

Superintendent Todd Wendt this week provided the information from the Iowa Association of School Boards

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Wendt also compared Lakes Conference School staff numbers to Le Mars Community.

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Le Mars tax rate of $13.76 is the second lowest tax levy among Plymouth County schools The low is Remsen-Union with a rate of $11.74.

Financial Comparisons

Lakes Conference

School, total tax rate

Le Mars $13.76

Cherokee $15.20

Emmetsburg $14.09

Estherville $19.00

Spencer $14.59

Spirit Lake $10.02

Storm Lake $18.29

Plymouth County:

Le Mars $13.76

Akron-Westfield $16.82

Hinton $16.22

Kingsley-Pierson $16.02

Remsen-Union $11.74

Source: Iowa Association of School Boards 2010-2011 Comparison Tool www.ia-sb.org

Ice Cream Plant explosion lawsuit goes to trial

(SIOUX CITY)--A lawsuit based on an explosion at a Le Mars business is being tried in Woodbury County District Court.

Wells' Dairy's South Ice Cream Plant was damaged during an explosion in March of 1999. Legal action was filed two years later.

The dairy is asking for damages from American Industrial Refrigeration and Refrigeration Valves and Systems Corporation.

Thousands of pages of documents in the court case filed two years after the explosion and ammonia leak reached a jury trial before Judge James Scott this week.

Conservation board may act on bids

(HINTON)--An addition to Plymouth County Conservation Board facilities will be considered at a meeting tonight (Wednesday) night.

Conservation Board chair Phyllis Bates is calling the special meeting of the board at the Hillview Recreation Area headquarters. The board is expected to discuss and possibly act on the ECO Center project at Hillview. The meeting begins at 7 p-m.

Bids for the environmental education center have exceeded the budget. The architect has been asked to review the project for possible cost savings.

K-22 nearly open again

(HINTON)--A Plymouth County road reconstruction funded with federal stimulus money will officially reopen soon.

Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe says road shoulders were being seeded along the 5.3 miles of County Road K-22 from the Plymouth/Woodbury County line north to county road C-60. A firm hired by contractor Cedar Valley Corporation of Waterloo to paint lines on the newly paved route is on the job this week.

Rohe updated supervisors on the project Tuesday saying he'd use the road closed or road opened notification system for an update on K-22.

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Rohe told the board there were many signs to be reposted along the K-22 route which is a travel connection for rural Sioux City residents who work in Sioux City.

The pavement is nine inches in depth on a width of 28 feet for two, 12-foot driving lanes and a two-foot paved shoulder with a five-foot earthen shoulder. The design, according to the engineer, will allow for a wider and safer roadway for the traffic volumes the county road has and should also reduce or eliminate edge ruts on the inside of some curves on the route.

 North American Co-Pack requests to be considered Thursday

(DES MOINES)--A state board Thursday considers state assistance for a business that may start up operations in Le Mars.

A committee of the Iowa Economic Development Board will make a recommendation to the full board Thursday morning on a request for North American Co-Pack Iowa.

North American Co-Pack Iowa has been awarded federal stimulus funds to produce pork products.

The city of Le Mars applied for two state programs on behalf of North American Co-Pack. The requests approved by the city council last week are for state income tax credits and a Value-added agriculture loan.

The Iowa Economic Development Board meets Thursday morning in Des Moines and will consider the requests for Le Mars during the meeting. .

Industry access grant approved for Orange City

(ORANGE CITY)--Access to a new area for industry in Orange City will be funded, in part, with a state grant.

Iowa Transportation Commissioners Tuesday approved a Revitalize Iowa's Sound Economy or RISE grant for the city of Orange City.

About 402-thousand dollars will be available to assist with construction of about 300 feet of 19th Street Street Southeast and 19-hundred feet of Frankfort Drive Southeast. Both are located in southeast Orange City, just east of Sioux County Road K-64.

The completed improvements will provide access to nine lots totaling about 54 acres for development in the new Orange City Industrie (sic) Centrum which is a 100-acre industrial park.

Sergeant Bluff car bombing investigated

SERGEANT BLUFF, Iowa (AP) Federal authorities are part of an investigation of a car bomb that exploded in Sergeant Bluff.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says the bomb was detonated early Tuesday inside a 2010 Chevrolet Impala.

A representative of the ATF told a news reporter the car was in a resident's garage when it blew up.

No one was hurt, but officials say the bomb caused extensive damage to the car.

The ATF is investigating along with the Sergeant Bluff police and fire departments, the Iowa state fire marshal and the Woodbury County sheriff.

A $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the bomber.

(COPYRIGHT 2010 BY ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

Culver, Branstad clash in opening debate

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Gov. Chet Culver is accusing Republican challenger Terry Branstad of being dishonest with voters, while Branstad says Culver tripled Iowa's debt during his first term in office.

Culver and Branstad waged a lively exchange Tuesday night during the first of three scheduled debates, and both used the event to lob harsh assaults on each other.

Culver took aim at Branstad, saying the former governor routinely raised taxes during his 16 years in office after telling voters he wouldn't.

Culver says raising taxes is something he's resisted during his four years as governor.

Branstad says Culver plunged the state deeply into debt in a failed job creation program.

Tuesday's debate was held in Sioux City but broadcast on television statewide.


Pawlenty hires staffer in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has put a campaign staffer on the ground in Iowa, the first potential presidential candidate to hire a staffer in the state where precinct caucuses launch the presidential nominating season.

Pawlenty has hired Ben Foster, a 2009 University of Alabama graduate who worked on the Alabama governor's race.

Among the potential 2012 GOP candidates, Pawlenty has been the most active after announcing a decision not to seek another term as governor. He's traveled heavily in Iowa and New Hampshire, home of the first presidential primary.

Spokesman Alex Conant says Foster will handle details of Pawlenty's travels in Iowa and help local candidates heading into the midterm election.

Pawlenty is returning to the state on Oct. 8 and 9.

Investigators say egg company knew of salmonella

WASHINGTON (AP) Congressional investigators say the Iowa egg farm at the center of a massive salmonella outbreak received hundreds of positive results for salmonella in the two years before its eggs sickened more than 1,500 people.

In a letter Tuesday to the company's owner, the House Energy and Commerce Committee says that investigators have obtained records showing that Wright County Egg received 426 positive results for salmonella between 2008 and 2010.

The committee says those results include 73 samples that were potentially positive for Salmonella Enteritidis, the strain responsible for the recent outbreak.

The owner of Wright County Egg, Austin ``Jack'' DeCoster, is scheduled to testify before the committee next week.


Lake Mills man sentenced for crash that killed 2

GARNER, Iowa (AP) A Lake Mills man has been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for a crash that left two men dead and another passenger seriously injured.

The Mason City Globe Gazette reports 20-year-old Koh Evan Tsuruta was sentenced in Hancock County District Court by Judge Colleen Weiland on Tuesday. He was also ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution.

Tsuruta pleaded guilty last month to two counts of vehicular homicide and one count of serious injury by a motor vehicle. He changed his plea after another judge ruled against a defense motion to suppress evidence of alcohol and drug use.

Authorities say Tsuruta ran a stop sign and broadsided a car in June 2009, killing its driver, 58-year-old Harlan Derr, of Rudd, and a passenger in Tsuruta's car, 19-year-old Tyler Brighton, of Lake Mills.

Another passenger in Tsuruta's car was left confined to a wheelchair. Tsuruta was also seriously hurt.

Iowa airman dies at NM Air Force base

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) An Iowa airman has died at an Air Force base in New Mexico.

Marie Vanover, a spokeswoman for Kirtland Air Force Base near Albuquerque, says Devin Berry died at the base. She says no other information is being released and that the investigation is continuing.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports the 20-year-old airman from Independence, Iowa, died Thursday.

FEMA pares back hours at Disaster Recovery Centers

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Federal Emergency Management Agency is paring back the hours at its Disaster Recovery Centers across Iowa this week.

The centers have served some 2,125 victims of this summer's severe storms, tornadoes and flooding. Starting this coming weekend, the centers will be closed Sundays. And after Saturday evening, the centers in Colfax and Webster will close. Eight centers will remain open.

Representatives from federal and voluntary agencies, including the U.S. Small Business Administration, are available at the centers to provide recovery information.

Before visiting a center, the first step in the storm and flood recovery assistance process is to register with FEMA. The deadline to register is Oct. 13.

(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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