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KLEM News PM Update Sept. 3, 2010

(LE MARS)--The 2010 Le Mars United Way Campaign is underway with a 225-thousand dollar goal.

The 7th annual golf tournament Thursday launched the annual campaign for the Le Mars United Way. The United Way supports agencies providing services in the greater Le Mars area.

Le Mars United Way board chair Janelle Bixenman indicated nearly five-thousand dollars was raised through the golf tournament to help the Le Mars United Way reach its goal.

United Way funds will be used to support local charities devoted to ensuring children grow into successful adults and adequate safety net services are available for people in need or facing crisis.

This year's winning foursome included Matt Washburn and Corey Nordstrom, with Mark Schmidt and Dave Miller joining them for the first time this year.

United Way organizers say thanks to the first-ever employee campaign at Wells' Dairy Inc., this year's Le Mars United Way campaign is off to a robust start. Last spring, Wells' Dairy completed their employee campaign and raised over 154-thousand dollars. The United Way Campaign runs through December.

The tournament included awarding Luw which is the name given to a traveling golf caddie trophy named for the Le Mars United Way. Luw will be with the Lang Gang--Deb, Tim, Micah and Makenzie Lang. The Lang Gang had the highest score.

No action on ECO Center bids

(HINTON)--Another round of discussion is planned for an environmental education center when the Plymouth County Conservation Board meets next Thursday night.

Five construction bids for the project exceeded the ECO Center budget of one-half million dollars and the budget included the architect's fees. The apparent low bid from H-W Design Build of Sioux City was 523-thousand dollars.

The Conservation Board met last night and agreed to revisit the bids during a meeting next Thursday night at HIllview Park, west of Hinton. Conservation Board Director Dennis Sohl says the architect had identified some areas to realize a cost savings, but not enough to provide a contingency. References from the builder continue to be checked.

Sohl expects the Conservation Board's three campgrounds to be filled for this Labor Day weekend. The campgrounds remain open until October 15th. Sohl notes rental cabins at Hillview have continued to be popular weekdays and weekends all season.

The Conservation Board has talked one time about potential partnerships for Camp Joy Hollow owned by the Girls Scouts near Westfield. Sohl says the board hopes to continue discussions, but acknowledges there are a lot of emotions involved with the camp. Some Siouxland Girl Scouts held a public awareness event about the Camp and its future. Girl Scouts holding signs lined an area near the Tyson Events Center last Sunday.

Open valve caused explosion

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) Sioux City fire officials say an uncapped natural gas line is to blame for an explosion that damaged a house earlier this week.

A family of five escaped serious injury in the blast Tuesday night.

According to Associated Press, the fire department reported Thursday that a valve in the laundry room was left open by a repairman. Gas vapors filled the home and were ignited by a heat source.

The homeowner, Cuong Phung, his three children and his mother-in-law escaped without serious injury.

City officials have red-tagged the home as uninhabitable because of the damage.

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

Immigration arrests in three cities

(DES MOINES)--Immigrants living in more than a dozen Iowa communities have been arrested in a ten-state operation, the largest of its kind ever carried out throughout the Midwest. The sting targeted convicted criminals who are NOT U.S. citizens -- whether they are here illegally or not -- as well as people who had been ordered back to their home country, but were still here. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Carl Rusnok  says 28 people were arrested in Iowa.

 "There's probably about 15 or 20 different towns we made arrests in, however, many of those were single arrests," Rusnok says. "However, in Sioux City we made nine arrests; in Waterloo we made four arrests; in Des Moines we made two." This was a federal effort. Local law enforcement was not involved in making the arrests.

"In this particular operation that we have dubbed 'Cross Check' we have done research beforehand in order to identify and target these individuals," Rusnok says. More than half of those taken into custody in the ten-state sting had prior convictions for serious violent crimes. Rusnok says that reflects his agency's focus on arresting immigrants who may pose a threat to public safety. A total of 370 people were arrested in the 10 states. This Midwestern sting follows similar operations across the country over the past nine months. (News report by Radio Iowa)

Baseball bat assault arrests

YANKTON, S.D. (AP) The Yankton County Sheriff's Office says it has arrested two people in connection with an alleged baseball bat assault last weekend.

Sheriff Dave Hunhoff told the Yankton Press and Dakotan that a man and a woman reported being assaulted by a man when they entered the woman's mobile home east of Yankton. He says the woman knew the alleged attacker.

The sheriff says neither the man nor woman required hospitalization, but based on the bruises and injuries he considers it a serious assault.

The second man arrested faces a drug charge that resulted from the assault investigation.

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

Former egg farm workers say complaints ignored

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) U.S. Agriculture Department employees worked full-time at two Iowa egg farms at the center of a salmonella outbreak and massive recall, but two former workers say they didn't respond to complaints about conditions at one site.

Agency spokesman Caleb Weaver says the employees' main duties are to grade eggs in packaging areas and aren't primarily responsible for looking for health problems.

Two former workers at Wright County Egg facilities, Robert and Deanna Arnold, say they reported problems such as leaking manure and dead chickens to USDA employees but were ignored and told to return to work. Weaver says the USDA employee in charge of the site never received any complaints but that the investigation is continuing.

The salmonella outbreak has led to a recall of about 550 million eggs.

Tractor upgrades reduce farm deaths from rollovers

(UNDATED)--Deaths from tractor rollovers have been dropping in the U.S. as farmers buy new tractors equipped with roll bars, reinforced cabs and seat belts or upgrade older ones with those features.

Tractor rollovers have long been the leading cause of death on U.S. farms. But a study published last year by federal researchers found that rollover deaths fell 28 percent over the past two decades, dropping from 5.5 deaths per 100,000 workers in 1992 to 3.6 deaths per 100,000 in 2007.

John Myers, a health statistician with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, says that's partly because many farmers upgraded their equipment during a flush period in agriculture from 2004 to 2007. He says it's not clear yet how the recession might have affected that trend.

Iowa announces program to recoup court fines, fees

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Iowa is trying to collect old court fines and fees with a deal for thousands of Iowans who owe the state a total of about $300 million.

According to WHO-AM, there are 217,000 people who owe court fines and fees that are past due by at least four years.

Under a new amnesty program, if they pay 50 percent of their overdue debt in one lump sum, the other half will be forgiven.

Roger Stirler  of the state revenue department says letters are going out this month in an effort to recoup some of the money.

He says there are some fines and fees that aren't eligible, including victim restitution, child support, alimony, jail fees and fines payable to cities and counties.

The program runs through the end of November.

Drake's new ``D+'' campaign earns failing grade

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Drake University's new marketing campaign that features a ``D+'' logo is getting a failing grade from some faculty, students and alumni.

They say it's offensive and embarrassing and tarnishes the university's reputation.

Leaders at the Des Moines school say regardless of how people react, they are reacting and that's what they wanted to accomplish.

The Des Moines Register reported Friday that Drake hired Cedar Rapids-based company to help develop the new ``Drake Advantage'' recruitment campaign. The university recently unveiled it to prospective students through brochures and its website.

Drake spokesman Tom Delahunt says while the ``D+'' comes across as a grade at first glance, it's meant to represent all the opportunities Drake offers students.

Child neglect trial set for Iowa woman

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) The child neglect trial of a Dubuque woman is now set for October while authorities still await lab results on apparent human remains discovered in her yard.

Tamelia Harris was arrested in June after police began searching for her 20-month-old daughter, Cecilia.

While trying to find the toddler, police found what they believe are the remains of a small child in Harris' yard. Authorities are awaiting lab results to identify the remains and provide clues about the cause and manner of death. The process could take several months.

Harris' trial on the neglect charge had been set for Aug. 30, but was delayed.

The Telegraph Herald reported Thursday that Harris' trial is now set for Oct. 18.

State board sets conditions for Perry chiropractor

PERRY, Iowa (AP) A state board says a Perry chiropractor accused of assaulting one of his patients may continue to practice but must have a female chaperone when he treats women.

Daniel Duffy was charged with misdemeanor assault last month after a female patient told police she heard him acting inappropriately, including unzipping his pants.

Duffy, who is free on bond, continues to see patients.

The Des Moines Register says the Iowa Board of Chiropractic ruled Thursday that Duffy's continued practice ``poses a serious and immediate danger'' to his female patients. The board says it will impose interim safeguards until it can reach a final decision on the case against him.

The newspaper says Duffy has declined to comment on the advice of his attorney.

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

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KLEM News AM Update Sept. 3, 2010

(LE MARS)--More than two-point six-million dollars in building activity is on the latest report for construction in Le Mars.

Code Enforcement officer Jason Vacura issued 11 permits in August. The construction plans are divided among all the different categories for building.

The top value was in the commercial business construction. ICON Ag Solutions received a permit for its relocation plans on Key Avenue estimated at one-point-three million dollars.

New retail construction in southwest Le Mars for a Pizza Hut relocation and future businesses is estimated at one-point-one million dollars.

The report includes one permit for a new house on the city's north side estimated to cost 235-thousand dollars. There are also two house additions for about 13-thousand dollars.Signs, accessory buildings and fences round out the report.

Since January the 73 permits issued total eight-point-six-million dollars in estimated construction costs. The city has collected about 35-thousand dollars in fees for permits.

Consultant studiy's Wastewater treatment needs

(LE MARS)--A consultant is looking at options for future wastewater treatment needs in Le Mars.

Le Mars Wastewater Treatment Facility and Collection System Superintendent Ron Kayser says consultant Greg Sindt of Bolton and Menk of Ames is working on three scenarios.

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Kayser says the third option would extend the life of the existing wastewater treatment for a long time.

Kayser emphasizes all three scenarios are in the planning stages. The consultant is to develop a plan to give the city what Kayser describes as "the best bang for our buck. "

Talent show salute includes Patti Page

(LE MARS)--Singer Patti Page will create a tribute to a well-known television talent show during the 35th annual National Old-TIme Country and Bluegrass Festival and Contest tomorrow.

Bob and Sheila Everhart and the Pioneer Ag Expo are presenting the event at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars.

Bob Everhart says the program, "Ted Mack & the Original Amateur Hour" will be showcased Saturday with the help of Patti Page.

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There's a long list of performers from the show coming to Le Mars.

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Page will take the stage at eight Saturday night. She is also in Le Mars to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

On Sunday Cindy Cash, Johnny Cash's daughter will do a tribute to her dad at 11 a.m.

Supreme Court won't review conviction

CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) The Iowa Supreme Court won't review the conviction of a Charles City teen convicted in June on charges of first-degree murder and sexual abuse.

The Mason City Globe Gazette reports 15-year-old Edgar Concepcion Jr. was found guilty in Hamilton County District Court in the July 2009 death of his 3-year-old cousin.

Concepcion's attorney, Judy O'Donohoe, formally asked the Iowa Supreme Court to review the case, but Iowa Courts Online shows that request was denied on Thursday.

Judge Bryan McKinley has yet to rule on a motion seeking a new trial for Concepcion Jr.

O'Donohoe has argued her client was denied due process and that an alleged confession should not have been admitted into evidence at his trial.

Concepcion was tried as an adult. He remains in state custody.

Polk County Jail checking immigration status

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Polk County Jail is now using a fingerprint identification system that flags illegal immigrant inmates and notifies federal authorities.

The Des Moines Register reports the system launched this week checks fingerprint records against an immigration database maintained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The newspaper reports the county is the first local jurisdiction in Iowa to adopt the system. Federal authorities expect to install it in all counties nationwide by 2014.

When the fingerprint information matches a person in the database, the system notifies U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok says the agency evaluates each case and takes appropriate action. He says ICE wants to make sure criminal aliens aren't put back on the street.

Iowa inmate dies while serving life sentence

FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) A former Davenport man serving a life sentence for killing a man with a hammer then dumping his body in a field in 2005 has died in custody.

The Iowa Corrections Department reports 55-year-old Steven Howard Deitz died Wednesday at University Hospitals in Iowa City of liver failure. He had been an inmate at Iowa State Penitentiary.

Deitz was convicted in December 2006 of first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and willful injury for the death of Charles Lee Nixon on Nov. 22, 2005.

A witness testified Deitz attacked Nixon with a hammer while he slept and later dumped his body near Belle Rive, Ill. A farm manager spotted the burning body and called police.

After the sentencing, former Scott County Attorney Bill Davis called Deitz ``a menace'' and ``not the kind of person who should be out.''

Parents challenge Waterloo's dress code

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) An administrative law judge is expected to rule by early October if a new dress code by Waterloo Community Schools violates state law.

Some parents say it's illegal because it tells students what they can wear rather than prohibiting items they can't wear.

A hearing was held this week in Des Moines.

The appeal is based on a state law that allows districts to ban ``gang-related or other specific apparel'' if the board determines that the policy is necessary for health, safety or a ``positive educational environment.''

The Gazette of Cedar Rapids says Superintendent Gary Norris testified Wednesday that school officials were within their legal authority.

Parent Rick Peters says the policy restricts the decisions of students and parents and is opposite of the law's intent.

Culver, Branstad agree to 3 debates

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The major party candidates for governor have agreed to meet three times for debates.

Democratic Gov. Chet Culver and Republican challenger Terry Branstad will hold their first debate Sept. 14 in Sioux City. That will be followed by an Oct. 7 debate in Cedar Rapids and another Oct. 21 in Des Moines.

Culver is seeking his second term, while Branstad is making a bid to return to the office he held for 16 years from 1983 to 1999.

Culver calls for more barriers on Iowa interstates

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Gov. Chet Culver is urging the state Transportation Department to accelerate its plans to install cable barriers in the medians of some Iowa interstates.

Culver issued a news release Thursday noting a recent spike in serious cross-median accidents and called for barriers where data show they would most benefit travelers.

Under the current DOT plan, the barrier placement will be finished in 2012-2013. Culver sent a letter to Transportation Director Nancy Richardson calling for a shorter timeline.

Culver says the safety of Iowans is his top priority

1 dead in plane crash near farm show in Iowa

BOONE, Iowa (AP) The Federal Aviation Administration says one person is dead in the crash of a small plane towing a banner near the Farm Progress Show near Boone in central Iowa.

FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham (eye-SHUM') Cory says the Cessna 150 with just the pilot on board crashed about two miles north of Boone Thursday morning. She says the plane is registered to Drake Aerial Enterprise in Genoa, Ohio. There is no telephone listing for the company.

Air America Aerial Ads, of Genoa, is also listed on the FAA Registry. A person who answered the phone at the business declined to comment.

Boone County Sheriff Ron Fehr (fair) says the plane was towing a large advertising banner for a seed corn company. He says witnesses reported the plane was having problems pulling the banner when it crashed.

Fehr says the pilot was from Ohio. The pilot's name was not immediately released.

Fall killed worker at University of Iowa project

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) A state investigator is saying the private contractor who died Monday while working at the University of Iowa died from a fall.

Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Enforcement officer Jens Nissen tells the Iowa City Press-Citizen on Thursday that he didn't know the distance of the fall or any other details.

Forty-nine-year-old Tom Fosdick of Cedar Rapids was working for Swanson Glass, a subcontractor renovating the exterior of the UI Boyd Law Building.

Iowa OSHA has begun investigating the incident for any safety violations, which a spokeswoman says is typical for a workplace death. She says the investigation could take six to eight weeks.

University police responded to the accident, but haven't yet released an incident report.

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

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


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