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KLEM News PM Update July 8, 2010


LE MARS)--Storage buildings dominate the latest building report for rural Plymouth County.

Zoning administrator Alan Lucken reports 12 permits were issued in June for construction with an estimated value of just over 800-thousand dollars.

The 11 permits for buildings on farm totalled 716-thousand dollars. Lucken issued one permit for a new house and two permits for house additions. There were four machine storage building permits; four grain bins; and one commodity storage permit.

The only rural permit that was not on a farm was for a house with an estimated construction value of 90-thousand dollars

Governor says I-JOBS will improve NW cities water supplies

(DES MOINES)--Six northwest Iowa communities will make water system improvements using state I-JOBS funds

Governor Chet Culver says the funds will create a safe, quality water supply for residents of the communities.

The largest award of one-point-four million dollars is for Arnolds Park to upgrade the water treatment plant. Another Iowa Great Lakes community, Okoboji, was awarded 860-thousand dollars for upgrades to the drinking water treatment plant.

Sibley's share is 475-thousand dollars for a new water storage tank, service pumps, stand-by generator and water main replacement. Cherokee was awarded 60-thousand dollars to rehabilitate two sewer lift stations. Salix will replace lift stations using 80-thousand dollars. Onawa's project is to improve the drinking water treatment plant and have additional storage. The I-JOBS award was 325-thousand dollars.

Judge orders Iowa sheriff to issue gun permit

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A federal judge in Sioux City has ruled an northwest Iowa sheriff violated a man's First Amendment rights when he denied an application for a permit to carry a weapon.

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Bennett ordered Osceola County Sheriff Douglas Weber on Wednesday to issue a permit to carry a weapon to Paul Dorr of Ocheyedan.

The ruling states that Weber approved a permit for Dorr in previous years when Dorr traveled the country to protest outside abortion clinics and only denied Dorr's request after he began working with a taxpayer's group questioning county spending in 2007.

Bennett also ordered Weber to take a college level class on the U.S. Constitution.

Weber declined comment.

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

S-U-V collides with train near Lake View

(LAKE VIEW)--A Fonda woman was injured near Lake View when her S-U-V struck the engine of a Canadian National Railroad train Wednesday afternoon.

According to Sac County Sheriff Ken McClure, 37-year-old Barbara Mercer had stopped for the stop sign at the railroad crossing. The front of the sport utility vehicle Mercer was driving was on the tracks when the S-U-V was struck by the train engine. The train had 62 cars attached as it was traveling southwest.

Mercer was taken to a hospital in Lake City by Lake View Ambulance where she was treated for non-life threatening injuries. The S-U-V was totalled. There was no damage to the train. The sheriff reports all the lights, bells, and horn of the train were functioning at the time of the accident.

Coyotes, groundhogs chewing lights at Iowa airport

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) Airport workers in Muscatine say they're looking to stop groundhogs and coyotes from burrowing and gnawing into the underground lighting system.

Steve Boka is Muscatine's director of planning, zoning and building safety. He says the lights are necessary to keep the airport runway visible and safe and the animal mischief has to end. Officials say they can fix the problem by removing the animals. They also can install an encased lighting system that the animals wouldn't be able to penetrate.

Boka hopes the airport could start work on a new lighting system by next spring. The project would cost about $350,000.

He says repairs on the current lighting system will continue to keep the airport safe for planes.

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

18 teachers to be restored in Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Some of the teachers who were laid off by the Des Moines school district earlier this year will be headed back to classrooms.

The school district said Wednesday that insurance rates were lower than expected. That means it can restore 18 teaching positions, five custodians and one laborer. The district eliminated 173 teaching positions because of an $11 million budget shortfall.

Restoring the 24 jobs will cost the district about $1.5 million. Officials haven't yet decided which specific teaching positions will be restored. They say they'll review what areas have the greatest need.

The Des Moines district has 31,000 students in 66 schools.

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

World War II bomber on display in Fort Dodge

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) A historic B-17 bomber used during World War II has made an appearance at the Fort Dodge Airport.

The plane is one of 12 B-17 bombers that still flies. Pilot Bob Blue flew it from Dubuque to Fort Dodge on Tuesday. Blue says the plane is ``an icon of World War II.'' Blue is a retired United Airlines pilot and a member of the Arizona Wing of the Commemorative Air Force. He volunteers to fly the plane during tours of the United States.

The silver metal bomber is named ``Sentimental Journey.'' It will be on display at the airport in Fort Dodge through Thursday.

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

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New system could help ID unknown Iowa body

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Investigators in Polk County say they're hoping new technology will help them identify a man whose body was found 26 years ago in 1984.

Polk County officials say they're hoping the National Missing and Unidentified Person Systems will be able to help identify the tattooed man who detectives have nicknamed ``Bones.'' The system was started in January 2009 and already has helped identify 15 people.

Polk County medical examiner Gregory Schmunk says the new system can combine missing persons databases with unidentified remains databases. He says his office has two other cases registered with the system.

National federal statistics show that medical examiners and coroners nationwide had 4,400 unidentified bodies in 2007.

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


BEDFORD, Iowa (AP) Authorities say a woman has died from injuries suffered during a Fourth of July parade in Bedford in southwest Iowa.

Police say 82-year-old Betty Sprague, of Bedford, died Wednesday at a hospital in Omaha, Neb.

She was among three people thrown from a wagon that broke loose from four ponies during the parade.

Police say a problem with a neck yoke or wagon tongue caused the wagon to come loose and strike the curb. The other passengers were treated at the scene.

The accident remains under investigation.

Sprague was the second Iowan to die from injuries suffered during a parade over the holiday weekend. Janet Steines, of Springbrook, died and 24 others were injured when two horses pulling a wagon bolted in Bellevue.

Man dies after ladder fall in Iowa

ALEXANDER, Iowa (AP) Company officials say an employee died after apparently falling from a ladder at Latham Hi-Tech Seeds in Alexander in northern Iowa.

Company spokeswoman Shannon Latham said the man fell on Wednesday. He was taken to a hospital in Belmond, then to a Mason City hospital, where he died.

Shannon says the man's name was not immediately released, pending notification of family.

Culver requests federal disaster aid

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Gov. Chet Culver has asked President Barack Obama to declare 35 Iowa counties federal disaster areas because of recent storms and flooding.

Culver on Wednesday requested that 18 counties receive individual assistance and 32 counties receive public assistance. Thirty-one counties are currently eligible for state help.

Storms on Wednesday brought more heavy rain and flash flooding to Iowa.

In the Waterloo area, nearly 6 inches of rain of fell, flooding basements and streets. Residents of the Cedar Terrace neighborhood sandbagged their homes.

More than 12 inches of water flooded the post office in Dewar, near Waterloo. The mail has been moved to the Gilbertville Post Office.

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

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KLEM News AM Update July 8, 2010

(LE MARS)--Local governments are starting to see a payback for piles of paperwork they filled out to get disaster help for a Christmas week storm.

Both Governor Culver and President Obama declared the county a disaster area due to severe winter weather.

Assistant city administrator Bill Cole says the city's first check was the FEMA, Federal Emergency Management Agency, share of more than 35-thousand dollars in extraordinary winter weather expenses. The city got nearly 27-thousand dollars in FEMA funds for the labor, equipment, salt and administration expenses from the severe winter storm. Cole reports the FEMA share, 75 percent, was received June 15th. The state dollars for the state's 10 percent share have not been received. yet. The city shoulder's 15 percent of the expenses.

The second part of the city's request for disaster assistance involved damage to the roof on the downtown Fire Station on First Avenue Southwest. Cole explains the total claim was about 61-hundred dollars. Seventy-five percent of the claim is to be federally funded and 10 percent is state money.

Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe says all the necessary paperwork for reimbursement was completed when one FEMA and one state staffer stopped at the engineer's office about two weeks ago.

Rohe says they did not give any exact date for reimbursement monies, but it appears that a good timetable may be late this month (July) or early next month (August).

County Emergency Management Director Gary Junge predicts delays in funneling the funding back to local governments due to the large number of disasters that have occurred in the last couple of years.

Passport fees increase Tuesday

(LE MARS)--Travelers who need a passport will pay more starting Tuesday (July 13).

The Plymouth County Recorder's office handled 519 passport requests in the last budget year. 

Recorder Jolynn Goodchild says the county fee to apply for a passport the first time will still be $25. However, Goodchild says the fee paid to the Department of State for a passport book goes up. 

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Travelers who choose a passport card for land and sea borders will also pay more starting Tuesday.

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Goodchild says there's also information at the web site

The Recorder's office handled 519 passport requests in the last budget year.

Fire destroys rural farm house in Sioux County

(ROCK VALLEY)--The State Fire Marshall will assist Sioux County authoriities in a fire investigation.

A large fire was reported five and a half miles southwest of Rock Valley Wednesday morning.

Firefighters from Rock Valley responded to the fire at a rural farm house at 3651 Eagle Avenue, Rock Valley. The house was fully engulfed in flames when law enforcement first responded to the fire. The structure is believed to be a total loss. Other buildings were not damaged.

According to the property owners, no one was living at the residence. An investigation into the fire cause is underway.

Harmonica-driven blues sounds in Windmill Park Thursday night

(ORANGE CITY) The Rockin' Jake Band will perform in Orange City's Windmill Park tonight (Thursday). Their style is harmonica-driven blues. Rockin' Jake says you'll hear music with a lot of different influences.

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Rockin' Jake grew up in the New England states and says that the jazz scene there in the 70's was a great place to be. He also spent almost 20 years in New Orleans which really helped him understand what it meant to be a performer.

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The passion Rockin' Jake has for playing the harmonica makes him want to teach others how to play. He does so through workshops.

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Jake will host a harmonica workshop at 4pm today (Thursday) before the show in Orange City, and there's still space to participate if you're Janine at 712-707-4885.

Then, The Rockin' Jake Band takes the stage at Windmill Park at 8pm as part of the Onstage Orange City Summer Concert series. Visit for details. (News report by Angela Drake)

Railroad work detours Sioux Center area traffic

(ASHTON)--A railroad project is detouring traffic on Highway 75, near Sioux Center.

Tom Jungers of the Iowa Department of Transportation says Highway 75 is closed about seven miles north of Sioux Center.

The area is between the north junction of U-S Highway 18 and Lyon County Road A-52.

The repair work is at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad crossing.

A detour using Highway 18, Sioux/Lyon County Road K-52 through the city of Hull and Lyon County Road A-52 is expected to be in place through Friday (July 9).

Jaywalker sentenced for drug conspiracy in Sioux City

(SIOUX CITY)--Jaywalking in Sioux City led to an eight-year federal prison sentence for a Minnesota man.

According to the U-S Attorney's office, 22-year-old Eben Valdez of St. Paul was sentenced for pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and possession of the drug within one-thousand feet of a public school or playground.

Prosecutors say Valdez had six grams of crack cocaine when he was arrested for jaywalking near a Sioux City Park in June of last year.

As part of a plea agreement, he admitted that from about 2008 through June 3, 2009 he was involved in a conspiracy that distributed more than 50 grams of crack cocaine.

Valdez was sentenced Wednesday (July 6) to 97 months in prison.

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Flood forces relocation of Dewar post office

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Heavy thunderstorms that swept across central and eastern Iowa has caused more than 12 inches of water to flood the Dewar Post Office.

Postal officials say no mail was damaged by the flooding Wednesday. However, Postmaster Janet Sharp has moved mail for Dewar's 75 post office box holders to the Gilbertville Post Office. That office is located eight miles south of Dewar.

Officials say the mail collection box located in front of the Dewar Post Office has been temporarily sealed while the damage to the facility is assessed.

Iowa audit finds misspent school lunch money

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A state audit has found $55,000 in undeposited collections and improper spending in the Springville school district.

Auditor David Vaudt released a report Wednesday from a review of spending in the district's food service department from 2005 to 2009.

It found nearly $49,000 in undeposited school lunch fee collections. It also found $6,400 in improper spending for hams, turkeys, pies, crab cakes, shrimp scampi and chicken wings. It also showed money was spent on candy, pretzels and cake pans.

The audit said it appeared the items were bought for personal use by a former food service director, identified by the auditor's office as Maajal Houdeshell. It says Houdeshell also operated a catering business and bar.

No charges have been filed.

A telephone message left for Houdeshell wasn't immediately returned.

Producer of child porn sentenced to prison

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) An Iowa City man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for producing child pornography.

Arthur Neal pleaded guilty in January and was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Linda Reade.

The 47-year-old Neal was accused of producing pornography involving a girl he baby-sat for several years. He was sentenced to the maximum sentence based on sadistic or masochistic conduct, his repeated sexual abuse of the child and a lengthy criminal history.

Reade ruled the abuse and the sadistic and violent nature of the photographs also showed Neal poses a ``significant danger to children.''

The victim, who is in a residential treatment program, telephoned into court during the sentencing to give a victim's impact statement. She told the court she started using drugs because she can't deal with the sexual abuse she went through.

Wright accused of inmate assault

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) A man convicted of manslaughter in a stabbing death has been charged with assaulting an inmate while being held in the Dubuque County Jail.

Nineteen-year-old Jerel Wright of Dubuque was found guilty in May of voluntary manslaughter in the fatal stabbing of 24-year-old Jemaris West. Wright also was found guilty of attempted murder for stabbing 24-year-old Derrick Tye of Dubuque.

According to court documents, Wright on Monday allegedly assaulted Shawn Kass of Dubuque, causing injury. The documents indicate a videotape shows Wright allegedly striking Kass 13 to 15 times with a fist.

Kass was taken to Mercy Medical Center-Dubuque, where he was treated and released.

Wright is being held in the Dubuque County Jail awaiting sentencing July 19.

(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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