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KLEM News AM Update July 21, 2010

(LE MARS)--A Le Mars City Council member is urging caution along a Highway Three detour route in Le Mars.

Union Pacific Railroad is replacing the crossing on Highway Three/Plymouth Street, east of downtown Le Mars.

Council member Rex Knapp says the route being used by the Iowa Department of Transportation was not the one approved by the City Council.

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Knapp is in business on Second Avenue Northwest which is part of the detour route. According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, the railroad project is to be completed by next Monday.

Future of Merrill School is August 9th agenda item

(MERRILL)--The future of a Le Mars Community School District Elementary building will be discussed at a meeting next month.

As part of cost savings measures following state funding cuts and declining enrollment, the Board of Education voted to close Kissinger Elementary in Merrill. The attendance center was closed when classes ended in May. Students will attend classes at one of three elementary buildings in Le Mars.

During the Board of Education Monday night, board member Dan Smith of Merrill brought up the disposition of the building

Smith has been asked about the building's future. Smith indicated the city of Merrill was interested in the school building, if it was very affordable.

Superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt plans to place the building's disposition on the board's August 9th agenda

New Plymouth County Conservation Board Member appointed

(LE MARS)-The newest member of the Plymouth County Conservation Board is from rural Le Mars.

Cindy Lloyd of rural Westfield; Penny Eickholt of rural Hinton; Stuart Dekkenga and Bob Schlesser, both of rural Le Mars; and John Lucken of rural Akron sent letters of interest in filling the vacancy.

There were two votes by supervisors due to a tie between Schlesser and Lucken on the first paper ballot vote during the supervisors' meeting Tuesday. Supervisors' chair Jim Henrich announced results of a second paper ballot.

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The term for the volunteer position Schlesser was appointed to is through December of next year. Supervisors Craig Anderson and Don Kass were among board members expressing thanks for the interest in the Conservation Board opening. Anderson asked Auditor Stacey Feldman to send out results of the board action.

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The vacancy occurred when Clark Goodchild of Le Mars resigned.

Seven sentenced in Sioux County

ORANGE CITY, Iowa (AP) Sioux County Attorney Coleman McAllister says authorities have sentenced seven people five from Guatemala, one from Mexico, and one from Nicaragua for identity theft and/or possessing fraudulent documents.

All of the seven drew suspended sentences on some charges, and most received short jail terms on other counts.

The Guatemalans sentenced Monday were 36-year-old Raul Niz-Lopez, 43-year-old Jose Sebastian-Bartolon, 39-year-old Nicolasa Lopez-Ramos, 20-year-old Enrique Fermin Chilel-Sebastian, and 18-year-old Javier Lopez-Ramos.

The Mexican native sentenced was 35-year-old Maximiliano Perez, while the Nicaraguan was 42-year-old Henry Araica.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has placed a hold on each of the seven. When their jail terms expire, ICE will begin deportation proceedings against them.

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

Northwest Iowa family deals with rabies after trying to raise a skunk as a pet 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) State health officials say a northwest Iowa family has learned the hard way that some cute little animals should be left alone.

Someone in the family found a baby skunk and brought it home to raise as a pet, but after several weeks the skunk became ill. A veterinarian found it had rabies.

All five family members are receiving  rabies vaccine. In addition, more than 20 other family members and friends who came in contact with the skunk are being tested for rabies, and at least six others are receiving rabies shots.

Officials say the family dog did not have a rabies vaccination and will either have to be put into quarantine for six months or euthanized.

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

Man who drowned identified

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) Authorities in Marshalltown have released the name of a man who drowned while swimming with friends.

Rescue crews were called to Highway 330 south of the town of Albion late Monday afternoon when a group of people who were swimming in the Iowa River reported a man going under the water.

Crews brought a boat and search equipment to the scene and found the body of 18-year-old Joseph Gutierrez Monday night.

Authorities said Gutierrez, his brother and a friend were jumping off a railroad trestle bridge and swimming in the river. Gutierrez was overtaken by the deep and strong current.

Waterloo schools give clothing a close look

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) The implementation of a new dress code by Waterloo Community Schools means the clothing of students, teachers and administrators will be scrutinized.

The new rules mean jeans, T-shirts, open-toed shoes, short skirts and anything showing cleavage are out. Collars, sleeves, dress pants and skirts reaching to at least the knees are in.

In an e-mail, associate superintendent Bev Smith says a professional standard of dress is one way administrators and teachers can model the kind of behavior expected of students.

While some schools have implemented the student dress code for this year, all schools must have rules in place by fall 2011. The student code specifies solid-colored tops and bottoms with no patterns, colored trim or decoration allowed.

The employee code requires men to wear shirts with collars while women can wear blouses, knit shirts, turtlenecks and sweaters.

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

Report: National GOP gave $1 million to Branstad

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Terry Branstad has criticized Gov. Chet Culver about a Democratic-led campaign before the Republican gubernatorial primary, but new disclosure show the GOP nominee also has received big money from his national party.

Reports filed with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board show that the Republican Governors Association contributed roughly $1 million to Branstad, about half of the money he raised in the last six weeks.

Democrats say its hypocritical for Branstad to criticize Culver for accepting national donations, then to take such money himself. But Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht says the GOP funding is different because much of the Democratic money financed a $780,000 ad campaign that accused Branstad of being too liberal in an effort to hurt his primary election chances.

Bedbug outbreak may be sabotage

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Des Moines city officials say they believe a saboteur unleashed bedbugs inside the city's Armory Building.

City Manager Rick Clark said Tuesday the pests were discovered three weeks ago. He says chemicals have been applied several times to eradicate the bugs, but haven't totally wiped them out.

The Armory Building houses Des Moines' Community Development department, which issues building permits, handles property inspections and oversees various development and strategic planning efforts.

Clark says whoever infested the building with the bedbugs took a misguided action, noting the it houses city employees who are ``out there trying to protect people and property.''

Bedbugs live in the crevices and folds of mattresses, sofas and sheets. They emerge to feed on human blood.

Authorities say they are trying to determine how the bugs were released. They haven't named any suspects.

Curfew request goes to Dubuque Council

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) Members of Dubuque's Safe Community Task Force say not enough parents are keeping track of their children, making it time for the city to impose a curfew.

It was a string of stabbings, shootings and robberies that led Dubuque officials to create the task force. Now some members say the best way to cut down on crime is to give the police department all the resources they need.

One of the ways that can be done task force members say is to impose a curfew for children under the age of 18. Not all members agree.

Janice Craddith says people need to take care of themselves, their kids and watch out for each other.

The task force also wants stronger rental property maintenance rules and a stricter government housing program.

(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.


KLEM News PM Update July 20, 2010

(LE MARS)--More than one-half-million dollars in new technology is in Le Mars Community School classrooms. Another 100-thousand dollar investment is being made for this school year.

Those are examples of what's been done after a 10-year facilities plan was approved by the Board of Education in May 2005.

Superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt reviewed the lengthy list with the Board of Education Monday night.
He explained Le Mars Community Bulldog fans sit on new bleachers at the High School gym and at Jim Lorenzen Stadium where some seating was also shifted to the visiting team side. The Middle School Gym and High School classrooms were added, Wendt said, as well as "a ton of roofing," 100-thousand dollars in floor coverings, vehicles and 12 new heating and air conditioning units.

Wendt is asking the board to review what was planned for the next five years.

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.The projects have been financed with School Infrastructure Local Option Tax known as SILO and both a school board approved and a voter approved Physical Plant and Equipment Levy known as PPEL. Wendt told the board he plans to reviews changes in the school local option tax made by lawmakers and gets new cost estimates for remaining projects,

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Wendt recommends the board look at what's left and involve other groups in setting priorities for a new 10-year plan to the year 2020-2021

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Three of the current school board members were not part of the board when the facilities plan was adopted five years ago.

Council member: Highway Three detour is not city council choice

(LE MARS)--A Le Mars City Council member says the Highway Three detour route being used for Union Pacific railroad crossing work was not the city's choice.

Council member Rex Knapp made the statement when the city council opened today's (Tuesday's) noon meeting. Speaking to those watching the meeting on cable television, Knapp pointed out the detour route approved by the council for the crossing closing was changed by the Iowa Department of Transportation.

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Knapp sees the traffic because he is in business on Second Avenue Northwest which is part of the detour route.

The Council today approved a reorganization of the Fire Department and fees requested by Fire Chief David Schipper.

Funds for a study of downtown properties that would lead to a request for a National Register of Historic Places request were approved. Council member Ken Nelson voted "NO" on the request being funded with 10-thousand dollars in  Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) Funds.

Options for improving the energy efficiency at the Le Mars Convention Center were discussed extensively by  city consultant Karl Seggerman of Kingsley, by phone< and city administrator Scott Langel. The council chose an option with a maximum cost of 163-thousand dollars for the replacement of heating and cooling systems that are 40 years old. Time was significant for a council decision because the city facility, the former Westmar Commons, doesn't have a working heating system.  

280 Street bridge project begins July 21

(LE MARS)--A bridge project east of Hinton will close a gravel road beginning Wednesday (July 21).

Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe says the project is on 280th Street from county road K-49 to Lynx Avenue. The road closing is for one-mile.

The bridge replacement work is expected to be completed by early October.

Storm Lake is northwest Iowa transportation input meeting location

(AMES)--Ideas for transportation will be presented to the Iowa Transportation Commission in Storm Lake next month.

The public input meeting at King's Pointe in Storm Lake will cover the state's Transportation Improvement Program, transportation policies and highway, aviation, rail, river and transit issues.

The meeting is August 10th. Commissioners expect to hear from local governments, interest groups and individuals .

The meeting follows a tour of transportation projects in northwest Iowa on August ninth.
Gavins Dam reservoir increases spillway releases

Corps releases more water

YANKTON, S.D. (AP) The Army Corps of Engineers has increased releases from Gavins Point Dam near Yankton.

Two of the spillway gates at Gavins Point Dam were opened Monday afternoon as corps works to drain more than 9 million acre feet of excess water from the Missouri River mainstem reservoir system.

It was the first time in more than a decade that the spillway gates were opened.

Releases initially were set at 1,000 cubic feet of water per second. Corps officials say they plan to increase that amount by 1,000 cfs every other day during the next two weeks.

Project Manager Dave Becker says the releases are being increased in small increments to monitor their impact downstream.

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


State audit critical of Iowa DNR

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A state audit says the Iowa Department of Natural Resources has failed to comply with over a dozen state laws.

The audit was released Monday. It says the agency hasn't adequately tackle 16 different issues, such as the treatment of infectious waste.

State Auditor David Vaudt says it's common to see departments ignore or fail to completely enforce certain laws. But Vaudt adds that these findings are more serious than usual because many of the laws directly affect quality of life.

Vaudt also says the number of laws the agency has failed to enact or enforce is larger than for most departments.

Department of Natural Resources director Richard Leopold says instances of inaction identified by the audit have never endangered public safety.

Ottumwa police ID man found in river

OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) Ottumwa police have identified the body of a man found in Des Moines River.

Police say 22-yeard-old James Cooley was discovered in the river in Van Buren County on Sunday. Cooley had been missing since last Thursday.

Officials say an investigation into how Cooley ended up in the river remains ongoing. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.

Police are asking anyone with information about Cooley's whereabouts between the time he went missing and when his body was discovered to come forward.

Workers say car seat falls from moving vehicle

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Iowa State Patrol is investigating after several utility workers say they saw an infant in a car seat fall from a moving vehicle.

The incident happened Monday near Alleman in Polk County.

Workers near a highway intersection say they saw the car seat fly off the back off a moving car. The workers say a woman got out of the vehicle and began screaming, while a man also jumped out, grabbed the car seat and took a baby out of it.

The state patrol says it believes the incident might have been a prank, adding that it resembles one seen on a television show.

But authorities say they're taking the investigation seriously and are actively searching for a silver Pontiac.

The workers who witnessed the incident believe it wasn't a prank.

Police nab man trying to steal security camera

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) A northeast Iowa man has been arrested for trying to steal surveillance equipment.

Police say Terrance Mitchell of Denver twice tried to take surveillance equipment from a home improvement store. Court records say that one of the thefts was caught by the store's security cameras.

Records say that workers saw Mitchell and another man stuff surveillance camera merchandise into a bag and walk out an entrance on July 7.

Mitchell eluded employees chasing him down but dropped the bag.

The store says it also has security footage of the two taking security cameras in early June.

Black Hawk County sheriffs deputies arrested Mitchell on a warrant for second-degree theft Sunday.

Late wife's ashes stolen from car in Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A Virginia man says his late wife's ashes and other personal items have been stolen from his car.

Seventy-three-year-old Charles Duttweiler was visiting relatives in Des Moines last week. He was planning a memorial service for his wife, Shirley, who died in April of cancer and related complication.

But Duttweiler's car was broken into in a downtown Des Moines parking garage on Friday.

Duttweiler lost thousands of dollars worth of items, including photographs of his wife, a laminated copy of her obituary, her death certificate and her ashes.

The memorial service has been postponed while police search for the thief.

Duttweiler, who is originally from southeast Iowa, says all he wants back is his wife's ashes and other related items.

IA Dept. of Blind building on historic list

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The building that houses the Iowa Department for the Blind has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The building in downtown Des Moines was built in 1912 as the city's original YMCA. It was purchased by the state in 1959 for the Iowa Commission for the Blind.

It underwent a major remodeling in 2009 to create more efficient work space but historic features such as ironwork in the stairway, marble stairs and tall, arching windows remained intact.

The building also retained the original YMCA swimming pool in its basement, which is still used by clients and staff.

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 1.

Reed charged with assault and child endangerment in Des Moines

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Police in Des Moines have arrested a local man on charges of child endangerment and domestic assault after he allegedly forced his wife out of their car and sped off with three children in the car while he was intoxicated.

Heather Reed says she and her 33-year-old husband, Patrick, were quarreling most of the weekend. She says that as they were driving Sunday afternoon, Patrick began yelling at one of her sons.

She says that when he stopped the car, he forced her out and drove off, with the 9-year-old boy, 3-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl in the back seat.

Police requested a warrant for Patrick Reed's arrest and he was taken into custody later on three charges of child endangerment, as well as domestic assault.

Homicide ruled in death of Hiawatha toddler

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Medical examiners in Johnson County have ruled the death of an 18-month-old girl in Hiawatha a homicide, but no charges have been filed in connection with the case.

Young Kamryn Schlitter of Cedar Rapids, died March 28 at an Iowa City hospital, one week after medics found her suffering from seizure-like symptoms at an apartment in Hiawatha.

Kamryn's death was ruled a homicide caused by head injuries due to non-accidental trauma.

Hiawatha Police Chief Dennis Marks says investigators have spoken to the person who was caring for Kamryn the night of March 21, but no arrests have been made.

Marks says the case is still progressing and has not stalled.

(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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