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KLEM News PM Update Sept. 9, 2010

(LE MARS)--Le Mars residents have a free place to take items from their fall house, yard and garage cleaning today and tomorrow and again next Thursday through Saturday.

The city of Le Mars offers a five-day amnesty on landfill charges for up to one-thousand pounds of throw away material. City administrator Scott Langel explains what is covered in the fall cleanup.

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Hours today and tomorrow are from 8 am to 4 p.m., then next Thursday and Friday from 8 am to 4 p.m. and Saturday from eight a.m. to noon.

The city asks residents or those who haul items for others to be courteous at the landfill.

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Next month on, October 6, Le Mars and Oyens residents can be part of a Household Hazardous Materials Collection.

Appeals court rules in Sutherland case

(SUTHERLAND)--The Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled the city of Sutherland's insurance company is not liable for an accident the police chief had with his own vehicle. Radio Iowa's Dar Danielson reports.

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Court records say David Johannsen was the police chief of the city of Sutherland in 2004 when he had an accident while driving his best friend Gary Tunink and Tunink's girlfriend Jodi Munn around in his truck on a gravel road outside the city limits. The record says Tunink and Munn were having sex in the back seat of the truck -- Johannsen became distracted and lost control of the truck. He drove off the road and the truck rolled over several times. Munn died in the accident and Tunink was paralyzed. Tunink sued Johannsen saying he was liable for the accident and was awarded over three-million dollars. Tunink then sought to get the city of Sutherland's insurance company to help pay the judgment. Tunnink said Johannsen had originally picked him up to try and get him to avoid having a fight with other men, so Johannsen was working in his capacity as police chief. The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled it was "inconceivable" that Johannsen driving his friend outside the city limits after three a-m while he engaged in sexual relations was in any way, shape or form related to the conduct of the city’s business. The Appeals Court upheld the district court ruling that Johannsen was not on duty and the city insurer does not have to pay. (News report courtesy of Radio Iowa)

Sheriff's deputies will provide Alta protection

(ALTA)--The leaders in a northwest Iowa city of 18-hundred have decided to get rid of their police department, as Joel Hermann reports.

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The city of Alta has signed an agreement with the Buena Vista County Sheriff's Department to take over law enforcement in the city beginning next month. Sheriff Gary Launderville says it's a good time for the agreement as one of Alta's police officers is on military deployment and another plans to retire at the end of September. This week, two deputies were hired, who will patrol during the night shift, with day calls handled by other county deputies. Alta will turn over their two police vehicles and other equipment to the sheriff's department on October 15th. The agreement is for three years. (Joel Hermann, KAYL, Storm Lake, Radio Iowa)

Judge separates trials in Iowa Film Office case

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A Polk County judge has ordered separate trials for a trio of filmmakers charged in the Iowa Film Office case.

The filmmakers allegedly inflated costs in fraudulently seeking and obtaining lucrative state tax credits.

The Gazette reports that District Judge Arthur Gamble on Wednesday granted defense motions after attorneys indicated the three defendants will likely have conflicting court strategies.

Wendy Weiner Runge, Matthias Alexander Saunders and Zachary LeBeau are each charged with one count of ongoing criminal conduct and 11 counts of first-degree fraudulent practices.

Gamble set a Nov. 1 trial for LeBeau, while Runge will tried in early January and Saunders in February.

River finally drops below flood stage in Ottumwa

OTTUMWA, Iowa (AP) For the first in 80 days, the Des Moines River has dropped below flood stage in Ottumwa.

The river, which has run roughshod over Wapello County all summer, slipped below flood stage just before 2 a.m. Tuesday.

According to The Ottumwa Courier, state records show the last time the river was lower than the 11-foot flood stage was at 3:10 a.m. on June 19.

Jim Parker, of Ottumwa, lives near the river. He got about six inches of water inside his house when flash flooding hit in August. Most of the time, his house was inaccessible but not under water. And, he says, his power was never shut off.

That was not the case for some nearby residents. Few homes in their neighborhood had water damage, but some residents were still waiting for the power to be restored.

Iowa universities post big enrollments

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) It's a record fall for enrollment at Iowa State University, while the University of Iowa has welcomed its largest freshman class.

Figures released Wednesday by the schools show a record 28,682 students enrolled at Iowa State. That's up 2.6 percent over last fall.

There are 4,557 new freshmen at Iowa. That tops the previous record of 4,289 freshmen in 2006.

The Des Moines Register says the extra students have made finding housing and courses difficult. At UI, some freshmen are living in off-campus housing or renovated dorm lounges. Students at both schools are dealing with full classes in some courses.

The University of Northern Iowa increased enrollment for a fourth consecutive year. It has 13,201 students this fall, an increase of about 1 percent from last fall.

Trial delayed for Iowan in pacemaker attack

MANCHESTER, Iowa (AP) There's another delay in the trial of an Iowa man accused of cutting his father's pacemaker from his chest with a pocketknife.

Jesse Fierstine (FIRE'-stine), of Manchester, was to stand trial next week on charges of attempted murder and willful injury.

The Gazette reports that District Judge Monica Ackley continued the trial because of conflicting medical reports regarding his competency.

It's the fifth continuance in the case.

Ackley has ordered Fierstine to undergo a psychological evaluation. The trial will be scheduled after the evaluation is completed.

Fierstine is accused of attacking his father, Charles Fierstine, on April 25, 2009. Charles Fierstine, who recovered from the attack, died in July after a lengthy illness.

Man sentenced for embezzling from religion store

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) An Iowa man who pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $150,000 from a South Dakota religious goods store has been sentenced to six months in jail.

The Argus Leader says 42-year-old Anthony Weber, of Lansing, Iowa, will face 10 years in prison if he fails to pay $151,873 in restitution and court costs over the next five years.

Prosecutors say Weber wrote himself checks from the business account of Hurley's Religious Goods in Sioux Falls, where he worked for his aunt and uncle for nine years.

(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 AM Update Sept, 9, 2010

(LE MARS)--A Remsen farmer is being honored for his agriculture and community service contributions.

Don Konopasek and his wife, Sylvia, accepted the "Service to Agriculture" award at the Plymouth County Farm Bureau's 92nd annual meeting this week.

Don Konopasek grew up on a northeast Nebraska farm and moved to a farm in the Remsen area in 1960. He's been involved in both livestock and crop production.

Beyond farming, Konopasek gave his time in areas such as a township officer, township Farm Bureau director, Remsen Farmers Coop Board, Plymouth County Cattlemen and Pork Producers, as a 4-H leader, and with the former A-S-C-S. He's served in leadership roles at his church in Remsen. Don devoted many years as treasurer of the Plymouth County Fair Board. He continues to be involved in farming operations during the peak seasons.

Two hospitalized in Sioux City

(LE MARS)-Two people injured in related traffic accidents in Le Mars Tuesday afternoon are being treated at a Sioux City Hospital.

Le Mars Police report 14-year-old Nicole Orban of Le Mars was driving a moped which was struck by a car as Orban drove away from a stop sign. Police also reported the driver of the car, 81-year-old Marjorie Loutsch of Le Mars was struck by a car when Loutsch was trying to help Orban who was injured.

Orban was listed in good condition at Mercy Medical Center. Loutsch's family asked Mercy not to release information about her condition.

40-member cast will perform "The Nutcracker"

(LE MARS)-- The Nutcracker will be performed in Le Mars this holiday season under the auspices of Tina McMurray. McMurray is the owner of The Dance Studio in Le Mars and Sheldon. She said that bringing the Nutcracker to Le Mars was the brainchild of one of her instructors in 2008, and is meant to be a vehicle for showcasing Le Mars area talent.

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The 2010 performance features the choreography created by Agriopoulos for the 2008 performance. The 40 plus person cast includes many young dance students and adults from the Le Mars area. Beth Sitzman, an instructor at The Dance Studio, is returning in her role as the Nutcracker. She's excited to be involved again.

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There are still openings to be a part of the cast of the Nutcracker. Two women and five men are still needed for acting roles that require only a little bit of dancing. There are also a few dancing roles available for kids, intermediate and upper level dancers. If you suffer from stage fright there are still ways to be involved through set and costume design. Information is avaiable from McMurray at The Dance Studio.

The Nutcracker takes the stage at the newly remodeled Le Mars Community Middle School Auditorium, Saturday December 18th at 7pm. Tickets will be available next month at the Le Mars Arts Council. (News report by Angela Drake, KLEM News) The performance date has been changed from the originally scheduled date.

STEP project targets traffic safety

(LE MARS)--Nearly 60 drivers started their Labor Day holiday traveling through Plymouth County at speeds that were over the legal limit.

The Plymouth County sheriff's office and police departments from Le Mars, Merrill, Hinton and Akron conducted a Special Traffic Enforcement project known as STEP last Friday.

Fourteen officers were part of the traffic safety effort on Highway 75 from the Woodbury to Sioux County lines. The officers issued 34 tickets and gave 65 warnings.

There were 23 tickets for speeding and 34 warnings for speeding.

Seat belt violations led to four tickets for drivers and eight warnings. One person was arrested for operating under the influence. There was also a ticket for an open container violation. Other drivers were ticketed for stop sign and registration violations and failing to move over in traffic for law enforcement.

 McClintock is 'Boss of the Quarter'

(LE MARS)--The newest Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce "Boss of the Quarter" is a Le Mars businessman.

Jim McClintock of the McClintock Insurance Agency received the Chamber's Boss honor Wednesday afternoon.

The nomination for McClintock describes him as having the best interest of his clients at heart and wanting to do what's best for them.

McClintock is credited with always being available to offer a helping hand to both the clients and employees and greeting everyone with a warm and friendly smile

Buena Vista County man dies in construction area

(STORM LAKE)--A rural Storm Lake man died Wednesday after his car struck a vehicle involved in a construction project south of Storm Lake.

The Buena Vista County sheriff's office has not yet released the identity of the man.

The sheriff's office reports the 85-year-old man was traveling east on a county road closed for construction and his car ran into the rear of a pickup truck and trailer parked on the roadway. The impact forced the car under the trailer.

The accident was reported around four o'clock Wednesday afternoon.

Other details are expected to be released today (Thursday).

Suspect sought in Iowa City bank robbery

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Iowa City police are searching for the man who robbed a US Bank and ran away with cash.

Police say the man handed a teller a note but did not display a weapon. No one was hurt.

The suspect is a white man about 40 years old, with shoulder-length hair in a ponytail. He was wearing a gray NASCAR sweat shirt, a blue baseball cap, bluejeans and sunglasses, and was carrying a dark red over-the-shoulder bag.

The robbery was reported just after 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Former NBA player Rumeal Robinson guilty of fraud

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Former professional basketball player Rumeal Robinson has been found guilty on 11 federal financial fraud charges.

A jury returned its verdict against Robinson on Wednesday, finding him guilty of bank bribery, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and making a false statement to a financial institution.

The U.S. attorney's office says Robinson schemed between 2004 and 2005 to borrow more than $700,000 from Community State Bank in Ankeny with the help a loan officer at the bank.

Prosecutors say Robinson claimed to borrow the money for a business but actually bought a condominium, cars, furniture and invested in an energy company.

Robinson, who grew up in Cambridge, Mass., faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine on each count.

He played for the University of Michigan and spent six seasons in the NBA.

Ames police ID officers who fired at Minn. driver

AMES, Iowa (AP) A Minnesota man is out of the hospital and in jail after he was shot by police in central Iowa.

The Ames Police Department says 40-year-old Julian Kral of New Ulm, Minn., was released from Mercy Hospital on Wednesday and taken to the Story County Jail, where he's being held on $22,500 cash bond.

Kral faces charges including assaulting a police officer, disarming a police officer and eluding a police officer.

Police say two officers opened fire on Kral after he allegedly drove at them during an early morning traffic stop Tuesday. Kral was wounded. The officers were not hurt.

Officers Patrick O'Bryan and Joshua Vander Zwaag are on paid administrative leave a standard practice as the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and Ames police investigate.

Iowa school district seeks pardon for misspent $1M

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A southeastern Iowa school district is asking a state board to forgive nearly $1 million that was improperly transferred to a child care center.

State records show that Van Buren school officials have used general fund money since 2000 to help support a district-run child care center.

School leaders closed the center last month after a taxpayer questioned the practice. An Iowa Department of Education opinion verified the practice was illegal something school leaders say they didn't know.

Now, The Des Moines Register reports that officials in the district, based in Keosauqua, have asked the State Appeals Board to forgive the misspending. The board voted Tuesday to delay a decision for at least another month.

Heart attack kills Iowa man charged in son's death

MAQUOKETA, Iowa (AP) An autopsy finds that a heart attack killed an eastern Iowa man charged in connection with the death of his 4-year-old son.

The Iowa State Medical Examiner's Office conducted an autopsy on 32-year-old Andrew Holdgrafer on Tuesday.

Holdgrafer had been working in the garage of his Maquoketa home when he died Saturday afternoon. The Telegraph Herald of Dubuque reports Dr. Dennis Klein deemed the death of natural causes.

Holdgrafer had pleaded not guilty to child endangerment in the June 12 death of Collin Holdgrafer. A pretrial hearing had been set for Nov. 19.

Holdgrafer's wife, 30-year-old Danielle Holdgrafer, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death. She allegedly held the child's head under water while bathing him.

She is being held at Jones County Jail.

O'Connor: Iowa should keep judge selection process

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is calling for Iowa to keep its system for selecting judges and rejecting an attempt to remove three justices who supported a decision legalizing gay marriage.

O'Connor on Wednesday joined a panel discussion in Des Moines organized by the Iowa State Bar Association. She and other panel members explained why they support Iowa's current system, in which a panel recommends judge candidates to the governor, who makes appointments based off that list.

O'Connor favors that system rather than judicial elections.

Conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats is campaigning to remove the three justices who supported the marriage decision. He also favors changing the judge selection process to make nominees subject to Senate approval.

(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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