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KLEM News AM Update September 24, 2010

(LE MARS)--A clothes dryer in a basement of a Le Mars care center was damaged by fire late Thursday morning.

Fire-Rescue Chief David Schipper reports there were no injuries to any residents of the Abbey or fire fighters.

According to Schipper, fire fighters found smoke in the basement when they responded and determined a dryer in the laundry room was on fire. The burning clothing was removed from the dryer and fire fighters ventilated smoke from the building using a fire-rescue fan.

The fire-rescue chief reports the Abbey staff performed the procedures they've learned during fire drills and did the procedures well.

The damage was limited to the cost to replace the clothes dryer. Fire fighters were at the Abbey for about 20 minutes.

Conservation board will sell elk Saturday

(HINTON) An auction tomorrow (Saturday) will help one group pay some of its bills for an attraction near Hinton.

The Plymouth County Conservation Board hosts the public elk auction of one yearling bull calf and one yearling heifer calf tomorrow afternoon at two at the Hillview Recreation area.  The elk will be auctioned for slaughter only.

The Elk herd grazes the prairie in about a 15-acre  fenced off area of Hillview. Surplus elk are sold to maintain a small herd size and pay feed and veterinarian costs.

Conservation board director Dennis Sohl reported to county supervisors, including Craig Anderson, that the slaughter only restriction for Chronic Wasting Disease has changed.

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The sale of three yearling elk last year provided more than one-thousand dollars in revenue.

Anderson also talked with Sohl about other revenue.

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 Sohl reported camping income of more than 25-thousand dollars from about 17-hundred camper units through the end of June when the budget year ended.  This was a new record for revenue from the three campgrounds. Two camping cabin rentals brought income of nearly 38-hundred dollars from about 100 nights of use. The camping season ends October 14th.

The annual report for the Conservation Board listed more than 12-thousand dollars from nearly three-thousand people sliding down the Tubing Hill.

 2011 Tulip Court chosen Thursday

(ORANGE CITY) Five high school seniors will represent the Orange City Tulip Festival.

In a citywide election Thursday those selected for the Orange City 2011 Tulip Court were Katelyn Droog , the daughter of Rick and Sue Droog; Sara Heilman whose parents are Rev. David and Lori Heilman and the daughter of Steve and Deb Locker, Jessica Locker.

Others on the court include Nicole Mulder whose parents are Tim and Glenda Mulder and the daughter of Kenton and Melanie Witt, Talitha Witt.

The court will participate in a Queen's Tea and Pageant on Monday, November 22nd to select the 2011 Tulip Queen.

The queen and her court will serve as representatives of Orange City's Tulip Festival next year on May 19-May 21.

Riders reach out to four families

(LE MARS) Northwest Iowa American Legion Riders will help four families tomorrow.

American Legion Riders Steven Benscoter, Dale Aspedon and Dennis Chaney and Patriot Guard Rider Jay Bock died last month after a vehicle swerved into their lane on Interstate 29, near Little Sioux.

According to Northwest Iowa American Legion Rider President Tommy Even of Alton, the four men were very involved, very active. Three were American Legion Riders, a group of veterans or members of the Legion Auxiliary or Sons of the American Legion. Bock was a Patriot Guard Rider. The group has no membership requirements, but members are supporters of veterans and volunteer with American Legion Riders for events such as military funerals, escorts and raising awareness of veterans issues.

The chapter is hosting a poker-style motorcycle run to raise funds for the families of the men tomorrow (Saturday). The fund raiser begins in Sioux City at the Ickey Nickle with registration from eleven in the morning until one in afternoon. The route will swing through several towns south and east of Sioux City. The riders will stop in Hornick at Leather 'n Hawgs to hear Sioux City musicians Hippie Go Luck before returning to Sioux City. No prizes will be awarded because all of the money raised will benefit the families. The run is open to all vehicles.

 Akron Opera House opens news season Saturday

(AKRON) The Akron Opera House kicks off their new season with the Alaska String Band tomorrow (Saturday) night. Doug Olson, president of the Opera House Board of Directors, said that the Alaska String Band plans to put on a very energetic show.

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The Alaska String Band features bluegrass, swing, old time, gospel and Celtic music played by the Zahasky Family. Olsen explains that performing is the family's full time job.

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In the fall the Zahaskys take the show on the road and come back to Iowa, where the dad, Paul, grew up. The stop at the Akron Opera House is part of a tour that takes the Alaska String band from Paul's hometown in Decorah, Iowa, to a Bluegrass festival in Oklahoma.

The Alaska String Band takes the stage at the Akron Opera House tomorrow night at 7:30. Tickets are available for this show, and for the season, by visiting the box office or by calling their new phone number: 712-568-2614. (News report by Angela Drake, KLEM News)

Hearing on Iowa electricity rate increase ends

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Iowa Utilities Board has until January to decide if it will grant a $150 million electricity increase to Alliant Energy.

A four-day hearing on the utility's rate request ended Thursday. The Gazette in Cedar Rapids reports that the board also is to consider if it will penalize the utility for going over cost on construction of a wind farm. The board also is to decide if it will allow consumers to pay for previous investments into a now-defunct generating station.

Also at issue is if the board will prevent Alliant from passing on millions of dollars in transmission cost hikes, among other issues.

Alliant faces opposition to its request. The state Office of Consumer Advocate says it is concerned with long-term implications of the plan.

Iowa to get labor grant for Dubuque layoffs

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Iowa will receive a $573,000 federal grant to help workers affected by layoffs at the Thermo Fisher Scientific plant in Dubuque.

The company makes equipment for industrial and laboratory use. Layoffs began in February. The plant is to close this month.

The Labor Department announced the grant on Thursday, saying it will assist about 180 workers affected by the layoffs.

The grant was awarded to Iowa Workforce Development. The Labor Department says it will provide workers with access to ``wrap-around'' and supportive services, such as dependent care and transportation.

New survey: Iowans increase use of wireless

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Iowa Utilities Board says the number of wireless telephone connections in the state grew by 12 percent from mid-2007 to mid-2009.

The board said Thursday that a new survey shows Iowans are increasingly using wireless telephone service and ending their use of traditional wireline telephones. However the board says the decline was slowed by the growth of cable telephone connections.

The new survey found there were more than 2.1 million wireless telephone connections in Iowa in mid-2009. The board says there are wireless carriers serving 98 percent of the communities in Iowa. The survey also found wireline connections in Iowa decreased 9 percent from 2007 to 2009. There are about 1.3 million wireline connections in the state.

4 senators urge Obama to fire Afghanistan watchdog

WASHINGTON (AP) A group of senators is urging President Barack Obama to fire the special inspector general responsible for overseeing how billions of American tax dollars are being spent to rebuild Afghanistan.

In a letter sent Thursday to Obama, the lawmakers three Republicans and one Democrat say the inspector general, Arnold Fields, is at the helm of a failing organization and needs to go. The senators said three independent reviews of Fields' office found multiple problems, including the failure to meet minimum standards for conducting investigations.

Fields has defended his and his staff's performance. He has also said his office is making improvements following the reviews by the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency.

The senators are Democrat Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Republicans Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Susan Collins of Maine.

2 Iowa women plead guilty to embezzling millions

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Two women charged in the embezzlement of nearly $6 million from West Des Moines insurer Aviva USA have pleaded guilty.

Federal prosecutors said Thursday that 59-year-old Phyllis Stevens and 58-year-old Marla Stevens pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to file false income tax returns. Phyllis Stevens also pleaded guilty to counts of wire fraud, computer fraud and filing a false income tax return.

Phyllis Stevens was arrested last year at a hotel in Las Vegas after the company placed her on leave two days earlier. An employee discovered more than $5.9 million in company funds had been funneled into an Indianapolis bank account held by the two women.

The women are to be sentenced Jan. 21.

Casey's shareholders reject Couche-Tard nominees

ANKENY, Iowa (AP) Shareholders of Iowa-based Casey's General Stores have voted in favor of the company's board nominees -- rejecting a slate of nominees from a Canadian suitor.

Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., which runs the Circle K chain in the U.S., encouraged shareholders to elect at least three of its nominees in an effort to further its take-over bid.

Based on preliminary vote count, Casey's shareholders on Thursday re-elected all eight of Casey's incumbent directors.

Couche-Tard has been engaged in a hostile takeover effort for Casey's since April. The company last offered $2 billion, or $38.50 per share, which Casey's rejected as too low. Casey's is continuing talks with competitor 7-Eleven.

Iowa woman didn't know she was pregnant, has baby

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) A Waterloo woman has a new baby girl with one catch: She didn't know she was pregnant.

Amanda Burger took medicine and used a heating pad when she woke up with stomach cramps. After she still felt ill, she woke up her husband and asked him to take her to the emergency room. The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that a few hours later on Wednesday morning, Burger gave birth to a daughter.

The family has named the new baby McKinlee. She weighed 5 pounds and 7 ounces and was 19 inches long when she was born. Amanda Burger says she watches a TV show called ``I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant.'' Burger says after the birth all she could think was, ``Oh my God. Now that's me.''

Soon after Amanda gave birth, her 11-year-old son, Ben, was calling friends to spread the news about his new sister.

(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 September 23, 2010

(LE MARS) Voting for the November general election begins today.

Plymouth County auditor Stacey Feldman says absentee voting at the auditor's office is from eight in the morning until five in the afternoon Monday through Friday. Written requests for an absentee ballots may be mailed to the auditor's office using forms available on the county's website and selecting Online forms or by making a request for an absentee ballot.

Absentee voting continues through November first. You'll find more information under the Election Information portion of the KLEM web site--choose KLEM Stuff.

Tulip Court balloting underway

(ORANGE CITY)--Twelve young women are vying for the 2011 Tulip Festival Court.

Voting is today by Orange City residents and students in seventh through 12th grade at Orange City and Unity Christian and M-O-C Floyd Valley Schools. Those voting need to choose five candidates for the Court in order to have their ballot counted.

One of the five young women will be chosen as the 2011 Tulip Queen in November. She'll succeed 2010 Festival Queen Amy Hulst.

Consent order issued in Magnuson case

(WASHINGTON, DC)--A former Le Mars bank president has agreed to settle a charge with the Comptroller of the Currency.

Richard Magnuson, former president of American Bank of Le Mars, was accused in a notice from the Comptroller in February of 2010.

The charges stated the bank in September of 2008 bought a car for Magnuson's use as bank president. As part of the same transaction he was accused of making an unauthorized purchase of another vehicle for his personal use, titled in his name, at a loss to the bank and concealed from the bank. The vehicle was returned to the bank when he resigned in February of last year.

Magnuson filed an answer in March of this year denying the claims from the Comptroller of the Currency.

A consent order has been filed resolving the allegations that Magnuson violated the law. Magnuson neither admits nor denies the Comptroller's findings.

He agreed to pay a 54-hundred dollar civil penalty. Magnuson also consented to prohibitions which do not allow him to conduct affairs or vote on matters involving banking and similar businesses such as credit unions. He is not allowed to make any public statements about the charges alleged by the Comptroller.

C-16 bridge construction continues

(LE MARS)--Road closed signs were scheduled to come down tomorrow (Friday) eight miles east of Akron. There's a change in the original plans made when construction started a few months ago.

According to Plymouth County engineer Tom Rohe, County Road C-16, between Fir and Granite Avenue will reopen in about four weeks. 

The county road is closed while a bridge is replaced. (NOTE: this is a change in earlier information)

Iowan among troops killed in crash

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) The military says five members of the 101st Airborne Division, including an Iowan, are among the nine American troops killed in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan.

A spokesman for Fort Campbell in Kentucky says the five were assigned to the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, which deployed in March. Four members of the Navy also were killed.

Tuesday's crash was the worst coalition helicopter crash in Afghanistan in four years.

Among those killed from the 101st were 39-year-old Maj. Robert F. Baldwin, of Muscatine.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear. NATO says there were no reports of enemy fire at the time, but the Taliban have claimed that insurgents shot down the helicopter.

Hail storm damages eastern Iowa

MARION, Iowa (AP) Hail damage is adding up in some neighborhoods in eastern Iowa.

In Marion, near Cedar Rapids, storms on Tuesday dropped hail the size of golf balls.

The Gazette says one homeowner, Michelle Chayer, stashed some of them in her freezer.

The hail hit nearly every home on several blocks in Chayer's neighborhoods and left many cars parked on the street with dents.

One Marion insurance agency report 67 claims for homes and 10 claims for auto damage in a 12-hour period after the storm.

FEMA supports Cedar Rapids' library plans

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) Federal disaster officials are on board with Cedar Rapids' plans to replace its flood-ruined library with a new library away from the Cedar River.

The downtown library, which is on the banks of the river, was damaged in the 2008 flood.

The city wants to build a new library about four blocks away. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said the least expensive plan was to tear down the library and rebuild on the same location, but on higher ground.

That led to a meeting between the city and FEMA on Wednesday.

Mayor Ron Corbett told the Gazette that FEMA has agreed to support the city's plans for building a new library near a park, and will provide $19.5 million for the construction.

Mystery photos found in floodwaters in Colfax

COLFAX, Iowa (AP) Delores Parvi of Colfax is trying to find the owner of a treasure trove of memories found floating in a rubber tub after the Skunk River flooded the town last month.

According to KCCI-TV, Parvi's son spotted the tub and grabbed it.

Inside were photographs, including a boy in a plaid collared shirt, a great grandpa in an oval frame and a rotating picture cub.

Parvi says in all the pictures of anniversaries and first days of school, there is no way to identify them. The closest is a military photograph with what looks like the name ``Witke'' on the man's uniform.

No one knows where the tub came from.

Parvi says it could have started its journey anywhere along the Skunk River and floated into Colfax from Ames or Story City.

Oskaloosa rejects bid to extend snow ordinance

OSKALOOSA, Iowa (AP) Oskaloosa is getting ready for winter, and once the snow starts falling, residents must still clear their sidewalks within 24 hours.

The Oskaloosa Herald reports that the City Council voted against a proposal to extend the ordinance to 48 hours. Monday's vote was 4 to 3.

Councilman Aaron Ver Steeg, who opposed the extension, says it would mean another 24 hours of snow getting packed down and turning to ice, which is harder to clear.

Councilwoman Scottie Moore, who favored the extension, says it would give ``latitude'' to those who couldn't clear the sidewalks within 24 hours.

Iowa gets nearly $1.8M to fight drunken driving

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Iowa is to receive nearly 1.8 million in federal money that is to be spent on programs to deter drunken and impaired driving in the state.

Both Iowa senators, Chuck Grassley and Tom Harkin, on Wednesday announced the funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The money will go to the Iowa Traffic Safety Bureau.

Harkin says the money will help Iowa's ``efforts to keep Iowa's roads safe.''

Man pleads guilty to Iowa duck killing

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) A second man has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of livestock abuse for stoning 50 ducks to death at a petting zoo in Cedar Rapids.

The Gazette reports that Shayne Smalling, of Twentynine Palms, Calif. made his guilty plea in writing on Wednesday in Linn County District Court. He was ordered to pay a $625 fine.

Smalling is in the Marines and stationed in California.

Smalling and Zachary Kanellis, of Cedar Rapids, were accused of killing the ducks at Bever Park Children's Zoo in June 2008. Police said the ducks were stoned to death.

Kanellis pleaded guilty earlier this month to third-degree criminal mischief and injury to livestock, both misdemeanors. He received a deferred sentence of unsupervised probation for two years and was fined $625 on each count.

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

Submit your news release, confidential news tip or news idea by email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , by calling 712.546.4121 or 712.546.9672 fax.



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