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KLEM News PM Update August 5, 2010

(LE MARS)--Many mothers and fathers said goodbye to their sons this morning at the send off for the 113th Calvary at the Le Mars High School. Tammy Ruhland, of Remsen, said that "bittersweet" was a word that could describe her feelings about her 23 year old son, Tim, leaving. She said she's proud and excited for him because it's what he wants, but it's hard to see him go.

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Orange City couple Mark and Deb Dykstra attended the ceremony with a crowd of friends and family to say good bye to their son Matthew. Deb said they've been preparing for this day for quite a while.

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His father Mark added that he is very proud of his 21 year old son and said he's ready to go.

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And go, they shall. Iowa National Guard Calvary Troop 113 left this morning for 2 months of additional training state side before they make their way to Afghanistan . The soldiers are expected to be gone for approximately one year. (News report by Angela Drake of KLEM News)

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Listen here to Part 3 of the Sendoff Ceremony

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Zoning report shows harvest preparations

(LE MARS)--More than one-million dollars in new rural construction is reflected in the latest report on building activity in Plymouth County.

Zoning administrator Alan Lucken issued 17 permits in July. The total is divided between 13 permits for more than 760-thousand dollars for construction on farms and 235-thousand dollars for four permits for rural construction which is not on a farm.

The totals included two new houses and two house additions.

Farm activity totals include four grain bins and three machine storage buildings. The top construction value for farm construction was a milk parlor.

Buildings in rural areas that are not farms included two storage buildings, a horse building and the new house.

$44 million in USDA grants to help expand broadband service in Iowa

Thirty-eight states, including Iowa, have been awarded broadband infrastructure grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Secretary Tom Vilsack, the former Iowa governor, announced the grants Wednesday during a conference call. The funding is part of the Federal Recovery Act and is intended to bring high speed internet access to as many as one-point-two million (1.2 million) homes.

 "I think it's fair to say that it's a down payment, not a balloon payment, approach," Vilsack said. "It clearly makes a difference but there is still far more work to be done to make broadband available in all corners of the country." Vilsack says the grants should also make the U.S. more competive and create jobs.

 "It certainly puts people to work and it certainly begins the process of having the nation focus on where we are competitively with other countries. We're such a vast nation that it's difficult for us to recognize that other countries are far, far ahead in terms of high speed internet access and technology than where we are and we have to pay catch up," Vilsack said. The 44-million dollars ($44 million) in grants for Iowa includes eight-point-three million dollars ($8.3 million) designated for the Hospers Telephone Exchange to connect homes in Lyon, O'Brien, Osceola, and Sioux counties. (News report from Radio Iowa)

Former Centerville police chief sues city

CENTERVILLE, S.D. (AP) The former police chief of Centerville is suing the town and its mayor in federal court, alleging she was fired after complaining of sexual harassment.

Rachel Kopman was suspended last October and fired by the City Council the following month.

Kopman says Mayor Jay Ostrem sexually harassed her for more than a year. Her lawsuit says that when she tried to file a complaint in September, she received a letter of reprimand from Ostrem outlining deficiencies in her performance as chief.

Ostrem has called Kopman's sexual harassment allegation ``a big smear campaign.''

Kopman is seeking payment for lost wages, punitive damages and attorney's fees. Centerville has not yet filed a response.

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

Culver calls for increased education spending

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) In twin speeches to education groups, Gov. Chet Culver has said he'll push for a 4 percent increase in basic state aid to local schools if he wins another term.

Culver also called for establishing a goal of a 95 percent graduation rate for poor and minority students. That would be significantly higher than current rates.

The state aid proposal would inject an additional $120 million of state funding into local school budgets and give local boards the authority to increase local property taxes.

Speaking Wednesday afternoon to school administrators, Culver noted that he worked for years as a high school teacher and still considers himself an educator.

Truck carrying chemical overturns in Cedar Rapids

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) A Cedar Rapids overpass has re-opened after a tanker-truck carrying chemicals overturned and forced its closure.

The tanker overturned on the Interstate 380 northbound on-ramp just before 6 a.m. Wednesday, which prompted firefighters to establish a 150-foot ``safe zone'' around the truck. The Wright Brothers Boulevard overpass between the freeway exits was included in the closure area.

The chemical, sodium hydroxide, is an irritant to the eyes, skin and mucous membranes.

The driver of the truck, 39-year-old Joe Short of Colona, Ill., was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He was driving the chemical from Muscatine to Red Star Yeast in Cedar Rapids.

Accused Iowa pipe bomber to represent himself

CHICAGO (AP) A former Iowa letter carrier accused of mailing dud pipe bombs and threatening letters to investment firms and others will represent himself at trial.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Pope says Judge George Lindberg on Wednesday approved John Tomkins' request to defend himself.

Tomkins has been in federal custody in Chicago since his April 2007 arrest. He's accused of being the source of letters from May 2005 to January 2007 that threatened to kill recipients and their relatives unless shares in Navarre Corp. and 3COM Corp. increased in value.

Tompkins allegedly signed letters as ``The Bishop.''

The Dubuque, Iowa, man was expected to plead guilty two weeks ago but instead asked the judge if he could represent himself.

If convicted, Tomkins could receive more than 200 years in prison and more than $2.5 million in fines.

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

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KLEM News AM Update August 5, 2010

(JOHNSTON)--A send-off ceremony for Troop C of the Iowa Army National Guard is planned in Le Mars this (Thursday) morning.

About 28-hundred members of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team will report to mobilization at Camp Shelby, Mississippi for more training before a mission in Afghanistan.

The 2nd Brigade has been ordered to active duty under a partial mobilization call up . Guard officials say the mission is to provide full-spectrum operations in combat, support for the Afghan National Army and Police units and assistance to humanitarian relief efforts.

Troop C, First Squadron of the 113th Cavalry, with about 80 soldiers, will have a sendoff today (Thursday) at 9 am at Le Mars Community High School. The community is invited to attend.

A Community send-off is also planned in Sioux City for about 170 solders of Headquarters, and Headquarters Troop , 1st Squadron, 113th Cavalry, and Company D, 334h Brigade Support Battalion at 10:30 a.m. at Sioux City North High School.

NRCS District Conservationist says USDA programs offer soil erosion, runoff control funds

(LE MARS)--Funds for conservation programs are available to help reduce silt and corn stalks affecting storm water drainage in Le Mars.

That's the message Natural Resources Conservation Service District Conservationist Jim Lahn offers city officials, producers and landowners.

Lahn is providing city staff and Council members with information about voluntary programs such as terraces, small dams, grassed waterways and no-till farming.

Giving Schafer Park on 15th Street as an example, Mayor Dick Kirchoff said you wouldn't believe the maintenance time it takes to clean out some storm water drainage intakes that get plugged. 

Lahn says the Soil and Water Commissioners would like soil and water held as high on the hill as it can be.

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The Council last month increased fees that provide funds for storm water maintenance and improvements.  Lahn's information about state and or federal funds for farmers and other landowners to reduce erosion and runoff follows the Council and staff discussion.

Jeff Davis of the Plymouth County Farm Service Agency this week announced a new round of sign up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The C-R-P is a program that Lahn indicated has funds to assist in installing grassed waterways in drainage areas. He told Council member John Leonard state funds can be piggybacked with federal funds for the conservation practices.

Fair poll shows issue focus

(LE MARS)--Plymouth County's G-O-P Co-chair says he thinks an opinion poll from the Plymouth County Fair shows the field for President in 2012 is wide open.

Asked which Republican candidate the fair goers wanted to be the nominee in 2012, 25 percent chose former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. That's followed by 23 percent each for fomer Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and for former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Former Congressman Michigan Newt Gingrich received 17 percent. Others drawing support were Ron Paul, Bobby Jindahl, Tim Pawlenty, Jan Brewer and Rick Santorum.

The second question was what should be the number one priority of Iowa's Governor and Legislature in next year's legislative session.

The top percentage was 47 percent for allowing a Constitutional Referendum to define marriage as one man and one woman. That's followed by 16 percent for reducing the number of state employees and 15 percent for reforming the property tax system. Passing an ethanol update received nine percent followed by seven percent for addressing infrastructure needs and five percent for eliminating the federal deductibility for Iowa's Income Tax.

The county Republican Party released written results of the opinion poll conducted during the last four days of the Fair at the G-O-P Fair booth.

Co-Chair Don Kass comments the poll was meant to be a fun topic of conversation and to promote interest and thought about politics and the fall elections.

Kass notes there was a statistical three-way tie at the top in the Presidential field. Based on this, he says the right candidate, with the right message and the ability to get their points across could really make some headway, even if they were not on this list of choices. In Kass's words, "With no clear leader, everything is up for grabs."

As to the state issues, Kass says the message is clear: the definition of marriage is important to people and candidates who ignore it do so at their own risk.

Driver died of natural causes

(ORANGE CITY)--An Orange City woman who was found dead in her car Sunday afternoon four miles south of Orange City died of natural causes.

The Sioux County Sheriff's Office reports 89-year-old Anna Groen of Orange City had been traveling north on Highway 60 when she had a medical emergency.

Authorities say the car coasted to a stop with a portion of the car still on the travelled portion of Highway 60.

A motorist called 911 when they found her unresponsive. The Sioux County Medical Examiner pronounced Groen dead  at the Orange City Area Health System.

Two injured in pickup and semi collision

(DICKENS)--Two people were taken to a hospital after a pickup truck struck a semi near Dickens early Wednesday.

The Clay County Sheriff's office reports 19-year-old Cody Bryon Hantelman of Ringstead was trying to get the cruise control engaged on the pickup truck he was driving.

When he looked up Hantelman told authorities he saw a semi tractor trailer driven by 27-year-old Landon Bradley Burhoop of Dow City was stopped. Hantelman told the sheriff's office he hit his brakes to try to prevent him from running into the back of the semi tractor trailer, but it was too late.

The impact of the crash caused the truck's cab to be sheared back into the passenger compartment. The passenger, Skylor Matthew Rice, had to be extricated by Dicken's Fire and Rescue. Rice and Hantelman were taken to a hospital in Spencer by ambulance. Rice was lifeflighted to a Sioux Falls hospital for further evaluation. According to the sheriff's office written information, the injuries did not seem to be life threatening.

Pedestrian dies in Yankton

YANKTON, S.D. (AP) A Yankton woman died after being struck by a car in the downtown district.

Police say 27-year-old Angela Kosters was hit shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday, apparently while attempting to cross a street.

Police are continuing to investigate and did not immediately file any charges.

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

EPA approves list of 434 impaired waters in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Environmental Protection Agency has approved Iowa's list of impaired waters, a step that will help the state's Department of Natural Resources set its priorities for improving water quality in the coming years.

EPA Administrator Karl Brooks says it's an important step toward reducing sources of water pollution in the state and ensuring cleaner water for Iowa residents.

Iowa's list added 183 bodies of water to previous lists and removed 54, bringing the total number of impaired waters in the state to 434.

Iowa federal prosecutor tapped as Army general

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) President Obama has nominated a Cedar Rapids-based assistant U.S. attorney to serve as brigadier general in the U.S. Army Reserve and chief judge of the Army Court of Criminal Appeals.

The U.S. Attorney's office for Iowa's Northern District announced Patrick Reinert's appointment Wednesday. As assistant U.S. attorney, the 49-year-old Reinert handles criminal prosecutions and serves as chief of the office's Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. He has been an assistant U.S. attorney in Iowa since 1990.

As an Army judge, Reinert is commander of the 150th Judge Advocate General Detachment in Alexandria, Virginia, an Army Reserve Unit composed of military judges presiding over court-martials worldwide. He was deployed from February 2005 to February 2006 and conducted over 90 courts-martial in Germany, Italy, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.

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

 Wet weather leaves Waukee road a muddy mess

WAUKEE, Iowa (AP) Soggy weather is complicating efforts to build a road to a new Waukee elementary school.

Duane Van Gorp, a district administrator, says the new Shuler Elementary School will be ready on time but that repeated rain has stopped workers from completing a road widening project, leaving a muddy mess.

Van Gorp says whenever crews would prepare to pave the road leading to the school, heavy rain would fall and stop their plans for days.

He says school will begin on time, but school officials will have to figure out how to get people to the building until the road can be finished.

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