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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.


KLEM News PM Update July 7, 2010

(LE MARS)--A collapse of one wall of a downtown Le Mars building will lead to the removal of all second floor walls.

A Wells' Dairy official Tuesday said the collapse of a portion of the north outside wall and cave-in occurred as workers for Larry Timmins Construction of Le Mars were attaching beams for a new roof. The building at 115 Central Avenue Northwest is being renovated for the new Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor.

Three people were injured including a worker who was freed from debris by Le Mars firefighters.

Wells officials today said the second floor walls of the building will be completely removed for safety reasons.

According to Wells' information, an evaluation of the existing structure is underway and a determination will be made in the future on how renovation work will proceed.

Performances help fund Postal Playhouse Productions

(LE MARS)--"A Dog's Life" is a fundraising success for a group of Le Mars volunteers.

The play was presented by the Le Mars Community Theater when seven busloads of about 375 men and women came to Le Mars in May. The effort was in connection with tri-state bank clubs by Main Street Manager Mary Reynolds.

Through Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Main Street, the visitors saw the theater presentation at the Willow Creek Golf Course in May and visited other attractions. The visitors came from Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota.

Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Main Street Vice President Becky Klohs presented a check for 23-hundred dollars to Audrey Scholten of the Le Mars Community Theater.
The theater partnered with the Main Street Committee to present the production, "A Dog's Life."

Reynolds says there are plans to do the event in May of next year with a take-off on "Sing Along with Mitch Miller."

Mother:  'Bad Accident involving missing child'

DUBUQUE, Iowa (AP) According to court documents filed this week, Dubuque resident Tamelia Harris reportedly told a social worker there was a bad accident involving her young daughter and said she didn't have a funeral for the child.

Harris reportedly made the statement to the social worker after police found blood-spattered window blinds, bed sheets and children's scissors in her home.

Harris is currently being held on a charge of felony neglect or abandonment of a dependent person. Last week, police began a search for Harris' 20-month-old daughter, Cecelia, after an anonymous tip that the girl was sent to live with someone else. Officers say that while searching for the girl, they discovered what they believe to be the remains of a small child in Harris' yard. The remains have not been identified.

2 Iowa homeless programs get grants

WASHINGTON (AP) U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin has announced the award of a total of more than $330,000 in homeless assistance funds for two programs in Iowa.

The Iowa Democrat said Tuesday the grants come from the Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance competitive grant program that provides funding for a range of assistance to the homeless. That assistance includes transitional housing, permanent housing and a variety of supportive services.

The largest single grant, for $242,880, goes to the Des Moines YMCA Shelter Plus Care program. Another $88,641 goes to the Northern Lights Alliance for the Homeless in Mason City. FAIR FOODS

New foods for Iowa State Fair unveiled

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Organizers of the Iowa State Fair say this year's fair edition will feature a number of new food items including something called a ``Twinkie log.''

As demonstrated at a preview Tuesday, the ``Twinkie log'' consists of a frozen Twinkie dipped in white chocolate and rolled in crushed cashews.

There also will be ``Fair Squares'' made of crisped rice cereal and marshmallow. They'll be available for $2 in either peanut butter or plain flavors.

Other new fair foods will include turtle mousse bars, strawberry cream bars and chocolate covered tiramisu.

The 2010 fair runs from Aug. 12 to Aug. 22.

Primaries spur increase in GOP registration

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Republicans have cut in half the Democrats' huge lead in voter registration in Iowa, largely because of hotly contested primaries last month.

Secretary of State Michael Mauro says voter registration from June 1 show Democrats holding a lead of 102,450. On July 1 that margin had shrunk to 55,134 registered voters.

The numbers show there are now nearly 700,000 registered Democrats and almost 645,000 registered Republicans. Another 749,00 registered without declaring a party. That mean Democrats lost 10,000 registered voters and Republicans gained 37,000. The number of no-party voters dropped by 23,000.

Mauro says the drop in Democratic and no-party registration could be explained by voters crossing over to vote in the Republican gubernatorial or congressional primaries on June 8. PAWLENTY-IOWA

It's back to Iowa for campaign-minded Pawlenty

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has a campaign date in Iowa.

The possible 2012 White House candidate is lined up for three days of campaign events in eastern Iowa beginning July 31. The Republican is there on behalf of several legislative candidates, including the state House minority leader, Kraig Paulsen.

It will be Pawlenty's third trip to the important presidential state in the last year. Presidential hopefuls are known for stumping for local candidates to build goodwill ahead of their own bids.

One candidate on Pawlenty's itinerary is Republican Assemblyman Steve Lukan, who is running for a fifth term.

Lukan said Tuesday that he hasn't committed to anyone for 2012, but he described Pawlenty as someone who has ``the energy and the right markings to go all the way if he decides to do that.''

Pawlenty will spend part of this weekend in New Hampshire, another early state in the presidential nominating process.

$150k claim approved in TouchPlay case

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The State Appeal Board has approved a $150,000 claim against the state and the Iowa Lottery Authority over the state's ban on TouchPlay lottery games in 2006.

The appeal board approved the settlement of a lawsuit filed in Floyd County in 2008 that claimed the state's decision to ban the video lottery game caused financial harm to businesses and individuals that operated the games.

It was one of several cases seeking about $900 million in damages over the state's decision to pull the plug on TouchPlay.

The state banned the game after public outrage over its widespread availability. The game, which resembled a slot machine, appeared in about 3,200 bars, restaurants and convenience stores statewide.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says the settlement saves the state substantial money over its potential liability over TouchPlay. MICROSOFT SETTLEMENT-LAWSUIT

Lawsuit seeks arbitration in Microsoft case

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Attorneys representing 23 states involved in a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft Corp. are suing the Iowa attorney who spearheaded a $179.5 million settlement with the software company over attorney fees.

Roxanne Conlin of Des Moines negotiated the 2007 settlement which included $75 million in attorney fees that she split with attorney Richard Hagstrom and the Zelle Hoffmann law firm of Minneapolis.

The lawsuit filed last month in Polk County says Conlin signed an agreement with the Microsoft Litigation Consortium that called for the group to receive 20 percent of attorney fees awarded in the case. The agreement also says disputes were to be resolved through arbitration.

The lawsuit says Conlin has refused to enter into arbitration.

Conlin says in a statement that the lawsuit is without merit.

(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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