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KLEM News AM Update September 15, 2010

(LE MARS)--Le Mars Community School officials say new information on tax rates in Plymouth County and Lakes Conference schools show the Le Mars district is second lowest.

Property tax payments for the first half of total taxes due are to be paid by the end of this month.

Superintendent Todd Wendt this week provided the information from the Iowa Association of School Boards

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Wendt also compared Lakes Conference School staff numbers to Le Mars Community.

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Le Mars tax rate of $13.76 is the second lowest tax levy among Plymouth County schools The low is Remsen-Union with a rate of $11.74.

Financial Comparisons

Lakes Conference

School, total tax rate

Le Mars $13.76

Cherokee $15.20

Emmetsburg $14.09

Estherville $19.00

Spencer $14.59

Spirit Lake $10.02

Storm Lake $18.29

Plymouth County:

Le Mars $13.76

Akron-Westfield $16.82

Hinton $16.22

Kingsley-Pierson $16.02

Remsen-Union $11.74

Source: Iowa Association of School Boards 2010-2011 Comparison Tool

Ice Cream Plant explosion lawsuit goes to trial

(SIOUX CITY)--A lawsuit based on an explosion at a Le Mars business is being tried in Woodbury County District Court.

Wells' Dairy's South Ice Cream Plant was damaged during an explosion in March of 1999. Legal action was filed two years later.

The dairy is asking for damages from American Industrial Refrigeration and Refrigeration Valves and Systems Corporation.

Thousands of pages of documents in the court case filed two years after the explosion and ammonia leak reached a jury trial before Judge James Scott this week.

Conservation board may act on bids

(HINTON)--An addition to Plymouth County Conservation Board facilities will be considered at a meeting tonight (Wednesday) night.

Conservation Board chair Phyllis Bates is calling the special meeting of the board at the Hillview Recreation Area headquarters. The board is expected to discuss and possibly act on the ECO Center project at Hillview. The meeting begins at 7 p-m.

Bids for the environmental education center have exceeded the budget. The architect has been asked to review the project for possible cost savings.

K-22 nearly open again

(HINTON)--A Plymouth County road reconstruction funded with federal stimulus money will officially reopen soon.

Plymouth County Engineer Tom Rohe says road shoulders were being seeded along the 5.3 miles of County Road K-22 from the Plymouth/Woodbury County line north to county road C-60. A firm hired by contractor Cedar Valley Corporation of Waterloo to paint lines on the newly paved route is on the job this week.

Rohe updated supervisors on the project Tuesday saying he'd use the road closed or road opened notification system for an update on K-22.

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Rohe told the board there were many signs to be reposted along the K-22 route which is a travel connection for rural Sioux City residents who work in Sioux City.

The pavement is nine inches in depth on a width of 28 feet for two, 12-foot driving lanes and a two-foot paved shoulder with a five-foot earthen shoulder. The design, according to the engineer, will allow for a wider and safer roadway for the traffic volumes the county road has and should also reduce or eliminate edge ruts on the inside of some curves on the route.

 North American Co-Pack requests to be considered Thursday

(DES MOINES)--A state board Thursday considers state assistance for a business that may start up operations in Le Mars.

A committee of the Iowa Economic Development Board will make a recommendation to the full board Thursday morning on a request for North American Co-Pack Iowa.

North American Co-Pack Iowa has been awarded federal stimulus funds to produce pork products.

The city of Le Mars applied for two state programs on behalf of North American Co-Pack. The requests approved by the city council last week are for state income tax credits and a Value-added agriculture loan.

The Iowa Economic Development Board meets Thursday morning in Des Moines and will consider the requests for Le Mars during the meeting. .

Industry access grant approved for Orange City

(ORANGE CITY)--Access to a new area for industry in Orange City will be funded, in part, with a state grant.

Iowa Transportation Commissioners Tuesday approved a Revitalize Iowa's Sound Economy or RISE grant for the city of Orange City.

About 402-thousand dollars will be available to assist with construction of about 300 feet of 19th Street Street Southeast and 19-hundred feet of Frankfort Drive Southeast. Both are located in southeast Orange City, just east of Sioux County Road K-64.

The completed improvements will provide access to nine lots totaling about 54 acres for development in the new Orange City Industrie (sic) Centrum which is a 100-acre industrial park.

Sergeant Bluff car bombing investigated

SERGEANT BLUFF, Iowa (AP) Federal authorities are part of an investigation of a car bomb that exploded in Sergeant Bluff.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says the bomb was detonated early Tuesday inside a 2010 Chevrolet Impala.

A representative of the ATF told a news reporter the car was in a resident's garage when it blew up.

No one was hurt, but officials say the bomb caused extensive damage to the car.

The ATF is investigating along with the Sergeant Bluff police and fire departments, the Iowa state fire marshal and the Woodbury County sheriff.

A $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the bomber.


Culver, Branstad clash in opening debate

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Gov. Chet Culver is accusing Republican challenger Terry Branstad of being dishonest with voters, while Branstad says Culver tripled Iowa's debt during his first term in office.

Culver and Branstad waged a lively exchange Tuesday night during the first of three scheduled debates, and both used the event to lob harsh assaults on each other.

Culver took aim at Branstad, saying the former governor routinely raised taxes during his 16 years in office after telling voters he wouldn't.

Culver says raising taxes is something he's resisted during his four years as governor.

Branstad says Culver plunged the state deeply into debt in a failed job creation program.

Tuesday's debate was held in Sioux City but broadcast on television statewide.

Pawlenty hires staffer in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has put a campaign staffer on the ground in Iowa, the first potential presidential candidate to hire a staffer in the state where precinct caucuses launch the presidential nominating season.

Pawlenty has hired Ben Foster, a 2009 University of Alabama graduate who worked on the Alabama governor's race.

Among the potential 2012 GOP candidates, Pawlenty has been the most active after announcing a decision not to seek another term as governor. He's traveled heavily in Iowa and New Hampshire, home of the first presidential primary.

Spokesman Alex Conant says Foster will handle details of Pawlenty's travels in Iowa and help local candidates heading into the midterm election.

Pawlenty is returning to the state on Oct. 8 and 9.

Investigators say egg company knew of salmonella

WASHINGTON (AP) Congressional investigators say the Iowa egg farm at the center of a massive salmonella outbreak received hundreds of positive results for salmonella in the two years before its eggs sickened more than 1,500 people.

In a letter Tuesday to the company's owner, the House Energy and Commerce Committee says that investigators have obtained records showing that Wright County Egg received 426 positive results for salmonella between 2008 and 2010.

The committee says those results include 73 samples that were potentially positive for Salmonella Enteritidis, the strain responsible for the recent outbreak.

The owner of Wright County Egg, Austin ``Jack'' DeCoster, is scheduled to testify before the committee next week.

Lake Mills man sentenced for crash that killed 2

GARNER, Iowa (AP) A Lake Mills man has been sentenced to up to 20 years in prison for a crash that left two men dead and another passenger seriously injured.

The Mason City Globe Gazette reports 20-year-old Koh Evan Tsuruta was sentenced in Hancock County District Court by Judge Colleen Weiland on Tuesday. He was also ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution.

Tsuruta pleaded guilty last month to two counts of vehicular homicide and one count of serious injury by a motor vehicle. He changed his plea after another judge ruled against a defense motion to suppress evidence of alcohol and drug use.

Authorities say Tsuruta ran a stop sign and broadsided a car in June 2009, killing its driver, 58-year-old Harlan Derr, of Rudd, and a passenger in Tsuruta's car, 19-year-old Tyler Brighton, of Lake Mills.

Another passenger in Tsuruta's car was left confined to a wheelchair. Tsuruta was also seriously hurt.

Iowa airman dies at NM Air Force base

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) An Iowa airman has died at an Air Force base in New Mexico.

Marie Vanover, a spokeswoman for Kirtland Air Force Base near Albuquerque, says Devin Berry died at the base. She says no other information is being released and that the investigation is continuing.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports the 20-year-old airman from Independence, Iowa, died Thursday.

FEMA pares back hours at Disaster Recovery Centers

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The Federal Emergency Management Agency is paring back the hours at its Disaster Recovery Centers across Iowa this week.

The centers have served some 2,125 victims of this summer's severe storms, tornadoes and flooding. Starting this coming weekend, the centers will be closed Sundays. And after Saturday evening, the centers in Colfax and Webster will close. Eight centers will remain open.

Representatives from federal and voluntary agencies, including the U.S. Small Business Administration, are available at the centers to provide recovery information.

Before visiting a center, the first step in the storm and flood recovery assistance process is to register with FEMA. The deadline to register is Oct. 13.

(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 Update September 14, 2010


(SHELDON)--Northwest Iowa Community College Trustees today are asking voters to approve a 13-point-four-million dollar bond issue over 15 years.

The bond issued is on the ballot for voters in Sioux, O'Brien, Lyon, and Osceola counties as well as the Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn School District geographic area.

If approved by the majority of voters, the funds would be used for career and technical education facilities, advanced technology and energy conservation and efficiencies.

A homeowner with an assessed valuation of 100-thousand dollars would pay additional taxes of $16.65 per year. The ag land tax is estimated at 31 cents an acre for ag land assessed at an average of 13-hundred dollars per acre.

The general obligation bond vote follows a facilities assessment by  Northwest Iowa Community College  administration.

Phase 2 building project is board topic

(LE MARS)--A decision about an estimated nine-point-four-million dollar building project may be made by the Le Mars Community School Board of Education in November.

School administrators updated the board last night on the construction and remodeling project known as Phase 2.

The improvements would provide a gym with a capacity of 2,000; wrestling; art and band and practice rooms; parking lots; and tennis courts.

Superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt said property taxes would not be increased for the remodeling and building which is to be paid for largely with school infrastructure local option sales tax (SILO) extended by voters to 2022.

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The other part of the financing is the Physical Plant and Equipment property tax known as PPEL. Wendt suggested the board allow the current voter approved PPEL levy to end in 2012 and replace it with a board approved PPEL levy. That would lower the tax rate 67 cents.

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Annual operating costs for the expanded facility are projected at $50,000 which would be taken from the district's general operating fund.

Board President Patrick Murphy looked to November vote, if the project moves through upcoming meetings. Murphy encouraged the board to review the details presented by administrators at the meeting.

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If a timeline is followed and the board moves forward with the remodeling and building project, ground breaking could be in the spring with completion in 15 months. However, no action was taken on the project Monday night.

The next step is to have the district's architect meet with the board. That's expected October11th.

High School Addition and remodeling

Gym (2,000 capacity)/Lobby/Wrestling room $4,378,420

Band and Art Room addition $1,078,000

Locker Rooms/Public Toilets $1,713,600

Toilet remodeling $167,750

Remodeling (next to Kitchen) $81,900

Building sub-total $7,419,670

Replace existing parking lot $380,000

North Parking Lot $100,000

Tennis Courts (2) $40,000

Utilities Lump Sum $150,000

Sub-total (site development) $620,000

Sub-total Building site and development


Contingency $160,793

Total Construction $8,200,463

Soft costs such as Architect/engineering fees, furniture, equipment, testing during construction $1,230,070

Total Project Costs $9,430,533

(Source: Cannon Moss Brygger and Assoc., Sioux City, Sept. 8, 2010)

(Le Mars)--A Le Mars attorney is the President of the Le Mars Community School Board of Education.

Patrick Murphy was re-elected to serve as board president  during a meeting Monday night.

Superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt noted the officers are usually elected after school board elections. However, Wendt told the board the Iowa Legislature has changed election of board of education members to odd number years. An election was not held this fall. 

Murphy was unanimously re-elected as board president. He said this would be his last year as an officer of the board of education.

A board member since 1995,  Murphy is an at-large member of the board of education whose term expires in 2011.

Brenda Phelan of rural Le Mars was re-elected as board vice president. Phelan represents District Four and has been a member since 2006. Her term expires in 2013.

Board work is focused on Road Department Tuesday

(LE MARS)--Plymouth County supervisors will focus on weekly work with the County Engineer today (Tuesday).

Tom Rohe brings road business to the board at 10 this (Tuesday) morning. The agenda lists a contract for a culvert project, contracts for right of way and a truck box quote.

The County Engineer is also slated to provide an update on construction projects.

The board's weekly meeting in the lower level of the Courthouse begins at 9:30 this morning.

 Tuesday, September 14, 2010

9:30 AMJim Henrich - Plymouth County Board Chairman
1.Call meeting to order
2.Approve this agenda (Action)
3.Approval of prior Board meeting minutes (Action)
4.Approval of claims and payroll (Signatures)
5. Committee Reports (Discussion)
6. Old Business
7. New Business
A. Open and review mail/correspondence (Discussion)
B. Open public forum (Informational)

10:00 AM Tom Rohe, Plymouth County Engineer
(Action Items)
1.Contract-Project LC-142650
2.Right of Way Contracts - Projects LC-141340, LC-142650, LB-352190
3.Tile Crossing Permit-Sec 5/8 Henry Twp
4.Tile Crossing Permit-Sec 10/15 Grant Twp
5.Permit- Southern Sioux Rural Water-Sec 2 Perry Twp
6.Truck Box Quote

(Discussion Items)

(Informational Items)
Update on construction projects

Isebrand honored for work with students

(LE MARS)---A librarian for the Le Mars Community School District is the first "School Employee of the Month" for this school year.

Nancy Isebrand who works in the Middle School and High School Media Center received the honor Monday.

Isebrand is a 14-year school employee who was nominated for the "Employee of the Month" award by two students who wrote they'd be shocked if she was not selected. The nomination was made by Trevor Westhoff and Logan Schneider

They wrote about her efforts with everything from homework to computers and books. The nomination read, in part, "She always knows where to go when a kid needs help with research or with writing and with the computers. She helps kids with homework every time they need help."

LCHS Royalty named

(LE MARS)--The Le Mars Community High School Homecoming Queen and King will be crowned Friday afternoon.

The 2010 Homecoming Royalty include king candidates Palani  Permeswaran, Judd Herzberg, Jeremy Bohlke, Hunter Rohde, Curt Durr and Cody Ortmann. Queen candidates are Erica Westhoff, Kristen Ahlers, Lauren Morehead, Lindsay Martin, Leah Clement and Kasie Collins

The Pep Rally at Carey Gym is Friday at 1 pm following by coronation at 1:30. The parade begins at 2:15 p.m. Listen for live coverage on 1410-AM, 96-point-9-FM, KLEM.

The Bulldogs take on the Spencer Tigers Friday night at seven.

NCC reports record breaking enrollment

(SHELDON)--Record breaking fall enrollment is being reported at Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon.

This year's fall numbers are 1,654 students which represents a two-and-a-half percent increase over last year.

Northwest Iowa Community College President Bill Giddings says the record growth this fall includes a three percent increase in credit hours over last fall's record numbers.

He says increased enrollments in long standing programs such as Powerline, electrical, transportation and nursing have contributed to this increase in enrollment. There are also new programs such as photography which has enrollments beyond expectations.

Jurors need to report Tuesday

(LE MARS)--Plymouth County jurors are asked to report today (Tuesday). According to a notice from the Clerk of Court, the jurors are to report to the Clerk of Court's office on the third floor of the courthouse by 9 this (Tuesday) morning.

Trial set for conspiracy suspect

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Trial for a Minnesota man indicted on charges linked to a break-in at an animal research laboratory at the University of Iowa is scheduled to begin today (Tuesday) in Iowa.

Scott DeMuth, of Minneapolis, is charged in U.S. District Court in Davenport with one count of conspiracy. If convicted he could face up to 3 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Telephone and e-mail messages left for his attorney were not immediately returned but DeMuth has previously denied any involvement in the break-in.

The 23-year-old DeMuth is accused of conspiring to cause physical disruption to Spence Laboratories at the University of Iowa and Lakeside Ferret Inc., in Minnesota.

He is accused of damaging and causing the loss of animals, computers and documents and causing economic damage in excess of $10,000.

Former sandpit reborn as park

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) Cedar Rapids' newest park is about to open and visitors are invited to bring along their fishing poles, walking shoes and bicycles.

The Prairie Park Fishery is an old industrial sandpit. It's been transformed into a park that features two lakes, boat ramp and 1.7-mile trail around the water. It opens on Saturday.

According to the Gazette, Martin Marietta Materials gave the sandpit to Cedar Rapids, which accepted it in 2005. The flood of 2008 hit just as construction got under, and it loused up initial grading work and left debris 20 feet up in the trees.

None of the damage was covered by Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster funds.

The construction price is now estimated at $1.5 million.

Crop report: winds dry fall crop

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Recent cooler, drier weather is helping Iowa farmers get into their fields and harvest early planted corn and soybeans.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Monday that Iowa had several breezy days last week that helped dry crops, and rainfall amounts were not enough to keep farmers out of their fields.

Crop conditions also remain good. The USDA says corn is rapidly maturing, with a majority of acres now safe from frost.

Soybeans also are maturing quickly, thanks to the weather, and ``sudden death syndrome'' is becoming less of a concern for farmers as many of the soybean acres reach maturity.

Most of the alfalfa acres already have been harvested in Iowa. Mild weather also has been good for newborn calves.

Police restrain man who jumped from bridge

BETTENDORF, Iowa (AP) Police used a Taser stun gun to subdue a man after he jumped off a bridge connecting Iowa and Illinois.

The man jumped Monday morning about 100 feet off the Interstate 74 Bridge into the Mississippi River and survived.

KWQC-TV in Davenport reports a call came in around 10 a.m. that a man had crashed his vehicle on the bridge. He was seen walking around, then jumped into the river and managed to swim to a nearby small island.

Capt. Greg Trudell with the Bettendorf Police Department says the man ``appeared to be quite disturbed.''

Officers say when they reached the man, he wouldn't talk or listen to officers, forcing them to use a Taser.

The man was taken to a hospital. It's not clear why he jumped.

Real estate sales lag a year ago

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A real estate group reports August home sales in the Des Moines area rebounded from July but were still down from a year ago.

The Des Moines Area Association of Realtors said Monday that Des Moines metro home sales fell nearly 30 percent in August compared with a year earlier, while pending sales fell 35 percent.

But the group says closed sales in August rose 6 percent from July while pending sales increased nearly 8 percent in August over July.

The Des Moines Register reports the average sale price rose $12,000 to $176,900 in August over a year earlier an increase of 7 percent.

Another bright spot was the average sale price in August was $9,700 over July's $167,000, an increase of nearly 6 percent. Homes were on the market an average of 86 days, eight days fewer than July and seven days fewer than August 2009.

(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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