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KLEM News PM Update April 27, 2010

According to Jeff Morgan of the State Historical Society of Iowa, the 24 students competed against 250 other Iowa 9-12 grade students in the Iowa senior division in Des Moines on Monday.

The 24 Iowa winners include Le Mars Community student Palani Permeswaran who is a student of Jeanne Rust. Peremswaran is the senior division winner for historical paper. The paper was, "Chemurgy: Using Science Innovatively to Save American Agriculture from Overproduction."

SIOUX CITY)--A former concrete company executive in northwest Iowa has agreed to plead guilty to price fixing and bid rigging.

According to information released by the U-S Justice Department, Steven Keith VandeBrake is charged with three felonies of conspiring to fix prices and rig bids for the sales of ready-mix concrete.

The charges were filed in federal court in Sioux City Monday. VandeBrake is accused of participating in three separate conspiracies with three different companies involving agreements to fix prices and/or to rig bids for ready-mix concrete.

In a statement from the office of public affairs, the Justice Department indicated the plea agreement includes a fine of 100-thousand dollars and 19 months in jail. The plea agreement with VandeBrake is subject to court approval.

Prosecutors say the charges followed an ongoing federal antitrust investigation of the ready-mix concrete industry in Iowa and its surrounding states. The investigation was by the Justice Department Antitrust Division's Chicago field office, the Sioux City office of the F-B-I, the U-S Department of Transportation's Inspector General and the assistance of the U-S Attorney's office in Sioux City.


(SIOUX CITY)--The latest list of of 100 Great Nurses in Iowa includes three registered nurses working at Mercy Medical Center.

Nancy Hoss, Karin Ward and Nancy Corcoran will be honored Sunday at the Iowa Events Center.

Hoss is a charge and floor nurse in mercy's medical-surgical unit. She has worked at Mercy since 1991. She recently was part of a surgical mission trip to Bolivia.

Karin Ward works in Mercy's Child Advocacy Center as a trained sexual assault nurse examiner in Pediatrics. She has worked in the center for the past nine years after 11 years in the cardiology and I-C-U.

Nancy Corcoran is a clinical care coordinator and community education coordinator for Baum Harmon Mercy Hospital. She has worked at the Primghar facility for the past 16 years.

VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) A Vermillion city official says inspections will be done on other structures after overcrowding apparently led to the collapse of a downtown apartment balcony.

At least 10 people were taken to the hospital or went there on their own after the incident early Sunday.

City building official Farrel Christensen says the collapse does not appear to be caused by any violations of city ordinances. He says the 6-by-4-foot second-floor balcony appeared to be adequately constructed and reasonably attached to the building.

He says the total weight of the people could have exceeded 2,000 pounds, but that unlike bars and restaurants there is no limit for occupants on a deck.

Christensen says that as a safety precaution, city officials will inspect other downtown buildings with similar structures.


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


CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) An effort to rebuild flood-damaged homes in Cedar Rapids is on hold because organizers didn't check for asbestos.

The Block by Block organization promised to rebuild neighborhoods damaged in the 2008 flood one block at a time. About 2,500 volunteers have worked on about 100 homes so far.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says the group should have known about rules to check for asbestos. All major work is now being delayed while the agency investigates.

Block by Block spokesman Clint Twedt-Ball says they didn't know it was an issue, and will give the agency all the information it needs. The group has also ordered inspections on 18 properties where work is under way.

VINTON, Iowa (AP) When tornado sirens sound in Vinton, residents will have a place to hunker down until the all-clear is given.

The eastern Iowa town has built a tornado-proof safe room in the basement of its new community shelter. The concrete bunker can hold up 320 people and withstand 250 mph winds.

The $386,000 safe room has been completed and will be dedicated May 1.

Interest in the bunkers has grown since a deadly tornado hit Parkersburg in May 2008. In many cases, they rooms are put in schools or other public buildings, with state and federal funds covering up to 80 percent of the cost.

In Vinton, the shelter is in a part of town where many people don't have basements. City spokesman Andy Lent says they hope they never have to use it.


MCGREGOR, Iowa (AP) Authorities with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating the death of a bald eagle found with its legs cut off in northeast Iowa.

The eagle was found in Allamakee County on March 20. Both legs and talons were missing.

Investigators believe someone found the eagle dead along the road, and then cut off its legs for a trophy.

A person who takes a bald eagle or any body part, alive or dead, violates the Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Violation of either act carries jail time and fines.

ALGONA, Iowa (AP) A northern Iowa man accused in a murder-for-hire plot targeted at his estranged wife has been sentenced to up to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to lesser charges.

George Bennett, of Algona, had been charged with attempted murder. Authorities say he entered into an agreement with undercover state agents to kill his wife. He was arrested in April 2009.

Bennett pleaded guilty during his bench trial in Kossuth County last month to five counts of solicitation to commit a felony.

He was sentenced on Monday to up to five years in prison on each count, for a total of up to 25 years.

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

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