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KLEM News AM Update June 18, 2010

(LE MARS)--A community survey now available online at the website www.lemarsiowa.com is a way to provide direction for the future of Le Mars. 

Local leaders are asking that the survey be filled out by the end of the month. Copies are available at city hall, the library or chamber office.

According to the Le Mars City Council Agenda, the survey should provide good insight into the feelings and beliefs within the community.

The survey is one document the city may use in an update of a comprehensive plan completed in 2005.

The city council Tuesday authorized staff to request proposals to obtain a city planning consultant to update the 2005 plan.

According to city staff, many agencies require plans to be updated at least every five years.

(LE MARS)--Family fun is a focus for the third day of Ice Cream Days in Le Mars today.

The day's events begin downtown at 9 with the 15th annual YMCA 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament. Players and balls will fill First Avenue Southwest and First Avenue Northwest.

The Plymouth County Historical Museum's Year of the Study Hall renovation project is showcased on the top floor from one until five at the Museum today. A tour of historical St. Joseph Catholic Church begins at three this afternoon.

An Ice Cream Social and Smile Contest are at Good Samaritan Society-Le Mars starting at two this afternoon.

Family Fun Fest with Ice Cream treats at Cleveland Castle is from 5:30-7:30. There's treasure to be found in a search of the Castle for four through eight year olds. Ages 4-12 can test their skills in "Ice Cream Con-ival Alley."

Hip Hop artist John Reuben and Action Sports Team "Real Encounter" are the headline acts for a concert and skateboard exhibition at the Olson Cultural Event Center form 7:30-10 tonight.

For more information www.lemarsiowa.com

(LE MARS)--A new three-year contract is in place for the superintendent of the Le Mars Community School District.

The contract approved by the Board of Education this week keeps the pay of Superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt at the current level beginning July 1st. The increases in the second and third year are four percent each year.

Due to pay freezes Wendt volunteered to accept, Board member Scott Kommes said the increase was eight percent over five years which Kommes called a fair deal.

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Board member Dan Smith said he fully agreed with Kommes, but in his words, "I think it is a dangerous thing to start to have locked in increases for anyone." Smith said he wanted to revisit the issue at the end of the three-year contract.  Wendt said he agreed with Smith that the process starts all over again at the end of the contract.

Murphy said Wendt's salary was on the upper end of the Lakes Conference when he was hired because the board wanted excellence in the position.

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The board approved the three year contract with pay unchanged for a four year in a row on  July 1st, $123,517; a second year pay of $128,458, and a third year of $133,596. 

(STORM LAKE)--Siouxlanders are being honored for being part of groups or individually volunteering to make a difference.

Lt. Governor Patty Judge Thursday presented 130 honors at the Governor's Volunteer Awards ceremony in Storm Lake.

The program honors and recognizes the commitment, service and time that hundreds of volunteers contribute each year to state government groups.

Floyd Valley Hospital in Le Mars was recognized for the Senior Health Insurance Information Program known as SHIIP.

Kathy Bartelli of Le Mars was honored by the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals for the Child Advocacy Board.

The efforts on behalf of Siouxland Aging Services by Delores Gloyer of Merrill and June Lamoureux of Akron were also recognized.

The volunteer awards in Sioux County from the Iowa Department of Transportation went to the West Sioux Sportsmans Club of Hawarden and the Boyden Kiwanis

There was recognition to the Hawarden Chamber and Economic Development for the Community Food Pantry of Ireton.

Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) honors went to the Sioux Center Community Hospital and Hegg Memorial Health Center in Rock Valley as well as Darlene Mouw of Sioux Center.

 SPENCER, Iowa (AP) The father of a 29-year-old Iowa soldier who died in Iraq says his son was dedicated to the U.S. Army.

Spc. Christopher Opat died Tuesday in Baquah, Iraq, from injuries in a non-combat incident. Military officials have launched an investigation.

The United States Forces-Iraq didn't have further details on Thursday.

Opat's body arrived in the U.S. late Wednesday. His family says he grew up in Lime Springs and went to Iowa Lakes Community School in Emmetsburg before enlisting in Spencer.

Opat's father, 58-year-old Les Opat, says his son wanted to make a career in the Army.

Funeral services are being arranged by Conway Funeral Home in Cresco. A funeral home spokesman says specific plans on services hadn't been determined.

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

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) A South Dakota man has been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison in a burglary in Iowa and police chase into Nebraska.

Court documents say 44-year-old Todd Gravning of Tea, S.D., was sentenced last week on charges of second-degree burglary and flight to avoid prosecution. He earlier pleaded guilty to the charges.

The charges stemmed from a June 2009 burglary at Standard Bearings, a U-Haul dealer in Sioux City.

Police have said Gravning was inside the building with a truck he stole in South Dakota when he drove through a garage door while trying to escape and hit one of the officers, who received a minor injury.

Officers chased Gravning and arrested him in South Sioux City, Neb.

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

PLEASE CHECK BACK THIS MORNING FOR MORE LOCAL NEWS.

 DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says the U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded $14.1 million to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

Northey said Thursday that the latest grant is part of a total of $36 million awarded to Iowa through the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watershed Initiative. The funds will be used to support the restoration of 37 water quality wetlands in Iowa.

The projects include: 14 wetlands in the North Raccoon River Watershed in Buena Vista County; 15 wetlands in the Upper Cedar River Watershed in Mitchell and Floyd Counties; and eight wetlands in the Boone River Watershed in Wright and Hamilton Counties.

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

WASHINGTON (AP) The Environmental Protection Agency says it will wait until September to decide whether car engines can handle higher concentrations of ethanol in gasoline.

The agency had been expected to decide by this month whether to increase the maximum blend from 10 to 15 percent.

The EPA said Thursday that initial tests ``look good.'' A decision will come after the Energy Department completes testing of the higher blend on vehicles built after 2007.

The ethanol industry has maintained that there is sufficient evidence to show that a 15 percent ethanol blend in motor fuel will not harm the performance of car engines. But the refining industry, small engine manufacturers and some environmental groups have argued against an increase.

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

 ANDREW, Iowa (AP) Jackson County authorities say they have arrested and charged the adoptive parents of a 4-year-old boy who apparently drowned in a bathtub at the family home in Andrew.

The Jackson County Sheriff's Department says 29-year-old Danielle Lynn Holdgrafer was arrested Thursday on charges of first-degree murder, and her husband, 31-year-old Andrew Holdgrafer was arrested on charges of child endangerment resulting in the death of a child.

The boy, Collin Parker William Holdgrafer, apparently drowned June 12.

The sheriff's office says Andrew Holdgrafer made a 911 call on the way to the Jackson County Regional Health Center in Maquoketa (muh-KO'-kih-tuh), where the boy pronounced dead.

It was not known if either of the parents had an attorney.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) After agreeing to join the Big Ten last week Nebraska has agreed to join the academic organization that includes the conference's schools.

Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman said Thursday that school officials will be honored to join in July 2011.

He says he appreciates the unanimous vote of the 12 members of the Champaign-based Committee on Institutional Cooperation to invite Nebraska.

In addition to the Big Ten schools the CIC includes the University of Chicago.

Penn State Provost and CIC Chairman called Nebraska a top notch research institution.

CIC schools share expertise and collaborate on academic and research programs.

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

 Submit your news release, confidential news tip or news idea by email klemnews@lemarscomm.net, by calling 712.546.4121 or 712.546.9672 fax.



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