Home News KLEM News AM Update April 21, 2010

KLEM News AM Update April 21, 2010

(LE MARS)–The “Decades of Excellence Crystal Bell” award highlighted a showcase of educational excellence for the Le Mars Community School District last night.

The Le Mars Community School District Alumni Association, Foundation, and Board of Education sponsor the salute to 25 year employees, employees of the month, the top academic students of the senior class and the teacher of the year.

The Alternative High School instructor, Julie Theisen, received the crystal bell after a nomination by her co-worker Marleen Schipper.

Listen to her comments after accepting the award

A major project for the foundation is scholarships for graduating seniors at Le Mars Community. The effort is getting a financial boost. Details of that later today on KLEM because the announcement is not to be made until after eight this morning.

(LE MARS)–The man hired as the City of Le Mars new fire chief is returning to his hometown.

David Schipper of Spencer was recommended by a search committee who reviewed applications from 31 people from 15 states.

The city council unanimously voted to hire Schipper as the city’s next fire chief during a regular meeting Tuesday. He’ll be paid 71-thousand dollars a year, a $3,000 moving allowance and join the city with 12 days of vacation.

He’ll fill a vacancy created when Wayne Schipper, his father, retires June 30. A deputy state fire marshall, Schipper thanked the council for the opportunity to work in the town he grew up in.

In other action Tuesday, the council and staff agreed to work with business people along Lincoln Street, east of city hall, on traffic congestion solutions. After a decision to place temporary no parking signs on the east side of the street two weeks ago, city administrator Scott Langel said he received 12 calls and he asked to have police take down temporary no parking signs.

The council also approved refinancing that will trim the cost of borrowed money.

(LE MARS)–Be counted. That’s the request the mayor of Le Mars is making to have an accurate count of city residents for the 2010 Census.

Mayor Dick Kirchoff Tuesday used the words “Please do” in asking that anyone who has received a Census form return it.

Kirchoff has previously said the city’s population is directly related to the amount of funds the city receives.

Additional Census information is available at the census web site www.census.gov.

(Le Mars) The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors met for less than 50 minutes Tuesday morning. Items on the agenda that required board action include appointment of Perry Pinkerton to replace Charles Pridie as township trustee for Perry Township. An extension of time to file the plat for Whiskey Creek Farms minor subdivision in Lincoln Township was granted to attorney Mike Murphy. County engineer Tom Rohe presented three permits for various construction projects in Fredonia, Plymouth, Liberty and Elkhorn Townships. All actions were approved by unanimous vote of the board. (News report by Dave Ruden)

(LE MARS)–Three teens are charged with felony arson after a suspicious bottle was reported near a playground in Le Mars.

Police arrested 14-year-olds Stratton Weiler and Christopher Hamann and 15-year-old Steven Horton about six Monday night.
Hamann, Horton and Weiler are each charged with felony arson in the first degree.

Police identified the suspicious bottle as a homemade bomb that was expected to explode. It was placed near the Franklin Elementary School playground where there were children and adults.

Authorities removed the bomb and safely disarmed it with assistance from the Le Mars Fire Department. Due to the nature of the incident, the State Fire Marshall’s office was contacted.

Listen to the newscast

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Iowa City police have arrested 13 University of Iowa students during raids on two dormitories.

University of Iowa police executed search warrants at Currier and Mayflower residence halls late Monday, resulting in the filing of various charges, many drug-related.

Eighteen university police officers and members of the Johnson County Multi-Agency Drug Task Force executed the warrants.

Charges included possession of a controlled substance, unlawful possession of prescription drugs, possession of burglar’s tools and criminal mischief.

University Police Director Chuck Green says he had little information about what led police and the drug task force to these students.

WASHINGTON (AP) The White House says President Barack Obama will visit Iowa, Missouri and Illinois next week to discuss the economy and his administration’s policies.

The visits on April 27 and 28 are part of what Obama calls the “White House to Main Street Tour.” The White House said the president will meet with workers, farmers, small business owners and local leaders.

Trip details will be released later.

Iowa and Missouri are crucial states in virtually every presidential and congressional election. Illinois is the president’s adopted home state.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Former New York Gov. George Pataki says Americans will remain opposed to a health care overhaul despite some provisions they may find attractive.

Pataki spoke out against the reforms Tuesday at a rally in Des Moines, his latest stop in an effort to gather 1 million signatures on a petition seeking to repeal the plan. Democrats pushed the reforms through Congress and President Barack Obama signed the plan into law in March.

Pataki, a Republican, acknowledges people may support aspects of the plan, such as guarantees children can remain on their parents’ insurance until age 26 and bans on denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions. But he says Americans oppose the government’s reach into private health care and the increased costs he says will result.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Democrats at a legislative forum expressed confidence they’ll keep control of the Legislature after the November elections, but Republicans argued that voter anger could mean a good year for the GOP.

Speaking Tuesday at a forum organized by IowaPolitics.com at Drake University, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy noted that Democrats had approved a budget smaller than when they took control three years ago. The Des Moines Democrat also pointed out that 47 incumbent Democrats were seeking another term, and incumbents usually are re-elected.

But Republican Rep. Linda Upmeyer of Garner says voter anger could make it more difficult for incumbents to win.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A Des Moines man has entered into a plea agreement that will result in a 40-year prison sentence for the 2003 death of a man at the home of the gunman’s estranged wife.

The Iowa Supreme Court reversed the murder conviction of Jamon Allen in April 2009, ruling in an unrelated case that prosecutors couldn’t use a willful-injury charge to enhance murder charges against a defendant.

Polk County authorities say the 37-year-old Allen on Monday entered an Alford plea on manslaughter, burglary and weapons charges. With the Alford plea, Allen does not admit guilt but acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to win a conviction.

Allen was convicted in 2005 of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison. He was accused of fatally shooting Duncan Walker.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) An elderly Des Moines woman used a handgun to ward off a man who bashed in the front door of her home.

Beatrice Turner said the man pounded on her door early Tuesday. Despite being told he had the wrong house, the man used his fists to break through the wood door.

The 89-year-old Turner says she grabbed a handgun and told the man she would shoot if he came inside. When the man entered, she fired a single shot.

A neighbor called police, who found 37-year old Nelson McAlpine standing on Turner’s front lawn. The uninjured McAlpine was arrested on a charge of second-degree burglary.

McAlpine is being held in the Polk County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bond. It wasn’t immediately determined if he has a lawyer.

CARTER LAKE, Iowa (AP) Authorities say an Atlanta therapist accused of abusing her clients’ trust to swindle them out of thousands of dollars has been arrested in far western Iowa.

A fugitive task force took Colleen Higgins into custody Tuesday morning at a Super 8 motel in Carter Lake.

Higgins was booked into the Pottawattamie County jail on multiple counts of theft by deception on a warrant issued in Georgia.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, which reported on the accusations last year, a board that oversees Georgia therapists and social workers asked a judge to revoke Higgins’ license on the grounds of unprofessional conduct and ethics violations.

MUSCATINE, Iowa (AP) Officials in the city of Muscatine are expressing heightened concern over what they fear to be rising gang activity.

Their concerns became evident after a gang-related shooting on Saturday. Assistant Police Chief Phil Sargent says it could be just a hint of what is going on in the city.

Officials say they are considering bringing back the police department’s Street Crime Unit, which was disbanded four years ago during a restructuring in which funding was an issue.

Two officers worked exclusively in the unit, identifying gang members and taking action to get them off the streets.

Reconstituting the unit would involve hiring new officers at a cost of $150,000 — money not in the city budget. Sargent says police efforts at preventing gang violence are hampered by not having a police unit that specializes in it.

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

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