(LE MARS)—Four days flavored with ice cream-themed fun are being celebrated in Le Mars starting today.
Ice Cream Days 2010 features theTri-State Drive In Cruisers at Bob’s Drive Inn beginning at five this afternoon. Classic, street-rod, muscle and other collectible vehicles will cruise into the family-owned Le Mars business with the sounds of the ’50s and ’60s playing for those who stroll through the display of classic wheels.
The Le Mars Arts Center features “Artistic Flavors of the Textile Kind,” from 1-5 today. The June exhibit is by area textile students and professionals. Entries for the Ice Cream Days logo contest are also displayed .
The Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors Ice Cream Days. There is more information in the KLEM Fairs and Festivals guide or online at www.lemarsiowa.com and on the slide show on the KLEM web page.
(LE MARS)–The Le Mars City Council today Tuesday took one step toward more revenue for storm water drainage projects.
The action is in an ordinance which could require up to three meetings before it is final. The proposal increases the monthly charge to residential water meter customers for storm water drainage to $4 from $2 now and the fee for business customers to $7. The residential increase would be offset by a $2 a month decrease in solid waste charges.
The Council accepted bids for water main and sanitary sewer to the area where ICON Ag Solutions will relocate and expand in southwest Le Mars.
The council on a three-to-two vote approved a pool of money for merit raises for 20 employees who are not in a bargaining group and agreed to raise the top end of a pay range for the positions.
(LE MARS)–The current operation of the city of Le Mars golf course bar and restaurant facility is not being changed.
A judge Tuesday turned down a request for a temporary injunction from Mark and Tobi Ellis who were the 2009 operators of the Willow Creek Watering Hole and Plymouth Ice Cream Company. Through a Plymouth County District Court case, the couple asked to temporarily and permanently be placed back into the business of operating the bar and restaurant at the golf course.
In court documents, the city of Le Mars had objected to the request. The city claimed they failed to meet the requirements of their agreement with the city.
The city hired Mike Fiddelke of Orange City for the operation earlier this year.
Judge Jeffrey Neary Tuesday afternoon ruled the temporary injunction request is moot because the facility has already been leased. Judge Neary also noted the ruling is not a ruling on the merits of any of the claims made by the the 2009 operators and they remain intact.
(LE MARS)–A rural Le Mars acreage sale will put money back into the pockets of local governments.
Lance Sitzmann of Sitzmann Real Estate in Le Mars brought the offer to buy 2.72 acres in Crescent Ridge to the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors and Le Mars City Council Tuesday.
The sale of a house, garage and one building for the Le Mars Business Initiative Corporation (LBIC) is from property purchased for development in southwest Le Mars, including the Wells’ Dairy Corporate headquarters.
Both local governments voted to accept the 197-thousand 500 dollar purchase offer from Floyd Fielder of Le Mars. City administrator Scott Langel says city cleanup costs for the property come off the sale proceeds.
City cleanup costs included building demolition and concrete crushing.
(HINTON)–Fire damaged a rural Hinton home Monday afternoon and early Tuesday.
Hinton, Kingsley and Merrill Fire Departments responded to the report of a house fire at 28215 Marble Avenue about two Monday afternoon.
According to the Plymouth County Assessor’s property records, the house is owned by Matthew N. Hoffman.
Hinton Fire Chief Chad Beck says a passerby reported smoke coming from the roof of the small two-story farm house. No one was home.
Hinton firefighters were called out again early Tuesday morning when the fire was reported to have rekindled in the attic area.
The probable cause of the fire is electrical.
(LE MARS)–The newest member of the Floyd Valley Hospital Board of Trustees was sworn in Tuesday.
Ralph Klemme of Le Mars took the oath of office for hospital trustee at a swearing-in ceremony with Mayor Dick Kirchoff.
Klemme succeeds long-time board member Jim Ryan who resigned because Ryan is moving. Klemme was appointed by the City Council to serve through December of next year.
ROCKWELL CITY, Iowa (AP) Authorities in Calhoun County have ruled murder-suicide in the case of three people found dead in a rural home there.
County officials say autopsies and a joint investigation by law enforcement show the two women found dead in the house, 19-year-old Paige Gallo of Council Bluffs and 20-year-old Heather Campbell of Urbandale, were homicide victims. Both women died from gunshot wounds.
The man found dead, 20-year-old Luke Schleisman of Lake City, also died of a gunshot wound and his death has been ruled a suicide.
Officers found the bodies early Friday morning after responding to a report of a possible disturbance.
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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Police in Des Moines are investigating an early morning home invasion in which a 21-year-old woman was raped several times by three masked men and her 23-year-old fiance was pistol-whipped.
Officers say the couple and their 11-month-old child were asleep in their second-story bedroom north of Union Park about 5:20 Tuesday morning when three men kicked in a box fan in their bedroom window and crawled through.
The woman says the three men demanded money and held the child as a hostage while they raped her and beat her fiance.
Before they left, the three invaders took a laptop computer, a video game system, a 26-inch flat screen television and about $200 in cash.
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) Federal court officials in Council Bluffs have arraigned two Omaha women on sex trafficking and interstate prostitution charges.
The two who made their initial court appearances Tuesday were identified as 32-year-old Merrideth Crane Horton, who also uses the name Mary Crane Horton, and 22-year-old Katherine Heredia.
The two were named in a nine-count indictment that also named 21-year-old Ramon Heredia, who is also from Omaha.
U.S. Attorney Nicholas Klinefeldt said Ramon Heredia would probably be arraigned in the near future.
Some of the charges in the indictment involve the alleged recruitment of underage girls into the sex trade. One of the girls was said be younger than 14 and the second was said to be younger than 18.
Federal attorneys did not indicate Tuesday whether any of the defendants had attorneys.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A federal audit says Iowa must repay $576,000 in misspent funds from the 2002 Help America Vote Act that the state received while Gov. Chet Culver was secretary of state.
Iowa got about $30 million from The Help America Vote Act, which was aimed at updating voting systems after the 2000 presidential election.
The audit on Monday found $2.5 million in questionable spending but the amount Iowa should repay was lowered to $576,000.
The audit lists three main reasons for the disallowed payments, including that bids were not sought for a contract associated with the grant; a program called “Celebrate Voting” spent money on nonvoter activities; and radio ads were not allowable expenses.
Culver spokesman Jim Flansburg says the governor and the attorney general’s office are working to resolve all questions.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Gov. Chet Culver says Iowa is pulling out of the recession in part because of an $875 million bonding program that is paying for construction projects throughout the state.
Speaking Tuesday at a national trade and transportation association conference being held in Des Moines, Culver argued that pouring money into road, bridge and flood recovery projects had provided jobs and set the stage for future growth.
The spending will likely be a key part of the governor’s race, with Culver maintaining he responded boldly to the recession and unemployment with the bonding program, dubbed I-JOBS.
An aide to his Republican opponent, Terry Branstad, responded that Culver’s program created few jobs and would leave Iowa saddled with debt for years.
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) Federal officials say an investigation shows that the Iowa Interstate Railroad retaliated against a train conductor for reporting a work-related injury.
The Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration says the railroad violated the Federal Rail Safety Act.
OSHA says the company issued a train conductor a notification of formal investigation in January last year and disciplined him with a letter of censure after the employee reported a work injury.
The employee, who isn’t being named, filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA.
The Cedar Rapids company has been ordered to pay $1,000 in punitive damages and to “make amends” with the employee.
Mick Burkart is the vice president of the railroad. He says the company disagrees with OSHA’s findings and plans to appeal.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Officials say the Iowa Governors Office of Drug Control Policy will get nearly $250,000 in federal money.
The grant will be used for the Iowa Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners Program. That will allow state officials to further develop and implement substance abuse programs at state and local correctional and detention facilities.
The money comes from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Sen. Chuck Grassley announced the award on Tuesday.
He says drug substance abuse treatment can help lower the recidivism rate of released prisoners.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) A major Agriculture Department study says farmers in the Upper Mississippi River basin have made significant progress in reducing sediment, fertilizer and pesticide runoff.
But it says they also need to do more to cut pollution. The biggest concern is excessive runoff of nitrogen fertilizer.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told The Associated Press before the study’s release Wednesday that it shows good conservation practices work.
The study found use of soil erosion controls are widespread. And it says conservation practices in the region have been extremely effective in reducing pesticide runoff.
It’s the first of several studies the USDA plans to release on the effect of conservation practices on major watersheds.
PRAIRIE CITY, Iowa (AP) Biologists at the Neal Smith National Wildlife Center are being encouraged to recruit keen-nosed dogs from animal shelters in their fight against an invasive weed called Lespedeza Cuneata.
The Asian plant, which is also called Chinese bush clover, was planted in some of the southeastern states as a possible forage crop about 100 years ago. It soon became a troublesome weed, and has been slowly moving north, often choking out native prairie plants.
But dogs like Wickett, a 6-year-old Labrador mix, are being trained to spot the plant before it has a chance to spread.
Alice Whitelaw of Working Dogs for Conservation says dogs can smell the weed from greater distances and can find more plants than a human. Those plants can then be marked for herbicides.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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