Home News KLEM News PM Update June 23, 2010

KLEM News PM Update June 23, 2010

(PIERSON)–A Brunsville man died after a two-car collision near Pierson at noon Tuesday.

According to the Woodbury County Sheriff’s office, 60-year-old Roger Utesch of Brunsville was driving on a Woodbury County road and crossed the center line for unknown reasons. His pickup truck struck a car driven by 85-year-old Merlyn Smith of Newell.

Utesch was ejected from the pickup and was taken by Mercy Air Care to Mercy Medical Center in Sioux City  where he was pronounced dead.

Smith was extricated from his car with the use of Jaws of Life and was taken to Mercy Medical Center along with his wife, 77-year-old Ruth Smith of Newell.

The sheriff’s office reports the Smiths were being treated for non-life threatening injuries.

The accident at 110th Street and Kossouth Avenue at 12:10 yesterday afternoon is still being investigated by the Iowa State Patrol and sheriff’s office. Authorities were assisted by Pierson and Moville Fire and Rescue squads.

Funeral arrangements for Utesch are pending.

(REMSEN)–A former Plymouth County Supervisor died Tuesday at a Sioux City hospital. Herman Kluver of Remsen had represented the Remsen, Oyens and Kingsley areas when he served on the board. Kluver died at the age of 84. Funeral arrangements for Kluver are pending with Fisch Funeral Home and Monument of Remsen.

LARCHWOOD, Iowa (AP) Groundbreaking is scheduled this afternoon for a $120 million casino project in northwest Iowa.

The groundbreaking is Wednesday afternoon for the Lyon County Resort and Casino. The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission approved a casino license for the project last month, noting it would draw gamblers from Sioux Falls, S.D., only eight miles from the new development.

The casino is scheduled to open in July 2011 with about 740 full and part-time workers. The Lyon County resort is expected to include an 18-hole golf course and 100-room hotel.

Dan Kehl is chief executive officer of the Lyon County development. Kehl has said he thinks the resort will be good for the region.

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

(CAMP RIPLEY)–Iowa National Guard soldiers are training at Camp Ripley in Minnesota for deployment to Afghanistan in what will be the largest deployment by the guard since World War Two. Guard members from Troop C in Le Mars are part of the training in Minnesota.

Not only are the 28-hundred soldiers who’ll be on the ground in Afghanistan involved in this training, but support units of the guard are also in Minnesota for a full-scale summer exercise involving a total of four-thousand Iowa National Guard soldiers. The deployment includes a mix of experienced soldiers and newcomers. Captain Mike Wedemeyer (Wed-uh-my-er) of Adel is the executive officer for the headquarters command that will go to Afghanistan. Wedemeyer was previously deployed to Iraq, and says the training this time is much different — including the amount of time being devoted to the preparation. He says he had 22 hours to prepare to report to Iraq, while he found out in February he’d be deployed to Iraq. Wedemeyer says this training should have soldiers more prepare.

Wedemeyer says the training this time is a lot more specialized with specific “Army Warrior” tasks and battle drills that soldiers need to know before being deployed. He says in 2003 when things kicked off for the Iraq deployment, it was a “mass rush to get troops overseas.” The different units are in various stages of training at Camp Ripley, but Wedemeyer says the main goal is the same.

“A lot of the things we have been talking about is just paying attention to their training and understanding it’s not a weekend drill anymore, …these are real scenarios that we are going through, because it’s going to be real life missions when we get over there,” Wedemeyer says,”everything from as simple as basic common courtesy and discipline to actually making sure that every soldier understands his or her job to the most that we are able to provide for them.” Not many of the soldiers have been deployed to Afghanistan before. Sergeant Glen Bulger, a Tipton native, is now with a Davenport unit and has been to Afghanistan, and is sharing his experience with others.

Bulger says he was up in the northeast portion of Afghanistan and says the country is actually quite beautiful if you like mountains. Bulger says the soldiers in training are seeing photos of “camel spiders the size of sleeping bags” and he says he others who have been to Afghanistan before can help dispel some rumors and offer advice “to the Joe’s” about what to do, what gears to use in vehicles. Bulger says this extended training will help better prepare the younger soldiers for deployment. 

 “Oh yeah, there are a lot of bugs, we’ve got a lot of young dudes, yeah a lot of young blood, but we also have a lot of seasoned leadership,” Bulger says. He says one way they overcome the inexperiences is to do a lot of different iterations, where soldiers do a lot of different tasks and leadership positions in the training exercises known as lanes. “We do at least three iterations of each lane so that people have a lot of different jobs and they get a good grasp of what it’s like to wear a lot of different hats,” Bulger says. Private first class Anthony Yeager of Waukee is one of the “Joes” or “young dudes” that Bulger talks about. Yeager is a heavy equipment operator who has been in the guard a couple of years. He arrived at Fort Riley after some initial training at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin.

 “It’s been pretty good training, we’ve been helping out the combat engineers, got to blow some stuff up, blow some C-4 back at McCoy,” Yeager says. Yeager and his fiancee have a son and plan to get married in July. Yeager was asked about his fiancee’s thoughts about him leaving to go overseas a few months after they’re married.

 “She knew I wanted to deploy. She’s not a big fan (of the deployment), but she supports me,” Yeager explained. Yeager says he is looking forward to deploying and is “maybe a little scared” because he doesn’t really know what to expect. Specialist Sky Pogue (Pohg)of Davenport is another one of the younger soldiers. Pogue is in his third year in the Iowa National Guard and is anxious to get the training out of the way. 

“Kind of looking forward to it, like sitting on the bench all year on the baseball team and finally getting in to go play. So it’s our turn to get in there,” Pogue says. The Iowa Guard soldiers will wrap up their Minnesota training at the end of this month, they’ll then go to Mississippi in July for additional work, and then to California for their final training before deployment in the fall. (News report by Radio Iowa)

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Powerful storms moving across Iowa are dumping heavy rain and causing flash flooding, while producing a lot of wind damage and a few tornadoes.

Several tornadoes and funnel clouds were reported late Tuesday across northern Iowa. In Bremer County, winds damaged several homes and blew down two barns near Tripoli (tri-PO’-luh).

No injuries are reported.

Heavy rain, however, is causing problems. In Wright County, the sheriff’s office says over 5 inches of rain fell overnight, flooding roads countywide. Several homes in Clarion have water in the basement.

Sheriff’s dispatcher Linda Darland says the rain came down so fast, it just flooded everywhere. MARSHALLTOWN JOBS

140 new jobs headed to Marshalltown

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) A Marshalltown call center says it’s adding 140 jobs.

Thomas L. Cardella and Associates said Tuesday that the company will start hiring by July 7. Applications are now available for 40 sales positions. Hiring for the remaining 100 positions is to start in early August.

Joel Akason is president of the Marshall Economic Development Impact Committee. He says the positions are “good quality jobs.” Akason says there’s still unemployment in the area though. Iowa Workforce Development says the unemployment rate for Marshall County in May was 7.2 percent.

Company president Thomas Cardella says the company is “committed to job growth in Iowa.” Cardella says its “clients’ needs are well served” by the Iowa workforce. BINGO HALL ROBBERY

2 arrested in bingo hall robbery in Waterloo

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) Waterloo police have arrested two men in a robbery of a bingo hall following a nearly three-hour standoff.

One of the men is wanted in a string of other robberies.

Police arrested Brandon Reynolds of Chicago on Tuesday evening after a tactical team drove him from a vacant house with tear gas.

Elton Wade of Waterloo was arrested before the standoff when police searched a nearby house.

The men are charged with first-degree robbery in Monday’s holdup at a bingo hall at the National Cattle Congress grounds.

Reynolds is also charged with three other robberies in Waterloo and Cedar Falls.

Reynolds and Wade are being held in the Black Hawk County jail. It was not immediately known if they had an attorney. AVIVA EMBEZZLEMENT

Prosecutor: Iowan can stand trial for embezzlement

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A federal prosecutor says a woman accused of embezzling nearly $6 million from West Des Moines insurer Aviva USA is competent to stand trial, even if she has a multiple personality disorder.

Phyllis Stevens is accused of fraud, money laundering and other charges. Her partner, Marla Stevens, is also charged.

In court documents filed Monday, assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Kahl says the issue is not whether Sevens has a valid diagnosis, but whether she is can understand the proceeding and assist in her defense.

Last month, Stevens’ attorney argued she exhibited various personalities and raised questions about whether she could help in her defense.

A competency hearing is set for Thursday in U.S. District Court in Des Moines. HISTORIC SMOKESTACK

Cedar Rapids gives up on historic smokestack

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) Cedar Rapids has given up on efforts to save a historic smokestack at the former Sinclair meatpacking plant.

The City Council on Tuesday said it was time to take it down. Councilwoman Monica Vernon says “the writing is on the wall.”

Greg Eyerly, the city’s flood-recovery director, told the council that stabilizing the smokestack would require taking the top 100 feet apart, brick by brick.

He says it would cost $740,000 to stabilize the stack and $1 million to restore it. The process would delay the current demolition of the plant, at a loss of $1 million.

That’s a total cost of $2.7 million.

Eyerly also says demolition crews have reached a point where they are in danger of being hit by the smokestack if it falls.

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

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