Home News KLEM AM News Update June 30, 2010

KLEM AM News Update June 30, 2010

(LE MARS)–New guidelines for the Main Street Facade Program are in place after action by the Le Mars City Council Tuesday.

Up to half  the costs for the first 15-thousand dollars spent to restore or improve a downtown building is available through the program. There is a maximum award of 15-thousand dollars for one building. Main Street Manager Mary Reynolds reviewed the changes and reported a committee for the Facade program had been expansion substantially.

The members are Linda Mayrose, chairperson; Becky Wiersma; Chris Becker; Iris Hemmingson; Jason Vacura; Kathy Moore; Marcetta Claypool; Meg Tentinger; Pam Hutchins; Peg Worden; Randy Becker; Sue Betsworth; and Tom Sangl.

Council member Rex Knapp noted the many changes since the council request for them at the time 25-thousand dollars was added to the city budget to continue the program.

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The Council approved the Grant Application and related information on a four-to-one vote. Council member Delana Ihrke voted no. Ihrke had  earlier expressed disappointment that a buy back proposal for buildings that are sold wasn’t included. Council member John Rexwinkel referred to downtown building owner Sue Betsworth’s comments in his support. 

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City staff has been asked to prepare information about mosquito spraying, including costs and effectiveness. Council member John Leonard, at Tuesday’s meeting, said he’s had a few phone calls. Council member Ken Nelson suggested citizens remember to eliminate standing water to help reduce the insects.

A consultant for the Le Mars Public Library assessed space needs could be up to three times the current size of the city facility through the year 2035…the next 25 years. The assessment is based on three factors, including similar size libraries and programming. A report was presented to the Council by Library Planner George Lawson of Ames.

After individual performance reviews in sessions closed to the public at their request, pay was set effective July first for three city officials. The council action was was in an open portion of the meeting.

City attorney Joe Flannery will be paid a retainer of $7,250 a month plus $185 an hour for extra hours. The current rate of $7,000 a month was set in 2007. The change is 250 dollars a month.

Assistant city administrator Bill Cole’s new pay was set at 86-thousand dollars which is a $1,240 a year or a 1.46 percent increase. The pay had been set at $84,760 in January after being frozen for six months. The salary for city administrator Scott Langel will be 124-thousand 600 dollars. The new rate is up 1,756 dollars or 1.43 percent from the $122,844 amount set in January after a six-month freeze. According to minutes from city clerk Bev Langel, council members John Rexwinkel and Ihrke voted against the Council action for the pay of Cole and Langel.

(LE MARS)–A South Sioux City business will have about nine months to build an annex building for Plymouth County government offices and storage.

The 250 working days are in a contract with general contractor H-C-I signed Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors. The firm had the low bid of 637-thousand dollars. According to information from the architect, Dale McKinney of M+ of Sioux City, there is to be substantial completion by December 31, 2010.

County attorney Darin Raymond answered a question from Supervisor Don Kass about the payment schedule

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Supervisor Craig Anderson reported on a new grant option the Siouxland Interstate Metropolitan Planning Council (SIMPCO) is exploring to fund the emergency shelter-safe room in the lower level.

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Anderson said the county couldn’t get money for the project from two grants, but agreed with Supervisor Mark Loutsch that the county would take the one with the most funds.

(LE MARS)–Dairy farmers from Northwest Iowa will help provide information about their industry during an open house at a rural Le Mars dairy today.

Plymouth Dairy Farms, south of Le Mars on K-49, offers tours, a kid’s play area and a meal with the main course grilled by Plymouth County Cattlemen from 4-7 today.

Plymouth Dairy Farms general manager Kurt Wierda says trolleys will take those touring the dairy from parking to the main facility where they’ll see dairy cows being milked.

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While the tour travels by bus to a nearby dairy maternity area, Wierda says there will be information about how waste products are handled as fertilizer for the crops fed at the dairy.

A kid’s play area with the Iowa State Dairy Princess, games, activities and young calves are a family-friendly focus of the educational open house.

The event, in honor of June Dairy month, will include transportation for those with special needs.

(SIOUX CITY)–Groups in Plymouth County are receiving funds given in gratitude for Siouxland’s response to the crash of United Airlines Flight 2-32.

The Siouxland Community Foundation released information about grants from the trust fund set up by United Airlines through the Foundation.

The Plymouth County Sheriff’s Department reserve officer unit will receive 24-hundred dollars to buy bullet proof vests for the reserve unit.

Hinton Fire and Rescue was awarded 18-hundred dollars. The money is for a grill guard for two brush trucks for grass fires and a winch for confined space rescues.

Regionally, funds were awarded to the Sioux City Fire and Rescue, Lawton Community Fire Department, and Horn Memorial Hospital. Scholarships totalling 84-hundred dollars each were given Western Iowa Tech Community College, Briar Cliff University and Morningside College.

The Community Foundation also granted $1,000 in funds to the Homer Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department to help buy a rescue boat. The purchase is to be in rememberance of Dustin Pearce. Pearce was boating last month and fell into the Missouri River. The Homer Fire and Rescue Department did not have a boat and waited until other agencies responded which resulted in a delayed response time.

(Hull)–While 21-hundred state workers have accepted an early retirement offer in recent weeks, about 11-hundred new workers will be hired to fill many of those jobs. State Senator Randy Feenstra  of Hull says he and many other Republicans are opposed to hiring any new workers.

“When this bill came out, that was the first thing that was said: ‘Are we going to hire new workers?'” Feenstra says. “The Democrat Party said: ‘No, we’re not. We’re just going to retire, help some of those that need to be weeded out of the system.’ And unfortunately, now we’re back to square one again saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to hire more workers.'” In the past few months about 10 percent of the workers in the executive branch of state government accepted an early retirement incentive package. That’s twice as many people as had been expected. Last week, Governor Culver said he’s authorizing the hiring about 11-hundred people to ensure “essential services” in state government are maintained. Feenstra’s opposed to the Democratic governor’s hiring plan.

“I would say we shouldn’t hire any, especially in these economic times,” he says. “We have to create and work with the service agencies that we have and if we have to start putting some of these agencies together, then that’s what it takes but let’s not hire new workers.” Feenstra, who is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, voted against the early retirement plan. Feenstra says he has always doubted if any money would be saved.

“It did eliminate some jobs,” Feenstra says. “It gave people early retirements, however it was quite a golden parachute. They get $1000 for every year they worked, plus, they get health insurance. My greatest concern was okay, so these folks retire and all of the sudden, you have to hire workers to replace them so in essence, you’re not saving a lot of money by the time you pay their golden parachute.”

Many of the retiring workers are getting a one-time payment of up to 25-thousand dollars, plus their insurance is paid for up to five years. Governor Culver’s aides say the 21-hundred retirements will save the state almost 90-million dollars. Those workers had to exit state employment by June 24th. To quality for a bonus, a worker had to have been employed by the state for at least a decade and they had to be at least 55 years old. The early retirement bonuses will be paid in equal installments, over a five-year period. (News report by Radio Iowa)

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Gov. Chet Culver has added 14 Iowa counties to a disaster declaration in response to the recent severe weather.

The declaration now covers a total of 28 counties. It allows state resources to be deployed to help residents of the affected counties.

Culver’s declaration Tuesday covered Buena Vista, Butler, Clay, Davis, Emmet, Hamilton, Howard, Jefferson, Lee, O’Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto, Van Buren and Webster counties.

Culver had already issued disaster proclamations for the counties of Cherokee, Decatur, Franklin, Hancock, Mahaska, Marion, Monroe, Polk, Ringgold, Sioux, Taylor, Union, Warren and Wright.

NEW HAMPTON, Iowa (AP) Authorities in Chickasaw County say a collision between a semi tractor hauling metal and two grain wagons tied up the northbound lanes of U.S. Route 63 near New Hampton for nearly six hours.

The collision Tuesday morning scattered metal from the semi’s flatbed trailer and corn from the two grain wagons onto the road surface and ditches on either side of the northbound lanes.

Traffic had to be diverted into the southbound lanes.

Police say the semi driver, 45-year-old Michael Kruse of Dunkerton, was transported by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center New Hampton for head trauma. He was treated and released.

The driver of the pickup that was towing the two grain wagons, 62-year-old Allen Heit of Dunkerton, was not injured in the crash.

(CHARLES CITY, Iowa (AP) Authorities in Floyd County say the Assistant Charles City Fire Chief needed the help of his department after a trench collapse trapped him up to his armpits in soil.

The Charles City Fire Department was called to Assistant Chief David Boehmer’s home Monday afternoon. Firefighters say Boehmer was working on a new home on his property when he was trapped in the trench. They say he was conscious and breathing at the time of his rescue.

Boehmer was taken to Floyd County Medical Center, then transferred to Mercy Medical Center North Iowa and finally arrived at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota late Monday night.

Boehmer was listed in stable condition early Tuesday.

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

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) Cedar Rapids new airport director says he plans to talk with local business leaders about efforts to attract low-fare carriers to Eastern Iowa Airport.

Tim Bradshaw says business travelers are major users of the airport, paying the highest air fares because they usually are unable to book flights in advance. Bradshaw says attracting a low-fare carrier will depend on the will of the community.

According to Bradshaw, most low-cost carriers want some type of revenue guarantee or subsidy to provide service. There is a risk if the money goes away or the airline isn’t making enough, they will ask for more money or leave.

Bradshaw, who assumed his duties Monday, says the Cedar Rapids Airport Commission has a top 10 list of destinations and will work to convince airlines to offer service to those communities.

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

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Des Moines police say they are investigating the theft of a diamond necklace by a shabby-looking man who reportedly first tried to steal the woman’s small dog.

The woman called police Monday afternoon to say a scraggly bearded first tried to steal her dog through an opening in a chain link fence.

She told officers that when she came to the dog’s rescue, the man grabbed by the hair, poked her in the right eye, and then ripped the necklace away from her.

The woman said the man then rode away on a dark-colored mountain bike.

(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.