Home News KLEM News Update July 24, 2010

KLEM News Update July 24, 2010


(LE MARS)–Curb and gutter is complete on the second block of Business Highway 75 North in Le Mars.

Godbersen-Smith of Ida Grove is the contractor for the highway work which city administrator Scott Langel says the contractor continues to work on between the rains.

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Blue Diamond Drive, serving a commercial business area in southwest Le Mars, and a portion of Third Avenue Southeast, near the Courthouse and Franklin Elementary School, are also completely open and done. Langel says that includes all of the small punch list items.

Barkley Asphalt of Sioux City is repairing Business Highway 75 South of Highway Three.

Three contractors are also working on storm drainage-type projects in between the rains.

Le Mars Community students may have school e-mail accounts

(LE MARS)–The Le Mars Community School District plans to offer school e-mail to students whose parents give permission for the communication option.

Superintendent Dr. Todd Wendt says student e-mail accounts are something that’s been worked on within the administration for the past three or four months.

The Board of Education has reviewed a written policy on the school e-mail communication to be offered in the high school and middle school.

Dr. Wendt explains the focus is education.

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As an example of controls being built in by the district, Wendt said school e-mail message that students send with unacceptable language would be sent to the principal using a filtering system.

The proposed board policy will be reviewed at another Board of Education meeting and was not adopted at the board’s meeting this week.

Fire-Rescue reorganization given first consideration approval

(LE MARS)–A reorganization of the Le Mars Fire-Rescue Department moving through the City Council would increase the number of officers.

The Council this week approved the first consideration of the changes recommended by Fire-Rescue Chief Dave Schipper.

The city does not presently have an assistant chief.

Schipper explained how the reorganization affects the officers in the volunteer ranks.

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Schipper said agreed with Councilman John Leonard that leaving the assistant position in the officer structure would give the city flexibility, if needs changed.

Tire changing is RAGBRAI contest

(SIOUX CITY)–As the statewide bicycle ride, RAGBRAI,  gears up to leave Sioux City on Sunday, a cycling group plans an event there on Saturday that’s guaranteed to pump up the crowd, leaving no one feeling flat.

It’s billed as the World Tire Changing Championship, according to Mark Wyatt, executive director of the Iowa City-based Iowa Bicycle Coalition.

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( “We’re going to have five stations with identical wheels, identical tires, identical tubes and identical pumps,” Wyatt says. “Contestants will be able to see how fast they can deflate a tire, remove the tube, put a new tube in and pump it back up.” There will be categories for youth, first-timers, mechanics, professionals and even blindfolded. “We’re willing to make this interesting,” Wyatt says. “If somebody thinks that they’re that much better, they can do it with a blindfold. We’ll let them give it a try because I think that’s going to be fun.” Some bicyclists have never had to change a tire, but Wyatt says others have done it dozens, even hundreds of times.)

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(“The average person can do it in a few minutes,” Wyatt says.”Tire changing really isn’t that difficult. There’s about nine steps and it’s pretty easy, but I think we can have some really fast people. Some of the mechanics and some of the people that have been doing bicycling for a long time are really talented at this.”)

Since more than half of the 25-thousand-some RAGBRAI riders and support staff are from out-of-state and many from other countries, Wyatt says it should truly be a world championship event. The event starts at noon today (Saturday) at the RAGBRAI Expo in Sioux City. The top five fastest participants will battle head-to-head in the championship round at 5 P-M. (News report by Radio Iowa)

Grand Teton spent $50,000 rescuing climbers

GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) Grand Teton National Park spent about $50,000 rescuing 16 injured climbers and recovering the body of a northwest Iowan after a thunderstorm on Grand Teton mountain.

Three separate parties climbing above 13,000 feet called for help when a thunderstorm pounded the exposed mountaintop with lightning at midday Wednesday. A climber from Sanborn, 21-year-old Brandon Oldenkamp, fell to his death during the storm.

Park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs said Friday the circumstances of Oldenkamp’s fall are still being investigated. He was a Dordt College student who would have been a senior this fall. Teton County Coroner Bob Campbell says Oldenkamp’s cause of death hasn’t been determined.

Park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs said Friday the costs for the rescues and recovery included two helicopters, staff time and other expenses.

Skaggs says the park will apply for reimbursement from a National Park Service account for search and rescue.

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

 Sioux Falls men charged with death of man whose body was found near Larchwood

SIOUX  FALLS, S.D. (AP) Two Sioux Falls men face charges in the kidnapping and killing of another man found dead near Larchwood earlier this week.

During a Friday court hearing, bond for 29-year-old Benjamin Carter was set at $500,000.

Carter and 23-year-old Payton Strum are charged with first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery. Strum is also charged with first-degree arson.

Sioux Falls police chief Doug Barthel says the men robbed 27-year-old Joseph Cynkar at his Sioux Falls home, then drove him in his pickup across the state line to near Larchwood in Lyon County. His body was found Tuesday.

Barthel says Cynkar died of blunt-force trauma. Court documents say his hands were bound and a bag was on his head.

The Sioux Falls Police Chief says Strum later set fire to Cynkar’s home.

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

 Royal man sentenced to prison for drug convictions

(SIOUX CITY)–A federal judge has ordered a Royal man to serve more than 17 years in prison for a drug conviction.

The U-S attorney’s office issued written information about the conviction and sentence of 30-year-old Michael Donald Stevens of Royal.

Stevens pled guilty to conspiring to make methamphetamine and distribute the drug and possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to make meth as well as manufacturing meth. The conspiracy and possession was from February of 2006 to February of this year at his home.

A judge in federal court in Sioux City sentenced Stevens to 210 months in prison. He’s is being held for the U-S Marshal’s service until he can be taken to a federal prison.

Tornado touchdown reported near Indianola
INDIANOLA, Iowa (AP) The National Weather Service and local authorities say a tornado has touched down near Indianola in Warren County, causing property damage.

Ben Moyer, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Des Moines, says the tornado touched down Friday evening about four miles west of Indianola.

Doug McCasland of the Warren County Emergency Services office says the twister continued into the northwestern corner of Indianola, damaging a number of homes, barns and other buildings. McCasland says there were no immediate reports of injuries, but 911 calls were still coming in.

Sale price is $2.5 million for Kaleidoscope Mall

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Hubbell Realty has placed a sale price of $2.5 million on the Kaleidoscope Mall in downtown Des Moines.

Nonetheless, Hubbell chief Rick Tollakson said Friday that his company isn’t really looking to sell the unusual mall it developed 25 years ago.

The two-block long, two-story mall includes retail space that spans Sixth Avenue as part of a skywalk. The mall also wraps around the 20-story Hub Tower.

The office tower’s current owner ran into financial problems and that property is currently in foreclosure.

Tollakson says that as part of the preparation to sell Hub Tower, Hubbell was asked to put a sale price on the mall, too, in case someone wanted to buy the full package of buildings. The assessed value for Hub Tower is about $17 million.

Waterloo man arrested for marijuana
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) Police say they arrested a Waterloo man on drug charges less than a day after he want to an emergency room with a gunshot wound to his leg.

Officers say 19-year-old Dontavious Regginal Barbee went to Covenant Medical Center early Wednesday morning with a wound to his calf, and said he had been shot while walking in an alley.

Foot patrol officers say they later spotted Barbee behaving suspiciously as he walked in between streets late Wednesday night, and they say that after he left they found three bags of marijuana in a downspout.

The officers say they left the marijuana in place and arrested Barbee when he allegedly returned and picked it up.

Barbee was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver. It was not known if he had an attorney.

Salmonella warning for guacamole, salsa, tamales

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) The Linn and Johnson County Public Health Departments are warning the public not to eat guacamole, salsa and uncooked tamales prepared by La Reyna Supermarket Taqueria of Iowa City before July 19.

The products were sold at farmers’ markets in Linn, Johnson and Dubuque counties and may be contaminated with salmonella. The departments say any guacamole, salsa and uncooked tamales should be thrown away and not eaten.

The salmonella investigation was initiated by Linn County Public Health officials and illnesses were traced to products produced by the restaurant in Johnson County.

The owners of La Reyna are fully cooperating in this public notice and have measures to ensure the future safety of their products.

Iowans qualify for more jobless benefits

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Officials of Iowa Workforce Development say about 16,000 state residents could be eligible for additional unemployment benefits due to an extension signed this week by President Obama.

In a statement Friday, Workforce Development director Elisabeth Buck said the agency has begun work to reactivate unemployed Iowans who may be in line for additional government assistance.

According to Buck, eligible claimants who saw their benefits end since June 2 will receive written notification for reactivating their claims. Initial payments for individuals who continued with their weekly reporting will begin receiving benefits next week.

Buck noted some residents continue to struggle with the effects of the recession. She says by extending the deadline for receiving emergency unemployment compensation to Nov. 30, they will have an economic safety net while they look for employment opportunities.

(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.