Home News KLEM News Update September 20, 2010

KLEM News Update September 20, 2010

(Le Mars) The Le Mars Convention Center is in need of a new HVAC system. The Le Mars City Council has plans to consider bids this week for about 218-thousand dollars.

Jessica Lindgren, Convention and Visitors Bureau Manager, does all the bookings for the center. She says the building is used for many different kinds of events including annual banquets and meetings for area businesses, graduation parties and baby showers. Lindgren said that above all else, weddings are the Convention Center’s bread and butter.

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She added that the largest annual event held at the center is the Gehlen Catholic Ball, which fills the building with nearly 900 people.

According to Lindgren The Convention Center revenues exceed the expenditures charged to it. Those expenditures include : utilities, maintenance, cleaning, management and operating supplies.

Lindgren says the facility is a positive asset to Le Mars.

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The city of Le Mars has received an Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant from the Iowa Office of Energy Independence for about 31-thousand dollars. The agenda for the Council meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) also indicates the city will receive a MidAmerican Energy rebate of about 25-thousand dollars for the equipment. The funds will go toward the improvement of the HVAC system at the Convention Center. The balance of the money would be paid from the Westmar University Urban Renewal Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) revenue. (News report by Angela Drake, KLEM News) 

Trucker Appreciation Week is September 19-25

(LE MARS)–There are 17-hundred ambassadors on wheels for Plymouth County.

That’s the number of units that operate from small to large trucking businesses in Plymouth County. Some of the 17-hundred units operate locally while others travel coast-to-coast with products and goods shipped out of Plymouth County. The trucks and trailers are ambassadors for their communities with their base of operations printed on both trucks and trailers.

One of the economic impacts of the trucking industry is the fees paid for licenses. In 2009, the Iowa Department of Transportation reported the license total from Plymouth County clients was 225-thousand dollars. Some fees are also paid to other states where the firms operate so the 225-thousand dollars is a pro rated. 

According to the state transportation department, Plymouth, Sioux, Cherokee, Ida and Monona Counties have seven percent of the trucks that haul trailers in Iowa. Nearly 60-thousand other commercial trucks are a driving force operating in the six counties.

The American Trucking Association reports trucking represents roughly five percent of the nation’s gross domestic product.  More than 80 percent of all towns and communities in the United States get the goods they consume exclusively from trucks.

There are eight-point-six million people employed in the truck-relating jobs in the United States and more than 3.4 million of these people are truck drivers.

Commercial trucks paid nearly 33-billion dollars in federal and state highway-user taxes in 2004. That included nearly five-billion dollars in federal highway-user taxes and 18-billion in state highway-user taxes.

September 19th through September 25th is National Truckers Appreciation Week.

Three design options are chosen for future park area

(LE MARS)–The options for park space in southwest Le Mars are narrowed to three.

City administrator Scott Langel says the designs for an area south of West Floyd Park by I-S-U Landscape Architecture students were narrowed by the Parks Committee.

Langel expects the three designs to be displayed at City Hall and the Le Mars Public Library once their available from the school.

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The next step is a decision about which design is the best.

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Langel sees the need to seek federal and state funding for the park project. He points to the Resource Enhancement and Protection grant program known as REAP as an option due to its green space focus. Because a local match would be needed, Langel says those figures would be considered during budget on a new city budget.


Tom Brokaw to speak Sept. 29 at alma mater USD

VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) Journalist Tom Brokaw will return to his home state this month for a talk at the University of South Dakota.

Brokaw will present a program titled “Uncle Sam Needs Us” at 7 p.m. Sept. 29 on the Vermillion campus. The talk is sponsored by the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership and the USD Political Science League.

Brokaw is a native of Yankton and a 1964 USD graduate. He went on to anchor the “NBC Nightly News” for 21 years. He’s currently a special correspondent for NBC News.

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

Last group of investors sought for SD wind farm

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) More investor meetings are planned for this coming week by a group intent on building a publicly invested wind farm near White Lake.

South Dakota Wind Partners says it has secured 94 percent of the $16 million it needs to start. The federal government will pay the rest of the estimated $23 million cost.

Investor meetings are planned for Monday in Yankton, Tuesday in Madison, Wednesday in Mitchell and Thursday in Huron.

The seven-turbine wind farm would be next to a larger 101-turbine project. It will be built, operated and maintained by Basin Electric Power Cooperative, which also will buy the electricity it produces.

The Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative (NIPCO) is a member of the Basin Electric system.


One-vehicle accident kills 2 S. Dakotans

CROFTON, Neb. (AP) Two people from South Dakota have died in a one-vehicle crash in northeast Nebraska.

The Nebraska State Patrol said Sunday that 27-year-old Tracy Arens and 21-year-old Nicholas LaCroix died in the crash on a county road southwest of Crofton at 12:30 a.m. Saturday. Both were from Yankton, S.D.

Arens and LaCroix were passengers in a northbound vehicle that struck a bridge. The driver, a 22-year-old Yankton man, was not injured.

Investigators are looking into whether alcohol was a factor.


Iowa’s top law enforcement director under fire

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Iowa Law Enforcement Academy Director Penny Westfall is facing criticism from police chiefs, sheriffs and deputies.

The academy trains police officers on law enforcement techniques and investigative procedures.

Officers and trainees are questioning Westfall’s leadership and management style, including allegations she’s used an uncertified Taser instructor.

A spokesman for Gov. Chet Culver says the governor is aware of the complaints.

In the past several months, two basic-training classes at the academy have signed letters of complaint about Westfall. Those included allegations that she was late for classes she taught.

Westfall says she’s looking into the complaints, making changes to the academy and is willing to work with anyone who has concerns.

Officials: Motorists take caution during harvest

MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) State officials say motorists need to be careful as the fall harvest begins.

The Iowa Department of Transportation says there were 208 crashes last year involving farm equipment. Authorities say six people died and there were 14 major injuries reported.

The state agency says motorists should always be alert and watch for slow-moving vehicles. That means being patient and not assuming that the driver of the farm vehicle will be able to move aside to allow cars to pass.

State officials say farm vehicle operators need to be careful too.

They suggest always using signals and being sure to replace the bright orange emblems that designate a slow moving vehicle if they’re faded or damaged.

FEMA weighs in on Cedar Rapids flood-damaged site

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) The Federal Emergency Management Agency says a heating system in the Veterans Memorial Building in Cedar Rapids must be in the basement, even though that area flooding in 2008.

The 80-year-old building, located on an island in the Cedar River, was home to City Hall until the flood.

The building is being renovated and officials hope to return some parts of city government to the structure.

The Gazette reports that the Veterans Memorial Commission wanted to put the boilers in a safer spot on part of a stage in a first-flood auditorium.

Commission Chairman Pete Welch says a FEMA historic preservation specialist objected to that plan because it would cause significant loss in historical value.

The commission agreed to comply with FEMA’s direction and put the boilers in the basement.

Cedar Falls panel recommends wind turbine controls

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) Cedar Falls is moving to regulate private wind turbines.

The Planning and Zoning Commission has recommended approval of a new ordinance governing wind energy facilities in Cedar Falls.

Mike Miller operates a company that markets solar and wind energy alternatives and has been working with the commission on the ordinance. Miller told the commission there is only one private wind turbine in Cedar Falls, and it’s in his backyard.

But he says there’s been interest in small facilities for powering homes or small businesses.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports the proposed ordinance covers both large- and small-scale ventures. But City Planner Marty Ryan says small operations would be more likely in the city limits.

The ordinance now goes to the City Council for approval.

Family baffled by Minn. man’s disappearance

SHOREVIEW, Minn. (AP) Authorities in Minnesota are trying to find a man who told his wife he’d been kidnapped and thought he was in Iowa.

A crime alert from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety says 29-year-old Matthew William Anderson of Shoreview, Minn., was last seen Friday afternoon at his job in Roseville, Minn. He phoned his wife Friday evening and said two men had kidnapped him, and that he thought he was in Iowa.

His wife, Amber Anderson, told the St. Paul Pioneer Press he spoke only for 32 seconds and sounded very scared. He also texted her and said he loved her.

Ramsey County, Minn., Undersheriff George Altendorfer says the call was placed from the Wisconsin Dells area.

His sister, Emily Samarzia, of Duluth, Minn., told the Duluth News Tribune that Anderson has no enemies, and they have no idea why he would go missing.

He drives a maroon 2001 Pontiac Montana van with Minnesota license plate number 922 DUZ. 

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

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