Home News KLEM News AM Update December 8, 2010

KLEM News AM Update December 8, 2010

(LE MARS)–A Le Mars businessman is part of a group that he hopes will locate a new business in Iowa.

 To move the bio-refinery project forward, John Grosenheider of Le Mars asked the City Council Tuesday to be the lead applicant for an Iowa Power Fund grant of up to 50-thousand dollars, with a cash and or in-kind match.

After a half hour of discussion and questions, Council members had a motion to approve Grosenheider’s request but didn’t vote on it because they said he withdrew it. He indicated he’d take the project elsewhere.

The bio-refinery would convert human and animal waste to biofuels. The Council was told the unique aspect was the production of up to 180 different chemicals in addition to the biofuels. 

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With players Grosenheider said were from three different states. the refinery would be a new technology combining the work of a fuels specialist and a major, unnamed, university’s research.

A workforce of 15-20 people for a 15-18 million dollar project is the estimated economic impact.

As Grosenheider explained, waste that would have gone into the city’s wastewater treatment plant and the Plymouth County Landfill could be used by the bio-refinery.

City administrator Scott Langel said the proposal was timely in determining what needs to be done at the wastewater treatment plant. 

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Council John Leonard described the proposed study as almost a partner to the study a consultant is currently completing for the wastewater treatment plant . 

Council member Rex Knapp saw that study as part of the city’s match for the grant application.

Specifics about the project were questions from Council member Delana Ihrke.

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Council member Ken Nelson’s question clarified the use of waste. 

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The mayor asked to have the Council vote, but Grosenheider didn’t support that.

Unimproved lot issue to be forwarded to state group 

(LE MARS)–Le Mars housing developers will get help in making state officials aware of a concern about the way undeveloped lots are assessed.

State law requires the lots to be fully assessed after three years.

Council members Tuesday suggested the Iowa League of Cities receive information explaining the issue cannot be a concern only locally. The city administrator had already contacted State Representative Chuck Soderberg of Le Mars.

Lew Weinberg of Weinberg Investments updated the Council, by phone, on plans to rehabilitate Floyd Valley Apartments. Weinberg told the Council the changes should be completed by the time the new Catholic church in Le Mars completed. Council members asked Weinberg to inform tenants of his plans.
Future street light procedures will include a policy to be drafted and available for Council action by the first meeting in January.

 Libary funds divided, group asks for increase and technology funds for next budget

(LE MARS)–Five libraries in Plymouth County will receive a share of 67-thousand dollars in the current county budget.

The distribution–half equally and the other 50 percent based on rural circulation–was approved by Plymouth County Supervisors Tuesday.

Funding ranges from 17-thousand 875 dollars for the Le Mars Public Library’s service to rural customers to $7,132 for the Merrill Library.

Starting next July, Supervisors were asked to boost the total funding by five-thousand dollars to 72-thousand dollars.

The board was also asked to provide a one-time amount of 21-thousand dollars for technology for libraries.

Supervisor Craig Anderson suggested the group consider applying for a share of the county’s local option sales tax. Library directors indicated they had in the past with mixed results.

Bridges on Grouse Avenue north of Oyens and on Iris Avenue near Merrill are the remaining projects contractors are working on for the county’s road department. Assistant Engineer Terry Marienau reported the Iris Avenue bridge should be open within a week.

President of northwest Iowa concrete company pleads guilty

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) The president of a northwest Iowa ready-mix concrete company has pleaded guilty in a price fixing case.

The Justice Department says Chad Van Zee pleaded guilty on Monday in U.S District Court in Sioux City, and agreed to cooperate with the department’s ongoing antitrust investigation.

Van Zee was accused of participating in a conspiracy to fix prices for sales of ready-mix concrete from 2006 to 2009. The Justice Department said Van Zee’s company was located in Rock Valley, but it did not identify the company.

Van Zee is the third person to plead guilty in the investigation in Iowa and surrounding states.

Steven VandeBrake, a former executive of another ready-mix concrete company, and Kent Stewart, the president of another Iowa company, pleaded guilty in May.


Two sentenced to Drug Court in Sioux County

(ORANGE CITY) A judge has ordered two people who were convicted of delivering drugs in Sioux Center to complete a Drug Court program.

Sioux County attorney Coleman McAllister released information about the unrelated cases.

Twenty-two-year-old Whitney Luken of Paullina and 19-year-old Cody Ray Weyen of Sioux Center were each sentenced Monday for delivery of marijuana.

McAllister reported they sold marijuana to an undercover informant.

Both Luken and Weyen were placed on probation for three years, each fined $750 and ordered to complete Drug Court which is a community-based supervision program through District Court.

Storm Lake man indicted for child pornography

(SIOUX CITY)–A Storm Lake man is charged in federal court in Sioux City with receiving and possessing child pornography.

According to the U-S Attorney’s office, 29-year-old Francisco Campos was indicted last week.

Campos is charged with knowingly receiving and possessing depictions of child pornography between October of 2008 and May of last year.

Campos is being held without bond. His trial is set for February 7th.

Tanning salon owners sentenced for videotaping customers

(STORM LAKE)  A northwest Iowa couple, accused of videotaping customers at a tanning salon they owned, has been sentenced in Buena Vista County Court. Authorities say Darwin and Janelle Zoch  videotaped customers at the tanning salon they once owned in Albert City from 2006 to 2009. They were originally charged with 58 counts of invasion of privacy after deputies searched the Zoch’s home in Storm Lake and found videos showing victims – both male and female – had been taped while nude, using sun-tanning equipment. In exchange for a guilty plea in October, the Zochs were charged with only seven counts of invasion of privacy. They were both sentenced Monday to 30 days in jail and two years of probation. (RADIO IOWA)

Vander Plaats wants 4 Iowa justices to resign

PLEASANT HILL, Iowa (AP) Bob Vander Plaats, who led the effort to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices in last month’s election, wants the remaining four justices who took part in the ruling that legalized gay marriage in Iowa to step down.

The Gazette of Cedar Rapids reports that Vander Plaats says the action is required because “the people have spoken and demanded a change in leadership.”

A spokesman for the judicial branch told The Gazette there was no immediate response.

Vander Plaats, a Sioux City businessman and former GOP candidate for governor, called for the justices to resign during a news conference Tuesday in Pleasant Hill, near Des Moines. He led the opposition to the court’s 2009 decision into a successful effort to oust Justices Marcia Ternus, David Baker and Michael Streit.

Branstad announces 5 appointments

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Gov.-elect Terry Branstad has announced five new appointments, including David Jamison as the new head for the Iowa Finance Authority.

Jamison is the Story County treasurer who ran unsuccessfully for state treasurer in November. The finance authority provides lending for housing to low- and moderate-income Iowans.

Branstad also named retired Brig. Gen. Jodi Tymeson to head the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs.

In his other appointments Tuesday, Branstad named telephone company executive Todd Schulz as liaison to the House and Senate. Schulz has managed government relations for Iowa Telecom for the past 10 years.

Branstad selected Alicia Freed as his executive scheduler and Jimmy Centers as deputy communications director. Freed has worked on Sen. Charles Grassley’s staff. Centers was a field coordinator for Branstad’s campaign.

Man’s body found in Cedar Rapids driveway

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) Cedar Rapids police are investigating the death of a man whose body was found lying in a driveway.

Police say the body of 31-year-old Cory Sundberg was found just before 6 a.m. Tuesday by a passer-by. The Gazette reports Sundberg was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police say Sundberg was wearing only boxer shorts and that there were no obvious signs of foul play.

Sgt. Cristy Hamblin says in a news release that police had been called just before 1 a.m. Tuesday about a suspicious person walking in the area with no shirt or shoes. She says officers looked in the area but didn’t find anyone.

An autopsy was scheduled.

Iowa receiver Johnson-Koulianos faces drug charges

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says Derrell Johnson-Koulianos has been suspended from all team activities following the wide receiver’s arrest on drug charges.

Johnson-Koulianos was released from Johnson County Jail after posting $8,000 bail Tuesday. The 23-year-old was expected to make an initial court appearance Wednesday on four counts of possession of controlled substances, keeping a drug house and two counts of unlawful possession of a prescription drug.

Ferentz says in a statement that he is “highly disappointed to learn of the charges.”

Court documents say Johnson-Koulianos and a roommate were arrested after officers executed a search warrant as part of a drug investigation. Police say investigators found more than $3,000 in cash, marijuana, cocaine and prescription drugs in their house.

Johnson-Koulianos of Campbell, Ohio, caught 46 passes for 745 yards and 10 TDs this season.

Iowa inmates accused of clogging toilets in cells

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) Two inmates at the Black Hawk County jail in Waterloo face criminal mischief charges for allegedly clogging the toilets in their cells.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier says the incidents happened days apart after the Thanksgiving holiday.

On Nov. 26, officials say Martez Deshone Wilder, of Waterloo, plugged the toilet with a roll of toilet paper and continued to flush, causing an overflow. Wilder has been jailed since October on false imprisonment and willful injury charges.

On Nov. 28, deputies say another inmate, Abdullahi Abdi, address unknown, stuffed jail-issued linens into his toilet and flushed, causing the cell to flood. Abdi was in jail for fifth-degree theft.

Both men were charged with fifth-degree criminal mischief.

Iowa offers tips on home heating after deadly fire

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Officials are reminding Iowans to be careful about using fireplaces and space heaters to stay warm after a deadly house fire caused by a wood burning stove.

A southern Iowa teenager died in the fire that erupted at his home in rural Van Wert early Sunday.

The Iowa Department of Public Safety says in 2008, heating equipment was involved in more than 66,000 house fires in the United States, and 480 people died.

The department is offering tips to stay warm and safe this winter, including keeping paper, bedding, furniture and other things that burn at least three feet away from the heating source. Also, turn off portable heaters when you leave the room and never use an oven to heat a home.

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

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