Home News KLEM News Update December 24, 2010

KLEM News Update December 24, 2010

(REMSEN) For some area families, there’s a loved one absent this Christmas.

 Soldiers of the 113th Cavalry are in Afghanistan this holiday, including Tim Ruhland of Remsen. Tim’s mom, Tammy, says it’s hard to get in the spirit of the season with him being gone.

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Despite her sadness, Tammy says Tim continues to be content with the work he’s doing overseas.

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The Ruhlands are celebrating Christmas out of town this year, as it’s hard for the immediate family to be at home without him. Tammy said her extended family will get together, and they’ll send Tim a package after the holidays.

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The package will include pictures made by the kids in the family and venison sausage to remind him of home.

Troop C of the 113th Cavalry, based out of LeMars, left for training in August, and has been in Afghanistan since November. Their return is anticipated in the fall of 2011.  (Angela Drake, KLEM News)

Holidays: Part of the 24/7 NIPCO Control Center work

(LE MARS)–The Christmas holiday won’t mean lights out at a business just south of Le Mars. In fact, lights are one of the many reasons Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative Control Center operators work 24 hours a day year round, including Christmas.

NIPCO and its rural and municipal power partners provide power to farms, homes, communities, businesses and industries in a dozen area counties.

Rick Harpenau is the supervisor of the Control Center staffed by four operators and Harpenau. Harpenau and the Control Center staff typically monitor the system voltage and the loads on the sub-stations.

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Communications technology is another NIPCO service Control Center operators monitor.

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Some NIPCO member cooperatives customers trim the demand for power through a “Switch Makes Cents” program which shuts down water heaters at peak demand times. That’s monitored and controlled at NIPCO, too.

Harpenau says activity is very similar on a holiday, with a little less routine maintenance and fewer people at the NIPCO office.

2009 was anything but a typical Christmas in the NIPCO Control Center with substation outages over three days Harpenau worked.

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Scheduling makes it possible for the operators to celebrate and to work.

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A plate from home heaped with holiday food is something operators add to their shifts this season.

What are you doin’ New Year’s Eve

(LE MARS)–If your Christmas holiday is 2011 event planning time, the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce has an idea for you.

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The Mighty Nish Band, named for the Nishnabotna River flowing the Harlan area where the members grew up, performs for the Chamber’s New Year’s Eve Dance. The band mixes songs from the ’50s to today with four-part harmony and humor. Two brothers, a neighbor and a friend perform together and solo.

The Chamber’s Main Street Committee organizes the event encouraging a meal out at one of the community’s many restaurants and then the New Year’s Eve Dance at the Le Mars Convention Center.

Tickets are available at the Chamber or at the door a week from tonight.



Names led by those starting with “A,” “D” and “S.”

(SIOUX CITY)–Traditional and modern names are the most popular choices for babies born at two Sioux City hospitals.

St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center reports Aiden and Sophia ruled the list of most popular names for boys and girls born at the Sioux City health care center.

Aiden was spelled seven different ways and this is the fourth year in a row Aiden has been the most popular boy’s name at St. Luke’s.

Alexis and Daniel topped the list of names at Mercy Medical Center for 2010. Unique names at Mercy in Sioux City were Maycee and Bodie.

Unusual names at St. Luke’s were Appley and America.

The Powell Broadcasting/KLEM business office is closed until Monday. Merry Christmas! Traditional programming will end at noon December 24 for the 36 hours of Christmas.

Man lends snowmobile to help in rescue in Iowa

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) Officials say a man lost in the woods in northeast Iowa was rescued, thanks to a generous snowmobiler.

The Gazette says Fayette County deputies used the snowmobile and call tracking technology to find the man Wednesday afternoon.

The sheriff’s office received several 911 calls from a man who was disoriented and confused and didn’t know where he was. Officials traced the calls to a wooded area near Oran.

When they arrived, deputies found a man snowmobiling on a nearby trail. Joseph Wedemeir of Oelwein, let deputies use the snowmobile and helped with the search.

Sheriff Marty Fisher says deputies found the missing man within 15 minutes. The man, who was not identified, was taken to a hospital.

Group lobbies to avoid layoffs of state troopers

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) The Iowa State Troopers Association is lobbying lawmakers to provide state funding to avoid the layoffs of up to 45 troopers that are looming next year.

The group says the layoffs were temporarily avoided when the Iowa State Patrol received a nonrenewable federal grant after Gov. Chet Culver cut its budget, like all other agencies, by 10 percent last year.

The grant is scheduled to expire in June, and the troopers’ union is warning those same employees will face layoffs in the budget year that begins July 1 if lawmakers do not restore funding for their positions.

The group says the patrol is already severely understaffed, with the number of troopers declining from 455 in 2000 to 371 this year the same number on the force in the 1960s.

Vander Plaats may back impeachment of justices

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) Conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats says he may back efforts to impeach the four remaining Iowa Supreme Court justices who participated in a ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in the state if they don’t agree to his demands that they leave the bench voluntarily.

Vander Plaats says voters were offering a judgment on the entire court when they ousted three justices last month because of the court’s decision striking down a ban on same-sex marriage. He says the remaining four justices should listen to that message and step down.

Vander Plaats spoke during a taping of Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program airing next week.

Vander Plaats says the justices should use next month’s annual report on the condition of the state’s court system as a vehicle for announcing their resignations.

Former Des Moines teacher arrested on sex charge

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A former Des Moines teacher has been arrested for allegedly having sex with a student.

The Des Moines Register reports that Kenneth Rettler of Bear Creek, Wis., was arrested in Des Moines on Wednesday on a charge of sexual exploitation by a school employee.

Rettler was a biology teacher at Scavo Alternative High School. Authorities allege he had a sexual relationship with a student in the fall of 2009. He was fired in December 2009 and relinquished his teacher license in May.

Rettler also is charged with preventing apprehension, obstructing prosecution.

Online court records show Rettler was released after posting $400 bond. A court appearance is Dec. 30. There is no attorney listed for Rettler, and there isn’t a telephone listing for him in Bear Creek, Wis.

Keota has about 875 people.


Missing inmate tracked and in custody

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) An Iowa inmate who escaped from a Waterloo work release facility about six weeks ago is back in custody.

KWWL-TV in Waterloo reports that Cecil Smith was taken into custody in Linn County Wednesday night. Authorities haven’t said how they found Smith, or what charges he could face.

Smith was placed on escaped status on Nov. 12 when he didn’t return to the residential facility from a job-seeking furlough.

The 38-year-old inmate was serving a 15-year sentence for sex abuse and theft. His sentence began in 2004. He was transferred to work release in October.

Traffic cameras bring Cedar Rapids more than $1.5M

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) Cedar Rapids has taken in more than $1.5 million from traffic cameras that catch people speeding and running red lights.

The Gazette says the city reports that after nine months it has collected more than $2.6 million in fines. Just over $1 million of that goes to the company that operates the cameras.

That leaves the rest for the city, which officials say goes into the general fund.

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

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