Home News KLEM News Update March 19, 2011

KLEM News Update March 19, 2011


(LE MARS)–Twelve downtown Le Mars businesses may make changes to enhance the appearance using the Main Street concepts.

The Le Mars City Council has provided facade funds to the Le Mars Area Chamber of Commerce Main Street program through Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) funds.

Program Manager Mary Reynolds told the Council this week of plans for the businesses and requested support for the work. Reynolds gave the changes in an insurance business building as an example that’s “spurred extra interest.”

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Reynolds said a designer from Main Street Iowa staff will work with businesses in Le Mars next Tuesday. Reynolds reported momentum in the downtown.

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Council member Delana Ihrke said the current budget has 50-thousand dollars for facade work because 25-thousand dollars was approved for the Royal T3 Theatre project.

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Ihrke’s motion to provide 25-thousand dollars passed on a four-to-one vote. Council member Ken Nelson spoke of limited funds.

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Nelson voted no on the Council action to provide 25-thousand dollars in local option funds as of July 1st. The council did not approve an additional five-thousand dollars for the current budget year.


(LE MARS)–Seasonal, part-time help for the city of Le Mars will be hired.

City administrator Scott Langel says the city staff is planning for a pretty normal year of summer employment which is between eight and nine part-time employees.

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Information and an application for the parks and cemetery maintenance work to begin about April 20th and end in mid-October are available on the city website www.lemarsiowa.com. The deadline to apply is March 25th.

LE MARS)–The quilting season is changing from creations stitched by snowbound sewers to momento quilt gifts for graduates.

(Linda Popkin, Sandi Rieber and Jean Erichsen of Unique Fabrique)

This winter, Jean Erichsen of Unique Fabrique in Le Mars saw sewers buy from the store’s bolts of fabric to create pillowcases.

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Unique Fabrique offers patterns for quilts, purses, totes and even clothing such as aprons. Beginning quilters choose wall hangings, table runner and small quilts.


Hobbies, according to Sandi Rieber of Unique Fabrique, helped some quilters choose projects.

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Linda Popken teaches some of the classes at Unique Fabrique and has found the unique Asian collections fabrics’ vibrant, colors bring quilters to the business in downtown Le Mars. Popken recalls better foot traffic this winter.

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Not everyone is quilting for themselves.

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Next month Popken will offer a class on t-shirt quilts, a way to make graduation gift mementos.

(CHEROKEE)–A northwest Iowa man’s experiences in India are part of his work to increase student achievement.

Jim Christensen of the Northwest Area Education Agency is specifically looking at Indian schools efforts in science, technology, engineering and math. There’s a fact focus for high school students in India as Christensen explains. 

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Le Mars Community and Gehlen Catholic school students know Christensen through the Space Settlement Design Competition program. The classroom interaction as he looked at education in India was quite different. 

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He describes what traffic looks like in India as unbelieveable.

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Christensen speaks at the Sanford Museum in Cherokee tonight at 7:30 in a program open to the public called “Jim Goes International.”

(SIBLEY)–A collision between a pickup truck and a semi truck claimed a life near Sibley Friday morning.

The Osceola County Sheriff’s office reports 33-year-old Scott Baumgard of Arnolds Park died in the collision at the intersection of Highways 9 and 59.

The accident report states Baumgard was driving a pickup truck west on Highway 9 when a semi being driven north on Highway 59 failed to yield from a stop sign. The semi driver, 38-year-old Kevin Lankford of Macomb, Illinois. was not injured.

The accident reported about 10 Friday morning is still being investigated.

(SIOUX CITY)–An Estherville woman pled guilty to conspiring to distribute meth.

According to the U-S Attorney’s Office written information, 50-year-old Cynthia Koons was convicted in federal court in Sioux City.

During a plea hearing, prosecutors say Koons admitted she conspired to distribute more than six pounds of meth in Cherokee, Dickinson and Emmet Counties from 2002 through April of last year.

Sentencing before a federal judge will take place after a presentence report is prepared. Koons is being held for the U-S Marshal’s Service.

Due to previous drug convictions, she faces a mandatory minimum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A new redistricting map being drawn up by the Legislative Services Agency in Iowa will have four congressional districts instead of five and will also reshape state House and Senate legislative districts.

It’s the first plan to be offered to redraw the state’s congressional and legislative districts and the plan is scheduled to be released March 31.

The new boundary lines are having to be established because of Iowa’s slow population growth as shown by the 2010 Census.

The Legislature and Gov. Terry Branstad are allowed to reject up to three plans from the agency, at which point the Iowa Supreme Court would decide which one to accept.

The Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission will hold public hearings in early April in Council Bluffs, Bettendorf, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines and via the Iowa Communications Network.

JOHNSTON, Iowa (AP) Iowa State University economist Neil Harl is warning against deep tax cuts being proposed at the Statehouse.

Harl says businesses care more about the quality of services a state can offer, such as a high-quality education system, rather than focusing solely on the tax system.

Gov. Terry Branstad has called for deep cuts in corporate income and property taxes, while legislative Republicans have pushed a 20 percent income tax reduction.

Harl says he’s opposed to both because they would inevitably cut into state revenue that’s needed to support the crucial services he says are the real attraction for businesses.

Harl spoke on Friday during a taping of Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program airing this weekend.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) Thieves are targeting brass water faucets at the campgrounds at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

In the past few weeks about 400 faucets have been stolen. Fairground patrol officer Ken Hargis called Des Moines police on Thursday to report the theft.

Hargis says he noticed 58 faucets were missing two weeks ago. By Thursday, the number was up to 400.

Hargis says each faucet has a spout, handle and pressure regulator and is made of brass. Each is worth about $30.

The case remains under investigation.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) Authorities say a 2-year-old boy who nearly drowned in a pond near Anamosa is recovering.

The Jones County sheriff’s office says the toddler fell into the pond Thursday evening.

KGAN-TV in Cedar Rapids says the boy’s father found him and pulled him out of the water. The father performed CPR, and his son was breathing when emergency crews arrived.

The child was taken to a local hospital and transferred to University Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) Authorities say an autopsy failed to determine the cause of a death of a Davenport man in the Scott County jail.

Forty-seven-year-old Robert Wulf was found dead in his cell on March 17. He was arrested on two counts of sex abuse in August.

The sheriff’s office says an autopsy was done on Friday and the cause of death was undetermined. Toxicology results are still pending.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) A June sentencing awaits developer Bob Knapp (nap), who pleaded guilty to improperly removing asbestos from the Equitable Building in downtown Des Moines.

Knapp had faced an 11-count federal indictment. After making an agreement with prosecutors, he pleaded guilty to two remaining charges on Friday. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa says the two were failing to remove asbestos material from the building before beginning renovation and conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act.

Prosecutors say Knapp, as owner of the building, failed to ensure federal standards were met in the removal and disposal of asbestos material.

A supervisor on the project pleaded guilty to two asbestos-removal charges.

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) A 36-year-old Davenport man has pleaded not guilty to several charges connected to the death of a woman in January.

Online court records say Eric Olsen made the pleas Thursday. He’s charged with second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle and leaving the scene of a fatal accident. Olsen’s next hearing is set for April 22.

The body of Wanda Weldy was found in the middle of a Davenport street on Jan. 17. Olsen remains in Scott County jail, pending $500,000 bail.

The 38-year-old Weldy had received a protection order against Olsen the week before she died. They had been living together.

An autopsy blamed the death on blunt-force injuries.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Submit your news release, photo, confidential news tip or news idea by email klemnews@lemarscomm or by calling 712.546.4121 or 712.546.9672 fax.