Home News Thursday News, April 21

Thursday News, April 21



A LeMars Business has won two awards at the Iowa Tourism Conference.

Shannon Rodenburg, manager of the Wells Visitor Center and Ice Cream Parlor, says one award was the Outstanding Dining Business award.


Rodenburg says the other award – and the most prestigious one – is the People’s Choice award.


Rodenburg says the awards reflect the hard work and leadership of Wells Visitor Center and Ice Cream Parlor in a number of Le Mars events over the past year, including Ice Cream Days and RAGBRAI.  They are also impetus for stronger efforts this year.

The Iowa Tourism Conference was organized by Travel Iowa.



A Hull man was arrested Wednesday on forgery and theft charges.
THe arrest of 29 year old Austin Vink followed an investigation into suspicious activity on two bank accounts. A bank officer alerted authorities to the case.
Deputies determined that Vink stole checks from two victims while employed with a residential cleaning service. He then wrote checks to himself totaling over six-thousand dollars.
Vink is also accused of stealing cash from one of the victims.
He’s charged with two counts of forgery, and three counts of theft, two of them felonies.



Student fees in the Le Mars Community School District will change little in the next year.

The school board approved a list of fees for 2022-23, and the only changes are for rental of music instruments.  Instrument rent will go up 25 dollars, to 100 dollars per year, and percussion rent 5 dollars higher to 75 dollars for the year.

One other fee has already been increased, as per state mandate.  Adult hot lunches were increased to $3.95 per day.

The fee schedule for Le Mars Community Schools cover books, music fees, bus fees and driver education; hot lunches and milk, student insurance, and activity tickets.



Iowa law enforcement officers are being particularly watchful for impaired drivers as  Wednesday date of April 20th or Four-Twenty is considered in some circles as a “marijuana holiday.” Sergeant Paul Gardner, with the Iowa State Patrol in Fort Dodge, says make no mistake, marijuana is a dangerous drug.


Gardner says he’s seeing an upturn in motorists being arrested in Iowa due to being impaired by marijuana, alcohol or both.

The special traffic enforcement operation through the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau will run through Friday.




Home sales in Iowa held steady last month, while national data shows there was a decline of two-point-seven percent in sales of existing U.S. homes. Robin Anderson is the chief economist for the State of Iowa.


But Anderson says the lack of supply is a big constraint on the housing market.


According to the Iowa Association of Realtors, there were nearly 14-and-a-half percent fewer Iowa homes for sale in March compared to the same month last year. The median price for an Iowa home sold last month was over 203-thousand dollars. That compares to 180-thousand in March of last year.


Anderson points to hot spots like Austin, Texas, where appraisals are up 56 percent since last year. The Iowa Association of Realtors reports Iowa homes are selling 20 percent faster this spring, averaging about 43 days on the market. Anderson says the rate on a 30-year mortgage is about five percent now and as rates rise, that may lead to a decline in home sales.


About 85-hundred single family homes were sold in Iowa during the first three months of this year. That’s a nearly three-and-a-half percent decline from the first quarter of 2021, partially driven by the historically low number of home listings in January. Iowa home sales in the month of March alone were up just under one percent compared to March of last year.




The state of Iowa is getting about 53-million dollars for its annual tobacco settlement payment.  That money is part of the 1998 agreement between the 50 states and big tobacco companies.  State officials say about 12-million dollars will go into the general fund and the rest will go to pay off bondholders.  Iowa sold bonds as a sort of loan against the settlement payments.  Attorney General Tom Miller says Iowa has received a total of one-point-four-billion dollars so far.  National smoking rates have been cut by almost half as the settlement money was put toward stop smoking programs.



A Falcon that lived outside WoodmenLife Tower in downtown Omaha has died.  WoodmenLife says the bird known as Chayton died earlier this week.  Chayton was known to live outside WoodmenLife Tower since 2018.  Her cause of death hasn’t been determined.