Home News KLEM News, Thursday, September 8

KLEM News, Thursday, September 8



The prosecution opened the trial of Merrill, Iowa, resident Thomas Knapp began this morning at the Plymouth County Courthouse in Le Mars.
Plymouth County Attorney Darin Raymond presented evidence in the case, beginning with 9-1-1 calls placed by the defendant’s wife, Darlene Knapp. Knapp was allegedly assaulted by Thomas Knapp in his room. She then called 9-1-1 to report the incident. While the call took place, the victim, Kevin Juzek, held the door closed to keep the defendant away from his mother. Knapp is accused of shooting a 20-gauge shotgun through the door, striking Juzek in the abdomen. Once he came through the door, he fired a second shot at Juzek, striking him in the chest.
Raymond also admitted into evidence the 20-gauge shotgun used in the shooting, and the two shells recovered from the scene.

Raymond called to the stand Plymouth County Chief Deputy Rick Singer, who described the scene, and the evidence gathered there.

William Knapp, awaiting the start of today’s court proceedings.



A Paullina man was seriously injured yesterday afternoon when his motorcycle collided with a car in Cleghorn. The Cherokee County Sheriffs Department reports that Dirk Hansen, 53, was riding his motorcycle on Iowa Highway 3, when a car driven by 78 year old Larry Plagman of Cleghorn pulled into his path. Plagman says his view was obstructed by a truck that was in a turn lane at that intersection. Hansen suffered serious injury and was flown by air ambulance to Mercy Hospital in Sioux City. Plagman was cited for failure to yield and failure to obey a stop sign.



A unique artwork exhibit is now on display at the Sioux City Public Museum. Museum Director, Steve Hansen says the “Cast of Blues” exhibit features 15 resin-cast masks of Blues legends created by artist Sharon McConnell-Dickerson.

He says the artist brings a special perspective as she is blind.

Hansen says. The traveling exhibit also includes 15 color photographs of performers by photographer Ken Murphy. Hansen says it is a good compliment to the Beatles memorabilia exhibit also on display.

The Blues exhibit will run through October 16th.


An author from Lake City is publishing a book later this year on Iowa’s connection to the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Darcy Maulsby says she first became fascinated with the story of the doomed ship when it was discovered in the mid-1980’s at the bottom of the North Atlantic Ocean. In recent years, she heard another author give a lecture that included the mention of some Swedish immigrants who were onboard and headed for Iowa — who survived the disaster. After further research, she says she found out that there were about 20 people with ties in one form or another to Iowa and the Titanic. Her upcoming book, “Iowa’s Lost History from the Titanic,” will focus on Iowa’s many connections to the luxury liner from all over the state.



A collision between a semi and a farm tractor resulted in the death of a Sheldon man.  84 year old George William Klein was driving a tractor north on Iowa Highway 60 around 7-30 last evening when the vehicle was rear-ended by a semi carrying an oversized load. Klein was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.  The driver of the semi, 22-year-old Tyler Dale Fisk of Holcombe, Wisconsin, was not injured.  Klein’s body was sent to the Iowa Medical Examiners’ Office in Ankeny.  The crash occurred on Iowa 60, 2 miles south of Ashton.



September is Preparedness Month in Iowa.  Rebecca Socknat, Plymouth County’s Emergency Management Coordinator, says it’s a time to become ready in your home or car for an emergency or disaster.

Socknat says it’s best to think in advance about how to respond to an emergency.

Much of your planning should be concentrated on making your car ready in case you are stranded on the road, and making your home ready in case of a prolonged emergency.

Socknat says there are several sources which have good information on emergency planning in the home.

There’s also a new alert system in Iowa, called Iowa Alert, which can notify you of emergencies in Plymouth County.

Your Alert Iowa connection can be customized to meet your needs.

Socknat has been Emergency Management Coordinator for Woodbury County since 2016.  She became Plymouth County’s Emergency Management Coordinator this summer.



The results from Statewide Assessment tests taken last spring show third through eighth graders returned to pre-pandemic levels in reading proficiency, but the reading scores for 11th graders dropped four percent. Math scores improved among students in third through seventh grades, but declined in higher grades — with 11th grade test results in math dropping five percent. Information released from the Department of Education shows students in fifth, eighth, and tenth grades had higher test results for science than they’d been in the spring of 2019. Ed Department Ann Lebo (LEE-boh) said in a statement that the results show public schools in Iowa are moving in the right direction in many areas, but there is still work to be done



The statewide median home sale price set a record in July at nearly 240-thousand dollars. Iowa Association of Realtors data shows just over 37-hundred homes were sold in the state in July. That’s a nearly 29 percent drop in sales volume compared to the same month last year. There also was a 22 percent drop in the number of Iowa homes listed for sale in the month. Those trends fueled the record median price which was up 17 percent compared to July of 2021.



The president of the Iowa Great Lakes Association is sounding the alarm about an invasive plant that’s been found in five area lakes. Eurasian watermilfoil can grow up to 20 feet tall and can be a major obstruction for boat traffic. Iowa Great Lakes Association president Bill Van Orsdel says it was first found in Minnesota’s Lake Minnetonka in 1987 and has spread out from there. It was found in northern Iowa’s Lost Island Lake August First and has since been discovered in East Lake Okoboji and three other lakes in the Iowa Great Lakes chain. Van Orsdel says efforts to combat the plant should intensify within the next two weeks. Washing boats and trailers after leaving a lake and letting them dry for five days helps keep invasive species from spreading from one lake to another.



A man involved in a nearly seven-hour standoff with law enforcement in a small northwest Iowa town has been transferred into federal custody. The Clay County Sheriff’s Department located 46-year-old Timothy Steinbeck last Friday to arrest him on a federal warrant for a narcotics violation. Authorities say Steinbeck barricaded himself in his home in Royal. Steinbeck finally emerged and was arrested at about 11 o’clock Friday night after law enforcement released tear gas into his home. Steinbeck was treated at a local hospital, then held in the Clay County Jail until his transfer into federal custody Tuesday.