Home News KLEM News, Saturday, September 10

KLEM News, Saturday, September 10



The murder and willful injury trial of Thomas Knapp of rural Merrill was adjourned Friday, after both the prosecution and defense rested their cases.

Three prosecution witnesses testified Friday.  Former Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo took the stand.  He was in office when the crimes occurred.  A Plymouth County jailer, Kyle Williams also testified.  The third and final witness of the prosecution, Darlene Knapp, the wife of the defendant, took the stand.

After her testimony, the state rested its case, and, following a recess, the defense also rested its case.

The trial will continue next Tuesday at the Plymouth County Courthouse, when closing arguments take place.  The session begins Tuesday at 9 am.

84 year-old Thomas Knapp is charged in the May, 2020 shooting death of his step son, 51 year-old Kevin Juzek, and domestic assault against his wife, Darlene Knapp.



The Le Mars Police Department and Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office have announced an upcoming Citizens Academy. This is an opportunity for residents in Le Mars and Plymouth County to see how local law enforcement operates. Classes will start Tuesday, October 18 and will be held every Tuesday and Thursday evening for four weeks from 6 till 8:30 p.m. at the Le Mars Police Department. Contact the Le Mars Police Department or Sherriff’s Office for an application or for more details.



August saw below-normal rainfall — but drought conditions did improve in some parts of the state. The D-N-R’s Tim Hall says some areas didn’t get the rain from thunderstorms.

August was the fifth straight month with below-normal precipitation, and Hall says the state needs a rainfall rally.

Rivers and streams are running low in some of the drought areas  — which can lead to more problems.

The fall months are not normally the wettest of the year in Iowa — but Hall says there is some positive recent history.

He says the timing of the rains are key to rebuilding subsoil moisture.

The latest drought monitor showed just a slight increase in the percentage of the state that doesn’t have any type of drought.



The Le Mars Street Department will begin repairs at the intersection of 12th Street SW and Business Highway 75 on Monday.  A Sioux City Construction firm, I and A Construction, will begin repairs on the northbound lanes through the intersection.  Northbound traffic will be directed through the middle turn lane.  12th Street SW, from Highway 75 to Lincoln Street will be closed to traffic.  Drivers leaving the Walmart area eastbound  will only be able to turn right at that intersection. Detour signs will be posted, and the traffic lights will be flashing red during construction.



The police chief of Adair Iowa has been placed on paid leave after the F-B-I raided his city office and at least one gun store he owns.  The Adair city attorney confirms that Chief Brad Wendt is under investigation and the city’s mayor confirms that Wendt is currently off the job.  The F-B-I and A-T-F executed search warrants at the chief’s office earlier this week. Federal agents also searched B-W Outfitters, a gun store owned by Wendt that is located in Anita.



A federal agency suggests increased noise would be the major impact of a railroad merger that would increase train traffic in some parts of eastern Iowa. The Surface Transportation Board is considering Canadian Pacific’s acquisition of Kansas City Southern Railway. Joshua Wayland, an environmental specialist at the agency, says the increased traffic along the merged line would increase the risk of derailments, hazardous materials spills, and collisions – but he adds that the risk of such incidents would remain small and would most likely not result in fatalities or injuries. The agency calculates there would be a small increase of vehicle delays at rail crossings along the proposed Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern line. The agency’s Environmental Impact Statement suggests a rail line that stretches from Canada to Mexico would reduce truck traffic in the United States.