Home News KLEM News for Monday, September 19

KLEM News for Monday, September 19



At the request of the County’s Fire Departments, the State Fire Marshal has declared a ban on open burning in Plymouth County as of tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. Le Mars Fire Rescue Chief Dave Schipper, who made the request to the state, says the fire danger is increasing into the fall harvest season.

This is the second burn ban issued in Plymouth County this year.

Schipper describes what types of burning are allowed, even under an open burning ban.

With harvest approaching, farmers need to take precautions to avoid field fires.

Schipper says there are many ways farm machinery can cause a fire.

Plymouth is the second northwest Iowa county with an active open burning ban. Last week, a burn ban was issued for Sioux County. There were earlier open burning bans issued in August for four southern Iowa Counties, but three have been lifted as of early September. Fremont County’s open burning ban remains in place.


A single vehicle crash Sunday morning claimed the life of a Rock Valley resident, and injured two others. The Iowa State Patrol says 25 year old Reyes Felipe Lopez-Lopez died in the crash, which occurred on County Road B40 and Garfield Ave, a mile west of Sioux Center. The report says Lopez-Lopez’s vehicle went out of control, into a ditch, vaulted a culvert and struck an embankment. Lopez-Lopez died at the scene. Two passengers in the vehicle, 32 year old Marco Vincio Lopez-Lopez, and a 3 year old, both of Rock Valley, were transported to Sioux Center Health for treatment. They were later flown to a Sioux Falls hospital or treatment. The State Patrol says alcohol is suspected to be a contributing factor in the crash.


Officials with the U-S Army Corps of Engineers will cut short the navigation season on the Missouri River this fall due to the continued drought. John Remus, chief of the Corps’ Missouri River Basin Water Management Office, says they’ve been conserving water for months.

Clear signs of the drought first began to emerge in July of 2020, and Remus says one priority is to keep a reserve of water in the upstream reservoirs.

The Corps has cut back releases, dropping Missouri River levels by a full foot, which will impact boat traffic and could affect municipal water supplies and other utilities that rely on the river. Navigation continues on the Missouri, though barges will have to lighten their loads to float. Remus says the navigation season will end November 28th, which is three days early.



The Plymouth County Road Department this morning closed a bridge over the Big Sioux River for repairs. The bridge is near the south junction of Iowa HIghway 12 and County Road K-18. This road crosses unto Union County South Dakota, and becomes County Road 7, extending to Jefferson. The bridge was closed this morning for a short time to repair the west abutment of the structure.


Gubernatorial candidate Deidre DeJear and a jazz band marched into the Polk County Democrats Steak Fry last weekend.  DeJear told the crowd of central Iowa Democrats that freedom is on the ballot, like freedom to access reproductive services and a quality public education. Candidates like DeJear and U.S. Senate candidate Mike Franken need to win Iowa’s largest county by a big margin, to offset G-O-P wins in rural counties. Franken described Polk County as the nucleus to Democratic victories.
Republican candidates spoke to the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition Saturday night. It’s a key conduit to evangelical voters who play a big role in the G-O-P coalition. Senator Chuck Grassley was cheered for his role in blocking President Obama’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court and getting President Trump’s picks confirmed. Governor Kim Reynolds said it’s time for the evangelical movement to go beyond the generational victory of getting Roe v Wade overturned.
Election day is 50 days away.


The September Rural Main Street Survey indicates the rural economy grew last month, but remains below growth neutral. Survey Author, economist Dr Ernie Goss, says the 10-state region had a growth index of 46.3, up from 44.0 in August. Both figures are below growth neutral. This is the fourth consecutive month of below-neutral readings. Iowa’s index also rose, from 40.1 in August to 48.0 this month… still below growth neutral.
Lenders were split over what they saw as the biggest economic challenge in the region. over 40% say its farm input costs. over 20% say its drought impacts. Lenders were also were asked what they think will be the biggest impact form California’s Proposition 12, which sets minimum requirements for confining farm animals. About half of the bankers surveyed, 46%, say there will only be a minimal impact on livestock producers. Over 80% of those surveyed say consumers will bear most of the cost increases.


The board which governs the three state universities will ask the Iowa Legislature to increase funding for the schools by 32 million dollars next year. University of Northern Iowa President Mark Nook says they want to use the extra money to help with tuition. He says there should be a bigger difference between what students pay at U-N-I compared to the research schools. University of Iowa president, Barbra Wilson, says they will target one particular area — nursing. Iowa State University President Wendy Wintersteen says the amount of money coming from the state has gone up and down in the last decade but is currently about the same as it was in 2014. Earlier this year, the legislature approved a five-and-a-half million-dollar increase — which was about one third of what the universities had requested.


One of the key structures on the University of Northern Iowa campus in Cedar Falls is going to get an update to its roof. U-N-I vice president Michael Hager says the fabric portion makes up about 25 percent of of the UNI-dome roof. It has reached the end of its warranty. The new fabric will be a more transparent — which will let more natural light in — and won’t require as much indoor lighting. He says the new fabric will have a brown color when it is installed, but will eventually turn white. The Board of Regents approved the eight-million dollar budget for the replacement, which also includes some other related work on the building. Hager says the project will be paid for mostly with gift funds — but some university funds will also be included as well as athletic department funds.



This is National Farm Safety Week, and one of the biggest dangers involving farm tractors is a lack of rollover protection. A program offers Iowa tractor owners a rebate to install rollover protective structures or ROPS. Jackie Curnick (CUR-nick), the program coordinator at the University of Iowa’s Environmental Health Sciences Research Center, says the rebate of up to 500 dollars can help farmers retrofit a rollbar, and that’s typically about half of the price of the retrofit. Studies find ROPS are 99% effective in preventing injury or death in the event of a rollover when used with a seatbelt, and 70% effective when used without a seatbelt.



Republican Congresswoman Ashley Hinson of Marion is proposing an increase in the federal child tax credit as part of a package she says will support women during and after their pregnancies.

The 2021 American Rescue Plan that Hinson opposed raised the tax credit for low and middle-income parents of kids under the age of 17. Hinson’s bill would raise the credit even higher than last year’s levels — a 20 percent increase for parents with kids under five and 15 percent more for parents with kids between the ages of six and 16.

The legislation would let parents withdraw their future Social Security benefits for three months, to support parental leave after the birth of a baby. The bill would make is easier for faith-based organizations to secure federal grants for social service programs, including those that advise and support pregnant woman. Abortion rights advocates say some of the centers seek to delay and confuse women considering an abortion. Hinson says all institutions helping pregnant women should live up to what they’re promising.

Hinson’s bill also would make the federal adoption tax credit refundable.

Hinson’s bill in the U.S. House is identical to one Florida Republican Marco Rubio (ROO-bee-oh) introduced in the U.S. Senate. Hinson did not indicate the bill is an alternative to another senator’s proposed national ban on most abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy. Hinson described her bill as a value statement and said now is an important time to present it to the public. Liz Mathis (MATH-is) of Hiawatha, is the Democrat who is running against Hinson in Iowa’s second congressional district. Mathis says Hinson’s plan rings hollow and is an attempt to hide her record of supporting a nationwide ban on abortion.



A spokesperson for the governor says there are no plans to close the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown. The spokesperson says an email titled “facility closure,” sent to employees is nothing more than a policy statement required by the federal government. The email was sent by the administrator who is now overseeing the day-to-day operations at the home. Matthew Peterson, who had been Commandant of the Iowa Veterans Home, recently resigned from the post after 13 months in the job.