Home News KLEM News for Friday, October 14

KLEM News for Friday, October 14

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BUS PASSING

The Le Mars Community School District is making headway on reducing the number of school bus violations in the district.  Superintendant Dr Steven Webner says the district has been collecting data on school bus violations for about five years now.

Le Mars Police Chief Kevin Vande Vegte says the law is clear about drivers buses while they are stopped to load and unload students.

Using Cameras inside and outside busses are helping the Le Mars Community School District crack down on school bus violations.

Getting the word out to motorists via media also helped.  Le Mars Police Chief Vande Vegte says police will take action on formal complaints made by bus drivers.

Supt Webner says There were 95 violations five years ago, 120 the next year, but the numbers have trended downward ever since.

 

DRUG PLEA

A 29-year-old man from Hawarden caught selling meth in the Sioux City area has pleaded guilty to two federal drug charges. A news release from the U-S Attorney’s Office indicates an undercover buyer paid five-thousand dollars for three kilos of meth and Jose Duenas-Topete was part of the group selling it. Duenas-Topete admits in a plea agreement that over a 28 month period he received several pounds of meth for distribution in Woodbury and Plymouth Counties. He’ll be sentenced later.

 

FARM DEATH

An autopsy is taking place for the body of a man found in a field fire in Osceola County.  The Osceola County Sheriff says the Ocheyedan Fire Department was called out shortly before 10-30 am Wednesday to a field fire 3.5 miles northeast of Ocheyedan.  They found the body of a man near a tractor and grain wagon who was already decreased.  He was later identified as 62 year old Marlin Laverman.  It’s not known if Laverman died as the result of the field fire, or another cause.

 

STATE FAIR CEO

The  C-E-O and manager of the Iowa State Fair  says it is time to retire. Gary Slater is a Missouri native who served as manager of the Missouri State Fair and the World Pork Expo before taking the top job at the Iowa State Fair 21 years ago.  During his tenure the Fair topped the one million attendance mark, saw multiple updgrades and changes to the buildings on the grounds, and led it through the pandemic cancelation in 2021. Slater released a statement  Wednesday saying it has been “an honor of a lifetime to lead the Iowa State Fair.”  Slater says his retirement comes with the Fair in a good place, having returned to prepandemic revenue levels, and he looks forward to spending more time with his family.

 

STATEWIDE DROUGHT

The Iowa Drought Monitor now rates the entire state as either abnormally dry or in some level of drought. Extreme drought conditions are expanding in northwest Iowa, with a sliver of Woodbury County rated in exceptional drought — the most severe classification.  More than half of the state is classified under moderate drought. The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for portions of western and central Iowa. Officials say any fires that develop will spread rapidly.

 

MOUNTAIN LIONS

D-N-R Conservation Administrator, Pete Hildreth, gave the  Natural Resources Commission an update on recent mountain lion sightings along the Warren-Madison County border at their meeting Thursday. He says the number of mountain lions in the state are estimated at five to seven mountain. Between 1995 and 2021, there have been 34 mountain lion sightings in Iowa. Hildreth says there is no documented self-sustaining populations of mountain lions in Iowa — and mountain lions who wander into Iowa can be traced back to South Dakota, Wyoming, and Nebraska. Hildreth says mountain lions generally avoid humans, and sightings of them are rare.

 

BRIDGE PROJECTS

One rural road has been closed, and two others have been reopened due to bridge projects in parts of Plymouth County.  The County Road Department closed 200th St, a mile east from K64 in Marion township, in order to replace a small wooden bridge with a culvert pipe.  That project should be completed and the road reopened by the end of the month.  120th St a mile southeast of Craig, and 130th St a mile east of K18 in Portland Township have been reopened following completion of Culvert projects.

 

ATM BREAKIN   

Sioux City Police are investigating the attempted burglary of an A-T-M machine early Thursday morning.  Police say someone pried open the machine located at Telco Triad Credit Union located at 5500 Military Road around 5:40 a.m.
The thief failed to gain access to the cash boxes inside the machine and left without any money.  A passerby alerted police to the crime.
Police located an F-250 truck that had been stolen from a Riverside dealership and was likely used in the crime.
This is the 4th A-T-M attempt to steal cash in Sioux City in 16 months and a stolen F-250 truck has usually been used in the crimes.

 

GAS PRICES

Triple A is reporting gasoline prices in Iowa are about 30 cents a gallon higher than a month ago. Meredith Mitts is a spokeswoman for Triple A Iowa.

Mitts says gas prices in the weeks ahead are expected to rise because of holiday travel and weather may be another factor.

Council Bluffs is where gas is selling for the lowest price right now — three-59 ($3.59) a gallon, according to Triple A. Ames has the highest price at three-84 ($3.84) a gallon.

Diesel fuels prices are averaging above five dollars a gallon in Iowa. That’s about 38 cents more than a week ago — and nearly equal to the nationwide jump in diesel this past week.

 

ELDER ABUSE

Dallas County officials have filed charges in what could be the first case pursued under a new state law with tougher penalties for the financial exploitation of an older Iowan. Sixty-eight-year-old Alan Steven Kessler of West Des Moines has been charged with one count of theft in the first-degree against an older individual. It’s a new felony lawmakers established earlier this year. Court records indicate he’s accused of an ongoing scheme to steal from an elderly individual — defined under the new law as someone who’s 60 or older. Authorities say there may be more victims and they’re asking for people to contact law enforcement if they may suspect Kessler scammed them.