Home News KLEM News for Thursday, December 1

KLEM News for Thursday, December 1


Justice may be blind, but it shouldn’t be cold.
That’s the problem in the newly-renovated Plymouth County Courtroom.
Supervisor Mike Van Otterloo says they discovered they can’t properly heat the courtroom.

Up to now, there have been no problems with the courtroom renovation.

Van Otterloo says so far, the cause of the problem has not been identified.

Van Otterloo says they must find a solution soon.

The matter was brought up at the Board of Supervisors meeting this week.
The Board of Supervisors also authorized improvements be made to the 2nd Ave County Human Services Building. Sioux Rivers Mental Health operates out of that building, and it is need of an upgraded telephone system, and Internet service. It also requires new security measures to be installed, including security doors and cameras. A proposal for those improvements are anticipated to be presented to the Supervisors soon. Later improvements to the building, such as renovated office space, will be considered after this initial phase.



The annual Le Mars Festival of Trees and Winter Wonderland will open this weekend.
Bonita Davidson has organized the event since 2006.

Businesses and organizations are invited to participate. This year there are 65 trees that are decorated and ready for display.

There are some great themes among the trees this year.

There’s also live entertainment during the Festival of Trees.

There’s plenty to do and see outside, too.
There’s a horse drawn wagon, and the Pioneer Village is decorated for the event.

Davidson is energized by the event.

The Festival of Trees and Winter Wonderland are open December 3 and 4, and December 10 and 11, freom 5:30 to 8:30 pm at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds.



If there’s someone on your Christmas list who’s next-to-impossible to buy for, you might consider the splurge of booking them a private nighttime flight over eastern Iowa to see the twinkling holiday lights from above. Matt Reed is a pilot and flight instructor who flies a 1969 Piper Cherokee out of the Clinton Municipal Airport. Reed offers a 45-minute flight, leaving at dusk, that offers aerial views of Clinton, Camanche, and Fulton. The single-engine Piper can carry the pilot and three passengers, and the special flights are 160-dollars each, whether it’s one or three guests. Reed says there is an ulterior motive as he’s always hoping to hook passengers on aviation — and on becoming student pilots. He’s affiliated with P-and-N Flight and Charter, which has flight schools based in Clinton, Marion and Independence.



A former state employee from Cherokee County admits she manipulated her husband’s time sheets to inflate his pay by tens of thousands of dollars.

Renae Rapp has pleaded guilty to second degree theft, a class D felony. She will not serve time in prison. She’s been ordered to pay the state more than 57-thousand dollars in restitution. That’s equal to the amount of excess pay she got for her husband by recording he’d worked more hours thn he had over an 18-month period. She must also serve two years of probation and reimburse the state for court costs and attorney’s fees.

Rapp was an administrative assistant at the state unit in Cherokee where sexually violent predators are committed once their prison terms have expired. Her husband, Adam Rapp, was working as a part-time security specialist at the unit.



Summit Carbon Solutions held an open house at the Quad Counties Corn Processors Plant in Galva, in Ida County. The plant is to be connected to a carbon capture pipeline which will transfer CO2 produced by the plant to a North Dakota storage site.  This connection is to extend through Cherokee County, then northwest to join a line extending from Nebraska through Woodbury, Plymouth, and Sioux Counties.  Summit seeks easements from farmers to locate their pipeline. They recently announced that they secured easements which represent more than 51% of the pipeline route.  The company petitioned the Iowa Utilities Board for a construction permit in January, and the board will meet on December 13 to finalize a hearing schedule for the permit request.



A group of national Democrats may soon recommend that another state vote first as Democrats select their presidential nominee in 2024. Former Iowa Democratic Party chairman Scott Brennan is the only Iowan on the panel that starts meeting today to recommend a schedule of state primaries and caucuses for 2024.

The Iowa Democratic Party’s CAUCUSES have been the first presidential voting event since 1972. The first PRIMARY has been held in New Hampshire. Ray Buckley, chairman of New Hampshire’s Democratic Party, has taken a shot at another strike against Iowa — the days long delay in results from the 2020 Caucuses.

Buckley says. Party leaders have said voting should begin in states that reflect the diversity of the Democratic Party and be key toss up states for winning the presidency. Judith Whitmer, chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party, says Nevada fits those goals.

Minnesota is another state applying to take over Iowa’s lead-off spot. Ken Martin, chairman of Democratic-Farmer-Laborer Party, dismisses the idea his state’s weather in January would be too harsh for campaigning.

Michigan Democrats say the Democratic sweep in this year’s elections in Michigan shows their state should kick-off the presidential campaign.



Triple-A says the average price of a gallon of unleaded gas in Iowa this week is three-dollars, 21 cents, down about 14 cents compared to last week. That price is down 31 cents from one month ago. Davenport has the lowest average price of two-98 a gallon. Triple-A says the price of oil has dropped on fears of an economic slow down, and that has led to the drop in gas prices. The national average price of a gallon of gas is three-dollars, 54 cents, which is down 12 cents from last week.



Governor Kim Reynolds is among 21 Republican governors who’re asking congress to repeal the COVID vaccine mandate for America’s soldiers. Reynolds, in a written statement, said the Biden Administration’s vaccine mandate for the military creates a national security risk. Reynolds said it affects national guard units at the state level as well and restricts governors’ ability to respond to natural disasters and other emergencies.  A spokesperson for the Iowa National Guard reports 93 percent of guard members have gotten COVID shots.  Neighboring governors from Missouri,  Nebraska and South Dakota are among the Republicans who’ve joined Iowa’s governor in sending a letter to congressional leaders asking for the COVID vaccine mandate for the military to be eliminated.



Polk County’s auditor says he’ll issue a decision soon after hearing testimony over a challenge to the address Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver listed on his voter registration — a decision that could nullify Whitver’s election victory last month. Whitver ran in a newly-drawn district that includes a condo he owns in Grimes and he listed that address on his voter registration in August. Whitver also cancelled the homestead exemption on his home in Ankeny, which is not in the new senate district. Shayla  McCormally, an attorney for the Grimes resident who filed the challenge, says Whitver still lists his Ankeny address for his businesses and utility bills for the Grimes condo show little water was used there this fall. Charlie Smithson, an attorney representing Whitver, says smart phone tracking shows the condo was Whitver’s primary nighttime residence in the weeks leading up to the election. Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald says there have been very few challenges to someone’s voter registration in Iowa. His decision could be appealed to district court.