Home News KLEM News for Friday, December 16

KLEM News for Friday, December 16


It has been a little over a month since a railroad crossing at 12th St SW in Le Mars was closed because of damage to the crossing equipment. And it will be at least a couple more weeks before repairs are made.
The crossing equipment was damaged when a truck crashed into a light standard on November 14.
Le Mars Street Superintendant Scott Kneip was told by the railroad initially that it would take two weeks to a month before they can get it reopened. Their explanation was that the equipment at that crossing was not standard, and replacement parts were not on hand. Kneip said today that his last contact with the railroad was two weeks ago, He was assured that the parts were on order. They expect to have the crossing fixed by the end of December, depending on the arrival of parts. After that, the railroad wants to meet with the city council to discuss how this can be avoided in the future. Meanwhile, the 12th St intersection remains closed until the repairs can be made. This is a busy intersection. It’s a major crossing point to the Hy-Vee grocery and nearby businesses. It also blocks westbound traffic headed for the commercial corridor along Hawkeye Avenue. Kneip says traffic can cross at 18th St SW on the southern end of town, and 6th Ave SW, at the DQ corner.



The Le Mars American Legion post will honor the military Saturday morning at their annual wreath laying ceremony.
Wayne Schipper of American Legion Wasmer Post 241 in Le Mars, says the ceremony will take place at Veterans Park.

The Wasmer Post will be placing 8 wreaths at the veterans memorial.

They will make wreaths available to families who want to remember their loved ones at the city’s cemeteries.

Schipper says there is a teaching element involved in the ceremony.

Schipper describes the significance of the eight wreaths.

The ceremony Saturday is at Veterans Park on 3rd Ave and 10th St in Le Mars, at 11 a.m.



Happy Siesta of Remsen is hosting a festival of trees this weekend.
Businesses and individuals have signed up to sponsor a tree that will be decorated for display Saturday and Sunday, The festival will be open from 9 am to 8 pm Saturday, and 9 am to 2 pm Sunday at the Avalon Ballroom in Remsen. There will be live entertainment at the festival Saturday, concluding with a showing of the movie,
“The Polar Express”.
Happy Siesta officials will also use the occasion to unveil their expansion plans. A new addition will feature expansion of the dining room and dietary area. Plans also include an activity room and landscaping.


Iowa’s unemployment rate increased two tenths of a percent to three-point-one percent in November. Iowa Workforce Development Director, Beth Townsend says the drop was due to more lost jobs than new people entering the workforce.

Townsend says several sectors saw job losses.

Townsend says there were the gains in leisure and hospitality jobs — one of the areas hardest hit in the pandemic — and construction added one-thousand jobs. Townsend says the increase in unemployment is not good news — but the overall outlook for those who are looking for a job remains very positive.

Townsend says Iowa’s labor force participation rate is five-and-a-half points above the national rate — but is an area they want to improve.

While there’s a lot of talk about people who retired during the pandemic — that’s not the most important group that needs attention.

The rate rose to 3.1 percent in November, while the labor force participation rate held steady at 67.7 percent and 500 jobs were added. The total number of working Iowans decreased by 34-hundred in November — but remains more than 48-thousand more than one year ago.



It’s another day of wintry weather in the area.

A Winter Weather Advisory is now in effect until 3 p.m. this afternoon.  It covers the northern two tiers of counties in northwest Iowa, and southeastern South Dakota.  Plymouth County is not in the advisory, but Sioux, and O’Brien counties in northwest Iowa, and Union County, South Dakota, are.  Look for snow and blowing snow, with additional accumulations of up to one inch.  Winds will gust as high as 40 m.p.h. in the advisory area.  Plan in slippery road conditions.  Patchy blowing snow could significantly reduce visibility.  The hazardous conditions could impact the morning commute. Visibility will be worst in rural areas and may fluctuate and change drastically over short periods of time and distance.

The Sioux County Sheriffs Department advises no travel in Sioux County.  All roads sin the county are snow covered.



On Monday, U.S. Rep. Randy Feenstra penned an opinion piece titled “The new House GOP majority will focus on the economy” as part of the Washington Examiner’s “Restoring America” campaign. Feenstra says Republicans will work to balance the federal budget, end wasteful spending, and strengthen our economy.”  Feenstra says their economic plan includes, but is not limited to, making the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act permanent, repealing President Joe Biden’s army of 87,000 new IRS agents, and unleashing domestic energy production here at home to lower prices at the pump.



Iowa’s  unemployment rate increased two tenths of a percent to three-point-one percent in November. Iowa Workforce Development Director, Beth Townsend says while more people were unemployed — the labor force participation did not drop. She says that means those who lost their job are still continuing to look for work and remained in the labor force. Townsend the rate is still are below the pre-pandemic level by about two points.  She says the focus is getting those who dropped out of the labor force during the pandemic back into the workforce. She says the biggest focus should be on getting the young men from 18 to 24 interested in working again.



The U-S Justice Department is asking a judge to sentence an Iowan to more than five years in prison for his role in the U-S Capitol riot. Video showed Doug Jensen of Des Moines leading a group of rioters toward the U-S Senate chamber. In September, a jury found Jensen guilty of five felonies. His sentencing is scheduled for today (Friday). In a letter to the court, a Capitol Police inspector said there would have been tremendous bloodshed if an officer hadn’t diverted Jensen away from the chamber where senators were meeting.



A managed care company has agreed to pay a 44-point-four million dollar settlement after being accused of submitting excessive prescription drug bills to the Iowa Medicaid program. The Missouri-based insurance company Centene (sen-TEEN) does not admit wrongdoing.  Information from the Iowa Attorney General’s office indicates there were irregularities in the way a pharmacy benefits management company that’s owned by Centene was billing for medications provided to Iowa Medicaid patients. Centene is one of three private companies that oversee care and billing for 800-thousand Iowans who are enrolled in the government’s Medicaid program. Senator Pam Jochum (YOH-kum), a Democrat from Dubuque, says the huge settlement is a sign Centene defrauded the state and a stark reminder the privatization of Iowa Medicaid isn’t working.



 The odds of most Iowans having a white Christmas are increasing by the minute. While the holiday is still ten days away, the snow falling across much of the state will be followed by very cold weather, so whatever falls now will likely stick around at least until December 25th. Meteorologist Jim Lee, at the National Weather Service, says daily high temperatures going forward are only forecast in the teens north to mostly 20s south, and Lee says it could get even colder next week. He says whatever snow we get out of this system will have a hard time melting, and certainly could hold out through Christmas.