Home News KLEM News for Tuesday, January 24, 2023

KLEM News for Tuesday, January 24, 2023


The Plymouth County Boartd of Supervisors held budget discussions today, mainly with the county engineer.  The discussion with Tom Rohe covered property tax receipts, Windmill Tax Increment financing, and construction options, and equipment upgrades over the 2022-23 and 2023-24 fiscal years.

The Supervisors also gavelled in the county drainage board to consider a 5-year special assessment tax for drainage projects at Hinton. The board passed a motion to set a 50 dollars per year levy on parcel owners in the drainage district. They also passed a motion to pinpoint total parcels in the drainage district.

Earlier in the session, the Board approved a grant program for Hazard Mitigation within a 5-county area. This includes Plymouth, Cherokee, Woodbury, Ida, and Monona counties. Plymouth County will act as the fiscal agent. The cost of this program is 140-thousand dollars, with the five counties splitting 15% of the total, or 42-hundred dollars per county.



A Plymouth County couple have been honored for their leadership in the pork industry.
Matt and Angie Schnepf were named Iowa Pork All-Americans in 2022. This award was started in 1970 to honor producers under the age of 40 who have become community leaders, and successful business people. The Schnepfs were named Master Pork Producers in 2013.
The Schnepfs began a hog finishing business in 2002, and have expanded to include two finishing barns, and they rent a third. They are involved withthe Plymouth County Pork Producers, 4-H, and the Plymouth County Fair. Matt and Angie have three sons.



Governor Kim Reynolds’ top 2023 priority — a bill that will provide state-funded accounts for the parents of private school students, has been passed by majority Republicans in the House and the Senate. Reynolds plans to sign it into law later this  morning. Republican Representative John Wills of Spirit Lake  said the bill is about freedom.

Representative Skyler Wheeler, a Republican from Hull who backed the bill, says public school parents got frustrated during the pandemic and asked for this alternative.

State Representative Tom Jeneary of Le Mars voted for the bill, but he said before debate began that he was concerned about the large amounts of money to be spent on the plan.

In the first year, low income parents who enroll a child in a private school could apply for nearly 76-hundred dollars in state funding to cover tuition, computers, textbooks and tutoring. In 2026, all private school parents could apply for the state money.

Representative Steven Holt, a Republican from Denison, says state funds will now follow a child to the school that best fits their needs.

Democrats like Representative Sue Cahill of Marshalltown say the choice is up to private school administrators since nothing requires private schools to accept all students.

Representative Thomas Moore of Griswold opposes the governor’s two, less expansive “school choice” proposals and he is one of nine House Republicans who voted against this year’s proposal.

Representative Austin Baeth, a Democrat from Des Moines, says an estimated 79 percent of the money will be spent on kids already enrolled in private schools.

In the first year, low income parents who enroll a child in a private school could apply for nearly 76-hundred dollars in state funding to cover tuition, computers, textbooks and tutoring. In 2026, all private school parents could apply for the state money.

After five and a half hours of debate, the bill cleared the House on a 55 to 45 vote.

Senators debated in earnest for about three hours, passing the bill just before 12:30 this morning on a 31-to-18 vote.

All Democrats and 9 Republican Representatives voted against the bill.  3 GOP Senators, including Lynn Davis of Cherokee, also voted against the bill .



A Plymouth County man, sentenced to life in prison last year, died of natural causes last week.  Thomas Knapp, 84, was pronounced dead due to natural causes Thursday morning while in hospice care.  He had been housed at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center due to chronic illness.  Knapp, who lived in Merrill, was serving a life prison term on conviction of Murder in the 1st Degree in the death of his stepson, 51-year-old Kevin Juzek, in May 2020.  He was also found guilty of willful injury causing serious injury and willful injury causing bodily injury in Juzek’s death.  He was also found guilty of two counts of domestic abuse assault involving his wife, Darlene Knapp, in the same incident.  He was found guilty in September, and sentenced last October in Plymouth County District Court.



The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors meets in regular session this morning. Their agenda includes an appointment to the county Zoning Board, action on a Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, and the county treasurer’s annual report.  There will be a closed session to discuss a collective bargaining agreement with the Secondary Roads Bargaining Unit.  The County Drainage Board will consider approval of a special assessment for two projects.  The board will then review their 2023-24 budget for possible action.



Three people were injured this morning in a two vehicle crash along Business 75 in Le Mars.  Le Mars Police say a head on collision occurred around 10 am when a southbound car, driving eratically, crossed the center line and crashed into a northbound pickup.  The car veered into the south ditch after impact.  There were two occupants in the car, the driver, a male, and a female passenger; and one in the pickup.  None of the three were identified.  All were transported by Le Mars Fire Rescue to Floyd Valley Health Care.  They received minor injuries.  Charges are pending against the driver of the car.



Two students at the “Starts Right Here” charter school in downtown Des Moines were shot and killed Monday afternoon. Des Moines Police Spokesman Paul Parizek says the shooting happened just before 1 o’clock. He says officers at the scene performed C-P-R until the medics were able to get there — but two students died at the hospital. The third person who is an employee of the school was in serious condition. Sergeant Parizek says a vehicle that fled the scene was stopped two miles away and three suspects are in custody.