Home News KLEM News for Wednesday, March 15

KLEM News for Wednesday, March 15


The state Transportation Commission has approved a grant to build a roadway into proposed plant at a site in Plymouth County south of Le Mars. Deb Arp of the D-O-T presented the proposal for what’s called a RISE grant.

She says this is a local development grant, and the county will help fund the project.

The county requested a grant of 792-thousand-778 dollars, and will provide the other 50 percent cost of the project in a local match. 


The Le Mars Community School Board approved next year’s school calendar, and it’s a departure from previous calendars.
Supt. Dr Steven Webner told the board that the new calendar has 1135.5 hours of instruction built in, 11.5 hours less than in previous years.
There’s also been an overhaul in professional development hours. 36 hours area required by the state Department of Education, and the Le Mars District will place them in different ways. One extra day of teacher workshops are placed before the beginning of the school year. Principal collaborative hours will be also be scheduled during that time. There will be 2-hour early dismissals each month for professional development,
The new calendar does away with what’s called school contract hours, and teachers will not be compensated for the loss of those hours. Instead, optional professional development days will be offered before and after the education season, for those teachers who would like to make up those days of lost pay. They would have to work with their principals to create a teacher development program for those days.
Dr Webner says one factor in creating this calendar was to minimize pressure on parents to arrange daycare.
The new calendar was adopted. The new school year will begin on August 23.


Bids were opened Tuesday on two culvert projects in Plymouth County. Four bids were received for each of the projects, located north of Kingsley. The low bidder for both is Richards Construction of Sac City, one for 199-thousand dollars and another for 238-thousand dollars. Both bids were below the engineers estimate for each project. The Board of Supervisors also approved a third contract for a culvert project along 300th Street, also north of Kingsley. That low bid was 168-thousand dollars. The contract was awarded to Nelson and Rock of Onawa.


Midwest Congressmen have reintroduced a bill that would provide a permanent, nationwide solution to ensure sales of 15% ethanol blend fuels, known as Unleaded 88. 35 bipartisan Senate and House members introduced the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act. It’s also drawn support of a broad array of agriculture, fuel, and retail interests. The Environmental Protection Agency approved E15 use year-round, but their rule won’t take effect until next year. The bill introduced this week is led by Senators Deb Fisher of Nebraska and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Representatives Angie Craig of Minnesota, Adrian Smith of Nebraska and Dusty Johnson of South Dakota.


The legislature is sending Governor Kim Reynolds a bill setting up a state process so small Iowa hospitals may be licensed as a Rural Emergency Hospital. Under federal rules, Rural Emergency Hospitals may discontinue in-patient care, while keeping out-patient services and an emergency room open. Rural Emergency Hospitals get five percent extra in federal reimbursement for treating Medicare patients. Only hospitals in rural areas that can keep an E-R open 24 hours a day, seven days a week will be able to get this new designation. A Rural Emergency Hospital license will also be available to rural surgical centers that provide outpatient services if the bill becomes law.



The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors have directed a consultant to explore one of several options to improve the heating system in the courtroom at the county courthouse.  Jordan Metzger of Stone Group Architects shared several options with the board Tuesday.  They include expanding the capacity of the courthouse boiler system; installing radiant electric heaters; or placing electric heat elements in the current duct system inside the courtroom.  The Supervisors, by consensus, directed Metzger to explore the expansion of the boiler system, and its costs.  The heating problem rose last winter, when it was discovered that the temperature inside the courtroom, could not rise above 68 degrees.  This was the first winter since a major renovation of the courtroom was completed.

The Supervisors Tuesday also approved a budget amendment for fiscal year 2022-23 which includes an additional 487-thousand dollars in revenue, and 1.1 million dollars in expenses.

They also approved to minor subdivisions, one along county road C12 west of Iowa Highway 60, and at Key Avenue and 120th Street, both in Elgin Township.



The Le Mars Community School Board, in a split vote, approved June the first as the last day of school in the district, due to class time lost because of weather cancellations.  Superintendent Dr. Steven Webner told the board that as of March 13, the district was 54.5 hours short, or 8.4 days.  He recommended that the district make up 31 hours, or 4.6 days, which will still meet the state minimum for instructional hours in the school year.  This will add May 26, 29, 30, 31, and June, for classes to meet that goal.  Three of the board members voted against the motion.  They had concerns about bringing students back to class after the Memorial Day holiday.  Dr Webner said one of the problems was that they cannot begin the school year before August 23, under a directive from the governor.  He said he will explore new options, and present a new end of school year protocol to the board. The 2023-24 school year starts on August 23.

The board also approved a new contract with the education association, increasing base pay for teachers at 3%, or 1,224 dollars.  The board also approved the issuance of teaching and coaching contracts for next year.  They also extended the superintendent’s contract for another year.



Two drivers were injured when their trucks collided at a rural intersection east of Washta, in Cherokee County.  The Iowa State Patrol says the crash occurred when a south bound semi driven by 73 year old Bruce Lundt of Correctionville failed to stop at the intersection and struck an east bound tanker driven by 62 year old Dale Wilson, also of Correctionville.  Wilson was taken to the Cherokee Hospital.  Lundt was airlifted to Mercy One Hospital in Sioux City.



U-S Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is scheduled to testify before members of the Senate Ag Committee this week, including Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley. Vilsack, a former Iowa governor and a Democrat, is pushing through policies at U-S-D-A which Grassley says will make it difficult to pass a bipartisan Farm Bill. Grassley, a Republican, says Vilsack discussed the continued consolidation of farming at the agency’s Ag Outlook Forum.

Grassley says he’s pursuing payment cap legislation which targets farm programs specifically to small- and medium-sized farmers.

Grassley says they need to find ways to make the farm safety net work for all farmers, not just the large ones. He says the U-S-D-A’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, a program championed by Vilsack, is a departure from the agency’s earlier efforts to focus on small farmers.

Grassley says Vilsack’s actions, which he says include increasing the price of SNAP by 250-billion dollars, will put hopes for swift passage of the Farm Bill in jeopardy. The Senate Ag Committee hearing is scheduled for 8:30 A-M/Central on Thursday.