Home News KLEM News for Tuesday, March 21

KLEM News for Tuesday, March 21

After a public hearing this morning, the Plymouth County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution setting maximum property tax dollars for the next fiscal year.  Taxes raised for General County Services will not exceed 6.99 million dollars, an increase of 1.08% from the current budget. Taxes raised for Rural County Services will not exceed 4.75 million dollars, an increase of 2.19% from the current budget. After approving the resolution, the Supervisors agreed to hold a public hearing on April 11 to consider approval of the enter 20234-24 fiscal year budget.

The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors today removed a strip of land in Sioux Township that had been on the tax rolls for nearly 80 years, even though it was a county road. County Treasurer Shelly Sitzman told the Supervisors today that there were two parcels of land which became a county road, now 234th street. But the parcels were incorrectly drawn by the Auditor prior to 1945, when the parcels were to be taken off the rolls. Instead, a Tax Sale Certificate was created for delinquent tax on the two parcels. Today, the Supervisors approved a resolution abating the property taxes and penalties which accrued from that erroneous certificate…a total of 3990 dollars.


A Hospers man was sentenced to prison today in O’Brien County District Court. 68 year old James Stephan Hanno was convicted of Indecent Contact with a Child. Sioux County Attorney Thomas Kunstle prosecuted the case, as the charged occurred in Sioux County, but the case was coordinated with the O’Brien County Attorney’s Office. In January, 2022, the Sioux County Sheriffs Office was notified by Cottonwood County, Minnesota, authorities that Hanno was identified as a suspect in a sexual abuse investigation involving two minor victims in Sioux and O’Brien Counties. In March of last year, Hanno plead no contest to a third degree sexual abuse charge in O’Brien County, and plead guilty to Indecent Contact with a Child in Sioux County. The Court sentenced Hanno to an indeterminate 10 year term on the O’Brien County charge, and an indeterminate two year term on the Sioux County Charge. He was also given a lifetime parole sentence after his release.


The State Patrol says there’s been an increase in distracted driving on the open roadways — and the D-O-T says it’s become an issue at train crossings as well. Kris Klop oversees the installation of warning devices at rail crossings for the D-O-T and says accidents started changing around the time of the COVID pandemic.

Klop says racing to beat a train through a crossing is a conscious decision, but it’s hard to see how someone can just drive through gates into a train.

Klop says there’s a yearly program to assess rail crossings and the need for warning devices or upgrades — but that doesn’t mean anything if the driver isn’t paying attention.

Klop says the number of accidents at crossings in Iowa has dropped from 300 a year in 1987 down to about 15 a year more recently.

Klop says Iowa has just under five-thousand railroad crossings with 22-hundred-64 that are passive and have no signals. There are 11-hundred-28 crossings with gates, 702 with just flashing lights, and 742 where the railroad track goes over or under a bridge. He says any crossing where a car has to drive over the track has some sort of advanced warning for drivers.

Klop says Of course, you can have a higher level of safety devices, you have flashing lights and gates or cantilevers over the roadway, with flashing lights on them. Klop says they have 15 to 18 rail signal projects during a typical year, and one to three cases each year where they close a crossing.



House Democrats are planning to push to make contraceptives, like the pill, available without a prescription. Representative Lindsay James, a Democrat from Dubuque, says pharmacists in 20 states are able to provide birth control without a doctor’s prescription and the move could be especially important in rural Iowa. In 2019, Republican Governor Kim Reynolds proposed making the pill available without a prescription, but the bill stalled in the House. This year, G-O-P lawmakers in the House and Senate are considering proposals that would still require prescriptions, but the required appointments with the prescribing doctor would be less frequent.



You don’t see many palm trees in Iowa — but the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden has one that grew too tall for the domed facility. The Cuban palm tree that has been growing for 13 years was cut down Monday to prevent it from damaging the roof of the facility. The Botanical Center has long been a place to visit for those tired of Iowa’s winter weather. Staff say the palm tree will be replaced with another one that won’t present a danger to the roof.



32 people, including 16 adults and 16 students, depart today for the Gehlen Catholic Mission Honduras 2023.  There was a sendoff yesterday for the group, held at the Gehlen Catholic gym.  Father Doug Klein, one of the missioners, addressed the group.  There was also a candle lighting/dedication ceremony involving the missioners.  The group includes students from Gehlen Catholic, Le Mars Community, MMCRU, and Remsen St Mary’s.  They will spend ten days building three homes in an impoverished neighborhood near Honduras’ capital.



The Iowa House has unanimously passed a bill requiring insurance companies to cover the cost of replacing child safety seats that are damaged in accidents. Some insurance companies deny coverage if a child was not in a safety seat at the time of the crash or if the automobile’s owner cannot provide receipts or a photo of the seat. Representative David Young of Van Meter says that doesn’t make sense.

Representative Keenan Judge of Waukee says it’s an important bill.

Child safety seats range in price from 40 or 50 dollars up to a few hundred dollars. Booster seats for older children are less expensive. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends replacing a child’s car seat following a moderate or severe crash, even if it appears the seat was not damaged.



A study commissioned by the renewable fuels industry suggests corn prices in Iowa would drop as much as 80 cents per bushel if carbon capture pipelines are not built in Iowa. Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, suggests that means Iowa corn farmers face an 85 percent pay cut if a bill pending in the Iowa House becomes law. The association is asking its members to urge lawmakers to vote against it. According to Shaw, Iowa is the only state with what he describes as an active effort to derail the pipeline projects. A bill in the Iowa House would establish new steps pipeline developers would have to clear before construction could begin. The lead sponsor of the bill is optimistic it will be debated this month, but Republican Representative Steven Holt of Denison says some changes may be made in the legislation.