Home News KLEM News for Thursday, April 6

KLEM News for Thursday, April 6

Services will take place next month for a Le Mars native who was a decorate military veteran.  James “Jim’ McDougall. passed away March 26th just two month shy of his 100th birthday. He grew up on a farm near Le Mars and graduated from Le Mars Central High School in 1941. He served as a US Navy airman during World War II. McDougall was awarded the Navy’s Air Medal and the Presidential Unit Citation for his service as a combat crewman and bombardier. Because of his experience in naval aerial combat in WWII, he was a sought-after presenter at many military and aviation events. His life included teaching high school vocational agriculture, He had an impressive 33 year career with Cargill as well as a livestock consultant to many foreign countries. In his later years, McDougall wrote several books. The Rite of Christian Burial will take place at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 26 at St. Therese Church of Deephaven in Wayzata, Minnesota. The Inturnment of Ashes Ceremony will be held with military honors on Monday, July 31, 2023, at Memorial Cemetery in Le Mars


A Le Mars firm is renovating a downtown Sheldon property.
KIWA Radio reports that this is part of several downtown business properties that have been sold there.
A Sheldon realtor is quoted as identifying Whitehouse Properties LLC, a real estate investment firm based in Le Mars, purchased one building which housed two businesses. The investment firm is owned by Kyl and Charlotte Kunkel of Le Mars. This firm plans to repair and renovate the building, creating retail space and upstairs apartments. They are also renovating a building in Remsen. Three years ago, they finished renovating the old White House Bathing Palace in Le Mars. The Sheldon building is one of five built by H.C. Lane in 1901. They were recently sold by the family’s heirs.


The annual Good Friday Pilgrimage to the Plymouth County Historical Museum takes place tomorrow morning.
This is the 13th year of the event. The public is invited to visit the Museum’s Religious Heritage Room between 11 a.m. and noon, to view “the Morning of the Crucifixion”, a 121-year old painting of mural proportions.
The pilgrimage began in honor of the late Pastor Larry Fett, who served Grace Lutheran Church in Le Mars for many years. The historic painting was restored by Al and Delores Maser of Le Mars. Also on display is a stained glass window from the former Le Mars United Methodist Church. Entrance to the museum is through the east door by the Weber Log Cabin.


U.S. Senator Joni Ernst will be hosting her annual “Roast and Ride” fundraiser on June 3rd.  It could be a showcase for some of the G-O-P’s 2024 presidential candidates. In June of 2015, seven Republican presidential candidates appeared with Ernst at her first “Roast and Ride” fundraiser. A year later, Donald Trump was the event’s main speaker. Six years ago, Mike Pence — who was vice president at the time — rode a motorcycle down a path to the event’s main stage in Boone. The Ernst campaign has announced tickets are now on sale for the event this June at the Iowa State Fairgrounds and “special guests” will be announced soon. When Ernst launched her annual “Roast and Ride” event soon after winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, she said her goal was to showcase the party’s top candidates, just as former Senator Tom Harkin had done with his annual “steak fry” for Democratic presidential hopefuls.



A project to repave two alleys in downtown Le Mars will begin soon. City Administrator Jason Vacura told the council this week that the contractor will begin work later this month.  The alleys are one block north and one block south from Plymouth Street, between First Avenue West and Central Avenue.  The council accepted bids for the project last summer, and awarded a contract last August.  The lone bid was for 383-thousand dollars, over 40-thousand dollars below the project estimate.  Vacura says the contractor expects to take three weeks on each of the two blocks that5 will be improved.



A fire Wednesday afternoon caused the evacuation of a Hawarden senior care facility.  Oakhill Assisted Living Center in Hawarden says on their Facebook page that  the fire was reported in the afternoon.  The 16 residents of the facility, were evacuated safely. They were taken by fire rescue, ambulance, and members of the community, to The Hawarden Regional Health Care.  Eventually, the Oakhill residents were brought to Hillcrest Health Care Center and Mica Hill Estates, or to stay with family.  No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is under investigation.  The residents at Oakhill Assisted Living Center may return as early as today.



A key senator says priority issues are included in an education bill House Republicans just expanded to include things like alternative pathways for teacher licensing and defining what would be considered age appropriate school library books.

Senate Education Committee chairman Ken Rozenboom, a Republican from Oskaloosa, says rolling those other bills into one 40-page package is how the legislative process often works.

Rozenboom’s optimistic House and Senate Republicans will settle on a final package soon.

The bill in its initial form came from Governor Kim Reynolds and G-O-P Senators approved the bill two weeks ago after some tweaks. Rozenboom will be meeting with the governor’s staff to review the House changes AND additions.

Representative Skyler Wheeler of Hull is chairman of the HOUSE Education Committee. Wheeler says Republicans intend to help parents assert their rights in schools.

The bill would require an administrator to notify a parent if a student asks to be known by a different name or pronoun at school. It also forbids instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through sixth grade classrooms.

Democrats say the bill has a number of flaws. Representative Sharon Steckman, a Democrat from Mason City, is a retired teacher. Steckman says letting people become teachers after taking an online course should not be included in the package.

Representative Sue Cahill, a Democrat from Marshalltown, objects to changes in the Board of Educational Examiners, so there’d be an equal number of parents and licensed educators on the board.

The board is currently made up of nine teachers or school administrators and just two public members along with someone from the Iowa Department of Education.



The monthly survey of supply managers and business leaders in Iowa and eight other Midwest states finds the economy’s numbers slipped slightly during March, compared to February. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says recession warning signals have been flashing for three straight months, but there are now also signs of slow growth — while inflation continues climbing. Goss says we’re in a “rolling recession,” with recessions in construction, finance, real estate, and other areas. Supply managers across the nine states were asked about their outlook for the rest of the year, and the biggest challenges they see ahead include supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, higher interest rates and inflation. Hiring rates for the region were relatively steady, in what Goss describes as a case of “labor hoarding,” where companies are reluctant to lay off workers, and they’re hiring even in cases where they don’t have significant demand.



The number of monarch butterflies wintering in Mexico dropped this year. Nicole Shimp with the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium says  the space monarchs occupied in the forest in their wintering grounds decreased by about 22 percent to under five and a half acres. Shimp says the population held steady the year before and they were hoping for that to happen again or for an increase.  She says scientists estimate there needs to be a long-term average of about 15 acres to sustain the monarch population. Shimp says the monarch populations have dropped because of a loss of habitat down in Mexico, and loss of habitat in the midwest where they spend their summer. Shimp says the Iowa Monarch Conservation Consortium report shows good things are happening here. Between 2018 and 2020 Iowans added 430-thousand acres of habitat in the state. You can find out how to create a monarch habitat at: monarch.ent.iastate.edu.